New Data on Religious Switching

(Carson Weitnauer) #1

Hi friends, Christianity Today has an interesting article on switches between different religious groups in the United States:

Here are some of the interesting images:

Some key quotes:

Overall, 18.9 percent of this sample reported a different religious affiliation in 2014 than they did in 2010. This defection rate means that nearly 1 in 5 Americans changed their faith identity over a four-year period.

For atheists, the defection rate is about 18 percent. Even more striking, about 48 percent of agnostics defected, as did 42 percent of those who described their faith as “nothing in particular.”

That’s a staggering amount of flux: About half of the agnostics in the US in 2010 were no longer agnostics by 2014.

Turns out, individuals who religiously identify as nothing in particular are just as likely to tilt toward returning to a Christian tradition as they are to become even more entrenched in having no religion. On the other hand, once an individual affirmatively denies a belief in a specific deity (i.e. describing themselves as agnostic or atheist), it’s rare for them to go back.

Religious nones are the second-largest religious tradition in the United States. According to the CCES, 18.6 percent of respondents—55 million American adults—claim their faith to be nothing in particular.

Putting it all together, we might want to:
1 - Emphasize reasons why atheism and agnosticism are not conducive to personal and human flourishing - without in any way attacking atheists or agnostics. It is an appeal for any atheist or agnostic to experience human flourishing while showing that the worldview itself is not appealing.

2 - Do a study into why people who identify with “nothing in particular” are attracted into either Christianity or further into agnosticism/atheism. There is the opportunity for many millions of people to return or to join a church home and begin to grow as a Christian.

3 - While the data is interesting and valuable, we continue to pray for revival!

(SeanO) #2

@CarsonWeitnauer That is very interesting information!

Since you used the word ‘revival’, I am going to ask you a question that I like to ponder: When do you think the last genuine revival occurred (aka Spirit led and not cultural)? Do you think revivals actually do occur or is there always simply a remnant and revivals are just symptomatic of a member of the remnant gaining more social status, which attracts other people to that ideology?

I have had some interesting discussions with friends on this topic.