Snapshot of Religion in America: Survey Reveals a Fluid Situation
By Father John Flynn, LC
ROME, MARCH 2, 2008 (Zenit.org).- More than one-quarter of American adults have left the faith in which they were brought up. This is one of the most important findings of a survey published last Monday by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.
As always, polls have to be taken with a grain of salt, but the "U.S. Religious Landscape Survey" was based on interviews with more than 35,000 Americans aged 18 and up, giving it greater credibility than most opinion polls. Nevertheless, the Pew Forum did warn that they relied on people's self-description of their religious affiliation, regardless of specific beliefs or if they are active members of their churches.
Not only did the study find that 28% have changed their childhood religion, but if switching among different Protestant denominations is included, a hefty 44% of adults have changed their religious status in one form or another.
Another major finding of the survey was that Protestantism will soon lose its status as the majority religion. A bare 51% now declare they are members of one of the Protestant denominations. Other surveys in the 1970s and 1980s put the Protestant numbers at between 60-65%.
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