U.S. decline of Christianity continues at rapid pace
Pew Research Center has been conducting a series of studies on religious attitudes in the U.S. over the past decade and recently released its latest set of findings. As I approach “elderly discount eligibility,” I'm increasingly fascinated by shifts in generational attitudes and how they become manifest in politics. There is interesting data, on the heels of prior versions of this survey from '14 and '17, which is summarized below. I submit the polarity in the U.S. political realm is correlated with this tectonic shift in religious attitudes.
- Adults identifying as Christians down 12% the past decade
- Adults identifying as "nones" (i.e. atheistic, agnostic or "nothing in particular”) up 9% the past decade
- Protestantism declining faster (down 8% to 43) than Catholicism (down 3% to 20) the past decade
- Church attendance (varying measures of frequency) down a range of 7-9%
- Millennials who identify as Christian down 16% the past decade -- by far the biggest drop spanning the last four generations
- 79% of Republicans identify as Christian, compared with 55% for Democrats
- Republicans identifying as Christians down 6% vs. -17% for Democrats over the past decade
- 75% of Boomers identify as Christians vs. 49% with Millennials
- 40% of Millennials are "nones," compared to 17% for Boomers and 10% for the Silent Generation
- "Nones" have increased by 30 million the past decade
- Catholics no longer a majority across Latinos -- down from 57% to 47%
- 69% of women vs. 61% of men are Christians
- 23% of women vs. 30% of men are "nones"
- Biggest decline with Catholics in Northeast (-9)
- Biggest decline with Protestants in South (-11)
- 1/3 of Democrats are "Nones; 42% of White Democrats are "nones"; and 60% of Democrat-leaning attend church no more than a few times/year
- 20% of Black Democrats are "nones", compared with 25% for Latinos
- 81% of White Republicans are Christian, vs 68% for Black and 78% for Latino
- % of Protestants who are Evangelical/Born Again up 3% the past decade
As the Republican and Democratic parties continue to bifurcate across Christianity, we can expect a deepening of seemingly irreconcilable tension. Christianity has certain views and associated actions which are unique, and sometimes diametrically opposed with those of other Belief Systems. These respective views manifest themselves in political perspective. It will be difficult to find common ground with polarity around issues such as: the timeless basis of morality and behavior; the transcendent and irrevocable basis of life and individual liberties; reconciling the Individual with the greater good; the motivation for charity vs. compulsory action; and the accountability of our actions in an eternal sense. Godspeed, America.