I was the Mayor of Fargo for 16 years. This was while being a professor of economics and NDSU. Later I became active in the Red River Freethinkers. While I no longer live in Fargo-Moorhead the focus of my blog remains there.


The Church Needs to Ask


I can't count the number of times I have read a Christian pundits tell the faithful how to fill their churches again. Their message is almost always the same one they have been giving for two centuries: Invite them to church, make friends with them, read passages of scripture, etc etc.
Whenever I've been in a room of atheists, I never hear anyone say, "If a Christian asked me to attend their church I'd be so pleased." It seems like Christians would want to know why people have become less interested in church and adjust accordingly.
That is not to say Christians never show up at atheist gatherings. We had at least a couple in Fargo. There has been one here.
Those that show up do not, however, ask why we are not interested in attending their church. They show up to preach to us about the faith. We explain they can preach at our meeting if they agree we can make a presentation at their church. They immediately say that would be unfair. We need to hear about their opinions, they explain, but they do not need to hear ours.
And, there are occasions where churches request presentations from atheists. Where I now live there have been maybe a couple each year. These are always pleasant experiences with mutual respect shown. 
What churches need is a sustained and in-depth study as to why people do not want to attend church and/or why they so many do not believe. The most popular practice is to assign views rather than ask for them. 
Leaders in religion might find the problem is hardened hearts among the religious.

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