Is Religion Dying In America?

More than ever, people are turning away from organized religion in America. ?As of right now,?approximately 31 percent of Millenials identify themselves as being religiously unaffiliated, and that number is only growing.

Some leave religion because they have a fundamental problem with religion in general. Others leave because they lose interest in or dislike churches. However, one reason that people who study the rise of the lack of religion in America often neglect to mention is one most religious people can rarely fathom: more people are being raised in homes without religion, and, as adults, are simply content with that. They never had religion, and nor do they want it.

According to The Huffington Post,?in the early 1990’s, slowly, but surely, more Americans began reporting no religious affiliation. Recent numbers put those reporting no religion at around one-?in-five. The more people who report having no religion, the more that report being raised in non-religious households. Further, with non-religious identities becoming more and more durable, stable, and acceptable in the United States, people who are raised non-religious are more likely to stay that way. ?With non-religious people gaining the same sorts of organizations and communities that the religiously affiliated have always had, there is more opportunity to validate and affirm a non-religious identity in accepting environments where people will not quake in horror when they find out someone is anything other than a Christian.

In the past, when people were raised non-religious, they were likely to adopt whatever religion their partners professed. This is no more; in fact, there are entire dating sites, facebook pages, social networking communities, and more devoted to those professing no religious belief and looking for partners and friends who are of the same persuasion. In short, there are a plethora of reasons that lack of religiosity is on the rise. ?Perhaps the simplest and most ignored is something you are using to read this very article: the internet.

The fact that the internet gives people information at their very fingertips has had a profound effect on religion in the developed world. In times past, children only had what their parents and other people in positions of authority told them as their basis for understanding the world. Now, they have all sorts of access to knowledge that reaches far beyond that, whenever they like it. With access to actual knowledge, their superstitions are quelled, and they are more likely to become secularists. When children have a source to answer the questions they have about their parents’ deeply held beliefs, they are likely to lose their faith at the end of seeking their answers. I should know, for that is what happened to me.

I was raised in a very fundamentalist household. However, I had always had questions about the incredible beliefs that my family held. When I was seventeen, we got the internet in our home. After that, I learned many things about many religions. Most importantly, I learned the history of the Bible. Here is a concise explanation of where that massive tome of immorality that so many people hold so dear comes from:

In 325 AD Roman Emperor Constantine told his scribe Eusebeus?to gather religious texts from the four corners of the Roman Empire. At that?time, the empire stretched from what would later be called Great Britain to Asia.?There were dozens of religions other than Christianity, and already dozens of?variations of the Christian Religion even though the Christians represented a?very small segment of the empire.

The King James version of the New Testament was completed in?1611 by 8 members of the Church of England. At that time there were no original?texts to translate. Even now the oldest manuscripts we have were written?hundreds of years after the last apostle died. There are 8000 of these old?manuscripts and no two are alike. The King James translators used none of these?anyway, what they did was edited previous translations to create a version?their king would approve of.

So, 21st century Christians believe the ?word of?God? is a book edited in the 17th century of 16th century?translations of 8000 contradictory copies of 4th century scrolls from?numerous ?Christian? sects that were claimed to be copies of 1st?century letters of already dead apostles.

Now, of course, there is much more to be learned regarding the Bible’s origins, but that is the gist of where it came from, and I personally cannot bring myself to take something that came into being in such a dubious manner as truth. Obviously, many Americans are learning where this book came from, and are acting accordingly, just as I did. Atheists are the fastest growing group in America, and we will only grow faster as people continue to shed superstition and see the great harms caused by organized religion.

While there are growing numbers of more liberal denominations of Christianity and other religions, which will always be a good thing, ?there are also more and more people who are relinquishing supernatural belief and organized religious affiliation altogether, and the time when everyone follows suit cannot come soon enough.

Churches face more of a challenge than ever before. They are trying to peddle beliefs that cannot be proven to people who have no religious education or experience from their pasts. For the first time ever, those whose job it is to preserve faith communities cannot rely on bringing?back?lost members of their flocks. They have to coerce new members, most of whom will find the idea of going to church absolutely absurd, and many of whom find churches and what they teach distasteful enough to where religious leaders would never stand a chance. All in all, I think we can safely say that religion as we know it in America is on its way out. It is only a matter of time.

Let us know your thoughts at the Liberal America Facebook page.

Image from Huffington Post.

edited/published by eap.

About Tiffany Willis

Tiffany Willis is a fifth-generation Texan, a proponent of voluntary simplicity, a single mom, and the founder and editor-in-chief of Liberal America. An unapologetic member of the Christian Left, she has spent most of her career actively working with “the least of these" -- disadvantaged and oppressed populations, the elderly, people living in poverty, at-risk youth, and unemployed people. She is a Certified Workforce Expert with the National Workforce Institute, a NAWDP Certified Workforce Development Professional, and a certified instructor for Franklin Covey's 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn. She also has a grossly neglected personal blog, a  Time Travel blog, a site dedicated to encouraging people to  read classic literature 15 minutes a day, and a literary quotes blog that is a labor of love. Find her somewhere and join the discussion. Click here to buy Tiff a mojito.


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  1. […] Churches face more of a challenge than ever before. Is religion — as we know it in America — on its way out?  […]

  2. Andrew says:

    It’s doubtful religion will die out anytime soon. And that’s a good thing. This country…and this planet need God now more than ever.

    1. Joe Dacop says:

      What this country, and the world, needs right now and forever is better educated people in governments, less superstition, more reason/science and more empathy for each other. Religion only serves to divide.

    2. Odd Jørgensen says:

      Yes, Zeus help us!

      1. Lenie Lenape says:

        As I recall societies that went with religion (Soviet Russia, China) devolve into situations just as bad as theocracies. Man is just as corrupt without religion as with. People having relative morals will only add to the problem.

        1. tempelife says:

          Yeah except wealthier nations tend to me LESS Religious and MORE Happy. FACT, polls always support this. U.S. is an exception to Wealth but not Happiness. Religion has nothing to do with morality without it, morality in essence is the same perhaps marginally better. EDUCATION is key to everything. If one believes the text in holly books, the likelihood of a strong scientific understanding is nearly 0. The facts are there with PROOF. JUST LEARN and UNDERSTAND. Don’t defend what was taught to you as a child. In essence, most religious people are subconsciously defending their parents. Nothing wrong with you parents, they just didn’t have access to the information that is known today. PLEASE explore for yourself.

  3. Ivan says:

    This is a very interesting article, and a good conversation to have. I think that everyone should look at their own beliefs in light of both evidence and purpose. Unfortunately, I have that many self-identified atheists are just as willing to divide and distort the truth as are many self-identified religionists. This article is an example. When discussing the textual criticism of the Bible, the author suggests our oldest manuscripts were written hundreds of years after Jesus or that all Christians use a single translation (the KJV) or even that all Christians take the creation stories as literal, historical events.

    The truth is, we do have fragments of the gospels written decades after Jesus (p52, 90, 104, 98, etc.), and analysis has shown that they aren’t the original copies (making the originals even closer to the events they claim to describe). Additionally, while there are indeed scribal errors between copies, the overall thematic and structural integrity of the texts has been shown to be consistent over the millennia of textual examples that we have.

    Additionally, one does not need to believe that stories of a poetic or prophetic nature should be taken literally in order to be a Christian. I am a Christian, though I believe the universe to be around 13 billion years old, and I believe in evolution. The Bible is not a text book, was not written as one by the ancients, and should not be interpreted as one. A main theme of biblical literature is that cosmic truth is often beyond the scope of descriptive language, and so must move into the allegorical, the poetic, and the prophetic. In fact, the very nature of revelation is that it augments and moves beyond what can be described by rational, scientific language.

    In any case, I won’t belittle an atheist for their beliefs. I think that honest dialogue is important, and the above are my honest observations. But I also ask for the same respect and courtesy from my atheist friends. We can still try to find the truth together, even if we disagree on exactly where that journey is leading us.

    Finally, a popular argument that I’ve heard is that religion is corrupt and violent. Of course it is, it’s full of human beings! The point of the Gospel is that we can find redemption and a fresh start in the example and victory of Christ, and that our model for community can be found in Jesus’ last commands to his disciples, that his followers will be known by their love for one another. If we do not love one another, than we do not follow him. But to claim that atheist societies are any less violent, is to ignore the examples of the Stalinist states of the 20th century or the unequal power structures found today. The fact is, humans try to exploit each other, and while we may hijack religion as a tool to that end, we would still try to do so without religion.

    1. Lenie Lenape says:

      Here, here,. We need more educated people like this guy in the world.