Baptists getting older, study says

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by gb93433, Mar 10, 2009.

  1. gb93433

    gb93433
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    What are your opinions of the following article found at http://www.abpnews.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=3914&Itemid=53

    By Bob Allen
    Monday, 09 March 2009

    HARTFORD, Conn. (ABP) -- Baptists may be the grayest of any major religious group in America, according to a study released March 9 by Trinity College of connecticut.

    The 2008 American Religious Identification Survey, the third set of data in a landmark study tracking changes in religious loyalties, reported 21 percent of the people who identify themselves as Baptists are 70 and older. That compares to 12 percent of the general population, 13 percent of Catholics, 14 percent of mainline Christians and 10 percent of Mormons who fall in that age range.

    Forty percent of the national population is 50 or older, while 58 percent of Baptists fall into that age bracket.

    Related to that, the percentage of Baptists who are widowed is 12 percent, twice the national average. One demographic in which Baptists have far less than their share is among never-marrid singles -- who make up 13 percent of Baptists, but a full 25 percent of the general population.

    Baptists have gained members in the last 18 years, but comprise a smaller percentage of the population than they did when the study first compiled statistics. In 1990 there were 33.9 million Baptists, 19 percent of the population. In 2008 they numbered 36.1 million but declined to 15.8 percent of the population.

    Baptists are still less educated than the general population and most denominations, but the percentage of Baptists who are college graduates increased from 11 percent in 1990 to 16 percent in 2008.

    The survey defines "Baptist" in a broad sense, including Southern Baptist, American Baptist, Free Will, Missionary and African-American denominations.

    In general the survey found that the American population self-identifies as predominantly Christian, but Christianity's share of the population is decreasing. Ten percent fewer Americans self-identified as Christians in 2008 (76 percent) than in 1990 (86 percent.)

    The portion of the population claiming no religion grew from 8.2 percent in 1990 to 15 percent in 2008, a gain of almost 20 million adults. Researchers called the rise of the so-called "Nones" as "one of the most important trends on the American religious scene."

    Seventy percent of Americans said they believe in a personal God, while 12 percent are either agnostic, atheist or unsure. A surprisingly high percentage, 12 percent, expressed belief in a deist or pagan view of a higher power, but not a personal God.

    Researchers found views on religion changed more during the 1990s than since 2000, attributing that to large numbers of immigrants from Latin American countries who are overwhelmingly Christian and Catholic.

    Baptists lost ground, meanwhile, both among Hispanics and Asians. Seven percent of Hispanics self-identified as Baptists in 1990, compared to 3 percent in 2008. Asians were 9 percent Baptist in 1990 but now make up 3 percent of Baptists. Asians were also the group most likely to profess no religion.

    Researchers said the loss of religious identity could have long-lasting consequences for religious institutions. One sign of the lack of attachment of Americans to religion is that 27 percent do not expect a religious funeral at their death.
     
  2. Deacon

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    That's not a broad sense of 'Baptist'!
    That's a definition that includes only denominational Baptists.

    The "A" of the B-A-PTIST distinctives is the Autonomy of the Local Church a good reason why denominations are often shunned .

    Many "Baptist" congregations have dropped the term 'Baptist' from their name while still holding fast to Baptist doctrine.

    Rob
     
  3. preachinjesus

    preachinjesus
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    I'd agree with the observation of the good Deacon above. While more denominationally aligned churches might well be getting "greyer" I'd be surprised to see if the report checked all "confessionally/doctrinally Baptist churches."

    The triumph of Baptist doctrine and polity is that the vast majority of churches, and particularly the overwhelming majority of new church starts, have the dominate parts of theology and polity rooted in explicit Baptist heritage. :)
     
  4. canadyjd

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    It seems the same report says that those who identify themselves as "evangelical" rose (perhaps doubled).

    Maybe the poll numbers are hiding a revival to true Christianity?

    peace to you:praying:
     
  5. Revmitchell

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    Do not let the term "evangelical" fool you. It is used to cover a great many religions.
     
  6. John Toppass

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    All the science and and schooling I ever had or will have backs this thread up. In fact, Baptists have alway been getting older and so has non-baptists.
     
  7. tinytim

    tinytim
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    I have yet to meet a Christian in any denomination that gets younger!!! LOL...

    I don't get older.. I am just aging well...
    Like a fine wine....oooops.. wrong thread!!
     
  8. menageriekeeper

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    :eek: I'm getting old because I'm a Baptist???!!! :eek:

    It can't be!

    Seriously though, we should consider why Baptists aren't reproducing themselves or alternately why we aren't keeping our youths.
     
  9. chuck2336

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    I believe there was another thread about a vast number of our young are leaving church all together. I believe the age was 18-29. I could be wrong though, I am not as young as I use to be!

    :laugh:
     
  10. Plain Old Bill

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    Well here is the simple proof I was 32 when I was saved and 33 when I was baptized in a baptist church. I am now 64. Had I known at the time that being a baptist causes one to age I would have become a methodist.:laugh:
     
  11. Jim1999

    Jim1999
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    I thought they had Methodists dying younger! Frankly, I am glad to be getting older. It sure beats the human alternative!

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  12. Palatka51

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    I was saved at the age of 9. I was in the Baptist Church then and am in the Baptist Church now at the age of 52. I could have been a Pentecostal and remained a young 9 year old? Hmmm. Must be all the jumping, rolling and hollering. However I don't think that I'll trade all the knowledge that I have gotten over the years as I have aged as a Baptist for an immature knowledge of the Grace of Christ. I'll just grow to be an even older Baptist. :thumbsup:
     
  13. preachinjesus

    preachinjesus
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    Jim1999 does bring up a good point. If we think Baptists are getting older take a glance at the stats for mainline congregations (Episcopalians, Lutherans, Presbyterians, and Western Branch of American Reformed Presbylutheranism) to see how much more greying congregations.
     
  14. gb93433

    gb93433
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    Isn't that comparing Baptists to the dead and dying?
     
  15. TCGreek

    TCGreek
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    So much for labels.
     
  16. JustChristian

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    I suppose if they don't call themselves Baptists they wouldn't be counted as Baptists. That's the only way they could conduct a poll like this. They couldn't exactly get into a lengthy theological discussion with everyone they polled.
     

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