Most religious groups in USA have lost ground, survey finds

When it comes to religion, the USA is now land of the freelancers.

The percentage. of people who call themselves in some way Christian has dropped more than 11% in a generation. The faithful have scattered out of their traditional bases: The Bible Belt is less Baptist. The Rust Belt is less Catholic. And everywhere, more people are exploring spiritual frontiers — or falling off the faith map completely

I’m glad to see that the number of Catholics in Texas has increased by 9% and in California by 8%. :slight_smile:

One thing I found interesting about the “no religion” category is that in 2001, the ARIS survey found that the number went from 8 percent to 14.2 percent. That is a pretty significant increase over an eleven year period. Yet, the ARIS eight years later shows only minimal growth, from 14.2 percent to 15 percent. It doesn’t seem to be growing nearly as fast.

I am not sure what these numbers exactly mean. I do, however, have a few observations.

  1. I wonder if the authors of the study aimed to show that religious influence is weaker. I arrived at this conclusion after reading the USA Today article. Additionally, I am suspectious of the timimg of its release. How a question is stated can dictate what type of responses are recieved.
  2. Ideas have consequences! Christians has, unfortunately, given up to much rhetorical ground in arena of public debate; specifically as regards apologetics. Thanks to God, though, for EWTN, Catholic Answers, etc. I have been, likewise, impressed with the effort to respond to the Dawkins, Hitchens, and others of the world. Christians have to frequently seen thier faith as personally efficacious and not a True.
  3. Christians generally and Catholics specifically need to double their efforts to evangelize their neighbors. Learn, Live, & Love!

Is that because of conversion or because most Mexican people are traditionally Catholic, and they are immigrating in large numbers to these two border states?

**Self-Identification of U.S. Adult Population by Religious Tradition 1990, 2001, 2008 **
[LEFT][FONT=Franklin Gothic Condensed,Franklin Gothic Condensed][size=2]…1990 …2001 …2008[/size][/FONT][/LEFT]
[size=2][FONT=Franklin Gothic Condensed,Franklin Gothic Condensed]Religious Tradition | Estimate …|% …| Estimate… | % …| Estimate | %
[/FONT][/size]Catholic… | 46,004,000 | 26.2 | 50,873,000 | 24.5 | 57,199,000 | 25.1

Well yes because more people are emigrating from Mexico, Central and South America.

At our Spanish Mass the parking lot is over flowing, which is a good thing.

This survey is no surprise when 53% of Catholics Americans voted for the culture of death in the last election.

This, to me, shows we lost ground between 1990 and 2001 and we are gaining it back somewhat. However, each year, we have increased the number of Catholics in the US. We are still 1/4 of the population.

This is interesting. Our numbers and percentage have increased in eight years, while the growth of the no-religion category has slowed down considerably. If this is the case, religion doesn’t seem to be declining much. Where are all the members of these mainline Protestant groups going?

What is your suspicion about the timing of this survey’s release?

We (Catholics) are being sustained almost completely by immigration, as others have noted. The numerical free-fall in New England is the most striking (it would be nice to see the 2001 numbers there also).

It looks like the mainline Protestants are going into Generic Protestant groupings. I actually see that as being very much in keeping with the loss of religious identity (i.e., Evangelicalism or Non-denominational Christianity does not have a very thick or rich sense of identity), but time will tell.


If you google around you will find some more in depth explanations of these numbers. Basically the survey using in 1990 is different than the one used in 2001.

In 1990 one could pick: agnostic or humanist or no religion
In 2001 two additional options were added: atheist or secular

The most significant thing in these surveys is how important Hispanic immigration has become. Of course if the recession continues then the numbers may shift back.

These types of data are meaningless to me except as to reflect what people have communicated to whoever is gathering the information. While there may be many more who identify themselves as Catholic now than in 1990, a substantial number of “pro-choice Catholics” no exist, who openly support abortion rights and artificial birth control. On the national level consider Ted Kennedy, Nancy Pelosi, and Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius who is reported to be in line for a cabinet post.

Mainline protestants are in serious decline. Churches preaching a “prosperity gospel” (being saved will make you rich) are ascendant. Consider the popularity of books written by Joel Osteen and Rick Warren in the past few years.

From the evidence I see, it appears organized religion is losing influence at a fast rate of speed, regardless how many come in the doors on Sunday morning. To me, this is truly losing ground.

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