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In The News
   
 
 

 

In The News

 
April 15 - American Religion Has Never Looked Quite Like It Does Today

Article: Signs Of The Last Times
 

Nearly a century after German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche first proclaimed “God is dead,” TIME magazine released a controversial cover on its April 8, 1966 edition with the related provocative question: “Is God dead?" Both Nietzsche and TIME were exploring the prominence of God in people’s lives, and whether religiosity was on the decline in the society. Fifty years later, religion experts are still grappling with that question, though the context has drastically changed. By many measures, religious practice and affiliation has greatly declined in the United States in the last 50 years. And yet spirituality, religion’s free-spirited sibling, appears to be as strong — if not stronger — than ever.
 
Here’s a look at some of the ways religious practice and belief have changed in the U.S. the last 50 years, and the trends that may continue to evolve:
 
In 1966, some 98 percent of Americans said they believed in God, according to a Gallup survey. When Gallup and Pew Research surveyed Americans in 2014, the number had dropped to 86 percent and 89 percent respectively. Among the youngest adults surveyed by Pew, those born between 1990 and 1996, the share of believers was just 80 percent. Some researchers argue that the number has decreased simply because Americans are more comfortable now than they were in the 60s admitting that they don’t believe in God.
 
In 1948, Gallup found that about 91 percent of Americans identified as Christian. That number took a big dip in subsequent decades and continues to decline in recent years. From 2007 to 2014 alone, the percentage of Americans who identified as Christian fell from 78.4 percent to 70.6 percent. Nearly one in three Americans under 35 today are religiously unaffiliated, meaning they do not identify with any formal religious group. As a whole, these “nones” comprise the second largest religious group in the U.S. behind evangelical Protestants.
 


 

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