I had been remiss to do a proper review of this book after I finished reading it to completion. I had even added some notes and thought of different ways to address this book’s claims, but I guess I just didn’t know where to really begin to address my criticisms for what he wrote. I had purchased and began reading this book after checking out some very positive Amazon reviews that explained that this individual went into the statistical evidence disproving the dominant narrative by the Mainstream media of the Western world regarding Christianity’s decline in the US. I had been curious regarding the perspective of Conservative Christians in the US for quite awhile and I wanted a different and comprehensive perspective because I feared that I was living in a bubble. The Western Mainstream media’s narratives regarding several issues were often problematic or false, so I had hoped this would serve as a reality check or at least give me one or two important facts contradicting the dominant narrative and opening up broader questions. Those were my expectations when purchasing and reading this book.
The expectations fell flat upon reading just the first chapter. You can imagine my disappointment. The author, Glenn T. Stanton, confuses Christianity with his own assumptions and bigoted notions on what being a Christian means. In the most straightforward of terms, a Christian is simply someone who believes Jesus Christ is the Son of the god Yahweh and who believes Jesus Christ will have a Second Coming to whisk the true believing Christians into some vague heavenly utopia (the specifics differ depending upon the Christian denomination). In the first chapter, Stanton argues that Christianity isn’t declining, because it is only the Mainline Protestant Churches. Needless to say, just because someone is a Mainline Protestant doesn’t mean that they aren’t Christian. In my honest opinion, his book is basically just a lie from the very beginning, because he purports to give statistical evidence backing up his claims and then answers by providing his own bigoted and arrogant notions on what accounts for “true” and “fake” Christians. It’s just mental gymnastics; first of all, doesn’t the Bible itself explain that Jesus Christ himself will be the only arbiter of what qualifies as a true Christian by the End of Times? Second, this is just a selfish convenience on his part, because he can use his own arbitrary standards of what is a “true” and “fake” Christian to label anyone who leaves Christianity as not having been a “true” Christian. He goes on and on for several chapters about how the Western Mainstream media is lying because the more conservative Christian denominations are holding strong and the nondenominational Churches are rapidly increasing. Upon finishing his book, I decided to look-up the percentage points of this rise of nondenominational Evangelicals (as he obviously couldn’t have meant the Mainline Protestants due to his disdain for them throughout his book) and I found that it would be 5 percent at most from the subset of Protestants. To clarify what this means, as Pew Research data showed that approximately 164 – 169 million American adults are Christian (it obviously doesn’t count children), I decided to just round-up and put 170 million for my calculations, I then saw that Pew Research had written that 43 percent of US Christian adults are Protestant as of their 2019 survey, so I multiplied 0.43 from 170 million (170,000,000). That result gave me 73,100,000 or 73.1 million Protestants from the subset of 170 million Christian adults. Multiply 73.1 million by 0.05 and the result is . . . 3,655,000 US adults who are nondenominational Evangelicals. By contrast, the percentage points of the Nones / Religiously Unaffiliated went up from 17 percent to 26 percent from 2009 to 2018 – 2019; according to Pew Research that amounts to approximately 37 – 41 million people in 2009 to approximately 65 – 70 million people in 2019 . . .
Stanton doesn’t seem to understand persecution at all and confuses a very serious problem with his own privileged and bigoted notions about it. Just read this, it’s an embarrassment:
When reading this, I thought of Asia Bibi, a Catholic woman in Pakistan who was accused of “blaspheming Prophet Mohammad” by her Muslim neighbors and beaten by an angry mob outside of her home while the Pakistani police did nothing. I thought about how her family’s home was targeted and ransacked with a mob physically assaulting the whole family and how Asia Bibi was sentenced to death for Blasphemy and put in solitary confinement for nine years before her retrial. How her family had to keep moving from place to place to avoid being murdered by angry mobs of Islamists attempting to assassinate them shortly after the retrial and acquittal of Asia Bibi. That is what this woman and her family endured over false allegations against her and even if the charges had been true, that would have simply meant they endured all of that for the freedom to speak their minds. To have this privileged Western Barbarian say that forcing their own bigoted beliefs on others and other people simply disagreeing with his bigoted notions is in any way a form of persecution is an insult to everything Asia Bibi and her family endured. It just stinks of the utmost privilege and living in a bubble.
An earlier portion of the book makes me question whether this man has ever actually read the Bible. I’ll bold the specific portions that I have objections with:
First of all, slavery still existed in Rome pre- and post-rise of Christianity. The only difference was that slaves could wear slightly more clothing; they still weren’t free and they still endured torture. While the rest of it is obvious nonsense as well due to the persecution of the Jews for thousands of years under Christian bigotry and aggression, the most obvious problem is that Stanton included gender. Every single one of the major faith traditions has problems with misogyny. Christianity is no different and it is written in the Bible itself. Here are a few examples (bold emphasis added by me to get to the point faster):
1 Timothy 2: 11 – 15
King James Version
11 Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.
12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.
13 For Adam was first formed, then Eve.
14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.
15 Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.
1 Corinthians 14:33-40
King James Version
33 For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.
34 Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law.
35 And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.
36 What? came the word of God out from you? or came it unto you only?
37 If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.
38 But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant.
39 Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues.
40 Let all things be done decently and in order.
1 Peter 3
King James Version
3 Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives;
2 While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.
3 Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel;
4 But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.
5 For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands:
6 Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.
7 Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.
King James Version
21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.
22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.
23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.
24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.
25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,
27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.
29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:
30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.
31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.
32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
33 Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.
This next portion reads like an earnest attempt to convince people to take part in collective insanity:
A community collectively deluding themselves by forming hobbies talking about magic – oh, sorry, “miracles” – wouldn’t make them real. This is an appeal to population fallacy. In the same way the majority of Saudi Arabia believing in and having laws against Black Magic wouldn’t make Black Magic real, a community of Christians discussing miracles at length wouldn’t make them more believable or a part of reality. This is confusing community relations and community affection for evidence and facts. Also, getting the money you need in a timely fashion either due to your own family’s efforts or a government agency or corporation giving it to you at a scheduled time doesn’t count as a miracle. That’s completely silly and ignores that such organizations are conducted by humans too. Reading Stanton actually argue this made me appreciate Friedrich Nietzsche more on his criticisms about how Christianity suffers from a hierarchy of insanity.
I feel there’s a significant contradiction within these two quoted statements, but I’ll let the readers judge:
After going on several delusional rants about the power of the Holy Spirit near the end of the book, I had a clearer understanding of why Christians are so adamant on growing numbers and will even resort to deceiving children and committing other fraudulent acts, like attacking and burning down other places of worship so they can agitate other religious groups into attacking them and proclaim persecution to force their beliefs upon others in modern times, or why they refuse to give food to survivors of natural disasters unless they convert to Christianity. This isn’t even getting into the “Doctrine of Discovery” which supported genocide. Just read this, it honestly reads like a mental illness:
Highlight (Yellow) | Location 2166
Look at two key phrases here: “it shall accomplish” and “shall succeed.” These are absolute and confident terms. And it was God who said these two things would happen and God cannot be wrong or mistaken. In fact, it is this very truth that is all that is really needed to bust the myth that the church is dying or could ever die.
I’m reminded of a study that showed Atheists have a higher IQ than religious believers once they connected religion as an instinct separate from the intellect which served to solve problems. It helped to better understand the negative correlations of past studies. Every time I’ve read anything from Christians, Muslims, some Hindus, and some Jews discussing their own faith; there’s always the assumption that it must be true by default. Stanton and many others of the Abrahamic faiths simply can’t fathom that it has nothing to do with personal feelings and we atheists just don’t believe it. Already many Christians who could be reading this automatically assume it is because of bigotry, or hate, or we’re “denying Christ” as if we have some sort of malevolence for their savior figure. For most atheists? No, that is not the case. We, as atheists, don’t believe that your god is true. We don’t believe that your god is real. Yet again, I can see a myriad of “true believers” of Christianity going on and on and on about how we “secretly hate” or “secretly deny” or that we secretly believe it is true but hate Jesus Christ; No, that is not the case. We, as atheists, simply believe deep down: none of these stories, “miracles”, “magic”, or savior figures are real or true. They were made by a bunch of ancient people who never understood scientific evidence and they had no firm understanding of reality. We don’t believe that your god, Yahweh, or his so-called son, Jesus Christ, is a real or true story; we think of it like the story of Cinderella, Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, and other silly fictional stories. The story of Revelations with Jesus on a flying horse having Christian followers of every nation, all tribes, all peoples, and all languages is just another fantasy story no different from Cinderella, Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, and other silly fictional stories. Aha! But I call myself a Hindu Atheist, so how does that make sense? Neither Buddhism nor Hinduism requires any belief in any of their supernatural claims and that’s been a reality of most Dharmic faith traditions since approximately 600 BCE in ancient India.
Anyway, Stanton’s book seems to be a waste of time. It’s rife with erroneous claims, bigotry towards his fellow Christians, he seems to honestly live in a bubble judging from this book, and the statistical evidence he keeps harping about is a meager 5 percent at most by the current research that he himself cites. Overall, if you were curious like I was, I would say don’t bother with this book.