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Importance Of Religion in US On The Decline

by | Mon, May 29 2023

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The importance of faith in the lives of Americans is on the decline, but those who still attend religious services say they’re optimistic about the future of their house of worship.

That’s according to a new report from the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI).

It found just 16% of respondents said their faith is the most important part of their lives, down from 20% a decade ago.

The report titled Religion and Congregations in a Time of Social and Political Upheaval surveyed more than 6,600 adults from all 50 states.

PRRI  CEO Melissa Deckman said the data reflected a trend that “Americans are becoming increasingly likely to become religiously unaffiliated.”

That was most noticeable among Catholics and mainline Protestants, and less so among Evangelicals.

24% of respondents said they previously followed a different faith tradition from the one they practice now — mostly leaving Christianity or religion altogether. In 2021, only 16% said they had changed religions.

Among those who’ve left a religion more than a third were formerly Catholic.

Despite the deep political divides in the US, 56% of respondents did not believe their own church is more politically divided than five years ago.

Ms. Deckman says that this could be due to sorting that has already taken place because people tend to affiliate with congregations that align with their political beliefs — in part to avoid conflicts they experience in broader society.

PRRI found Christian congregations are still largely racially segregated in the US even though the nation as a whole is becoming more racially and ethnically diverse. The vast majority of Christian churchgoers reported their congregations are “mostly monoracial.”

“There’s essentially a kind of a paradox happening. There are more people in America who are becoming less religious, but those who still go to church on a regular basis, they still seem to be pretty happy with what’s happening in their churches,” said Ms. Deckman.

Meanwhile, another poll has found the United Kingdom has one of the lowest levels of religious faith in the world.

King’s College London’s Policy Institute found belief in God has plummetted over the past 40 years, from three-quarters of respondents to just under half.

Just 37% of Gen-Z believed in God. That belief fell below 60% for the first time for the oldest generations.

Only five of 24 surveyed countries had lower levels of belief than the UK.

Christian Today notes they were China, Sweden, Japan, South Korea and Norway.

The proportion of atheists surged from just 4% to 21% over the past 40 years.

Belief in life after death remained constant at just under half the British population.