August 24, 2016

Why America’s ‘nones’ left religion behind

Photo of empty pews in a church
(Photo by Raymond Boyd/Getty Images)

Perhaps the most striking trend in American religion in recent years has been the growing percentage of adults who do not identify with a religious group. And the vast majority of these religious “nones” (78%) say they were raised as a member of a particular religion before shedding their religious identity in adulthood.

As part of a new survey connected to our broader Religious Landscape Study, we asked these people to explain, in their own words, why they no longer identify with a religious group. This resulted in hundreds of different responses (after all, everyone’s religious experience is a bit different), but many of them shared one of a few common themes.

About half of current religious “nones” who were raised in a religion (49%) indicate that a lack of belief led them to move away from religion. This includes many respondents who mention “science” as the reason they do not believe in religious teachings, including one who said “I’m a scientist now, and I don’t believe in miracles.” Others reference “common sense,” “logic” or a “lack of evidence” – or simply say they do not believe in God. 

But there are other reasons people give for leaving behind their childhood religion. One-in-five express an opposition to organized religion in general. This share includes some who do not like the hierarchical nature of religious groups, several people who think religion is too much like a business and others who mention clergy sexual abuse scandals as reasons for their stance.

A similar share (18%) say they are religiously unsure. This includes people who say they are religious in some way despite being unaffiliated (e.g., “I believe in God, but in my own way”), others who describe themselves as “seeking enlightenment” or “open-minded,” and several who say they are “spiritual” if not religious.

One-in-ten religious “nones” who say they were raised with a religious affiliation are now classified as “inactive” religiously. These people may hold certain religious beliefs, but they are not currently taking part in religious practices. And most of them simply say they don’t go to church or engage in other religious rituals, while others say they are too busy for religion.

Religious “nones” are by no means monolithic. They can be broken down into three broad subgroups: self-identified atheists, those who call themselves agnostic and people who describe their religion as “nothing in particular.” Given these different outlooks, it is not surprising that there are major gaps among these three groups when it comes to why they left their childhood religion behind. An overwhelming majority of atheists who were raised in a religion (82%) say they simply do not believe, but this is true of a smaller share of agnostics (63%) and only 37% of those in the “nothing in particular” category.

In fact, while this latter group certainly includes many nonbelievers, it also has substantial shares of people who, alternatively, are opposed to organized religion (22%) or who could be described as religiously unsure or undecided (22%). And more than one-in-ten people with the “nothing in particular” label (14%) say they are either non-practicing or too busy to engage in religious practices, compared with zero atheists in the survey and only 3% of agnostics.

Note: The methodology of the recontact survey used in this post is available here.

Topics: Religious Affiliation, Religious Beliefs and Practices, Religiously Unaffiliated

  1. Photo of Michael Lipka

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

399 Comments

  1. Anonymous3 weeks ago

    I tried Christianity but it never worked and I didn’t understand why. When I first read the Bible, I was looking forward to all it’s wisdom but I was shocked at the horrible morals found in the Bible. Prayer never worked for me, even though all the followers claimed it worked.

    I couldn’t put the words together as to why the Bible had immoral teachings and why prayer never worked. Then finally, someone said the words, “All religions are mythologies.” Then I knew exactly why Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Judaism and all religions were fake. They were just like Greek and Roman mythology. All religions are man-made. Fake. Failed sciences.

    The someone asked, “What is more likely, that god made man or that many men, made many gods?” I knew at that point that god is imaginary. Claiming to know a god is claiming the impossible. And no amount of belief makes something a fact. I would rather engage with reality than to live in the world of religious fantasy.

  2. Alexandra E.3 weeks ago

    Being exposed to several different denominations over my life time, with each of them believing different things, led to my first doubts. But, it was really just by using common sense that I just finally admitted to myself that I no longer believed any of it. Many ask whether I had a bad experience in church or with church people, and really, I didn’t. I made many friends in church and was treated well by 99% of the people and all of the preachers/priests. It’s just that my logical mind knows that none of it could possibly be true. And, the more I read the Bible, the more I was convinced that it was ridiculous to believe that it was “God’s word.” I’s wishful thinking, and arrogant of our species to want to believe that we live forever, and will see our relatives again one day. And, later in life, I also realized the harm that believing such things creates. It’s just never good to believe something that simply isn’t true, even if it makes you feel a little better in some ways. It also has created wars, and has led extremists to believe that we’re in “end times,” or that “God is going to smite our nation,” or that “gay people are not born that way and are headed for hell.” The idea that we don’t need to believe science on climate change because we’re not going to be here anyway, or “God is in control.” Denial of evolution, the cornerstone of Biology. I could go on about the harm that religion and belief cause. Our selfish need to “believe” certain things should never cause harm and pain to others. In summary, religion and belief in a “personal relationship” with Jesus or any other deceased person or mythical figure is just selfish, silly, and harmful.

  3. Anonymous3 weeks ago

    Teaching AND Doing – Both are needed to Fully Form at All Ages.

    Joy is More than a few good times and some laughs AND Teaching is More than suffering through long passages summed up with platitudes.

    A Playground can teach more about Christian Ministry than hours kneeling at a pew – though some would see this as blasphemy, where I would say fair and honest sportsmanship builds character where reluctant penance often fall short.

    Focus this Truth on the Young, and the Heart Remembers long after the Mind falters from the cares of Age.

    “Be doers of the word and not hearers only, deluding yourself” – and the Word Will Work in You Too.

  4. Anonymous3 weeks ago

    For African American who were introduced and taught religion by slavemasters, now with our ability read and understand very obvious either their slavemaster GOD has dislike for African American because our social economic status remains significantly below our white counterpart. However our African American goal is to enter heaven at death. A growing number of African American representing baby boomers and the younger generation feel the hypocrisy thus existing traditional black christian churches.

  5. Marie Potempski3 weeks ago

    Express this and teach these very reasons to your children NOW at a young age. Take that list and share it with them. Our children are 9 and 11 and I will share the list with them as per people falling away from the faith. They say instead of being fearful of what may be and hiding truths from your children share with them (based on age and maturity) such fears and it may prevent such behaviors in future. If you hide such truths and do not discuss them the likelihood of such things taking place is greater. God bless.

    1. Alexandra E.3 weeks ago

      And, I tell my religious friends. It does no good to tell them evolution is not true, assuming you’re going to send them to college. Then, it makes them question — what else did mom and dad believe that simply is not true.

    2. Anonymous3 weeks ago

      Absolutely. The command to parents was to teach the children and grand children at home and abroad, while sitting and walking by the way, the commandments of the Lord, the wonders of His works – above reasons tell how miserably parents have failed to do what they were commanded to do and not taking it as a suggestion

  6. Anonymous4 weeks ago

    In the Bible there are historical records of prophesies that have been fulfilled, and some that are being fulfilled today. It also contains written records of those who witnessed Jesus’ life, death, and his resurrected body. He walked, spoke, and ate with his followers after his resurrection!

    Not only do I believe God created the universe and everything in it, but also that he sent his son, Jesus, the Messiah to reconcile mankind to himself. I am grateful for the freedom to believe, worship, and discuss thoughts of God and the Bible without fear of persecution, today.

    However, it does seem rare to find a church where the Spirit of truth is welcome or his power is at work. Perhaps this is the true reason people leave churches: they have not witnessed the power of God. Perhaps they are unknowingly following Paul’s admonition:

    “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.”
    ~ II Timothy 3:5

    It was the Lord who added to the church. Do you think the body of Christ today truly believes in and welcomes the power of the Holy Spirit? Nothing is impossible with God. (Luke 1:37)

    To believers ~

    “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. Whoever hates me hates my Father also. If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin, but now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. But the word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: ‘They hated me without a cause.’

    “But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me. And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning.”
    ~ John15:18-26

    1. Alexandra E.3 weeks ago

      I don’t hate believers. I used to be a believer myself for about 40 years until common sense and logic finally just took over, and I could no longer deny that it was all ridiculous. Most of my older family believes. My younger family members do not, even if some of them won’t admit it I am for freedom of religion as long as the religious understand that they cannot make laws to discriminate against those that they believe certain things about (abominations to God, going to hell, not born that way, or whatever). Your belief is your belief. That doesn’t make it true, and others don’t want to be subject to it.

  7. Anonymous4 weeks ago

    This world’s new religion is science based on concensus and lies. Cosmology is a total lie and it’s even called theoretical. THE BIBLE STANDS AGAINST EVOLUTION AND THE GLOBALE. Yes, earth is still, flat and holds the sun, moon and stars inside the dome. Try to go below the 60 parallel and try to get within 100 mine of the Antarctic and see how fast you’ll be arrested. Why so secret, Oporation Paper Clip, Oporation Fishbowl and see if a gyroscope moves while in a jet or just sitting still as earth “rotates” at over 1000 mph. Why do the stars seems to be in the same area as they ha E been for over 6000 years. Why NASA faked the moon landings? To make the world think space is what it is NOT. Flat Earth is the best tool for evangelism in the last 500 years. Do not let men deceive you… Let God be true. Check out Rob Skiba, Flat Earth Clues and why no GPS past equator over the ocean? Look up Lunar Wave.

    1. Alexandra E.3 weeks ago

      Please. No one worships science, that’s simply propaganda and indoctrination that you’ve been taught. I don’t worship English, Spanish, Geology, Biology or anything else. Those are just simply subjects. They are just facts. “Here’s how you speak spanish, here’s how a cell divides, etc. ” I respect everyone’s right to believe what they choose. But the problem comes in when your indoctrination leads you to believe that I am going to hell, to be tortured for all of eternity. I don’t think that about you, but you think that about me. So, that’s a problem. Religion is simply a problem that does some good things, but also causes some bad things.

  8. Anonymous4 weeks ago

    If people would stand up to the truth of Scripture that evolution and that earth IS flat they would win more people to Jesus. Satan has lied and many people who claim Christmas claim his lies and dicount the scriptures truths.

  9. Virginia M.4 weeks ago

    I’m so grateful to live in the United States where I have freedom from religion guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Constitution. My estrangement from religion happened in waves wherein certain life events drove me towards religious practice and other life events drove me away. It wasn’t just one bad experience, it was several spread out over the course of my life. As a woman, let me say that we have to endure a great deal of sexist nonsense that is spewed in our face in the name of religion. Finally a priest had a conversation with me that was so empty of human compassion that when I walked out of that door, I knew I was never walking back in. If I ever do regain any kind of belief in a higher power, it will be an individual belief. I don’t expect to ever attend a church again.

    1. Anonymous4 weeks ago

      I know exactly how you feel.

      I was raised in a church called Calvary Chapel, and as time went on, I found myself falling away from the faith. I was being told how to worship God, what to believe, and wasn’t getting the help I needed. Basically, it was more of an indoctrination process.

      Thankfully, I found a church that actually represented Christ, and it wasn’t just a place of religion like my previous church.

      I could go further, but I think I’ll stop there. My point is, I know exactly what you’re going through. I’m sorry you’ve experienced what you have.

  10. Anonymous4 weeks ago

    For those of you who want a more rational approach to spirituality, I suggest studying Plato and the Socratic Method.

  11. Anonymous4 weeks ago

    It’s really less that they are leaving God than it is that they are leaving religion. It’s by no means the same thing. Western religion is basically just outdated, and has truly had very little to do with God, ever. It’s most important and cherished tenets have been disproven 1000s of times over. It’s by no means needed in any way, shape or form to be in touch with God, since God is everything, which means you’re never NOT in touch with the concept people call God. Merely realizing that fact is all that needs to happen, but those leaving Western religions will find that out as their next step. It’s all so beautiful to watch.

    1. Alexandra E.3 weeks ago

      I am actually okay with that concept – “God is everything” – because it causes no harm to anyone. I am against any religion that has beliefs that cause any type of harm to others, which is most religions.

  12. Anonymous4 weeks ago

    The Pew research results indicate that the “nones” believe religion to be irrational and the churches to be focused more on fundraising than spirituality. Churches need to focus much more how reason and faith work together to bring humans to their full potentials – as in, for example, Saint John Paul II’s encyclical, “Fides et Ratio” and the importance of science in assisting the understanding of the principles of faith. Science and true faith are NOT at odds and both are necessary parts of Revelation. The second objection to religion is the same that Jesus had to Pharisees of His day, and Moses had to the golden calves of his day. It is as true now as it was then. And despite Pope Francis’ efforts to refocus the Catholic Church on its mission to reveal God in both word and deed as Jesus Himself did, we continue to see sales on Church grounds, gambling clubs, appeals for funds with high administrative overhead, and Church collections which are not themselves tithed to the poor in the community. In such a culture, the remaining Church is merely a social club that may or may not meet in church on Sunday, depending on whether there is an interfering football game!

  13. Anonymous4 weeks ago

    Those Who Believe not in GOD Shall Be Left Behind !

    1. Robert Kezelis4 weeks ago

      Belief. Heh.

      By all means, leave me behind. Please.

      Following believers down a path fueled by irrationality, belief in a two part, badly translated, mostly borrowed, contradictory, collection of fairy tales is hardly a strong selling point.

    2. Anonymous3 weeks ago

      I would much rather burn in Hell than be in Heaven with the likes of Phelps of Westboro infamy or money whores like Jim and Tammy Faye Baker or any of the charlatans preaching on TV getting wealthy, living in mansions, flying in their personal jets, etc. when there are millions of people barely surviving in this once great country!

    3. Alexandra E.3 weeks ago

      You don’t realize it, but your belief is very selfish. The idea that you will be caught up in the air, wave to the non-believers down there and say, “I told you so” while you ride off to heaven, and they are left to experience horrible things. Of course, in your fantasy, you can be exceedingly happy in heaven, even knowing that millions of people who didn’t deserve to be tortured in hell are being tortured for all of eternity for the “sin” of non believing the unbelievable. That’s so very selfish, and it’s based on your fear of dying. But you are going to die, just like everyone else who has ever lived. You are not going to be “caught up in the air” and when your body dies, you’re dead. You don’t have special privileges. You are not gong to heaven, and your enemies are not going to hell.

  14. Anonymous4 weeks ago

    Probably nothing unique in my views, but here goes.

    I don’t know how anyone can observe the universe and not believe in some creative force. Humans are either too young to understand it or it is so far beyond our ability to comprehend that you have to take it on faith. Various religions have been founded in good will with the hope of understanding our place in the scheme of things. All have failed and in the process have created belief patterns that are supposedly requirements to have faith and salvation. Instead,they have become like any other large organization; beauracracies with all the human failings. Having said that, they have also done some very good things in the world.

    Isn’t it a higher faith to accept that there is a plan that is incomprehensible but one that exists? Everything else is just Man’s poor attempt to understand.

    Against the backdrop of billions of years, mankind has existed for a blink of the eye. We tend to view time on a logarithmic scale so we cannot imagine what has gone before and what will come after in a million years.

    So I believe in a creative force that I will never understand or understand my role. Of course, I hope that there is something after life on this planet. I can only play my part, be as good a person as possible. If there is room in the plan for Hitlers, killer tsunami’s and all the people of the world, there will be the appropriate place for me.

  15. Anonymous4 weeks ago

    Lawrence Becht
    I was raised Roman Catholic an have stayed Roman Catholic for my entire life. I totally believe in God as my creator, the loving engineer who planned this incredibly complex universe. He (oh I know how sexist this sounds, but who cares) has been a tangible presence my entire life; I talk with him several times daily and have received graces from him in the form of personal miracles, yes miracles, during my existence. I love Him and adore Him for giving me the life I have had for 90 years.

    1. Anonymous4 weeks ago

      Beautiful testimony!

  16. Anonymous4 weeks ago

    Would Deism be part of the religious group or the unaffiliated group?

  17. Anonymous1 month ago

    John Cleese (Monty Python) stated a couple years ago “The great thing about getting old is realizing Nobody knows what they are talking about.” Religion just adds to the common blather of self righteous opinion I hear swirling about. It makes my brain hurt.

    1. Anonymous4 weeks ago

      Would that apply to Cleese, or does it apply to everyone except him, thus making him something of a god whose revelation consists of telling us that nobody has ever made a sensible statement about the nature of reality?

  18. Anonymous1 month ago

    There’s two things I know. Not think, but know. I personally know these two things. It’s not for debate because they are 100% fact. Two months ago I tried to commit suicide. I suffer from chemical depression. My brain doesn’t make enough of the substances needed to not have this illness on its own, so I take anti depression medicine. They do work, but there are times that through self hatred, which is where my depression takes me I can go lower than the medicine can keep me from. In those instances I know what to do, but as life isn’t perfect and after knowing about my diagnosis in 1989 it caught up with me due to things in my life.

    I simply decided I just didn’t want to be here. I felt that the negative force which was guiding my depression had convinced me that death was better than the pain if felt.

    That is what I know. Yes, I know that that thinking was 100% controlled and guided by Satan. How do I know? Because the last 10 minutes before I took the path to end my life I had only one thing on my mind. Taking my life. It’s humanly impossible to remove everything but ONE THING from a human controlled mind. Try it for any amount of time you choose.

    All things that matter to me ceased to exist in my mind. My son and my wife were distinguished from my mental state. I proceeded to read over the Internet about the over 100 pills of two medicines I had brought to the hotel that I was in. I read that if I took 25 of the pills it would kill me or at least leave me with a permanent physical issue. So I knew I had enough pills to kill FOUR PEOPLE. That being a fact I was more than satisfied that this satanic mission would not fail.

    Well I swallowed the hundred-plus pills, turned on my easy, relaxing music, turned out the light on the nightstand and closed my eyes. I was calm. I only had the pleasant thought not feeling anymore pain. Even when physically my body, my stomach tried to throw-up the pills I pushed them back down. That was my last thought. I was “asleep” within about 5 minutes.

    Well to make a longer description of what happen next shorter I was found about 5 hours after my mission had started. The paramedics couldn’t wake me. I was rushed to a trama one hospital to intensive care. My stomach was pumped because the doctors didn’t know what I took. I left no evidence…no bottles in the hotel room.

    I was put on life-support for two and a half days…I had a breathing tube…a heart monitor to pump my heart…the doctors came out and told my wife that they couldn’t wake me up…that my organs were shutting down…they asked her did I have a DNR, Do Not Rececitate document of which I did. My hood pressure was dropping—60 over 35. Death was a sure thing. It was just a matter of time. Remember, I was priority one in that hospital, yet I was declining.

    Well, there IS ONE WHO HAS THE FINAL WORD. That one is God. At my hands with guidance by Satan I had put the wheels in motion…a motion times four. A guarantee. But it was ONLY by God’s final actions that I am here to share this. No physical issues. No problems. Mental clarity and thankfulness for God. The acceptance of my depression and the 109% knowledge that I needed help. Professional help. Yes I gladly spent a week in the hospital. A psych hospital…then 5 weeks of group therapy for 5 hours a day…then a new therapist who is spiritual based.

    So, each day is a blessing. My reason for being here with a new rebirthday? To spread this fact that there is a God. One God that can step in and do things that only God can do.

    Final point. I AM a walking miracle. I say that because it’s nothing I’ve done. At my hands and final decision you would never have met me. I’m not sure how many religious, spiritual leaders of this world have actually scene a miracle. But I don’t or won’t debate this. I KNOW, not feel, but KNOW 100% that I AM one of God’s biblical miracles.

    Thanks for reading this and please trust that you’ve heard from God through the actions that God took in my road to death that I and Satan chose.

    Thank you God.

    1. Anonymous1 month ago

      Glory to God in the highest!! Thank you for that testimony! His love lifted you and Jesus came chasing after you!! What a honor… you will inherit the kingdom of God! Praise God!

    2. Anonymous1 month ago

      Your beliefs are based entirely upon feelings. Feelings you felt during extreme emotional disarray no less. It wasn’t Satan that led you to do these things, take responsibility for your own actions. It wasn’t God who found you lying on the floor, nor was he the one who transported you to the hospital, or made sure you got healthy again. Those were your fellow humans who wanted to help another fellow human. But do they get any credit? No, not a mention. Instead I have to read about some wonderful spirit you imagine is watching and protecting you always, and how this divine revelation you are now privy to after a traumatic experience can be passed off as inerrant knowledge.

      1. Anonymous4 weeks ago

        First, you did not have to read anything, you chose to, as for the rest…what possible difference does it make to you? This is what he believes, it gives him comfort, who the hell are you to take that away from him? Are you really so insufferably arrogant as to believe that it is your job to “educate” those of us not bright enough to deny everything that we cannot explain? You are most certainly welcome to your opinion, no matter how wrong I may think it is, and you are most certainly welcome to express that opinion…but the assumption that those of us who have faith are somehow lacking your intellect is not just insulting but also blatantly untrue.

        1. Robert Kezelis4 weeks ago

          Considering how often evangelicals try to force their views and policies on the rest of us, I’d say the response was rather benign and accurate. Religion, especially organized religion, poses a clear and present danger to any civilized society.

          1. Anonymous3 weeks ago

            Well said.

          2. Alexandra E.3 weeks ago

            Yes, I agree. He thinks that belief in “Satan” is harmless but it’s not. I agree with him that belief in God and the hereafter can be comforting, but at what price? So, I have mixed feelings, but I think it is always best to err on the side of truth.

    3. Anonymous1 month ago

      Indoctrination. If you were raised to believe in a swan and a goblin in the same roles of God and satan, those would dominate your thoughts. The defensive instinct that you are showing to “rationalize” the existence of your beliefs, just shows those “outside of the bubble” that you are grasping at straws. It is easy to blame the invisible for your own visible shortcomings, but part of becoming an adult is taking responsibility for your actions and behaviours. Only children are allowed to use Santa Claus.

      1. Anonymous4 weeks ago

        Nice job attacking the depressed you two.

    4. Anonymous4 weeks ago

      God Bless You!!!!!

    5. Anonymous4 weeks ago

      Thank you. God is love. We belong to God. God’s Holy Spirit is in us. I’m an active United Methodist in my early years, then a gap in early adulthood. I attended several Methodist churches one time. I was quiet and shy. No one reached out to me. An older Methodist woman told me she’d been praying for me. She died. I moved to work in another city. I had an epiphany in 30 seconds onin an elevator. Thoughts: I’m Biblically illiterate; I need to be active in church. I’ll do that when I get back to Austin. And I did become an active church member. Sunday school, church, Group Bible study, a spiritual retreat. I was back at same church I’d attended 4 years before. I hadn’t liked the pastor or the church service. I was cynical. When I went back 4 years later, a total flip flop. I loved it all–same pastor. I had responded to the Holy Spirit working in me. I wanted to know more. I studied theology

      1. Alexandra E.3 weeks ago

        I don’t have a problem with your beliefs, but the change in attitude was simply that – a determination to do something and you did it. You get the credit for that — it’s you. And, I do agree that being involved in church is very helpful and comforting, and you make good friends who will do anything for you. However, that doesn’t make the Bible true. It doesn’t make the Bible the word of God. Far from it

  19. Anonymous1 month ago

    God – no problem. Core beliefs that affirm all life – no problem. Ethical balance and sanity – no problem. Making a dogma out of it that requires regular meetings and a building – BIG PROBLEM.

  20. Krystal McKinnis1 month ago

    I was raised Catholic until the age of 7 when I refused to give confession for my 1st communion. I didn’t believe that people could deem a man “closer to God ” than others because we don’t know what dwells in his heart and mind. I still attended mass but never felt as though I was any closer to God, actually I felt disconnected and distant in church than anywhere. As an adult I’ve visited many churches, and I walk away feeling empty and in a sense, a bit bitter, I don’t want to be TOLD what to do, or what the preacher THINKS Gods plan for me is, he is a man and man is fallible especially when translating the word of God to others. The Bible has been picked apart throughout the ages, with lost books found, we know this, I can’t help but wonder what else was taken or inserted in order to fit the agendas of dynasties and those in power. I personally believe that God intended for his word to speak to each of us as it applies to our individual purpose and then collectively shared amongst Christians, not for a man to TELL me what to do and how to do it because that’s his interpretation of the scriptures, not MINE. I also believe that if you’re a good person, in your heart, regardless of your beliefs , God accepts you, period.

    1. Anonymous4 weeks ago

      Honestly, I simply wouldn’t know HOW to believe – it doesn’t exactly come with an on/off switch, neither can it be trained. Well, maybe it can but I think trained behavior taught to children by their parents doesn’t really qualify as TRUE faith. As I understand, it is (or should be) a very personal and intimate thing one needs to find on his own. And some never do.

      But that’s okay to your idea of God, I guess that’s why I like it – feels more like the actual force of good it should be, kind and pure.
      Some other Christians seem to have a rather weird and contradictory way of looking at things which I never quite understood… Yes, they all say that God is love, compassion, kindness and all that good stuff but apparently that only applies to the faithful. Towards everyone else however, they make God kinda act like a psychopath: The almighty creator of all things creates imperfect beings capable of losing their faith in him and then gets mad when they do just that…? Why would he so contradict his divine benevolence by banishing his creation he supposedly loves from his eternal realm because of a flaw he gave it in the first place? Never made sense to me…

  21. Anonymous1 month ago

    I am totally convinced God exists. Some days talking to him is the only thing that keeps me going and there is a comfort and a kind of ‘it”s OK, you got this and I’m here’ that I take away. Organized religion is not what Jesus is about at all and the good and kind people in this world – that’s what he is about. Taking care of this earth and each other. Why people have to add the rest is beyond me, especially the “we love everybody but if you don’t believe like us, you’re doomed” . Not true and not God’s plan. Also God and science go hand in hand and I won’t give up on either or on other people. It amazes me that those with no religious views are more accepting of me than very religious folks are to others- totally proves the point that religion is a hoax… But God is not a hoax! And I do thank those who are good people regardless of their views because we are all in this together.

    1. Anonymous1 month ago

      Somehow I sense that religions put God in a box with their dogma, their smugness over their self-righteousness He is too big, too vast, pervading everything. How can anyone be so arrogant, presuming to know all there is about God.

      The closest I have felt to God was in a group of strangers. I was part of an ethics discussion group. Our group was an extremely diverse group of ethnicities and religions. Our cultural heritages were from all over the world. We made an agreement to be totally honest. We also agreed that we would use discretion when it came to private information not necessarily meant for the world. We spoke from our hearts from many points of view. We weren’t trying to convert each other. We exchanged thoughts, feelings, ideas, and differing teachings. I left that conference filled with awe. One Love. No box.

  22. Anonymous1 month ago

    I have found that many Christian ministers are fundamentally uneducated in Biblical criticism and can’t separate so-called Biblical facts from myths, metaphors and Jewish cultural history. Thus, they grab at scripture verses that enhance their own beliefs, biases and misconstrued facts. The moral teachings of Jesus have been left in the dustbin of a thousand qualifications, even checking in with Leviticus before studying the Golden Rule as expressed in Matthew and I John 4. This has left such denominations as Methodists in turmoil not understanding the differences between the “new” covenant and the “old.” Having tired of listening the rants of ministers and lay people about “issues,” I finally left the church for the peace and quiet of a book and a cigar on my deck each Sunday morning.–Joe Hester, BA, BD, Th.M., Ph.D.

    1. Anonymous1 month ago

      Yes. Listening to rants can be very draining. Praying for the ranters and choosing to love them anyway is very challenging. I think I fail, so I let the rest to God. That faith has resulted in some little Miracles, so I persist…

  23. Anonymous1 month ago

    I have read many of the comments on this article and it looks like the anti-Christians win. However, what is lacking is common sense. If you believe there is no God then your life ends at death. The Christian, however imperfect, believes, that through faith and God’s grace one will spend eternity in heaven after death. So if the non-believer is correct it doesn’t matter but if the Christian is correct that Jesus Christ is Lord and if one confesses their sins and professes their Love of Christ, they will spend eternity in heaven. Someone is missing out on eternity. As for me I Choose Jesus.

    1. Tam Edwards1 month ago

      “If you believe there is no God then your life ends at death.” Now, how would you know that, Anonymous? There may be other entities and other levels of existence you are unaware of. You only know what you believe and that is a Godness out there. Expland your mind and learn of other levels of purity after death on this earth.

      1. Alexandra E.3 weeks ago

        You said, “If you don’t believe in God then your life ends at death.” Well, you know what? Your life most likely ends at death whether you believe or not. And, if life doesn’t end at death, then not believing wouldn’t change that either. Some people do not need to believe something that is simply not true. We wish we could live forever in ecstasy, but if that is not to be, then we can accept that, too. There are some advantages to thinking that you are going to live forever, but even if it makes you feel better, that doesn’t mean it’s true.

  24. Anonymous1 month ago

    Most of the answers in that first section are bs. They just quit spouting Christian dogma for socialist dogma.

  25. Anonymous1 month ago

    I believe in the hereafter. Why? Because there has to be a place for those who never caught a break here on earth. The poor, the disfigured, the aborted, the socially rejected, all have been redeemed, and will enjoy eternity.

    1. Anonymous1 month ago

      Uh, No, there doesn’t have to be an appointed space.

      You’re born, you live, you die. Period.

    2. Torbjörn Larsson1 month ago

      Wishful thinking is not evidence.

      Solid evidence would mean asking yourself what would make you accept respectively reject magic beings?

      I currently reject all magic because it breaks thermodynamics (and quantum physics), besides that it is so blatantly man made wishful thinking. That is, besides the social control mechanism of churches that makes it spread, why religiosity is correlated with social dysfunctionality. I.e. Marx’s “opium of the people” observation was correct.

  26. Anonymous1 month ago

    Who needs the Lions, Boy Scouts, Jaycees etc? All of civil society is hanging on a handful of old members. It’s not just religion that isn’t getting new members. Soon we will be like Libya under Kadaffi: Government and private levels of society but no civil society including church. Enjoy that!😎

  27. Anonymous1 month ago

    When you have a preacher who still tells the Adam and Eve and the Apple and talking snake story, they finally wake up and realize it isn’t true. Preachers still trying to make a myth out of the bible by the way they tell it.

    1. Anonymous1 month ago

      That is where the fault lies, with the so called preachers. The seminaries were infiltrated way back in 1917 and now with the 501c3 tax rating the false prophets are ruled by government instead of God. Quit going to any church with a 501c3 tax exempt rating and get together with a few true christians and have Home Church instead and study the bible yourself and you will see the truth is way different than what the average preacher tells you. Home church is much superior to your average church like home schooling is superior to government schools.

  28. Timmy Carnes1 month ago

    Because it is poppycock?

  29. Nelson Petrie1 month ago

    After 68 years of living I discovered that the religion I was brought up in (Presbyterianism) actually made no sense. I even went to a Southern Baptist Bible college in my youth and within less than 6 months I quit. What I learnt here actually made no sense and I gave up 6 months of my life learning this Southern Baptist crap. Surprisingly, every Christian denomination (especially the Roman Catholics) claims that their religion is the only true one. Churches today are becoming more fundamentalist and right-wing in their beliefs and attitudes and they are no better than the hardliner Muslims. Questions such as what happens to us after we die keep popping up in my mind. What is faith? Is the existence of Jesus Christ a fact? Why are there so many contradictions and unpleasant verses in the Bible? Who has gone to hell and come back (Don’t tell me actor Audie Murphy in the 1958 film ‘To Hell and Back’) or to Heaven for that matter and don’t tell me about the 2015 movie ‘Heaven is for Real’. Rationalists and psychologists should examine this film and the child’s account regarding this in detail. The question that haunts me now is ‘Do I really know God and religion’?

  30. Anonymous1 month ago

    Thank you for the article. I had two ideas that I’ll have to look more closely to see if they are accurate.

    1) the alliance between many churches and conservative politics emphasized sexual morality but had issues with helping the poor and sick, both of which could drive people away

    2) this breakdown of nones and non-believers always existed, but culturally only recently could the nones publicly stop attending or publicly oppose the neighborhood churches without having their lives ruined, so it reflects a net increase in freedom rather than any significant change in belief

    Additionally I was wondering how 9/11 affected things. For atheists, it was a call to arms, almost literally: atheists joined the American military in larger and more open numbers after that.

  31. Anonymous1 month ago

    Either God does not do any favors for anyone (likely) or he does so only for his pets (as believers in many contradictory religions believe). if god exists, and If he is the God these believers describe, then he needs to grow up and start practicing some mature virtues.

    1. Anonymous1 month ago

      Haven’t you ever heard of miracles?

  32. Bruce Katz1 month ago

    I’m curious: Were the respondents asked what family religious tradition/denomination they left? If so, were any statistically significant patterns discernible? (My apologies if this has been asked and answered below.)

  33. Michael Evernden1 month ago

    Mentioned in this article are people who have left “the religion of their childhood.” Many have. The problem as I see it is that the Church hasn’t spent much time assisting people to grow up in the faith. An 8th or 12th grade understanding of our faith will not equip us adults to respond to our lives as adults faithfully responding to the needs of the present day… As we mature so must our faith mature — living in the mystery of God’s unconditional love is a lifestyle that never ends.

    1. Anonymous1 month ago

      I totally agree! Faith has to be nurtured. The needs of the present day are huge.
      I wish I could tell what happened to me to these people who turn away “just because” — just because it does not come easy? NO, it does not. Every day I work at my faith. I keep it in front of me. It is what I want to do. Science and spirituality CAN go together, so that science reason is not exactly exact. There will come a time in a young adult’s life when he needs more than pills, booze, science, friends, logic, etc……….. he will need something more. That is when God shows up. Has for me! 100%.

    2. Anonymous1 month ago

      Michael, you are absolutely correct. One of the largest mistakes the Christian church has made is not discipling the followers of Christ. Instead of growing in faith, and learning how to apply yourself and further walk with God, an indoctrination of the church has continued, which of course is the worst thing one can do. Followers of Christ must of course be taught the truth, but tools to help them grow and strengthen must also be delivered

  34. Anonymous1 month ago

    We read this article about people leaving the faith. Yet, take a look around America right now. We are in the worst shape ever. We are heading to complete lawlessness. I think we better stay in the faith. People just don’t want to be told no. Adults have become more childish than children themselves. Yes, there is a righteous standard of living. Our God is a Holy God. You have to walk away from fleshly desires. They will kill you and lead to what we are facing today. We are created beings and have to answer to someone.

    1. Anonymous1 month ago

      I know only those who are liberal or social democratic. their families are very sound, good relations across generations, a lot of affection as well as a striving for achievement. Almost none are religious. Sorry, but sound families know how to raise their kids well without religion. Family situations vary greatly by regional culture. Don’t project the falling apart of many families in drug infested areas with the general satte of the American family. As for religion my obly norm is that a group’s believers have generosity of heart and practice kindness. As a result I have encouraged some young people to leave mean-spirited congregations to join more joyous and kind-hearted ones. Some of their friends, previously indifferent to or hostile towards religion, have joined the same positive congregations. The happiest and most responsible people I know, however, and that would include me, have no interest at all in religion.

  35. Anonymous1 month ago

    there are many reasons I do not believe in organized religions, and especially Christianity as it is being presented now. IF you raise your arms high enough, sway enough and pay enough you are a BETTER Christian. IF you wear a tee shirt while helping the “poor unfortunates” then you and your church will get bennies from God, Ministers are Hucksters, carnival showmen out for loot and fame. theywill sell a tiny piece of cloth that they say was drug along Christs walk to the cross, and then ask for more and more from poor old women who sit at home and cry along with purple haired weeping women on Evangelic shows. its a big circus with too many clowns getting out of the car to even stomach. also hate speeches against homosexuals, races, other religions, it is just a giant con show. I will worship my earth. and not worry about forever, because now is now.

    1. Anonymous1 month ago

      Dear anonymous,
      Thank you for being honest about your reasons for being against organized religion, in particular Christianity. I myself am a Christian, so please don’t brand me as bias, but I would like to respond to you in a honest and intellectual manner. The first things you talk about are true, I sadly must admit, but they who you speak of make up the minority of Christians. If you meet a Christian who breaks this stereotype, and I pray you do, I hope you will see the truth for what it is. As for hate talk, again I would say the minority of Christians, if they can even be called Christians, are bigoted and hate filled. On the topic of homosexuality, we believe it is wrong and sinful. We despise the sin, but not the person. We are not racist, nor are we hateful towards other religions. We disagree with other worldviews, but do not hate the people who adhere to various belief systems. That really goes against what our God tells us to do. I suggest you read the Bible to view a true and pure view of Christianity. And, if you read this message, I ask you to please reply to this question: why do you worship earth? Why do you not care about the afterlife?

  36. Anonymous1 month ago

    I don’t understand why people argue about religion. It’s fine that you’re religious, just as it’s okay that your neighbor is not, and vice versa.

    Most religious folks talk about “my personal relationship with God”, yet openly discuss it and look down on others for not sharing their beliefs.

    Most non-religious folks talk about their “awakening” and think of the religious as sheep.

    How about you live the way that you want, and let your neighbor do the same? Wouldn’t it be better to focus on common interests and have loving relationships with the people around you, than focusing on the things that divide you?

    The point is, we’re all just humans trying to make our way through life. Why make it more difficult than it already is?

  37. Mike Almond1 month ago

    Interesting results – and the survey technique is refreshing as well. One of the frustrations I have always experienced with the few surveys in which I have been a participant, no matter what the subject, is that there is never a single answer that represents my thinking. My choice is usually either to choose one of the predetermined ‘pigeon-hole’ responses that I don’t really agree with or to fall into the black hole of “I don’t know” or “Undecided”, none of which are true.

    I happen to enjoy thinking about things, and am well-read and interested in a wide variety of subjects. My response to this survey would probably be a collection of several of the ‘unaffiliated’ responses, along with the general observation that I think our greatest gift as humans is the ability to think and reason, taking into account a variety of inputs and enjoying the freedom to reshape our thoughts and conclusions as our knowledge improves.

    Which is why I tend to view organized religions and political parties in the same highly unfavorable light.

  38. MARK MEIRESONNE1 month ago

    It is not a lack of belief in a deity or higher power. It is that, in the history of the world, the overwhelming majority of war, pain, and suffering has been in the name of organized religion. Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, etc have all engaged in “holy” wars murdering and enslaving millions and the forced conversion of millions more. Organized religion has and always will be about forcing others to bend to the will of the the hierarchy, whichever that may be. Organized religion in all its forms is the highest evil in this world.

    1. Anonymous1 month ago

      Atheists like Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Lenin, and many others have killed many more people in a far shorter time than all religions combined. And most wars are not caused by religion in fact only 2-5% had religious causes.

      1. Anonymous1 month ago

        Check your facts, Hitler always identified as religious. He had a vision of a new religion and world order based on himself and, like most dictators, sought to make use it if religion as a tool to control the masses. Try to have a little honesty in your posts.

      2. Anonymous1 month ago

        Sorry, but Hitler is your baggage. He was Catholic. I know you want to disown Hitler. Even if he wasn’t a Christian, most Germans were Catholics or Lutherans. Where do you think they got the idea that Jews were subhuman? 1500 years of Catholic and 400 years of Protestants teaching that they were guilty of l killing Jesus. Martin Luther laid out the final solution, just short of the gas chambers in “On the Jews and their lies.”

      3. Jack Stephens1 month ago

        Organizations possessing creeds, sacred objects, beliefs in occult forces and fanatical followers willing to die for the cause are truly religious whether or not they reject traditional religions. Both German National Socialism and Soviet Communism meet these criteria so both can properly be call religions.

      4. Anonymous1 month ago

        there’s no strong evidence Hitler’s an atheist, many of his speeches referred to the Lord. He was evil because he was simply evil with political “talent”. Aren’t we in the middle of an religious war right now?

      5. Anonymous1 month ago

        Hitler was no atheist. And Communism was the ideology not atheism.

        1. Anonymous4 weeks ago

          Hitler’s behavior was not Christian in any way shape nor form. He certainly was not a practicing Catholic-Christian. Saying so is hateful – or if you want to use religious terminology it is “manifestation of hate.” Nothing Hitler did aligned with the teachings of Christ, nor the teachings of the Catholic Church. End of story.

          There are many, many false teachings in the now-nearly-400 comments on this board. I challenge anyone here to simply dig into the true teachings of the Catholic Church. Every failure of the Catholic Church is a failure of individuals failing to practice the faith in accordance to Catholic teachings, and a failure to adhere to the teachings Christ.

  39. Joseph Solebello1 month ago

    It’s sad. My parents yelled at each other, and mistreated me, but still managed to take us to catholic church every Sunday. What a boring pile of confusing nonsense that place is. Sorry but most of the human to human wars out there are products of the major religions being mostly confusing, contradictory and wrong on multiple levels.

    I consider myself a Buddhist, now, and it’s funny how this religion is opposite the myriad bad ones because it gives you a glimpse into the power of the mind and makes you want to be in your heaven, the next time you wake up.

    1. Anonymous1 month ago

      If you define Buddhism as a religion and you don’t call it what it is, a humanistic philosophy, you are still very confused.

  40. Anonymous1 month ago

    Religion is absolute proof that brainwashing in childhood is totally effective, and who would blow themselves up in the name of religion if they were not brainwashed to the point of self destruction.

    1. Anonymous1 month ago

      Hmm… How terrible to teach children the Christian faith. To love one another and to do good to each other. To pray for one another and encourage one another. As America slips away from Christianity you can just tell we are headed in a much better direction… Looks like America without God = Wicked Death to me. Looks like all out lawlessness to me… The term brainwash is more a forced term. Teaching or training is what Christians do. Thank God for parents teaching their children right from wrong. The Christian faith is the only faith. There are no other Gods but Lord God Almighty.

      1. Anonymous1 month ago

        Totally agree about those attributes about religion. But my two good Christian nephews hate gay people. They believe all gays should be prosecuted for immoral behavior and put in prison. I wonder who taught them that?

        1. Anonymous4 weeks ago

          Your cousins were taught something that does not adhere to the teachings of Christ nor of the Catholic Church.

        2. Anonymous4 weeks ago

          The Bible

  41. Anonymous1 month ago

    While I’m in the group that doesn’t like organized religion, I have my own beliefs, that work for me. I’m an animist (believe all living things in nature have a soul) and I believe in past lives, this life and the next life.

    1. Anonymous1 month ago

      There is a way that seems right unto man, but the end is death thereof.

  42. Anonymous1 month ago

    There are two take aways from this study for me. Having a ” crisis in faith” accounts for 1% of those who leave religion. Perhaps we are misreading the 49% who are “disenchanted”? Also my reason for not remaining a Methodist is “not interested in/don’t need religion”, 7% there. “Don’t need” is more accurate for me, since I find theology interesting. I just don’t believe.

  43. Anonymous1 month ago

    continued from my last post that started, “Skeptics…” Or, read a short bio on C.S. Lewis along with any of his great works. He started close with God, drifted, then returned.

  44. Anonymous1 month ago

    Skeptics, I urge you to consider that Jesus loves you and can “speak” to you through His Word, the Bible, and through prayer and using other believers along with your circumstances. Be sensitive to his voice.

    1. Anonymous1 month ago

      Sorry, if Jesus is speaking through the Bible and and Bible toting Christians, I would certainly want nothing to do with Jesus.

  45. Anonymous1 month ago

    I put It/Mr./Ms. “God” in the same category as any other hallucination. With no evidence for its existence, no utility in accepting its presence, and much countering verified information about the physical universe (e.g., the age of the earth is only 6,000 years, humans and dinosaurs were contemporaneous) belief in a supernatural being would seem to have approximately the same value as in any other comic book hero.

  46. Mark Durie1 month ago

    Michael, I’m not sure you asked the right questions. In 1967 British sociologist Susan Budd published a study of the reasons why people reject faith. She investigated 150 leading members of the British Secular Freethought movement from 1850 to 1950. She sound that the triggers for rejecting Christianity were mainly PERSONAL and MORAL, such as doubts about the nature of sin and punishment, concerns about the goodness of God in the face of personal experiences of human suffering, and disappointing encounters with church leaders. (Charles Darwin himself lost his faith, not because his theory of evolution made God redundant, but due to personal issues, culminating in the the tragic death of his ten year old daughter Annie.) Questions to address this might could be around disappointment with God, unanswered prayers, disappointment with believers, or inconsistencies in religious teachings.

  47. Lauren Cohn1 month ago

    It’s no big deal. It’s 2016. Religion as something of a “tradition”, with all the oppressive, hateful and discriminatory things thrown out – fine. To actually “believe” in God, is “make believe”. Using God as a metaphor – fine, we all feel alone and need someone/something to believe in us, or look out for us. To think honestly that God exists as more than an idea, well, you’re delusional or unable to understand the true value in believing in an idea or metaphor, so you “need” something tangible. I never had religion, so I never “left it”. If religion could just update itself to 2016, become more of a “spiritual” thing and stop “imposing”, I would be the first to go to a church/temple/mosque, meditate/pray/offer up, and take some good life lessons from it. Religion on the planet needs a “reboot”. Don’t throw it away, just come clean, say it’s all fake. Embrace the tradition of where humanity came from, and the tool it provides to humanity. Keep it simple. Keep it honest. Keep it cheap. Keep it relevant. Then, you’ve got a winner.

    1. Anonymous1 month ago

      Please read the bible. There is no other book like it and never will be. No Jesus = Lawlessness Take a good honest look around you. There is no other book that we gain and gauge our morals and values from. Love rejoices in the truth and what is truth? “Thy Word is Truth”. What is love? God is love!!! Without God’s covering over this earth and without belief in Him we spiral into wicked death. If you cannot see that we are heading there now, you are deliberately disagreeing.

  48. Anonymous1 month ago

    How can a human being not believe in creation? Or a Creator? We are constantly surrounded by undeniable, visible proof. Look up at a star-filled night sky (hard to do in the big city). Look at a tiny insect that has eyes, legs, wings, a brain, and the ability to instantly escape your pursuit. Look into the eyes of a newborn baby. Survey the many incredible functions of your own body and mind. Our world is full of these and other similarly marvelous things. I pray that the Lord will give sight to those who seek Him and who have been blinded to these things.
    ..
    “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” — Romans 1:20

    1. Anonymous1 month ago

      I find it inutterably sad that your answer to every mystery is, “Oh, that. God did it”. What a bland and unimaginative existence it must be to have the same answer to every question, simply because you’re uncomfortable with ambiguity.

      Give me the mind-blowing mathematics of physics or the random insanity of quantum mechanics any day. I am awestruck and humbled by the natural world every day and not once have I felt the need to drag an imaginary friend into it. It simply isn’t necessary.

    2. Anonymous1 month ago

      There are scientific explanations for all the things you described. Stars in the sky? The galaxy is full with billions of them, many bigger than the sun. The insects and humans evolved from other beings.

    3. Anonymous1 month ago

      Just because you imagine things dioes not make them true.

  49. Anonymous1 month ago

    Many religions are logically incoherent. Even assuming for the sake of argument that all the stories are true, no matter how fantastic, there is some sort of logical contradiction or fallacy in the system of beliefs. For example:

    1. Our teachings come from a special relationship with God.
    2. God does not change.
    3. Our teachings have changed.

    If a religion is logically coherent, one must weigh the claims against the results. If a religion claims to have the secret to happiness or the key right behavior due to divine revelation, and empirical evidence shows that the teachings lead to neither, then there a strong evidence that the religion is wrong. If a religion teaches the power of prayer but cannot show the efficacy of prayer as related to that power, then there is strong evidence that religion is wrong.

    Overall, religion is an invention of man*, not God. (And yes, that includes you, Mr. It-is-a-relationship-not-a-religion.) In religion you can find both inspiration for the highest good, and justification for the worst evils. Religion blesses what man wants to bless and curses what man wants to curse. Destroy the religions of the world and others will rise to replace them, just like Christianity replaced Zeus.

    Does this mean there is no supernatural or higher power? No. Just because everyone is wrong doesn’t mean a right answer does not exist. Even if a supernatural power were in direct contact with humanity, our oversized monkey brains would probably not be able to comprehend it.

    *Sexist language, perhaps, but historically accurate. Maybe we should give women a try at this?

    1. Anonymous1 month ago

      Our whole life here is already settled in Heaven. Christ fulfilled that on the cross. We are talking about the ultimate totality of all the ages here. King Solomon is known as the wisest king of all time. He stated: “There is no new thing under the sun”. There are no new teachings to be had here on earth. Truth is truth and darkness is darkness. Please read the bible, it is an awesome book. It is God’s love letter to us. It holds the answers to all of life’s dilemmas and problems. We recognize by in large good and evil as God and satan. In all honesty, if you were running for your life and came upon two churches one of our Lord Jesus Christ and a satanic church. Which would you run into for help?

  50. Anonymous1 month ago

    Not being a Christian because of too many “Christians” doing un-Christian things is an absolute cop out.
    Calling yourself a Christian does not make you a Christian.

  51. Anonymous1 month ago

    Define Religion: A set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature and purpose of the universe involving devotion, devotional and ritual (regular) observance and contains a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs. By definition there is no such thing as a non-religion and no such thing as a non-religious person. The moment you open your mouth to state anything you assume it to be true; and if it relates directly or indirectly, either by cause or effect, to one of the three components of the definition of religion then you are religious. What do you mean by religion in this study? Athiest’s are religious. Agnostics are religious. Pantheist are religious, Christians are religious. Muslims and Jews are religious. They all hold a belief to be true regarding the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe; they all hold onto and live their beliefs with devotion, and they all have a standard which governs the conduct of human affairs. To deny this is to affirm it.

    1. Anonymous1 month ago

      Atheism is a religion just like ‘not collecting stamps’ is a hobby. There is no belief that supernatural forces affect human lives.

    2. Anonymous1 month ago

      What a bunch of nonsense.

    3. Anonymous1 month ago

      This is constantly asserted by religious people who find it inconceivable that not everyone thinks like they do. You stopped reading at “a set of beliefs”. Yes, all humans believe things. For example, most people, through observation, have come to believe that unsupported objects will fall, that the sun will continue to rise and set regularly, and many other things regarding the physical universe. Through observation and reading of the observations of others, I have come to believe quite a lot of things. However, my beliefs do not include a “purpose of the universe”. “Devotion and ritual observance” are not a part of my life. I do not follow any external moral code. I strive to behave ethically. I am not religious in any sense of the word.

    4. Anonymous1 month ago

      So you went to dictionary.com, took their definition, changed it to suit your argument then neglected to source it so that nobody could check. Cool.

      Full Definition with omission in caps:

      A set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, ESPECIALLY WHEN CONSIDERED AS THE CREATION OF A SUPERHUMAN AGENCY OR AGENCIES, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.

      Anonamous’s uncited definition:
      dictionary.com/browse/religion

      If I’m not incorrect, your line of thinking is that all beliefs or lack of belief relate to the topic of someone’s “religious position” and so there is always an answer to that subject right? If that’s what you’re saying then I agree that has to be the case.

      But, that does not deny the distinctions of individual positions, non-positions or anti positions. To say that, by definition, each person must have a position on fascism even ignorant or anti-fascist does not make us all “fascist”. It is not useful or meaningful to use the word or concepts of religious position or religion this way.

      Many people, maybe you too, find discomfort in the idea that a personal religion is not so unique when it is just one of 4,000. That your beliefs may just be circumstantial and may not be any more likely than anyone elses.
      This is known as cognitive dissonance: a sense of discomfort in the face of internal or behavioral inconsistency that produces motivation to remove the conflict. One method of reducing cognitive dissonance is to deny the cognition. Doubt in belief is remedied by denying disbelief. “Atheism thinks it’s different but it’s just another religion” is something that needs to be true for many believers. That need is because if there is no choice but to be religious then believing one of 4,000 isn’t so unreasonable.

    5. Anonymous1 month ago

      Well said.

    6. Anonymous1 month ago

      I would not classify living by the laws of a secular nation as religious. It is living peacefully as a citizen without religion. As I see it, an atheist might say “I don’t believe your religious stories, the respective doctrines, etc.”. I don’t see this a a positive belief but rather a rejection of some other asserted belief system on poor evidence. I find Atheists to be a diverse bunch. The only common denominator, I see, is their rejection of Theistic beliefs. I find no “devotion”, “ritual” or other “observance” that binds them together. I totally disagree with your points and thus, of course, reject your assertion; “To deny this is to affirm it.”

    7. Edward Silha1 month ago

      You make the common error of claiming that atheism and agnosticism are religions. Religions are based on beliefs. Agnostics do not deny the possibility of gods but have concluded that none of the gods described by religions are supported by evidence. Atheists have reached similar conclusion but take the position that the existing evidence supports the conclusion that there are no gods.
      A common characteristic of both is that they take the position that there are things that cannot be decided, in which case they simply say “I do not know”. There is no motivation to explain the unknown by some supernatural cause. The simply accept that the unknown is simply a lack of knowledge or evidence and not evidence for the supernatural.
      Both are open to new information or evidence (i.e., open minded and not dogmatic).

  52. Jason Weishaupt1 month ago

    I don’t do religion any more either. Too much corruption and garbage. But just remember that just because you can see it, prove it, or understand it, does not mean that it does not exist. Ancient man did not know atoms or DNA, but these things existed without their knowledge.

    🙂

  53. James Bonney1 month ago

    One look up into the night sky pretty much laid to waste the myth and miracle stories of a completely capricious creator.

    1. Anonymous1 month ago

      I think that looking up into the night sky provides an affirmation of a creator. The universe didn’t just happen, it was created.

      1. Anonymous1 month ago

        Then who created the Creator?

  54. Anonymous1 month ago

    @anonymous yes religion has a lot to do with faith but science is so full of theories too…so what’s your point?

    1. Anonymous1 month ago

      Scientific theories have evidence.

    2. Anonymous1 month ago

      You’re misrepresenting what the word “theory” means in a scientific context.

  55. Travis Statham1 month ago

    Gods tend to exist only when believers believe in them. As soon as the believers die out or stop indoctrinating their children, mysteriously the gods disappear as well. Due to the lack of evidence for God, and the lack of definitions that even demonstrate what a God is, we all ought to remain ignostic to the concept of God. How can a being exist that is immaterial and yet contain knowledge? How can a being be a being and be immaterial? How can a being be powerful and yet have no mass or energy? Assuming attributes about God helps nobody because they are assumptions. Theology has never provided mankind with any useful information.

    Now let’s get into faith. Faith literally means ‘belief without evidence’. I tend to call it ‘pretending to know something you don’t know’. If faith leads to different Gods – just ask believers – they’ll tell you they all use faith – then faith as a methodology to find truth is corrupted – it doesn’t lead to the same conclusion and therefore is unreliable. Almost always, a person takes up the religion of their parents (or rather it is forced upon them). They are taught that having faith is useful, even though there are no other cases within life in which we use ‘belief without evidence’ to form constructive and useful conclusions.

    Another thing to be aware of is how personal experience is cited as why people believe. In psychology, this is simply a well known affect of confirmation bias. When people expect something to happen, for instance, after prayer, they count the hits and ignore the misses. People are far less rational than we give them credit for and we are all guilty of confirmation bias.

    I am now primarily an ignostic to the ‘god’ word, a gnostic atheist to all described gods that people say exist, an anti-faith advocate, and a Street Epistemologist. Have a great day and may people continue to follow these trends to make the world a safer, more free, more creative and sane place to live for all of us.

    1. Anonymous1 month ago

      So, where will you go when you die?

    2. Anonymous1 month ago

      Do you believe in evolution even though there are major gaps in the fossil record and there is no evidence of a species evolving into another species? Do you believe that the entire earth and all that is in it started from nothing. Do you believe that if you put primordial slime in a bowl and let it sit there for billions of years, that we would get to where we are today? Do you believe our planet just so happened to have all of the perfect conditions for life? Maybe your stance is that there could be other planets that support life even though there is no proof. Do you believe that? You my friend, have faith. I believe people fall away from religion because they only listen to one side of the story. There is much evidence for the belief in a creator, you just have to look for it. This is one of the biggest decisions anyone has to make in life. We should all take the time to examine both sides of the argument before deciding.

    3. Anonymous1 month ago

      Well said

  56. Anonymous1 month ago

    Just because I don’t understand something doesn’t mean it isn’t real. Outside my own neurological pathways I cannot prove love exists– or beauty or joy for that matter. Science can not prove their existence. But I still believe in Love and will give myself completely to Love’s guidance. Living only for what can be seen or touched or measured is a life full of emptyness

    1. Anonymous1 month ago

      Well said.

  57. James Gray1 month ago

    To me this is nothing more than the fulfillment of the prophecy of 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4 where this falling away is both predicted and linked to what are known as the end times.

    1. Trillian Alice1 month ago

      The Israelites believed they were in the end times when the Old Testament was written. The early Christians who were Jews were the same people.

      1. Anonymous1 month ago

        There are ends to ages. Ours is very different. It is on a global scale.

  58. Anonymous1 month ago

    The hypocrisy drove me away from organized religion and maturity has taken me to non-belief. I looked at many other religions before I came to this mind set.

    1. Anonymous1 month ago

      Why judge the religion then? Would you blame a textbook teaching a math subject for example if the student decides that 2+2=3?

  59. Anonymous1 month ago

    To the people that don’t believe in God: I am curious about people that don’t believe in God (or a higher power). Why are you here and what keeps you from doing what ever you want to? Are you a person that does what is right and if this is you then where do you get your rules or expectations from, where are your commandments? If you are just dust in the wind why do you work hard knowing you are nothing but a spec that will be washed away the moment you stop breathing, why not live and survive like other animals do (basic food. water and shelter), maybe live in the woods like the deer that are free. I was raised without religion until I was 17, it was then that I found there was more than live and die. It is easy to say you don’t believe in God but when someone you love gets sick or dies do you just say too bad, I’ll miss them while I am still alive. When you was being carried by your Mother before birth do you remember anything before you was born, if something told you it is time to go to a new place where you would have to feed yourself, suffer mental and physical pain, struggle to stay alive you would surely say no, I want to stay right where I am now. Faith is believing in something you can’t touch or feel. What God you believe in isn’t as important as believing in a God, something you know you answer to for what you do on earth. I read in one of these emails that a person didn’t believe in miracles, we see miracles every day, just look around. Does God need to kneel in front of you to prove existence and get your approval? For people that don’t believe in God I ask, what do you have to loose, do you have a better idea? I will pray for all that don’t have a God and tell you that I love you and pray that in your lifetime you find your God.

    1. Anonymous1 month ago

      Take a Sociology class and you’ll learn more about the forces that drive our behavior.

      1. Anonymous1 month ago

        Religion absolutely makes no sense in real life. Example: why all powerful God had to kill 250 people in Italy’s earthquakes? Kids too? They were religious most likely. Or tsunami killing 100’s of thousands? Why are we here you say? There were a lot of questions 1000 years ago that we know the answers to nowadays. Wait and see. Still a lot of questions left but they will have an answer one day.

        1. Anonymous1 month ago

          Real life is the Kingdom of Heaven which knows no end. This is all temporal down here. God intended for us to live in a paradise. Adam and Eve sold us out to sin from the very beginning. This is age old and very easy to understand. Everything bad that happens is a result of sin in the world. It rains on the just and the unjust. People ask all the time: Why do bad things happen to good people? Well, why do good things happen to bad people? We are created beings and God is Holy and desires us to worship Him. His will is that none should perish, but He will not fellowship with sin. Although bad things will still happen, very bad sometimes, in the end we are the victors!!! Again, this is very easy to see and understand and has already been settled by the spotless lamb who died on Calvary! His name is Jesus!!!

      2. Anonymous1 month ago

        Bravo.

    2. Anonymous1 month ago

      What keeps me from doing whatever I want? Nothing does. I don’t do illegal things because they are wrong. I do whatever I want. Don’t get me wrong. I love the fact that there is religion and god. It keeps the pea brains in line. When someone I love dies, I pay my respects, have a good cry, and move on with the living. Yes, I do have a better idea than believing in god. Believe in reality, not some fairy tale about an all knowing spirit in the sky who knows everything over 4 billion people are doing every moment of every day. Give me a break.

    3. Anonymous1 month ago

      “Why are you here and what keeps you from doing what ever you want to?”

      Mostly guilt and risk aversion.

    4. Trillian Alice1 month ago

      Where are the miracles? Were you born with a birth defect that left you crippled and in agony. Did your two sisters die from the same birth defects. Did you watch your wonderful parents die from cancer at an early age. Did you then get cancer, Was your only son born with special needs. Show me a miracle and not just a close parking space.

  60. Michael Petraeus1 month ago

    Why don’t the full reports quote “science” as a reason for abandoning faith. Not even once?

    And what does “many” mean? How many is “many”?

    Finally, who came up with the categories:
    – Disenchanted / don’t believe: 36%
    – Not interested in / don’t need religion: 7%
    – Views evolved: 7%
    – Went through a crisis of faith: 1%

    Can’t I be disenchanted, not interested and had my views evolve at the same time? Can’t I be disenchanted because my views evolved? Can’t I be disenchanted and not interested in religion anymore?

    So where do people who cite science as the reason for abandoning faith fall into? “Views evolved”? Sounds like a match for me, but 7% is hardly “many” – so where are they?

    Honestly, words like “much” or “many” should NEVER appear in reference to any study – especially without accompanying data. These are very subjective “measures” – for one person 20% would be many, another would say 70 or 90% is “many”.

    It gives a false impression and is gravely misleading.

    1. Michael Lipka1 month ago

      Michael,

      Thanks for your comment. Coding responses to an open-ended question can present some challenges, but in this case, respondents were allowed multiple responses and could be coded into multiple categories. Indeed, as you suggest may be possible, some respondents were in fact coded as both “disenchanted” and “views evolved,” to give one example. Those who gave answers relating to science were generally coded in the “disenchanted/don’t believe” category.

      In the parlance of writing about survey results, “many” refers to a considerable share of respondents, if not necessarily a majority. You are correct that it does not have as clear of a definition as terms like “majority” or “plurality.” But we chose to use the word here because it was striking, in our analysis, that several dozen respondents volunteered an answer specifically related to “science” – especially in the context of an open-ended survey question, on which respondents are not asked to choose from a list of possible answers and can give any answer they like. It is rare for one particular answer to be very common in an open-ended question, and “science” stood out in this regard.

      I hope this helps explain our process. We appreciate your interest in our research.
      Michael Lipka

  61. jonathan walker1 month ago

    I had someone tell me once he saluted the church every time he drove past it …here in lies the problem, society neither understands the what or who of the church, much less the meaning of it in Scripture. There a falling away that will take place in the church and a falling away that comes with pride, pride comes before a fall. The Church today is no more than system of pride that decorates the out side of a building and on the inside is nothing but dead mens bones, some even celebrate the fact of bones being under the alters in their buildings where the worship of mens bones as well as ones still walking around in the flesh. There they give great head to the man centered doctrines where the people take in every word from them as if it were straight from the mouth of God. But in reality it’s only the parts of God’s word that ever makes it to the ears of those hearing message of self righteousness. Telling them they have the will in there out hearts to apeze God. No repentance, just try it you’ll like it, pull your self up out of death of sin, and totally bypassing the narrow path that leads to righteousness. John 1:13 tells it is those who are born of God, as well as John 3 and John 6. Yes no man can come to me except it were given him by the Father. That why Paul says if they have not the spirit of God they are none of his. Yes it may have a holier than thou face on it but so we’re the Pharisees. Christ last instructions to the Apostles were teach repentance and belief in him, so when you see and believe who he is you really can’t help but repent. And then you understand why he was sent.

    1. Anonymous1 month ago

      That’s not really fair to say that the church is just a decorated building and dead on the inside. There are multiple churches in every area of this great country that sacrifice all to help others. Missionaries going to foreign dangerous lands, that are sponsored by said churches. The same churches that help out in the community etc…

      If you are a part of or know about churches like you speak of, do you bear no responsibility to mentor a brother in Christ. I can tell you first hand that leadership in the church are under heavy attack by the enemy right now. They need encouragement not judgement. Maybe you have been offended or hurt and I’m sorry, people fail but God does not. We don’t always understand everything but God’s plan never fails. He will bring the chaos back into order. I can tell you this. Before I judge another, I know that I need a lot of mercy and forgiveness. I mess up all the time. That is the whole purpose of Christ dying for our sins. He was perfect we are not. Thank God for grace!

      Hebrews 10:25King James Version (KJV)
      25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

      God still uses the church to this day for Kingdom business, as we see the day approaching. (The End)

    2. Anonymous1 month ago

      If the person who saluted the church was a Catholic and he was saluting a Catholic Church, this is the reason: Catholics believe that within it’s tabernacle is the Body of Christ in the form of a consecrated Host. it is his belief. The salute is making the sign of the Cross over one’s own body as a sign of adoration of God. ( there is more to it than that, but i am just offering a simplified explanation) So he really was not saluting a bldg or even that religious community, but giving honor to his belief that Jesus remains on earth via the Host within the church tabernacles throughout the world. Stefanie

  62. Anonymous1 month ago

    You can’t fall away from something you never believed in Cor 15:1-4

    1. Anonymous1 month ago

      So what do you believe in? Unbelief is sin, and the wages of sin is death. Scripture says: Let God be true and every man a liar.

      Seems to me that God is love, and this earth without love turns to wicked death very quickly. And that is what we are starting to see. Do you really want to believe the way that you do?

      1. Alexandra E.3 weeks ago

        That is all hogwash. The wages of unbelief is not death. That is just something that was written by someone you never knew long, long ago. It’s not fact. None of the Bible is fact. You should look up history and see who chose the books of the Bible, or even decided that there should even BE a Bible. Did God write a book, or did he tell others to write books? NO. If God exists at all, i have to believe he would be smarter than me, and I sure as hell could have come up with a better “salvation” plan, and a better plan for mankind in general. You believe things that are not true. You have that right. Just don’t try to force it on someone else by telling them if they don’t believe they are going to hell for all of eternity. USE COMMON SENSE.

  63. Anonymous1 month ago

    We are promised this in scripture. That these times would come. How many times when speaking of the last days does it tell us to not be deceived. I have read several of these comments and see that many of you are and you don’t even realize it. Remember, the god of this world is satan, he is the accuser of the brethren. He was a murderer from the beginning.

    It is only because God Almighty will not go back on His Word and because of true free will that this is allowed for a time. Again, this is all in scripture. The bible covers every area and aspect of our lives. Make no mistake about it! There is no other book and will never be another book like it. Because, “Thy Word is Truth”. Whether your free will and choices lead you to believe or not, it will not stop the enemy from seeking to destroy you.

    Also, whether you believe or not, I can tell you that many, and I mean many of our so called elite leaders, globalists, lobbyist, etc… know exactly who satan is and are all a part of the coming war. Yes, I am saying that certain leaders are all out satan worshipers and have chosen this path. I say all of that to say this: No, the church does not have everything right, but no one has it right. Man will fail, God never will. I have seen too many comments here that read: I this and I that, I feel like this…

    Proverbs 14:12, “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.”

    Romans 1:28-32
    28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality,[a] wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, 30 backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving,[b] unmerciful; 32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.

    Now is not the time to pull out of the church or away from God. We as Christians are supposed to be at our strongest when we are at our weakest.

    1. Anonymous1 month ago

      satan is a boogie man invented to keep people in line, God is not a benevolent creator, he plays games with people all the way through the bible, he is like a teen ager who has to use others to prove his power, take poor Lot, ‘God was proving that he had a true follower, he killed Lots family, tortured him, made him poor” and then “gave it back to him” .. what a joke, the women who told me that said, But God gave Lot more children and grandchildren. and I said “OH so the little sarah that used to sing for grandpa Lot was replaced with some other kid?” just to prove that God had a true believer. God has constantly tortured people, killed people, and not taken his role as supreme being very seriously. cancer, its not from the devil, it is not a punishment for sin, it is a disease, given to a body that cannot fight it. God won’t cure it, God will try to get the glory, but science will beat it.

      1. Anonymous1 month ago

        God cannot fellowship with sin. He is Holy! I pray that you will receive understanding. Everything about what we are experiencing here on earth is already settled in Heaven.

        Lot pitched his tent toward Sodom. His choice, his free will.
        Genesis 13:13New King James Version (NKJV)
        13 But the men of Sodom were exceedingly wicked and sinful against the Lord.

        Abraham spoke with the Lord for the life of Lot and for the remaining righteous of the land. The choices we make due to our free will can cost of dearly. We can have his covering removed.

        As far as cancer and diseases. I know people who have been completely healed of cancer under the authority of Lord God Almighty. Jesus went about healing the sick. Our greatest worldly philosophers agree that Jesus was the greatest moral teacher of all time. They like to take the deity aspect away from Him but all agree there was no moral teacher like Him. The only thing is, is that He kind of came out and said He is God! No where in history being the bible or our own texts is Jesus depicted as being insane or a lunatic. Surely this is the Son of God. How many demons were cast out as he went about teaching? The spiritual world is very real my friend, unfortunately I know first hand of both sides good and evil. I pray that you never have to experience the latter, but putting your trust in mankind leads to death.

  64. Anonymous1 month ago

    Julia. I can’t disagree with your logic completely, but I do find it hard to believe that life just happened by accident. It is strange to think that there was no intelligent design in place to allow for this all to take place in our lives throughout history. No one should say that God has his eyes only on us on Earth. Our Universe is too large to think that we are the only life forms who exist. Yes. Some religious groups are fanatics and won’t change. But miracles have happened and can’t be proved as anything but that. I will continue to live my life as if God was watching and it will never hurt me after I die. I’m afraid to live life with the individuals who don’t believe in God and have no fear of what happens after death without fear of consequences. Faith can bring love.

  65. Julia Dunphy1 month ago

    As a retired professional scientist, I will tell my story. When I was about 12 years old, I had a thought that other people must have had. We live on a planet in a universe with at least 100,000,000,00 other planets. OK. Why does god spend all his time on us? Are we that special? Also what about the space between planets? 99.999% of the space is empty of planets so why is he watching it? But the “killer” is how god can be every place all the time. I can’t stretch my mind over this. It throws out the locality of common experience. It is rubbish.

    1. Anonymous1 month ago

      Why do we place space-time limits on God? Only human beings are constrained in such a manner. If space-time was created by God, then He is outside of time but can interact in it. So, being in all places at once might be impossible for us; but, for a being not constrained by space or time, it is not.

      As an aside, science will be forever an insufficient tool to measure a being outside the limits of its perception. The miracle that any one of us can interact with such a being is the bigger mystery to me. I think it gets to your fascination with the vastness of this existence and our infinitesimally small stake in it. Too often, it seems, we overestimate our own significance.

    2. David Eaton1 month ago

      Interesting. However, what you can stretch your mind over is a terrible means of discerning truth. I’m a still-working professional scientist. If I rejected what I can’t get my mind around, there would go quantum mechanics and relativity. Philosophy about infinite things lead to madness, or worse, mathematics.

      1. Anonymous1 month ago

        David Eaton, well said.

    3. Anonymous1 month ago

      The clay cannot tell the potter what it should be. Your inability to conceive of the infinite does not make the infinite, finite. I am truly sorry that as a scientist your experience hasn’t revealed the invisible hand of intelligent design. As Romans 1:20-23 states, God’s presence and handiwork is seen everywhere and we are without excuse for not at least recognizing that a higher power must exist. Instead, stubbornly they reject his existence and instead worship the Creation rather than its Creator. Thus the Lord hands those people over to be blinded by their own willful blindness.

      Research the Quantum Physics double slit experiment and you cannot at the end of it explain the behavior of particles changing on the basis of human observation being the only variable without conceding that every particle of this universe is indwelled with consciousness that science cannot explain… BUT God’s omnipresent consciousness in everything, does. He knows everything because he IS everything. While this may seem like a “New Age” perspective, the truth is that many religions draw inspiration from the universal truth as to lend credibility to themselves.

      Finally, I will say this. Many people, as in this study even, point to organized religion and hypocritical believers as being why they don’t believe or have faith. RELIGION is what MAN has done to GOD’S word. Man has created a box for God, hoops for you to jump through and then on top of that, most people are hypocritical in telling you to follow a law that they don’t follow. Don’t blame God for the wickedness and hypocrisy of man. God is good and he is good always. Man is fallen and lives out selfish, self-destructive life styles counter to what He established. The Lord’s greatest gift he gave humanity as an expression of His love was Free Will. IF there was no sin in the world because we were programmed to be incapable of sinning, there would be no free will. We would just be robots. God does not want a family of robots, he wants a family of people who purposely choose to love Him w/o being forced to. Therefore, you must have a choice and many will choose poorly. People choosing poorly doesn’t disprove God or his goodness.

      I’m sorry if you’ve been turned off to religion and Christianity in the past from bad experiences with bad Christians. We are called to be ambassadors of Christ and very often in this world, and particularly selfish America, Christians are not. I just want to encourage you that science, if taken far enough down the rabbit hole does prove the logical existence of an Intelligent Creator. I pray the scales fall from your eyes so that you might see that truth. He loves you and wants you to be part of His eternal family.

  66. Anonymous1 month ago

    the only question that matters in the end is “what have you done with my Son?” He came to forgive (take punishment) for sins. I undertand people leaving religion, but within the Bible shows why the world is in its mess and the solution for the individual. People do not want to be submitted to the God who made the stars in the sky and is good. It comes down to that. There can be no reconciliation without dealing with the corruption in the human heart. We always see it in others, but its in others because its in all. this is the dividing line for humanity, and it will be God Himself who decides…. not us. Who has control over what happens to them after they die? that’s right… as much control as when they were born.

    1. Anonymous1 month ago

      [the only question that matters in the end is “what have you done with my Son?” He came to forgive (take punishment) for sins]

      And..
      [I undertand people leaving religion, but within the Bible shows why the world is in its mess and the solution for the individual. ]

      You’re making the mistake of assuming there’s any validity to the bible. All your points are based on you concluding that the bible has merit.
      The question you should be asking yourself is why you think the bible has any more truth to it, than all the other religions.
      Why does what your family believe, and your place of birth determine what religious beliefs you happen to hold.
      Is this the real way that truth works? Imagine if we had Indian geology and Chinese physics, and middle eastern chemistry. We’d rightly laugh and say that the truth doesn’t work that way.
      But this is exactly what we see when it comes to religion. If you live in Iran, you’re probably a shiite Muslim. If you live in Pakistan, you’re very likely to be a Sunni Muslim. If you live in the US, you’re likely to be a Christian, a protestant Christian in the south, a Catholic Christian in the north. If you live in India, you’re probably an Hindu. If your parents are Jewish, you’re probably Jewish. If they’re Sikh, you’re probably a Sikh.
      Notice the pattern?

    2. Ron Lee1 month ago

      There is no logical reason for anyone to accept your god(s), mythology, or the Christian Bible as “truth” over any others.

  67. Anonymous1 month ago

    I left Christianity for the same reason I don’t believe any other religion; “if you can’t show it you don’t know it.” Aron Ra, And every religion claims some special knowledge about some deity/s and/or an afterlife that they have absolutely no evidence of. “That which is presented without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.” Christopher Hitchen

    I left “Faith” before I knew these people existed. All it took was a little probing to discover everything I was taught in church was complete conjecture. It had no foundation in reality at all.

    1. Anonymous1 month ago

      I cannot agree with your statements since they contradict the first principles of logic, philosophy and science. Religion by definition is a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature and purpose of the universe. These beliefs are lived out with devotion every day and acted upon with ritual observance in both words and deeds; and the final portion of a religion is that it contains a moral code which governs the conduct of human affairs. Applying this defintion logically to your comment you did not reject religion you traded one religion for another. Agnotics and atheist are religious. Carl Sagan says the universe is all there ever was, all there is and all there will be. He lived out this conviction in his life and consequently his moral standard was subjective based on what he saw as beneficial, convenient or expedient. If you state that you don’t believe in religion is to acknowledge you believe in religion since it now proceeds from your intellect as your own creation. The question becomes can it pass the test for truth. I can disprove agnosticism’s, atheism’s and pantheism’s with two First Principles (which are so true you have to use them to deny them), one scientific law, and three pieces of evidence. All of which are accepted by the secular scientific community as fact. Faith etymologically is not an intellectual ascent to an idea, rather it is rooted in truth. Faith which is not rooted in truth is wishful thinking. Therefore I would suggest you revist the First Principles of Logic, Philosophy, Science and Law. You need to check your intellectual ticket before you get on the train.

  68. Anonymous1 month ago

    The main critique I have of this study is that its methodology is self-reporting in nature, therefore the number of people claiming a religious affiliation is probably higher than the actual numbers of those who actually practice their faith. Unless the Pew Center’s methods are different than indicated, the study does not ask any questions regarding religious behaviors and frequency of behavior. I realize these kind of questions make a study more rigorous, but isn’t that the purpose of these sorts of studies?
    Those professing belief according to this study outnumber those without affiliation by a margin of 3 to 1, but that’s not a win for religion.
    If those numbers were valid, then the churches in America would not be able to accommodate all of those in attendance. It’s like asking someone “are you physically fit” and moving on to the next respondent without verifying the behaviors necessary to attain excellent fitness.

    1. Michael Lipka1 month ago

      Thanks for your comment. The findings discussed in this post are part of a much broader study in which we have explored many religious behaviors of Americans. Here are our two most extensive reports on the study, as well as an interactive website where you can explore the data:

      pewforum.org/2015/05/12/americas…

      pewforum.org/2015/11/03/u-s-publ…

      pewforum.org/religious-landscape…

      Michael Lipka

  69. Clare Goldsberry1 month ago

    I have been following Pew Research’s reports for many years and was also intrigued many years ago by Wade Clark Roof’s (a religious sociologist) book “Spiritual Marketplace” which resonated with me as a leading-edge Baby Boomer — a very interesting group when it comes to the study of the transitions we’ve made from the Mainline religions of our upbringing to our more individual and secular beliefs today. With respect to religion and science, since becoming a practicing Buddhist and ardent student of Hindu philosophy, I’ve also become a student of quantum science (physics and mechanics) and the parallel relationship between the Eastern Philosophies (Buddhism and Hinduism) and the Quantum sciences. I’ve concluded that many of our quantum scientists who have made that connection between their work and the ancient Hindu philosophies of the Absolute and creation, will be the first to discover God (the Absolute, All That Is, etc.) As more people become “spiritual” and less “religious” — an interesting distinction that Pew Research has studied — we will see major changes in what and how we believe. [Recommended reading: Amit Goswami’s “The Spiritual Universe” and Fred Alan Wolf’s “Mind into Matter”; books by Paul Davies, Erwin Laszlo, and an interesting one “The Quantum and the Lotus” by a Tibetan physicist (I can’t recall his name) and Mathieu Ricard, a Buddhist monk]

  70. Zorba dog1 month ago

    Organized religion has perpretrated more evil upon mankind than all the despots in history combined.

    There is a large chasm between religion and spirituality.

    1. Anonymous1 month ago

      120 wars out of the 3000 or so were religious basesd the rest were caused by ideologies or secular reasons and 2% of all casualties were caused by religious wars. So I don’t agree with you.

  71. Anonymous1 month ago

    I think this also is one of the signs of the end time. The Lord Jesus said that during the last days, the increase of wickedness will make many people’s love for God to grow cold.

    1. Anonymous1 month ago

      Amen!

    2. Anonymous1 month ago

      I have to disagree. While there is certainly chaos and wickedness in this world, there is also more cases of overcoming.

    3. Anonymous1 month ago

      I think more likely precursors of “end times” would be global warming and nuclear weapons in the hands of terrorists organizations or states.

    4. Anonymous1 month ago

      the bible, written byignorant tribesmen, after dreams, probably while sleeping off a goat stomachworth of wine. says all sorts of things, ridiculous things. the stories are mostly ridiculous, some are laughable, and no if anything is coming to an end it is the wickedness and money hungry leaders in the churches. Christianity embarrasses me, and makes me horribly sad, when compared to my childhood faith. I left the church when they started pray8ing about voting and money. I left the church when I saw the horrible way it treated the poor in the congregation and favored the rich, I left when I saw how homosexuals were treated, how unwed mothers were treated, how the poor homeless were treated. until Christians wake up to see what hypocrites many have become and speak up about it, the churches will continue to dwindle.

  72. Anonymous1 month ago

    “Nones” make up 23% of the US Population. 78% of those, or 18% of Americans were raised in a religious household. Of those, 49% say they don’t believe. We are down to 8.8% of Americans. No big deal, the article is silent about the number of Americans that were NOT raised in a religious household that have joined an organized religion. There is a massive influx of Hispanic Immigrants, (nearly 100% Catholic). There is a growth in the African American population, (not as high of a fertility rate as the Hispanic’s, but close). African Americans have a much higher organized religion participation rate. Minority births outnumber White births in America and Minority communities have a lower “None” rate. The article shows you half of the story, the half they want you to see. The media is about manipulation of the reader, not informing them.

    1. Michael Lipka1 month ago

      Thanks for your comment. Please see our more extensive reports on American religion, including trends over time:

      pewforum.org/2015/05/12/americas…

      pewforum.org/2015/11/03/u-s-publ…

      Michael Lipka

  73. Anonymous1 month ago

    I believe Americans generally no longer believe in God because we are all so comfortable as a nation. We are not struggling to survive as one in a third world country might be. We suffer from problems like our cell phone screen cracking. Maybe this is why its easier to a share the gospel with people in other countries. For the longest time I have felt as if missionary work should be done at home, and I still believe that, but Its hard to tell someone they are in need when they think they already have everything and then some.

  74. Anonymous1 month ago

    The falling away has already been forecast in scripture. We don’t need a pew poll to tell us that the masses are being led away by their own lusts! Furthermore, there are too many false shepherds teaching lies in the church, and turning people off. If people want to leave that beautiful brick and mortar building, I am fine with that! That’s not the church – we are. The many member body of Jesus Christ, the living stones!

    The LORD in Revelation clearly outlines why HE is displeased with the church, “they have left their first love – Jesus Christ” Unless HE is in the midst, there is no wisdom, grace, love, peace, power! It’s been replaced with “best life now” teachings, and prosperity for all type nonsense. It’s satanic koolaide folks, don’t get caught up in it!

    1. Anonymous1 month ago

      Aman.

  75. Gracie Gragg1 month ago

    In my opinion folks are getting pretty tired of hearing the big lie about Adam and Eve and the apple story and that snakes don’t talk. And being dammed to hell in the burning lake of fire for just about everything you do wrong in the eyes of the church. Also they are beginning to realize that this earth is way older than 6,000 years.

  76. Anonymous1 month ago

    I was raised southern Baptist, but logic has taken over and I just can not get into it any more. Nothing make sense to me. I am a closet atheist!!

    1. Anonymous1 month ago

      I am sorry to hear your comment. The Bible is the only book which passes every test for truth. Athiesm fails the first test for truth proceeding from the First Principles of Logic, Episomology, the First Principles of Science namely Causality. I will copy some thoughts from another post for your consideration: Can your statement pass the test for truth? have you applied logic and reason for your statement? Did the universe have a beginning? If it had a beginning was it by accident or was it by design? Is what I am saying right or wrong? Have you reviewed the first principles of logic? Law of Opposites (two absolutes which are opposite cannot both be true at the same time and in the same sense), Law of Identity (words refer)? Have you applied Epistomology? Is your argument coherent? Does it correspond to reality? How about the first principle of science, Causality? Since every finite effect must have an adequate first cause… Was the Universe caused or uncaused? What does the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics say? Since all things tend to disorder unless acted upon by an outside source… Can order come from disorder without an act from an outside source? What about Specified Complexity, have you applied this test? the DNA which is a 1:1 identity is written in a language made of 4 letters which are arranged in a specified and complex order. Even Richard Dawkins, Carl Sagan admit this is true. There is a 1 chance in a billion that your DNA in a single cell will mutate. If it mutates it dies. Who told the DNA it had to interpret RNA and RNA had to interpret DNA in order to work together so that a simple cell could function. Do you realize that anything with a probability greater than 1×10 to the 50th is considered impossible? Carl Sagan has posited the probability of life proceeding by mater plus time plus chance at 1 x10 to the 2,000,000th. I have yet to speak of Einstein’s Theory of Relativity which shows the Universe is expanding, or the Radiation Echo Theory, and so much more. Who is really building their lives on blind faith and who is building their life upon reason? The Bible is the most logical book every penned. It corresponds to reality logically, philosophically, pscychologically, historically, archeologically, and has passed every test man can throw at it. Don’t give in to doubt. There are two kinds of doubt: skepticism and cynicism. If you are skeptical then search out the answers. If you are cynical then no amount of data will change a prejudicial heart which has made up its mind to cling to its presuppositions even in the face of overwhelming facts to the contrary. I will pray for you that you will come to the truth and see that the Bible is reasonable in spite of the failures of men and women who misrepresent it, twist it for their own selfish agenda, and debase it… God’s word is true and it stands the test.

  77. Anonymous1 month ago

    The scientist, Michael Behe has shown that blood clotting, immune response, and eyesight among other biologic functions are multi component and fail if one component is missing.
    Darwinian evolution produces one component at a time. Without all of the components the creature cannot live long enough to reproduce. The creature survives because all the components are there by the design of the creator. Science gives us reason to believe.

    1. Ron Lee1 month ago

      As evolutionary and molecular biology predict, there is a spectrum of differences and “deficiencies” in blood clotting, immunity, etc. There are also redundancies. The spectrum of what we see is produced by evolution/mutations, and mutations that don’t preclude reproduction are passed on.
      There is no need for a god or creator to explain the spectrum of life we observe- in fact, it makes far more sense, when considering all the “bad” mutations and diseases, that a “creator”/ designer doesn’t make sense.
      If you posit a “creator,” what created the “creator?” If the “creator” doesn’t have/need a creator, then the observable universe doesn’t need one either.

      1. Anonymous1 month ago

        The “then who made God?” argument holds no weight because its foundation relies on the false logic that God, incontingent by its/His very definition, shares the same quality of being contingent which defines all beings found in nature/ observable universe. Its redefining God into that which God by definition is not.

        Perhaps then the easier question is to ask, is there such a thing as incontingency? Is rather not all that is merely contingent and is that possible? From our human abilities of understanding, limited as they are, we see that all things are caused and depend upon a preexistence for them to be. Chicken, egg, chicken, egg. How can contingent being stem from contingent being alone? How does something come from nothing? Reason leads us to conclude that, in order for contingent being—consciousness, life, law, the cosmos—there must be an unmovable variable that exists freely, that is to say, does not depend on any being beyond itself, that is to say, is incontingent, through which contingent being arises. We call these Infinite Being “God”. After all, does believing that something came from nothing make much sense?

        This touches on a very broad subject of apologetics that I would encourage anyone interested to read up on, starting with Thomas Aquinas and Aristotle, I think most appropriately. Contrary to your argument, would logic not then dictate that yes, the observable universe does need God to exist?

  78. Rumple Stiltskin1 month ago

    As higher education becomes more attractive with loans, such that more and more of our young are attending college and universities. Higher education evinces a certain intellectual response which is called Higher Reasoning Skills.

    What the old religious types figure is just good ole faith does not stimulate the young, especially when the young constantly see and feel the hypocrisy within religion. they balance reality against faith, and see that the two have nothing in common, thus they reject it. There is no rhyme or reason to religion. It is no more than a control mechanism humans use against each other and our young have, through their education, recognized that fact, and choose not to participate.

    Instead of becoming hysterical because our youth are waking up, it should be celebrated, BECAUSE THEY ARE WAKING UP ! Religion no longer serves our needs because education is teaching us to think for ourselves, and no longer need an overlord dictating what we should think and do.

    AND, with that awakening our youth can see and smell Bull Sh*t from a mile away.

    1. Anonymous1 month ago

      Amen!

    2. Anonymous1 month ago

      I agree with your point about “higher reasoning skills.” As an overly educated professional, I have not found any religious “teacher” that can adequately answer the questions I come up with. Perhaps a discussion with a Jesuit will be more satisfying and enlightening, as they are overly educated themselves. For now, though, I have Faith and am a spiritual person, but I reject organized religion because I see it as a form of social control. For example, if times are bad, one is encouraged to be passive and pray. However, being passive and praying isn’t always the answer, especially when one has other options that one can engage in that will effect change in one’s circumstances. This smacks of activism, which goes against the power structure, and is frowned upon, because one is encouraged to “leave it in God’s hands.” I just can’t handle that fatalism. Or the idea that the more you suffer, the closer to God you will get. This encourages human suffering needlessly. I could go on, but the bottom line is that I reject organized religion as a form of social control.

  79. Anonymous1 month ago

    With me too many churches have stopped using the Holy Bible as Gods true word and are adopting the Popes NWO one world religion which pleases just about everything under the sun.

  80. Anonymous1 month ago

    College: Where people go into debt in order to lose their salvation.

  81. John Elijah1 month ago

    The God concept put forth by Christianity is illogical and self-refuting. One only needs to think about it for a bit before coming to the inescapable conclusion that it can’t be true. An omnipotent, infinitely complex being who was always “just there” and allows us free will, even though he’s omniscient and knows every little thing we will ever do? And oh, by the way, he’s three different people? I mean, it’s just a joke.

    This concept was obviously crafted by ancients who didn’t have to worry about making it logically airtight, since their target audience at the time was comprised mostly of illiterate peasants. Times, however, have changed. If you haven’t been brainwashed from an early age into these nonsensical beliefs, you’re very unlikely to embrace them or hold on to them. The only thing that surprises me about Pew’s data is just how many Americans STILL believe in this stuff.

    1. Anonymous1 month ago

      Read the Quran, the true word of God if you get the time. Pew or any other book on earth is written or edited by man. You shall understand the difference.

    2. Anonymous1 month ago

      Well, John: I’m a daughter, a wife, a mother/grandmother and a business owner (that’s 4/5 distinct, independently distinguishable and not overlapping roles/personae). And I “believe” in myself, my individual self, an independent, self-actualizing person. As to your first statement re: “The God concept,” it’s not only Xianity, but any/all faith system/s, that fall under your condemnation. (If I were an “acient” then I wouldn’t be having this conversation with you, and the world would still be flat. You gotta take the comprehensible with the un-comprehensible: there are a lot of questions that are still unanswered, beginning with How does one think? Think about it. Sue

  82. Anonymous1 month ago

    Church has less to do with GOD and more to do with Indoctrination. People have not been turning away from GOD. There turning away from establishment.

  83. Anonymous1 month ago

    Sounds like the last president Trump. Named in the good book! Twice.

  84. Frans Lemeire1 month ago

    I am an atheist because believing in a God does not solve any of our fundamental questions about the origin of everything. The question about the origin of a God with infinite knowledge which never was observed (where would He be?) is much larger than the acceptance of the material world in which we live, with its properties that science is unraveling more and more, and which we can observe every day.

    1. Anonymous1 month ago

      And how does atheism solve our fundamental questions about origin? Not just the origin of the earth, but of the entire universe? Believing that everything came into being from nothing (emphasized) without any external force (i.e. Big Bang) is just as difficult to accept and impossible to empirically prove as believing that a Creator created the matter from which we have the Solar system, etc. I personally agree with science that there was a beginning to the universe, but strongly disagree with the belief that it came into being spontaneously and without any external force (I.e God). Please provide evidence to the contrary.

  85. Anonymous1 month ago

    <>

    Well, my friend, I see a Very awkward exit interview in your near future.

  86. Anonymous1 month ago

    I would like to know the actual percentage of people who objected to the churches’ teaches on homosexuality (and sexuality in general, for that matter). My two biggest reasons for ceasing to be a Christian were the attitude towards LGBT people and the attitude towards people of other religions.

    1. Anonymous1 month ago

      Mine as well. I grew up Christian but I was taught we are all God’s children and he loves us no matter what. And as he loves, so should we. It seems very un-Christian to me to pass judgement on others because of who they love out who they worship. There are too many people claiming to be Christian but not acting like it, and it has caused me to be ashamed of the religion so I have left it behind.

      Some people in these comments are acting as if we leave religion just too go and party and have sex without a care in the world but the truth is that the actions of judgemental people like that within the community are the reason why some of us don’t believe anymore.

      I certainly know it is the reason that I don’t.

      1. Anonymous1 month ago

        What God teaches us is to love the person but hate the sin. But the sinners have to want to change. They have to realize what their doing is wrong and against God and repent to Him and change their behaviour and God will forgive them. And as Christians we are supposed to help them with that. But we can’t if they don’t want to change.

  87. Anonymous1 month ago

    If any of you devout Christians can convince me that there is not a flying spaghetti monster in the sky, then I will renounce my Pastafarianism and rejoin a mainstream
    Christian religion. Until then, please take the words of your “savior” to heart Matthew 6:5 “And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.”

  88. Ann Heimstead Lawler1 month ago

    Allot of these comments made here are just general excuses made by lazy people. Most probably were not raised in a consistant Christian home to begin with. Anyone can say, “that christian over there, isn’t a nice person.” Well, Christians are not perfect. Comments like this one as well as the evolution one are perfect examples of poor excuses made to justify behaviors of not being a Christian.

    1. Anonymous1 month ago

      Agreed

  89. Anonymous1 month ago

    Many people who reject religion do so because they have found that many things in religion are incredible . . . like the world is supported on the back of a turtle, for example. Those who accept Christianity do so because it’s truth claims are based on historical evidence that can be traced. Increasing evidence through archeology ring true with the biblical accounts and lend credibility to stories in the Bible. The Dead Sea Scrolls are an example of this. Scholars found that scriptures hidden away in a Qumran cave since the Essene community lived there some 2,000 years ago show amazing correspondence with their modern counterparts . . .the Book of Isaiah, or example. Biblical evidence is largely rejected by academics within secular circles of education because they have trivialized it as irrelevant.

  90. Anonymous1 month ago

    In one way this good. Judgment begins with the household of God people, and those that were Christian in name only or cultural Christians will leave. Those predestined to eternal life will remain, regardless of the continuously changing culture. At least, when disasters occur, those that no longer believe in God can blame God for them. The issue of theodicy will no longer be a concern. Faith is a divine gift. Some people will have it, and some people won’t.

  91. Anonymous1 month ago

    Much like many of the responses to this article, kids in public schools are mocked, shamed and intimidated by secular teachers and peers into turning away from the Faith before they are old enough to learn how to defend it. Most adults have trouble with apologetics, yet parents expect it from their 5-10-15-18-year-olds. The Holy Spirit draws those to the LORD who heed His call. Once they accept the free gift of salvation and surrender their lives to the Savior, nothing can separate them from Him. Those who “turned away” from the Faith either never had it to begin with or will someday be drawn back to Him when they yield to His Will instead of the world’s.

    1. Anonymous1 month ago

      BS. My kids have to deal with the shaming and bullying of kids who question our opinions on God and the Church because they have been indoctrinated by their families since the day they were born. Is there any wonder why there is no sweeping change in religion in Christian or Muslim countries. Why don’t we teach all our kids about God, Allah, the Dalai Lama and other world religions and allow them to choose their own path at adulthood? Religions are cults that csnt and won’t let their members go. It’s all about perception.

  92. Tom Turner1 month ago

    I love God and his son Jesus Christ! When Jesus walked the earth he performed many miracles and healed people. The gift of Holy Spirit has been given to believers since the day of Penrtecost to carry on God’s plan of healing and redemption. How are we doing?

  93. Anonymous1 month ago

    I taught Sunday School for eight years that has been over ten years ago. I see things different and have studied and thought in depth about what I read and there are some problems that are pretty much impossible to explain.

  94. Anonymous1 month ago

    The more I learned about Christianity, god, and Jesus the less sense it made. So Christianity convinced me it was made up.

    1. Anonymous1 month ago

      Me too! I think I was around 12 when the “wait, what did you just say” moments started quickly piling up. Over the next decade or so, I transitioned through being an agnostic theist to just a regular atheist that rejects all superstition and magic as harmful and completely unnecessary to the natural world

      The journey has created tensions with my family from time to time, but they understand that I remain a moral person and that I can clearly articulate my justifications for my position.

  95. Anonymous1 month ago

    being married to a minister will create cognitive dissonance pretty quickly

  96. Anonymous1 month ago

    Jesus is The Way The Truth The life. He’s the only way to freedom from guilt of sin. He is Truth read Bible it proves itself all prophecies 100% came true. He’s the life now and for eternity a GIFT from Him by His death to forgive us our sins. He’s the only life where you will find peace with God Creator of the universe and peace of God to end your internal wars. He promised to come back and He will take us believers home!

  97. Judi Hume1 month ago

    My mother was a devout Lutheran, with great faith, but for as long as I can remember, I thought that Jesus was like Santa: something you tell children to give them some hope. I never had my mother’s faith, and I never enjoyed going to church with her (something she required of me), except for occasionally hearing some of the quotes from the Psalms that I found incredibly beautiful. The children in my Sunday school classes were without exception cliquish and cruel. I agreed to being confirmed at age 14 on the condition that I was free to leave the church afterward. My mother reluctantly agreed, thinking I wouldn’t follow through, but I did follow through. Organized religion has never worked for me. At 66, I remain, with no regrets about it, a cheerful agnostic.

  98. Anonymous1 month ago

    A landslide of departures from Christianity, yet Christianity continues to demand special privileges. When the “nones” reach 51% of the electorate, Christians will discover that the boy is on the other foot.

    1. Anonymous1 month ago

      American society is changing and it is not acceptable to say whites are being discriminated against but seemingly to say Christians are being discriminated against. Those who have wielded power are the most sensitive and least tolerant to any loss of privilege. If only they knew the hate and misery that had foisted upon others. The reality is, the majority don’t believe or care and Christianity (ie white privilege) can’t deal with the loss of respect.

  99. Robert Polvado1 month ago

    Big deal the reason they people are atheist is because they don’t like God and have liberal positions of thigns like aboriton and homosexuality. Anyway numerous polls have shows 3/4s of Americans stil identify as Christain.

    1. Alexandra E.3 weeks ago

      Not all unbelievers are liberals. There are many unbelievers that are still against abortion because it doesn’t make sense to them to kill a baby in the later months, for example. Religion is simply untrue. It doesn’t matter who you are. It’s just not true.

  100. Anonymous1 month ago

    The reason these people become atheist usually boils down to 2 things not liking God and have progressive social views. Most people raised in the church still call themselves Christian but people who never were Christian are beginning to realize this.

  101. Anonymous1 month ago

    The first thing that you must understand is that both the Catholic/Christian organizations are all Catholic based.

    Catholic means ‘Universal,’ they have many Gods, like Baal, Christmas is the birthday of Baal (the “Sun God”), who is a ‘dead’ god; if you do your research, you will find in 70 A.D. Pope Constantine burned down the Hebrew synagogues, and captured, tortured the Hebrew Jewish people, and in that year He seized all of the Hebrew scrolls and related documents to worshiping and Praising Our Creator, not to mention changing his name to ‘God’ and ‘Lord’ from his REAL Name, the Name of YAHWEH.

    There are NO “J’s” in the Hebrew language; so how could there be someone called “Jesus,” this to keep you from getting your Prayer’s answered. That’s the scheme of Lucifer, to deceive you at every turn, to steal, kill and destroy.

    Our Creator’s REAL Name is YAHWEH, and the Name of our Savior is Yahshua Messiah (Son of Man), our Father, who was crucified, dead and buried, and on the 3rd day defeated dead and ascended to Heaven and sits on the right-side of Father YAHWEH right NOW.

    Next time you want your prayer’s answered, pray to the ‘One True Living God,’ Father YAHWEH, and not to the Catholic lie known as ‘Jesus,’ because there is NO Jesus, you can take that to the bank . . .

    Yeremyah 23: 27 – ‘Who devised; plan and scheme, to cause My people to forget My Name through their dreams, which they tell every man to his neighbor, just as their fathers have forgotten My Name for Baal; Lord’

    That’s why people are leaving the Catholic/Christian Churches, because you cannot get your Prayer’s answered praying to a dead god!

    Peace Be With You in YAHWEH’S Name

    1. Anonymous1 month ago

      Interesting, are you sure Yahshua was crucified, on a cross?
      Also, Hebrew was written without using vowels, how come you do?

      According to Wikipedia: Jesus is Greek for ישוע (ancient hebrew) no vowels.
      Jesus (/ˈdʒiːzəs/ jee-zuss Greek: Ἰησοῦς, translit. Iesous; Hebrew: ישוע‎, translit. Yēšū́aʿ, lit. ‘Yeshua; “He saves”‘‎;[12] c. 4 BC – c. AD 30

      Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.

  102. Anonymous1 month ago

    I am not swayed by fear so I don’t mind if I go to hell. Why can’t a LGBT person go to heaven? I am fed up with christianity because of it’s current followers, not because of it’s doctrine. Although one should not live on doctrine alone.

  103. Anonymous1 month ago

    You want an accurate poll, mandate it with non compliance requiring a fine.

  104. Michele Wojcicki1 month ago

    It would be interesting to ask whether increased political involvement by the church caused people to leave… meaning, did a church’s stance on abortion, gay marriage, feminism, unions, etc. cause people to leave?

    1. Anonymous1 month ago

      That is a good question to ask

  105. Franklin Bacon1 month ago

    I think it was initially the extremism that caused my family to cast off religion, around 1899. When I attended some religious services in the 1970s, it only served as an alternative to our isolated rural existence. What they preached was essentially un-believable, so I cast that off, as well.

  106. Anonymous1 month ago

    I write this from the perspective of a ten year old inside a sixty-eight year old. By this I mean that I’ve always maintained my childish inquisitiveness and refuse to accept things, without further examination, that make no sense. Seeking simplicity and truth by observation, reading and traveling have only caused me to affirm by belief in God. The post-modern climate within which we live, intellectual laziness and a proclivity toward distraction and instant gratification by means of technological gizmos are diminishing our humanity.

    1. Anonymous1 month ago

      WOW!! From another old 10 yr old:)

  107. Anonymous1 month ago

    I was raised a Christian, even went to a Christian college, but when I realized that fundamentalism was a category, had a name, and was a thing, I began to think more broadly about the world, the history of religions and I actually questioned why people believe in a God. Then, someone started educating me about the universe, distances in light years, and black holes. I couldn’t fathom how a “personal God” could fit into this scenario at all. It seemed ludicrous to me. Still does.

  108. Adam Delmar1 month ago

    When the Murrow Indian Children’s home managed by the American Baptist Churches Association turns down a donation by the Muskogee Atheist Community because they don’t wish to associate with an atheist financial gift, it’s time to leave religion.

    1. Anonymous1 month ago

      well said. my daughter volunteered at some charity and the women there said, where is your tee shirt, and my daughter said, I am not a member of your group. they pressed her to say which church she belonged to, and she said, I am an atheist. she was asked not to come back, but she did and had her atheist tee shirt on, she was not allowed to help, serve the homeless or feed anhyone. because how could anyone be a decent person unless they believed in God. my daughter was disgusted. they would rather people go without than allow someone to help. this is the problem with religion, they are all trying to one up each other to prove who is holier than the next when really they ar e proving none of them understand a real God wouldnot keep score. and certainly could see through false actions.

  109. Anonymous1 month ago

    Our churches have gotten away from teaching the bible as it is written. They don’t teach spiritual warfare at most churches( very important). Just because they no longer believe does not keep them from facing judgement by God. There will be a great falling away in the last days. I think we are seeing this now. The living savior ministries (Tlsm. Org) that has had so many healings that they lost count. If you are sick you need to repent of sin and believe without doubting in faith not wavering in order to be healed. Have been healed and seen orhers healed.

  110. Anonymous1 month ago

    Christianity debunked in one thought… If Jesus was a human and God was his father, where the heck did he get his y-chromosome?

  111. Anonymous1 month ago

    I believe in GOD, I was raised Catholic, but I don’t go to church as often as I should, but seeing the world deteriorate before my eyes, I personally believe these are the end of times. Keep GOD in your heart. Pray, be kind to each other. Only he knows who is a believer or not.

  112. Walt Horning1 month ago

    Those leaving leave because they do not have a personal relationship with God, a relationship that he gives the person who believes he/she is a sinner, that Jesus died for those sins, repents of those sins, and surrenders to ask God to be Lord.
    Science is changing its “tune”. Microbiologists are now saying macro-evolution is impossible, that DNA shows the first human man and woman lived just 6500 years ago (which agrees with Genesis), that there are signs in rocks of a young Earth, at least in part, that light can actually travel so fast that galaxies at 13 billion light years are only a few thousand light years based on the almost infinite speed of light in interstellar space, that nearby galaxies, including our own, should be discs now, not spirals, indicating a much younger age, and that the Higgs Boson actually shows how delicately the universe exists that any big bang would have self destructed the universe, etc.
    The real issue is not religion or science, but attitude about personal accountability.

  113. Anonymous1 month ago

    There are over 40,000 Christian denominations in the world, and so any one of them does not speak for them all.
    The weakness in “religion” is when it fails to bring others into a personal relationship with God via the true gospel, and not the counterfeit ones. However, Jesus said few would got down the narrow road, and most will just go down the wide road.
    Many denominations have let people in the door to become “Christian” without believing they are sinners, believing Jesus died for their sins, repenting of all their sins and asking the Lord to be Lord of their life, in charge of it all. Without this, they cannot have a personal relationship with God. Without God personally communicating with someone, that one has no basis for faith.
    As for science, science is now beginning to see the Bible creation story is accurate, with things like Adam and Eve DNA findings showing they only lived 6500 years ago, signs of a young Earth in rocks and microbiologists saying macro evolution is impossible.

  114. Anonymous1 month ago

    After a lifetime of belief, I reflected on my experiences and the facts, I came to see that there is no god. And religion is poison.

    1. Anonymous1 month ago

      I agree – I have been an atheist for fifty years. You don’t need religion to know right from wrong. I will be 80 next month and my 4 kids grew up without it and are very good people! And religion is poison!

    2. Anonymous1 month ago

      That is so sad for you. You lose a resource for living, now and eternally.

  115. Frank Joyce1 month ago

    I believe a Supreme Being created the Universe, Einstein thought that too. The laws of physics are not accidents. It’s absurd to claim that.

    The real question is: is G-d personal?

    Sometimes I think so and other times I think how could G-d love creatures that are often worse than roaches? Most people are not worthy of any consideration from a Supreme Being other than being treated as roaches. Si? No?

    It”s some humans (Elie Wiesel, Mother Theresa, Ghandi etc.) that make one wonder rw the soul. However, the exception does not prove the rule, Most people are morons-selfish morons, Worse than roaches.

    G-d exists. Humans need to become extinct?

  116. Anonymous1 month ago

    THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT SATAN WANTS. FOR THE BELIEVERS TO LOSE PATIENCE AND FOR THOSE NOT BORN AGAIN, TO FALL AWAY FROM GRACE.

  117. Anonymous1 month ago

    Three contributing factors that are overlooked.. 1) people are generally healthier and spend less time thinking about their demise..
    2) people are generally sheltered today. They spend less time, i.e. Talking, sharing, helping, working, with people in their community and more time conversing/interacting with strangers online.
    3) The media/news is 24/7. It has people paranoid about everything in their community and interaction with it.. Ex. Crime, disease, etc..
    My point is, going to church is a religious experience that is personal AND a community. It brings people together across social, age , economic, and racial boundaries.. It is a COMMUNITY organization! People are less dependent on community than they used to. They still lean on parents and family but religious organizations are a last resort.

  118. David S Wiener1 month ago

    For the most part, I see two types of posts here:

    1. Those that are using critical reasoning skills
    2. Those that are using circular reasoning skills

    It is a pretty good reflection of the nature of the difference between nones and not-nones

    1. Anonymous1 month ago

      That kind of binary oversimplification isn’t true or helpful. People have a whole range of experiences, whether religious or irreligious. That’s also the problem with this study. For example, a person may be an agnostic, therefore they never attend a worship service. Other agnostics may attend a worship service more faithfully than those who claim affiliation of a faith. This study doesn’t capture the difference in these two hypothetical types of religious experiences, which take place in America all the time.

      1. Michael Lipka1 month ago

        Thanks for your comment. Our broader study on American religion captures some of this complexity. Please see our two major reports on the study:

        pewforum.org/2015/05/12/americas…

        pewforum.org/2015/11/03/u-s-publ…

        Michael Lipka

  119. Anonymous1 month ago

    Its simple really, God wants a personal relationship with us. As it was with Adam and Eve in the garden, God walked with them, and everything was perfect, but for true love to be present, free will has to be allowed to be present. God has shown himself and miracles through the ages: Exodus from Egypt and parting of the seas, Christ on earth, life, miracles, death and resurrection, and Him working through each of us today. The Bible doesnt call for hundreds of denominations to exist, that is mans doing. There are sinners and saved sinners. Unfortunately many Christians, especially western Christians, say a prayer but dont change their lifestyle, their actions, etc. and the world looks and judges the whole on those who behave in that manner. I can only attest what God has done in my life, a fully restored marriage, a closer walk with God, and a change of heart and mind towards others. This doesnt happen because I will it or some self help book made it so, but from my surrender and submission to Christ. When I look at our world today, it is the result of people making decisions and people not making decisions. Free will works both ways. inaction is an action. We are called to love one another, but not to accept sin and place it on a pedestal. I think if my fellow Christians actually acted and behaved in all manners of their lives as Christ has called us, and stood up and displayed what we are called to display, I think we would have a different country and a different results in such a survey. Good news is it isnt too late, but it does take a choice.

    1. Anonymous1 month ago

      Wow, well spoken words! I struggle with telling people in love! 🙂 I’m a work in progress, but I agree with you 100%! Great post!!!

  120. Anonymous1 month ago

    They never left anything because they did not have a real relationship with Jesus. Like any relationship, you have to be faithful, study His word, talk to Him often, confide your fears and desires, listen, wait and follow His direction, and tell others about your relationship with Him. No one has the patience anymore to truly know Him. So sad because the rewards are eternal. Nothing else on earth is.

  121. Toby Belch1 month ago

    It’s called growing up and accepting a close, personal relationship with reality.

    1. Anonymous1 month ago

      Agreed

    2. Anonymous1 month ago

      Cute. Best not to cast pearls before swine. Have a nice day!

  122. Anonymous1 month ago

    This is really bad news for I know Dominations are in the Colleges so why are they not reaching the students. I know there is lots of temptation for their was when I was in College however I was busy with Sorority and other things on Campus and my church did not have a good program for College kids so I end up at First Baptist which did have a great leader and it was a good group. I became friends with the leader and his family. They were there when I had lots of questions and needed guidance during College.
    I do know that lots do come back IF they have the training before College. They start to miss something that they use to feel and they start wanting it back at least in the south area of the country. Where was this survey taken??

    1. David Kent1 month ago

      This draws from a nationwide telephone survey of 5,000 U.S. adults. More information here: pewforum.org/2016/08/23/methodol…

  123. Anonymous1 month ago

    God’s instruction on how to solve the unbelief problem: “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” — Jeremiah 29:13

    1. Anonymous1 month ago

      There is no god… he didnt write that.

      1. Anonymous1 month ago

        You obviously haven’t followed the instruction.

      2. Anonymous1 month ago

        The fool says in his heart “There is no God.”…”
        Psalm 14:1

      3. Raoul Borans1 month ago

        In other words, ” if you wish hard enough, I will seem to be real”.

      4. Skip Batz1 month ago

        Or so you assert. *chuckle*

      5. Anonymous1 month ago

        God doesn’t believe in atheists.

      6. Anonymous1 month ago

        Ironic… an omnicient person declaring there is no God… Oh yeah, that’s right, that person isn’t all knowing and therefore can’t prove the non-existence of God. (Negative Proof logical fallacy) While it is understandable that an individual may not accept or believe in the existence of God for whatever reason, it doesn’t make the individual’s belief correct by holding to that belief. And while it is also understandable that one person’s faith in God may be questioned by another based on a (perceived) lack of available evidence, the mere disagreement over sufficiency of evidence does not doom God to non-existence (Denying the Antecedent logical fallacy). It simply means two people disagree whether the burden of proof has been met to warrant each’s belief. However comfortable and self-assuring it may be to declare a sure knowledge of the infinite, objectively speaking, it is far more foolish to do so than to either claim a belief in a superior power or to be humble enough to leave one’s options open to the possibilty.

        Here’s a little thought exercise – prove there isn’t a dog in my back yard right now. Just because you can’t see it and you don’t know where to find it doesn’t mean the dog isn’t there and that I haven’t seen it and know it. You simply have insufficient information (or motivation) to find it. There is no actual reason God can’t exist, so the only rational position to hold, assuming you haven’t experienced evidence of His existence and believe He does, is to remain open to the possibility that He does. Any other opinion is irrational and purely based on biased emotional agenda to discredit those who do.

        1. Anonymous1 month ago

          Excellent “thought exercise”!

    2. Anonymous1 month ago

      Yes, this is truth

    3. Anonymous1 month ago

      The world is full of examples of people that really searched for this god with their “heart” and the god never revealed himself. If you use reason, logic and critical thinking, this god will never reveal himself. It requires you to be blind, stupid, and gullible.

  124. Winthorpe Jones1 month ago

    Thinking critically is disruptive to social order and convention. If you were told something is true as a child, and especially if your parents genuinely believe it, it’s essential that you believe it, too. This trend must be stopped!

    Don’t be disrespectful. Believe what you’re told. Question nothing. Change is evil.

    1. Anonymous1 month ago

      Please be careful with what you share. Someone’s eternity is in the balance and castigation and condemnation has a way of closing down dialogue.

  125. Adam Delmar1 month ago

    Are the moderators of the comments religious? Curious why there is so much hate coming from Christians on here with almost no rebuttals.

    1. Anonymous1 month ago

      What is there to rebut?

    2. Robert Slaughter1 month ago

      To which comments are you referring? I see far more anti-religion comments on this post, but either way, I haven’t seen either argument go as far as being hateful? Just because you don’t agree with them, doesn’t classify them as hate.

    3. Franklin Bacon1 month ago

      What’s the point of posting rebuttals? Christians will be Christian, so it may not be worth the effort of a thinker to bother with.

  126. Anonymous1 month ago

    People are finally getting wise and realize there is no Santa Claus in the sky. And it cannot happen soon enough.

    1. Anonymous1 month ago

      Most people are still religous and it’s because they support liberal positions they are atheist.

  127. Anonymous1 month ago

    The solution to the unbelief problem: “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” — Jeremiah 29:13

  128. Rick Winn1 month ago

    A nation that elects criminal liars and cheaters into high office have no problem turning their back on God

    1. Adam Delmar1 month ago

      Funny how now atheists are elected

    2. Anonymous1 month ago

      Yes, but we did rectify that by electing Obama.

    3. Anonymous1 month ago

      Other way around…

  129. Sukhamaya Bain1 month ago

    If one really applied his/her human intelligence and common sense on the religions, especially on the Abrahamic ones (Judaism, Christianity and Islam), it would be only natural for him/her to reject those wild imaginations that include not only stupidity, but also a lot of injustice, hatred and atrocities.

  130. Anonymous1 month ago

    There are so many news ways to sin in these last days. They all mocked Noah as he was building the Ark

    1. Adam Delmar1 month ago

      Do you believe the earth is only 6000 years old too?

      1. Anonymous1 month ago

        Yes!

    2. Anonymous1 month ago

      Now why would an all-powerful god need a lowly human’s help with the backup prior to a reinstall, when a simple delete command would have sufficed?

  131. Anonymous1 month ago

    Several questions not asked were,
    Do you do anything on your own such as read the Bible, listen to Christian cd’s or attend a bible study class not affiliated with a specific denomination?

    1. Anonymous1 month ago

      Why does it have to be a Bible or Christian media? This is one of the problems with all religions, close mindedness and the arrogance to believe only yours is the one and only religion.

  132. Brian Connelly1 month ago

    “Thomas, because thou hast seen Me, thou hast believed. Blessed are they that have not seen and yet have believed.”

    1. Zorba dog1 month ago

      There are no Christians only Paulists.

  133. Mark Plus1 month ago

    Christians invented the idea that religions have expiration dates. Why should it surprise them that their religion will expire as well?

    1. Anonymous1 month ago

      A protestant evangelist will often ask a potential convert “Would you like to have a PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP with Jesus?” He or she will then launch into the 4 Spiritual Laws and hopefully after enough follow up witnessing (which can take several months of involvement in the convert’s life– a quite messy endeavor) the hear-er will make that big decision.
      The dilemma then becomes how can I teach you or anyone how to structure his or her PERSONAL relationship with Christ? While stressing to converts how Christianity is all about relationship not rules and regulations you must simultaneously point out the behaviors practices etc generally deemed inconsistent with a life fully committed to Christ. If the relationship truly is personal twixt thee and He then who am I to tell you can no longer devour porn, get fall-down drunk, snort or smoke or inject whatever you want

    2. Bradley P O1 month ago

      Big colossal conglomerate beer breweries lost out to micro breweries. I think the number of Americans attending small “house churches” will likely increase. Ultimately in a church most folks truly crave something akin to the bar in the sitcom CHEERS: “You wanna be where everybody knows your name, where our troubles are all the same”

      1. Anonymous1 month ago

        Precisely. Tired of corporate church scene.

      2. Joe B1 month ago

        People crave community and religion aims to fill that void. Any social club offers that without all the pretense and BS. I don’t need the example of Jesus’ good acts to be a goid person myself. The arrogance of the pious is ludicrous. And rote indoctrination is the reason why most Americans and Europeans are Judeo-Christian and Arabs and Southern Asians are Muslim. It confounds me how the Bible cannot withstand the rigor of science or our American legal system, but there continues to be not only blind faith, but blind hate created by these rather baseless beliefs.

  134. Susan Gate1 month ago

    I saw this phenomenon with my own generation growing up in the 70s. Guess what, the majority are now belong to a religious group, or they at least believe in God. Atheists are still a tiny minority.

    1. Eugene Muller1 month ago

      That’s true. Atheists are constantly trying to find ways of inflating their numbers, but they actually make up only a very small percentage of people. Actually, when you consider the demise of communism and the explosive growth of Christianity in places like China, it is atheism and not belief that is dying.

      1. Anonymous1 month ago

        Really? Not according to every survey they make on the subject. There are more Atheists than Mormons and Jews combined. If you add Agnostics, the non believers become the 5th largest affiliation. Combining all non affiliated makes it the same size as the Catholic church. So I call bs on your post.

      2. Robin Hager1 month ago

        Evidently you don’t go on the internet much. Atheism is growing at an alarming rate. I’m glad to see that people are coming to their senses and putting old legends and beliefs behind them.

      3. Anonymous1 month ago

        Tell that to the Catholic Church that has been unable to recruit sufficient priests for over a decade.

    2. Dennis White1 month ago

      Wrong, mathematicians have calculated the within 100 years, religion in American will only consist of a very small minority. As more and more people move away from organized religion they won’t be indoctrinating their children from birth like they were. Science will continue to advance as superstition fades.

  135. Anonymous1 month ago

    From this and other studies I have seen, it seems clear that this phenomenon is real and across age groups (to varying extents). America is returning to a more typical pattern of religious participation, unlike the aberration of the past 75 years or so.
    I follow the reasoning of those interpreters, like Phyllis Tickle and Diana Butler Bass, who see God at work in this. We are due, after 500 years, for another Reformation, and the Holy Spirit is trying to lead us to new and, in many ways better, ways of being church, that will serve God’s purposes in the 21st Century.
    I write as a Protestant pastor who grieves many of the changes, who understands many of the criticisms of some organized religion, but also sees WONDERFUL things happening there. The next decades will be exciting times (but also scary) in the places people are able to follow the Spirit into newness.

  136. Anonymous1 month ago

    What’s the motivation for the survey?

    1. David Kent1 month ago

      More information is available in the overview here: pewforum.org/2016/08/23/choosing…

    2. Anonymous1 month ago

      I remember hearing 30 years ago ( I was a kid $ that in 30 years there will be no more churches. There are two mega churches near me. Cops have to direct traffic on Sunday morning.

      But I do have to agree that half the people I know are no longer attending church but that does not mean they no longer believe in God. People I know are looking for a small home churches or starting their own.

      Fortunately those people having a crisis of faith are often averse to atheism given that they are the meanest nastiest pessimists out there. Nihilism is a form/ symptom of depression.

      Science has failed to become the new religion in that it’s foundations are rubble as it too changes with seasonal/political fashions: today’s facts are tomorrow is fiction.

      Spiritualism is as inherent to mankind as the soul and the heart. You can amputate it but you will always feel it’s loss.

  137. Anonymous1 month ago

    I was raised Presbyterian but we were 17 miles from town so seldom went to church. My 2nd year in college, I took an Ethics Course. By the time the course was over, reason make me question any god and within a few months I was an atheist. That was over 55 years ago.

    1. Eugene Muller1 month ago

      Read “There IS a God” for former atheist Anthony Flew, and you’ll wind up becoming a Christian again.

    2. Anonymous1 month ago

      And so it goes with most of our colleges today. God and truth have been exchanged for science and autonomy, the new gods of this era.

      1. Anonymous1 month ago

        This is true. We are making progress!

      2. Anonymous1 month ago

        Your comments are oblivious and self serving. Maybe your cult of personality is creating a larger congregation but plenty of people see through the BS and the money grab that religion. While I believe most people who are involved are good at heart, war and violence in the name of religion far outstrips it’s perceived benevolence.

      3. Anonymous1 month ago

        And this is exactly why Muslims, Orthodox Jews and Some sects of LDS aim to keep their women uneducated. Knowledge is power, ignorance puts you at the mercy of those who sim to control you.

  138. Richard Bonam Sr.1 month ago

    Historians (and also the Old Testament) show that civilizations decline when people turn away from God, and flourish when they believe in God. This poll suggests people are turning away from God while other polls show that people think the country is headed in the wrong direction (in decline).

    1. Eugene Muller1 month ago

      That’s very true.

    2. Adam Delmar1 month ago

      You’re using the Old Testament to make a point about morality. Oh “god”!

    3. Anonymous1 month ago

      There are, and have been, plenty of prosperous and happy societies that are primarily atheist or agnostic. Many in Europe come immediately to mind. Of course, now they’re being ruined by religious people. Religion is a lie, and is inheirently damaging to humanity.

  139. Anonymous1 month ago

    I wonder if the movements reflected in the survey reflect the answers of people who never really had any belief to begin with but instead attended church because it was culturally advantageous. Now society has shifted in such a way that it is more culturally costly to identify as a Christian than it is advantageous and so there is a mass movement of people out of the church who, in terms of their beliefs were never really in it to begin with.

    1. Brian Connelly1 month ago

      why do you think it is “culturally costly to identify as a Christian”?

      1. Anonymous1 month ago

        It depends on what TYPE of Christian. If you are intent on launching some type of much needed reform to bring about greater justice, a better environment, an end to this or that at large societal EVIL you will for the most part be fete’d and celebrated. The antislavery movement of the 1850s had a strong religious thread. The anti-segregationist movement was headed up by an actual pastor from Alabama.
        The pastors who held up America’s individual moral shortcomings (as opposed to collective shortcomings) alienated LGBT folks, post-elective abortion women, divorcees etc. These pastors were seen as far more threatening and intrusive than a minister focused on ending apartheid or saving endangered snails.

    2. Anonymous1 month ago

      Inclined to agree. The American southland aka Bible Belt has long been the home of cultural Christianity. Atlanta was once described as having more stripper bars than churches thought I suspect the two are now tied in that race. For years in poor rural areas the church was THE place you went to mix with folks you might not see for a week or longer. Sorta like the agora in ancient Greece.
      I think some years back a man in Alaska David Murrow wrote a splendid book called WHY MEN HATE GOING TO CHURCH. For lotsa guys church stuff is women’s stuff. Men eventually marry and become fathers. When they do so they often want religion as a part of the child-rearing package. But there are still lotsa mothers and children at churches with no Dad to be seen. Are all those men police, EMS emergency room nurses etc? Do they work from 7pm Sat to 7am Sunday? Likely some do. We need civilian ministers more willing to “go where the sheep are” as many military chaplains do. Micro churches with “tentmaker” leadership [ie non full time pastoral staff] are booming even as folks leave the megachurches in droves. As the old CHEERS theme song sang “You wanna be where everybody knows your name, where our problems are all the same” You won’t find that in Joel Olsteens coliseum.

      1. Brian Connelly1 month ago

        Jesus and all 12 of His apostles were men.

  140. Anonymous1 month ago

    I left the RCC because of the hypocrisy between what the church taught and how it and it’s “followers” behave. I still consider myself a Christian but I view Jesus as a teacher – it’s up to me to learn and behave in a way that will “save” (lol) me.

    1. Brian Connelly1 month ago

      Humans are imperfect.
      Jesus is more than a teacher; He is the Son of God.

      1. Skip Batz1 month ago

        Jesus was human. That was the point.

  141. Anonymous1 month ago

    “Agnostic” pertains to knowledge. You either believe a “god” exists or you don’t. You either know a “god” exists or you don’t. The vast majority of atheists don’t claim to know a “god” doesn’t exist. Therefore “agnostic atheist”.

  142. Anonymous1 month ago

    Atheism and agnosticism are not two answers to the same question. I am an atheist AND agnostic. They are two very different things. Agnosticism is “without knowledge”, therefore everyone is agnostic. I am an agnostic atheist and the pope is an agnostic theist. I cannot KNOW a god doesn’t exist…but I am without belief. The Pope cannot know there is a god, although he believes in one. Belief and knowledge are not synonomous. PEW would do a greater service and be much more accurate if their polls used proper terminology.

  143. Anonymous1 month ago

    “I may grow rich by an Art that I take not delight in; I may be cured of some Disease by Remedies that I have not faith in; but I cannot be saved by a Religion I distrust, and by a Worship that I abhor.” John Locke, 1698

    1. Anonymous1 month ago

      If there was scientific evidence, it wouldn’t be called FAITH.

      Jesus said to doubting Thomas, the apostle who wouldn’t believe that Jesus was risen from the dead until he touched His wounds, that “Thomas, because thou hast seen Me, thou hast believed. Blessed are they that have not seen and yet have believed.”

      1. Adam Delmar1 month ago

        Is “faith” a good method to determine what is true or not?

        1. Anonymous1 month ago

          The bible says faith comes by hearing the word of God. The bible is a record of what men have experienced (witnessing). We believe the record or not.
          In a court room we hear what people witness and decide guilt or innocence. We free, jail or execute based on their witness. We act on belief of what other people have experienced. How is this different than acting on the witness or belief in the bible? We are all guilty of misdeeds and will be judged. For those who have faith, Jesus Christ has taken the punishment and so the faithful rejoice and try to share the forgiveness.

      2. Bradley P O1 month ago

        I think at least at the macro cosmological level the evidence of some type of divine higher power is difficult to refute. For instance there is a long list of variables which if any one of them is even slightly off life as we know it on this planet would not be possible. For that reason I suspect no higher advanced life forms await us out beyond our solar system.
        If humans are fallen and flawed by sin, it follows that even on our best days we would not be able to detect or discern the presence of any god. That god would literally have to come down to our level and introduce himself. And even so, we’d still likely crucify Him.

        1. Anonymous1 month ago

          When the universe approaches the size of infinity, these tiny and unimaginable odds because meaningful, tangible and expected. There are more stars and planets in existence than one could even comprehend. We are but an atom on this planet relative to all that is.

          So no, it is extremely likely there is life out there. What remains to be seen is how common it is and if we will make contact. But there is almost no question that there is life somewhere out there. Sadly we are most likely not going to have any information in our life times.

          1. Anonymous1 month ago

            Where is your proof of life out in space? So you see or talk to them? Yes we have faith in religion just like there are theories in science…you make no sense.

  144. Stephen Konnoff1 month ago

    This movement away from religion is simply the culmination of the success and dissemination of science. Modern science has made amazing discoveries and has created awesome technologies that have nurtured a trust in the ability of man to explain the mysteries in life. Simply put: We no longer need to turn to a god for answers. We need only do the research scientifically.

    As it has been said before: religion offers unquestioned answers; science offers unanswered questions.

    1. Anonymous1 month ago

      How Does science disprove that God created the earth and planets as we know them? If anything, science confirms that there is a creator… The Bible answers most of lifes questions…. Not sure what you mean…

      1. Adam Delmar1 month ago

        Science doesn’t disprove “god”, you misread the statement. And you have the burden of proof for making this claim that “science confirms that there is a creator”. They were simply stating that science has answered many questions about the universe that people used to turn to a deity for. Like germ theory for instance. We all know what Christians and others have done to people for what they believed was the cause of diseases.

    2. Anonymous1 month ago

      Science has not put doubt into the minds of people about GOD. It’s mankind who has twisted the words of an interpretation to make GOD none existing. I would hate to know I didn’t believe in GOD because some man or group of scientist say so. How can you trust mankind? One thing for sure, the archaeology digs are proving the Bible is true. No human can predict the future to an exact future as has GOD. How could a book in the Bible predict the birth of Christ 700 years before it happen, and get it right. Even to the place, the area of his birth, and be put to death 33.5 years later. Maybe man is not as smart as he thinks. All the religions on this earth are from mankind, not GOD. How do you trust a religious doctrine to be perfect? I would prefer to investigate the real Word of GOD before a translated version. Churches are more interested in money than teaching the truth of GOD. How many churches know there doctrine is flawed, but refuse to make corrections? I’m not going to trust mankind to get me saved or sent to hell. I’m in charge of my learning not mankind or a professor, Bible preacher or anyone else. There convections are not mine and I don’t want them forced on me. Don’t let mankind talk you into going to HELL.

      1. Anonymous1 month ago

        Said like a true believer. And totally unconvincing. If you have no basis to ground your beliefs in that can withstand rigor, you have no argument. The church has gone to great effort to silence those who could prove things that refuted the church’s teachings. The RCC just like ISIS would love to stil be living in The Dark Ages.

    3. Anonymous1 month ago

      Brilliant!

    4. Brian Connelly1 month ago

      Albert Einstein (and many other scientists) believed in God.

      1. Bobbi Laval1 month ago

        “The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weakness, the Bible a collection of honorable, but still purely primitive, legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation, no matter how subtle, can change this for me.”
        Albert Einstein

        Despite what people like Ray Comfort and Ken Ham claim, Einstein’s belief in God is in question. Yes many scientists believe in God, about 15% of NAS members believe, which means that 85% don’t. Science can neither prove or disprove the existence of anything supernatural.

        If you read the Bible from a critical historic perspective it is difficult for any reasonable person to accept the Bible as anything more than ancient literature. I lost my faith after reading the Bible. It would take a personal encounter like Saul or Paul had to change my mind. I’m not going to hold my breath.

      2. Anonymous1 month ago

        Your entitled to your own view, not your own facts. Einstein, like more than 90% of scientists, was NOT a believer.

      3. Anonymous1 month ago

        Actually he did not believe in the biblical God or any personal one for that matter. It’s well documented that he was an agnostic.

  145. Anonymous1 month ago

    I left because even as a child, I was made to attend Baptist church 2-3 times a week, with bible school and church camp in the summers.

    I was never a popular child, constantly bullied, no idea why. In hindsight I think it had something to do with me picking out the unpopular kids and befriending them, so I was just lumped in with them. Anyway, I distinctly remember asking my mother (dad isn’t religious) why people in church had their hands raised, and she said it’s because they can feel the holy spirit… so I thought to myself if I should pretend to do it too. The “I’m doing this to fit in” mentality is strong, but since I was always an outcast among my peers… it, thankfully, didn’t take me over.

    Fast forward a few years, and I was doing what 14-15 year olds do… and was RACKED by guilt because of it (hey, puberty’s a bitch). No matter what I did, talked to pastors, prayed, NOTHING took away the guilt. I lived with that for a few years, it really had an impact on my self-esteem. Then, when I moved out and wasn’t made to attend church all the time… I just stopped altogether.

    Turns out, that guilt is just sown by the church! I came to study biology, and ended up working towards a PhD. I could then take a LONG objective look at my upbringing, and I realized that it’s certainly easy to get kids to believe in an imaginary friend and stay that way if they get positive social cues because of it.

    1. Anonymous1 month ago

      Mass delusion right?!?

  146. Anonymous1 month ago

    People have been wandering away from God and to themselves as gods for many millennium. This is not news. The excuses are as old as time.
    Why doesn’t pew look at people moving toward faith and ask what’s the draw? Esp since they are going in the opposite direction and some are pretty smart people also.

  147. Anonymous1 month ago

    How many people were questioned in this survey?

    1. David Kent1 month ago

      Hello, the methodology of the full report is available in the table of contents at right here: pewforum.org/2016/08/23/choosing…

  148. Henry Hiller1 month ago

    These studies tend to be done on college campuses or in areas where people are out walking and congregating. Since both of these tend to be things that younger people do, these are probably answers more common to young people. Also, young people tend to “take time off” from religion, only to return when they start to have families and get older and want meaning in their lives . I tend to think this study is way off base, just because of the populations used to obtain the numbers. Only a study where a good cross section of people, rural/city, young /older, education level, single/married , and also people who were not just former “attendees”, but who practiced their faith on a regular basis. As to the latter, there is a presumption on the part of this study that pretends to answer this “those who have left” question, when nothing could be further from the truth.

    1. David Kent1 month ago

      Thanks for your interest. The methodology of the recontact survey this post draws from is available here: pewforum.org/2016/08/23/methodol…

    2. Eugene Muller1 month ago

      I had the same thoughts as you have.

    3. Bradley P O1 month ago

      You raise a good question. I’m sure if I walked into a gym on Sunday morning I’d not get representative polling results. I used to laugh at the data revealed in the surveys done with Playboy readers. (“The results of our latest Playboy readers poll reveal..” what exactly? How few guys actually bother to read it?)

      Sampling bias should ever be something pollsters control for. The 1936 poll of those with phones in their homes picked the R man defeating FDR. Later we got the infamous DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN headline.

      1. Anonymous1 month ago

        1936? Good one.

  149. Sean McGrath1 month ago

    I have been watching this unfold with great interest for years. For the most part, it seems to be my generation (Gen-X), who are swelling the ranks of the unaffiliated. I have found, however, that if you ask them what they actually believe, most would fit the description of one of the modern forms of Deism. To most people who ask me, I simply say “unaffiliated”, but in truth, my personal beliefs would most closely align with Panendeism, or Spiritual Deism.

  150. Anonymous1 month ago

    So basically, this survey of 5000 adults is weighted by the criteria stated, but doesn’t take into account any statistical aberrations (one way or another) which could have occurred within the weighting groups.

    1. David Kent1 month ago

      Thanks for your interest. The methodology of the full report is available here, in the table of contents at right: pewforum.org/2016/08/23/choosing…

  151. Anonymous1 month ago

    i can see why they are leaving the church because the church left God. That’s why I left. The church offers a form of godliness but denys the power. What is the power? It’s Christ crucified on the cross, the power of God unto salvation. Paul tells us that once you hear the gospel and believe it, you receive the Holy Spirit and are sealed for redemption and sanctified. You begin to love God’s word and you grow and slowly become a new person. I think those who give up are giving up on church, not God because they never had a relationship with the God of the bible only with the God of the corrupted church. Most have never really heard the gospel.

    1. Anonymous1 month ago

      I left after reading the bible a few times. I realized it was all make believe.

      1. Skip Batz1 month ago

        I read the bible a few times too and realized that religion and god are two different things – regardless of what religious people insist on.

      2. Anonymous1 month ago

        You never actually read the Bible, even once.
        Most of those who “read” the Bible are not truly seeking to find, better know and submit to the God they find there.
        They are searching the Bible for “evidence” to accuse, and condemn God, why they need not respect, acknowledge, or submit to God. And God gives them what their heart really seeks. The actual wisdom, truth, power, mercy, justice, plan and completeness of the Word of God remains ‘hidden” from those who do not come to him seeking TRUTH, wherever that takes you. Until you come in that frame of mind, ready to seek and submit to the Truth, The Holy Spirit will not allow you to understand and see the “big picture”

    2. Rick Bradley1 month ago

      There are plenty of churches that preach the Gospel of Christ Crucified dead, buried and resurrected. The world wold love to influence the church, but the church should influence the world. God saves whom he desires to save.

  152. Anonymous1 month ago

    Darwin, Marx and Engles have done a stellar job of consigning billions of people to the Lake of Fire.

    1. Anonymous1 month ago

      Any soul in hell is a failure by your “perfect, all-powerful” god.

      1. Bradley P O1 month ago

        You can freely live your life rejecting “Thy will be done”. When you die as we all must you will finally hear God say to you: “Thy will be done” and spend eternity apart from Him as C.S. Lewis so ably phrased it. I think He loves us all enough not to force Himself on us. He takes only volunteers, not conscripts.

        1. Anonymous1 month ago

          A choice with a gun to your head isn’t much of a choice. And he ‘created’ us just to worship him, and demands that we worship him: the first three commandments are about this, in front of, say, murder. How small, narcissistic and petty a child this god of yours must be.

        2. Skip Batz1 month ago

          The point here was – and the rest are tortured eternally? Infinite pain for a lifetime’s worth of error?

        3. Anonymous1 month ago

          Ha volunteers… Love me and do as I say or you will burn in hell for eternity! ETERNITY!

          Alright god, calm down!

  153. Anonymous1 month ago

    I don’t see God mentioned in any of this. The survey seems to be about ‘religion’ and not about belief in God, or did I miss something.

    1. David Kent1 month ago

      Thanks for your interest. This analysis deals with reasons people give for why they no longer associate themselves with the religious organization they belonged to growing up, but the original Religious Landscape Study it draws from (pewforum.org/religious-landscape…) does address belief in God.

  154. Anonymous1 month ago

    Very interesting. As a member of membership committee in an organization, that has a professed belief in Christianity as a requirement for membership, I found this article to be very interesting. We seem to have more problems attracting ‘younger’ members…this may be why? This is not something we had ever discussed, or considered.

  155. Suresh MB1 month ago

    perhaps if they read Advaida teachings of Adi sankara,sree narayana guru who explained that god exists in every being animate inanimate which is against the concept of organized Semitic faiths people could have changed

    1. Bradley P O1 month ago

      You should read and learn more about Sikhism.

  156. Steve Simms1 month ago

    Since 22% are opposed to “organized religion,” perhaps we should unorganize it. Perhaps we could stop the sermon and allow worship to be an open forum where ordinary people can show and tell what God has done (according to 1 Corinthians 14:26). Here’s an article about a group in Nashville that has done just that: holysoup.com/he-stopped-the-sermon.

    1. Anonymous1 month ago

      You mean like the Quakers ?

  157. Anonymous1 month ago

    The non-affiliation stands to reason in our age of fast-food on-line rich media for all things God. Unlike ever before, those who congregations trust as authority figures can be challenged and fact-checked to see if they are speaking truth or not. With that said, people are waking up to the dogmas preached from the pulpits as a means of control. Individuals are finding true freedom in Christ at home much in the same fashion Martin Luther had an awakening to the lies spewed from the Catholic Church. It blows my mind how modern day pastors refuse to look at the Apocrypha’s which were cherished books of the early church, removed by Catholic Bishops as a means of keeping true gospel information hidden from the peoples. There is freedom in understanding the big picture in those books especially Enoch, who is quoted by Christ and the apostles yet removed. More, organized religion has become a money maker. Anyone who can afford a church software program that comes complete with the days message, music & slide show lyrics, ways to increase attendance, accounting programs complete with guilt messages on the tithe.. which by the way is no where to be found in the New Testament thereby putting the congregation under the law for practicing it and more. There’s no litmus test making it easy for a wolf in sheeps clothing to setup shop. With that said, perhaps it’s time for a shake-up. Especially looking at the ineffectiveness of the church who is to be salt while the condition of our nation slides down the shaft. There has always only been only a remnant of true believers anyway. Social media however shows me those who love God through Christ are here in surprising numbers. Sometimes a shake-up is needed as illustrated over and over in the good book.

  158. Anonymous1 month ago

    I believe!

  159. Bonnie Gray Smith1 month ago

    Just one more sign that we are in the end times. Paul described America today PERFECTLY in Romans 1. Also, there will come a GREAT falling away from the faith. Hedonism, secular humanism,
    and atheism will take this country right down the drain, and we’re circling the bowl right now.

    1. Adam Delmar1 month ago

      Just remember, we all evolved out of Africa.

    2. Anonymous1 month ago

      Insane thinking like this is what would take the country, no sorry the world right down the drain. Thanks to all your little buddies we lost 800 years in the dark ages. You guys owe me a brighter future! I want me 800 years back!

    3. Anonymous1 month ago

      Agree

  160. Anonymous1 month ago

    This is not a bad thing. If people start realizing that this is all there is, they might do more to make this life better for themselves and others.

  161. Norman Ravitch1 month ago

    Ignored is the fact that a large percentage of people who go or have gone regularly to church really don’t believe much of what their churches teach, even the clergy do not believe much of it. Some 2/3s of Catholics do NOT believe in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. Many doubt much of the teachings of the churches. Finally people are beginning more and more to acknowledge this and even to cease going to church. We are finally getting like the western Europeans for whom Christianity has become just an artefact of history.

    Christianity is based on legend and ignorance and sooner or later educated people will feel it necessary to abandon it. We in America have special reasons for having delayed the exit from religion, compared to Europe, but we are finally moving in the right direction.

    1. Phillip Woeckener1 month ago

      Norman said, “but we are finally moving in the right direction.”

      I would submit that we are moving in a direction, but it is left. And if God does exist, and Jesus Christ did indeed rise from the dead, and sits on the throne in heaven as the only way to salvation and entrance into heaven, then I would say that we are definitely moving in the wrong direction.

      And as we say in the Apostles Creed, Jesus will come to judge the living and the dead.

      1. John Elijah1 month ago

        And if the great IPU (Invisible Pink Unicorn) is the real creator and sitting on his throne, he’ll judge the non-believers as well. Now, what is the evidence for either deity?

  162. Susan Gate1 month ago

    Another question that could have been asked, how many left their religion, but later in life came back due to some tragedy and the person needed comfort, decided the community of a church was needed in their life for grounding, had children and wanted them to grow up with a solid moral background and something they might choose later to or not.
    It’s a two way street, some leave, some come back.
    I am one of those leavers. Still believed in God, but didn’t think I needed a religious community. But came back after tragedy struck my family, and going to a therapist just wasn’t working. I got a lot of support, love and comfort from the church community.
    Then I found out all the positives about belonging to a religion. The activities that are good fun, the small groups studying the bible, the great activities for children, and most of all the help that is available when you are struggling financially.
    My own children chose to go to church when they had their own children, and like me find answers to the hard questions in life. They turned to Christianity. I have a brother who turned to the Hindu religion.
    Anyway, to each their own. People who have turned away, will be glad organized religion is still there when they need a belief in a power greater than themselves.

    1. Anonymous1 month ago

      I had a tragedy in my life and it reinforced my atheism. Atheism provides incredible comfort. It’s reality. It’s being in the world the way we were meant to be. It’s connecting with the natural world fully – its beauty and its ugliness, its softness and its hardship. Reality and real human connections are much kinder and sweeter than any story that religion can spin.

  163. Ziva David1 month ago

    Interesting, but not surprising, as most haven’t been taught the Bible, but just cherry-picked stories from it. Most churches stopped teaching the Bible ages ago, and just repeat the same stuff over and over again, establishing traditions of men (Easter, anyone?) and ignoring the Word of God. It’s easier to study online. People have been rejecting God from day one, but the time is coming… “My people perish for a lack of knowledge.” Hosea 4:6 How many times does the Bible say “He that hath an ear, let him hear,” or did Jesus say “Is it not written?” One can listen or not, at one’s own peril….

  164. Charles Burgess1 month ago

    This is a pity. I blame much of this on the ridiculous hucksterism of so many evangelicals, the absurd antics of so many television preachers, the stampede into extrerme liberalism of so many mainline Protestant churches and the vile conduct of the Roman Catholic Church with respect to sexual misconduct of many priests. I believe in God but I sure have my doubts about organized religion in the U.S.

    1. Travis Moore1 month ago

      I don’t see why it’s a “pity.” It’s just showing that more and more people are shedding the shackles of religion and the horribleness associated with it. It’s a good thing, it leads to more diverse people that are actually capable of independent thought. Not mindless, blind sheep being led by a more power-hungry blind sheep.

      1. Susan Gate1 month ago

        Check out any society in recent and old history. Only societies with a religion, a belief in God, or Gods, made any impact on human history. Ask any anthropologist how religion was a prime motivator for betterment of human kind. Even in communist countries that outlaw religion, religion still thrives. It’s either in our genes, or the surviving cultures have Gods in them, or we all have souls. Perhaps people who don’t feel a connection with God, are defective.

        1. Michael Reed1 month ago

          Susan Gate that is an awful statement …I thought god didn’t make junk. Also there is research that atheism was with us since the dawn of time as well .

        2. Anonymous1 month ago

          ” Only societies with a religion, a belief in God, or Gods, made any impact on human history”
          Perfectly true! The Greeks and Romans had shed loads of gods and look at the impact they made on our culture.
          Perhaps we ought to worship more gods.

        3. Anonymous1 month ago

          Religion has been present since humans first organized because that was the only way to make sense of the world. Today we have science and science is helping make sense of the world and has been making a bigger impact on the world that anything else before (it actually heals humans from diseases unlike God). We have no way of knowing of what the world would be like if there was never any superstition. I can speculate that we would probably be inhabiting a few new planet instead of still killing each other in the name of God.

      2. Anonymous1 month ago

        Well said. I agree completely

  165. Anonymous1 month ago

    To paraphrase Malcolm Muggeridge:

    When it comes to skeptics of Christianity, you will often find not that the evidence has been examined and found lacking, but that the evidence has not been examined at all.

    1. Anonymous1 month ago

      Too true

    2. Bradley P O1 month ago

      I forgot Malcolm!! A great saintly man.

      There are I hope equal numbers leaving and coming. In the early 80s I would never have predicted the subsequent exodus from church/religion by a timid church secretary from Long Island NY (Jessica Hahn). Nor would I have predicted Prince entourage member and vocalist VANITY would later be saved and become an on-fire church praise leader/pastor. Darryl Strawberry lost all his athletic fortune due to booze and dope. He met his bride at an AA meeting. He today has had some rough diversions (Rx relapse) but the sovereign Lord redeemed him and uses him even now.

    3. Alexandra E.3 weeks ago

      Sometimes we don’t even have to look at the evidence or lack thereof. We just have common sense. We ask ourselves, “Did the creator of the universe come up with a crazy-ass plan for salvation?” Or did the creator of the universe write the “Bible” then say that anyone who doesn’t believe it is going to be tortured forever in hell?” And, we answer with, “of course not. That’s ridiculous.”

  166. Anonymous1 month ago

    That is so sad.

  167. Anonymous1 month ago

    What were the percentages of age groups? This sounds like people that are under the age of 45.

    1. Michael Lipka1 month ago

      Thanks for your comment. While we have not done an analysis by age specifically of religious “nones” who were raised in a religion, we have published age data for religious “nones” overall. They do tend to be relatively young.

      This post has age breakdowns separately for atheists, agnostics and those why say their religion is “nothing in particular” (the three individual groups that make up religious “nones”): pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/0….

      For data on religious “nones” overall, check out this page: pewforum.org/religious-landscape…

      Michael Lipka

      1. Anonymous1 month ago

        Thank you.

      2. Eugene Muller1 month ago

        The age factor is very important. Those in their late teens and twenties tend to drift away from religion, no matter what their upbringing. But when adults enter their 30s and 40s, get married, and start having families, they very often come back to the faith. To ignore that makes the conclusions of this study questionable.

        1. Anonymous1 month ago

          Source?

        2. Anonymous1 month ago

          I’m 70 years old, left organized religion behind when I left home for college aged 17, haven’t returned and never will. I have my own set of beliefs that works for me and that’s what really matters.

        3. Alexandra E.3 weeks ago

          There is some truth to this. It is so tempting to “believe” when you have small children and want them to live forever. However, it is also when I started to question the idea of “original sin.” My kids were not born evil or needing forgiveness, that’s for sure. For me, I just finally had to admit to myself what I think I had known for some time. None of it is true. Whether it is helpful to believe or not is up for debate, but it doesn’t change the fact that it is simply untrue.

  168. Packard Day1 month ago

    “Religious liberty might be supposed to mean that everybody is free to discuss religion. In practice it means that hardly anybody is allowed to mention it.” G. K. Chesterton