Online Course Probes: "Is the Death of Christianity in America Nearly At Hand?"

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Athanatos Christian Ministries has announced that it is offering a new online course that documents the decline of Christianity in America and challenges Christians to wrestle with solutions. While ACM disputes the notion that Christianity will ever 'die,' it says it takes the significant increase of 'religious nones' seriously.

Christianity won't die because Christianity is emphatically true.

A new online course, bluntly titled "The Death of Christianity", will explore the steep decline of Christianity in America and the steep increase of 'religious nones.' The course is being offered by Athanatos Christian Ministries through their online apologetics academy.

Christianity was the predominant religion in the United States for centuries but in July of 2012, an analysis of Pew Center surveys determined that about 19% of Americans report that they have no religion at all, a major increase just over fifteen to twenty years. Could one fifth of the American population--some 50,000,000 people--really have abandoned religious faith in the span of a single generation?

Anthony Horvath is the Executive Director of ACM and takes the decline of Christianity in America seriously. He has been grappling with this trend for more than a decade and has oriented the ministry's various projects towards dealing with it.

In fact, he was 'present' at the beginning of the decline, briefly abandoning his Christian faith in 1993 even while studying to be a pastor. He gave up his atheism relatively quickly and turned his attention to Christian apologetics, only to discover over the years that the culture was shifting right before his eyes. Despite the very real demographic changes, Horvath does not think that 'Christianity' will actually die.

Horvath says, "Voltaire famously said that within a hundred years, Christianity would be no more. He said that in the 1700s, and of course Christianity is still with us. Bill Nye recently made a similar prediction. He'll be shown wrong, too. Christianity won't die because Christianity is emphatically true. However, there is no question that different regions and time periods have seen a growth or decline in the numbers of Christians within particular areas. The United States, to me, is clearly showing such a decline at present."

ACM's online course is free and open to anyone, but Horvath stresses that it was designed with Christians in mind. It isn't only fellow apologists that he hopes will take the course. ACM reaches out to writers and other artists and believes that their work could be instrumental in reversing current trends. Horvath expects that pastors and other church professionals will find the material useful, too. "The changes are pretty hard to miss, and many prominent Christians have offered solutions. Still, I sometimes wonder if the full scope of the problem is appreciated. Even our course represents just the tip of the iceberg, but you have to start somewhere."

Horvath has posted some of his own solutions to a website geared entirely towards the issue, http://www.deathofchristianity.com.

"I submit that lovelessness in the Church is the root of the problem," Horvath says. "That said, I probably mean something different than people expect. Many people hear 'love' and think 'tolerance.' I would be happy if people just stopped for a moment to think through just what exactly 'love' is. It would make for a good start."

ACM's course on the end of Christianity in America is offered through its online apologetics academy, which offers a number of courses geared towards laypeople and artists and authors who in their own way are trying to come to grips with the rise of the 'religious nones.'

For those who really want to engage the issue, ACM offers two certificate programs. One is a 'literary apologetics' certificate, that explores how to promote or defend the faith through the arts. The other is an apologetics certificate that uses books that have had an impact on Christian thought as the basis for deeper learning.

To learn more about the academy and the free online course visit academyofapologetics.com.

Anthony Horvath has appeared on numerous radio programs and given presentations on a number of topics, including the decline of Christianity in America. He is available for interviews at director(at)athanatosministries(dot)org or 202-697-4623.

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