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New Pope Or Not, Americans Are Losing Their Religion

Society & Culture  (tags: americans, children, culture, education, ethics, family, freedoms, media, religion, rights, society )

- 1920 days ago -
The number of Americans who claim no religious affiliation has more than doubled since 1990, study says.

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Kit B (276)
Thursday March 14, 2013, 4:13 pm
Image Credit: Alternet

A new survey shows religion in America hit an all time low last year, with 20 percent of respondents saying they have no religious affiliation.

Researchers at UC Berkeley and Duke University publicized their analysis of the biannual General Social Study this week, showing the number of non-religious Americans more than doubled since 1990, when just 8 percent of poll respondents claimed no religious affiliation.

It’s important to note that irreligion is not the same as atheism. As researchers point out, the survey language carefully distinguished between “no religion” and “atheists,” a label only three percent of respondents chose to identify with. In fact, 59 Americans said they definitely believe in God.

"One thing striking is the trend in terms of renouncing religious affiliation you might say continues to move up at a regular pace, while there is hardly any perceptible trend in the percentage of people who express atheist or agnostic beliefs," Claude Fischer, a UC Berkeley professor, told The Huffington Post.

The study also cross-examined religious and political affiliation, showing a sharp discrepancy between liberals and conservatives regarding organized faith. 40 percent of liberals claimed “no religion,” as opposed to 9 percent of conservatives. According to the study’s authors, this follows a trend that’s been growing since at least 2000, when Fischer and his colleague Mike Hout, found that “a growing alliance between the leadership of conservative religious denominations and politicians promoting a conservative social agenda was pushing political liberals from conservative denominations away from organized religion.”

The study also found that more Americans in the Northeast (23.9%) and West Coast (24.9) chose no religious affiliation than the Midwest (18.7%) and South (14.6%).

By: Steven Hsieh | alternet |


Angelika R (143)
Thursday March 14, 2013, 6:19 pm
No surprise! Teaers, pack your bags. That study is saying it all!

pam w (139)
Friday March 15, 2013, 2:37 pm
The fact that people are FINALLY ''coming out'' as atheists is so gratifying to me! That and the emergence of understanding/acceptance of same-sex couples is something I've always LONGED to see and secretly doubted would ever come!

Past Member (0)
Friday March 15, 2013, 2:46 pm
noted thanks

Judith Hand (55)
Friday March 15, 2013, 2:50 pm
Okay, no surprise here, either. I suspect that the questions in the survey may have been geared toward whether or not someone attends a church, synagogue, mosque, etc. One trend I have noted since being more active on care2 is folks who label themselves "spiritual" or "religious". Many of them might call me "religious", though I'd say "spiritual" because it involves my spirit, a relationship with God's spirit. Most others who say "spiritual" seem to mean something having to do with the universe, doing what one feels good about at the time, something kind of ethereal. None of this is new, though. "Relgious" has definitely come to have a negative connotation.

Dot A (182)
Friday March 15, 2013, 2:52 pm
Actually, the statistics could be interpreted in a very positive way; and that is to see the lines of our differences fading, and the unity of our spirituality uniting. God isn't a definable term, after all, and letting our prejudgments fall away allows for a greater acceptance of less strict interpretation, less dominated organization, less punitive understanding, of what we actually have come to believe about 'true religion.' Humanity evolves in spirit, and the organizations of religion will not stand forever without adaptation to our world of information and awareness. A new concept of religion is emerging, - and it takes a deconstruction before the re-construction. Compassion remains the core of any such group. Perhaps - We are at a corner stone,...

JL A (281)
Friday March 15, 2013, 3:30 pm
I've read many articles that assert the hypocritical aspects of Biblical directives vs. conservative political policies are a primary factor driving spiritual people away from organized religion. These data indicating that group are disproportionately progressive is consistent with those assertions.

Kit B (276)
Friday March 15, 2013, 3:31 pm

Dot, that is a unique and maybe the positive take on this I have seen. Thanks for sharing your ideas.

Kit B (276)
Friday March 15, 2013, 3:47 pm

** most positive***

I'm a little confused by that JL - are you saying that progressives are less religious or that progressives are more inclined to believe a more universal interpretation of biblical texts?

Alice C (1797)
Friday March 15, 2013, 4:22 pm
I can't afford the gas money to drive to church. I pray at home and donate food, furniture and clothing to local people who are in need.

Kit B (276)
Friday March 15, 2013, 4:27 pm

That my dear friend Alice is honest and charity as only one human can give to another.

ilja c (48)
Friday March 15, 2013, 4:46 pm
Word” spirituality” has become a fashion last 20 years. Spirituallity, simplified, is awareness of our’s own being and surrondings, under the condition of basic knowledge . Religion is faith in God, the truth, through the action accordingly. /Hence, term with Platon /.Religion teaches us generosity and forgiveness, unfortunately, in conflict with current behavior.
Consequently, if You believe and You are spiritual, You're the best human- although not baptized.

Yvonne White (229)
Friday March 15, 2013, 5:36 pm
Organized religion can be a dangerous thing (ask any Aztec!;). I never saw a church whose members were not, in some way, I just said no. I've read about almost all religions & I like the Earthy spirituality of paganism & Wicca. My Goddess knows I love her!:)

Kit B (276)
Friday March 15, 2013, 5:39 pm

Indeed she does as she loves you.

Yvonne White (229)
Friday March 15, 2013, 5:45 pm
Now I suppose She'll be wanting that Collection Plate I pawned..;)

Kenneth L (314)
Friday March 15, 2013, 6:06 pm
Finally, an intelligent statement, as given by Dot, 'God isn't a definable term'. Other than some generic big 'being in the sky who is everything pure and good' (and its dichotomy the 'devil' or 'satan' which is mostly the opposite concept of course), God is defined a whole lot of different ways by different people.

I remember a devout Catholic who wagged her finger in my face when we were talking about the definition of 'God' and I gave the usual definition of 'supreme being'. I said "God is the 'supreme being".. She then replied, 'No, God is not the supreme being...God IS supreme being'. So because I included one three letter word, and a cheap one at that (the), she annihilated the existence of 'my' God and made her's the 'real' one. lol

So you can see how fruity humans can be on the subject of God.


Marilyn K (50)
Saturday March 16, 2013, 10:56 am
Many people just do not want to be obligated and enjoy their freedom even when it comes to religion. Everyone believes in something. Athiests believe there is nothing to believe and that is a belief in itself. All of us can probably say we are spiritual which makes us "Spiritualists". There is a catagory for all of us to be part of.

Shana S (3)
Saturday March 16, 2013, 12:12 pm
Europeans are even more non-religious than Americans. It's odd that the Roman Catholic church's headquarters are in Rome, since most Italians aren't religious at all (from what I understand).

Theodore Shayne (56)
Saturday March 16, 2013, 12:53 pm
Religion is one of the things holding us back. There is a golden universal code of behavior that expects moral and ethical rectitude and not the arrogant materialistic, hedonistic turpitude that is so pervasive to our global culture. Religions may claim they are the way but if history and behavior are any indicator some of the biggest genocides; mass murders; rapes and every violent rapacious negative action has been justified by the priestly and warrior castes of the various religions and sects in the name of this god or that one. We glorify these heroes as exemplary of human nature. The sad truth is that we have all been misled into thinking that god loves violence and materialism. Achilles for example was a violent; sadistic, self-centered sociopath yet we call him a hero. Should we not instead be holding in the highest example men like Tesla whose thinking and inventions could have changed the world if not for the myopic avarice of J.P. Morgan and the rest of the robber barons?
Losing religion is a necessary evolutionary step but each and every one us must aspire personally to be responsible and to take a higher road than the one that is normally taken by homo sapiens. Homo sapiens means intelligent or wise man. Chimpanzees and Bonobos are our closest relatives. If we are the dominant species then why do we behave like our lower cousins? No priest or rabbi or imam can intercede with a higher being for you nor can they offer absolution or promise you heaven. It is your behavior that will determine where you wind up in the grand scheme of things.
Our behavior so far has been for the most part that of the survivor; or the opportunist who ruins the planet for the rest of us while enriching himself/herself.
The universe is a much stranger place than we realize just as our concept of reality is found wanting when we are faced with its true reality.
Losing our religion and our prejudices is a necessary step. Just as nature and the universe abhor an empty space we must fill deposed religion's empty space with direction and actions that are responsible, beneficial, positive and proactive. Responsibility and intelligent thought must preclude our actions. It is never easy but we must attempt it and when we fall as we all will do we must be willing to make amends and to try again and again and again until we get it right. Our nature at this point is vengeful when it should be forgiving and while we are evolving we kill the very planet we live on.

Kit B (276)
Saturday March 16, 2013, 1:02 pm

Well said and I thank you that excellent analysis, Theodore.

mag.w.d. Aichberger (34)
Saturday March 16, 2013, 2:42 pm
> number of U$-Am's who claim no religious affiliation has more than doubled since 1990
Yep. But even if number of U$-Am's who give up their delusion doubles, and doubles again, US would still be off the spectrum in religious fundamentalism.
US= "probably more fundamentalist than Iran", it is " off the spectrum in religious fundamentalism... [polls indicate] that about a third of [US, 2011] population believe that every word of the bible is literally true... some Rep. head-of-committee on environment [John Shimkus (R-IL)] explaining We don't have to worry about GW because God promised Noah that there wouldn't be another flood. " -- Noam Chomsky, Bridgewater, 2011


Lois Jordan (63)
Saturday March 16, 2013, 5:26 pm
Well, I'm always glad to see an article like this. The "fundamental" fragments of all religions take an obnoxious & unwavering stand supporting zealous actions, often detrimental to most of society. This is further exacerbated by their patriarchal positions. That's a major reason I left the Catholic church....and never going back. I'm so much happier now; as are my kids. I think many of us are also hard to categorize. While I believe in an afterlife, I bow to no god. The Golden Rule was taught in my home, along with kindness and charity. I think when people are forced to learn religion "by rote".....the problems begin.

Past Member (0)
Sunday March 17, 2013, 5:12 pm
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