During the last decade, one in 20 Americans has shifted from identifying with a religion to claiming “nothing in particular.” And this group is also the least likely of any position on religion to hold at least a bachelor’s degree.
Those are just two of the many findings that jump from the page in Ryan Burge’s new book, The Nones: Where They Came From, Who They Are, and Where They Are Going, published by Fortress Press. Together with atheists and agnostics, sociologists categorize the “nothing in particular” group as “nones.”
Today, as many Americans don’t affiliate with any church as belong to any major religious group. We’re talking about one of the largest religious trends, if not the largest, in the last 40 years. Burge’s book seeks to explain how these so-called nones grew from statistically irrelevant to around one-quarter of the entire American population.
Burge is an assistant professor of political science at Eastern Illinois University. And he’s also been a pastor in the same American Baptist Church for the last 13 years. So his work goes beyond the descriptive into the prescriptive. For example, he observes that among the nones, Christians should focus on this “nothing in particular” group, which is open to returning to religion.
He joins me on Gospelbound to discuss the implications of his findings for evangelicals, for Black Protestants, for the mainline, and for politics. I’ll also ask him why so many Americans left the church between 1991 and 1996 and his best guess at the most significant cause behind this trend.
Weitere Episoden von „Gospelbound“
Learning to Love Art through the Eyes of Faith
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39:56In his book, Rembrandt Is in the Wind: Learning to Love Art through the Eyes of Faith, Russ Ramsey helps his readers learn how to appreciate art without needing to be an expert. “If you have not yet learned to love beauty,” he writes, “learn to love it late.” We’re made to achieve perfection, at least on the other side of glory, he says. Beauty is glimpsing a preview of that perfection in what we make here and now of goodness and truth. God didn’t need to make this world beautiful. He didn’t need to make humans in his image, concerned with goodness and truth. But he did, so that beauty might awaken us from spiritual stupor. On this episode of Gospelbound, Russ Ramsey and Collin Hansen discuss Rembrandt and Van Gogh, Kincaid and Caravaggio, and how appreciating art mirrors the Christian life.
The Air We Breathe
48:20If you live in the West, in much of Europe or North America or Australia, you don’t know the world apart from Christianity. It’s the water you swim in, the air you breathe.That’s the main point of Glen Scrivener’s new book, The Air We Breathe: How We All Came to Believe in Freedom, Kindness, Progress, and Equality, published by The Good Book Company. Glen is an ordained Church of England minister and evangelist who preaches Christ through writing, speaking, and online media.Glen Scrivener joins Collin Hansen on Gospelbound to discuss the patriarchy, consent, Christianity for weirdos, and more.
Why We Need to Debate in Good Faith
44:01Starting May 4, The Gospel Coalition is releasing a five-part video debate series called the "Good Faith Debates", featuring prominent Christian thinkers discussing some of the most divisive issues facing the church today—ranging from gun control to woke churches to abortion to racial injustice to evangelical self-identity.When we keep the gospel central, we can disagree on lesser but still important matters in good faith. In the Good Faith Debates, we hope to model this—showing that it’s possible for two Christians, united around the gospel, to engage in charitable conversation even amid substantive disagreement.The moderator of these debates is Jim Davis, teaching pastor at Orlando Grace Church and host of the As in Heaven podcast. He joins Collin Hansen on this episode of Gospelbound to discuss what surprised him, what helped him as a pastor, and whether he changed his mind on anything, among other issues.
Does My Son Know You?
43:26What happens when you get diagnosed in April 2021 at age 33 with a rare form of cancer—so rare, in fact, that the odds of contracting it are 25 million to 1? What happens when the doctors can’t tell you if you have five months or five years to live? And what happens with your son, born at the end of March 2020 at the outset of a global pandemic?That’s the story of Jonathan Tjarks, who has covered basketball for The Ringer since 2016 and is a host on The Ringer NBA Show. He loves Jesus and Dallas, in that order. And he wrote about cancer, his son, and his church in a remarkable essay for The Ringer called “Does My Son Know You?” In his essay, Tjarks concludes this way:“I have already told some of my friends: When I see you in heaven, there’s only one thing I’m going to ask—Were you good to my son and my wife? Were you there for them? Does my son know you?”Jonathan Tjarks joins Collin Hansen on this episode of Gospelbound to discuss basketball, his journalistic career, and the reception to his memorable essay.
The Illuminating Power of Scripture and Song
27:27In singer-songwriter Sandra McCracken’s new book, “Send Out Your Light: The Illuminating Power of Scripture and Song”, you’ll find the same depth of spiritual insight and emotion that characterize her songs. She writes, “If we sing songs with thin ideas, superficial hopes, and more hype than authenticity, we will find ourselves depleted in the times when we need some truth to fall back on. We need songs sturdy enough to sing at the bedside of a dying friend.”Sandra joins Collin Hansen on this episode of Gospelbound to discuss embodied worship, tortured artists, the Nashville sound, deconstruction, and more.
Recovering Our Sanity Through the Fear of God
40:48In his latest book, Recovering Our Sanity: How the Fear of God Conquers the Fears that Divide Us, Michael Horton argues that we can only conquer the wrong kinds of fear by embracing the right kind of fear, and that’s what he means by sanity.For Horton, revival breaks out when Christians show up to church and hear from God and his Word. It’s so simple, and that’s his point. We don’t need spectacular miracles—we need basic obedience.Michael Horton joins Collin Hansen on Gospelbound to discuss preaching and practicing, hating and fearing, persecution and apostasy, among other serious topics.
Life Together at the End of the World
41:55Did education give you a love of learning and a desire to cultivate your mind over a lifetime? Or did you learn how to pass tests to graduate and get a job?These goals don’t need to be mutually exclusive, but they are for many of us. Any serious attempt at reforming Christian political witness must include a vision for education. Jake Meador offers such a classical vision for education but also ventures into sex, race, technology, family, the environment, and more in his new book, What Are Christians For? Life Together at the End of the World, published by IVP.Jake Meador joins Collin Hansen on this episode of Gospelbound to discuss industrialism, technology, debt, whiteness, and more.
Redeeming Your Time
25:31Jordan Raynor offers seven biblical principles for being purposeful, present, and wildly productive in his new book, Redeeming Your Time (WaterBrook). These principles include starting with the Word, eliminating all hurry, and prioritizing your “yes.” You’ll also learn in this book how to say no more often. The book mixes time-tested productivity tips with timeless biblical wisdom.Raynor joins Collin Hansen on this episode of Gospelbound to discuss selective ignorance, inbox zero, and how to be productive by doing less and resting more.
The Church Needs Non-Anxious Leaders
52:46Mark Sayers doesn’t mince words about the challenges our world is currently facing. In his new book, A Non-Anxious Presence: How a Changing and Complex World Will Create a Remnant of Renewed Christian Leaders, he sees these challenges as a potential prelude to revival. He writes, “We feel the gap between the vision of the church we encounter in Scripture and the reality on the ground. This gives rise to a deep desire for God’s church to be refreshed, empowered, and renewed.”Sayers serves as senior leader of Red Church in Melbourne, Australia. In this episode, Mark Sayers and Collin Hansen discuss tribalism, anxious systems, maturity, hardship, and more.
How Mutual Accountability Can Break the Cycle of Fear
30:02George Yancey describes colorblindness as a path that goes nowhere and anti-racism as a path full of dangerous animals. As an alternative, he proposes mutual accountability. He believes this approach will produce a group that wants to address and not ignore unfair racial outcomes. That’s why he wrote Beyond Racial Division: A Unifying Alternative to Colorblindness and Antiracism.Yancey is a professor at the Institute for Studies of Religion at Baylor University, specializing in race/ethnicity and religion. He joins Collin Hansen to discuss why he’s skeptical of activism and protest, why he doesn’t call America racist, why diversity training doesn’t work, and why he thinks we need unity before justice, among other topics.