Believer numbers are falling while "don't knows" are rising fast
Another fascinating report from the Pew Research Center shows a relentless rise in the number of Americans with no religious affiliation.
October 10, 2012
Among those aged 18-29, 32 percent have no religious affiliation.??The research center nicknamed this population “nones.”??Although the Catholic population remains statistically unchanged at 22 percent, a one percent decrease from 2007, Pew credits this steadiness in part to immigration from Latin America.
The decline is mainly among both evangelical and mainline white Protestants. For the first time in U.S. history, its Protestant population has dropped below 50 percent.??Pew included in the “nones” atheists and agnostics, who respectively make up about 2.4 percent and 3.3. percent of the population.
About 74 percent of “nones” were raised with a religious affiliation. Most religiously unaffiliated Americans said they are not looking for a religion that would be right for them, while only ten percent said they are.
“In terms of their religious beliefs and practices, the unaffiliated are a diverse group, and far from uniformly secular,” the research center said.??Thirty percent said their belief in God or a universal spirit is “absolutely certain,” while 38 percent said they are less certain. Only 27 percent said they do not believe.
Twenty-one percent said they pray daily and another 20 percent said they pray weekly or monthly.??Eighteen percent think of themselves as a religious person, while 37 percent say they are spiritual but not religious. Forty-nine percent of “nones” said they seldom or never attend religious services, an increase of 11 percent from 2007.
Analysis also found that those polled are no more inclined towards New Age beliefs than the general public.
The survey shows a decline in religious affiliation among both college graduates and those without college degrees.
Pew said that generational replacement is an important factor in the increase in the religiously unaffiliated. Only five percent of the World War II generation is unaffiliated while nine percent of the Silent Generation are. However, Baby Boomers and members of Generation X have become less likely to affiliate with a religion.
The “nones” have mixed views of religion.??Around 70 percent of respondents said churches and religious organizations are too concerned with money and power, too involved with politics, and focus too much on rules. Only half said that churches protect and strengthen morality.??However, over 75 percent said churches bring people together, strengthen the community, and play an important role in helping the poor and the needy.
Full Story: Growing number of Americans have no religious identity
Source: Catholic News Agency
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