But I would like to speculate on something. If that number keeps rises exponentially, what sort of country America will look like at that time? Say it reaches 50% or over, is it too bold to say those that do practice religion will be persecuted even to the point of death? How much of a crisis will this country have?
Crisis? You mean like in the Scandinavian countries which have the healthiest, happiest, most content people on earth?
America was founded by Deistic rationalists and atheists, and they were the ones that gave us the 1st Amendment. So why do you think if we went back to such a society religions would all of a sudden be persecuted? However the most religious countries on earth tend to be the ones that don't allow freedom of religion. (Saudi Arabia for example) In fact, according to the pew research center, http://pewresearch.org/pubs/1847/how-religion-divides-and-unites-us-david-campbell-conversation-transcript
America is slightly MORE religious than Iran, and yet it is the religious Fundamentalists of Iran (not the modern, liberal, more secular Iranians) who are running the roost and doing the persecuting.)
The truth is human beings are tribal; no matter which "in group" we find ourselves in, there are always going to be those who want to demonize the "out group" and yes, this may lead to persecution. However Christianity is no less vulnerable to the in group/out group mentality than any other worldview. Now, I hate to play devil's advocate but Christopher Hitchens gives several examples one of which I'll tweak slightly for Americans,
Scenario 1: imagine you are a homosexual walking down the street. On one side of the street you see a group of atheists and on the other side of the street you see group of young men coming from Fred Phelps Church . . . which side of the street are you going to feel safer on?
Scenario 2: You are an African American in the South in the 1960's. You are walking at night in the Bermingham . . . you are being chased by some thug . . . you have the choice of going into a neighborhood full of white secular humanists, or into a neighborhood full of white southern baptists; which one do you choose?
Scenario 3: (this is what Hitchens uses though I can't remember all the details so I'll probably botch it at some point) You are walking down a back alley in the middle east; you see a group of Muslim men dressed in traditional garb coming from Friday evening prayers; and on the other side of the road you see a group of "westerners" wearing red atheist pins, which side of the street do you feel most comfortable on?
Yeah they are hypothetical scenarios, and I do NOT want you to literally answer them on the forum, they are for personal reflection; in all 3 cases though I'd feel safer with the "atheists" and the secularists than I would with the religious people described in those scenarios. Yes, other scenarios can be given to prove just the opposite, but I'm not trying to "prove" anything except that if someone posts some other example that shows religious folks can be better than atheists they are only proving the only point I'm trying to make at all; humans are tribal! We create in group/out group scenarios and automatically assume those in the "out group" wish to do us some form of harm not based on evidence or reason, but based on the fact that they are not "with us", so they must be "against us".
There are plenty of secular nations in the world which are perfectly fine places to live. There are plenty of religious nations which aren't so nice, and vice versa and everything in between.
As Christians we should do our best to rise above in group/out group thinking, protect everyone's freedom as best we can.
Anyways enough pontificating on my part, I will add however that it's not entirely clear America is really losing it's religious beliefs at all. it seems that the religious make up of America remains remarkable consistent over the long haul. It goes up and down in cycles,
I know it's really part of popular American Christian 'theology' that Christianity in America (and religion in general) is on some massive decline and before long we're going to look like Sweden (not sure why that's a bad thing exactly) however as this poll shows for the most part this belief is just that, a belief that doesn't quite line up with the actual facts:
Some pollsters, including the Christian run Barna Group has even shown a slight increase in Religious beliefs in America over the past 20 years;
Another poll supporting the findings:
What seems to be decreasing is not religious belief per se, but Church attendance; that is what is declining while personal religious belief and the importance of religion to people remains high. This is according to a Baptist pollster:
A new Gallup poll shows that, while personal measures of religious sentiment have remained fairly high among Americans, their membership in houses of worship continues a long decline and they increasingly believe that religion is losing influence in the country at large.
See here for the whole article:
And even if we end up "looking like Europe" or other not so religious Western nations, (forget England for a moment..lol!) I don't see the big deal. We are a very religious nation, and I believe actually the most religious states have the highest rates of violent crime, though I admit I can't find the polls to support that at the moment. (I have heard this many times though)
I'm not arguing "for" or "against" anything per se, secularism is not the ill of society, neither is religion. Human beings, of all walks do good things and bad things; the problem is in group/out group thinking IMO. As long as we have THAT, we will have problems.