By On February 26th, 2008

Nation wide shifting in religious affiliations

A recent study by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life has obtained some interesting findings about religious affiliation. According to the report, there is a great deal of shifting in affiliations to new denominations, other religions, or those that choose to be unaffiliated in the United States. The study took a sampling from 35,000 adults to provide information about a diverse population of Americans. According to the findings, Protestant churches, traditionally the majority among Christian denominations, are loosing members. Non-denominational churches, on the other hand, are experiencing tremendous gain. According to Luis Lugo, director of the Pew Forum, “Everyone is losing, everyone is gaining. There are net winners and losers, but no one can stand still.” The Pew Forum reported that 78% of the United States population consider themselves to be Christian, but only 51% Protestant. “Right now, there is a dropping confidence in organized religion, especially in the traditional religious forums,” said Roger Finke, Penn State University sociologist. The following is an excerpt of an article from CNN.com that discusses the study more in-depth:

The U.S. religious marketplace is extremely volatile, with nearly half of American adults leaving the faith tradition of their upbringing to either switch allegiances or abandon religious affiliation altogether, a new survey finds.
The study released Monday by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life is unusual for it sheer scope, relying on interviews with more than 35,000 adults to document a diverse and dynamic U.S. religious population.

While much of the study confirms earlier findings — mainline Protestant churches are in decline, non-denominational churches are gaining and the ranks of the unaffiliated are growing — it also provides a deeper look behind those trends, and of smaller religious groups.

“The American religious economy is like a marketplace — very dynamic, very competitive,” said Luis Lugo, director of the Pew Forum. “Everyone is losing, everyone is gaining. There are net winners and losers, but no one can stand still. Those groups that are losing significant numbers have to recoup them to stay vibrant.”

The U.S. Religious Landscape Survey estimates the United States is 78 percent Christian and about to lose its status as a majority Protestant nation, at 51 percent and slipping.

Click here to read the rest of this article from CNN.com

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