America Is Becoming Less Christian, Less Religious
(Top Posts - Distance From Belief
in christianity - 031009)

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American Religious Identification Survey Finds
Major Denominations Losing Members

by Dan Harris

March 9, 2009
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America is still a predominantly Christian nation,
but it's becoming both less Christian and less reli-
gious, according to the results of the new American
Religious Identification Survey.

According to the poll, which came out today, the
percentage of Americans who define themselves as
Christian has dropped from 86 percent in 1990 to
76 percent in 2008.

In one of the most dramatic shifts, 15 percent of
Americans now say they have no religion -- a figure
that's almost doubled in 18 years. Americans with
no religious preference are now larger than all other
major religious groups except Catholics and Baptists.


"What seems to be happening is there is a decline in
what we might call traditional brand loyalty to the old
denominations, specific churches," said Barry Kos-
min, a principle investigator for the American Reli-
gious Identification Survey.

In the last 18 years, despite population growth and
immigration, almost all religious denominations have
lost ground.

Mainline Protestants are down the most. Methodists,
for example, have gone from 8 to 5 percent.

Baptists are down from 19.3 to 15.8.

And Jews are down from 1.8 to 1.2 percent.

Meanwhile, the number of atheists, while still small,
has nearly doubled from 900,000 to 1.6 million.


While Americans may be leaving established denomin-
ations, the one major growth area in American Christi-
anity is among evangelicals. Megachurches are boom-
ing, rising from 5 to 11.8 percent of the population.


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