Yet another Pew Research Center survey builds upon what other surveys and studies have shown: Americans are leaving Christianity in droves. Personally, I suspect there are many reasons for the sharp decline, not the least of which is the growing negative connotations of what it means to be a "Christian" thanks to the Christofascists who seemingly hate virtually everyone other than themselves and who seek to trample on the rights of others when not demanding special rights for themselves. Americans' increased mobility and the easy access to information and other views via the Internet are also likely reasons. An article in the Washington Post looks at what to me is a welcome phenomenon given the undeserved and divisive influence religion has had in public policy. Here are article excerpts:
Christianity is on the decline in America, not just among younger generations or in certain regions of the country but across race, gender, education and geographic barriers. The percentage of adults who describe themselves as Christians dropped by nearly eight percentage points in just seven years to about 71 percent, according to a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center.
“It’s remarkably widespread,” said Alan Cooperman, director of religion research for the Pew Research Center. “The country is becoming less religious as a whole, and it’s happening across the board.”
At the same time, the share of those who are not affiliated with a religion has jumped from 16 percent to about 23 percent in the same time period.
Here are three key takeaways from Pew’s new survey.
1. Millennials are growing even less affiliated with religion as they get older
The older generation of millennials (those who were born from 1981 to 1989) are becoming even less affiliated with religion than they were about a decade ago, the survey suggests. In 2007, when the Pew Research Center did their last Religious Landscape Survey and these adults were just entering adulthood, 25 percent of them did not affiliate with a religion, but this grew to 34 percent in the latest survey.
“Some have asked, ‘Might they become more religiously affiliated as they get older?’ There’s nothing in this data to suggest that’s what’s happening,” he said.
2. There are more religiously unaffiliated Americans than Catholic Americans or mainline Protestant Americans
The numbers of Catholics and Protestants have each shrunk between three and five percentage points since 2007. The evangelical share of the American population has dropped by one percentage point since 2007.
There are more religiously unaffiliated Americans (23 percent) than Catholics (21 percent) and mainline Protestants (15 percent).
Thirteen percent of Americans were raised Catholic but are no longer Catholic, compared with just 2 percent of Americans who are converts to Catholicism. . . . . There are 3 million fewer Catholics today than there were in 2007.
Pew estimates there are about 5 million fewer mainline Protestants than there were in 2007.
3. Those who are unaffiliated are becoming more secular
The “nones,” or religiously unaffiliated, include atheists, agnostics and those who say they believe in “nothing in particular.” Of those who are unaffiliated, 31 percent describe themselves as atheists or agnostics, up six points from 2007.
And people in older generations are increasingly disavowing organized religion. Among baby boomers, 17 percent identify as a religious “none,” up from 14 percent in 2007.
“There’s a continuing religious disaffiliation among older cohorts. That is really striking,” Smith said. “I continue to be struck by the pace at which the unaffiliated are growing.”
The long term implications for the Republican Party ought to be terrifying as the GOP continues to prostitute itself to the ugliest elements of the Christofascists who are making Christianity itself increasingly toxic in the minds of more and more Americans. The GOP seemingly has a death wish. Meanwhile the "godly folk" who would save Christianity are the ones doing the most to kill it.