According to the American Religious Identification Survey 2008, available at http://www.americanreligionsurvey-aris.org, the percentage of Americans claiming no religion has now increased to 15 percent.
However, the acutal number of those who claim to be atheist is still small. The report stated that 1.6 percent of Americans call themselves atheist or agnostic, but based on stated beliefs, 12 percent are atheist (no God) or agnostic (unsure), while 12 percent more are deistic (believe in a higher power but not a personal God). The number of outright atheists has nearly doubled since 2001, from 900,000 to 1.6 million.
Additionally, within the Christian segment, the subset of "non-denominational Christians" increased to 2.5 million in 2008 from 200,000 in 1990. The report suggested that this growth is associated with increased megachurch attendance.
While many have wondered if the declining economy and hard times will cause folks to cling tight to religion, the Pew Forum notes that church attendance is largely unchanged.
In related news, one of UVA's own writes about how the Obama administration may contribute to the decline of religion at http://blog.christianitytoday.com.
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Nuns taking backseat to Nones