A Pew Research Center study of 35,000 people, titled “America’s Changing Religious Landscape,” conducted between June and September of 2014, claim the number of Americans who don’t affiliate with a particular religion has grown in recent years.
When Pew conducted this survey, Americans who described themselves as atheist, agnostic or of no particular religion grew from 16 percent to nearly 23 percent. Last year, 31 percent said they were atheist or agnostic, compared to 25 percent in 2007.
At the same time, Christians dropped from 78 percent to 71 percent of the population while Protestants now make up 46.5 percent of the population. However, Christianity is still the dominant religion by far with seven in 10 Americans identifying as such.
Eighty-six percent of American adults identified as Christians, compared with 76 percent in 2008. In 2010, 13 percent of baby boomers were religiously unaffiliated as they were entering retirement, the same percentage in 1972.
White Americans at 24 percent are more likely to say they have no religion, compared with 20 percent of Latinos and 18 percent of Blacks. The trend follows a pattern first seen in 1990.
Protestants declined by about 5 million to 36 million between 2007 and 2014 with 13 percent of adults claiming to be former Catholics. The study put the number of Catholic adults at 51 million, or just over one-fifth of the population, a drop of about three percent over seven years.
Non-Christian religions held steady or increased their share of the population, reaching 5.9 percent of adults, up from 4.7 percent in 2007. Jewish adherence was steady at 1.9 percent of adults, while Islam grew by 0.5 percentage points over the last eight years but remains less than one percent of the general population.
The growth of ‘atheist, agnostic or of no particular religion,’ has political significance as well since people with no religious affiliation tend to vote Progressive, jus’ as white evangelicals tend to vote Conservative. But it isn’t ‘all doom-and-gloom’ as poll-takers are quick to point out that two-thirds of those reaching young adulthood around the year 2000 said that they believe in God with absolute certainty.
They also say evangelical church attendance jumped from five to 11.8 percent, though they have no way of measuring the outcome of that sort of religious devotion. Thankfully, most Judeo-Christians know the difference between ‘religion’ and ‘faith,’ and which of the two is the more important.
After all, religion is a set of man-made rules designed to place the power of God in man’s hands, while faith’s based on a personal relationship between the Creator and his creation, meaning you, me and all of mankind.