A new book suggests religious affiliation is falling thanks to some surprising reasons.
According to a new book by Harvard researcher Robert Putman, the decline of religion in America is attributable to factors that include divorce, money, sex and … TV? Putnam found that each of these cultural shifts and desires has irrevocably changed the fabric of communities around the country, including how people think about attending religious services as a member of a community. Plus, according to Putnam’s research, church attendance is actually declining most rapidly among communities with lower education and socio-economic status.
You’ve heard sermons on sex, money and divorce—but where does TV fit in? According to an article on the Washington Post’s website by W. Bradford Wilcox, Putnam’s previous publication can be helpful in unpacking that part trend. Wilcox writes”
“In [Putnam’s] 2000 blockbuster, ‘Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community,’ he pointed to the growing popularity of TV over the past five decades as a major ‘ringleader behind declining rates of civic engagement, including religious attendance. Television and the pop culture encouraged ‘lethargy and passivity’ and ‘materialist values,’ which are both in tension with a vibrant religious life.”
So next time you plan a sermon series on sex, maybe follow it up with a series on turning off the TV for a little while?