13 March 2013

Secularism Faces New Pope On Day One

The Roman Catholic Church selected a new Pope today, a Cardinal from Argentina, the first South American Pope ever.  Another news story defines what may be his greatest challenge, at least in the American and European churches: secularism and declining adult adherence of cradle Catholics to their faith.
Religious affiliation in the United States is at its lowest point since it began to be tracked in the 1930s, according to analysis of newly released survey data by researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, and Duke University. Last year . . . UC Berkeley researchers found that 20 percent of a nationally representative group reported no religious preference. That's a jump from 1990 when all but 8 percent of Americans polled identified with an organized fait
From here.

The percentage of Americans who are not religous has more than doubled since I was in college.  It has increased fourfold since 1972 (not too long after I was born). 

At this point 40% of liberals and a third of people aged 18-24 are not religious.  Only 8% of those surveyed were raised with no religion and just 3% self-identify as atheists. "Educational differences among those claiming "no religion" are small compared to other demographic differences."

"About one-third of Americans identify with a conservative Protestant denomination, one-quarter are Catholics (although 35 percent were raised Catholic) and 1.5 percent are Jewish."

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