Mission being Accomplished: Christians decline in America
Generations of progressive education and media paying off.
Pew just released a survey of religion in America, and the headline is Christians Decline Sharply as Share of Population:
The Christian share of the U.S. population is declining, while the number of U.S. adults who do not identify with any organized religion is growing, according to an extensive new survey by the Pew Research Center. Moreover, these changes are taking place across the religious landscape, affecting all regions of the country and many demographic groups. While the drop in Christian affiliation is particularly pronounced among young adults, it is occurring among Americans of all ages. The same trends are seen among whites, blacks and Latinos; among both college graduates and adults with only a high school education; and among women as well as men.
The complete Report is here (pdf.).
The percentage of Christians has declined by 8 percent sice 2007:
To be sure, the United States remains home to more Christians than any other country in the world, and a large majority of Americans – roughly seven-in-ten – continue to identify with some branch of the Christian faith. But the major new survey of more than 35,000 Americans by the Pew Research Center finds that the percentage of adults (ages 18 and older) who describe themselves as Christians has dropped by nearly eight percentage points in just seven years, from 78.4% in an equally massive Pew Research survey in 2007 to 70.6% in 2014….
In 2007, there were 227 million adults in the United States, and a little more than 78% of them – or roughly 178 million – identified as Christians. Between 2007 and 2014, the overall size of the U.S. adult population grew by about 18 million people, to nearly 245 million.7 But the share of adults who identify as Christians fell to just under 71%, or approximately 173 million Americans, a net decline of about 5 million.
Here’s the summary chart:
Interestingly, Evangelical Christians are the only growing Christian group:
The evangelical Protestant tradition is the only major Christian group in the survey that has gained more members than it has lost through religious switching. Roughly 10% of U.S. adults now identify with evangelical Protestantism after having been raised in another tradition, which more than offsets the roughly 8% of adults who were raised as evangelicals but have left for another religious tradition or who no longer identify with any organized faith.
It seems that Christians are experiencing a phenomenon taking place in the Jewish community where the Orthodox community is the only growing segment. I’ll be curious when Pew updates its 2013 survey of Jews.
The NY Times purports to be bewildered as to the cause:
The report does not offer an explanation for the decline of the Christian population, but the low levels of Christian affiliation among the young, well educated and affluent are consistent with prevailing theories for the rise of the unaffiliated, like the politicization of religion by American conservatives, a broader disengagement from all traditional institutions and labels, the combination of delayed and interreligious marriage, and economic development.
I’m not bewildered.
There has been a multi-generational attack in the culture and the education system on religion in general, but particularly on Christianity. It is no surprise that Christianity is losing ground most among the young. From the Pew study:
One of the most important factors in the declining share of Christians and the growth of the “nones” is generational replacement. As the Millennial generation enters adulthood, its members display much lower levels of religious affiliation, including less connection with Christian churches, than older generations. Fully 36% of young Millennials (those between the ages of 18 and 24) are religiously unaffiliated, as are 34% of older Millennials (ages 25-33). And fewer than six-in-ten Millennials identify with any branch of Christianity, compared with seven-in-ten or more among older generations, including Baby Boomers and Gen-Xers. Just 16% of Millennials are Catholic, and only 11% identify with mainline Protestantism. Roughly one-in-five are evangelical Protestants.
It also is no surprise that unaffiliated is the fasted growing group, and that the percentage of atheists or agnostics among the unaffiliated has grown, as WaPo reports:
The “nones,” or religiously unaffiliated, include atheists, agnostics and those who say they believe in “nothing in particular.” Of those who are unaffiliated, 31 percent describe themselves as atheists or agnostics, up six points from 2007.
The media is practically giddy in reporting the results, particularly the political implications. From the NY Times:
The changing religious composition of America has widespread political and cultural ramifications. Conservatives and Republicans, for example, have traditionally relied on big margins among white Christians to compensate for substantial deficits among nonwhite and secular voters. The declining white share of the population is a well-documented challenge to the traditional Republican coalition, but the religious dimension of the G.O.P.’s demographic challenge has received less attention, perhaps because of the dearth of data.
If there is any surprise at all, it’s that the decline was not more rapid.
Brings me back to a post I have re-posted in various forms over the years, Passover Is No Time To Wish For The End Of Christian America.
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The center of Christianity is migrating into China and Africa. Soon – there will be 300,000,000 Christians in China.
But – God is not through with the United States of America.
America has sent missionaries to these countries for decades. In an interesting twist of divine irony, if the current trend continues these countries will be sending missionaries here.
Actually, they already are. There are many from South Korea and even a few from China now.
Remember – like all psychopaths and all sociopaths, the fake religion of Islam lies about everything also. (The partial lies count as complete lies and that fact is remembered in centuries old sayings such as that in cultures around the world.)
Islam has been lying recently saying it is the largest religion in the world.
Christianity is largest religion according to history scholars studying Christianity – per history professor Jonathan Phillips of Royal Holloway, University of London.
Is it “OMG PROGRESSIVE ATTACK ON RELIGION” or is it more the inherent irrationality of religion in the face of ever-expanding scientific understanding of the universe?
Considering that the recurring theme where the kiddies hang out is that all religions are as bad as Islam because religion, I’d say its the progressives.
Golly, I doubt the latter, since many of the finest scientific minds on the planet are religious or have concluded that intelligent design is supported by rational inquiry.
You beat me to it. The “intelligent design” theory (i.e. a God-created universe) is gaining traction among the actual researchers.
You wouldn’t know it, when you hear the “progressive” educators (i.e. NOT researchers) and talking heads in the media bring it up. We faithful people are still just “bitter clingers” to them, even when we’re proven correct.
ID proponents claim it, anyway. And have about as much basis as they do for their original claims.
Checkmate: go to http://biologos.org/
Karl Popper. Falsifiability.
Show me the necessary and sufficient falsifiable hypothesis statement for “intelligent design”.
I put the same challenge out for AGW.
1) a list of observations that are *excluded* by your hypothesis;
2) a logical argument that without those observations, the only remaining possibility is your favored hypothesis (rather than the null).
While their may be a rationale for ID, and even a rationale for AGW, until you have a necessary and sufficient falsifiable hypothesis statement, it isn’t science.
Now, if you want to argue against Karl Popper and the demarcation problem, that’s fine, but that’s a different conversation entirely.
I’m not hip deep in this whole ambit, but I don’t think that anyone who supports ID or religion (which are not necessarily unitary) would assert they were “science”. They are rationally and philosophically sound, however.
Agreed. All too often I think we conflate “rational” with “scientific” – and the two are *not* the same. Science is *much* more rigorous when applied, and something can be reasonable, or at least arguably reasonable, without being scientific.
Yep. But, at the same time, rigorous science has often simply confirmed what reason…or, indeed, inspiration…has suggested to us. In that sense, science is correctly seen as a tool for testing genius, wherever it came from.
Well, remember, rigorous science never really confirms anything – it simply gives us the opportunity to try and refute something, and if after trying really hard, we still fail, then it lends credence to the truth of the original assertion 🙂 The gateway requirement for this method is falsifiability, and while things that are true may not be falsifiable (like say, Symphony No. 25 is beautiful), we exclude them from our consideration in this method.
Properly understood, science is a method for exposing *untruth*, and requires faith insofar that we believe that whatever remains after such rigorous scrutiny is at least close to the truth. But the trick of this faith is that it too, is conditional, rather than absolute.
Yahbut, when science fails to falsify Philo Farnsworth’s inspiration that led to me having a wide-screen TV, I kinda feel like we can say with some justification…if a little sloppiness…that science has confirmed it. If a little through the back door.
“Agreed. All too often I think we conflate “rational” with “scientific” – and the two are *not* the same. Science is *much* more rigorous when applied, and something can be reasonable, or at least arguably reasonable, without being scientific.”
Of which of these two statements are you more certain:
1. The sun is at least twice as massive as the moon.
2. It is important to tell the truth.
If you pick #1 then be prepared to tell me what experiment you performed to determine its truth.
Reason is much more rigorous than science.
Number one is easy – the falsifiable hypothesis is “the sun is larger than the moon”. The observations that would falsify it are:
1) triangulation to determine distance, and therefore angular measurement of actual width, showing the moon having more volume;
2) if dealing with mass as the measure of “larger” rather than simply volume, then using newton’s laws, predictions of orbits and celestial movement based on the moon being more massive.
If either of those observations showed us something contrary to our prediction, we’d know the untruth of the assertion. As it stands, with these two falsification criteria, we can be pretty sure of our hypothesis 🙂
Falsifiability is an amazing thing once you understand it 🙂
“Karl Popper. Falsifiability.”
Apparently you haven’t heard that no respectable philosopher subscribes to the “verification principle” any more. It became unpopular when somebody discovered that it failed its own test. It cannot be “verified” empirically nor is it “falsifiable”.
‘Show me the necessary and sufficient falsifiable hypothesis statement for “intelligent design”.’
Show me the necessary and sufficient falsifiable hypothesis statement for “Darwinian evolution”.
I don’t blame you. I blame your teachers.
Karl Popper. Falsifiability.
Falsifiability has its uses in science, but has serious limitations. Popper was skeptical of inductive reasoning (since in his view it was not falsifiable), which would invalidate a lot of mathematics.
Example: Fermat’s Last Theorem – a^n + b^n = c^n has no solution where a, b, c, and n are positive integers and n>2. It is impossible to consider an infinite number of values of a, b, c, and n. If we take Popper’s falsifiability as the only measure of scientific validity, then Andrew Wiles’ 1995 proof of Fermat’s Last Theorem is not science since it relied on inductive reasoning.
It is not surprising that many scientists reject Popper’s views as being too limiting.
A funny thing happens when you study enough mathematics – you hit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G%C3%B6del%27s_incompleteness_theorems 🙂
The problem you have when you reject falsifiability is you end up with http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russell%27s_teapot
Once you go down the path of inductive reasoning in a world that is not well bounded by axiomatic structures (i.e., the mental constructs of math), you end up opening the door to feminism, AGW, astrology, and the Flying Spaghetti Monster 🙂
This is terrible terrible bait. Got a handful of comments though, so good for you. The history of Western science is full of men and women of faith. But by all means, continue to perpetuate in the false notion that all scientists/researchers are nihilistic atheists if that makes you feel better.
Seems more accurate to say that people who freak out over others’ religious beliefs are the irrational ones ~
It’s all about epistemology. The canard that science is the only way of knowing is known as “scientism”.
Scientism sounds like a religion to me!
I might believe that, if it weren’t for the Church of Global Warming, and the silly faiths of the left cloaked in the lab coats of “science” while ignoring the most basic, fundamental falsifiability requirements of the scientific method.
That being said, a funny thing happens when you study the bible -> you learn that it is a creation of man, and discover at the end of the mystery, fairly rational explanations (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bart_D._Ehrman). A funny thing also happens when you study axiomatic math theory -> you learn that even the most logical and pristine thoughts of man cannot create a consistent set of axioms, and discover at the end of rational thought, mystery. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gödel%27s_incompleteness_theorems)
“I might believe that, if it weren’t for the Church of Global Warming, and the silly faiths of the left cloaked in the lab coats of “science” while ignoring the most basic, fundamental falsifiability requirements of the scientific method.”
The problem with Global Warming is not that it is not falsifiable – it’s that it has been falsified.
“That being said, a funny thing happens when you study the bible -> you learn that it is a creation of man, and discover at the end of the mystery, fairly rational explanations (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bart_D._Ehrman).”
The funny thing is that this didn’t happen when I or hundreds of millions of others when we studied the Bible.
” A funny thing also happens when you study axiomatic math theory -> you learn that even the most logical and pristine thoughts of man cannot create a consistent set of axioms, and discover at the end of rational thought, mystery. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gödel%27s_incompleteness_theorems)”
That’s not what I got out of Godel’s theorem. It kinda made me think that the creature is finite and limited, and unable to comprehend the Creator.
Well, AGW zealots will insist that all of the “consistent with” evidence trumps any failed astrological predictions 🙂
As for studying the origins of the bible and textual criticism, I can’t imagine anyone who actually traces back from the NIV to the original greek and aramaic can truly deny the mortal origins of what has become the canonical bible. The proto christians (the ones who eventually became what we know today as “christians”), were just one group, of many, with ideas (often conflicting) about the meaning of the life of Jesus Christ.
Now, that being said, maybe your bible study has been under the general theory that the NIV is the literal word of god, and you haven’t actually looked into the amazing amount of research and study on the origins of passages and the subtleties of translations. I doubt that many millions of people actually do the kind of in depth research that Bart Ehrman has done.
As for Godel, your description of the mystery at the end of the limits of rational thought is simply a poetic restatement of what I said 🙂
“Now, that being said, maybe your bible study has been under the general theory that the NIV is the literal word of god, and you haven’t actually looked into the amazing amount of research and study on the origins of passages and the subtleties of translations. I doubt that many millions of people actually do the kind of in depth research that Bart Ehrman has done.”
I’ve looked into it. It seems as ideologically forced as AGW.
What I can’t imagine is what an intellectually honest atheist would look like. How does one live once one decides that there is nothing but matter, energy, and random processes? Are there any persons whom you love? Do they know that you don’t believe there is any such thing as love?
Bart Ehrman may be your excuse to deny God, but he won’t be able to help you if you are wrong. He also won’t be able to help you if you are right.
Love doesn’t require the dogma of religion 🙂
Be honest – if it turns out that the muslims are right, and that their dogma is a true representation of the divine, would that make the love you have for your friends and family any less real?
Would you stop loving people if you got amnesia and forgot everything anyone ever taught you about christianity?
This intellectually honest atheist believes that there is right and wrong, even if there isn’t some supernatural enforcer to punish and reward us 🙂 I choose to do what is right, because I believe that ultimately, no matter how random and meaningless the universe is, that is an important virtue. And at the end of the day, whatever does exist in the afterlife, I’ll at least have the defense of honesty 🙂
“This intellectually honest atheist believes that there is right and wrong, even if there isn’t some supernatural enforcer to punish and reward us 🙂 I choose to do what is right, because I believe that ultimately, no matter how random and meaningless the universe is, that is an important virtue. And at the end of the day, whatever does exist in the afterlife, I’ll at least have the defense of honesty :)”
You really can’t hear yourself.
“Right” is what Socrates called “the good”. “The good” is one of the names of the God you think you don’t believe in. And you think you are honest. Phooey.
If you want to play the semantic game of redefining my concept of “good” as your “God”, doesn’t it go both ways? Can’t I simply insist that you really don’t believe in “God”, but just an abstract moral concept of “good”? 🙂
That being said, if you want to insist that anyone with any sense of morality believes in Allah, or Vishnu, or any other of a thousand gods and goddesses worshipped through the ages, I suppose you can make that leap 🙂
In the end, though, if I’m doing good because I believe it is worth doing independent of consequences, and you only do good because you believe you’ll be punished otherwise, which one of us is the more moral creature?
“If you want to play the semantic game of redefining my concept of “good” as your “God”, doesn’t it go both ways? Can’t I simply insist that you really don’t believe in “God”, but just an abstract moral concept of “good”? :)”
No. You are silly, but at least you are cheerful.
“That being said, if you want to insist that anyone with any sense of morality believes in Allah, or Vishnu, or any other of a thousand gods and goddesses worshipped through the ages, I suppose you can make that leap :)”
I didn’t say that. There is only one God. All sense of morality comes from him. There is no other possible source of morality.
“In the end, though, if I’m doing good because I believe it is worth doing independent of consequences, and you only do good because you believe you’ll be punished otherwise, which one of us is the more moral creature?”
Hmm. Christians only do good because we believe we’ll be punished otherwise. You clearly have no idea what Christianity is. Don’t feel too bad – I didn’t either until I was 25. I recommend “Mere Christianity” by CS Lewis.
And although you may think you are doing “good”, I don’t think you know what “good” is. Socrates spent his life looking for someone who could explain “the good”, and never found anyone who could.
You believe in only one god. Which means you disbelieve in thousands of other gods that have been worshipped from time to time. I feel exactly the same way you do, except I disbelieve just one more time 🙂 The same way you feel about Zeus, Hera, Loki, Odin, and Pele
As for C.S. Lewis, I’ve read and enjoyed him quite a bit – I just simply don’t ever get to the point where I need to believe in some dogmatic book before believing in morality 🙂 Truth be told, he actually starts with moral law, just like I do – he just goes one step too far.
As for whether or not you believe I know what good is, it doesn’t stop me from doing good, and not needing theism to do it 🙂
If Socrates had simply stopped looking, he might have found what he sought 🙂
Oppression and persecution often precedes revival.
You stole my thunder quite well.
My personal experience for what it’s worth:
About 2/3 of the African Americans I work with are devoted Christians. Wonderful people–hard working, fun people I can joke with at work. They are not PC, are pro-America and pro-Israel. One of them has been to Israel with her church group.
The other 1/3 are perpetual victims–blaming others and society for everything. They are also the ones who go out “sick” for weeks, sometimes months at a time for very dubious ailments. One, who could never be bothered to do much work, was out 6 months for “stress.” Another would go on rants blaming white Americans for everything bad under the sun. When McCain was running against Obama, she tried to bait Luke by saying loudly, “That boy, McCain. That’s right, Luke. That boy.” Thank God they both transferred.
The difference in African Americans between those who are serious Christians and those who follow the usual race baiters is unusually stark.
Luke is not a Christian or a Jew, but he admires the devoted ones. As, I believe, Chesterton said, those who don’t believe in God don’t believe nothing … they believe anything. Just look at our crazy colleges.
Based on voting trends, I’d say your observations are not indicative of the population.
Actually, yeah, they are. This is one of the great paradoxes of the era; why do black Americans vote against their values?
And they really do, as shown by many and varied polls. As a group, they overwhelmingly support school choice. Yet they continually vote in people who are violently opposed to school choice.
As one example…
For a couple of centuries, “God, family, and country” was a very successful fundamental value of Anglo-American culture. People who lived by it have done amazing, wonderful, and praiseworthy things, literally unique in human history.
The Collective has attacked it directly, openly, and viciously.
They’ve been successful, and they aren’t finished. They have to be fought.
Those attacks are a plan made and used by the Communists.
They will be fought. People are slow to wake up. When the Progressive snakes are fully out of their holes, they can then be understood even by those who don’t pay much attention to politics.
Evangelical Christians are increasing their numbers, and they’re the only branch of Christianity doing so.
This is just a personal anecdote, so take it for what it is, but here’s my opinion on why: Our church is evangelical, and we spend a lot of time and energy doing outreach in the community. Yes, we send a few missionaries to South America or China to work and spread the Word, but at home everyone is doing local outreach. Among other things, we do small home repairs (we have an astonishing number of licensed general contractors, given the size of the congregation), bring meals to sick families, and most of all, pray for/with them. Our church has an excellent rapport with the people in the area, believers and non-believers alike (and you can bet the number of believers is growing).
Every other church we attended, when faced with a diminishing congregation, tried to cloister themselves and hold tight to what attendees they had left. We reach out and gather more. You can do the math on which approach is likely to bring more people into the church community.
Millennials are less religious. They are being taught from a young age that religion is bad, intolerant, and traditional/old.
This new society coming up are all about themselves. It is the “me me me” generation. Christianity is not about “me me me”. It’s about doing good for others, service, treating others kindly, giving of time/money for the greater good, etc.
In this day and age where selfies are the norm, where people are judged based on how many Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook followers they have, and where anti-religion sentiment is being screamed at them from the news, internet, movies, television, and social media… does it really surprise anyone that a good traditional religion doesn’t fit their lifestyle?
Look at the role models of the younger generations. What are the morals of those individuals? Some of these “role models” got famous because they released sex tapes. Does that fit with a religious life? When something going “viral” can create you millions in money, why waste your time studying scripture, praying, or engaging in service with your fellow man?
“Me, me, me, me, me.”
As that rarity which is a Catholic who attends mass on a weekly basis, I have to note that there has been an increase in men entering the seminary…and not really young men. One of the best priests I know became a priest when he was in his forties. For you Catholic bashers out there, it is incredibly difficult to enter a seminary now…the level of psychological testing is rather intense. As for congregations, the most conservative ones (even those that offer mass in Latin occasionally) are growing. We’re just waiting for all of the priests ordained in the 1970s to retire and take their bongo drums with them. There are a lot of people who hunger for a vital Christian faith…not a wishy-washy version.
I’m an evangelical protestant who wishes more EPs would familiarize themselves with the extremely rich Catholic intellectual tradition (another way of saying “Western Civilization”).
Christians, both leaders and laity, have been fools. We send our kids into a hostile intellectual environment (i.e. “higher education”) with no preparation whatsoever.
This is why I think Nancy Pearcey’s recent book, “Finding Truth”, is so important. She knows where the “small holes” in the armor are.
Do you have a link to Nancy Pearcey’s recent book, “Finding Truth?”
Amazon doesn’t list it and neither does Amazon list this year’s excellent, major documentary production of “Ancient Roads from Christ to Constantine.” PBS Shops list the DVDs but I don’t want to give them the “business.”
If you want to start fighting back, please help me. I am developing a website for my small group at church (though it is really for anyone concerned about the direction our country is heading). The site is intended to inform, encourage and spur to action (and evangelize). It is still under construction, but with that in mind, consider checking it out at http://www.unshackledaction.com/ and providing feedback (especially action items!). There are a lot of people out there that want to DO something, they just don’t know what. If you think the site is ‘good enough’, pass it on to others. With your help, perhaps we can stir some to action. Thanks.
Could this be related to things like the failure of polling in the recent UK elections?
The rise in the “Nothing in Particular” category could be hiding a “go away pollster” group. Or a shift in how the “ethnically Christian, but not religious” (aka Christmas and Easter Churchgoers) population identify themselves to pollsters.
That’s a very valid point. Lately I’ve been noting the polls that report the polar (heh!) opposite on various issues.
Both can’t both be true, rationally, so something is broken.
You mean the polling people might be broken – and they’re just making things up – for money??????
Please no POLL jokes!
Token libertarian atheist here – rejecting Christianity for me has nothing to do with any sort of culture war, it’s simply I’m not built to have that kind of faith. If it turns out there is an after life, and I’ve got to apologize to some guardian at the gates of heaven, so be it, but I can’t in good faith pretend to believe.
The more troubling thing for me is the movement *towards* faith, specifically the silly Church of Global Warming (and other leftists fatihs, like feminism, keynesian economics, and affirmative action).
Make no doubt – I got a lot of Christian friends, who are a hell of a lot more polite discussing their deeply held beliefs than any leftist nazis. I appreciate their faith is important to them, and mostly agree with a lot of their precepts even if I don’t derive the conclusions from theology.
This is not a criticism, just a clarification: On first glance there might appear to be a contradiction between the chart and the statement that “The evangelical Protestant tradition is the only major Christian group in the survey that has gained more members than it has lost through religious switching.” The key to understanding this is that the absolute number of evangelical Christians may have gone up due to overall population growth, but their percentage of the population has gone down. In fact, the report says that once margins of error are taken into account that there may not have even been any actual numerical growth but there could also have been from 2 million to 5 million growth in numbers. They believe that the most likely thing is that there has been some growth in numbers, but they cannot be certain that is the case. It’s also important to note that the “unaffiliated” are not necessarily unbelievers, they’re folks who identified themselves as (a) atheist or agnostic, (b) “identified their religion as “nothing in particular” and also said that religion is “not too” or “not at all” important in their lives” or (c) “identified their religion as “nothing in particular” while nevertheless saying that religion is either “very important” or “somewhat important” in their lives.” However, as a percentage of those three groups the atheist/agnostic group increased from 25% in 2007 to 31% in 2014 while the (c) group decreased by the amount that they increased, from 36% to 30%. The (b) group stayed the same. Now if you think about it, the (c) group probably has at least some sympathy with religion, while the (a) group actively dismisses it and the (b) group doesn’t care about it one way or the other. That means 70% of those three groups, or about 16% of the American population, actively or passively reject religion pretty much altogether and that’s up from 10.3% in 2007.
I haven’t studied the situation in detail. But I wonder if the erosion of those identifying as Christian is due to a combination of factors – a nexus of things happening in the culture over a generation or more. Just a few examples: the media attention to “angry” or “hateful” (their words) Evangelicals; the reality of the Catholic Church’s sex/pedophilia scandal; the ever growing pressure to “separate” anything religious from anything governmental; the explosion of self-interest and means to satisfy that (entertainment before the Internet and clearly social media, etc., in the Internet era); etc.
There is little doubt that the pressure from secularists has grown as have those who participate. But organized religion has some responsibility, too. I’m reminded of how the GOP has finally become introspective and realizing that many conservative and libertarian principles are very popular, but the party really stinks as communicating and selling ideas. Perhaps the same applies to the Christian religions.
One other possibility is that people are becoming smarter or more educated, with more and more people going to college. The study has sections correlating belief with educational attainment level and income level. The categories in the Christian group (pg. 56 of the study) are: Protestant Evangelical, Protestant Mainline, Protestant Historically Black, Catholic, Orthodox, Mormon, Jehovah’s Witness; and in the unaffiliated group, Atheist, Agnostic, Nothing in particular-religion not important, and Nothing in particular-religion important. As between these two groups 45% of Atheists and 41% of Agnostics have a bachelor’s or higher degree. Among the Christian groups, the highest percentage with a degree are the Orthodox with 39%, followed by the Protestant Mainline and Mormons with 33%. The most interesting statistic is that of those in the Christian Evangelical group only 21% have a degree, about half that of Atheists and Agnostics. If you look at the data on people who have a high school diploma or less the same trend shows, though the gap is not quite as large. When you relate belief to income level (pg. 58 of the study), the same trend emerges (somewhat unsurprisingly, since educational level and income tend to run together): Christian Evangelicals are much less educated and less affluent while Atheists and Agnostics tend to be far more educated and well-off. (If you look at education trends, the percentage of the population which has a bachelor’s or higher degree has risen in a straight line from about 9% in 1965 to over 30% in 2014.) Finally, just in passing, the belief groups who have the highest levels of college degrees are the Nonchristians in which the group with the lowest level of members with college degrees are the Muslims with 40%, followed by the Buddhists with 48%, the Jews 60%, and the Hindus with a staggering 77%. That’s probably explicable by the fact that a large part of those groups are recent immigrants or first-generation children of immigrants who came here with a thirst to excel and with a traditional religion, but from a Christianity-in-decline point of view that’s just another group, albeit relatively small in number, who are well-educated, relatively affluent, and growing.
If people realized that public schools are communist re-education camps that exist for the purpose of turning out perverts and atheists, they might do more home schooling