“I’m my favorite rapper.” What Kanye West lacks in subtlety, he makes up for in honesty.
Kanye’s conversion to Christianity and his release of an album which reflects that faith, titled “Jesus is King”, is big news right now.
But to look at this and only see Kanye, is to miss the bigger picture.
Christianity is Not Collapsing in America
There has been much talk recently about the decline of Christianity in the United States. However, reports of decline are overstated. I have explained why the numbers alone do not tell the whole story in these posts:
The New York Times published an article this past week about why claims about the “collapse” of Christianity in America are grossly overstated.
On his new album, Kanye is joined by Kenny G, who has also attended his Sunday Service events. Christian rapper NF was recently the best selling musician in the entire US.
Let’s put it this way: Christianity is much more widespread and influential than many would have you believe, and it is not going away any time soon.
Christianity is Thriving Amongst Minority Communities
Why are there fewer Christians were I live, near Boulder, Colorado, than there are in the American South? At least one reason is probably because of the relative homogeny of the population in this area, compared with the number of people of color in the South.
The type of person most likely to be an atheist in America – and in the entire world – are white males. According to Pew Research Group, 78% of atheists in America are white, and 68% are men, even though white males only make up just over 30% of the US population.
According to one study, for example, at historically black universities 85.2% of students identified as Christian, and 11.2% identified as atheist, agnostic, or none. This is contrasted with a national average in all universities of 60.2% of students identifying as Christian, and 30.9% identifying as atheist, agnostic, or none.
As the major Western countries, including the United States, continue to become more ethnically diverse, it is predicted that we will see the number of atheists and agnostics decline, not increase – due to the fact that atheism and agnosticism are overrepresented by white males. For more on this topic, read: Projections for Belief & Secularization Around the World
If you look at Kanye’s Sunday Services, you will notice many people of color. Christianity is not, nor ever has been, a white, Western religion. African American communities have a rich heritage of Christianity, including Christian music, and it should come as no surprise to see African American people making music with gospel themes; it’s nothing new.
Speaking of the gospel and gospel music, I loved this episode of Carpool Karaoke with James Corden and Kanye West – both what Kanye said, and the music the choir sang:
Of course one of the big topics of discussion has been whether Kanye’s conversion is for real. I really appreciated Greg Laurie’s comments on this:
Furthermore, Kellen Criswell wrote a great article for Calvarychapel.com: Eight Things I Would Say to Kanye If I Could
For what it’s worth, here is my favorite song from “Jesus is King”:
To echo Greg Laurie’s words: I am glad for any person who makes a movement toward God, and I think it’s great that he is using his platform to get people talking about Jesus.
This isn’t about Kanye, but I’m glad Kanye is making it about Jesus.