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Invasion of the Nones

The Pew Research Center reports an increase on Americans who have no religious affiliation. Is this an alarming trend?

From 2012: The Pew Research Center reported an increase of Americans who have no religious affiliation.   Some of these “nones” are atheists, some are agnostics, but many are folks who simply prefer to “roll” their own religion. Is this an alarming trend?

I started blogging seven years ago. The biggest trend I have seen in those seven years is the startling rise of the “nones” in America, those who say they have no particular “religious preference,” whenever polls are conducted. I call it the “Invasion of the Nones.”

In 2012, the Pew Research Center reported that the number of Americans who have no religious affiliation had grown to its highest percentage ever of the American population. One in five Americans marked “None” on questionnaires when asked about religious belief or association with a church. Over the previous five years, prior to 2012, the number of “nones” had increased from 15% to 20%…. and these are not ladies wearing black dresses with white trimming.

Subsequent research has shown that the growth of Protestant evangelical Christians; that is, those who hold to a high view of Scripture, as the written Word of God, has pretty much remained stable, during this time frame. But the latest 2019 Pew Research study shows that the American culture, more broadly speaking, is growing less and less Christian, with every passing year.

Several new highlights standout regarding the latest Pew study:

  • The percentage of the American population, that claims to be either Protestant or Roman Catholic, is shrinking, as well as in terms of absolute numbers.
  • All categories of those who mark themselves as “None,” with respect to religious preference, including those who adhere to no particular expression of faith, those who are agnostics, and those who are atheists, are continuing to rise.
  • Church attendance in the United States continues to decline, except for those who identify themselves explicitly as Christians.
  • Younger generations of people are less inclined to identify as “Christian” as are older generations.
  • Women are generally more religious than men (Christian are attracting less and less men to church).
  • While there is some decline among Republicans who profess to be Christian, the greatest decline of professing Christians is among the Democrats.

What is the takeaway from this latest research? While the percentage of Protestant evangelical Christians continues to be pretty much the same, adherents to more nominal forms of Christian faith, among certain Protestants and Roman Catholics is dropping rapidly. Another way of putting it is this: mainline liberal Christianity, in particular, Protestant mainline Christianity, is in steep decline.

 

In U.S., smaller share of adults identify as Christians, while religious 'nones' have grown Continue reading


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