Experts didn’t expect such a development but it appears the ranks of the “Nones” — people who identify with no religious denomination or following — are no longer increasing and a decline may even be ahead.
That’s the news from two recently completed massive studies, both of which are reported today by the Religion in Public (RIP) blog. In the first, Washington College Political Science Professor Melissa Deckman notes:
Fifty-four percent of Americans say they pray at least a couple of times a week and a third of them go to church at least once or twice a month, according to a national survey conducted by YouGov for The Economist.
The survey asked 125 questions and was primarily focused on presidential politics and produced a major campaign development with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) surging to a dead-heat with former Vice-President Joe Biden in the contest for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.
The final five questions concerned religious views and practices.
It is a commonplace in many of the most influential public policy precincts in the nation’s capitol these days — including among congressional aides working for senators, representatives and committees — that Christianity is in steep decline in America, that the country is fast becoming more secularized with every passing day.
That certainly appears to be the case, judging by many aspects of the elite culture and the intellectual, social media and political rhetoric it sanctions, but a totally opposite picture is easily seen once you get outside of Amtrak’s Acela Corridor and the LA-San Francisco-Seattle axis to examine the data that reveals the real America.
There we find a nation whose people are becoming more, not less, involved in their churches, small groups, Bible studies and caring ministries reaching out in their communities. Perhaps even more surprising is the fact that the same thing is true in their own ways of most of the rest of the people with whom we share this Earth.
Yesterday, it was a joint report from the Barna Group and AlphaUSA indicating the Millennial generation is more open to Christianity than the conventional wisdom holds. Today, Barna has the top 10 post-Christian cities in America.
If you’ve been paying even casual attention to the news in recent months, you have undoubtedly heard that authoritative research surveys show an accelerating pace of growth in the “Nones.”
These are people who check the “None” box when asked what is their religious affiliation. News articles on this theme have become a familiar part of the journalism landscape, thanks in great part to, just to cite one source, the Pew Research Center.
“Religious Nones” are among the fastest growing groups whenever survey research organizations like the Pew Research Center do polls concerning religious issues.
The results of the latest Pew survey of a representative sample of the Nones – which includes those who identify themselves as “atheist,” “agnostic” and “nothing” – finds an important reason (60 percent) these folks give for their views is they “question a lot of religious teachings.”