April 26, 2011

The Christian "minority?"

Quite a large number of people claim to be Christian. Christians are a minority.

But don't Christians make up the majority?

Claims are one thing. But let's break down the numbers and see what they say.

Many reports claim that Atheists make up roughly 14-17% of the population. (See Friendly Atheist) This leaves 83-86% that are religious and, in America, it can be easy to believe that they are mostly Christians. This can make it easy to think of Christianity as a majority. One study claims that about 70% of the population claim to be Christian and that sounds like a majority to me. (See Pew Forum)

Yet, this includes so many people "claim" to be Christians... yet they do not live as if they believed it. There is a catch phrase that explains what I mean: "Going to church doesn't make you a Christian, anymore than standing in a garage makes you a mechanic." To me, these people are comparable to someone saying they are going to win the lottery, yet they do not buy a ticket. If you were to include this group of potential millionaires, then America's wealth has grown beyond belief. So, let's look closer at some numbers.

If you search around, you will find that about 40% or more people in America actively attend church. (See Atheism at About.com)  Many factors will change the numbers, but this is generally how they wind up. And, even though this is enough to logically call it a minority, it is still misleading. This number also includes groups who do not read the Bible, like Muslims.

We started out with 70% of American's claiming to be Christian. Now, we are at 40%,. But, it goes even deeper than that. As it turns out, only 14% regularly attend a Christian church. (See Wikipedia) That leaves 56% of America who claim to be Christian, yet they don't attend church. 56%. If it were the lottery, we would have a lot of people who claim to be millionaires.