America is Becoming Less Christian by the Minute – Study Finds

kim kardashian

The Pew Research Center released a study recently showing an 8 percent drop in American Christians between 2007 and 2014.

While the number of Christians fell, the unaffiliated and non-Christian collectives grew. While this may not be unexpected, the rate at which Americans are moving away from Christianity is rather astonishing. In this timespan, the number of unaffiliated individuals grew by 6.7 percent, ending at 22.8 percent of the population. By the same, less extreme token, individuals associating with a Non-Christian faith increased by 1.2 percent.

The drops in Christianity were specific to mainline Catholic and Protestant believers, with each declining by more than 3 percent. This shift is interesting for a few reasons.

While not unexpected, it’s a short time frame for such a significant drop.

The specific splits within the unaffiliated group are also telling. Atheist and agnostic populations grew at 1.5 and 1.6 percent respectively, but the group that responded “nothing in particular” grew by 3.7 percent. Essentially, individuals have become less inclined to label themselves through the scope of religion at all.

The decline in religion is attributable to generational replacement, as Millennials are far less likely to be Christian and more likely to be unaffiliated in comparison to older generations. While approximately 78 percent of Baby Boomers identify as Christian, only 57 percent of Millennials share that identity, with 34 percent unaffiliated. Only 17 percent of Baby Boomers do not associate with a specific religion. All generations are moving away from Christianity but at different rates. The oldest surviving generation, the ‘silent generation’ (b. 1928-1945), saw a 2 percent increase in the unaffiliated population. During the same 2007-2014 timespan, 9 percent of the Millennial generation joined the same group.

18 percent of Adults raised in religious households not identify as unaffiliated, and the number continues to grow.

 

Not only do these statistics point to a movement away from religious beliefs, they show the slow but growing cultural irrelevance of Christianity. As the technological age progresses, science is able to explain more things. Religion, once used as a haven for unexplainable occurrences, is now seen as unnecessary and, in some of the more extreme cases, foolish.

Another relatively antiquated use of religion is a primary basis for a moral code. Religion is utilized less and less in this fashion partially due to globalization. With increased understanding and interaction amongst different cultures (thanks to social media and globalization), many have started subscribing to moral relativism. Moral relativism posits that every culture is founded on a certain set of principles, and every action that is judged on its morality is executed in the context of a certain culture. So, rather than accepting one religion’s moral code as law, rejecting other rules and regulatory systems for behavior, many have started to become more accepting. This acceptance of culture has led to a decrease in willingness to abide, identify and associate with one code of conduct.

With this in mind, more than half of the American Millennial generation is still Christian. Approximately 70 percent of all Americans still associate themselves with a church of some sort.

Interestingly enough, the percentage of non-white Christians has increased across all denominations. The burgeoning Hispanic population in the United States has increased minority participation in Catholic, Evangelical and traditional Protestant circles. More than 66 percent of all immigrants identified as Christian, with 39 percent being specifically Catholic.

Clearly religion is used as more than simply an explanation for the unexplainable. It is now typically utilized as an additional community for individuals with similar identities to gather.

Photo: Flickr/4thglryofgod

About Will Innes

I am a sarcastic politics junkie who also loves sports and television. I specialize in domestic politics, international relations and contempt for the Red Sox.

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