Rising Tide of Secularism?

One of the common components to the story of American religious history as told among Evangelicals is that Christian influence is waning and that modern culture is more hostile to Christianity than ever before.

Are we so sure?

    Historical demographers and sociologists have shown that in 1776 only 17 percent of the national population belonged to a church. It appears that an official religion governed an indifferent population for much of the colonial period. Then, in the nineteenth century, under the influence of evangelical expansion, church membership began to increase sharply. By 1850, 35 percent of Americans were church members. By 1906 the number was 51 percent. Sixty-two percent of the American populace belonged to religious institutions by 2000, though not specifically Christian churches. Evangelicals led the expansion. (David Sehat, The Myth of American Religious Freedom, 5-6)

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