On this broader trend, I think at least part of what's happening is that people whose social views never really changed have started identifying as Evangelical in opposition to changes in the left.

There's a cluster in my extended family that -- while not really redneck, we might call "redneck-adjacent". They vote Republican WHEN they bother to vote, never attend church, but I think for most of my life, they contrasted their social views with those of the more religious members of my family. While not complete libertines, they're more open to premarital sex, children out of wedlock, abortion, heavy drinking, gambling, etc., and they see the rest of us to some degree as fuddy-duddies.

When Trump came along, this group jumped on the MAGA train without hesitation. I think the religious members also mostly voted for him, but with a lot more reservations.

Alongside this, what's happened is that the non-attending group, instead of primarily contrasting their social views with their more religious neighbors and family members (the fuddy-duddies, who never really changed), they're contrasting them with the extreme representatives of Pride culture, who 20 years ago they'd never heard of or thought about but are suddenly much more prominent in media. Which naturally makes this group much more open to the Evangelical identity that they previously ran away from.

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Jul 22, 2023Liked by Ryan Burge

One of your best posts (and they are all good).

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Jul 17, 2023·edited Jul 17, 2023

Amongst people (particularly those under 30) who do not identify themselves as Christian, their reasons can generally fall under two categories. 1.) The central claims of Christianity are poorly evidenced. 2.) The loudest voices in Christianity have convicted them the essence of the faith is being a bigoted jerk.

I don't think there is much Christians can do about point 1, but they can do a lot about point 2.

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One important part of this discussion not mentioned iis intrinsic vs extrinsic religiosity. There are plenty of people who attend church weekly who still just see it as a means to some end like cultural identity.

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My parents aren’t religious and don’t attend church. Nevertheless, they took me to church and Sunday school until first communion.

When I asked about this my mom said that kids need to be taught some basic morality and beliefs and she thought the church was better then the alternatives, even though she didn’t believe.

And if you asked her she would say she’s catholic even though she doesn’t attend.

I too would not endorse some of the key faith statements of the church. But it’s a good place to raise a family.

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This sounds and behaves like the Serbian and Croatian view on religion-the ideal is important but not the practice and this is why I live in such a different world than they do-the corporate worship is as important as the ideal and it exposes me to everyone. Look at Spencer Cox's efforts to depoliticize dinner and you will understand the fundamental difference between those worldviews.

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I think you may be overemphasizing the cynical use of symbols. Leaders and politicians are certainly cynical. Among normal people it may be a matter of wishing or 'aspiration'. I would love to be solidly religious. It's clear that life is better and longer for people who can do it. But I'm not built to be faithful. I'm spiritually retarded.

So I support and defend the idea of religion without understanding faith and theology.

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