“Empty the Pews: Stories of Leaving the Church” – Even as the American Christian right maintains its power and influence — despite a recent dust-up with President Trump — its children continue to abandon the fold. A recent survey by the Pew Research Center shows that fewer Americans across the political spectrum are identifying as Christian, and the phenomenon is particularly pronounced among the young.
In “Empty the Pews: Stories of Leaving the Church,” mostly Gen X and millennial writers describe their disillusionment with the faith of their youth and their departure from their religious communities.
…But the collection’s overall framing seems to equate the bigotry and ignorance of some Christians with Christianity itself. As Schaeffer writes in his foreword, “The grim ‘witness’ of how Christians have behaved and voted is too heavy a blow for faith in magical thinking to survive.” Here his critique of the Christian right slides into an implied critique of belief (“magical thinking”). In the book’s final essay, Isaac Marion is even more explicit: “All religious belief is a game of pretend.”