We ask brethren for reactions.
The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life published results from its “U.S. Religious Landscape Survey,” based on interviews with more than 35,000 Americans age 18 and older.
The survey revealed that “more than one-quarter of American adults (28%) have left the faith in which they were raised in favor of another religion – or no religion at all.”
If changes from one Protestant group to another were factored in, 44% have either switched their religious affiliation, adopted a religious affiliation after having none, or left a specific religious faith altogether.
One in four Americans ages 18-29 said they had no religious affiliation whatsoever.
American Protestantism is the great loser in the survey, with only 51% reporting they belong to a Protestant denomination.
One feature of the American religious scene is its volatility, what the survey called “a very competitive religious marketplace.”
The survey finds that constant movement characterizes the American religious marketplace, as every major religious group is simultaneously gaining and losing adherents. Those that are growing as a result of religious change are simply gaining new members at a faster rate than they are losing members. Conversely, those that are declining in number because of religious change simply are not attracting enough new members to offset the number of adherents who are leaving those particular faiths.
More men than women claim no religious affiliation. Nearly 20% said they have no formal religious affiliation, compared with 13% of women.
BNc has asked a number of brethren to evaluate the study and share their impressions of what these results mean for American churches of Christ and how this can and should affect their evangelistic and edificational efforts.
Most will likely add their comments below, so check back for updates with their perspectives.
Randal and his wife Vicki have lived and worked in Brazil since Nov. 1984. They have three children, two daughters-in-law, and five grandchildren. He likes to read novels in his back-porch hammock. http://randal.us