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Archive for Monday, March 9, 2009

More Americans say they have no religion, study reveals

March 9, 2009

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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.

Comments

Bossa_Nova 5 years, 1 month 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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Omegatron 5 years, 1 month 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.

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Marion Lynn 5 years, 1 month ago

AjiDeGallina (Anonymous) says…

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."

Marion writes:

No wonder you are a self-admitted American expatriate living in Peru.

You can't speak your native language.

That should be "losing", not "loosing".

"Loosing" is what you do when....

never mind

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Random56 5 years, 1 month ago

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

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bornagain 5 years, 1 month ago

What are you all talking about?

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grammaddy 5 years, 1 month ago

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

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labmonkey 5 years, 1 month 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 teachings....plus I do like NFL football a little too much so I am not totally lying to myself.

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funkdog1 5 years, 1 month ago

Here's a link to the study.

http://religions.pewforum.org/reports?sid=ST2008022501236

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.

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storm 5 years, 1 month 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.

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greenlid79 5 years, 1 month 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.

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ArumerZwarteHoop 5 years, 1 month ago

“the Roman Catholic population has been shifting out of the Northeast to the Southwest”

Is Rachel Zoll leading us to believe that the Italian, German, Irish, and Polish Catholics are moving to the Southwest? Or is the growth of Roman Catholics in the southwest due to the illegal Mexicans and their spawn? I suspect the later.

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Clint Gentry 5 years, 1 month ago

Religionists who conflate their beliefs with Truth, are something much worse than simply being wrong. They are nihilists that, (while espousing a "sacred belief") simply degenerate what we know as true into something that is simply believed. "Belief" is the easiest of epistemological situations. It's easy to believe the sun revolves around the earth, it's difficult to realize earth as one of billions of planets. If it's easy to believe, you ain't trying to hard...

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gyroduck 5 years, 1 month 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.

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75x55 5 years, 1 month ago

Aye - but it does confuse the concept of truth with the denigration of someone's beliefs. To some of our readers with poorer reading skills, that might be seen as a denigration of the concept of truth.

Which is exactly what is seen far too often these days by the multiculturally indoctrinated who often use that very sentence - without the quotes.

I find your use of the word 'zealot' interesting - given that there can only be one truth - that would necessarily mean that at least one segment of 'believers' (whatever the flavor) are correct, and others are incorrect.

In that case, who would be the zealot?

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kmat 5 years, 1 month 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

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greenlid79 5 years, 1 month 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.

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1029 5 years, 1 month 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".

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75x55 5 years, 1 month ago

"Your personal “truth” can differ wildly from others' “truth”."

Believe or not, as you will. However, if you would be so kind, please use a word like "beliefs" instead of "truth" - even it you mark the word out with quotes. Truth is truth - the same for everyone. To do otherwise is simply to abuse the language.

You can deny the truth. Not accept the truth. Not like the truth. Debate ad nauseum the nature of truth.

However, personal opinions and beliefs do not change truth - it is what it is by definition.

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Confrontation 5 years, 1 month 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."

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Clint Gentry 5 years, 1 month ago

"bozo" he wrote that before becoming a "born-again", so no it's not worth much...

He also "became involved with The Urantia Book, a series of papers that claim to be a revelation authored by supernatural beings"

Hmmm....curious...

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greenlid79 5 years, 1 month 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"

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 1 month 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.

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Clint Gentry 5 years, 1 month ago

"You can't run a country on a book of religion, not by a bit or a hint or a smidgen. Foolish rules of ancient date, designed to make you all feel great, while you fools murder and mutilate, the unbelievers from a neighboring state" - Frank Zappa

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ArumerZwarteHoop 5 years, 1 month ago

"Pick a point on the globe Yes tha pictures tha same Theres a bank, there's a church, a myth and a hearse A mall and a loan, a child dead at birth"

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bobberboy 5 years, 1 month ago

Almost everyday I think about what the Muslims do in the name of religion and it disgusts me. It causes me to question all religions.

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Clint Gentry 5 years, 1 month ago

First superstition will be frowned upon, (already is). Then the fallibilty of the church will be discovered, (as we see people fleeing the church), then spirituality will be discovered to be a brain process, (which it pretty much already is), then and only then will the veil of blinding ignorance be lifted and the humans can evolve beyond theirselves.

Religion is dying, and nobody cares...

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kmat 5 years, 1 month 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.

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greenlid79 5 years, 1 month 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?

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duplenty 5 years, 1 month 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."

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jonas_opines 5 years, 1 month 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 ;)

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ArumerZwarteHoop 5 years, 1 month ago

"The saint who enjoyed the communion of heaven; The sinner who dared to remain unforgiven; The wise and the foolish, the guilty and just, Have quietly mingled their bones in the dust."

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couranna1 5 years, 1 month ago

Religion is about the rituals they practice. Unfortunately, as religions become increasingly political and try to push their moral agenda, they are turning people off, plus they tend to say "my way or hell" and interpret the bible the way that they want to that fits their agenda. Plus as more info comes in on the real life of jesus and that the bible is man made and edited I think it tends to cause more questioning Duplenty I agree. I was in a coffeehouse the other day and a guy came up to me said hi and then said "can I ask you a question: if you died today would you go to heaven?" I politely asked him to go away and he got rude and said if I wanted to go to hell, fine but that he has the answer. I finally got him to go away but they feel like they have to push it with a threat of hell like they been there and they know

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 1 month ago

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

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ArumerZwarteHoop 5 years, 1 month ago

The atheists will be crushed by the religious, whether the later suffer under a delusion or not. The delusional/insane always win in a battle. The atheists are all about self preservation which saps their courage. So I bet on religion to triumph, a nation without a religion is free but very weak and vulnerable.

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duplenty 5 years, 1 month ago

Who cares? Whatever your outlook, religion is (or should be) a private affair. I don't understand why people have a need to self-identify.

"Oh, look at me, I'm X"

Super.

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lovenhaight 5 years, 1 month 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.

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alm77 5 years, 1 month ago

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

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Donnuts 5 years, 1 month ago

More Americans have no concept of self in a senseless world of technological bliss and with an effortless flick of the wrist can escape into a 2-Dimensional world where they don't have to think for themselves but be told what to think in all social situations and that the mentality self-promotes in a bastion of idiocy called "Reality Television Elimination Game Shows" that will instruct you as to how to interact socially without script or any real dialogue. True idiots on TV. The worst of the worst for those with no morals or role models.

Religion is the television and a cereal box ingredient list. Don't forget the peanuts, bananas and oats!!!!!

I don't need my conscience guided by a manipulative coercive arse and my pocket book emptied by the person in the pew next to me with their unconsciencable actions and deeds.

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75x55 5 years, 1 month ago

"For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them."

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Chris Ogle 5 years, 1 month 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

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preebo 5 years, 1 month 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.

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4getabouit 5 years, 1 month 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

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Tom Shewmon 5 years, 1 month ago

Bozo and beoB and three-fourths of this dynamic and provocative open reader's forum have their own religion: government, and they are raking it in now big time when the plate is passed around.

May god bless and keep you.

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ocean 5 years, 1 month ago

bong hits for Roman Catholics!

although really Eastern Orthodox is closer to the 'originial recipe'.......

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HermioneElliott 5 years, 1 month 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.

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ocean 5 years, 1 month ago

perfect plan to set the stage for Perpetual War 1984 style.

let's invade Iran on speculation of nuclear intrigue!

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ocean 5 years, 1 month ago

Spectator Sports is the new religion - requires no athleticism just sit & yell!

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 1 month 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.

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AjiDeGallina 5 years, 1 month 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.

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mom_of_three 5 years, 1 month 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.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 1 month 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.

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Pywacket 5 years, 1 month ago

This is encouraging. Of course, there is no way of knowing whether this represents an actual shift in beliefs or whether nonbelievers are finally feeling safer to come out of the closet, so to speak.

Kudos to Vermont--apparently an enlightened place to live!

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SettingTheRecordStraight 5 years, 1 month 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.

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parrotuya 5 years, 1 month ago

The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is the only way to go! My deity can beat your deity at celebrity deathmatch! So, there!

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notajayhawk 5 years, 1 month 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.

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beobachter 5 years, 1 month ago

Who says people aren't getting smarter.

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q_ball2kand1 5 years, 1 month ago

, that's a stretch even for you.

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Tom Shewmon 5 years, 1 month ago

Notice the shift was dramatic while Willy and Hilly were in the whitehouse.

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Omegatron 5 years, 1 month ago

Religion? Of course I have religion!

My religion is the Evangelical Church of Basketball.

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