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Country less Christian
I have the feeling that the reason the country seems to be less religious is because it's more acceptable to admit you're not religious. People are finally coming out of the closet. Let's hope the trend continues.

Edit: Actually, I bet the reason for the rise in non-religious people is the internet. Easier access to information, the ability to find others who think the way you do helps people examine religion and find answers to the questions they have been asking themselves. When they realize they are not alone, they can more easily let go of the bullshit.


(CNN) -- America is a less Christian nation than it was 20 years ago, and Christianity is not losing out to other religions, but primarily to a rejection of religion altogether, a survey published Monday found.
Survey finds percentage of of Americans identifying themselves as Christian has fallen over two decades.

Survey finds percentage of of Americans identifying themselves as Christian has fallen over two decades.

Seventy-five percent of Americans call themselves Christian, according to the American Religious Identification Survey from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. In 1990, the figure was 86 percent.

William Donohue, president of the Catholic League said he thinks a radical shift towards individualism over the last quarter-century has a lot to do it.

"The three most dreaded words are thou shalt not," he told Lou Dobbs. "Notice they are not atheists -- they are saying I don't want to be told what to do with my life."

At the same time there has been an increase in the number of people expressing no religious affiliation.

The survey also found that "born-again" or "evangelical" Christianity is on the rise, while the percentage who belong to "mainline" congregations such as the Episcopal or Lutheran churches has fallen.

One in three Americans consider themselves evangelical, and the number of people associated with mega-churches has skyrocketed from less than 200,000 in 1990 to more than 8 million in the latest survey. Watch CNN report on new study

The rise in evangelical Christianity is contributing to the rejection of religion altogether by some Americans, said Mark Silk of Trinity College.

"In the 1990s, it really sunk in on the American public generally that there was a long-lasting 'religious right' connected to a political party, and that turned a lot of people the other way," he said of the link between the Republican Party and groups such as the Moral Majority and Focus on the Family. Video Watch author on mixing religion and politics

"In an earlier time, people who would have been content to say, 'Well, I'm some kind of a Protestant,' now say 'Hell no, I won't go,'" he told CNN.

Silk also said the revelation that some Catholic priests had sexually abused children -- and senior figures in the church hierarchy had helped to hide it -- drove some Catholics away from religion.

And, he said, it is now more socially acceptable than it once was to admit having no religion.

"You're not declaring yourself a total pariah. The culture has changed in a way that makes it easier to say, 'No, I don't have a religion. Even in the past year, Mitt Romney and Barack Obama feel obliged to talk about 'those of no faith,' " he pointed out. Obama mentioned people without faith in his inaugural address in January, making him the first president to do so.

In the survey, one in five Americans said they have no religious identity or did not answer the question, and more than one in four said they do not expect to have a religious funeral.

The rise in what the survey authors call "nones" is the only trend reflected in every single state in the study, Silk said.

"We don't see anything else in the survey that is nationwide," he told CNN.

Still, Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council, remained hopeful that people will return to their faith, noting there was a less dramatic decline in those affiliating themselves with a religion this decade than in the 1990s.

Perkins told Lou Dobbs he sees that decline easing, and he thinks soon religion will be an even greater part of people's lives.

"If this poll is taken next year will the outcome be different?" he asked. "As the economy goes downward, I think people are going to be driven to religion."

Other findings include:

The percentage of Catholics in the United States has remained steady at about one in four since 1990, while the percentage of other Christians has plummeted from 60 percent to 50 percent.

The percentage of Muslims has doubled since 1990, but remains statistically very small, only 0.3 percent in the original survey and 0.6 percent today.

Mormons have remained steady as a percentage of the population, even as the number of people in the United States has grown. They make up 1.4 percent of the population.

The number of Jews in the United States is falling if the category includes only those who define themselves as Jews religiously, but has remained the same if the category includes people who consider themselves ethnically Jewish.

The survey polled 54,461 Americans between February and November of last year. Pollsters conducted the research in both English and Spanish.

The survey is the third in a series, following polls in 1990 and 2001
Edited by RayvenAlandria on 03/09/2009 22:03
Bob of QF
More on the subject

Yes, there is hope for the USofA...
Quantum Junction: Use both lanes

Reality is that which is left, after you stop believing.
Doubting Thomas
We can only hope that religion continues to lose its stranglehold on people in this and other countries. It's nice to see a valid study done on the subject instead of the usual claim that this country is 95% Christian.

Unfortunately, as the economy suffers, more people will turn to religion. But, as it improves, I expect to see a downturn.

I believe the reason the Catholic faith has remained the same percentage wise is because of the large number of Hispanic immigrants who have been having children in higher numbers than others in this country.

It's also interesting to see how mainstream Christianity has dwindled, yet evangelical fundamentalist Christianity is on the rise. I think this is a good thing, because if people start to equate religion with fundamentalist nutjobs, then religious belief will be a laughingstock.
You're just jealous because the voices are talking to me and not you.
And there's this from the Freedom From Religion Foundation


One Out of 5 Americans Nonreligious! A Gradual Awakening?
Downward, Christian Soldiers: Godless Americans Become an American Force

Statement by Annie Laurie Gaylor & Dan Barker
Co-Presidents, Freedom From Religion Foundation

March 9, 2009

Maybe the United States' new motto should be "In God We Distrust," if we go by the latest findings of the definitive American Religious Identification Survey: 15%, or 34 million adult Americans--that's one in five of us*--are now nonreligious. The "Nones," as researchers are calling nonreligious Americans, have more than doubled our numbers since the 1990s.

In this bicentennial year of Darwin's birth, it is welcome news to see that "none of the above" is a natural selection. It may not rival the "Great Awakening," but the United States is clearly in the midst of a "Gradual Awakening," and catching up with Europe's embrace of secularism.

"The challenge to Christianity in the U.S. does not come from other religions but rather from a rejection of all forms of organized religion," said ARIS principal investigators Barry Kosmin and Ariela Keysar, working through Trinity College.

We may be seeing the first secular generation, according to these heartening findings. Some 29% of Nones are ages 18-29, and 41% are 30-49.

The ARIS' third survey, updating major academic surveys released in 1990 and 2001, was released yesterday, on the same date that Pres. Obama lifted the embargo on embryonic stem cell lines, making it a very good week for reason!

The "largest net increase" since the first ARIS survey in 1990 goes to the Nones. Also good news for freethought was this ARIS finding: "Less than 70% of Americans now believe in the traditional theological concept of a personal God."

The nonreligious were the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. population, according to the 2001 ARIS results, which showed the nonreligious climbing from 8.2% in 1990 to 14.1%. We are holding our own at 15% in 2008, since the Nones is the only group which did not show a decline since the last survey. The religiously-affiliated have declined overall, but since 2001, more than 4.7 million Americans have joined the ranks of the Nones.

"The most significant influence on American religious geography over time has been the increase in the Nones, or No Religion bloc . . . Moreover, the Nones increased in numbers and proportion in every state, Census Division and Region of the country from 1990 to 2008. No other religious bloc has kept such a pace in every state," write the researchers.

The United States of America started as a proudly rebellious nation. We are now turning our prized disrespect for authority to religion. It's "Downward, Christian Soldiers" and "Forward, Godless America!"

Recap of survey results

Read the report; check out your state's religious identification

* The authors of the study added the "don't know" (0.9 percent) and "refuse to answer" (4.1 percent)--which "tend to resemble 'Nones' in their social profile and belief's"--to the "Nones" (15.0 percent), coming up with 20 percent, concluding "one in five adults does not identify with a religion of any kind compared with one in ten in 1990."

The Freedom From Religion Foundation, based in Madison, Wis., is a national association of freethinkers (atheists, agnostics) that has been working since 1978 to keep church and state separate.

Freedom From Religion Foundation PO Box 750 Madison, WI 53701 (608) 256-8900 contact us Freedom From Religion Foundation.
I must say, this is the first time I've heard 'us' referred to as 'Nones' [img][/img] is not a valid Image. . Ah. NO.

DON'T like it. As far as I'm concerned it can go down the drain, along with 'Brights' and 'New Atheists'.

'Nones'. Indeed. Makes it sound like we're the 'ones' who are 'nothing', 'without' or some such whowha crap.

Who thinks that shit up anyway (she wonders)?

Leave off the 'n' and make it 'Ones'. Nah. Now it'll sound like the sheeple, claiming to be the 'ones'.

I'm just a good 'ol atheist, and that's it.

ATHEIST. That's something, and I'm someone, not 'None'. Nincompoops.

I'm finished now. Smile
Doubting Thomas
I think they were just referring to those who answered "None" in the survey about which religion they follow. At any rate, it's great to see the numbers come up. I like the idea of 20-25% of the country being atheist. If only we could enlighten more people to get it up to around 50-75% nonreligious...
You're just jealous because the voices are talking to me and not you.
Oh. :blush: Hehe.

Well, don't want anyone calling me a 'none' anyway.

Get it? A 'none' (nun)? [img][/img] is not a valid Image.

[img][/img] is not a valid Image. Just sayin'.
Doubting Thomas
I think, though, that there will always be religion, even if the country becomes mostly atheist. The main problem is that all religions have a propensity for brainwashing or indoctrination, while atheism relies on an individual's critical thinking skills which can always be trumped by superstition in most people's minds. While I'm not saying that we atheists should brainwash anyone, it's just one reason why religion has existed for thousands of years and won't be disappearing any time soon. But all we can hope for is that people open their eyes and see the world for what it is, not what religious leaders want them to see.
You're just jealous because the voices are talking to me and not you.
I'm afraid I must agree. Easy answers will always have their adherents. Why bother with thinking and scientific inquiry when it's all spelled out for ye in this here book?:catholicbishop:
"If I owned both Hell and Texas, I'd live in Hell and rent out Texas." - General Sheridan
Here's another related article that I found very interesting:


Doubting Thomas
I received an email about that article but haven't had a chance to read it. I should download it and read it later.

I for one would like to see religion attain the status of a silly superstition, similar to people who believe that walking under a ladder or breaking a mirror gives you bad luck, or its adherents looked upon the same as people who believe aliens are visiting us or those who are constantly searching for bigfoot. Kind of quirky, but harmless. Just keep smiling and slowly back away from them. Maybe in another 20 years or so.
You're just jealous because the voices are talking to me and not you.
I don't know whether it can ever be like those examples, as it has too much dogma and is a different sort of animal with all its rules to live under. I doubt there will ever be anything in Christianity akin to the UFO Festival in Roswell. Wearing a cross of thorns and dragging a crucifix around on one's back would make a great Halloween costume, though.Grin
"If I owned both Hell and Texas, I'd live in Hell and rent out Texas." - General Sheridan
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