Shifts in Religious Affiliation (1972-2012)

The changing role of religion in American culture is a popular topic of conversation among religious leaders.  Those leaders situated within Mainline Protestantism (a tradition I claim as my own) are talking more openly than ever before about decline.  Even the names used to describe the tradition increasingly recognize that the decline is both about diminishing numbers of adherents (Oldline) and a more marginalized role (Sideline).  While I am encouraged by increased attention given to the Read More …

Young Adults = Non-Institutionally Oriented

The latest Pew Research Center report indicates that Millennials (those now ranging in age from 18 to 33), are unmoored from institutions.  This reality is seen most clearly in statistics relating to political preference (50% are independents), religious connection (29% are unaffiliated), and marriage (26% are married).  Both percentages have risen significantly in recent years. So What? The trend toward less and less institutional affiliation by America's youngest adults is either Read More …

Reality Check: Religious Non-Affiliation

In recent months I have had more conversations than ever before about the continued rise of the nones (the increase in the percentage of American adults without formal religious affiliation).  While there is plenty of data out there showing that the percentage of nones is increasing (for example:"America the Religiously Diverse" and "Rise of the Nones") it doesn't answer the number one assumption I hear: as people age they become more religious.  This assumption sounds logical and contains and Read More …

A Political Explanation for Increased Religious Non-Affiliation

Sociologist Bradley Wright teaches at the University of Connecticut.  His work has been mentioned on my blog on several occasions, including reviews of his two most recent books: Upside: Surprising Good News About the State of Our World (2011 - my review here) and  Christians are Hate-Filled Hypocrites . . . and Other Lies You’ve Been Told: A Sociologist Shatters Myths From the Secular and Christian Media (2010 - my review here). Wright recently wrote about the connection between the dramatic Read More …

The Missing Millennials

Many denominations and local congregations worry about the increasing age of their members.  Differing sources provide a variety of explanations for why fewer young people attend church or choose to affiliate with a religion.  According to the graphic below, provided by the Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion and Public Life, the youngest generations have the highest level of  religious non-affiliation.  By generation the numbers for those who claim no religious affiliation climb from 5% for Read More …