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OK Steve,

What we need here is a definition of terms. I myself (like Jesus!) have never joined any church, though I have served as youth minister in one and chaplain in a hospital. I think your "sociologists" need to be trained to ask better questions.

Here in Brazil, the RC church is dying out, thank Darwin. Alive and well are all the pentacostalist churches and those groups who practice candomble and macumba.

I'm a physicist who looks askance at anything labeled "best social scientists in the field."

Steve Shiffrin

I am reporting on the sociological data. By organized, youth are
thinking of associations that meet in the form of churches (whether
they are hierarchical or not). If you have any data to support your
claims about the facts on the ground, I would be interested in your
presenting it. In the interim, you are, of course, free to disagree,
but what I am reporting comes from the some of the best social
scientists in the field.


You say that, in the US, "There is a strong tendency among young people ... to associate organized religion with the religious right and a tendency to see the religious as hypocritical, judgmental, homophobic and insincere."

I don't agree. For starters, Baptists and Bible Churchers belong to the "religious right," but, having NO hierarchy, are totally "disorganized." That means that if a person doesn't like the preacher or the flock, he can find another church--maybe one with a woman preacher or a different emphasis, e.g., Bible, missions, local charity, political action.

It is the mainline, leftists churches that are "organized." If a person is RC, Episcopalian, Presbyterian or Lutheran, he is screwed: same policies everywhere. My dad always warned me, as a youngster, away from joining any club that charged dues and that sent a part of them "off to Washington." The mainline churches are always sending a part of your "dues" off to Washington (or to Rome)--another good reason a modern teenager shuns the mainline churches.

All the churches have leaders who are hypocritical. There is nothing wrong with being judgmental, in any case. That is the job of a church, after all. Even the Unitarians, the UC and the Quakers are judgmental, but they are not "homophobic." Women participate equally in their fellowships. I see the fundamentalists and Mormons as being sincere, above all, and insincerity to me means genuflecting, confessing, taking communion and attending mass without a shred of mental activity involved.

No, what turns kids away from churches is that they are supremely boring. Nothing ever happens there that beats an hour of video gaming or texting. They used to be great places to meet and mate, but now there are better opportunities for that outside of church.

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