One in five Americans reports no religious affiliation, study says

One-fifth of U.S. adults say they are not part of a traditional religious denomination, new data from the Pew Research Center show, evidence of an unprecedented reshuffling of Americans’ spiritual identities that is shaking up fields from charity to politics.

But despite their nickname, the “nones” are far from godless. Many pray, believe in God and have regular spiritual routines.

The study presents a stark map of how political and religious polarization have merged in recent decades. Congregations used to be a blend of political affiliations, but that’s generally not the case anymore. Sociologists have shown that Americans are more likely to pick their place of worship by their politics, not vice versa.

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3 Responses to One in five Americans reports no religious affiliation, study says

  1. Ben W. says:

    What a fascinating article; I've certainly seen this in my own life. And I think the more that churches try to politicize their beliefs, the more this chasm will widen. I'm not sure that my generation will continue to tolerate in the long term the commingling of faith and politics that has been foisted on us by the religious right and the evangelical political movements of the last 10-20 years.

    I want my church to be my church, and my political leaders to be my political leaders. I don't want the lines blurred between the two. I don't care what religion my political leader is, I just want that person making sound governmental decisions. And I don't care how my pastor votes, I just want that person helping me in my walk with Christ. In my mind, those roles are mutually exclusive.

  2. dan says:

    I found this paragraph interesting. It was in the full article and relates to groups of people declaring an affiliation to a certain church: "Now, religion scholars say the decreased religiosity in the United States could reflect a change in how Americans describe their religious lives. In 2007, 60 percent of people who said they seldom or never attend religious services still identified themselves as part of a particular religious tradition. In 2012, that statistic fell to 50 percent, according to the Pew report".

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