New Report from Pew Forum: Where have all the Fundies Gone?

Give me that old time religion*

The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life just released the results of an indepth survey on Americans and their religion.

Did you know that religion is considered a "vibrant marketplace"? Yes, America, your religion is just another commodity. The faithful are just another kind of consumer shopping around for the religion that best suits his/her individual needs.

Fascinating ... but, the results of the study would seem to indicate that this "commerce" model is failing.

The study is based on interviews with 35,000 people and the results are published in the report Religious Landscape Survey.

It was good for our mothers.

More than one-quarter of American adults (28%) have left the faith in which they were raised in favor of another religion - or no religion at all. If change in affiliation from one type of Protestantism to another is included, 44% of adults have either switched religious affiliation, moved from being unaffiliated with any religion to being affiliated with a particular faith, or dropped any connection to a specific religious tradition altogether.

Mainline Protestantism is on the decline, while numbers in evangelical denominations have risen, but overall the percentage of the population that describes themselves as Protestant is hovering at 51%, down from 65% in the early 90's.

Catholicism is also losing members in large numbers, but this is offset by the "disproportionately high number of Catholics among immigrants", keeping the overall percentage of Catholics at roughly 24% -- or about half the number of Protestants.

Is is good enough for me?

So with all the shifting and shuffling among the different denominations, which religion is the big winner?

The largest gains are shown in the "currently unaffiliated" category.

Overall, 7.3% of the adult population says they were unaffiliated with any particular religion as a child. Today, however, 16.1% of adults say they are unaffiliated, a net increase of 8.8 percentage points.[Chapter 2 pg. 2]

Without a doubt religion and endorsements from religious leaders currently play an important role in our political process. But the study reveals, declining Protestantism, drastically changing demographics among Catholics and a marked rise in "unaffiliated" ... do these shifts portend a waning influence of religion on our political process?

You can download the PDF version of the full report at the Pew Forum.

*Old Time Religion lyrics here.

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