Is America a Christian nation? According to a new report, if it is… it won’t be soon.
A new report from Pew Research Center has some alarming news for Christians: In 50 years, less than half of Americans will be Christian.
But, the report says, another group may constitute a full half of America’s religious makeup: Those who believe nothing at all.
Is America losing its religion?
The researchers at Pew looked at recent trends and extrapolated the four most likely scenarios for the future of faith in America - all of which are much less Christian than things are today.
The religiously unaffiliated - colloquially called the ‘Nones’ - are America’s fastest growing religious ‘group’... if you can call them that. Frequently citing dissatisfaction and cynicism with organized religion, particularly Christianity, America’s young people are switching from Christian to nonreligious at meteoric rates.
Currently, 64% of Americans identify as Christian. ‘Nones’ account for another 30%, and the remaining 6% is made up of all other faiths, primarily Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, and Hindus.
Even at the report’s most optimistic outlook for Christianity, by 2070 only a little over half of Americans will be Christian. Because Christians now skew older and the nonreligious skew younger, the report found that, assuming no person in America has changed or will change their religion post-2020, only 54% of Americans will be Christian in 50 years. More realistic projections, which assume current trends of religious dropoff will continue, show that Christians will make up less than half of the population by 2070, with some projections even putting Christians at just a little over one-third of the population.
Of course, the forecasters say, some events are impossible to predict. Some future event could re-Christianize Americans - or cause further dropoff. A cultural shift could happen, tipping the balance in one direction or the other. But if current trends hold, America will quickly be much, much less Christian.
What is driving Americans away from Christianity?
Losing Our Religion
America’s religious landscape has recently changed in ways that would’ve been unfathomable even a few decades ago. Up until the early 1990s, roughly 90% of Americans were Christian, and only 5% of Americans identified as nonreligious.
When asked, America’s ‘nones’ point to a variety of reasons why they lost their faith.
Some identify scientific discoveries, like evolution or the big bang theory, as reasons why they no longer believe. Others dislike organized religion, and cite “Christians doing unChristian things” as their reason why. The clergy sex abuse scandal, prosperity preachers, and many religious leaders’ anti-gay rhetoric are frequently cited.
Still others just say their faith eroded; They were never extremely religious, and they just fell off.
Whatever the reasoning, secular Americans will likely soon be the majority.
What do you think? Is it good or bad for America’s future that belief in Christianity is dropping? Is it good or bad for America that the religiously unaffiliated will soon be the majority belief in this country? And what impact will that have on American culture?
Is America losing its religion a good thing?