Skip to comments.How come more people donít go to church?
Posted on 04/06/2013 3:19:57 PM PDT by NYer
It may not be the reason you think.
The Rev. Stephen Fichter understood just how dominant a role sports has assumed in the culture when a family told him they would be out of town Good Friday to Easter Sunday to attend their child’s volleyball tournament.
“It’s truly sports that has become like the religion” for many people, said Fichter, a researcher and the pastor of Sacred Heart Church in Haworth, N.J.
From youth travel teams to big-time national festivals such as the Final Four, sports have been making increasing inroads in the busy lives of many Americans. Some scholars even trace the evolution of sports from pastime to a form of civil religion to now having become almost a folk religion.
And it is having an impact on religious groups, which report increasing difficulty convincing families that are willing to spend half a day traveling to a 9-year-old’s softball or soccer game to make time for worship services.
Some congregations are meeting the challenge by offering alternative service times and their own sports teams and programs. But many despair of their ability to compete in a culture increasingly consumed by athletics, with its multi-million dollar idols and its own sacred relics. Witness the Babe Ruth jersey that sold last year for $4.4 million.
In a study of 16 declining congregations in the U.S. and Canada, the reason most cited by clergy and members for falling attendance was the secularization of Sunday, with many identifying children’s sports as most responsible. Researcher Stephen McMullin of Acadia Divinity College in Nova Scotia reported the findings in the current issue of the Review of Religious Research.
“(Parents) will make sure Johnny goes to sports, but when it comes to church, I’ve just seen it over and over again, and even in our own congregation, the families that have children in sport will sacrifice church for the sake of their son or daughter’s sports program, so sports is another huge reason why our church is declining,” one pastor said.
There were few Easter Christians, individuals who show up for worship one or two days a year, among the earliest followers of the faith.
Facing penalties “like hanging — that tends to clear the head,” the Rev. Aidan Kavanagh, the late liturgy professor at Yale Divinity School, dryly observed.
Christians in the United States no longer need fear persecution for missing services. Demanding schedules, many of which revolve around youth sports, are the new competition for congregations.
Fichter surveyed 341 Catholics in one congregation who reported attending only on Easter and Christmas. He said he thought many people would cite disagreement with church teachings or negative experiences. But only 7 percent of respondents gave either of those reasons.
More than two-thirds said the reason they attend only twice a year was that they were too busy with other commitments. Sixteen percent admitted they were lazy. Fichter reported the findings at the joint annual meeting of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion and the Religious Research Association.
Until they decide their children are ready to make their First Communion. That year, they show up for all the religious education classes and attend weekly mass. After First Communion, they are gone.
I’m single and when I go to church I feel a little odd sitting by myself. Not to makes excuses but often I don’t go because of it.
Can't find an interesting preacher that does not repeat the same thing I've heard a gazillion times.
I don’t go because I’m lazy and don’t appreciate the English, hand shaking, guitar playing, layman giving out communion, the altar turned around. It is a mockery of the mass of my youth.
Lame snacks (if any) and no beer.
Churches have become places that have stopped discipling and are now, often, just places to collect tithes and condemn behaviours.
What a cop out. I am sure, if you looked hard, you can find a .Church that suits you.
Im guessing here, but I think numerous factors are in play. Society is changing. There is the obvious push by government to destroy Christian religion; Islam, not so much. Then theres competing entertainment and phones. My friends kids wont even pick up the phone when their dad calls them. They text only. They seem disassociated in many ways and Im certain that affects their religious life as well. Also, everything runs at a frantic pace and who, in the younger group, can sit still for two hours in church these days? And, what is the perceived value of religion to youth? I dont think theyre really interested in their immortal soul. I cant find anything that passes for philosophical thought from the younger people Ive talked to. Theyve been programed to feel and, I think theyre mostly more selfish than we were at their age. I dont think religion is connecting with people below the age of 30. Thoughts?
Most of us first learned of God from our parents, who brought us up in the church. Now children pretty much fend for themselves, best I can tell. The hysterical busy-ness and increasing isolation of parents and children precludes formation of familial ties. Church, manners, love of country, caring about others...all lost.
America, please go to church with your families tomorrow. Soon you may not have the opportunity. As in Europe in the 1930’s, lights are going out.
The Bible home study groups we (my wife and I) went to seemed too "pre-packaged commercial" stuff. It was like participating in a TV talk show.
Some time ago I read a column on how churches seem to be female-oriented, geared to what women want. It sure seems that way to this guy.
I had no clue God requires you to worship Him with a companion in tow. Maybe obama worshippers because obama is a fag anyways..
The story of man is...going back to the Old Testament...people worship God and life goes well, they get lazy and stop worshiping God, and everything falls apart until they start worshiping God again. You also have to consider the Catholic Church (my church) broke the public trust.
It's obvious Americans haven't been focused on God and everything is falling apart.
I speak only for myself: I go to church very regularly, but I can understand why a lot of people do not. The hypocrisy is so bad that it is tough to sit through the service and the main goal of a lot of churches boils down to “contributions”, not theology or religious teaching. The Episcopal Church USA is a prime example.
There is very little behavior condemning at a typical Catholic Mass. Also, not too much push for bigger donations.
I think children's activities (not just sports) coupled with a very real sense of being stretched too thin is the reason many families don't attend every week. Even if your child is in sports you can generally make the Vigil or the 7 am Mass, but when Church is seen as just one more thing, those Masses are too much trouble. We Catholics need to turn the focus back to the Eucharist.
I don’t go because of all the pedophilia associated with it in the news. Clean up your act Vatican and I will go back. I want to clarify, I don’t need a building to read my bible in.
I believe the Catholic Church has been undermined by the homosexuals to rot the religion from the inside. The same is being done to our constitution right now. Come to think of it, by a guy who has been accused of being known as ‘Bath House Barry’ in some parts of Chicago. His church was a well known matchmaker of homosexual men (4 mysteriously murdered associated with BB) with women for marriage.
But that’s not the way it is being covered in the news.
Several reasons, but two primary ones, IMHO.
God was removed from public schools.
Stores and the invention of shopping malls are now open on Sundays.
Max- you’re right being single should be no excuse for not worshipping God in church which I greatly enjoy. I’d feel more comfortable if someone were with me. Just speaking from personal experience since NYer asked.