A peculiar thing is happening with denominational church membership data. While denominations, in general, are not doing well, liberal churches are doing more poorly than most others. Yet, the ideas of liberal church denominations, open arms to gays and abortion rights, are are gaining popularity in our popular culture.
One explanation would be liberal denominations influence popular culture but are unsuccessful in using it to grow. Another explanation is changes in popular culture were caused by something other than the church and respective churches chose to or not to conform.
It seems almost self evident to me church teachings have almost no influence on popular culture. This, even though there is an appearance of great influence.
Think of how many phrases we use in English that come from the Bible. A large percentage of names chosen by parents are names from the Bible. Scripture is quoted and prayers given by all manner of celebrities and “leaders” including Presidents of the United States. In this way, it seems religion is influential.
Then, look at the news coverage of Popes and another view emerges. The recent coverage of Popes was extraordinary, almost nonstop. The position of Pope is known by most people in the world. A couple of the premier policies advocated by Popes, however, no artificial birth control or gay marriage, are mostly ignored.
Religion and religious celebrities appear to be influential. However, the inevitable conclusion has to be culture drives religion, not the other way around.
Face Book, Red River Freethinkers