Scores of Americans are now throwing their religious beliefs away, and a new religious label is rising on the horizon. Twenty-three percent of the American adult population choose to be religiously unaffiliated, self-identify as atheists or agnostics or identify their religion as “nothing particular.”
Altogether. they are now called the “nones.” and their growth is dragging American’s rates of religious belief and practice. According to the new Religious Landscape Study released by Pew Research, 16 percent in every 35,000 adult Americans now identify themselves as the “nones.” With their rise comes the decrease in religious beliefs and behaviors of Americans in general.
The ascent of the “nones” is attributed to the rise of the Millenials, who have only entered adulthood in the period the new Religious Landscape Study was conducted. While a greater number of the Silent generation, Baby Boomers and even Generation Xers remain religious today as when the survey was first done in 2007, these three generations are shrinking in numbers and are being replaced by many young-adult millennials, Pew noted.
The Millenials are far less religious compared to their elders. According to Pew Research Center, only 27 percent of them attend religious services on a weekly basis while 51 percent of the Silent generation observe weekly praises. Only four in ten pray every day while six in ten baby Boomers and two-thirds of Silent generation talk to their gods on a daily basis. Also, only four in ten of them view religion as important in their lives while more than 50 percent of the three generations declare religion as an important part of their existence.
Pew Research also noted that majority of the “nones” support the Democratic Party coalition. They are now more numerous among Democrats and Democratic-leaning adults as compared to Catholics, evangelical Protestants, mainline Protestants and the historically black Protestant tradition.
Not all “nones,” however, are nonbelievers of God, Pew learned. The majority of them still believe in and prays to God despite not following or observing religious practices.
Despite the increase of Americans who chose not to be affiliated with any religious group, Pew finds that those who strongly hold their faiths are more devoted now as compared to previous years. More religious people are reading and sharing scriptures with each other. Seventy-seven percent of Americans continue to identify themselves as Protestants, Catholics, Jews, Mormons, Muslims, Buddhists and Hindus. They adhere to religious teachings and practices. Ninety-seven percent of religiously affiliated people continue to believe in God; forty-one percent still rely on religious beliefs for guidance about right and wrong; and forty-six percent still experience a deep sense of “wonder about the universe.”