Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Research, detailed in new book, says Americans less religious than a decade ago

Pew Research Center chart;
click the image to enlarge it.
"Historically, Americans have recorded relatively high levels of worship-service attendance and belief in God, as compared with their peers in advanced industrial societies such as Europe or Japan. The U.S. example seemed to show that faith could survive in an environment dominated by science and technology," Charles Lane writes for The Washington Post. "A forthcoming book by University of Michigan political scientist Ronald F. Inglehart, however, suggests that the United States is now rapidly catching up with the trend toward secularization elsewhere."

In Religion's Sudden Decline, Inglehart notes that, when Americans were asked to express the importance of God in their lives on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest importance, Americans averaged 4.6 in 2017, down from 8.2 just over a decade ago, Lane writes.

"The U.S. importance-of-God score started higher than others and had more room to fall. Still, Inglehart’s finding reinforces those the Pew Research Center published last October, showing that the share of Americans claiming 'none' as their religious affiliation had grown from 16% to 26% since 2007. Fewer than half of Americans now attend services regularly — with only 35% of millennials going at least once a month."

America's increasing secularization has far-reaching implications for the nation's political landscape, Lane writes, since Republicans are far more likely to say they regularly attend any religious service (54 percent) compared to 38% of Democrats. 

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