Archive for Monday, March 9, 2009

More Americans say they have no religion, study reveals

March 9, 2009


A wide-ranging study on American religious life found that the Roman Catholic population has been shifting out of the Northeast to the Southwest, the percentage of Christians in the nation has declined and more people say they have no religion at all.

Fifteen percent of respondents said they had no religion, an increase from 14.2 percent in 2001 and 8.2 percent in 1990, according to the American Religious Identification Survey.

Northern New England surpassed the Pacific Northwest as the least religious region, with Vermont reporting the highest share of those claiming no religion, at 34 percent. Still, the study found that the numbers of Americans with no religion rose in every state.

In the Northeast, self-identified Catholics made up 36 percent of adults last year, down from 43 percent in 1990. At the same time, however, Catholics grew to about one-third of the adult population in California and Texas, and one-quarter of Floridians, largely due to Latino immigration, according to the research.

Nationally, Catholics remain the largest religious group, with 57 million people saying they belong to the church. The tradition gained 11 million followers since 1990, but its share of the population fell by about a percentage point to 25 percent.

Christians who aren’t Catholic also are a declining segment of the country.

In 2008, Christians comprised 76 percent of U.S. adults, compared with about 77 percent in 2001 and about 86 percent in 1990. Researchers said the dwindling ranks of mainline Protestants, including Methodists, Lutherans and Episcopalians, largely explains the shift. Over the last seven years, mainline Protestants dropped from just over 17 percent to 12.9 percent of the population.

The report from The Program on Public Values at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn., surveyed 54,461 adults.


Omegatron 9 years ago

Religion? Of course I have religion!

My religion is the Evangelical Church of Basketball.

notajayhawk 9 years ago

If you're any example, Be.O., I do.

The fact that people are identifying less often with a particular religion does not, incidentally, demonstrate fewer people believing in God or in the basic tenets that most of those religions adhere to.

SettingTheRecordStraight 9 years ago

I'm also one of those who do not subscribe to "religion." However, I do have a relationship with Jesus Christ - which is quite awesome, by the way.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years ago

"I'm also one of those who do not subscribe to “religion.” However, I do have a relationship with Jesus Christ - which is quite awesome, by the way."

Sorry, Will Robinson, but that does not compute.

mom_of_three 9 years ago

Sure it does. A relationship does not require one to go to church or to a particular religion. It's a spiritual thing, and one that many people probably agree with.

AjiDeGallina 9 years ago

I suspect that this is not an indication that people are loosing faith in God, or whatever diety they worship, but instead they are loosing faith in the Church who often has very little to do with faith. Most churches have lost their way and have become about power and politics and money and have less and less to do with helping someone as they find their path of faith.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years ago

See first meaning below, mom of three--

religion |riˈlijən| noun the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, esp. a personal God or gods : ideas about the relationship between science and religion. • details of belief as taught or discussed : when the school first opened they taught only religion, Italian, and mathematics. • a particular system of faith and worship : the world's great religions. • a pursuit or interest to which someone ascribes supreme importance : consumerism is the new religion.

HermioneElliott 9 years ago

I am proud to be a Roman Catholic, and my faith informs my life and the decisions I make. I am not going to lose any sleep over the Catholic church disappearing any time soon. I am pleased that St. John's has a thriving Hispanic ministry and a priest who speaks fluent Spanish.

4getabouit 9 years ago

"Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. It is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring."

Carl Sagan

preebo 9 years ago

I would have to agree with STRS, as odd as that may be. I too enjoy a similar relationship with my savior, and I am also a Progressive Democrat, isn't that amazing. Religion is the institution, but spirituality is the idea.

Chris Ogle 9 years ago

I do not congregate, but I am spiritual, and I do believe in God. When it comes to religion...fighting and killing come to mind. No thanks

alm77 9 years ago

jonas, too high or too low? I was thinking too low...

lovenhaight 9 years ago

If you have a "personal relationship with Jesus Christ", you're Christian. You may not attend church or follow the dogmatic principals, but you're still Christian.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years ago

That's mighty "millennialist" thinking for someone who appears to favor atheism, arumer.

jonas_opines 9 years ago

alm77: Please. The notion that any more than 10-20% hew to any particular political line or "religion" on this forum is silly.

/which is how I'm taking your intentions here ;)

Daniel Bone 9 years ago

I do wonder about Pywacket's comments. Are people who don't identify with any particular religion just feeling more comfortable being open about it? Is the world moving away from religion as we know it now, or is it so ingrained in our cultures and lives as too remain as long as humanity? What if the world's major religions were first introduced in this day and age? Would they have the thousands-of-years staying power they have had up to this time?

kmat 9 years ago

greenlid79 says: What if the world's major religions were first introduced in this day and age? Would they have the thousands-of-years staying power they have had up to this time?

The answer is no. Religions started to explain all the scary stuff that early man didn't understand. Now we have science and have figured out what causes the weather, what earthquakes are and why volcanoes explode.

Anyone that studies ancient history and ancient religions understands this. You Christians that think you have it all figured out should study some ancient Egyptian theology to see where the belief in your god came from. Your religion is founded on Egyptian beliefs and then has tons of stuff from lots of other pagan religions shoved in it.

And the religous usually slam me saying I'm just a stupid atheist. I'm not atheist. I don't know if there is any higher power, but think it's stupid for anyone to claim they know for sure that their god exists and controls everything. How do you know? Oh yeah, it's called faith. No facts, just what you are so sure is the answer. And by the way, I was brought up super religious and have read the bible more times than most that attend church. It's what caused me to study many religions and ancient history, looking for the facts and trying to really understand what I was being told to believe.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years ago

“Same old song, just a drop of water in an endless sea All we do, crumbles to the ground though we refuse to see Dust in the wind, all we are is dust in the wind.”

Written by Kerry Livgren, a born-again Christian. For what it's worth.

Daniel Bone 9 years ago

No one should ever be made to feel ashamed at being called an atheist or agnostic. I grew up in a very religious home also. I broke from the church in young adulthood and it was a HARD thing to do. I finally came to the realization (as everyone should feel the freedom to do) that I JUST DON'T KNOW what's out there. No one really does, after all. As kmat says, religions are based on faith. That's what makes them a religion... a belief in something unverifiable. If that is something that gives you hope in life, if you want to be a better person because of it, that's great. But not everyone feels the same way. Your personal "truth" can differ wildly from others' "truth". It's part of what scares me about religion. It's what makes the hard-liners so vehement sometimes about subjects they consider untouchable. Doubt and questions become percieved as sacreligious attacks... and I do understand. Doubt was a helluva scary thing for me. It subsequently became a very liberating thing, though. I felt the freedom to question much more objectively the doctrines I always held as absolute truth. Be ye not discouraged, seekers of "personal truth"

Confrontation 9 years ago

"More Americans say they have no religion"

That makes it time to celebrate! Americans are getting wiser and less likely to fall prey to those who want you to follow their sky gods. I'm sure this worries many people, since they'll no longer be able to control the World with their threats of "hell." Choose to follow your man-made religions, but don't expect the rest of us to believe in your "revelations."

1029 9 years ago

"In 2008, Christians comprised 76 percent of U.S. adults..."

I imagine the way this survey was conducted--how the questions were worded, in what order they were asked, the vocal presentation of the question, etc--had a significant impact on the "findings". I doubt this number is really this high, as I wonder if some people were unconsciously scared to not identify as a christian (like they think god may be listening and they are going to go to hell if they don't tell the person on the phone that they are part of the majority). Some people probably thought, "Well, I celebrate Christmas, and I'm not a Buddist or a Muslim, or any of those other ones, so, yes, yes I am a christian".

Daniel Bone 9 years ago

Just making a point, 75x55. "Truth" was meant to convey the significance most zealots place on their beliefs. That's how many will refer to their beliefs. You probably knew that, though.

kmat 9 years ago

75x55 - if you have to deal with born agains, they refer to it as the truth. I can't tell you how many times I've been told by my mother in law that it saddens her how I cover my eyes and ignore the truth. I guess if it is the truth, it's a good thing I like hot temps

gyroduck 9 years ago

"More Americans say they have no religion, study reveals"

Okay, I did pray for that before. I stand corrected about you. Thank you God, thank you! Now just the rest of the world please Oh' God, Mother of Creation and Master of the Universe, my Beloved Spirt and Commander.

And the rest of you- thanks for nothing.

Daniel Bone 9 years ago

Zealot - 2: a zealous person ; especially : a fanatical partisan

I meant it as simply as the definition states it. It could be that no 'believer' is correct.

storm 9 years ago

This is what happens when they changed the Pledge of Allegience to include god, made poor indoctrinated school children think the dude wasn't too special after all. Clinched it when they put god on the legal tender. Although this really is good news, the Evangelicals are increasing and they shoot.

funkdog1 9 years ago

Here's a link to the study.

There really aren't that many people who identified themselves as agnostic or atheist. It's just that many people said they were "unaffiliated" with a particular religion.

labmonkey 9 years ago

Most of my beliefs are of the protestant Christain variety...but it is hard to find a church that likes to inject some common sense in their I do like NFL football a little too much so I am not totally lying to myself.

Maddy Griffin 9 years ago

Parrotuya-You're absolutely right!! The Church of FSM is the only way to go. All praise to His noodly appendages!!

bornagain 9 years ago

What are you all talking about?

Random56 9 years ago

greenlid- The church of scientology is a modern religion that seems getting bigger. They are a cult like all other religions.

Omegatron 9 years ago

I'm a man of many faiths.

The Church of Basketball.

The Church of Football.

Ex-member of the Church of Baseball. To many infidels destroyed that Church with their pagan rituals of cheating.

And a converted member of The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

Go with Spaghetti, my son. Ramen.

Bossa_Nova 9 years ago

i once had a friend who was an agnostic-dyslexic-insomniac who would lay awake every night wondering if there really was a dog.

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