Our recent article discussed trends in the marriage and divorce rate. An earlier article discussed trends in the Christian share of the population.
Are these two related? I think so. Could it be that a declining marriage and divorce rates are caused by a decline in Christianity?
While Christianity has been consistently increasing numerically, it recently declined as a share of the American population. However, in the past 5 years it has been at least stable if not bouncing back.
Behind the overall decline is a strong increase in evangelical Christianity coupled with a strong decline in Mainline Protestantism, which is theologically liberal.
So it could be viewed as less marriages, less divorces, less Christians, but I don’t think that’s the whole story. Like an economy which contracts so that the efficient firms will remain and later flourish, I think we are seeing a survival of the fittest religion.
Am I suggesting that survival of the fittest religion involves the death of Christianity? No, but I do think it involves the decline of self-contradictory theologically liberal Christianity. At the same time, non-denominational and evangelical Christianity are flourishing.
In an age of better information people may be sorting themselves by ideology more rapidly. This would make it increasingly rare to be a marginal Christian just as it is increasingly rare to be a political moderate.