December 06, 2011

More evidence of religion's decline

The Institute for the Study of Secularism in Society & Culture at Trinity College surveys the religious views of Americans and their latest ARIS (American Religious Identification Survey) report done in 2008 found the following:

  • 86% of American adults identified as Christians in 1990 and 76% in 2008.
  • 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.
  • The "Nones" (no stated religious preference, atheist, or agnostic) continue to grow, though at a much slower pace than in the 1990s, from 8.2% in 1990, to 14.1% in 2001, to 15.0% in 2008.
  • Based on their stated beliefs rather than their religious identification in 2008, 70% of Americans believe in a personal God, roughly 12% of Americans are atheist (no God) or agnostic (unknowable or unsure), and another 12% are deistic (a higher power but no personal God).
  • In 2008 one in five adults does not identify with a religion of any kind compared with one in ten in 1990.

The report finds that when looked at as a percentage of the population growth from 1990 to 2008, the 'nones' category captured 37% of this growth while the don't know/refused to answer category (which the report says shared many of the social profiles and beliefs of the 'nones') had 15% of the growth, leaving just 48% of the growth to religiously affiliated people.

There is a lot of data in the report. What I found particularly interesting is that 30% of married respondents did not have a religious ceremony and 27% do not expect to have a religious funeral or service when they die.

I am not sure when or if they will be doing another study to see if the decline continues as I expect it will.


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