Do Churches Contribute to Solving Social Problems?

Joe Carter | July 19, 2016

The Story: An increasing number of Americans say that churches and other houses of worship do not contribute to solving important social problems.

The Background: According to a recent Pew Research survey, the number of Americans who say churches contribute “some” or a “great deal” to solving important social problems has declined substantially over the past eight years.

While three-quarters of Americans (75 percent) responded “some/great deal” in 2008, fewer than one in five (19 percent) now say churches contribute a “great deal,” and fewer than four in ten (38 percent) say they contribute “some.”

Almost four in ten (39 percent) say religious institutions make little to no contribution in this area, a 16-point increase since 2008.

People with no religious affiliation (atheists, agnostics, and those who say their religion is “nothing in particular”) are less likely than others to see churches as key problem-solvers in society, Pew notes. While white evangelicals remain among the most convinced that churches help solve social problems, even they have become less inclined to express this view today than in the recent past (70 percent today as opposed to 86 percent in 2008).

Why It Matters: There are two disturbing trend lines in this…

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