This doesn’t come as any surprise: a Pew survey has found there has been a big drop in the number of Americans who are identifying themselves as Christians.
“The Christian share of adults in the United States has declined sharply since 2007, affecting nearly all major Christian traditions and denominations, and crossing age, race and region, according to an extensive survey by the Pew Research Center.
Seventy-one percent of American adults were Christian in 2014, the lowest estimate from any sizable survey to date, and a decline of 5 million adults and 8 percentage points since a similar Pew survey in 2007.
The Christian share of the population has been declining for decades, but the pace rivals or even exceeds that of the country’s most significant demographic trends, like the growing Hispanic population. It is not confined to the coasts, the cities, the young or the other liberal and more secular groups where one might expect it, either.
“The decline is taking place in every region of the country, including the Bible Belt,” said Alan Cooperman, the director of religion research at the Pew Research Center and the lead editor of the report. …”
The sharp decline in American Christianity is just another symptom of the same cultural forces that are destroying marriage in the United States and other Western countries. I’ve been reading about it in Andrew Cherlin’s The Marriage-Go-Round: The State of Marriage and the Family in America Today:
“In addition, Americans value the quest for personal fulfillment – the core of the newer, expressive individualism. This quest can be seen in a vigorous religious life that, unnoticed by many, has embraced the spirituality of seeking. Today you must actively choose your faith, your church, your beliefs, and if you aren’t satisfied, you may leave and choose again. Forty-four percent of Americans have changed their religious affiliation from the religion in which they were raised (for example, from Catholic to Protestant or Lutheran to Pentecostal). This quest for spiritual fulfillment reinforces the quest for personal fulfillment in one’s family life. The seeker church and the seeker marriage both allow those whose preferences change to go elsewhere.”
If you feel that your marriage, your job, your family, your unborn child or your faith isn’t working for you, then you can just drop these things now and try something else. In America’s consumer culture, you can do it as easily as you would try on a new pair of jeans or buy a new brand of barbecue sauce in the supermarket.
“How can we make sense of the profound changes that have occurred in many facets of American family life during the last half century? Fundamentally, I believe, what has happened is that marriage and family life have become matters of personal choice to an extent that would have astounded Americans in the 1950s. The idea that you could choose to have a long-term sexual relationship outside of marriage and still be a respectable citizen would have seemed incredible. That people could skip from one live-in relationship to another, not because their partners were abusive or unfaithful but merely because that’s what they wanted, would have horrified many people. That most married women would choose to work for wages would have seemed like an abandonment of home and family. That a woman could take a pill that would prevent her from becoming pregnant – and that hundreds of millions would choose to do so – would have seemed like science fiction.”
The modern American is the most self-absorbed individualist that has ever walked the face of the earth.