With the rise of Evangelical Christianity in the United States a corresponding increase in finger pointing and blame claiming that the country is in moral decline accompanied it. The usual culprits for the fingered for the alleged deterioration are liberals, non-Christians and unbelievers, but a look at the numbers show the source may be a closer to home.
Without a doubt Christianity is the dominant religion in the United States comprising 75 percent of the population. Christian churches outnumber those of other religions by nearly a ten to one margin. Christian television and radio dominates the airwaves, so much so that shows representing other religions are nigh invisible, but all is not well within the body of Christ.
Simply stated, the probability that 25% of the population being responsible for the moral decline of the country is not only a stretch, but patently ridiculous. Taken literally, the assumption implies that 25% of the population is responsible for all the ills of society such as white collar crime, prostitution, abortion, war, lying, cheating and a host of pathologies that contribute to lowering morality standards in the United States.
The probability of this being the case is nearly impossible. Without a detailed explanation of the Law of Probability an analogy might make it clearer. I can view any professional football game at any stadium in the United States and know the majority attending are Christian. It is not because Christians like football more than other faiths; rather, it is because almost 80 percent of the country is Christian. A note telling Christians to stay home would be necessary for it to be any other way. Of course, the same reasoning applies to every bar and strip joint.
What the Numbers Say
Nearly eight of ten Americans self-indentify as Christian, a point that obviously goes unnoticed as Christian leaders scold entire groups and even the nation for behavior or actions they judge incompatible with their faith. Lost in the majority status of Christianity is that in any instance the likelihood of Christian involvement is not only high, but nearly guaranteed.
To illustrate the preeminence of the faith, Christians fill American penitentiaries as witnessed by the number of prison ministries tending the spiritual needs of those incarcerated. That there are more Christians in jail than any other faith is not the point. It is that with nearly 80 percent of the country claiming Christianity the possibility of it being different is almost nonexistent.
Christians speaking or writing about any topic address mostly Christians. Unless Christians directly address the Muslim, Hindu, agnostic or humanist communities, they lecture, praise, criticize, and complain about other Christians. When Christians criticize homosexuals, they speak of other Christians, although considering their treatment how long that will last dwindles each second. For all of those Christians seeking to deny abortion services, a little education would tell them 65-70 percent of those receiving abortions are Christian.[i] Of the thieves, liars, adulterers, pornographers, pedophiles, cheaters, abusers, perverts and more, the majority will be Christian. They may not fit the mold Christian religionists wish, but they are part of the 76 percent, which religionists are loathe to alter and risk losing the claim to being a Christian nation.
The Real Problem
It is nearly impossible to ignore discrepancies in stated belief of Christians compared with documented behavior. A huge example of belief being out of balance with behavior is the Christian unawareness of their protected status guaranteed by the United States Constitution. Many Christians regularly complain, criticize, and even protest the same status of other groups, especially those of which they do not approve; unaware they sit in the same pew.
As I mentioned before, with eight of ten Americans at least vocal Christians, the so-called values war is strictly a battle between Christians that despise the way other Christians behave. Realizing the implications of 8 of 10 Americans being Christian, points the finger where X marks the spot in the majority's home. It is literally a case of preaching to the choir. The problem is getting Christians to act like Christians.