Abandonment of Religion Accelerating in USA

By Rosa Rubicondior | 17 June 2022
Rosa Rubicondior Blog

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Belief in God in U.S. Dips to 81%, a New Low

A new Gallop survey shows an accelerating fall in belief in God amongst American adults, and this trend hold true across all demographic grouping, whether age, race, geography of political leaning.

Belief in God is now at it’s lowest (81%) since Gallop started polling on the issue. During the years 1944 to 2011 it had averaged just over 93% (range 92%-98%) but since then it has fallen by 12 percentage points, with half that fall occurring over the last year. To put that another way, the number of people admitting to not believing doubledlast year and now stands at 19% of American adults. An astonishingly high level of belief for an advanced economy, compared to that in most of Europe, but a very encouraging recent trend.

The second chart expands this data into a number of demographic groupings and sub-groupings, but all of them show the same decline between the years 2012-2013 and 2022. The largest declines were in the youngest age-group and those self-identifying as liberal, with a full 10 percentage point fall for the 18-29-year-old age group, so that a little over one third now have no belief in God. This is significant in that they tend to be the age group producing the next generation of Americans and other cohort surveys have shown that religious opinion tends to be fixed during this stage of development and changes very little from then on.

Indeed, they represent an approaching deluge of disbelief to worry all religious denominations. One of the explanations for the fall between 2012-13 and 2022 could be that those who were young in 2012-13 cohort have now been replaced by those who were only 8 years old in 2012 and the former members of this youngest age group are now included in the other demographics. Young Americans are increasingly rejecting religions and are not changing that opinion as they age. This could also account for the relativeoly small drop in believe inthe conservatives and Republican voters, as young people identify more with liberal politics and less with the extreme right, evangelical Christians.

Belief in God declined by 11 percentage points in those who identify themselves as being ideologically liberal. Amongst this group, belief in God is now down to just 61%. This supports the view that religion in the USA tends to be strongest in those with a conservative ideology, although it is not easy to demonstrate causality – is their conservatism caused by their religion or are they religious because they are ideologically conservative? Some of smallest declines are to be seen in the conservative (-1%) and Republican-voting (-3%) demographics.

Although education is generally thought to reduce belief in a god, the same fall (-5%) was seen in both college educated and non-college educated Americans, although the 6 percentage point differential between college graduates(now 78%) and non-college graduates (now 84%) was maintained.

The final chart shows that, despite the evidence showing no significant difference made by prayer, many Americans who believe in God also believe it listens to prayer and actively intervenes in events. Not surprisingly, these tend to be found amongst the conservative, right-leaning regular church goers. Of those who attend church weekly, an astonishing 74% believe God actively intervenes in response to prayers, a view shared by 50% of those who attend church most weeks and 28% of those who seldom or never attend church. 28% of those who seldom or never attend church say they do not believe in God, an, strangely, 1% of those who attend church weekly don’t believe in God. Presumably, they only go to keep the peace in their family. Similarly, 3% of those who attend church most weeks don’t believe in God.

All in all, these figures are very encouraging and support what has long been apparent – that Americans are slowly but surely losing faith in favour of rational humanism. It also supports the view that religion in America is increasingly being identified with the political right. The Republican Party is now almost wholly the party of right-wing fundamentalist Christianity – a philosophy which is being increasingly rejected by the young. The Republican Party, for short-term electoral gain has irretrievably tied itself to a declining demographic and put itself on the road to extinction.

Rosa Rubicondior (a pseudonym) is a retired data analyst, biologist, blogger, author and atheist.

Roundtable: Why is America losing faith in God? | Rush Hour

Gallup Poll – Belief in God in America Decreased by 6% in Last Five Years

Growing number of Americans are leaving organized religion

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