Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Fewer Americans Claim Christian, Media Cheer: Poll

Don't believe the media headline spin . . .

In an effort to make President Obama's claim true (that America is NOT a Christian nation), the mainstream media have incorrectly hyped results of a new Pew Research survey — a poll which actually shows that MORE Americans claim to be devout Christians while formerly nominal Catholics and mainline churchgoers now more honestly report no religious affiliation.

Separately, read academic report:  Christians Will Flourish Demographically

For background, click headlines below to read previous articles:

20% in U.S. Have No Religion, yet ARE Spiritual

Secularists Revel in Aspirations of an Atheist America

Media, Secularists Revel in Reporting Failure of Christian Religion

However, Atheists & Liberals Lament Recent Supreme Court Religious Liberty Rulings

Also read Liberal Media Ignore 40,000 National Day of Prayer Events

So what is this ObamaNation?  It's a 'Fake Church,' Says Catholic Cardinal

For myriad attacks on the Bible and Christian faith, read CBS Gives Voice to Atheists, Heretics, & Apostates

From "Big Drop in Share of Americans Calling Themselves Christian" by Nate Cohn, New York Times 5/12/15

The Christian share of adults in the United States has declined sharply since 2007, affecting nearly all major Christian traditions and denominations, and crossing age, race and region, according to an extensive survey by the Pew Research Center.

The Christian share of adults fell to 70.6 percent from 78.4 percent between 2007 and 2014, with declines among all major Christian denominations.

The decline has been propelled in part by generational change, as relatively non-Christian millennials reach adulthood and gradually replace the oldest and most Christian adults. But it is also because many former Christians, of all ages, have joined the rapidly growing ranks of the religiously unaffiliated or “nones”: a broad category including atheists, agnostics and those who adhere to “nothing in particular.”

Not all religions or even Christian traditions declined so markedly. The number of evangelical Protestants dipped only slightly as a share of the population, by 1 percentage point, and actually increased in raw numbers [to 62.2 million].

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Study: Americans becoming less Christian, more secular" by Rachel Zoll, Associated Press 5/11/15

The number of Americans who don’t affiliate with a particular religion has grown to 56 million in recent years, making the faith group researchers call “nones” the second-largest in total numbers behind evangelicals, according to a Pew Research Center study released Tuesday.

Researchers have long debated whether people with no religion should be defined as secular since the category includes those who believe in God or consider themselves “spiritual.” But the new Pew study found increasing signs of secularism.

Last year, 31 percent of “nones” said they were atheist or agnostic, compared to 25 percent in 2007, and the percentage who said religion was important to them dropped.

Pew researchers said Christian losses were driven by decreases among mainline, or liberal, Protestants and Roman Catholics.

Mainline Protestants declined by about 5 million to 36 million between 2007 and 2014. Pew found 13 percent of U.S. adults are former Catholics. The study put the number of Catholic adults at 51 million, or just over one-fifth of the U.S. population, a drop of about 3 percent over seven years. In 2007, Catholics made up about one-quarter of Americans.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "American Religion: Complicated, Not Dead" by Emma Green, The Atlantic 5/12/15

. . . the survey actually reveals something more complex than a slow and steady march toward secularization. Those who didn’t identify with any particular religion were asked a follow-up question: “How important is religion in your life?” The answers reveal that this group might be churchless, but it’s not wholly faithless: 44 percent said religion is “very” or “somewhat” important to them, while 56 percent said religion isn't important to them, according to Greg Smith, Pew’s associate director of research. . . .

The survey gives at least a partial look at what the researchers call “religious switching”: People converting to other faiths, joining new kinds of churches, or ditching religion altogether. If you count switches among the major traditions in Protestantism (mainline, evangelical, and historically black congregations), roughly 42 percent of Americans no longer consider themselves part of the religion in which they were raised. . . .

This [survey] may make it sound like Christianity has entered a tailspin, but given its continued prominence in American life, that’s probably overdramatic. America is still a Christian nation, just by a somewhat smaller margin. . . .

The most important caveat to keep in mind in reading this survey is that religion, and particularly Christianity, is not losing its overall influence in American culture. Culture-war rhetoric often implies an epic battle between Christian conservatives and the creep of secularity; in general, that narrative is an oversimplification of American religion. . . .

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Nominals to Nones: 3 Key Takeaways From Pew’s Religious Landscape Survey" by Ed Stetzer, Christianity Today 5/12/15

The percentage of convictional [devout] Christians remains rather steady, but because the nominal Christians now are unaffiliated the overall percentage of self-identified Christians is decline. . . .

1. Convictional Christianity is rather steady.

Evangelicals now make up a clear majority (55%) of all U.S. Protestants. In 2007, 51% of U.S. Protestants identified with evangelical churches.

One of the primary reasons it appears as though “American Christianity” is experiencing a sharp decline is because the nominals that once made up (disproportionately) Mainline Protestantism and Catholicism are now checking “none” on religious affiliation surveys.

Nominal Christians make up a higher percentage of Mainline Protestants and Catholics than any other denomination of Christian, and this is why their numbers continue to sharply decline.

2. There have been significant shifts within American Christianity.

One of the most notable shifts in American Christianity is the evangelicalization of church in America. Fifty percent of all Christians now self-identify as “evangelical” or “born again,” up from 44 percent in 2007. In 2007, 44% of American Christians, who made up 78% of the U.S. population identified as evangelical. In 2014, 50% of American Christians, who make up 70% of the U.S. population identify as evangelical.

3. Mainline Protestantism continues to hemorrhage.

Only 45% of those raised in the Mainline Protestant tradition remain in Mainline churches. . . . If Mainline Protestantism continues its trajectory it is only a couple of generations from virtual extinction.

To read the entire opinion column above, CLICK HERE.

From "The New Pew Survey on Religion & Lament for Nominal Christianity" by Mark D. Tooley, Christian Post Contributor 5/13/15

Evangelicals are the one Christian group to have grown numerically and almost retained their population percentage, now at 25%. A growing majority of Protestants are now Evangelical, and half of all Christians now identify as Evangelical or born-again. Liberal Mainline Protestantism unsurprisingly continues its fast decline, dropping from 18 to under 15%. Catholics dropped from about 24% to 21%.

The ongoing trend seems to be that nominal, mostly non-practicing Mainline Protestants and Catholics increasingly identify as unaffiliated. Most of this group still professes belief in God, many pray and some attend church. But they no longer claim ties to a specific tradition. Less than a third, about 7%, are atheist or agnostic.

. . . Active Christianity remains robust in America. Orthodox Christian expressions are displacing declining liberal forms. But there is cause for concern and sadness, as Mainline Protestantism, once central to American life, and a unifying spiritual and civil force, recedes ever more dramatically. An America more and more torn between secularists and the spiritually ambiguous on one side, against Evangelicals and believing Catholics on the other, will be even more polarized, missing the common language that Mainline Protestants offered so effectively for centuries.

To read the entire opinion column above, CLICK HERE.

From "5 key findings about the changing U.S. religious landscape" by Michael Lipka, Pew Research Center 5/12/15

1.  Christians are declining, both as a share of the U.S. population and in total number.  . . .

2.  Within Christianity, the biggest declines have been in the mainline Protestant tradition and among Catholics. . . .

3.  The growth of the “nones” has been powered in part by religious switching. Nearly one-in-five U.S. adults (18%) were raised as Christians or members of some other religion, but now say they have no religious affiliation.

4.  . . . the decline of Christians and rise of the “nones” – have occurred in some form across many demographic groups, including men and women, older and younger Americans, and people with different levels of education and different races and ethnicities.

5.  The share of Americans who identify with non-Christian faiths, such as Islam and Hinduism, has grown modestly in recent years, from 4.7% in 2007 to 5.9% in 2014. Muslims now account for 0.9% of the U.S. adult population (up from 0.4% in the 2007 Landscape Study), while Hindus make up 0.7% of U.S. adults (up from 0.4% in 2007).

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "America’s Changing Religious Landscape" posted at Pew Research Center 5/12/15

To be sure, the United States remains home to more Christians than any other country in the world . . .

Because the U.S. census does not ask Americans about their religion, there are no official government statistics on the religious composition of the U.S. public. . . .

While many U.S. religious groups are aging, the unaffiliated are comparatively young – and getting younger, on average, over time. As a rising cohort of highly unaffiliated Millennials reaches adulthood, the median age of unaffiliated adults has dropped to 36, down from 38 in 2007 and far lower than the general (adult) population’s median age of 46.4 By contrast, the median age of mainline Protestant adults in the new survey is 52 (up from 50 in 2007), and the median age of Catholic adults is 49 (up from 45 seven years earlier).

. . . the size of the historically black Protestant tradition – which includes the National Baptist Convention, the Church of God in Christ, the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the Progressive Baptist Convention and others – has remained relatively stable in recent years, at nearly 16 million adults. And evangelical Protestants, while declining slightly as a percentage of the U.S. public, probably have grown in absolute numbers as the overall U.S. population has continued to expand.

The new survey indicates that churches in the evangelical Protestant tradition – including the Southern Baptist Convention, the Assemblies of God, Churches of Christ, the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, the Presbyterian Church in America, 0ther evangelical denominations and many nondenominational congregations – now have a total of about 62 million adult adherents. That is an increase of roughly 2 million since 2007 . . .

. . . people in older generations are increasingly disavowing association with organized religion. About a third of older Millennials (adults currently in their late 20s and early 30s) now say they have no religion, up nine percentage points among this cohort since 2007, when the same group was between ages 18 and 26. Nearly a quarter of Generation Xers now say they have no particular religion or describe themselves as atheists or agnostics, up four points in seven years. Baby Boomers also have become slightly but noticeably more likely to identify as religious “nones” in recent years.

. . . The evangelical Protestant tradition is the only major Christian group in the survey that has gained more members than it has lost through religious switching. Roughly 10% of U.S. adults now identify with evangelical Protestantism after having been raised in another tradition, which more than offsets the roughly 8% of adults who were raised as evangelicals but have left for another religious tradition or who no longer identify with any organized faith.

. . . Whites continue to be more likely than both blacks and Hispanics to identify as religiously unaffiliated; 24% of whites say they have no religion, compared with 20% of Hispanics and 18% of blacks. But the religiously unaffiliated have grown (and Christians have declined) as a share of the population within all three of these racial and ethnic groups.

. . . The percentage of college graduates who identify with Christianity has declined by nine percentage points since 2007 (from 73% to 64%). The Christian share of the population has declined by a similar amount among those with less than a college education (from 81% to 73%). Religious “nones” now constitute 24% of all college graduates (up from 17%) and 22% of those with less than a college degree (up from 16%).

. . . Since 2007, the share of evangelical Protestants who identify with Baptist denominations has shrunk from 41% to 36%. Meanwhile, the share of evangelicals identifying with nondenominational churches has grown from 13% to 19%.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

Click headlines below to read previous articles:

Liberal Mainline 'Churches' Continue to Wither as they Conform to the Decadent Culture

New Atheist 'Churches' in America Give Competition to Mainlines

Colleges Hire Humanist & Atheist Chaplains for the Nonbelievers

Congress: America No Longer a Christian Nation

Jesus' Virgin Birth NOT Worth Celebrating: Poll

America Going to Hell; Christians Lose Convictions

President Obama Provokes Second 'In God We Trust' Movement