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Americans Losing Confidence in Religious Institutions

Americans Losing Confidence in Religious Institutions

Americans are losing confidence in several different areas of community life and media, including religious institutions, banks, television news, public schools, and Congress, according to Gallup’s most recent confidence survey.

This lack of confidence, the lowest since the Gallup poll began in 1973, is hardly surprising, with several of these institutions drawing unwanted attention through corruption, sex scandals, and a strengthening alliance with partisan politics. Religious institutions inspired the least confidence in Americans, mostly due to the perception that Christian churches are often allied with the Republican party.

Author Jonathan Merritt says, “I have concluded that religious leaders need to understand the importance of avoiding partisan politics or they will literally end up preaching to the choir” (Deseret News).

Americans leaving churches that are too political

Other research supports the idea that church-goers will turn their backs on a religion that they believe is too politically involved. While it is common for adults to change religious affiliation at least once in their lives, the largest percentage of adults who change religion are now becoming unaffiliated, rather than joining a new religious group.

The Deseret News illustrates this claim:

“For example, 56 percent of Catholics who are now unaffiliated say they left the faith because of its teachings on abortion and homosexuality. Another 48 percent drifted away because of the church’s position on birth control.”

While the idea of the separation of church and state may make Rick Santorum want to vomit, many Americans resent the invasion of political agendas into their religious lives, and they are not afraid to take action to prove it.

Share your thoughts

Do you have confidence in the integrity of organized religion? How can we work to make politics and religion coincide peacefully? Is a complete separation of church and state the answer? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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203 comments

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6:18PM PDT on May 20, 2014

thanks for sharing

2:41AM PST on Dec 4, 2012

Religious Institutions are just in it for the money....go throug history, study the bible and see how it's been misinterrpetated for ever and mostly so that various religions could control the people and it's through money! Thanks for article!

12:51PM PDT on Oct 3, 2012

Right Pam, I saw that, good move. It needs to be seen by more and more people, especially those who are faithful to these really outdated methods of controlling people.

9:10AM PDT on Oct 3, 2012

Thanks, Michael. I posted this link on Atheists/Agnostic Alliance, too.

12:26PM PDT on Oct 2, 2012

This is a must see video for those folks out there who consider themselves believers and resigned to faith based belief systems.

This is from a bishop. I still don't agree with his insistence that there is a god of his understanding. But he certainly puts to rest many of the defenses religious people use to convince themselves and others. It is quite short but worth the time to listen to it. While he is coming from the catholic point of view, he isn't citing just catholic beliefs here, he is referring to all of christianity.

http://www.upworthy.com/a-bishop-describes-how-the-church-invented-hell-to-control-people?c=upw1

8:21AM PDT on Oct 2, 2012

good. about time fairytales took place where they belong, in books.

3:24AM PDT on Sep 25, 2012

In my opinion--absolutely! Religion is another form of tribalism. Tribalism separates people, isolates them and causes an "us vs. THEM" feeling. Look at the Islam/Israeli conflicts...just as an example.

I don't think Dawkins said "spirituality" is unnecessary....I think he DID say that religion is unnecessary.

"Spirituality" is a term which many use that has a meaning person to them. It's not a word I use because it refers to "spirit" which, as I interpret it....equals "soul." And THAT is a religious concept.

12:22AM PDT on Sep 25, 2012

Is Richard Dawkins right? Would society be better off with no form of spirituallity at all?

7:04AM PDT on Aug 21, 2012

So well said Lee,
you articulate that which often is difficult to express.
I have many good friends of diverse faiths, beliefs and non beliefs. Used as an abrasive or a weapon, even Rationalism can be just as dogmatic and unforgiving as any Fundamentalism the world has seen. "Spirit" does not have to be defined as "wooo--oo--oo" magical/mystical.

Spirituality can even be defined as
the space between parts that we decide are certain,
yet somehow its the glue that holds everything certain together.

3:52AM PDT on Aug 21, 2012

Pam - I would agree with that and I have to say; as a general rule I've found far more compassion, care, empathy, desire to help those in need (including our precious animals), in the non-religious. I consider myself spiritual and I make every attempt to do good things with my precious time on earth. To waste time living life as though it is a conundrum is just taking up space. Making the most of every moment by making a big splash is so much better than making no splash at all.

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