Americans Are Losing Their Religion

Could America go secular like Europe? Unlikely, but many Americans are losing faith in organized religion per this report at NPR:

Something is happening when it comes to religion in America.

Though more Americans go to church or believe in God than their counterparts in virtually every other Western country, fewer Americans now trust religious institutions. A recent Gallup poll showed that just 44 percent of Americans have a great deal of confidence in “the church or organized religion.”

It’s unclear if this is a permanent shift or just a sign of the times, but NPR’s religion correspondent Barbara Bradley Hagerty says it doesn’t mean that America is less religious.

“Although among young people, belief in God is declining,” Hagerty tells weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz. “But generally polls show that about 90 percent of Americans actually believe in God. So what’s happening here is a decline in the trust of religious organizations.”

People just don’t want to go to church as much as they used to, Hagerty says, and the societal pressures to go aren’t there anymore…

[continues at NPR]


Majestic is gadfly emeritus.

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39 Comments on "Americans Are Losing Their Religion"

  1. Antediluviancurrent | Jul 29, 2012 at 9:36 pm |

    Good.  Now get rid of that Friedman and Hayek crap.

    • Anarchy Pony | Jul 29, 2012 at 10:33 pm |

      Hear hear! Or is it here here? I was never clear on that.

      • Calypso_1 | Jul 29, 2012 at 11:40 pm |

        I like the idea of ‘Hear here’.

        • Anarchy Pony | Jul 30, 2012 at 1:18 am |

          “Compromises are for lesser souls, die werewolf zombie!”

          • Calypso_1 | Jul 30, 2012 at 1:36 am |

            Not a compromise, a more direct and declaratory meaning of the expression.  It proclaims what was heard here was worth bringing attention to, and having a second voice recognized in affirmation. 

            As to lycanthropy, you have my xenotrope all wrong.

          • Anarchy Pony | Jul 30, 2012 at 2:40 am |

            Oh no worries, I was making an obtuse reference to humorously juxtaposed quote from a fake movie within a moderately popular television program.

  2. If true religious history were taught in grammar school there wouldn’t be anyone that grew up to be religious.

    To deny the influence of Religion in War and its role in history, means that you must ignore history and forever bar yourself from understanding the source of War and how historical atrocities occurred.

  3. Calypso_1 | Jul 29, 2012 at 9:59 pm |

    Thank God, my prayers have been answered.

  4. StillAtMyMoms | Jul 29, 2012 at 10:05 pm |

    Maybe if their donations actually exemplified their messiah instead of going towards mega temples that can house a pro sports game, then maybe religion can remain relevant.

  5. 0rganized religion is just that.

  6. DrDavidKelly | Jul 30, 2012 at 12:01 am |

    That’s me in the corner … losing my religion.

  7. The only thing to get is money | Jul 30, 2012 at 2:26 am |

    It has been long thought of that humans need religion and spirituality, whether “organized” or “unorganized”, in order to live. In fact, the opposite holds true.

    Religion and spirituality must die, so that humanity may finally live.

  8. MindAtPlay | Jul 30, 2012 at 3:21 am |

    Loss of right hemisphere functioning is on the rise, not good at all. a completely mechanistic, totalitarian, over beaurocratic world (it is allready here) will be the result.

    Organized religion today and in many places and times are terrible but we must be careful what comes out as the alternative, positivistic, mechanistic scientism is far worse since it turns the world into a dead lifeless thing for those who fall deeply enough into it. This trend in the capitalist world will lead to the same worldview held in the totalitarian states of the 20th century, Hitlers germany, Stalins russia. Fundamentalist materialism is a terror to.

    Man needs some kind of spiritual belonging, hopefully the most natural object of awe, the natural world around us will take the place of abstract lofty religions, I fear city dwellers will more and more become the worshoppers of machines though, the trend is obvious.

    The most important factor for happiness has been seen to be not money, status, material wealth, education but community and deep relationships. When the church dissapears be sure to have an alternative for this to, getting together with your larger community is important for mental and physical health.

    America is already one of the most miserable, totalitarian, materialist places on earth, I think your high amount of religious people might be there because people are trying to cling to the one thing you have left of community, tradition and noncommercial culture. So although it might be a good thing to change an authoritarian christianity for something other, what is the living, human non mechanical alternative for all these people who are loosing their religion.

    I know this kind of disscution are above most of the fanatical atheists on here whos world is more black and white than the most extreme religious peoples but some of you I am sure understand that religion is more complex than being simply bad.

    • The Baffler | Jul 30, 2012 at 3:26 am |

      Die. Tell Satan I said hello.

    • Linsang811 | Jul 30, 2012 at 8:31 am |

      You shot yourself in the foot with the whole “left brain” point. Left brain/right brain has been demolished. The idea that one side is mechanistic and the other side is artistic is BS. Case in point, I tend to be very mechanistic in my logic and reasoning but I am very artistic. People can still be creative and artistic without believing in stupid, magical bullshit.

      • MindAtPlay | Jul 30, 2012 at 10:13 am |

         As a matter of fact it is back with a vengeance. As a whole they work in highly complex ways but separated they handle things very differently from one another, also the left hemisphere has the habit of inhibiting the right, this inhibition is what is holding back more holistic right brain functioning. In a healthy individual they work together in a more or less balanced way but our culture is showing increasing tendencies toward schizoid and psychopathic behaviors (schizophrenia and psychopathy are both connected to deficiencies in the right hemisphere) as well as a steady increase the actual mental illnesses.

        You can view the brain as a married couple, as a whole they have certain behaviors that might not resemble any one of the persons in the couple, that does not mean that their individual personalities can be ignored when analyzing them as a married couple.

        I recommend the book The Master And His Emissary; The Divided Brain And The Making Of The Western World by Iain McGilChrist. A new and very well researched book on the hemisphere differences and how they mold our way of being in the world.

      • Monkey See Monkey Do | Jul 30, 2012 at 1:17 pm |

        Left brain/ right brain has always been an Hermetic principle for understanding your own percieving apparatus. Over time there have been many misinterpretations over it’s meaning, including from the materialistc world view.

      • actually there are distinctions between the left and right brain, and he used the most currently understood distinction between the two.  You’re right that its not simple as “left is math and right is words” but that’s not what he was saying.

    •  The animal kingdom (minus Man)does not get down on bended knee to repeat phrases to an unknown/unseen entity, yet with the exception of feeding or mating rituals, there is very little violence.  But then animals are not hoarders on the level of man. 
           The Christian God, is “all loving”, he built an endless hole filled with fire and pestilence for those who ‘do not believe’, but he is all forgiving, except for those who ‘do not believe’, he is all merciful, except for those who ‘do not believe’.  You can teat your fellow man like (fill-in-your- adjective-here) but if you ‘believe’ you will  go to “heaven”.  You can treat the earth and all of it’s inhabitants perfectly, but if you ‘do not believe’ you’re going to “hell”. Sunday ask for forgiveness for a weeks worth of sacking and pillaging your fellow man (in one way or another) and then repeat the same next week.  But you’re going to heaven, ’cause you ‘believe’. Talk about an organization set-up to mind-fuck humanity for money. 
           Pray for what you want in life and if it is worthy and you ask in Jesus name you shall obtain it.  ..Give me a break….  How many in this world do you suppose have prayed fervently for world peace,an end to suffering or Justice?  Could it be that “GOD” does not want world peace, or Justice, or an end to suffering??? Yeah I want to worship an entity like that and I want to spend eternity with him after I die.

      • MindAtPlay | Jul 30, 2012 at 10:32 am |

         Your understanding of religion seems very limited and simplistic so I dont know if it is possible to discuss it with you.

        The Idea of a heaven after death working in a linear way is not what religion normally teaches, without intuition into metaphor that is a very hard thing to understand.

        I have in no way taken a stand for the kind of religiousness that you describe, I believe what you describe is a more or less modern (although leanings in that way have been around for many millenia) phenomena caused by the same kind of thinking applied to another field as that of materialism and reductionism. True religion is circular and does not see things as linear at all, this is probably more in tune with how the world actually is (if the world actually is in any specific way at all and if we can be in true contact with that world at all) than is mechanistic linear thinking, all the best science approaches the religious view of the world and all the best religious thinking approaches true science, I dont think they ever meet though, it is like the snake ourobos forever swallowing his own tail, he will never be able to swallow himself.

        Your view of the world seems more similar to those you judge than you realize.

        • Monkey See Monkey Do | Jul 30, 2012 at 1:30 pm |

          Religion is such a dirty word. It’s been tainted by the centuries of its use describing a tool of domination and oppression.

      • MindAtPlay | Jul 30, 2012 at 10:51 am |

         And concerning what you write about animals I agree to some extent but it is not really an argument for abandoning religion, we do not live in a pristine environment but in a cultural one, religion as we know it evolved in connection to culture. Maybe we can not live as animals inside culture, you must remember that there are many things we do that other animals don’t, or that we do in a different way from the way of our extended animal family. Animals do not communicate over the internet, they do not grow their food in an organized way, they do not organize themselves like us at all (maybe with a few exceptions like the ants).

        I am not wholly opposed to the idea of throwing away culture as a whole, is that what you think we should do? Get rid of technology, science, religion, art, music, construction, agro/horticulture? Because they are there as a whole, religion is one of the instruments for keeping these things in balance, as is the arts.

      • MindAtPlay | Jul 30, 2012 at 10:53 am |

         Also your attitude, including your nickname here indicates a very leftbrain oriented worldview with high degrees of paranoia and aggression. Some meditation, dancing or getting out into nature might do you good.


  9. The Baffler | Jul 30, 2012 at 3:25 am |

    I need no such crutch as Religion to steady myself. I can stand on my own.

  10. MindAtPlay | Jul 30, 2012 at 3:30 am |

     And to all Americans who think that religion is to blame for all of your country’s evildoing’s, oppression and stupidity, don’t forget that secular Europe is following your lead, who is dumbest, the idiot or the one letting himself be ruled by the idiot. And also look at the world wars, both begun in secular Europe. Things are not great in Europe either right now. Maybe it is time to widen our view and see that religion is not to blame for the plight of the world (even though it has very problematic issues) but rampant materialism and capitalism (being a result and a cause of rampant materialism).

    • The Baffler | Jul 30, 2012 at 3:44 am |

      You are correct Brother. We must join hands, Religion and Secular, and bring an end to this evil.

    • Linsang811 | Jul 30, 2012 at 8:33 am |

      I agree with your overall point but I disagree with your implication of secularism and decline in religion being the problem. The problems are stupidity, greed, selfishness, apathy, and a surge of sociopathic behavior.

      • MindAtPlay | Jul 30, 2012 at 10:20 am |

         I must not have gotten my point across, sorry for that, I agree to a large extent, I am just saying that a secularization of society does not necessarily bring an end to the problems and I see a lot of Americans who seem to think that religion in itself is the problem, which it clearly is not. I understand that religion is an easy scapegoat but I think that way of thinking is dangerous since it is the same thinking that actually drives the evil of the world today, seeing nothing as sacred (not necessarily in the traditional christian way), downplaying community, metaphor, myth and rejecting the mystery that life is will not lead to a less rigid system and society but the opposite. Tolerance, the understanding that opposing views of the world can both have meaning and empathy are what we need, not a mechanistic/materialistic fundamentalism replacing a religious one.

  11. a story about religion from npr
    the thinking person’s CIA mouthpiece
    has a piece about a subject
    everyone grapples with every day

    God I pray that Thou wilt wipe-out religion or
    at the very least
    discussion about religion,
    Forever and ever,

  12. Jesus Borg | Jul 30, 2012 at 8:25 am |

    Well there’s plenty of New Age bullshit waiting in the wings to replace the “old time religion”

  13. Religion is for suckers!

  14. lifobryan | Jul 30, 2012 at 1:30 pm |

    American: “Lost my religion? Thought I did, but thankfully I found it under the sofa cushion, next to my lost TV remote. The two most important thangs in my life were right there underneath my big pear-shaped ass the whole time. Whew…!”

  15. religion and Spirituality are opposites.
    religion is man-made dogma used to exploit and needlessly control based on fear and ignorance.
    Spirituality is our nature-based freedom to choice.

Comments are closed.