Author Topic: US religious membership falls below 50%  (Read 828 times)

Online Hydra009

US religious membership falls below 50%
« on: March 29, 2021, 08:40:33 PM »


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In 2020, 47% of Americans said they belonged to a church, synagogue or mosque, down from 50% in 2018 and 70% in 1999.

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The decline in church membership is primarily a function of the increasing number of Americans who express no religious preference. Over the past two decades, the percentage of Americans who do not identify with any religion has grown from 8% in 1998-2000 to 13% in 2008-2010 and 21% over the past three years.

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Church membership is strongly correlated with age, as 66% of traditionalists -- U.S. adults born before 1946 -- belong to a church, compared with 58% of baby boomers, 50% of those in Generation X and 36% of millennials.
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Still, population replacement doesn't fully explain the decline in church membership, as adults in the older generations have shown roughly double-digit decreases from two decades ago.

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Over the past two decades, declines in church membership have been greater among Eastern residents and Democrats. Still, political independents have lower rates of church membership than Democrats do.  The smaller declines seen among conservatives and other subgroups are largely attributable to more modest change among older generations within those groups.
Liberals are, unsurprisingly, least likely to attend religious services and conservatives most likely, with moderates splitting the diff.

Both coasts are much lower than their Southern and Midwestern counterparts, though all four regions dropped significantly.

Interestingly, people who aren't college graduates are slightly less likely to attend than college grads.  That's certainly a reversal of expectation.  Maybe it's related to either age or income.

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The U.S. remains a religious nation, with more than seven in 10 affiliating with some type of organized religion. However, far fewer, now less than half, have a formal membership with a specific house of worship. While it is possible that part of the decline seen in 2020 was temporary and related to the coronavirus pandemic, continued decline in future decades seems inevitable, given the much lower levels of religiosity and church membership among younger versus older generations of adults.
So covid might've skewed these numbers somewhat - with people avoiding large religious gatherings like the...well, you know.  But the overall trend is a significant decline in religious affiliation/attendance.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2021, 09:10:57 PM by Hydra009 »

Re: US religious membership falls below 50%
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2021, 09:16:20 PM »
Satan's havin' his way with this here country!
We 'new atheists' have a reputation for being militant, but make no mistake  we didn't start this war. If you want to place blame put it on the the religious zealots who have been poisoning the minds of the  young for a long long time."
PZ Myers

Offline SGOS

Re: US religious membership falls below 50%
« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2021, 04:18:55 AM »
They don't mention that the drop off might be due to more people expecting supernatural claims to be backed up by actual evidence.  Also, I'd be interested in knowing how much the bigotry, dogma, and immorality in churches turns people off.  Could it be that more people are thinking for themselves as the country slides toward anarchy.  I would think such issues as these have some affect on people's disassociation with churches.  But the polls don't seem to address such 'why' questions.  I'd also be interested in the Pope's explanations, and even Pat Robertson's. I'd be more interested in the explanation than the raw data.

Or maybe I shouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth.


Online Hydra009

Re: US religious membership falls below 50%
« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2021, 01:02:52 PM »
They don't mention that the drop off might be due to more people expecting supernatural claims to be backed up by actual evidence.
Do people go to church expecting supernatural claims to be backed up by evidence more than in the past?

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Also, I'd be interested in knowing how much the bigotry, dogma, and immorality in churches turns people off.  Could it be that more people are thinking for themselves as the country slides toward anarchy.  I would think such issues as these have some affect on people's disassociation with churches.  But the polls don't seem to address such 'why' questions.
Right, because it is much much harder to find out why than what.  It's like the difference between reporting that covid cases have gone up and why they've gone up.  The latter requires a lot more knowledge.

I can tell you my experience, which I'd imagine is a typical millennial experience.  Dragged to church, wasn't super religious, but accepted this stuff at face value.  Eventually read fiction (and later, pro-skeptic books) critical of religion.  Meanwhile, the methodist church I was going to was looking less and less appealing - the Pastor was old and unwell and his female subordinate led services for a while.  Caused quite a stir, though I didn't understsnd why at the time.  Later on, some "guests," started distributing all-Republican "voter guides" at services and there was some big stink about whether or not gay people can be pastors with the brass voting no.  The politization and values dissonance really bothered me.  At the same time, the pro-skeptic community got much larger and vocal, and made increasingly more sense.  Long story short, I came to the realization than I'm an atheist and utterly irreligious.

Nowdays, that old church has gotten kinda megachurchy in temperment without getting physically bigger - if that makes sense - and has a decidedly old congregation.  Last I heard of the "United" Methodists, they were contemplating a schism.  I would say that I got out at the right time, but the right time was the very beginning.

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Or maybe I shouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth.
No, you absolutely should ask questions.  Knowing why is much more important than knowing what.  Just understand that no one really knows the why completely.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2021, 01:10:54 PM by Hydra009 »

Re: US religious membership falls below 50%
« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2021, 02:23:33 PM »
We did it. We finally fucking did it

Online Hydra009

Re: US religious membership falls below 50%
« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2021, 02:49:12 PM »
Another factor that I didn't touch on before: religious fruitcakes.  The absolute worst spokespeople ever.

I dunno if these people just came out of the woodwork in the past couple decades or if I was just blissfully unaware of them, but these people were everywhere online as soon as most people in the US got broadband and even make it to high office with some regularity.  They come up with absolute craziest stuff I've ever heard in my life, and despite all reason, somehow these people attract huge followings.

These people are absolute wrecks of human beings - fuddy duddies who think everything new and popular is satanic, lunatics who legitimately thought the world was gonna end in 2011, hardcore traditionalists who want the US to go back to how things were in the 50s, and theofascists who legit want to topple the government and impose an Iran-like theocratic state.

Pat Robertson is a prime example of a religious fruitcake.  I have no idea why anyone ever asks this guy for advice or his hot take on the issues of the day - do you really think he's knowledgeable about evolution/creationism or has any expertise in marriage counseling?  A golden retriever could do a better job fielding these sorts of questions.

When creationism was still a hot issue, one loon with some very forgettable name went on television with a big picture of a crocoduck as if that was some slam-dunk argument against evolution.  It's this stunning picture of complete cluelessness and fanatical conviction, unhindered by reality in any way.  And it makes a horrible impression.

When religious people come here or talk to a mixed group, what's the first thing they say?  Some variation of "I'm religious, but I'm stupid/crazy" (like those people)

I don't think religious people fully grasp just how toxic and off-putting religious fruitcakes are.  My pastor gave sermons every Sunday on some theme - mercy, forgiveness, humility, etc - and it was some really good stuff (and he had to cut out a lot to get to it).  And over the years, his congregation declined dramatically.  Meanwhile, some megachurch pastor is spouting nonsense from the hip and just citing the Bible in an attempt to give it authority - and it's a packed house.

What kind of future comes from that?  Politically polarized congregations, anyone with any self-respect dipping out, and a severe existential crisis (what are we trying to accomplish at church?).  They need to get a handle on it quick if they expect to have any significant percent of the population going to church in 2100.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2021, 03:08:43 PM by Hydra009 »

Re: US religious membership falls below 50%
« Reply #6 on: March 30, 2021, 04:49:16 PM »
Pat Robertson is a prime example of a religious fruitcake.  I have no idea why anyone ever asks this guy for advice or his hot take on the issues of the day - do you really think he's knowledgeable about evolution/creationism or has any expertise in marriage counseling?  A golden retriever could do a better job fielding these sorts of questions.

"Oh, wearisome condition of humanity,
Born under one law, to another bound;
Vainly begot, and yet forbidden vanity,
Created sick, commanded to be sound."
--Fulke Greville

Offline aitm

Re: US religious membership falls below 50%
« Reply #7 on: March 31, 2021, 08:01:48 AM »
I have always held, and still do, that if you want to turn people away from religion, be more so than they are. Or, at least pretend to be. Nothing ruins a religion quicker than extremism, which scares the shit out of everybody, and opens the whole can of worms to simple observation and reason, and quickly to conclusion.

Religious nut jobs do a better job of destroying the whole of their argument by being the face of it.

If billboards started going up with gods more outrageous claims people would be stunned at the verses their “leaders” rarely if ever, use.
« Last Edit: March 31, 2021, 08:03:37 AM by aitm »
A humans desire to live is exceeded only by their willingness to die for another. Even god cannot equal this magnificent sacrifice. No god has the right to judge them.-first tenant of the Panotheust

Re: US religious membership falls below 50%
« Reply #8 on: April 02, 2021, 09:46:58 PM »
Maybe people actually started reading the Bible? I hope this trend continues!
God Not Found
"There is a sucker born-again every minute." - C. Spellman

Online drunkenshoe

Re: US religious membership falls below 50%
« Reply #9 on: April 03, 2021, 10:04:41 AM »
It's good news! But a bit too pink for my understanding.

So they've stopped attending regular churches and started attending various kinds of conspiracy theory groups then? They are the hypermodern religions. Just not defined as religons yet. The politically correct filter will define them as opinions or life styles. Options are abundant and pretty colourful, wouldn't you say? 

You guys think reading the bible would help people appreciate secularism? This is an optimist thread. I say, they are still not reading the bible but because it is not nearly abhorent, bloody...you know juicy enough. That's why. Empathy is not a natural trait for religions and religious people. Bad stuff there is never something about religous people themselves, it never happens to them...it is all about the undesirable others, remember? That's the whole point?

Having said that, this is just some piece of news, right? Not some major hot topic there right now? Because I'm thinking the orange could actually try founding a church with his coming back plan. "America has abondoned churches totally...it is baaad...they know it and want it...I'm telling you... we will found a new church. Awesome church...Totally awesome...It wil be great..." I'm not kidding...Noot kidding at all.
"I believe you find life such a problem because you think there are good people and bad people. You're wrong, of course. There are, always and only, the bad people, but some of them are on opposite sides." Havelock Vetinari

Offline SGOS

Re: US religious membership falls below 50%
« Reply #10 on: April 03, 2021, 10:22:51 AM »
Undoubtedly, many of these people that have dropped out of churches are still religious.  They just no longer say they belong to a specific church.  Some may be doing religion on their own, looking for a better religion, gotten pissed at their church's political positions or whatever, some may have read the Bible, and said, "This can't be right," and some may have realized there is no logical reason to believe a god exists.  The last reason is probably a small percentage, but optimistically it's a move toward more logical thinking.  But I'm guessing that most of the people who got tired of their church's bullshit, are just looking around for new bullshit.
 

Offline SGOS

Re: US religious membership falls below 50%
« Reply #11 on: April 03, 2021, 10:30:22 AM »
From the NYT

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The Rev. Henry Torres told his parishioners, who had gathered on Palm Sunday in socially distanced rows of half-empty pews, that God had not abandoned them.  “Even through difficulties, God is at work,” Father Torres said. “Even when people are suffering, even if it may seem that God is silent, that does not mean that God is absent.”
Bla, bla, bla....

Re: US religious membership falls below 50%
« Reply #12 on: April 03, 2021, 11:18:41 AM »

Re: US religious membership falls below 50%
« Reply #13 on: April 03, 2021, 12:47:39 PM »
Undoubtedly, many of these people that have dropped out of churches are still religious.  They just no longer say they belong to a specific church.  Some may be doing religion on their own, looking for a better religion, gotten pissed at their church's political positions or whatever, some may have read the Bible, and said, "This can't be right," and some may have realized there is no logical reason to believe a god exists.  The last reason is probably a small percentage, but optimistically it's a move toward more logical thinking.  But I'm guessing that most of the people who got tired of their church's bullshit, are just looking around for new bullshit.

Whatever their reasons, ceasing going to church has a way of opening one's mind to the absurdities they used to believe. When you're no longer being brainwashed on a weekly (or biweekly, in some cases) basis, your mind tends to consider things it didn't before. That could result in them becoming atheists later on, or it can result in them just being less shitty Christians.
"Oh, wearisome condition of humanity,
Born under one law, to another bound;
Vainly begot, and yet forbidden vanity,
Created sick, commanded to be sound."
--Fulke Greville

Re: US religious membership falls below 50%
« Reply #14 on: April 03, 2021, 09:37:06 PM »
I don't notice any reduction of kissing gawd's big white ass around here, LOL. I have to skip over like a block of 20 channels of religious programming on our satellite TV service. We got fun-die channels, cath-o-lick channels, the yid-dish channels, oy vey.  Sometimes I will tune in for a laugh. Preachers having heavy right-wing political chats with especially ignorant guests, sermons for the sheeple, predictions of the apocalypse, and lots of semi-bad singing...all with really, really stoopid live audiences.

Can you get more brain dead than this?