Rodney Stark on the Decline of the Mainline

I saw this the other day at patheos.com and had, well, not a chuckle, because I think there is some kind of tragedy lurking, but a starkness in vision (if you will):

The first [reason for the decline of "mainline" Protestantism] is modernist theology. The theology that prevailed in the mainline churches changed dramatically [from post Civil war times]. If you take Paul Tillich’s view of God, in which God is essentially something imaginary, then why do you bother to hold a church service in the first place? If there’s nothing there to pray to, why do it?

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