America is losing its religion — and its effects are long-lasting


According to a new survey, American participation in the worship community has declined sharply in recent years, with less than 50% of the country belonging to churches, synagogues, or mosques.

Important reason: The accelerating trend towards the more secular America represents a fundamental shift in national character, which will have a profound impact on political and even social cohesion.

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In numbers: A Gallup Voting released last week Only 47% of Americans reported belonging to a place of worship, down from 50% in 2018 to 70% in 1999.

environment: The decline in membership is mainly caused by a sharp increase in “none” — Americans Do not express religious taste..

  • The proportion of non-religious Americans has risen from 8% in 1998-2000 to 21% in the last three years, and the proportion of non-religious Americans has also risen.

Big picture: The more mundane American story is, though not complete, primarily one of the alternations of generations.

  • Chapel members are age-related, and the oldest Americans are much more likely to be members of the Church than young adults.

  • However, while church membership is low in the younger generation, it is particularly declining in millennials and Gen Z, about 30 percentage points lower than Americans born before 1946, and in baby boomers and Gen Z. 8 points and 16 points, respectively.

  • Children growing up without an organized religion As an adult, you are less likely to enter the place of worshipTherefore, it is not surprising that the secularization trend will only continue in the future, except for major demographic or cultural changes.

Yes, but: Generational change The idea that changes in the values ​​of society as a whole between young and old may be due to the growth of their different circumstances does not give the big picture.

  • Even the oldest Americans have seen a slight increase in the percentage of none, while 20% of Generation X have not reported religious affiliation since 11% in 1999.

Details: Whatever their religious practices, Americans are increasingly rejecting many of the moral disciplines found in most major religions.

  • 2017 Gallup Poll It turns out that the majority of Americans believe that practices such as contraception, divorce, extramarital sex, and gay and lesbian relationships are all morally acceptable.

  • so Works for last year’s diplomacy, Political Scientist Ronald F. Inglehart argued: Because the number of births has decreased Partly because of contraception and lower infant mortality, modern society is “no longer required to adhere to the types of sex and sexual norms that major world religions have planted for centuries.” I’m not paying anymore.

catch: The decline of traditional religious practices does not mean that Americans do not have to meet. What journalist Murtaza Hussein calls The “god-shaped hole” of the country.

  • The early stages of the civil rights movement were built on the power of the black church, but today many young people Flock to campaigns like Black Lives Matter It is not religious in nature, but often adopts words of religion, spirituality, and justice.

  • “Political debates about what America means have taken on the nature of a theological controversy,” said Shadi Hamid, a senior researcher at the Brookings Institution. I wrote in a recent Atlantic essay.. “This is what a religion without religion looks like.”

What’s next: As religion becomes more and more practiced by Americans, it may instead become another identity and be incorporated into the ongoing cultural war.

Conclusion: According to Gallup’s research, the United States remains an extraordinarily religious country, with more than seven in ten Americans belonging to organized religions.

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