The Beginning Of The End For Religion In The USA?

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Miles
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The Beginning Of The End For Religion In The USA?

Post #1

Post by Miles »

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From The Washington Post

"Church membership in the U.S. has fallen below the majority for the first time since 1940



The proportion of Americans who consider themselves members of a church, synagogue or mosque has dropped below 50 percent, according to a poll from Gallup released Monday. It is the first time that has happened since Gallup first asked the question in 1937, when church membership was 73 percent.

In recent years, research data has shown a seismic shift in the U.S. population away from religious institutions and toward general disaffiliation, a trend that analysts say could have major implications for politics, business and how Americans group themselves. In 2020, 47 percent of Americans said they belonged to a church, synagogue or mosque. The polling firm also found that the number of people who said religion was very important to them has fallen to 48 percent, a new low point in the polling since 2000.

For some Americans, religious membership is seen as a relic of an older generation, said Ryan Burge, an assistant professor of political science at Eastern Illinois University and a pastor in the American Baptist Church. Gallup’s data finds that church membership is strongly correlated with age: 66 percent of American adults born before 1946 belong to a church, compared with 58 percent of baby boomers, 50 percent of those in Generation X and 36 percent of millennials.

. . . no matter how researchers measure people’s faith — such as attendance, giving, self-identification — Americans’ attachment to institutional religion is on the decline."




So, how should these religions go about turning things around and regain their previous following, or is it a lost cause?




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Re: The Beginning Of The End For Religion In The USA?

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Post by historia »

Miles wrote: Tue Apr 06, 2021 4:12 pm
And considering the likely consequences of not having religion to get some people through life, maybe the option of religion is a good thing. Of course this would mean an automatic revocation of their voting rights.
Wait, what? Are you saying that religious people should be stripped of the right to vote?

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Re: The Beginning Of The End For Religion In The USA?

Post #12

Post by historia »

OnceConvinced wrote: Tue Mar 30, 2021 4:20 pm
I would say that the numbers will never pick up again.
It's worth noting, though, that church membership has been lower than it is today for most of American history.

In 1776, only 17% of Americans were members of churches. That number never got above 45% throughout the 19th Century. Church membership increased steadily throughout much of the 20th Century, but has been declining since then.

See Roger Finke and Rodney Stark, The Churching of America (1992).

[edited for clarification]
Last edited by historia on Sun Apr 18, 2021 10:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The Beginning Of The End For Religion In The USA?

Post #13

Post by Miles »

historia wrote: Sun Apr 18, 2021 4:31 pm
Miles wrote: Tue Apr 06, 2021 4:12 pm
And considering the likely consequences of not having religion to get some people through life, maybe the option of religion is a good thing. Of course this would mean an automatic revocation of their voting rights.
Wait, what? Are you saying that religious people should be stripped of the right to vote?
Of course. No "believer" should be allowed to vote until they receive psychological evaluation clearing them of all bias, religious and otherwise. All at their cost naturally.


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Re: The Beginning Of The End For Religion In The USA?

Post #14

Post by Tcg »

historia wrote: Sun Apr 18, 2021 5:32 pm
OnceConvinced wrote: Tue Mar 30, 2021 4:20 pm
I would say that the numbers will never pick up again.
It's worth noting, though, that church attendance has been lower than it is today for most of American history.

In 1776, only 17% of Americans were members of churches. That number never got above 45% throughout the 19th Century. Church attendance increased steadily throughout much of the 20th Century, but has been declining since then.

See Roger Finke and Rodney Stark, The Churching of America (1992).
You're mixing two different stats, church attendance and church membership.

Attendance in the 1700's was quite high:
Religion and the Founding of the American Republic
Religion in Eighteenth-Century America

Against a prevailing view that eighteenth-century Americans had not perpetuated the first settlers' passionate commitment to their faith, scholars now identify a high level of religious energy in colonies after 1700. According to one expert, religion was in the "ascension rather than the declension"; another sees a "rising vitality in religious life" from 1700 onward; a third finds religion in many parts of the colonies in a state of "feverish growth." Figures on church attendance and church formation support these opinions. Between 1700 and 1740, an estimated 75 to 80 percent of the population attended churches, which were being built at a headlong pace.

https://www.loc.gov/exhibits/religion/rel02.html
The O.P. relates primarily to church membership which is on the decline. In any case, at one point religion was on the rise and now it's on the decline in the U.S. Perhaps it's a sign of a growing rationality. Knowing human's desire for comfort and some means to deny death, sadly we'll probably just find some other equally irrational system to provide those. This of course assumes we don't go extinct due to our continued misuse of our limited resources before then.


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Re: The Beginning Of The End For Religion In The USA?

Post #15

Post by historia »

Tcg wrote: Sun Apr 18, 2021 6:53 pm
historia wrote: Sun Apr 18, 2021 5:32 pm
It's worth noting, though, that church attendance has been lower than it is today for most of American history.

In 1776, only 17% of Americans were members of churches. That number never got above 45% throughout the 19th Century. Church attendance increased steadily throughout much of the 20th Century, but has been declining since then.

See Roger Finke and Rodney Stark, The Churching of America (1992).
You're mixing two different stats, church attendance and church membership.
Sorry, I was a little loose with my language. The stats I'm referencing here are for church membership not attendance. Thanks for clarifying that.

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Re: The Beginning Of The End For Religion In The USA?

Post #16

Post by historia »

Miles wrote: Sun Apr 18, 2021 5:47 pm
historia wrote: Sun Apr 18, 2021 4:31 pm
Miles wrote: Tue Apr 06, 2021 4:12 pm
And considering the likely consequences of not having religion to get some people through life, maybe the option of religion is a good thing. Of course this would mean an automatic revocation of their voting rights.
Wait, what? Are you saying that religious people should be stripped of the right to vote?
Of course. No "believer" should be allowed to vote until they receive psychological evaluation clearing them of all bias, religious and otherwise. All at their cost naturally.
Surely, you are not being serious.

Are you really harboring these authoritarian fantasies?

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Re: The Beginning Of The End For Religion In The USA?

Post #17

Post by nobspeople »

historia wrote: Sun Apr 18, 2021 4:30 pm
nobspeople wrote: Wed Apr 07, 2021 8:49 am
Theoretically, it would be nice to rid the world of religion - I think that would create less hate than we have currently.
When people say things like this, I have to wonder: Are you just unfamiliar with the events of the 20th Century? Have you not seen the kind of hatred, destruction, and loss of life that has resulted from secular and even explicitly atheist political philosophies?

When I see people make these claims, I wonder if they don't remember the history of death that religion has brought throughout history (even outside what's in religious writings).
I also wonder if they don't understand all the little bits of hate and discourse religion breed within politics, not to mention the hate many churches, synagogues, mosques, et al breed with simple words, teaching and brainwashing.
Have a great, potentially godless, day!

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Re: The Beginning Of The End For Religion In The USA?

Post #18

Post by Miles »

historia wrote: Sun Apr 18, 2021 8:26 pm
Miles wrote: Sun Apr 18, 2021 5:47 pm
historia wrote: Sun Apr 18, 2021 4:31 pm
Miles wrote: Tue Apr 06, 2021 4:12 pm
And considering the likely consequences of not having religion to get some people through life, maybe the option of religion is a good thing. Of course this would mean an automatic revocation of their voting rights.
Wait, what? Are you saying that religious people should be stripped of the right to vote?
Of course. No "believer" should be allowed to vote until they receive psychological evaluation clearing them of all bias, religious and otherwise. All at their cost naturally.
Surely, you are not being serious.

Are you really harboring these authoritarian fantasies?
C'mon man. Have you no sense of the ridiculous at all?


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Re: The Beginning Of The End For Religion In The USA?

Post #19

Post by historia »

Miles wrote: Mon Apr 19, 2021 2:15 pm
historia wrote: Sun Apr 18, 2021 8:26 pm
Miles wrote: Sun Apr 18, 2021 5:47 pm
historia wrote: Sun Apr 18, 2021 4:31 pm
Miles wrote: Tue Apr 06, 2021 4:12 pm
And considering the likely consequences of not having religion to get some people through life, maybe the option of religion is a good thing. Of course this would mean an automatic revocation of their voting rights.
Wait, what? Are you saying that religious people should be stripped of the right to vote?
Of course. No "believer" should be allowed to vote until they receive psychological evaluation clearing them of all bias, religious and otherwise. All at their cost naturally.
Surely, you are not being serious.

Are you really harboring these authoritarian fantasies?
C'mon man. Have you no sense of the ridiculous at all?
Considering my reply was "surely, you are not being serious," I'm going to go out on a limb here and say my "sense of the ridiculous" is doing just fine.

At the same time, some atheists on this site have openly supported government suppression of religion, so one can't be certain who does and who doesn't earnestly believe this stuff.

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Re: The Beginning Of The End For Religion In The USA?

Post #20

Post by historia »

nobspeople wrote: Mon Apr 19, 2021 9:22 am
historia wrote: Sun Apr 18, 2021 4:30 pm
nobspeople wrote: Wed Apr 07, 2021 8:49 am
Theoretically, it would be nice to rid the world of religion - I think that would create less hate than we have currently.
When people say things like this, I have to wonder: Are you just unfamiliar with the events of the 20th Century? Have you not seen the kind of hatred, destruction, and loss of life that has resulted from secular and even explicitly atheist political philosophies?
When I see people make these claims, I wonder if they don't remember the history of death that religion has brought throughout history (even outside what's in religious writings).
I'm not sure what "claims" you're referring to, since I didn't make any. But, surely, no one is suggesting that no bad has ever come out of religion. A phenomenon as large and diverse as religion is all but guaranteed to produce some good and some bad outcomes.

The problem here, though, is that "getting rid of religion" doesn't get rid of the underlying human impulses that lead people to religion in the first place. The world's great religious traditions have had millennia to develop ways of diverting that zeal into productive (or at least harmless) activities -- that they don't do so perfectly just confirms that nothing is perfect.

Without religion, though, people tend to sink those (potentially dangerous) passions into politics, which is ill-equipped to handle them. That's a major reason why secular and atheistic political philosophies have, in less than a century, caused more bloodshed than millennia of religion.

If nothing else, that should give everyone pause before thinking that a world without religion would be less hateful.

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