Monday, March 9, 2009

Happy "Heathens" Rejoice

Hell in a hand basket?

The new American Religious Identification Survey shows that Americans identifying themselves as belonging to a religious group is down across the board, with self-identified Christians down 11% in the last 18 years. The change is the greatest in the Northeast and the West, but in all 50 states, Americans saying they have no particular religion are on the rise. Because the U.S. Census does not ask about religion, the ARIS survey was the first comprehensive study of how people identify their spiritual expression…

The ARIS research also led in quantifying and planting a label on the "Nones" — people who said "None" when asked the survey's basic question: "What is your religious identity?"

The survey itself may have contributed to a higher rate of reporting as sociologists began analyzing the newly identified Nones. "The Nones may have felt more free to step forward, less looked upon as outcasts" after the ARIS results were published, [ARIS co-researcher Ariela] Keysar says."


There are several good non-theist subject films available on DVD:

Julia Sweeney's Letting Go of God

Bill Maher's Religulous

and BBC's Jonathan Miller's A Brief History of Disbelief


Anonymous said...

Take THAT, Fundies. And now our evil, Marxist President has overturned Bush's ban on Federal funding for stem cell research. Now, if we can just end DOMA.

Samuel Wilson said...

I looked a little deeper at that survey and found that just slightly over 2% of respondents were willing to say that there was "no such thing" as God. So it's most likely that most of those who report "no religion" are not irreligious, but just refuse to take dictation from established authorities. Whether that's a change for the better or not is anybody's guess.

Pantheon Zeus said...

Among the key findings in the 2008 survey:

• So many Americans claim no religion at all (15%, up from 8% in 1990), that this category now outranks every other major U.S. religious group except Catholics and Baptists. In a nation that has long been mostly Christian, "the challenge to Christianity … does not come from other religions but from a rejection of all forms of organized religion," the report concludes.

• Catholic strongholds in New England and the Midwest have faded as immigrants, retirees and young job-seekers have moved to the Sun Belt. While bishops from the Midwest to Massachusetts close down or consolidate historic parishes, those in the South are scrambling to serve increasing numbers of worshipers.

• Baptists, 15.8% of those surveyed, are down from 19.3% in 1990. Mainline Protestant denominations, once socially dominant, have seen sharp declines: The percentage of Methodists, for example, dropped from 8% to 5%.

• The percentage of those who choose a generic label, calling themselves simply Christian, Protestant, non-denominational, evangelical or "born again," was 14.2%, about the same as in 1990.

• Jewish numbers showed a steady decline, from 1.8% in 1990 to 1.2% today. The percentage of Muslims, while still slim, has doubled, from 0.3% to 0.6%. Analysts within both groups suggest those numbers understate the groups' populations.

(from USA Today)