Monday, March 9, 2009

Americans less religious, less Christian

America is becoming less religious, less Christian, yet more generic in their Christianity.

A survey released today by American Religious Identification Survey, Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, found that the number of people identifying themselves as Christians fell in the last two decades, from 86% in 1990 to 76% in 2008. The survey, the largest of its kind, interviewed 54,000 people from February to November last year. The only group that increased in the last two decades was the non-religious group, now 15%, almost double since 1990. Money quote:
The survey substantiated several general trends already identified by sociologists: the slipping importance of denomination in America, the growing number of people who say they have "no" religion and the increase in religious minorities including Muslims, Mormons and such movements as Wicca and paganism.
On the note of the "slipping importance of denomination[s],"the study found that among Christians there is a growing lack of denominational identification; those self-identifying as Christians specified that they were non-denominational, evangelical, or born again - all very generic terms. The researchers charge the lack of denominational branding:
"What seems to be happening is there is a decline in what we might call traditional brand loyalty to the old denominations, specific churches," said Barry Kosmin, a principle investigator for the American Religious Identification Survey.
Dem Bones readers already knew this, as Christians have the same loyalty to toothpaste and toilet paper as they do with their denominations.

(h/t A Faithful Reader)

1 comment:

Darren Staley said...

I call bullshit on this poll. My thinking is that after a government who tied faith to bad foreign policy while also being riddled with scandal skewed the numbers.

A Pew study shows that self-identified Christians were 1996- 84%, 2001- 82%, 2002- 82%.

http://www.adherents.com/rel_USA.html#religions

Taking both polls together, it would seem that from 1990-2002, the baseline remained the same within the MOE.

Whatever drop-off occurred had nothing to do with 1990-2002. Those numbers are constant, between 82-86%.

What nobody wants to admit is that when you attach your faith to a political party, the popularity of your faith rises and falls with that of the political party.

This is why if I am a religious leader, I run from politics as fast as I can.