A Pew Research Center report earlier this year found that 29% of U.S. adults say they have no religious affiliation. 32% of those polled by the Pew Research from May 29 to Aug. 25 said they seldom or never pray. According to a study published in November that was led by the Hartford Institute for Religion Research, in-person church attendance has dropped by 12% in the last year and a half, continuing the sharp decline from Covid
Your grandparents and probably even your parents went to church services. In 1967 roughly 98% of Americans said they were members of a church, synagogue, temple or mosque. In 2016 only 55% of Americans said the same, according to a Gallup Poll. And only 29% of people now attend services regularly.
As little as 12 years ago, 77% 0f American adults described themselves as Christian. In 2019, just three years ago, 65% were holding on to their faith and Christian identity.
The fastest growing group is those who believe nothing at all, religiously speaking, now at 30%, according to Pew, and as this older generation of faith passes on, and because Christians now skew older, and the nonreligious skew younger, church attendance has been dropping and will continue to do so unless something changes.
Why is faith and church attendance dropping at such an astounding rate, here and in Europe and Latin America? In the report, some identify scientific discoveries as reasons why they no longer believe. Others dislike organized religion and cite “Christians doing unChristian things” (Christian hypocrisy) as their reason why. The clergy sex abuse scandal, prosperity preachers, and many religious leaders’ anti-gay rhetoric and political preaching are frequently cited as reasons younger persons no longer wish to be affiliated with religion.
Even as the search to answer life’s hardest questions will always be central to people’s lives, they are no longer looking to organized religion for the answers. Instead, many are approaching their connection to God from a more spiritual place than through the vehicle of religion or in a building.