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Featured Less Than Half of Americans are Church Members

Discussion in 'Religious Debates' started by Left Coast, Apr 2, 2021.

  1. Left Coast

    Left Coast Circular File Complaint Analyst
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    According to Gallup, American membership in a church, synagogue, or mosque has fallen below 50% for the first time since they started tracking the data decades ago:

    U.S. Church Membership Falls Below Majority for First Time

    Researchers link this decline predominantly to an overall decrease in religious affiliation altogether, but also notes that church attendance has declined among those who identify with a religion. Additionally, there is a generational correlation, with older adults much more likely to both identify with a religion and to be a member of a religious organization.

    Thoughts? Other causes? Will this trend continue?
     
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  2. Brickjectivity

    Brickjectivity Veteran Member
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    Church or the nature of Church will change, and only then will we know for sure what is happening. It may be that people are simply hoping for better churches and church alternatives. It may be permanent. Another possibility is that they have found ways of being religious in a way that is being overlooked by surveys. It is entirely possible that people are moving away from religion and that this measure is accurate, but how can they account for so many people? People leave church for various reasons. Without knowing the reasons its difficult to interpret what it means.
     
  3. JustGeorge

    JustGeorge Well-Known Member
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    Just a curious thought...

    Has attendance or affiliation with non Abrahamic groups increased at all in the last decade? It seems NeoPaganism has had a greater reach in recent years, and meeting someone that has taken on Buddhist practices(either formally or informally) is becoming less uncommon.
     
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  4. Secret Chief

    Secret Chief Meghalayan Ape

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    The graph essentially shows a decline since 1945; so I guess the answer is yes.
     
  5. Altfish

    Altfish Veteran Member

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    In the UK it is about 10% - less than half of them are Christian - so just less than 50% is bonkers
     
  6. A Vestigial Mote

    A Vestigial Mote Well-Known Member

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    I believe that access to information of all types has had one of the biggest impacts to religious affiliation (or lack thereof). If you think about it, access to types and formats of information has only been increasing over the last century. And now, in this digital era, we have more at our fingertips than ever before. People are very more often exposed to other viewpoints and perspectives. People understand that there are other religious beliefs from a younger age. People can read from or watch others who have viewpoints entirely opposing their parents' or their own, and weigh for themselves the cogency of it all. The effects of this, I believe, are exactly why certain religious groups (who shall not be named) discourage their youth from attending college, or maintaining friendships with others outside their "flock." And it is happening, instead, on a global scale, at all times. As many pains as the religious among us may feel at this, I can't help but feel it is a very good thing.
     
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  7. sun rise

    sun rise "This is the Hour of God"
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    The survey is interesting but does not speak to causes. Religion which covers a lot of ground including belief in God, attitudes toward the Bible etc get much closer.

    Looking at that report, belief in God or a "universal spirit" remains high although a bit less over time.

    One question I found very interesting: How often do you pray to God outside of religious services? Would you say often, sometimes, hardly ever, only in times of crisis or never?

    2020 - 58% often
    1990 - 49% often

    To me that says that traditional religion is not satisfying what many who believe in God want.
     
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  8. Shadow Wolf

    Shadow Wolf Rival's Wife

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    Good riddance.
    It needs to continue. We live in the 21st century and need to act like it, but in the 19th century America decided to go backwards with religion, declaring We are Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God (title of an actual sermon that was wildly popular) and all we need in life is the Bible, god is going to take his people away before the rapture, and a Biblical literacy that would have considered heresy, perverse, deranged and deluded in past ages became badge of honor.
    It's past time it goes away.
     
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  9. Saint Frankenstein

    Saint Frankenstein Veteran Member
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    They literally just talked about this on the local news just now. "America is still a very religious country, with 7 in 10 Americans affiliating with an organized religion, even if they're not a member of a church".
     
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  10. Left Coast

    Left Coast Circular File Complaint Analyst
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    Seems to be both/and. There is a cohort who have retained belief in some kind of higher power or religious belief but have eschewed affiliation with organized religion, and another cohort who have abandoned all of the above.

    Screenshot_20210402-145821_Samsung Internet.jpg Screenshot_20210402-150108_Samsung Internet.jpg
     
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  11. SalixIncendium

    SalixIncendium अहं ब्रह्मास्मि
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    I think changes in lifestyle have contributed to this as well. As the busyness of lifestyle increases, religious service attendance takes a back seat. I witnessed that growing up in my family, where we went from attending church services weekly, to attending on holidays, to not attending at all. My grandmother ultimately became in charge of my and my brothers' religious education. More kids, more to do, more school activities to bring kids to, etc. equals less time for church.

    I also saw this trend with my ex and her husband. While he is a deacon and still is heavily involved with the church, my ex and my daughter's attendance dropped from weekly to non-existent.

    This is likely also coupled with households where both parents work and have less time for religious service attendance due to what I mention above.

    I do find it interesting that only churches, synagogues, and mosques were mentioned in the article. No mention of temples or private group rituals. I wonder if they're basing this exclusively on Abrahamic faiths. As @JustGeorge already mentioned, there are those that have left Abrahamic faiths for neo-Pagan ones, especially among the millennials. There is also a possibility that they're not accounting for those that left Abrahamic faiths for Dharmic ones.

    And IMO, the trend will continue unless Abrahamic faiths start doing a better job of embracing science. There are still those that are science deniers.
     
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  12. Twilight Hue

    Twilight Hue Twilight, not bright nor dark, good nor bad.

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    I like to think religion is taking on more of a personal approach now and is less community based.

    It seems to work better that way.
     
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  13. MonkeyFire

    MonkeyFire Well-Known Member

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    Knowledge is ignorant, if faith is a bigot, and truly God is love and love created evil for a reason, and that is why the devil got free on my passive-believers.
     
  14. Regiomontanus

    Regiomontanus άντρας των αστεριών

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    Fortunately that does not represent all of Christian churches today (or probably even a majority).
     
  15. Shadow Wolf

    Shadow Wolf Rival's Wife

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    Even the Bible itself just isn't compatible with what we value and treasure today. The Bible is "thou shalt have no other gods" and strict orders to kill anyone and everyone (including family and entire cities) if they go and start worshiping another god.
    Today, on the other hand, we highly treasure and value freedom of religion.
     
  16. Shadow Wolf

    Shadow Wolf Rival's Wife

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    I wonder how much churches and Christians insisting they must meet in person during a pandemic fueled this split?
     
  17. Regiomontanus

    Regiomontanus άντρας των αστεριών

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    The OT can be a bit hard to digest, yes, depending on how one views it.
     
  18. sun rise

    sun rise "This is the Hour of God"
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    I agree with the combination of @SalixIncendium and @Left Coast .

    People are busier now. And organized religion does not meet the needs of today.

    What especially strikes me is a change from my youth. When I was young, it was assumed that Christians would go to a church that reflected their wealth and social standing and would dress up to reflect that standing.

    There were also hotly contested doctrinal differences between various Protestant denominations with of course Catholics and Mormons being significant outliers. Those have faded into the background and even disappeared in a number of cases.

    Then we've had the affect of quite a few scandals involving preachers and priests that have eroded the standing of churches. Who wants to go to a church and listen to someone who preaches with a heart full of fraud and greed.

    And now we have the negative influence of some ministers who choose mammon over God and put political power and a certain ideology over their professed faith.

    I don't know what replaces the crumbling old religious structures but I do see value in people with shared beliefs coming together from time-to-time.
     
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  19. The Hammer

    The Hammer Well-Known Member
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    I think religion is becoming much more personal and much less social oriented. I think this socialization is needed though.
     
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  20. Shadow Wolf

    Shadow Wolf Rival's Wife

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    It has nothing to do with how one views it. The Bible demands, for example, that homosexuals be executed, being so spiteful and hateful about it that it also proclaims their blood is on their hands. Today we let them share equal rights with heterosexuals in marriage. In the Bible, Women who aren't virgins on their wedding night, their parents have to show a bloodied sheet to prove her virginity or she is executed. Today that's not how it works and it's not a crime to have sex before marriage. The Bible also says women are "unclean" when they are on their period and have to go away, or after having a baby, for double the length of time if she gives birth to a girl, and they are even sexually off limits to their own husband. Today we don't give a damn. The Bible condones slavery and regulates it. Today we condemn it and have globally made significant strides towards eliminating it entirely. The Bible says eye for an eye, today we are realizing that gives incentive for more death in the way of killing witnesses to a crime and many have abolished the death penalty (and have seen a reduction of homicides). The Bible also instructs the execution of those who so much as pick up sticks on the Sabbath. Today we're allowed to do whatever on any day we could on whatever other day. The Bible says "thou shalt not suffer a witch to live." Today we have the concept of freedom of religion, allowing people to worship Pagan gods new and old, reclaim reconstructed forms of their ancestral religions, and even call themselves a witch without it being a death sentence. At least in the modern, sane world at least. Abraham's god has to be dealt a very hard blow to severe him from the state to get that far, and not all places have. And be it Jew, Christian, or Muslim, they have all merged state and religion to devastating and bloody ends. Because it is what their "holy book" expects of them.
     
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