“UNChristian,” reveals why it is happening, but surprisingly doesn't recognize the role of Christianity, the group that nurtures them, as a part of the reason for the drop.
“UNChristian” reveals how Americans are turned off by religion, especially that of the Right Wing evangelical type with its deep persecution complex and in-your-face intolerance. Researchers David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons, interviewed hundreds of young Christians and found that that those from 16-29 think there is too much religion in politics, the church is filled with hypocrites and the church not only hates the sin, but the sinner as well.
Amazingly, the researchers seemed surprised by the younger generations disdain for religion’s stance on homosexuality and Kinnaman said, “Our hostility toward gays — not just opposition to homosexual politics and behaviors but disdain for gay individuals — has become virtually synonymous with the Christian faith. When you introduce yourself as a Christian to a friend, neighbor, or business associate who is an outsider you might as well have it tattooed on your arm: anti-homosexual, gay-hater, homophobic.” In a nationwide survey released discussed in the book, the image of "evangelicals" rated tenth out of eleven groups evaluated, beating out only prostitutes.
The book reveals a lot about evangelical religious practices while also showing the naiveté of the researchers who registered surprise that proselytizing dropped off sharply, not understanding that hawkers of religion fall into the same category as telemarketers—people don’t want to hear it. Still, the information contained in this book is valuable if for no other reason it presents one side of what is afoot in the country.
Already, Protestants slipped below 50% of American religious denominations for the first time in the history of the United States. It is not news. Protestantism started into decline nearly 30 years ago and shows no signs of slowing. UNChristian deals with this issue as well as many others, such as the loss of membership in evangelical faiths.
The numbers were always inflated, but by their own account, evangelical Christians make up only 6-7% of the population, a far cry from the reported 25-30% that allowed them a degree of political power. For those who keep up with what’s happening on the religious front, the book represents valuable research even though the developers seem completely unaware of the part their own belief system plays in their findings.
The most telling moment in the book occurs early on when UNChristian quotes a stinging rebuke from a male interviewee stating that today’s Christianity, “Doesn’t look very much like Jesus.” Again, the information and statistics remain interesting and thought provoking, but the apparent disregard for their own research as far as seeking solutions seems almost contrived, but it may be a necessary blind spot.