Americans and religion increasingly parting ways, new survey shows

16

Religious affiliation in the United States is at its lowest point since it began to be tracked in the 1930s, according to analysis of newly released survey data by researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, and Duke University. Last year, one in five Americans claimed they had no religious preference, more than double the number reported in 1990.
UC Berkeley sociologists Mike Hout and Claude Fischer , along with  Mark Chaves of Duke University, analyzed data on religious attitudes as part of the General Social Survey, a highly cited biannual poll conducted by NORC, an independent research institute at the University of Chicago.

Results of the survey – which looked at numerous issues, including attitudes about gun ownership and how tax dollars should be spent, and is funded in part by the National Science Foundation – are being released now and in coming weeks.

On American attitudes toward religion, UC Berkeley researchers found that 20 percent of a nationally representative group reported no religious preference. That’s a jump from 1990 when all but 8 percent of Americans polled identified with an organized faith.

”This continues a trend of Americans disavowing a specific religious affiliation that has accelerated greatly since 1990,” said Hout, lead author of the study.

Hout and Fischer are authors of the General Social Survey study that in 2002 first identified a rise in the number of “unchurched.” They are careful to distinguish the survey category of “no religion,” which means individuals who are not part of an organized religion, from “atheists,” who do not believe in God and made up just 3 percent of those interviewed last year. Meanwhile, just 8 percent of those surveyed said they were raised with no religion.

Written By: Science Blog
continue to source article at scienceblog.com

16 COMMENTS

  1. “They are careful to distinguish the survey category of “no religion,” which means individuals who are not part of an organized religion, from “atheists,” who do not believe in God and made up just 3 percent of those interviewed last year.”

    careful – why careful? Are they going to offend someone if they use the wrong category? Surely not…

    in God – surely that should be in a god… Christians, even ex ones, still seem to believe that their religion is the only one people can deny…

    PS

    Can somebody PLEASE tell me why my BBC license fee is going towards this complete waste of time…

    Smoke Watch

    “Smoke Watch”… I ask you…

    • I dozed off watching masterchef and woke to see the channel changed and the announcement. Poping doesn’t get much tougher than this. A right winger from Germany, then one from Argentina is there a connection? I’m expecting a boy from Brazil next time.

      In reply to #1 by Dr Bob:

      “They are careful to distinguish the survey category of “no religion,” which means individuals who are not part of an organized religion, from “atheists,” who do not believe in God and made up just 3 percent of those interviewed last year.”

      careful – why careful? Are they going to offend someone if they use the wrong category? Surely not…

      in God – surely that should be in a god… Christians, even ex ones, still seem to believe that their religion is the only one people can deny…

      PS

      Can somebody PLEASE tell me why my BBC license fee is going towards this complete waste of time…

      Smoke Watch

      “Smoke Watch”… I ask you…

      • In reply to #8 by headswapboy:

        I dozed off watching masterchef and woke to see the channel changed and the announcement. Poping doesn’t get much tougher than this. A right winger from Germany, then one from Argentina is there a connection? I’m expecting a boy from Brazil next time.

        How long do you think it will be before he pokes his nose in about the Falklands…

    • In reply to #1 by Dr Bob:

      “They are careful to distinguish the survey category of “no religion,” which means individuals who are not part of an organized religion, from “atheists,” who do not believe in God and made up just 3 percent of those interviewed last year.”

      careful – why careful? Are they going to offend someone if they use the wrong category? Surely not…

      in God – surely that should be in a god… Christians, even ex ones, still seem to believe that their religion is the only one people can deny…

      PS

      Can somebody PLEASE tell me why my BBC license fee is going towards this complete waste of time…

      Smoke Watch

      “Smoke Watch”… I ask you…

      There is a categorical difference between atheists & and no-religion. Atheists are part of the no-religion bracket, but so are agnostics, non-denominationals, new-age, etc. It is dishonest to claim that they’re all the same & gives us a better picture of the state of religion. It shows that people have not turned to atheism, but they are abandoning their religion, because of disillusionment.

      • In reply to #12 by adiroth:

        In reply to #1 by Dr Bob:

        “They are careful to distinguish the survey category of “no religion,” which means individuals who are not part of an organized religion, from “atheists,” who do not believe in God and made up just 3 percent of those interviewed last year.”

        careful – why careful? Are they going to offend someone if they use the wrong category? Surely not…

        in God – surely that should be in a god… Christians, even ex ones, still seem to believe that their religion is the only one people can deny…

        PS

        Can somebody PLEASE tell me why my BBC license fee is going towards this complete waste of time…

        Smoke Watch

        “Smoke Watch”… I ask you…

        There is a categorical difference between atheists & and no-religion. Atheists are part of the no-religion bracket, but so are agnostics, non-denominationals, new-age, etc. It is dishonest to claim that they’re all the same & gives us a better picture of the state of religion. It shows that people have not turned to atheism, but they are abandoning their religion, because of disillusionment.

        I totally agree – I was being facetious, comparing the ‘outrage’ of an agnostic being called an atheist (before going back to watch the latest Brian Cox documentary) with the more violent outpourings from our religious brothers and sisters…

        Abandoning the dark religion you were born into is a vital first step and can be extremely emotional or indeed dangerous for many people – but deliverance from the forces of woo altogether can be a step too far for some folks, at least initially.

        Either way, any step in the right direction should be encouraged and these brave souls deserve our support.

    • In reply to #1 by Dr Bob:

      in God – surely that should be in a god… Christians, even ex ones, still seem to believe that their religion is the only one people can deny…

      It does make a comment about the biases people who drew up the survey!

      I think in the USA there is still a great deal of regular bigoted hate-preaching against atheists which is uncritically soaked up by sheeples.

      “Smoke Watch”… I ask you…

      Is that cannabis smoke, tobacco smoke, incense smoke, or burning document smoke I wonder?

  2. So the trend is holding, I expect it to go exponential in the next five years.
    Like a ball that drops and starts slow but rapidly picks up speed per second per second!

    There seems to be a tipping point in these sociological attitudes, I suggest that it has been passed and the rest is simple physics.

    The BBC is beyond the pale these days, the refusal to invite atheism into ‘Thought for the day’ is a case in point…

    But this is when the so called faith initiatives really work together, cos pragmatically better A faith then none!…apparently!

    A past discussion

  3. Pope Francis I…

    This is what he wrote about gay marriage back in 2010:

    “Let’s not be naive, we’re not talking about a simple political battle; it is a destructive pretension against the plan of God. We are not talking about a mere bill, but rather a machination of the Father of Lies that seeks to confuse and deceive the children of God.”

    So, business as usual…

    • In reply to #4 by Dr Bob:

      Pope Francis I…

      This is what he wrote about gay marriage back in 2010:

      “Let’s not be naive, we’re not talking about a simple political battle; it is a destructive pretension against the plan of God. We are not talking about a mere bill, but rather a machination of the Father of Lies that seeks to confuse and deceive the children of God.”

      So, business as usual…

      Never doubted it!

      It would make no difference whoever got the nod…they are all much of a muchness!

      “He’s as uncompromising as Pope John Paul II, in terms of the principles of the Church – everything it has defended regarding euthanasia, the death penalty, abortion, the right to life, human rights, celibacy of priests. All of this will continue if Bergoglio is made Pope.”

      So we are all aware where this is going!…not far!

  4. In reply to #5 by ukantic:

    Just think in another 50 years time they could end up like us in the UK – mainly atheists, agnostics and people who want their kids to go to the best schools.

    I think a lot of them already are, but are too scared to admit it…

  5. If you think about the Vatican as corporate headquarters for a major multinational none of this comes as a surprise or merits discussion …. Would anyone expect Oscar Mayer to stop selling baloney?

  6. 3 percent, that is so sad.

    Someone should ask the 97% what their god actually does, i.e. what affect the god has on the world which deviates it from the normal conservation laws of physics and principles of biology, chemistry, psychology etc.

  7. Having no religion is one thing, but an atheist – an ATHEIST !!! as Julia Sweeney’s mother exclaimed….

    I think the atheist name-tag is still too toxic in the USA for very many to accept it openly.

  8. I think that people who focus on the low 3% figure are missing the point. Atheism is just the tip of the iceberg; it is the zenith of secularism. And it is secularism that is the goal (at least for now). So long as religious affiliation wanes, then secular values will flourish. Whether they take their secularism to the max and become atheists or not is peripheral to the issue at hand, which is to say the dismantling of religious privilege.

    The number of self reported atheists is probably much lower indeed than the actual number of de facto atheists. This may undoubtedly be due to the ugly “A” word. But so long as secularism, by whichever name you choose to call it, gains more ground, then atheism will have more fertile soil to work with and atheism will follow.

Leave a Reply