The collapse of authority

There are some more stats to add to the list provided in my last post. These come from the National Association of Evangelicals, who in a recent video say that 80% of young evangelicals have had premarital sex. Furthermore, a third of unwanted pregnancies resulting from premarital sex have ended with abortion.

An article from the Religious News Service makes a couple of very good points about this situation. First, modern culture finds young people experiencing a very long period of sexual maturity before marriage: The average time period from the onset of puberty to marriage is 15 years. It simply isn’t realistic to expect people to remain celibate over such a long period. (I’m tempted to say that it is especially unrealistic for young people at or near their sexual prime, but I think it is significantly unrealistic for people of all ages.)

The second point is that young people aren’t given a good reason for why they should remain celibate. One person interviewed for the article said that “The Bible says not to do it, but I think, for most people, they need more than that”.

This really gets to the heart of what I think is an important factor behind young people’s growing tendency to either leave the church or ignore its teachings. Young people are not known for blindly following authority, so they are very sensitive to cracks in the authoritative facade. Access to the internet (where arguments against religious ideas can easily be found), and a slowly growing acceptance of agnosticism and atheism, have both made young people less enamored of church authority. And it doesn’t help that when young people leave the church, the average age of the congregation rises, making it even harder for the remaining young people to fit in.

At the end of the end of my last post, I said that I looked forward to seeing what strategies churches employ to reverse the loss of young members. I wouldn’t be surprised if they realize that a much better justification for their beliefs will have to be presented – they can no longer rely on their own sense of authority alone.


4 Responses to The collapse of authority

  1. Following up on the last post about kids, I don’t want to be repetitive, but I believe that as times proceeds forward, we will see the end result of what you consider to be “progress.”

    I think that weekly school shootings show us exactly where our youth are headed in this society. I think the lack of religious belief exhibits the kind of morality that is in store for society and humanity.

    We can clearly study atheism and anti-religion through history and look at those who upheld the tenets of this “non-faith.” These were some of the most immoral, coldblooded, monstrous people on the planet. (Communist Atheism). We are returning to what once already was, now.

    You will not be able to claim that the world is progressing in the future because the world is going to become similar to the movie “The Road” at some point. Barbarism and a fight to survive is the future in a world without religion, with morality that is in flux, that is left up to each individual preference.

  2. Keith says:


    I understand your concern about school shootings – it’s a very disturbing trend. But I don’t see how you can lay the blame for these shootings at the feet of secularism, especially when most of them happen in the most religious country in the western world (the U.S. – my recent posts highlight the declining level of religiosity, but the level is still very high).

    As I’ve said before, if you want to see the real future of secularism, look not to the past, but to the present: look at those European countries that simultaneously have high rates of secularism, high levels of happiness, and low rates of crime.

    In fact, you should look more closely at the U.S., too. The U.S. stands out as having among the highest crime rates in western countries (in fact, it has the highest homicide rate of any rich western country) and, simultaneously, it has the highest rate of religiosity.

    Looking at the data, then, it would seem that having a lower rate of religiosity is something to strive for, not avoid.

    Furthermore, Steven Pinker meticulously outlines in his book “The Better Angels of Our Nature” the fact that we’ve been living in progressively less and less violent times. This doesn’t mean that we’re completely free of school shootings and other crimes, but it does mean that overall levels of violence are lower than they’ve ever been. This is what the evidence actually says.

    To insist that things are going to hell in a hand basket, then, is to ignore the evidence.

    • Religion is not allowed in the school. The school is secular and yet it has become exceedingly violent and immoral. I don’t believe that the violence is decreasing in this country. I see the news every night. Parents drown and murder their own children regularly in horrific ways. Children murder their parents. This secularism is increasingly destroying the moral fabric of society.

      European countries have no constitution. Are the populace even allowed to carry a weapon for protection? European countries are socialist, extremely liberal, and have their own “issues” and problems that America doesn’t have. Their government runs the show. They aren’t democratic with the same kinds of rights that we have.

      American youth are being bombarded with the anti-religious, anti-theist liberal media that is determined to destroy family units/family values, and erode all religious values and morality and this is most definitely working on a good majority, unfortunately. It’s already been foretold though so it’s really not surprising.

  3. Keith says:


    I’m quite disturbed by your last post because, to be honest, there are several quite serious factual errors.

    First off, you say that “Religion is not allowed in the school.”

    This is an utterly false statement, and indicates that you’ve been seriously misled by your chosen news sources. Students are free to practice religion in school as long as they don’t coerce everyone into taking part.

    Indeed, most high schools have very active Christian student groups. For example, here’s a list of religious student clubs in just *one* school in my area:
    – Bible Club
    – Fellowship of Christian Athletes
    – Muslim Student Alliance
    – Jewish Student Union

    These clubs are approved by the school, and their members hold meetings on the school property.

    Your next mistake is assuming that reports on the news are somehow a good way of determining the level of violence in our country. You say that “I don’t believe that the violence is decreasing in this country. I see the news every night.”

    You and I both know that the media always focus on the sensationalist stories – you cannot estimate overall levels of violence in our society by watching the news. Besides, gruesome stories have been in the news for many decades – I don’t think you can argue that there has been an increase in such stories.

    Most egregious of the errors in your post have to do with your view of other countries. Unfortunately, your statements only confirm the poor reputation Americans have of being out of touch with the rest of the world.

    First off is this enormous whopper: “European countries have no constitution.”

    You *really*, *really* need to check your facts!

    “They aren’t democratic with the same kinds of rights that we have.”

    Again, you need to check your facts. For a start, read the constitutions of European countries – the constitutions you think don’t exist.

    Finally, you claim that young Americans essentially have no choice about their consumption of media when you say that “American youth are being bombarded with the anti-religious, anti-theist liberal media.”

    You do know that young people can switch their TVs to a different channel right? Or that they can visit different websites? No one is being forced to read or watch anything. It’s a free country.

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