Christianity and religion in general are dying in America, especially among

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The reverse is happening here. Churches are literally exploding in number in Nigeria. Its a strange picture though: white people brought Christianity to us and we kept it, rather strongly, but they are the ones losing interest in it.


I think I have read Africa will be sending more foreign missionaries than North America soon? Maybe to North America?!

Maybe the modern African church is founded in part by white missionaries. But I thought this was cool discovery I had read about recently. Crazy that this in Sudan. It shows that religious affiliation definitely changes over time and culture.

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I pulled up the underlying survey, and it included this chart:

I find it interesting that although Catholicism among Hispanics has been falling throughout the 1991-2021 period (with the fall accelerating), Protestantism peaked around 2011 and has fallen off considerably thereafter. Non-Christian faiths experienced an anomalous implosion in 2001 (to only a quarter of its previous figure) before growing back again. ‘Don’ts’ have been rising rapidly, if unevenly (somewhat of a lull between 2001 & 2011) throughout.


I was also struck by the conflict between this table:

… which shows the large drops in “an orthodox, Biblical view of God” belief in “the Bible as the accurate word of God” and “a Biblical worldview”, with George Barna’s insistence that:

Given that most young Americans view success as whatever produces happiness or satisfaction, we will have to address the emptiness and inadequacies of a life devoted to self and our fluid emotions. And without a solid foundation of truth upon which choices can be made, a society is doomed to hardships, failures, and conflict. In the person of Jesus Christ and through the pages of the Bible, absolute moral truths are knowable and can be applied to facilitate a successful and meaningful life.

What we appear to be seeing is a snowballing rejection of the claim that the Bible contains “absolute moral truths”. This will likely mean that, if and when young Americans feel the need to look outside themselves and their emotions for truths, they are far less likely to look to the Bible for them.

I think Christian leaders need to think through more carefully the implications of an environment where Christianity has lost its monopoly on the claim of absolute moral truths, and thus must increasingly face competition as merely one of a competing cacophony of voices each making its own claim to transcendent truths.


With the way things are going I would say yes to both. I don’t have any data on the percentage of people identifying as atheist, agnostic or nonreligious but it may be on the rise as well based on some obscure source I read a long time ago.

The bulk of Nigerian Christians are essentially atheists in practice. They extol God verbally and financially but don’t really act how Christians should. This applies to the Muslims as wells. Hence, Nigeria’s placement as one of the most corrupt countries on earth despite her deep religiosity.

That’s some cool find.


Yeah. If people aren’t predisposed to think of your holy book as authoritative, then the best way to convince them you have a grasp of absolute moral truths is to embody and promote moral behavior. Unfortunately, many Christian groups have been doing a spectacularly bad job of that in recent decades, so I understand the skepticism.

(Me, I think the Bible does promote some absolute moral values, but I also think it promotes some absolute moral abominations. So I tend not to be too moved by claims that we need to embrace ‘a Biblical worldview.’ There are quite a few worldviews in the Bible and some of them are not nice at all.)


The problem is compounded by the fact that Christianity is largely identified with positions on particular questions that, in the opinion of most, are decidedly immoral. I’m speaking of issues like reproductive freedom (not just abortion) and LGBTQ rights.


Too much overt racism in parts of N America.


A quick skim suggests that researchers have found a positive relationship between religiosity and corruption, e.g. Religion, Religiosity, and Corruption.

What we are seeing in the US has already happened in many other first world countries.

Religiosity is still common in Italy and Eastern Europe, but Western Europe is much less religious than it used to be.

Is there a difference, in moral terms, between how a Christian or Muslim “should” act, and how someone who follows a different faith (or no faith) “should” act? I believe there is, but it does not pertain to things like political or economic corruption. Those things are usually unacceptable regardless of the basis of one’s moral values.

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That description also works pretty well for American Christians. Perhaps that is part of why Christianity appears to be dying.

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Don’t worry, if Christianity in Europe or the US reaches a critical low, we will start sending African missionaries to aid its revival :laughing:


The article is paywalled, but if the data it presents supports its conclusion, then it is an interesting find, at least to me because I expect a population saturated with deeply religious people to be less corrupt on average.

Same here.

Yes, but one would expect that religion would be a deterrent to corrupt practices. Thus, in countries like mine where most of the people you would ever meet are either Christian or Muslim, there should be a low prevalence of corrupt practices. During Mass, we see those corrupt politicians walk up to the altar to receive Holy Communion, after which they return to their public looting escapades. They donate huge sums of cash to Churches, cash that the priests and other laity know is stolen. They essentially live like there is no God.

Why would one expect that?

That presumes that moral values based on theism are less likely to be violated than those based on some other principle. You seem to be realizing that presumption is not justified.

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Sorry about the paywall – it wasn’t there for me (although I do get a message embedded in the article stating “Access provided by University of Otago Library”).

I’m unsurprised that increased religiosity is positively correlated with corruption. I’ve seen a number of explanations. The one that rings the most true to me is that religiosity would tend to increase trust in co-religionists, increasing the scope for abuse of that trust, by ‘wolves in sheep’s clothing’. This would likely be exacerbated if the culture (religious and/or local) exhibited tendencies towards Right-wing authoritarianism.


I would expect moral principles received from elsewhere to be more likely to be violated than moral principles chosen by individuals themselves.


I’m preparing a presentation on the role of oxytocin in human attachment and related behaviours. Couple papers I’ve come across seem pertinent to this discussion:

Human ethnocentrism—the tendency to view one’s group as centrally important and superior to other groups—creates intergroup bias that fuels prejudice, xenophobia, and intergroup violence. Grounded in the idea that ethnocentrism also facilitates within-group trust, cooperation, and coordination, we conjecture that ethnocentrism may be modulated by brain oxytocin, a peptide shown to promote cooperation among in-group members. In double-blind, placebo-controlled designs, males self-administered oxytocin or placebo and privately performed computer-guided tasks to gauge different manifestations of ethnocentric in-group favoritism as well as out-group derogation. Experiments 1 and 2 used the Implicit Association Test to assess in-group favoritism and out-group derogation. Experiment 3 used the infrahumanization task to assess the extent to which humans ascribe secondary, uniquely human emotions to their in-group and to an out-group. Experiments 4 and 5 confronted participants with the option to save the life of a larger collective by sacrificing one individual, nominated as in-group or as out-group. Results show that oxytocin creates intergroup bias because oxytocin motivates in-group favoritism and, to a lesser extent, out-group derogation. These findings call into question the view of oxytocin as an indiscriminate “love drug” or “cuddle chemical” and suggest that oxytocin has a role in the emergence of intergroup conflict and violence.

Trust pervades human societies1,2. Trust is indispensable in friendship, love, families and organizations, and plays a key role in economic exchange and politics3. In the absence of trust among trading partners, market transactions break down. In the absence of trust in a country’s institutions and leaders, political legitimacy breaks down. Much recent evidence indicates that trust contributes to economic, political and social success4,5. Little is known, however, about the biological basis of trust among humans. Here we show that intranasal administration of oxytocin, a neuropeptide that plays a key role in social attachment and affiliation in non-human mammals6,7,8, causes a substantial increase in trust among humans, thereby greatly increasing the benefits from social interactions. We also show that the effect of oxytocin on trust is not due to a general increase in the readiness to bear risks. On the contrary, oxytocin specifically affects an individual’s willingness to accept social risks arising through interpersonal interactions. These results concur with animal research suggesting an essential role for oxytocin as a biological basis of prosocial approach behaviour.

That is to say, there seems to be a common neurobiological substrate to the sense of identity with a particular ethnocultural group such as those based on religion, and the willingness to put trust in someone in a risky venture. Which would suggest one can be more easily be conned by someone who belongs to the same religion as oneself.


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