August 27, 2015

10 facts about religion in America

It’s a fascinating time for conversations about faith in the United States, with Pope Francis set to visit next month, a presidential election on the horizon and major trends reshaping the country’s religious landscape.

Changing U.S. Religious LandscapeOne of the most important and well-documented shifts taking place over the past decade is the steadily rising share of people who are religiously unaffiliated – from 16% in 2007 to 23% in 2014. As journalists and others gather in Philadelphia for the annual Religion Newswriters Association conference this week, here are 10 other things we’ve learned from our recent research:

1Protestants no longer make up a majority of U.S. adults. Closely tied to the rise of the religious “nones” is the decline of Christians, including Protestants. The U.S. has a long history as a majority Protestant nation, and, as recently as the 2007 Pew Research Center Religious Landscape Study, more than half of U.S. adults (51.3%) identified as Protestants. But that figure has fallen, and our 2014 study found that 46.5% of Americans are now Protestants.

2Religious switching is a common occurrence in the U.S. Depending on how “religious switching” is defined, as many as 42% of U.S. adults have switched religions. That definition counts switching between Protestant traditions, but even if Protestantism is regarded as a single group, about a third of Americans (34%) identify with a different religious group than the one in which they were raised.

3There is a wide range of racial and ethnic diversity among U.S. religious groups and denominations. Seventh-day Adventists, Muslims and Jehovah’s Witnesses are among the most racially and ethnically diverse U.S. religious groups. The least diverse are the National Baptist Convention, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.

4Catholics Views on Global WarmingBefore Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment was published in June, U.S. Catholics’ views of climate change mirrored those of Americans overall – including major partisan divisions. While six-in-ten Catholic Democrats say global warming is caused by humans and that it is a very serious problem, only about a quarter of Catholic Republicans feel the same way.

5In a typical week, about one-in-five Americans share their faith online. This is about the same as the number who tune in to religious talk radio, watch religious TV programs or listen to Christian rock music.

6Americans have continued to become more supportive of same-sex marriage. Aggregated data from 2015 polls show that fully 55% of U.S. adults favor same-sex marriage, which is now legal nationwide following a Supreme Court ruling in June. That represents a rise of 20 percentage points over the last decade or so. Among the major religious groups, White evangelical Protestants are the least supportive of gay marriage (24%), while those without any religious affiliation are the most likely to favor allowing gays and lesbians to wed (82%).

7Religious freedom or discrimination? A 2014 poll found Americans are divided on the question of whether wedding-related businesses should be allowed to refuse service to same-sex couples for religious reasons, with 47% saying businesses should be able to refuse service and 49% saying establishments should be required to serve same-sex couples.

8On another hotly debated social issue – abortion – Americans’ views in the last two decades have largely held steady. A majority of U.S. adults (55%) continue to say abortion should be legal in all or most cases. At the same time, four-in-ten say it should be illegal in all or most cases.

9Frequency of religious service attendance remains a strong predictor of how people will vote in elections. In the 2014 midterm elections, exit polls showed that those who attend worship services at least weekly voted for Republicans over Democrats for the House of Representatives by a 58%-to-40% margin. Meanwhile, those who never attend services leaned heavily toward Democrats (62% vs. 36%).

10Christians continue to make up an overwhelming majority of members of Congress (92%), compared with 71% of the general public (as of 2014). At the same time, while 23% of U.S. adults are religiously unaffiliated, only one member of Congress (Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz.), or 0.2% of that body, claims no religious affiliation.

Topics: Abortion, Catholics and Catholicism, Christians and Christianity, Evangelical Protestants and Evangelicalism, Gay Marriage and Homosexuality, Religion and Society, Religion and U.S. Politics, Religious Affiliation, Religiously Unaffiliated, Restrictions on Religion

  1. Photo of Michael Lipka

    is a senior editor focusing on religion at Pew Research Center.

72 Comments

  1. Anonymous5 months ago

    You have good and bad none believers and believers but believers of a god tend to live in the belief a god will save them even if it means the destruction and death of everyone else. Noah being a good example. Unlike none believers want to feel it is us and now that are to save us and our planet. Slowly society is starting to take the blinkers off and reveal the true evil that has had society held captive for so long.

  2. LCC JUDA ALVAREZ10 months ago

    LA IGLESIA ROMANA HA PERDIDO GRANDES CANTIDADES DE FRLIGRESES EN TODO EL MUNDO Y HA DEJADO DE SER UNA OPCION PARA LOS PRACTICANTES RELIGIOSOS PARA ENCONTRAR SU FE

  3. CLIFF STIWALD12 months ago

    Clicked on Religion out of curiosity & found the subject to be surprisingly interesting, but just shy of Spock’s ‘Fascinating !’. May religious denominations do not consider other denominations to be “officially recognized’ religious organizations. Good to see you do. You may find that a handful of Christian denominations hate the sinful deed, but not the individual performing it. Although they will ‘disfellow’ a fallen member from the congregation; they will lovingly try to help the sinner overcome the sin through scriptural principles, metaphors & historical examples. There by hating what Almighty God (YHWH) hates (the sin) and loving what He (YHWH) Loves (the sinner). Of particular interest of those with this particular view is they will not deny a person the free will YHWH gives to all. Rather, it is through freely taking in YHWH’s Word (the Hebrew/Amaric – Greek/Christian Holy Scriptures) and comparing it with their life experiences, world history & the improvements in other people that the Holy Bible inspires beneficial personal change.

  4. Fr Dave Lewis12 months ago

    I’m an Orthodox Christian (think Catholic, sans Pope, though I’ve been a big fan of the last 3 popes) with way too much education.

    I believe the Scriptures are God-inspired, profitable for understanding God and our relationship to Him, even though it is not a science or history textbook.
    I believe the Universe is probably about 20 billion years old.
    I believe that human activity is affecting the climate.
    I believe that very little of the violence done in the name of religion is actually done for religious reasons. Religion is often used to mislead and mollify but wars are fought over money, power, scarcity, etc. I want what you have and it’s easier to convince my neighbor to help me take it and kill you if I tell him God’s on our side, or that God doesn’t like you. Pure evil. Not pure religion.
    I believe evil wrapped in religious garb is maybe the worst kind of evil.
    I do not believe that everyone who disagrees with me is going to hell.
    I do not believe that atheists are irrational. Known too many smart ones.
    I do not believe that atheists are immoral. Known too many good ones.
    I do not believe that atheilsts are insensitive to beauty. Known too many beautiful ones.

    I also believe that many people my age and younger are leaving churches because they think you can’t be a Christian and believe many of the things above.

    1. Noreb Al12 months ago

      I agree with you.
      However, I would say that people of any age are leaving the so call Christian churches because they do not teach what True Christianity should be ,according to what Jesus Christ actually taught as described in the Bible.
      Unfortunately,most of those who leave their churches, do not search for True Christianity, Jesus said : ” Keep on seeking and you will find ” also ” You will find the Truth, and the Truth will set you free ”

      Most people inherit their religion from their parents without verifying if their beliefs are in harmony with the Bible. It would be similar to a person that receives from his parents a check for one million dollars, but he is afraid to take it to the bank because the check may bounce, so he keeps it and eventually gives to his son, and so on.

      The best way to do this search is to study the Bible, then search for an religious organization that follows the Bible. Jesus’s words affirms that such organization exits.

    2. Schloemer10 months ago

      Well put!!

    3. Anonymous4 months ago

      While I respect your views very deeply, you are in no way a Christian. If the book is divinely inspired, it is inerrant, and you can’t cherry pick it based on modern common sense. Don’t reframe a myth that belonged to the infancy of our species that can’t be believed by a thinking person to your own liking and call yourself a Christian. You’re just a good person hesitant to leave supernatural nonsense behind. We don’t need to believe the unbelievable to treat each other well…leave Yahweh and Jesus with Thor and Zeus where they belong…sorry, it’s just time.

  5. James Christenson12 months ago

    Oh, I see now. The blog is censored.

    Meaning the comments are not a reliable guide to people’s reactions.

  6. Ron Black12 months ago

    While no one person can prove god doesn’t exist, science just makes him unnecessary. Albert Einstein.
    God is becoming more of a social club for victims of early brainwashing, somewhere to belong. Higher education is the key. As the numbers of nonbelievers climb, so the research and sciences clmb.

    1. Noreb Al12 months ago

      Did you know that well known scientist like Newton were firm believer in God

      1. James Silva12 months ago

        Noreb Al wrote “Did you know that well known scientist like Newton were firm believer in God”

        So? Does this prove something?

        Newton was also an Alchemist and he was an Arian Christian (affirmed that Christ is not truly divine but created) and had that fact been known at the time he lived he likely would have been murdered for it.

        And – Did you not know that Religions have brow-beaten and tortured non-believers through the ages such that Newton gets a pass on being Religious because of the social pressures of his time (pressures that still exist today, although less violently in some parts of the world, not so much others).

        Several US states still have laws on the books that expressly forbid non-believers from holding office (these laws were made defunct by a SCOTUS ruling but most Americans don’t even know they are unenforceable). There is a lot of bigotry and discrimination against non-believers even still — although the tide is slowly turning ‘atheist’ is still used as a pejorative.

        The maltreatment of Galileo Galilei in the hands of the Church is well known (despite their far-too-little-too-late and backhanded apology) but what may be less well known is that Galileo got off easy compared to Giordano Bruno who was murdered by the Church. Copernicus suppressed his research due to the church, Campanella was tortured by the church repeatedly for supporting Galileo, Rene Descartes suppressed his research due to Galileo’s treatment, Tycho Brahe, Johannes Kepler, Edmond Halley, Isaac Newton, Georges Louis Leclerc Comte de Buffon, William Buckland, Charles Lyell, Louis Agassiz, Adam Sedgewick, Robert Chambers, Charles Darwin… all scientists whose work was negatively affected by the actions of the Roman Catholic Church against the progress of science (any science that made them look wrong).

        Do you think these pressures did not have an affect on people’s decisions? Once you have a significant number of people are fanatical about this kind of thing the rest of them just go along (hello Nazism, many otherwise GOOD people, a majority of them Christians, were swept up in something horrible).

        So yeah, I don’t think this is a very good line of argument to be making.

      2. Julie9 months ago

        Yes god is life

    2. Jk12 months ago

      If God exist or not is irrelevant, in the day we have to face our own humanity and die. While I am alive I can deny God, reject him and mock him but What happens after I die is the only important thing. I rather die, and be wrong having refused the scientific belief that there is not God, than be surprised with reality on that great day when God will call everyone to judgement, even those who made fun of him. I have nothing to lose by believing that there is a God in heaven.

      1. Poorchini12 months ago

        And what if the god you choose to believe in doesn’t exist. But there is another god to whom you didn’t worship. And because you didn’t worship the right god, your soul is forever damned. It is easier and makes more logical sense to not worship any god, or believe in any god. Do what you believe is right, treat people the way Jesus would have treated them, and I doubt you’ll go to hell if there is a god. And if there isn’t, well, you helped make the world a better place.

        1. Graham11 months ago

          Well said. I wouldn’t want to meet a god that would send Ghandi, MLK, or Mother Theresa to hell for “guessing” wrong.

  7. T. Dobbins12 months ago

    Homosexual couples cannot procreate. What does that say about the natural order of human life?

    1. Dyshpo12 months ago

      being gay doesn’t make one infertile .

      1. James Christenson12 months ago

        Since when have two gays reproduced with each other?

        1. Moreno Al12 months ago

          I agree with you. But it is a 100% effective method of birth control.

  8. Ann S12 months ago

    Read the Bible John 3 verse 16.

    1. John12 months ago

      And 3:17. Without it, 3:16 can be and is misused.

  9. Masereka Solomon12 months ago

    Religion is a disease affecting good developments by humanity, people need to take religion or anything related to faith as ignorance.

    commenting from uganda.

    1. Greenie12 months ago

      Applause. Couldn’t agree more.

    2. Reed12 months ago

      Atheism is a disease affecting good developments by humanity, people need to take atheism or anything degrading faith as ignorance.

    3. Noreb Al12 months ago

      You must be very religious by your own definition

  10. Art Dolin12 months ago

    The most notable stat is the growth of “None” now reaching almost one in four Americans. The tragic circumstances of child rapes coming to light as a 2000 year privilege for clergy; the continuing religious wars in the Middle East; the loud screaming of the Evangelicals who have no room in America for anybody else.

    Recent studies have tested the concept of “God’ itself and of the various religions. Coming to the attention of people are the concepts and facts being at odds with each other.

    A refusal to accept science when it differs from religious “truths” is worrisome to people who wish to make decisions for ourselves and for our government on facts rather than religious concepts that contradict facts. Evolution is a prime example. And so is global climate change.

    Finally, there is a growing realization that religions are responsible for hundreds of millions’ people’s deaths through constant wars, pogroms, and the spreading of religions by the sword and NOT by persuasion.

    The internet has its influence, opening minds via greater access to studies plus interacting people and discussions.

    Look for the “nones” to incresae to about 30% in the next 10-15 years. Greater freedom, fewer “untouchable” subjects.

    1. Christopher D12 months ago

      I think this post hits the nail right on the head!

  11. Harley Doerfler12 months ago

    Just thank you

  12. Tom Fletcher12 months ago

    The big problem among evangelical Christianity is sheer and rigid fundamentalism. This has seeped in and risen to the surface in the prevailing religious landscape. This has much to do how we come to view the scriptures. For fundamentalists the scriptures are a dogmatic deliverance of divine information that Must be accepted as a rule book and has become authoritative in all the topics it mentions (even the outdated ones). A good study study can derive this view has driven a wedge and has become clearly ineffective over time. A salient and lucid view of the Scriptures should be to see and study the sacred texts as a way to glorify God and form the people of God into the image of Christ.

  13. Sandy Hines12 months ago

    Many people who drop out of formal religions have opted for basic spiritual values instead of constricting man made rules. They believe in God and have love and compassion for all humanity. they feel a oneness with God,they meditate and pray for peace on earth. They are not listed in your percentages but I believe they constitute a large part of the population. We are a silent majority.

    1. Tim12 months ago

      No, you’re not the “silent majority.” The Unaffiliated category clocks-in at 22.8%, which is shy of the 25.4% for Evangelical Protestants (to say nothing of the other denominations).

    2. Tracy12 months ago

      I think those, like you, are formally counted in the Unaffiliated column. I’m assuming that atheists are also in the group, but it doesn’t address that in this article.

    3. Dieter Von Steuben12 months ago

      To claim that you are part of a “silent majority” is a rather interesting, if totally baseless, claim to make.

    4. Dustin Bennett12 months ago

      I love when people go on about organized religion, as if making up your own god is somehow less delusional than accepting someone else’s made-up god. It’s still thinking invisible men will fix your problems. Meanwhile, the real world continues to go to pieces, while the faithful ignore real problems and keep dreaming of a magical realm that will never contribute anything to humanity. The sooner humanity realizes that reality is all we have, the sooner we can stat shaping a better reality. There is no such thing as magic, period.

      1. Jacob Trueman12 months ago

        Absolutely. Those who consider themselves to be spiritual sadden me, as they have awakened enough to see the flaws in organized religion, but still cling to the fundamental buffer from reality that organized religions offer.

      2. Norebal12 months ago

        You must be referring to ” Organized false religion “

  14. Wayne Smith12 months ago

    Sorry to hear there are still a lot of delusional believers in the supernatural over there in America. That probably explains why you owe trillions of dollars. Religious people are dumber than atheists according to all the research done on the subject. This is why the wealthiest nations are the most atheist and have the lowest rates of crime. Hopefully the religious people will eventually die off and be replaced by rational freethinkers.

    1. bob robert12 months ago

      brilliant.

      belief provides nothing other than an illusion to support a delusion.

    2. Brandon12 months ago

      Apparently your “research” may be flawed…..
      washingtonpost.com/news/speaking…

      1. Bo12 months ago

        Your reproducible problem is indicative of your fundamental lack of understanding of how science works. The reason why you can type this comment on the internet through a computer is because science evolved to enable you to. Along the way to developing your laptop and the internet many scientists made mistakes, research was flawed, and papers were published that were later were found to be wrong… but as a whole the science continued to self correct and evolve… technology advanced. There is a fundamental belief amongst the scientifically illiterate that a scientist making a mistake makes science as a whole “wrong.” So a scientist making a claim that is later refuted by other scientists somehow makes his whole field wrong. This is an absolute fallacy. You wouldn’t even know the difference if there weren’t other scientists to tell you so in the first place. As more is discovered more knowledge is gained. I would much rather have a self correcting process where the latest and most correct information is followed than an archaic system that never evolves. Knowledge that doesn’t advance with our knowledge isn’t knowledge… it is tradition and refusing to accept new knowledge as it is gleaned from a preponderance of the brightest minds on earth is an arrogance that only the religiously blind could fathom. Next time you are in the surgical room I hope the doctor asks you if you would like to go with the surgery that most scientists think will save your life… or refuse it because somewhere along the line a researcher made a mistake. I wish there was a scientific method for religion or a peer reviewed system… or at least the acknowledgement of “hey we were wrong good job to the new guy that expounded and corrected on my work” from the religious crowd… oh wait… that’s right, you can’t. If science was “flawed” like your religion you wouldn’t have the capacity to read this and you would still be worshiping whatever natural phenomenon happened to be going on in your back yard. Try telling the guy that makes your car that science can’t be “replicated” *sigh* I quit adult life. I’m terrified that our educational system even produces this sort of thought.

    3. Thomas R12 months ago

      Many atheists really are pumped up on their own intelligence. (Then they, meaning only those atheists who say this kind of guff, get all huffy when being called “arrogant” or “condescending.”)

      Exempting Communist nations atheism is something you’ll see more in affluent societies and affluent societies will be better educated or have less malnutrition issues that could effect development. Also atheists are often going to be people who were not raised in that viewpoint and it might take some strength/intelligence to go your own way.

      But take a nation where atheism is often multi-generational, say Sweden or Japan or maybe even France, and I’m skeptical atheists come out any more intelligent. (They might in France as many of their theists are immigrants from poorer nations)

      Plus the religion itself may matter. I think it’s often been more Fundamentalistic and/or anti-intellectual denominations that score poorer. Polish kids did better in the PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) test then the French or most Scandinavians. An exception being Finland, but some sources indicate Finland might be a bit more religious than many of the Nordic lands. True there are highly atheistic nations that did better than Poland, but Poland is a fairly religious nation that scored well. (Pew disputes that they’re an especially religious nation, but Pew is at variance of polls on this and the percent of Catholics in America. Polling on religion might have greater flaws)

      But atheists online seem to prefer a rational-atheist vs Fundamentalist dichotomy so things like Quakers or Jesuits may confuse the poor dears.

    4. Reed12 months ago

      Atheism is the least logical or rational religion in the world. Hundreds of millions of people have experiences with the divine every day. There are more people having experiences with God daily than who watch the World Cup final. Everything we believe, that we do not have personal experience with, is from the testimony of others. They have the experience, share it with us and we expand our knowledge. The atheist’s only evidence there is no God is that they do not want to believe. It is illogical, irrational, and living in complete la la land. They never want to know about the experiences or how strong or how miraculous they just don’t want to believe. Atheism given full sway is not utopia but Hitlers vision of the perfect world after he eliminates all the undesireables had has full power over other people’s lives.

      1. Annie12 months ago

        Feelings (such as the so-called god experience) are valid experiences, but they are not an accurate reflection of any external reality nor a legitimate way to assess its nature.

        The reason I do not believe in gods is not because I “do not want to believe” but because there is no evidence for one and a great deal of evidence against it. I have probably spent more time in investigating the question than most, in my 56 years of life because it seems to me to be one of the most important questions for humanity to answer. In fact, I was a believer for many years and it was not until I began to study my own religion in some depth that I realized that the Judeo-Christian god is just as much a myth as any other. It was an enormous shock, and not a welcome realization at all. However, I’m not the kind of person who wants to believe just because I like the fairy-tale. I want to know what is true.

        Atheists can and do experience a sense of wonder of the beauty of the universe and a connection to all life without needing to believe that there’s an invisible supernatural agent behind it all.

        1. Noreb Al12 months ago

          Have you wondered who made all those bleatiful that you admire and enjoy so much?

      2. James Silva12 months ago

        Dear Reed,

        Hitler proclaimed himself a Catholic repeatedly and exploited the antisemitism of a largely Catholic people to his destructive ends. However much you might want to disbelieve that Hitler was a Catholic that is fine — but you cannot deny the religiosity of the German people who carried out his instructions nor should you ignore the deep Christian antisemitism of the time. Or at least you do so at the peril of being clearly unaware of what you are talking about.

        He also praised Martin Luther as a great reformer (in Mein Kampf, this is all very easy to verify) – Martin Luther was also the author of a work titled “On The Jews And Their Lies”. See a pattern here? I highly recommend you go read “On The Jews And Their Lies”, it is quite a piece of work.

        Hitler viewed himself as the next great reformer of the Church and set out to remake it in his image: “Gott Mit Uns” worn by Nazi soldiers means God With Us.

        Also you should read the Spanish Requirement of 1513 (El Requerimiento). This document was read aloud in Spanish to **non-Spanish** speaking people throughout the Americas before the mass murder of their people would begin and all their property being stolen.
        >>>
        But if you do not do this, and maliciously make delay in it, I certify to you that, with the help of God, we shall powerfully enter into your country, and shall make war against you in all ways and manners that we can, and shall subject you to the yoke and obedience of the Church and of their highnesses; we shall take you, and your wives, and your children, and shall make slaves of them, and as such shall sell and dispose of them as their highnesses may command; and we shall take away your goods, and shall do you all the mischief and damage that we can, as to vassals who do not obey, and refuse to receive their lord, and resist and contradict him: and we protest that the deaths and losses which shall accrue from this are your fault, and not that of their highnesses, or ours, nor of these cavaliers who come with us.

        Meanwhile, your Bible ordains chattel slavery where non-Israelites could be beaten and passed as inherited property forever:

        Lev 25
        44 “ ‘Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves. 45 You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property. 46 You can bequeath them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life, but you must not rule over your fellow Israelites ruthlessly.

        So you’ve lost all moral authority right there because you cannot categorically declare all slavery and indentured servitude as the immoral abomination that it clearly is. Both Jesus and Paul are unable to raise their voice against that which the OT has ordained merely pleading for us to obey our Masters.

        Then there are the repeated genocides commanded by God – especially 1 Samuel 15:3 Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy all that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.'”

        Most Christians go into denial at this point. Props to William Lane Craig however for owning up to the atrocities in the Bible — he implores us instead to think of the poor Israelite soldiers who were forced to murder all those women, children, and infants.

        And he is right — if the Bible is true and everything God commands is GOOD by it’s very Nature then God commanding genocide and infanticide is GOOD.

        I’m sorry if I just cannot bring myself to join you in sharing that moral code.

        “There are more people having experiences with God” — yeah but which God.

        The Hindu’s experience their various Gods, the Muslim’s experience Allah, the Christians experience Yahweh.

        And while millions of Children are starving to death, their prayers brutally and painfully unanswered, some guy implores God to help him find his car keys and “experiences God”, another wins a Football game, another makes it home drunk without killing anyone. Do you have any idea just how insulting that is to our intelligence much less our humanity?

        So yes, we think there are better explanations for all the data than these things being pointers to the ontological reality of your God.

  15. Bob Albury12 months ago

    Haters of religion offer nothing better. Faith gives hope, purpose for something beyond ourselves, There are more people in religious services every Sunday than those attending all the sports events in the country.
    The hater gets the media ‘s ear because they scream the most.
    I believe in Jesus Christ as do many of my friends no poll or haters will change that.

    1. TedS12 months ago

      One can refute the credibility of organized religion and still believe in something bigger than oneself. Example: The Scientific Method.
      Science offers the capacity to create a better life for all of humanity. Hope for longer life, health, and better understanding of the universe.
      How many wars have been waged in the name of God? How many in the name of science?

      1. Thomas R12 months ago

        “Science” has rarely been the state ideology of any state. (Although maybe a few Communist ones claimed science was their ideology. But then again it’s not like Communist nations were peaceful.) Science is more of a tool or method than any ideology or belief. Hammers, in and of themselves, are almost certainly less a cause of wars than democracy. That doesn’t make hammers good and democracy bad. It’s not comparing like to like.

        Further, on the state ideology matter, name a religion that has not been a state ideology and you’ll find few or no wars done in their name. This is true, I believe, even of controversial faiths like Scientology or Jehovah’s Witnesses. It’s possible that in the last century more people have been executed by democratically elected governments than have died from the Jehovah’s Witnesses. (And I’m not JW at all)

        But also science has, in fact, been a justification for horrific abuse. The Tuskegee experiment, Mengele, etc. And pseudoscience still more.

      2. Noreb al12 months ago

        You forgot to mention who invented all those wonderful weapons used by religious people to kill each other

        Were the First and Second World Wars , Korea ,Vietnam ,the Gulf,etc, caused by religious people.?

        History shows that in reality human governments have used ” false religion ” for their own selfish gain. Why is that in many countries religious organizations have special privileges, tax free property,not income tax,etc.
        ” False religion ” returns the favor blessing their arms, promising soldiers special ” blessings ” if they die , even providing spiritual help in the worldly wars of the nation.

        Did you know that during the ” Cold War ” between USA and the Soviet Union, one main differences between the two power was that U.S. Was the Christian nation, the godly nation while the Soviet Union was the ungodly, the atheist nation that promoted a better way of life without God.
        ” Religion is the opium of the people ” was their creed. Evidently in the U.S. they are gaining a good number of converts without shooting one bullet

        When the Pope visit the U.S. Will he do it as the Head of a Church or as the Head of a State ? Try to separate those two.

        The sooner people realize that the Government can not function without False Religion, and False Religion can not exist without the protection of the Government, the sooner they will see the real picture

    2. Jn12 months ago

      Just because we don’t have the ultimate answer, that doesn’t make your fairy tale correct.

      If fairy tales make you feel better…then believe them.

      I gave up on those as a child. My momma doesn’t read bed time stories anymore. Maybe yours does. Or maybe you get your bedtime stories on Sundays with everyone else who still likes fairy tales.

    3. toughmindedatheist12 months ago

      Here’s the thing, or at least, MY thing: I have no problem with YOU believing whatever it is YOU believe. I just don’t want it in the government sector of our political construct. As far as I can determine, you actually want Christianity to pervade all of our government, from the local to the federal level. I “believe” (ironically) that is what you want in your heart of hearts. Can you deny this?…I didn’t think so. Yet you scream excessively if anyone criticizes Christianity to any extent, or your interpretation of it. It’s the same old thing I encountered growing up as a Catholic going to parochial schools for 12 years: The priest would preach about persecution of Catholics the world over…my god the sky was falling!…and it didn’t happen. Were there pockets of persecution in the world, of course there were. But now there are more Catholics in the world than ever before. What persecution?! Catholicism is just one flavor of Christianity, but taken as a whole, Christians don’t have anything to worry about. In fact, you’re the bullies. In America, you are 70% of the population and scream like you are a minority. Please. You are totally intolerant of other religious or non-religious beliefs, and this doesn’t look like it’s going to change, ever. So give the rest of us a break from your hysterical clamoring. You won’t gain any more converts or good will if you don’t.

    4. Dieter Von Steuben12 months ago

      Bitter Christians are interesting to observe. Most curious to watch is how they rant about “haters” when they themselves have some of the deepest hatred, as we can see here. Even more so is how they continue to rage about how a “poll is not going to change us.”

      Well obviously, research is not meant to change anything, it is simply meant to document simple facts. Curious how the theist we have here, between rants, is trying to push its fables and stories as somehow offering purpose and hope. I find hope in books as well, but it isn’t something I take anywhere as serious as theists do. I find far more hope in watching good deeds done by my fellow humans, done without threats from some imaginary friend.

    5. Rhonda Shotwell12 months ago

      “There are more people in religious services every Sunday than those attending all the sports events in the country.”

      I don’t have statistics on that, but I think you are wrong. Have you watched American football? Superbowl? The churches would love to have that many congregants every Sunday!

    6. g waltluv12 months ago

      “Faith gives hope, purpose for something beyond ourselves”- So, in other words, faith is adult pretend time.

  16. StrongAndTasty12 months ago

    With the Unaffiliated gaining about 1% per year in the past 7 years, it is only logical to assume that the Unaffiliated will make up the majority of this country about 3 decades from now.

  17. RJ12 months ago

    Would PEW have age breakout, and looking at Millennials would shed some light on future trends.

    1. Michael Lipka12 months ago

      RJ:

      Indeed, we have looked at generational breakdowns of religious affiliation. This Fact Tank post from May looks at Millennials in particular: pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/0….

      There is much more in our major report on the U.S. religious landscape: pewforum.org/2015/05/12/americas….

      Thanks for your comment and your interest in our research.
      Michael Lipka

  18. RJ12 months ago

    Where would a Unity church or spiritual center fall? Under unaffiliated or non-christian, or somewhere else?

  19. will mattsson12 months ago

    I’m an atheist and a citizen since birth. I’ve never missed an election: presidential, gubernatorial, city mayor – not one since I attained voting age. And I’ve never been polled on my voting habits, my religion, or my views on sex. I’m 73. I just wonder how much polls in general really miss stuff with such seemingly small sampling of the population at large – despite all the statistical extrapolation.

    1. James Silva12 months ago

      will — sample size is a huge problem in these polls because they make many false assumptions. The sampling method and formula they use works ok for fruit flies that have either brown or red eyes — you can count a random population of flies and extrapolate from that and get a really good idea of the total.

      But when you take concepts that are not really binary and treat them AS IF they are, you get nonsense results. You might get in the ballpark when the questions are very cut-and-dried but religious belief is so messy and people don’t even know what they really think that trying to extract information from it is going to be fraught with pitfalls.

      That’s why you have PEW polling and saying that 14% of ATHEISTS believe in God: pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2013/1…

      Polling is so broken that it’s well-known and little-discussed that exactly how you ask the question, exactly which words you use, and the order in which you ask questions influences the results.

      So take polls with a block of salt, especially when the numbers are below 20k polled on anything that isn’t extremely cut-and-dried. Most polls only contact about 1000 people and call it a day.

      PEW is pretty good and well-intentioned I think. But polls are good science, misapplied in areas beyond where the method is really demonstrated to be effective.

  20. Mikki Mack12 months ago

    The worse thing about religion and it’s evangelicals born-again is their attitude – they are like former smokers and recovering alcholics or drug users – they keep talking about how great things are over and over and over again and again until they turn people off of whatever it is they are talking about – they are the ones who are making the percentage rates go down – they turn people off plain and simple

    1. Jack12 months ago

      So you’re saying recovering alcoholics, smokers, and drug users, should not be happy about their recoveries? Interesting. Which are you? As an ex smoker, who is catholic, I certainly feel good about my life choices. I’ll try not to turn others off. What good is it to love those who love you? Even hypocrites do that. Love those who do not love you and wish them well. I wish you well and hope not to turn you off.

      1. Dieter Von Steuben12 months ago

        As an ex-smoker myself, I do not go around preaching about how I kicked the habit or harp on others who continue to smoke. When I smoked, I regarded people who did such things as annoying and bothersome, who did more harm than good for their cause. I would even smoke more around said people, or even exhale at them in order to give them the hint that they are unwanted. Now that I’m done smoking? When I’m around other smokers, I simply let them enjoy their habit, and only get on them if they do something like light up in my car or apartment.

        Jack, long story short? You missed the point by a mile.

  21. Celiene O12 months ago

    Only non-theists should be able to be in Congress. Religion is ruining this country. All religions are cults.

    1. ScienceABC12312 months ago

      Got it. Only people who believe as you believe should be allowed in Congress. So an oligarchy. So much for a government of and by the people.

      1. jimbo12 months ago

        Yes, you will remain open to all the ignorant crap your masters will impose on you, all the hate and lies they use to harm as they attempt to convert others. The problem is with you believers you will believe anything as long as it’s framed as doing if for gods, as those gods are non-existent supernatural beings. That’s why the fools all listen to fux, your authoritarian leaders, full of lies and hatred intended to dominate our democracy.

        1. Thomas R12 months ago

          Have you ever met a religious person? In my faith, Catholic, there’s plenty of people who criticize even the Pope. (Any Pope, not just this one.) And there are religions; Druze, Zoroastrians, most Amish, Judaism to some extent, etc. that outright discourage or forbid preaching to draw converts.

        2. Kay12 months ago

          The United States is NOT a democracy. It’s a REPUBLIC.. If you don’t believe me, just recite the Pledge of Allegiance.

          1. Noreb Al12 months ago

            You need to check you dictionary
            A republic can be democratic or undemocratic
            Republic is in the category as Kingdom ( Head of gov: King ), Empire ( Head: Emperor).
            In a Republic the Head is the President. If the President is elected by people; then the Republic is Democratic.

            The USA is a Republic whose President is elected by the majority of the people. The USA is a Democratic Republic.
            ” For the People , by the People “

    2. Jay Michael12 months ago

      haha-ha…oh you’re serious…….. that’s sad.

    3. Jason12 months ago

      Religions don’t have any power, but religious people do.

      If you think that one’s religious beliefs can’t influence their politics in any way, how do you propose distinguishing between beliefs that are religiously influenced and those that are not? And why does the distinction matter?

      Separation of church and state does not mean “religiously-influenced beliefs and opinions” can’t influence one’s politics.

    4. Sarah12 months ago

      Agree. All organized religion is just following men’s ideas of God. Which is pretty much the definition of a cult.