Growth in secular attitudes leaves Americans room for belief in God

The nature of the American religious experience is changing as a rising number of people report having no formal religious affiliation, even though the number of Americans who say they pray is increasing, according to a new survey from the University of Chicago.

Those twin trends suggest a growing number of people are “spiritual but not religious,” the study author said. The report, “Religious Change Around the World,” found that in addition to an increased number of people who pray, a growing number believe in the afterlife. When asked how they view God, the most common responses were the traditional images of father and judge.

Sociologists of religion say the rise in people who are spiritual but religiously uncommitted is prompting churches to repackage their services into more contemporary offerings with fresh, livelier music and less of the usual liturgies.

“Americans’ attitudes toward religion are growing more complex,” said study author Tom W. Smith, Director of the General Social Survey at the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago. “While fewer people identify with a particular religion, belief in God remains high.

Read more: news.uchicago.edu/news.php?asset_id=1748

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