Why Don’t Men Go To Church?

Statistics on church attendance show that 60% are women. For whatever reason, church attracts more women than men.

In the atheist groups I’ve been affiliated with, the percentage is just the opposite. Perhaps these groups are perhaps 70% men.

I suppose there are many causes of these numbers. Might it have to do the fact that men rise the corporate ladder more easily than women? I don’t know the connection, but there might be one.

I read somewhere recently that some clergy are better at attracting men to become active in church than are others. These men are featured speakers at workshops, but nothing seems to change.

The importance of this is the observation that when both the husband and wife are church goers the children are more likely to remain active in the faith.

This overweight of women is all the more mysterious when we look at the prejudice against women in the Bible and in offices of the church. The history of the church has shown a bias against women, so why do they come back for more? I don’t claim to understand it.

A small part of the dominance of women in the pews must surely be to demographics. With the church membership so weighted with older people, and women living longer, their numbers will be bigger.

One lesson from this is that branches of the faith who limit opportunities in the church for women have not been successful in attracting more men.

[A link discussing this topic is in comments.]

38 Responses

  1. Henry

    Jon: “This overweight of women is all the more mysterious….”

    Jon, it is not polite to comment on women’s weight.

    1. entech

      Once again we see things mean whatever henry wants them to mean. An overweight of women in context merely means a greater number, a preponderance, more of them. If he had spoken of overweight women then I would agree with you.
      Never mind if you can make some gratuitous criticism that is all that matters, some times you simply try to hard.

      1. Jinx

        Henrie the deceiver, the misdirector, the legend in his own mind? Our henrie take something out of context? Yes sir, thats him all right.

    2. Gregie

      Lol Good one, Henry.
      As I’ve learned following this blog, it appears most atheists are devoid of a sense of humor.

  2. Religion appeals more to those who are more inclined to need authorities telling them what to do. Men may be more independent than women, but obviously exceptions abound. In my family, my dad went and my mother didn’t.

    1. Jinx

      That has been my observation as well, Realist. Also, it seems like a subset of people have some heavy guilt on their shoulders they hope their faith will lighten.

    2. Gregie

      Absolutely. As I’ve learned from their posts on this blog, Atheists are superior, independent beings.

      1. Greg 5:48 Absolutely. As I’ve learned from their posts on this blog, Atheists are superior, independent beings

        Having been told some 35 times that I am headed for hell, I’ve learned just the opposite, that (most of) the Christians who post are superior to me. Don’t you also agree I am headed for hell and you are not?

        1. hsloan

          Stop it. My God is a forgiving God. Despite your relentless blogs, I do think God has a special place for you. I’m still trying to figure out why you’re so angry and hell bent on slandering the word of God. Is it really so bad to believe, to have something to fall back on? Your statistic isn’t even overwhelming… 60%? Come back with a more worthy number and we can talk.

          1. hsloan 3:33 Stop it. My God is a forgiving God. Despite your relentless blogs, I do think God has a special place for you. I’m still trying to figure out why you’re so angry and hell bent on slandering the word of God. Is it really so bad to believe, to have something to fall back on? Your statistic isn’t even overwhelming

            We share an interest. Yours is curiosity as to why I blog. Mine is why people warn me about hell. I really don’t understand why people, some 35 and counting, feel satisfaction that they think they are not going to hell while thinking I am.

            As to your question, “Is it really son bad to believe, to have something to fall back on?” I would say people who feel the need to believe and receive something from it should do so. The only problem is people who feel the need to impose their opinions of the existence of a god and the opinion that the faith leads to a higher level of morality on others. They do this by insisting of prayers before public meetings and other use of public time/money spent pushing this opinions on those who have differing views.

          2. Wolfy32

            Why do you think disagreement = anger?

            Because Jon disagrees with believers. Or myself or Entech, or anyone that doesn’t believe as you do, that means we’re angry with you and want you to die?

            At the same time Christians tell us we’re going to hell? And we’re supposed to feel loved that if we don’t choose God we’re going to hell? Are we choosing God because we love him or because we fear the alternative?

            Making a choice under the gun doesn’t seem very loving to me. Seems forced.. Join us or we’ll send you to hell… It also creates the group of “us” that’s not going to hell? How are you so sure. How do you know your not. Maybe God has changed the definition of sin. (well, he never really set a definition in the first place, so we may need some clarification). But say there was a definition and now God changed his mind but no one could modify the bible so many are being deceived into thinking they’re going to heaven?

            What if believers aren’t going to heaven? How does one know?

        2. Gregie

          I don’t make those decisions, Jon. I hope we are both headed for Heaven.

          Most of your blog entries have the same underlying theme: here’s something bad a Christian did. So, Christians are lesser beings than Atheists.
          It gets proved here daily. If you do not see it, then take an hour, pretend you are a Christian, and read the last several blog entries and follow-up atheist comments. Maybe you’ll see it then.

          1. Formerly Fargo Bob

            After all the abuse Christians have dished out to non-believers of all stripes, it’s amusing to hear you whine about one little freethought blog. Basically, you’re just not used to having religious belief questioned and criticized.

          2. Henry

            Greg: “Most of your blog entries have the same underlying theme: here’s something bad a Christian did. So, Christians are lesser beings than Atheists.”

            Don’t worry about being lesser. That is just fine for them to engage in the argument. We recently discovered on this blog atheists have the Catholic priests beat by a factor of four with regard to pedophilia. Definitely time for some of the Catholic priests to stop it and turn in their collar, but even more room for improvement for the atheist according to the data.

          3. Greg 4:14 Most of your blog entries have the same underlying theme: here’s something bad a Christian did. So, Christians are lesser beings than Atheists. It gets proved here daily. If you do not see it, then take an hour, pretend you are a Christian, and read the last several blog entries and follow-up atheist comments. Maybe you’ll see it then.

            The reason I point out shortfalls in the moral conduct of people in the faith is to counter the claim the faith leads to superior moral values. That said, I think the same percentage of people of faith conduct their lives in commendable ways as the percentage of atheists. My point, again, is that putting Christianity into government, or, into a dominant place in a society does nothing to improve that society.

            I also write a lot about the lack of evidence the Bible is anything but another propaganda piece. If there were evidence it is something else, I would hope someone would post that evidence here. So far, that has not happened.

  3. wolfy32

    Probably lots of reasons. I think women just have a harder time filling their time. Men have all these hobbies that women seem to not have interest in. They find stuff to fill their time with. Women on the other hand get bored and rather than sitting on the couch need something to fill their time with. So, participation in church is a great social outlet. They get to be around other women, do things together they all enjoy doing, and get out of the house and away from the family for a little bit. It becomes a hobby… And depending on the activity they can feel like they’re contributing to something.

    I don’t think that’s a bad thing, but it does skew the results if church is a hobby for women… heh. Growing up we had to go to church, period, didn’t matter if we were on vacation, or at home, we had to go, Sunday morning and Sunday night every week. It was like a snow day on a school day for us if we didn’t make it to church for some reason. My sister and I celebrated. Lol. We hated it. It was boring, we were always tired, always fighting with each other, and I don’t know how many times my sister and I ended up falling asleep halfway through services.

    Their only friends were church people, so, it was definitely a social event for them to see other people and do things with other church people.

    I think now, it’s easier for men to connect with coworkers and people outside of church, not to mention our fast paced society has placed a lot of stress on men to work harder, produce more, and that equates to working more and being stressed about work more. Add in connectivity with phones and email on phones to work, and men are suddenly tied at the hip to work. The little time they have to themselves, the last thing they have energy for is to go listen to a preacher tell them how they don’t work hard enough for God. When God, society, jobs, technology is demanding so much more from them, its tough to devote time to church as well and still have time and energy for kids and family. Something has to give…

    For women, I think some of the opposite may be true. Though things are definitely changing, but women are still a ways behind men in the work force. The pressures on them tend to be less. Some women have the same pressures as men, not denying that at all. And the pressure of maintaining a household and kids is no easy task. I just think their outlet becomes church, and men get other hobbies instead of church.

    At least that’s just my experience. There are many reasons for the numbers being different. I would say how man deal with stress differing from women is just one reason.

    1. not a church goer

      wolfy32, is going to church for you a hobby? Why spend so much time writing to give meaning to a meaning less demographic.
      It is not whether or not you go to church, how many times you go to church or if you are “damned to hell” for going or not going.
      Have any of you who are commenting accepted that we are all sinners even though you all claim to be believers true to whatever it is you hold your faith in?

      1. Wolfy32

        not a church goer, I agree that going to church does not define a Christian. Well, depends on your definition of Christian.

        If you’re talking about that mindlessly jumps through hopes to get baptized, confirmed, accepted, or become some type of member, or someone born again, or someone baptised by the holy spirit, or someone who attends masses.

        Many people have many different definitions of what a Christian is. Secondly, as to sin. I have not accepted human kind is a sin. This is not out of arrogance. This is out of a lack of sufficient definition. As I’ve known sin it is something people do that irritate other people. In other words actions that are not acceptable by a majority. Having a nice car may be sinful in one group of people. I attended one service where they played a video about people that wear sunglasses is a form of hiding their sin and identity from God and it led to some type of implication that people that wear sunglasses were more or less sinning. Maybe covering one’s eyes is wrong to some people and impersonal. Like wearing a hat at a ceremony honoring the dead or a veteran, etc.

        In other cases, dancing may be a sin because it can lead to lustful thoughts and lustful attraction and lead to careless and meaningless sex… or worse orgies.

        If you take the story of Adam and Eve literally then sin was not obeying an authority figure. Well, in that case the creator…. At the same time, the creator should know all things if they’re the creator, so the creator knew we would disobey.

        Let me ask you this. If you were a bridge builder. And you had advance knowledge that the bridge collapse based on the plans for the bridge. Would you still build the bridge?

        God had foreknowledge we would disobey, but he made us anyways then punished for something he knew we would do… Then a whole society or whole world sinned… God knew that the one sin of disobedience would lead to future sins… But, decided to let everyone go and then decided to wipe out all the women, men, children, senile, elderly, sick, etc in a flood because he realized what he knew already and that was the fact that everyone was going to continue sinning. But one person didn’t sin.. (So are we born sinners or not… because Noah didn’t sin, but he was human therefore a sinner…)

        Sin gets very confusing the more one puts the sin puzzle together. Are we born sinners or some are and some aren’t? Noah wasn’t.. Christ was said to be human, and died as a human, had human dna, human blood, human skin, human flesh, human bones, muscles, sex drive, food and water requirements, I assume Christ pooped if he was human. Yet, we’re told Christ was sinless…. How can one be born human and sinless If we’re all humans…

        It seems to me the bible picks and chooses who was born into sin and who was not…

        Tell me definitively what sin is and I can tell you whether I can truthfully confess to having done it or not….

        If being born is a sin, then yes, I was born. I didn’t hatch… Well some people maybe think I was hatched, but, no, I think I was born. My mom tells me I was anyways!

        If birth = sin, then I guess I sin. What does that mean for me? I have no idea. I can’t be unborn…. If not being born would have prevented me from sinning, I would have made that choice…. Seems like those having abortions got something right. They’re preventing more sinful people…. As long as one is not born they are not sinners correct?

        Now here’s a question…. Is a zygote a sinner? That’s a good question… One I cannot possibly answer myself… If there is a God and that God has a list of things he doesn’t want me to do that’s in my best interest then, let that God tell me… I don’t need to hear it from others.. Just tell me and I’ll do my damndest to make sure I’m not doing it.

    2. Grandma

      Wolfy, I think that the reason more women than men attend church is that women — wives and mothers — tend to be in charge of passing cultural norms along to their children. Women are pretty much in charge of school shopping, holidays (if my husband was in charge of holidays the meals would amount to a bag of chips and a 6-pack of beer) and important transitional events like weddings and graduations and funeral menus. Women are, overall, the caretakers and as such often rely on tradition for cues as to what to do.

  4. LadyJ

    I find it interesting when a group of men try to figure out the minds of women. You are treading on dangerous ground, wolfy32, when you try to justify that men have more demands on them than women. More sensitive women than myself might take offense. As a woman who doesn’t attend church, but grew up in a church-going family, I can honestly say that I think the following things play into this phenomena. Many women crave the emotional connection to God and other people as well. These women are emotional creatures and strive forever to achieve that “feeling”, much like being “in love”. Church is a place where this “feeling” is often present. Groups of people who are like-minded often give off a kind of energy (think of it as non-destructive mob-mentality). These women may need that energy in their lives, that feeling of emotional connection, it fuels them to get through their daily lives. I would argue that, in general, men simply don’t tend to have that need to the same extent as women. Additionally, I think that a lot of women probably enjoy the stability and structure offered by the church. It’s a safe place where routine abounds. You always know what to expect there. And lastly, I think many women just enjoy the general church activities more than men. It’s no secret that a lot of men don’t enjoy singing…when you sit in the pews you can notice 98% of women will be singing and 50% of men. Those who aren’t singing have awkward, confused, or annoyed looks on their face. About half of those who appear to be singing are actually just mouthing the words. Women love to visit after a service, catching up with all of their friends/co-parishioners. Many men would rather just hurry up, get home, eat lunch, and watch the game. My point then, is that trying to figure out why more women go to church than men is really as simple as saying…men and women are different beings. And I think we all know that to be very, very true.

  5. Gregie

    Concerning the statistics…. I was wondering, if only 40% of church goes are men… are all those men believers, or does that number include atheists who attend for obtaining blog material and the free coffee?

    1. Greg 4:20 Concerning the statistics…. I was wondering, if only 40% of church goes are men… are all those men believers, or does that number include atheists who attend for obtaining blog material and the free coffee

      Good one. Guilty as charged. I do attend church. I like what some churches do in advancing causes I support, gay rights, abortion rights and protesting perpetual wars. As a bonus, I find things I enjoy writing about here.

      As to free coffee, I try to give generously to churches. Churches are expensive enterprises. Also, I feel guilty for taking two cookies instead of one. 🙂

  6. Wanda Carr

    My Dad went to church. He was a Christian every day of the week — not just on Sundays. How blessed I am to have had a Dad like him. So kind and such a hard working dairy farmer who could build anything, fix anything. Delivered many calves and in the middle of the night — which seemed to be when our cows birthed their calves. This will be the 2nd Father’s Day without him. I think he would have been shocked to know how loved he was and how many folks came to his funeral. If you are reading this and you still have a Dad, honor him this Father’s Day. Love you, Daddy!

  7. LA

    Two observations:
    First, there is no bias against women in the Bible. It only claims that men and women are different and have different roles. Of course this idea is repulsive to those in modern society who want a genderless world.
    Second, for the most part people believe what they choose to believe, regardless of the evidence for or against it. That goes for both Christians and atheists. However, I do believe that anyone who takes a long, in-depth, objective look at the evidence will come to the conclusion that there not only is, but has to be, a God.

    1. LA 5:56 Thanks for coming here to comment.

      First, there is no bias against women in the Bible. It only claims that men and women are different and have different roles.

      Several branches of Christianity do not allow women to serve as clergy. I assume they base this on “differences” between women and men. There is no evidence women cannot perform the job of clergy less effectively than men. That, it seems to me, is the definition of bias.

      However, I do believe that anyone who takes a long, in-depth, objective look at the evidence will come to the conclusion that there not only is, but has to be, a God.

      That certainly, is not the conclusion of nearly all scientists who study the evolution of living things, both presently occurring evolution and that of the past.

    2. Wolfy32

      Heh, we have many government programs spending billions of dollars in scientific research to simply prove whether anything else living exists in the universe. We could save tax payers billions and billions and possibly a trillion or more dollars if God simply came to us and said yep, I exist, and I’ve created tons of life elsewhere. You’re not ready to meet any of that life and I just need you to focus on what I want.

      That could save us a ton of time, research, and money! Instead, scientists are investigating light that dates back to the beginning of the universe to see what state things were in. Researching particle physics to see how matter comes into existence. Studying biology, DNA, for evidence of the past and future. SETI is researching for life on other planets and has been for decades now. The hubble and other space based telescopes are peering into planets millions of light years away to just see if anything else is habitable by our standards out there.

      We’re planning missions to mars to see about setting up our first ever colonization of another planet.. Who knows when / if it’ll happen, but, plans are in progress. All this because we also know the Earth can’t support us forever and we can’t wait around hoping that someone is going to come and give us new resources or save us from the consumption of our own resources.

      We analyze every planet we find for signs of water, temperature, and position from the sun to see if its possible to be habitable.

      All this research could be scrapped if God were here and guiding us himself. Instead we’re left to search to prove or disprove whether there’s life anywhere but here.

    3. entech

      However, I do believe that anyone who takes a long, in-depth, objective look at the evidence will come to the conclusion that there not only is, but has to be, a God.
      Why?

      There are many good arguments for the existence of a creator and many more bad ones. None of the good ones are absolutely conclusive and the bad ones are simply bad.
      There are apologists that make arguments for the existence of God that they find convincing and although I cannot make contrary arguments that would be convincing to them, or even be thought of as any kind of ‘proof’, there is never any justification for the type of argument you get. I am think of WL Craig whit what comes down to:
      Everything has a cause and a beginning, the universe had a beginning and must have a cause.
      That cause must exit outside of the universe, must exist outside of space and time as before the creation there was no space and time.

      So far so good, I don’t agree, I remain unconvinced. Not necessarily wrong and although a possibility not necessarily right.
      Next comes the incredible leap – this creator is my GOD.
      Why?

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