Some of you may have seen our recent post ripping the Super Bowl halftime show for having a hyper-sexualized “music” performance which featured several middle-aged celebrities doing acts that are not appropriate for private, let alone public viewing. Given that millions of people watch this event every year, many of them children,this pornographic display was thrust into the homes of millions of Americans. While I did not see it directly, through the wonderful armpit of the internet that is Twitter, it showed up in my feed. I made it through three seconds before clicking away it was so grotesque. Yet I can find any number of Christians who defended this pornographic display as perfectly acceptable, nevermind the godless music that was sung. Which leads me to ask the question: who do Americans truly worship?
When polled, sixty-five percent of Americans call themselves Christian. However, when you dig into the stats more, this number drops heavily. Only 25.4% identify as Evangelical Christians and of that 25%, only 17% are between the ages 18-29. So clearly most Americans are Christian in name only. This leads to the question of what are they worshipping in place of God? Everyone worships something, be it self , entertainment, money or some other thing. I would suggest the majority of American’s worship one of two false gods, either sports or entertainment.
Sports are a huge business in America. They bring in billions of dollars in profits every year. So I decided to run a little test. Below are the weekly attendance numbers for six major sporting leagues in America (Note, I assumed that each team played one game a week on Sunday like the NFL and NASCAR (mostly) to simplify)
NFL 2,129,389 avg
Now I recognize there is some overlap between the various sports so I’m going to be generous and take 20% off that number to account for overlap. That reduces it to 3,116,613 (after rounding to the nearest whole number). The American population is 327.2 million. Doing the math informs us that approximately 1% of America’s population would attend a sporting event on a Sunday morning. By contrast, 25 % self identify as evangelical Christians. That would tell us that there are around 83.4 million evangelical Christians in the US. A much bigger number. However, of that number, we know that probably some 71% are not saved because they believe Jesus is created, per a 2016 lifeway study for Ligonier. That drops the number of Christians down to 24,186,000. This is a mere 7.4% of the American population. Again, much larger than sports, but much smaller than what is claimed. This, however, does not include television numbers. They are below.
Total 281, 041,471
Again, there is an overlap between these groups, probably significantly. Being generous, let’s cut this number in half to represent overlap. That drops it to 140,520, 736. There is also an overlap between this group and the evangelical Christians. So we will cut an additional 25.4% (the percent of Americans who call themselves evangelicals) off this number. That drops us down to 104,828,469. Talking this as a percentage of the American population, it’s about 32%. This is not including the 1% who attend events as well. Thus there are more people in America who are willing to attend or watch a sporting event on a Sunday than there are total evangelical Christians, especially given the high number of false professions among Evangelicals. 33% of America’s population worships sports at least as one of their gods. By contrast, a mere 7.4% are true Christians.
I would contend a significant second portion of the country worships entertainment. 54% of America’s population goes to a movie theater at more than once a year. That means 176,688,000 Americans attended a movie theater two or more times in 2019. The average price of a movie ticket is $9.11. Assuming that each person went twice, which is unquestionably a low estimate, American’s spent 3.22 billion dollars on movies last year, not including DVD purchases. This adds an additional 2.2 billion (2018 stats). Streaming services, which Americans averaged spending $37.00 a month on in 2019 adds an additional 12.1 billion. Americans spent roughly 17.5 billion dollars on movies alone in 2019! Assuming evangelicals act like slightly more moral Americans and some do not buy at all, we place the evangelical contribution to that amount to be around 5% or $875,000,000.
By contrast, those who give regularly to churches, which make up a mere 53% of attenders, average 17 dollars a week. That means of the true Christians in America, only 11,367,420 actually give. At an average of $17 a week, we find that the average Christian gives $884 to their church in a year. Multiplying that by the number of Christians giving, we find that the total is slightly more than 10 billion per year. It is less than movies, though not by much. Keep in mind though, entertainment includes any number of things such as music, plays, video games, and other community activities. Each of these is their own billion-dollar industry. The amount Christians give to their churches every year pales in comparison to what American’s spend on entertainment.
To be clear, neither sports nor entertainment is wrong, provided they do not violate God’s commands of holiness or replace Him as god. I submit that much of entertainment and sports does both. Consider: most sports teams employ scantily clad women to “entertain” their mostly male audiences during breaks. Further, most donate heavily to the LGBTQIA+ mafia. That money is the money you spend on tickets and merchandise. Most movies and music features ungodly themes like heavy senseless violence, sexual innuendos or acts, foul language, inappropriate styles and now sodomy. Most of these entertainers also donate heavily to abortion groups and the LGBTQIA+ mafia. Their money likewise comes from the consumer. That’s your money they are donating. Something to think about.
Based simply on spending power, America worships sports and entertainment. This also includes many Christians. I have to wonder how many churches canceled their Sunday evening service or held Super Bowl watch parties. At some point enough has to be enough. America already worships sports and entertainment. We do not need to join the paganism, nor do we need to bring it into our churches. We have problems enough without it. “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Philippians 4:8
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