Christian commentators and researchers reacting to a recent study on religious demographics in the U.S. say the findings reveal more than is being discussed about the downtrend in Protestantism.
A new religious demographic survey from the Pew Forum asserts that a record number of Americans profess no religious affiliation, and that Protestants are now a minority in America. The study is being widely reported as showing that a growing number of people are rejecting at least organized religion, that Protestants are receding in importance, and that America is becoming more and more secular.
But Mark Tooley, president of the Institute on Religion & Democracy, points out another important aspect of the statistics – one he says is being essentially ignored.
“The study also shows that most of the religious unaffiliated still believe in God and still pray — and although very few have commented on it at all, it also shows that about the same percentage of Americans are still attending church regularly, close to 40 percent, which remarkably has remained the same across 80 years now.”
Tooley says the Pew survey does not mean necessarily that America is going the way of Europe and deserting religion. “I think the study mostly just illustrates the implosion of denominational loyalties and affiliations, especially among the mainline Protestants, but among Protestants and evangelicals as a whole,” he offers. “Even those who are very devout increasingly don’t express any strong loyalty to any particular denomination or tradition.”
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