Carol and I were talking about the ongoing trend of civic disengagement.
“I think it might be a crisis,” she said.
I think she’s right. There are fewer people than ever before who understand how to be good institutionalists. Most people don’t belong to more than one or two voluntary associations. There are many people who spend all their non-work hours doing nothing more than passively consuming entertainment.
We all know that civic disengagement has an adverse effect on democracy. But in a democracy, where religious organizations are voluntary associations, civic disengagement also has an adverse effect on organized religion. I’d be willing to say that of all the social factors that are pushing organized religion into decline, civic disengagement may be the most powerful such force.