This ratio is changing. All other countries reported lower figures with Spain at or near the bottom at 8 and 13 percent and Germany in the middle at 10 and 21 percent, respectively. Moreover, most of the countries in the survey showed a declining trend in religiosity, especially among the youth. In Spain, for example, 85 percent of respondents older than 45 reported being moderately to very religious, but only 58 percent of those younger than 29 said they were.
Religion is in decline in the West, and America is no exception Share this: The US is often taken to be a contrary case to the general decline of religion in the West.
David Voas and Mark Chaves find that religiosity is in fact decreasing in the US, and for the same reason that it has been falling elsewhere.
They comment that Americans are not becoming less religious over their lives; rather, the more religious generations born in the early 20th century are dying off and being replaced by newer generations that are less likely to be religious.
The religiosity of the United States has impressed observers since the early 19th century, and American levels of religious involvement remain strikingly high compared to those in virtually all highly developed countries.
Taken together, these two facts mean that trends in religiosity are remarkably similar across the western world. Religious affiliation, church attendance, and belief in God have all fallen in the US. None of these declines is happening fast, but the signs are now unmistakable.
The overall level of belief is being eroded as people born early in the 20th century are replaced by members of subsequent generations with weaker religious convictions.
Children are raised by parents who are less religious than their parents were, and the culture is reshaped with the passing of each generation.
Figure 1 shows a good example: There is remarkable stability over the adult life course for all generations. Individuals might become more or less religious, but within generations these gains and losses largely balance out. Figure 1 — Religious affiliation by decade of birth, Great Britain, Source: Includes white respondents aged Graph shows three-survey moving average.
The basic results are the same whether we examine religious affiliation, attendance, or belief in God. Figure 2 shows monthly attendance at religious services in the United States; the pattern is very similar to what we see in Figure 1.
Gentle decline within birth cohorts during the s was followed by rising participation in the s, after which within-generation change is very minor. Churchgoing decline in the United States is driven by the same cohort replacement mechanism that drives religious change elsewhere in the West.
Figure 2 — Attendance monthly or more often by decade of birth, United States, Source: General Social Survey, Includes respondents aged born in the US.
To avoid overstating religious decline, the unusually religious GSS sample has been excluded. At least since then, strong religious affiliation, church attendance, and firm belief in God have all fallen from one birth cohort to the next.
None of these declines is happening fast, and levels of religious involvement in the United States remain high by world standards. But the signs of both aggregate decline and generational differences are now unmistakable. Most research that compares American religion with religion elsewhere emphasizes the high levels of participation in the United States, and treats those high levels as strong evidence that America is exceptional.
On the contrary, religious change in the United States is very similar to what we see elsewhere: This process operates slowly, and it can be counteracted in the short term by short-lived revivals, but it is very difficult to reverse.
An obvious agenda for future research is to try to understand better the causal mechanisms that lie behind these cohort differences. What social and cultural changes make each generation slightly less religious than the previous one?
What is the relative importance of changes in geographical mobility, family structure, education, technology, economic conditions, and other factors?
Nevertheless, over the long run, religious involvement is being undermined by the same forces that have operated in the rest of the industrial and post-industrial world. The big question is whether or not modernity, sooner or later, brings secularization. The question is still open, but since it is no longer clear that the US is on a qualitatively different religious trajectory, assertions that the secularization thesis does not apply outside of Europe, Canada, and Australia are unwarranted.
It now seems that the classic question — does modernization undermine religion?May 12, · An ongoing spate of recent studies - looking at various countries around the world - all show the same thing: religion is in decline.
Christianity is on the decline in America, not just among younger generations or in certain regions of the country but across race, gender, education and geographic barriers. I believe the reason religion is in the decline is because religious teachers preach more hate than love.
Also, the bible is full of scriptures that work against each other. This relative decline is largely attributable to the fact that religious “nones” are, on average, older and have fewer children than people who are affiliated with a religion.
In , for instance, the median age of people who belong to any of the world’s religions was 29, compared with 36 among the unaffiliated. Christianity is on the decline in America, not just among younger generations or in certain regions of the country but across race, gender, education and geographic barriers.
Religious participation is declining among Americans even though religion is still very popular. According to the latest Religious Landscape Study by the Pew Research Forum, the percentage of Americans who believe in God, attend religious services and pray daily has declined significantly during the last eight years, especially among adolescents.