Why don't people go to church any more?

I have been asked specifically to post this as the Rockin Rev has this as part of his ongoing study.

I have my own reasons for not going on a Sunday morning, but what are yours? 

To be clear, we are talking about any or all churches and not just one in particular.

It would be great if we could keep this one on topic without exploring the wider aspects of theology. Just a few reasons why the church lacks appeal for you individually.




  • edited September 28
    I don't think you can separate out the underlying reasons for dwindling church attendance from 'lack of appeal'

    Thinking that you can do this may in itself be a problem (for those people wanting to boost church attendance).

    So parking the cosmological, teleological and ontological arguments, here are a few suggestions:

    People are time poor: increased commute times, ability to binge watch an entire season of a tv show, social media filling every available void in a person's consciousness - this doesn't leave a lot of room for other things.

    The main stream media took over from churches as a means of controlling the masses some time ago, therefore the former was the one that received the most attention from the people who are interested in controlling what people think, and was therefore the one that prospered.

    And now we see the main stream media being replaced by social media and other distributed news sources, we can ask a similar question: why don't people read newspapers anymore? (i know there are a lot of reasons, i was just drawing a parallel).

    Access to information: even if you live out in the sticks  you can now find things out very easily, there aren't very many unexplained phenomenon for which people require an explanation in order to settle their mind. So in this instance you could say that Wikipedia has replaced the pastor.

    Niche activities: improved transport and communications give us access to more specific ways to spend our free time, thereby allowing us to be part of something where we have more in common with the other people there than just congregating in the same building.

    The rise of egoism - people take more pictures of themselves than anything else now, a small indicator of self empowerment.  Self empowered people don't like being told what to do (probably, i can't be certain as i haven't asked them all).

    Interior design: when people lived in huts with glass-less windows, churches would have seemed luxurious, now people's houses are (generally) habitable places; by comparison churches are broadly speaking the same as they were 200 years ago (again, an assumption here, i haven't been in them all). So you are asking people to choose between their nice house / a tastefully decorated pub and something that is probably less nice.

  • Love this answer! :D

    I expect there are different reasons for those who believe in God and those who don't. I do go and the reason is I want to spend time with other people who see the world the way I do (although not necessarily exactly the same, I like a good debate!)

    I don't go to a denominational church though (CofE, for e.g.) because there is too much emphasis on church tradition and doing things a certain way. It's not for me and definitely feels old fashioned and hierarchical. I like to go to a church where I can be myself and where others can be themselves (and in a different way to me) too.
  • Glyn -Best of luck with "Just a few reasons why the church lacks appeal for you individually."

    One thinks that the ongoing study will be skewed by responders giving opinions on multiple reasons rather than simply answering the question.

    For myself it is a result of  long break in habit after compromised by family commitments over a number of years

  • Thank you for all your answers so far. There is much to be learned from what is said here - and indeed the way it has been said. There is so much you can read into.

    Opinions really do count here; there is no right or wrong answer in this exercise (with apologies to those who always want to be right, as this may now put you off) so please keep them coming.

    Really appreciate the time people have taken so far.
  • I don't go to church anymore, because I don't believe in God.

    I miss the social side of things and the singing. But I have no reason to go to a church now.

    On the occasions that I am forced to go to a church for weddings/funerals etc, I find it all very depressing. Surrounded by a bunch of people who've also been forced to go to church and are going through the motions pretending to believe in something that they don't. 
  • I think people make up their mind about church at a very young age, and often never re-visit their decision.

    I also think, sometimes, our traditional services can "feel" too dry, staid and old-fashioned.

    I prefer to think of the church being the community of God, and it extends far outside the church building. 

    Currently, I attend the Wivenhoe Community Church, previously Wivenhoe Pub Church, which now meets at the Legion at 5pm Sundays. It is a very refreshing mix of diverse people, who come together. We are aiming to explore spirituality, and perhaps you've seen our recent fliers and banner. 
    The services are simple, but meaningful and modern. I think that this is a "new" fresh way of doing "church".

  • I do not attend church services because I'm atheist, but even a lifelong heathen like me can see that churches are valuable hubs of the community.
    What better environment to listen to choral or jazz music?
    Who can fail to be awed by the splendour of structures like Ely Cathedral?
    Graveyards are also evocative and tranquil places to wander (as Diana Rigg observed on the radio this week).
    Also love to hear the bells.

  • Pubs have rebranded themselves as stylish restaurants with great food in order to survive.  Churches don't seem to have a function to the community. They are lovely buildings and most people even if not religious would be sad to see them go but they do seem uncool. So I go for weddings, funerals and art exhibitions. Religion has become embarrasing and like politics not something to be talked about if you want to keep your friends.
    The question is not why don't people go to church anymore but more, why would people be interested in going to church these days?

  • Church going is just for religious peeps, not many of them about anymore, pubs, clubs have taken over, perhaps if they had a bar more people would like to go for a sing song.
  • edited September 28
    I went to church once. The church was smelly and the priest didn't wash his hands after he took a leak. It made me wonder why I should go to church when I can stay home watching cartoons and eating crappy pop tarts. The other day I prayed to God that I could get pop tart crumbs out of my slimy TV remote, that counts as church I guess. Praise be to God!
  • Hello @beefy_beef_burger. I see you're new here. Have you visited this planet before?
  • edited September 29
    Glyn said:
    Hello @beefy_beef_burger. I see you're new here. Have you visited this planet before?
    I never imagined that the second coming would be announced on the Wivenhoe Forum!  ;)

    He's not the Messiah...
  • From age 5 to 18 I was taken to church because the other 6 in the house were all adults who went anyway. This was twice every Sunday, later commuted to once. I got to like some of the hymns, the minister's sermons were thoughtful and well written. When I left home I couldn't find a church where the singing or the sermons were as good, and none of my friends went, so I stopped going. In the 48 years since, I've never felt the urge to go again, except for weddings and funerals. I suppose this makes me non-religious. My main problem if I did feel the urge, would be that I wouldn't know what to expect. Some people like surprises but I don't. My impression of modern church music is very, very bad - mostly sounds like bad covers of Cliff Richard b-sides. Anything resembling happy-clappy or bells-and-smells and I would make my excuses and leave. I love visiting churches for the history and architecture, and hearing bellringing, and much of the music I choose to hear at home is (renaissance and later) church choral works. I once completed a serious questionnaire to determine what my religion was. Catholic and Islam came joint bottom. The winner was Unitarian Universalist, which is convenient as all the churches seem to be in America.
  • Glyn said:
    Hello @beefy_beef_burger. I see you're new here. Have you visited this planet before?
  • Glyn said:
    Hello @beefy_beef_burger. I see you're new here. Have you visited this planet before?
    Safe journey home :-)
  • Some really good responses here, thank you. I've a whole stack of reasons for not doing church on Sundays (even though I support the mission) but I'd like to see some more from others.

  • As long as I believe that there is a god I don't mind going to church or not. People have their own different reason why not going and why they go in. I respect them.
  • Churches themselves for me are a representation of judgement, and whilst this is ironic considering Christianity is ultimately a religion based on judgement, I can't abide by it and therefore will not go and spend my time somewhere that perpetuates this.
  • I was dedicated when I was 6 weeks old ,We went as a family every week till I was a teenager when a few family s broke away and we started a house church . This went on for a few years till that finished when I went back to church as a 16 yr old as all my friends went . We met up with other churches youth groups and went to spring harvest etc. 
    We had a great time and that's how I met my 1st husband .
    I got baptised when I was 18 (my own chose).
    My then Boyfriend (future hubby) went to church but did not get baptised and as most teenagers we went out ,  had college etc so I think most of the time Sunday mornings I got out of bed at 11am !!
    We got married in church but just stopped going when our children where born we never got around to get them dedicated and just never took them .
    I have never forced my Christianity down my children and I don't think they believe  which does make me sad . 
    I do get annoyed with them when they swear  and say God and jesus. I usually say to them " well if there is no such thing as God or jesus ,Christ why say it !!!.
    Why do I not go ?!!!!! Don't know really guess there is not a Baptist church nearby and I don't feel I need to .
    I love a good Christian song Shine Jesus Shine and come on and celebrate etc and even now the words of some songs really get to me .
    I have never lost my faith .
    My now hubby does not go to church and as teenagers my older boys had football etc .
    Life now is very busy with work etc and if I'm honest tomorrow morning lying in bed till 9am then having a lazy morning till lunch sounds great
  • The Internet.
  • Well, see British Social Attitudes survey as reported by Humanists UK.  More rational thinking.
  • Well, see British Social Attitudes survey as reported by Humanists UK.  More rational thinking.
    Or not. Because address doesn't copy to a link.
    for some reason.
  • kstkst
    edited October 1
    Politics and Religion - FORGET IT
    Or do you want to incite answers that YOU, as an ADMIN, can ban us ? 
    What a stupid subject to bring up.
  • So, my mother goes to church on a Sunday because she enjoys singing hymns and the company of others there. She has no religious motive at all.

    Not quite sure how the OP encourages any comment about politics (there are plenty of other threads started by others on that subject) but granted, some people may have some religious viewpoints in this discussion.

    Forgive me if I missed anything in the forum rules...?
  • Has anyone had the experience of being made to feel unwelcome by church members, regardless of whether they share a faith?
  • Glyn said:
    Has anyone had the experience of being made to feel unwelcome by church members, regardless of whether they share a faith?
    Yeah, I feel that I do not belong to the community since I become inactive for few months.

  • Glyn said:
    Has anyone had the experience of being made to feel unwelcome by church members, regardless of whether they share a faith?
    Many years ago when I was an undergraduate a housemate became a Born Again Christian. He invited everyone sharing the house to his church and two of us went. They were obviously looking to recruit and managed to work in some comments about "people in leather jackets" (which we were wearing) into the service - offering to pray for our redemption. So, in trying to be too "welcoming" they achieved the opposite as we felt that was rather presumptuous.

    The whole set-up appeared more than a little cult-ish to be honest (lots of speaking in tongues & other theatrics) as well as being more amateurish than a Tory Conference speech.

  • BlushingBee said:
    Yeah, I feel that I do not belong to the community since I become inactive for few months.

    I sympathise. One of the most common feelings I have experienced around churches - and in particular some of their higher profile members - is one of being rather patronized and at the same time marginalised.

    I guess this happens in many organisations where people who crave influence and power can do so in church communities and other small "clubs" where they can be a big fish in a small pond.

    I suppose I am getting to the point of revealing the motive behind this post - which I can assure you is entirely selfless - which is to challenge the current perceptions and expectations of what a church is and what it does in the modern world.

    Many religious institutions it seems place a high level of importance on ancient doctrines and are strict on the interpretation and executions thereof. 

    Enlightenment, it seems, comes in several forms and from several sources and philosophies (new and old) and so, many philosophies based on ancient scriptures appear to many - understandably - to be  inappropriate and outdated and so hopelessly out of touch as to generate the kind of scorn and ridicule we have seen from some of the posts here.

    I have put the same kind of challenges to my friend, the Rockin Rev. He is a man of the people and I sense his ministry has a much wider mission than just serving his rather depleted, inherited flock.

    So I am helping him to understand the challenges of what kind of perceptions and "truths" exist in the minds of the wider community that lives around Wivenhoe and the resistance there might be to the dog collar and what it is perceived to represent.

    In times of stretched resources, our sense and strength of community, I believe, will be what helps pull us through.

    Please keep these thoughts coming. I think we can all benefit from understanding each other better.

  • kstkst
    edited October 5
    Too hard to get to the local synagogue ?
  • Atheist. So from my point of view I have no interest in a god that doesn't exist and while I respect others right to believe in what ever they want, I struggle to have personal respect for anyone who believes all that stuff. So I stay away. 
Sign In or Register to comment.