Friday, February 22, 2008

America still works

"Many observers abroad have the impression that Americans are growing more religious, while Europeans are growing more secular. This simply isn't true. Americans are far more religious than western Europeans, but in the US, no less than in Europe, the long-term trend is towards greater secularism.
In a 2001 study of religious attitudes among Americans, researchers at the City University of New York discovered that the number of Americans who profess no religion had grown from 8.16 per cent in 1990 to 14.17 per cent in 2000. Americans with no religion at all are now the third largest belief group in the US after Catholics and Baptists, and their number, around 30m, is almost as great as that of Baptists, who number around 34m. Moreover, the number of Americans who, even if they believe in God, do not belong to any religious organisation went from 46 per cent in 1990 to a 54 per cent majority by 2000, according to the study.
When the subject is actual church attendance rather than vague spiritual belief, the gap between the US and Europe shrinks further. According to the Gallup millennium survey of religious views, the number of North Americans (the US plus Canada) who attend church at least once a week is 47 per cent, compared with the west European average of 20 per cent. And some scholars say that the number is inflated, because many Americans are embarrassed to tell pollsters how rarely they attend church.
According to the Gallup poll, the number of North Americans who believe that the Bible is "the actual word of God" has fallen from 65 per cent in 1963 to just 27 per cent in 2001. At the same time, attitudes among Americans toward homosexuality, sex out of marriage and censorship are growing steadily more liberal. Abortion is the major exception; younger Americans tend to be more opposed to abortion than their elders. Possibly this reflects the growing use of ultrasound by parents to view their offspring in the womb, a practice which may be inadvertently undermining the distinction that supporters of liberal abortion laws have tried to make between foetuses and babies."
Michael Lind, Prospect Magazine (UK), February 2008
Another interesting development:


"Some will wish to argue that the slowing growth rate is evidence of an increasing secularization of American postmodern society," said the Rev. Dr. Eileen W. Lindner, editor of the Yearbook. "While such an explanation will satisfy some, caution in drawing such a conclusion is warranted."


Largest 25 Churches (ranked by membership)

1. The Catholic Church – 67,515,016
2. Southern Baptist Convention – 16,306,246
3. The United Methodist Church – 7,995,456
4. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – 5,779,316
5. The Church of God in Christ – 5,499,875
6. National Baptist Convention, U.S.A., Inc. – 5,000,000
7. Evangelical Lutheran Church in America – 4,774,203
8. National Baptist Convention of America, Inc. – 3,500,000
9. Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) – 3,025,740
10. Assemblies of God – 2,836,174
11. African Methodist Episcopal Church – 2,500,000
12. National Missionary Baptist Convention of America – 2,500,000
13. Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc. – 2,500,000
14. The Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod (LCMS) – 2,417,997
15. Episcopal Church – 2,154,572
16. Churches of Christ – 1,639,495
17. Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America – 1,500,000
18. Pentecostal Assemblies of the World, Inc. – 1,500,000
19. The African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church – 1,443,405
20. American Baptist Churches in the U.S.A. – 1,371,278
21. United Church of Christ – 1,218,541
22. Baptist Bible Fellowship International – 1,200,000
23. Christian Churches and Churches of Christ – 1,071,616
24. The Orthodox Church in America – 1,064,000
25. Jehovah’s Witnesses – 1,069,530

Christian Post, Feb. 20 2008
I'm satisfied, all right! When the biggest growth is JWs and Mormons, it probably means that "mainstream "Christianity is standing pretty still. See also my previous post on increasingly secular Catholics.

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