Churches may be responsible for rise in atheism

Thursday, October 18, 2012
Russ Jones (

A new poll shows a significant rise of atheism in America. The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life shows that nearly 20 percent of those surveyed said they are atheist or agnostic.

Dr. Alex McFarland, a Christian apologist, author, speaker and director for Christian worldview and apologetics at North Greenville University in Greenville, South Carolina, seeks to counter this trend with his latest book, 10 Answers for Atheists: How to Have an Intelligent Discussion About the Existence of God.

McFarland attributes some of the increase in atheism to a lack of focus in many of the nation's churches.

McFarland, Alex"There's been the high-profile, very vocal, very visible religious right, but some of the basics of Christianity in the 350,000 churches have been kind of dropping off," he remarks.

"There is what you call the greying of the American church. But then you've got these two things that have kind of intersected: the rise of secularism and the retreat of evangelicalism."

McFarland notes that a hundred years ago, 96 percent of Americans were Protestant -- but today that number is at 49 percent and declining.

"From 1968 to 1975 there was a great awakening happening," he tells OneNewsNow. "Many souls got saved, but they came with their long hair -- these were the Woodstock generation -- and the mainstream American church said, 'No thank you.' And we missed out.

"Let me tell you, America of 2012 would look vastly different if the church in America had embraced the Jesus movement."

In his new book, he said he tries to show readers how they too can successfully engage with atheists and other non-believers to defend historic Christian faith that is alive and vibrant today.

"Though I might vigorously defend Christianity to non-believers I meet, I try not to just cite theology that they wouldn't believe in anyway," he explains.

McFarland co-hosts the daily live radio program "Exploring the Word" on the American Family Radio Network. For more information on him, visit, or go to to learn about his latest initiative.

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