GREENWOOD, Wis. – Dr. Anthony Horvath, the director of the apologetics organization Athanatos Christian Ministries, has released a report examining the rise of the so- called ‘religious nones,’ a group documented to have left the Church and which is becoming increasingly secular.
“Numerous studies show that around 1990, the number of ‘religiounones’ increased from roughly 8% of the adult population to 25%, today,” Horvath said. “Tens of millions of people left Christianity in just two decades. Clearly, something isn’t right.”
Horvath began an investigation and recently released his conclusions in a report titled, “Faith and Family Under Fire: Why Apologetics is Failing in the 21st Century.”
The most important finding? The rise in ‘nones’ roughly corresponds with the decline of the family.
Horvath further stated, “After the fallout of the ‘sexual revolution,’ divorces skyrocketed. Marriage rates fell. Beginning about 1990, the children born as a result of that ‘revolution’ themselves began coming of age. How can you accept that God is a loving father when all you’ve known in your own family is brokenness?”
Correlation is not causation, but according to Horvath, there is good reason to believe the two things are directly related.
“Studies show that the biggest factor in successfully transmitting the faith to the next generation is strong families that are grounded in the faith. The influence of the father, in particular, is profound,” Horvath explained. “There is a statistical link between fractured families and low church attendance.”
Horvath reasoned that if this is indeed the case, there are implications for congregations.
“Our aging church membership and the fact that young people are leaving and not returning is obvious to everyone. Pastors and church leaders are increasingly recognizing the importance of apologetics, but good arguments are no substitute for God’s design for transmitting the faith: godly mothers and fathers.”
He maintained apologetics alone is not enough.
“Apologetics is failing in the 21st century because families began failing in the 20th century,” Horvath said. “If the Church in America wants to reverse course, our remedies must embrace both apologetics and the cultivation of strong families. These are both Biblical responses, but the former without the latter will not change matters. If things remain as they are, within a generation, America will be as thoroughly secular as Europe is today.”
The report can be downloaded for free at www.athanatosministries.org .