America’s European Future

March 12, 2009

Putting the political ramifications of the above title aside, the AP has published an article on religion in America (“More Americans say they have no religion” by Rachel Zoll) summarizing the American Religious Identification Survey 2008’s findings.  While the one line title of the survey’s findings is “Catholics on the Move [down], Non-religious on the Rise”, I thought there were a number of interesting findings a little below the surface.  Here are a couple of snippets I found interesting:

-Within Christianity, mainline versus evangelical are becoming less helpful terms as “a generic form of evangelicalism is emerging as the normative form of non-Catholic Christianity in the United States”–a harbinger to a new kind of nominalism?

-Muslims continue to grow, doubling in population percentage between 1990 and 2008

-Atheists and agnostics make up about 12% of the population, with about one in ten believing in a “higher power, but not a personal God”

-“The number of outright atheists has nearly double since 2001, from 900 thousand to 1.6 million”

-New religious movements (like Wiccans and self-described pagans) are growing faster this decade than the last.

Now, I’ll grant you that things in the States have quite a ways to go before they come anywhere close to reflecting the kind of numbers we’re seeing here in the Europe (Holland boasts an atheist population around 40%), however, I still think Christians in the US have plenty to learn from how the faith faired last century and is now finding resurgence…


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