“…we are rapidly becoming a nation where people are
choosing no religion at all.
We live at a time when there is a mass
exodus from Christian churches, and while it is true that some smaller
faiths are growing, the reality of the matter is that most of the people
that are leaving are remaining unaffiliated. According to PRRI, if you go back to 1991 only 6 percent of all Americans were “unaffiliated”, but today that number has shot up to 25 percent…
In 1991, only six percent
of Americans identified their religious affiliation as “none,” and that
number had not moved much since the early 1970s. By the end of the
1990s, 14% of the public claimed no religious affiliation. The rate of
religious change accelerated further during the late 2000s and early
2010s, reaching 20% by 2012. Today, one-quarter (25%) of Americans claim no formal religious identity, making this group the single largest “religious group” in the U.S.
The most dramatic change during this time period has been among our young people.
If you go all the way back to 1986, just 10 percent of Americans in
the 18 to 29-year-old age group were “unaffiliated”. Today, that number
has skyrocketed to 39 percent.
Here is more from PRRI…
Today, nearly four in ten (39%) young adults (ages 18-29) are religiously unaffiliated—three
times the unaffiliated rate (13%) among seniors (ages 65 and older).
While previous generations were also more likely to be religiously
unaffiliated in their twenties, young adults today are nearly four times
as likely as young adults a generation ago to identify as religiously
unaffiliated. In 1986, for example, only 10% of young adults claimed no religious affiliation.
And just because Millennials claim a religious affiliation of some sort does not mean that they actually go to church.
In fact, a study from the Pew Research Center discovered that only 27 percent of Millennials say that they “attend religious services on a weekly basis”…
The Southern Baptists have lost more than a million members over the last decade, according to LifeWay. Giving and attendance are down, and Baptists are seeing more gray and silver heads in the pews.
Meanwhile, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has seen
its once-enviable U.S. growth rate slow to under 1 percent in each of
the last two years. Mormonism, which grew by just .75 percent in this country in 2017, is barely keeping pace with the growth of the U.S. population (+.71 percent).
Europe has been described as a “post-Christian society”, and we are well on our way to joining them.
One of the biggest demographic trends of our time is that millennials are delaying marriage or not getting married at all. And since there’s a strong correlation between being married and being involved in religion, the fact that fewer Americans are getting married is worrisome news to clergy.
In addition to a decline in marriage numbers, experts also point to the fact that Americans are having fewer children these days…
The number of children a family has is related to the couple’s religious involvement — couples without kids are a bit less likely to be religious. So the fact that fertility is on the decline is, again, worrisome news for organized religion.
It could be argued that churches have always heavily promoted marriage and family, and if young Americans are no longer as engaged in church it would make sense that they put less of a priority on those things now…”