Spark: Survey says…In the US, Organized Religion Losing to Freelancers.

According this US News and World Report article, one of the biggest finds from the new American Religious Identification Survey is rise of the “nones” and the bleeding of traditional institutions’ membership. More people are choosing to call themselves non-denominational, spiritual, or not religious at all. In terms of percentage of population, the biggest gains from 1990 to 2008 came in the “No religion” category, which nearly doubled from 8.2% to 15%, and the biggest loser was the mainline Protestant group, which saw nearly a third of their population share disappear (from 18.7% to 12.9%). Mormons maintained at 1.4%


  1. So, here’s another interesting story: the coming evangelical collapse. It seems like some evangelicals are looking forward to it since they’ll be able to rebuild from the ground up (and weed out weak believers in the mean time). I think it’s a little more dire than it has any right to be, but it’s interesting to see a religionist’s response to this.

  2. Fascinating article. Two thoughts on this.

    1) Under the section of why this is happening, it reads in part: “The evangelical investment in moral, social, and political issues has depleted our resources and exposed our weaknesses. Being against gay marriage and being rhetorically pro-life will not make up for the fact that massive majorities of Evangelicals can’t articulate the Gospel with any coherence. We fell for the trap of believing in a cause more than a faith. ” So true! On the other nand, if you distract members with cultural battles, they’re probably not studying the gospel and leaving because of the flawed logic of it.

    2) My former lds stake president was obsessed with and had multiple firesides about the “millennial church” and how many were going to fall away as they were not cut out for the dedication Christ’s church required.

  3. G

    My lds friends and family usually have a bit of a contradictory reaction to this type of info; on the one hand they bemoan it… on the other it validates their continued perseverance in the faith; gives them the ability to really prove their worth to god.
    Their belief systems hinges upon the idea the true was is straight and narrow and only a few will follow it. They pride themselves at being one of the few and see these stats as prophecy come true.
    really frustrating, that.

  4. Well G, now that I’m feeling painted into a corner, I have to rebel against those two groups. 🙂 Uh, is it possible to say that this info doesn’t validate me, nor bother me?

  5. G

    good god… of all the typo’s/mistakes in my comment the one where I lumped “my lds friends” together is the worst.

    I know members of the church who decline to be either bothered or validated by such info. (etc etc etc…) It gives me hope. Forgive me Adam.

    I was thinking of my in-real-life associates and family when I made that comment. It is a frequent sentiment loudly expressed in family and social gatherings.

  6. Oh, no prob. No forgiveness necessary. 🙂 From what you have shared about the culture around you, I don’t think I would like it either. 😉

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