There is much to read now about falling church attendance. What most people do not realize is that church attendance has been far, far lower in the past. In the 1950’s it was several times higher than it was in the early 1900’s. So, most people’s references are from the recent past in which there was an extraordinarily high level of church attendance, possible the highest in the history of this nation. And, we have a long history of not attending church. Even George Washington did not like to attend church and was criticized for that. (George Washington!)
Now that we have some perspective, why would it be the case that men would not like going to church? There is even a new book out with the same title as this post (that title was stolen from that book and was the inspiration for this post; I have not read the book). Off the top of my head I can think of quite a few reasons why men would not want to attend church.
On top of them all is the sense that most Christian churches are peddling: that the attendees had racked up offenses that no secular authority can forgive (they are called sins and by their definition, we are all sinners). Not only that, but we must beg for forgiveness, a forgiveness that it is made clear that we do not deserve. We are granted divine forgiveness based upon grace, that is a gift given freely to someone undeserving. We are told we must bow our heads when we do this, a posture that is so subservient that adopting that posture robs one of much of their physical strength and sensory acuity (which is why the rich and powerful have demanded it for forever it seems). We must humble ourselves to acquire the forgiveness we do not deserve based upon sins that we did not commit.
Why would a man not want himself a bunch of that, gosh?
Of course, there are variations. If one is a Catholic, one can receive a church-based “atta boy” for even quite grievous transgressions, by going to confession, which at least is a private humbling ceremony and then by performing some rite which can be mumbled at high speed without a lick of conviction. No one in church authority can tell whether or not you are sincere in seeking this forgiveness.
Why would a man not respect that?
Why would anybody?