There’s no doubt that the United States had a Christian beginning, first with the Pilgrim Fathers. Later, from the war for independence and on, America was a Protestant nation with Catholic and Jewish minorities. She was able consistently to keep this religious profile until the mid-twentieth century.
America was seen as the most Protestant nation in the world, and U.S. missionaries often taught about God’s divine blessings on a predominantly Protestant nation. America was cherished by “we the people,” for the example and sermons of missionaries, as a nation that had become strong because it embraced the Gospel.
I speak as a Brazilian greatly benefited by wonderful U.S. missionary work.
But what is the religious profile of America today? America is still the most Protestant nation in the world, but her position will be surpassed by China in 10 years. The United States had 159 million Protestants in 2010 and China is expected to have 160 millions of Protestants in 2025. Yet, while Protestant Christians are increasing in China, their numbers are declining in the U.S.
The Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies, a group which assists in the U.S. Census, recently released a telling map showing which religions rank No. 2 throughout the U.S. In some point in the next future, these religions may surpass Christian majorities, whether Protestant or Catholic, leaving America with a religious profile vastly different from her beginning.
Islam ranks as the second most prevalent religion in 20 states, many in the Bible belt, which has been a region where conservative Protestants have traditionally dominated. This Islamic growth is certain to challenge the Protestant majority. Judaism is the second most common faith in most of the Northeast, while towards the West, Buddhism is the second most common faith in 13 states. Hinduism is only the No. 2 religion in two states, Arizona and Delaware.
Notably, the survey considers Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witnesses and other heretical sects as a part of Christianity.
Of course, Christian majorities in the U.S. are dominated by nominal Christians, not to mention liberal Christians, and the effects have been felt in the missionary field. In Brazil, Brian McLaren and other liberal American Protestant leaders, known for their sympathies for main points of the homosexual agenda, have best-selling books in the Brazilian Church.
As America may soon be surpassed by China as the most Protestant nation in the world, we must ask whether her internal and often nominal Christianity will likewise be surpassed by Islam, Buddhism or other false religions? Only time will tell.
Sadly, it now looks to be time for the International Church to send missionaries to the U.S.
With information from Charisma magazine.
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.