Since 1980, the number of Americans who believe in God has decreased by half and the number who pray has declined five-fold.
The United States formally separates Church and State, but it’s hard to deny that America is inundated with religious innuendo, from its controversial pledge of allegiance all the way down to its Judeo-Christian courthouse displays and faith-espousing legal tender. Yet fewer Americans pray or believe in God than ever before, according to a new study in the journal Sage Open.
Researchers found that the percentage of Americans who claim they never pray reached an all-time high in 2014, up five-fold since the 1980s. Over the same time period, belief in God and interest in spirituality appears to have similarly declined, especially among young adults.
The findings suggest that, “millennials are the least religious generation in memory, and possibly in American history,” says Jean M. Twenge, psychology professor at San Diego State University and coauthor on the study, in a press statement. “Most previous studies concluded that fewer Americans were publicly affiliating with a religion, but that Americans were just as religious in private ways. That’s no longer the case, especially in the last few years.”…
…One odd quirk, however—Americans have become slightly more likely to believe in an afterlife, even as they are abandoning prayer, belief in God and rituals. This, too, is perhaps a telling sign of America’s newfound relationship with old-time religion. “It might be part of a growing entitlement mentality,” Twenge said. “Thinking you can get something for nothing.”