Marcus Borg, the Oregon State University professor who has devoted much of his career to deconstructing Jesus, is part of a Washington Post “On Faith” panel that was asked about the findings of a recent Pew Foundation study on American religion. The study found that more than 4 in 10 Americans “have switched their religious affiliation since childhood or dropped out of any formal religious group.” The question then posed to the panel is this: “Is this a mark of the health or sickness of American religion?” Borg thinks it’s peachy, but get a load of his reason:

As the survey itself indicates, most who have changed their religious affiliation have done so within Christianity, changing from one denomination to another.

The percentage may be even greater among people who are commonly known as “progressive” Christians. My experience as a lecturer in all regions of the United States suggests this. Most of my audiences are progressive Christians (or they wouldn’t come to hear me). I often ask my audiences, “How many of you are in the same denomination that you grew up in?” The average: 40 percent. Over half–around 60 percent–have changed their denominational affiliation.

Not real surprising when you consider that the average Borg fan is either a Unitarian, an atheist, an agnostic, or a very liberal Episcopalian, UCC, etc., and there just weren’t all that many of them when his audiences were kids.

I think this is healthy. It suggests that many people have moved beyond their socialization within a particular form of Christianity to a thoughtful (and sometimes agonizing) re-assessment of what it means to be Christian.

And I suspect that most of these have moved from a more conventional and conservative form of Christianity to a more progressive form. This is encouraging.

Let me get this straight. “Many people” have thoughtfully re-assessed what it means to be Christian. “Most of these” have moved from historic Christianity to the New Age, content-free, identity politics-based version. I’m sure Katherine Jefforts-Schori, John Thomas, Mark Hansen, Clifton Kirkpatrick and other “progressive” church leaders will be delighted to hear that.

Well, you know, I learned from Star Trek that the Borg inhabited a different quadrant of the galaxy than the rest of us, one where life was extraordinarily different. Maybe it’s true….

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