There’s a shift underway:
The polls are in and the news is bad for the Church in America. Christianity is on the decline, Americans have given up on God, and the “Nones”—those who have no religious ties—are on the rise. It is indeed true that parts of the Christian Church in America are struggling, while a growing number of Americans are far from God.
Some of the detail:
- A growing number of Americans have given up on God—or at least on organized religion.
- Pew’s 2007 Religious Landscape study, which surveyed 35,000 respondents, found that about 16% of Americans claimed no religious affiliation. By 2015, that number had grown to 23%, almost one in four Americans.
- In 1967, Gallup found that about 2% of Americans—or 1 out of every 50—claimed no religious preference. By 2014, that number had grown to 16%, or about 1 in 7.
- In 2007, Pew found that about 8 in 10 Americans identified as Christians. That number dropped to 7 in 10 in 2014. Pew also found that less than half of Americans (46.5%) now identify as Protestants for the first time in American history.
- The Pew data demonstrates a consistent and noteworthy increase among Americans who are disconnected from faith.
- These studies show that American religion is in a period of slow decline.
- Pew’s findings have led some to forecast the complete collapse of Christianity in the United States. The data, however, implies a more complex reality. Frankly, there is no credible research showing that Christianity is dying in America despite the flashy headlines we often see.
- Instead, American religion is simultaneously growing and in decline. Fewer people claim to be Christians, but churchgoers—those who regularly attend services—are holding steady in some segments, and thriving in others.
Regardless of the figures, keep in mind that if you wander out for an hour with a friend, praying for needs and sharing the gospel, you just might find a God-prepared person.