Sunday, December 09, 2012

Pew Survey: The rise of the religiously non-affiliated

The survey is here.  The basic thesis is that as formal Christianity is abandoned, some become agnostics or atheists, but others remain religious but non-affiliated.  Most deny any New Age style religiosity and instead prefer some sort of personal whatever.  I will note a few things of interest.

Definitions:  The Pew survey refers to the non-affiliated as "nones".  What questions they asked to get into this group are unclear.  The distinction between evangelical and mainline is over the term "born again".  An unsurprising statistic is that the growth in the non-affiliated is almost entirely a white phenomenon.  It also seems to be mostly a process of weeding out the marginally committed Christians into a category more clearly distinct from Christianity.

Literal Interpretation of the Bible.  Those who say yes to this have dropped from 38% of the population in 1972 to 31% today.  I am somewhat surprised that this number is still so high, given the countless billions of dollars that have been invested to teach youth otherwise in the government schools and universities, together with immigration from non-Christian societies.

Cognitive Dissonance: The unaffiliated believe that religion is too much about money and power (70%), focus too much on rules (67%) and are too involved in politics (67%).  To be fair, it is politically incorrect to say otherwise these day.  The cognitive dissonance sets in when we see that 63% of the unaffiliated are Democrats.  (75% voted Democrat in 2008.)  The Democrats believe in Salvation by Big Government, so our non-affiliateds support money and power, rules-gone-wile, and over-the-top politics on steroids. Apparently these behaviors are only vices if done by those you disagree with.

Causes:  The article lists several hypotheses for why the non-affiliated have risen and our so leftist in their thinking.  I would note that the hostility between leftists and Christianity is probably two centuries old, thus, the rise of the non-affiliated should be no surprise as the West turns hard left.  The first hypothesis tries to place the blame for non-affiliates being leftists on Christians voting Republican.  This fails to note that the Democrats have been pushing hard to return us to ancient Canaanite worship practices of child sacrifice (abortion) and sex with whatever sponsored by the government.  A more mundane hypothesis is just that the younger generation can't reconcile organized religion with their internet reality, thus, they become unaffiliated.

A last possible theory is that a rise in wealth and worldly security necessarily causes a decline in religious observance, whereas poverty causes people to seek God.  This one I find a bit ironic, as I see president Obama as being one of the unaffiliated who has won reelection on a crass populist message of worldly security obtained by spending money that doesn't exist.  Thus, the unaffiliated are voting to destroy the economy longer term.  Presumably they are also voting to destroy the safety net for their pseudo-religion.


Maria Perry Mohan said...

I'm Catholic by birth and upbringing but I've recently found myself more at home outside Catholic Christianity because I'm differing with the Church on a lot of matters. Mostly on interpretation of the Bible. I believe that if one believes that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that God raised Him from the dead, that means you're Christian. So I'm Christian.

Looney said...

Maria, that sounds a bit Protestant!

Delirious said...

I think you have made some really good points. I do think much of the "nones" data has to do with the careful indoctrination in the schools. But given that our country is moving towards socialism, we shouldn't be surprised at the change of tide in religion. Socialist/communist countries don't encourage any religion.
The sad thing is that as our society crashes down around us, people will finally turn to God, only to find that He will be slow to hear them because they have been slow to seek Him.

Anonymous said...

I can't imagine that there are any teachers in public schools who have the time to teach any belief system to children. If it doesn't appear on a test, it's not taught. That said, the pledge, with the interpolated "under God" is still recited. So don't blame pubc schools for the drop in religious affiliation.

Looney said...

@Anonymous, I actually did go to school growing up, so I could provide a very long list of insane indoctrination that was on our tests ... like the story of the Flat Earth Theory which was a hoax made up by Washington Irving and included in the textbooks to mock Christianity. Today we have the kids heads being filled with the global warming religion and the Sodomites are busy writing new textbooks here in California. As for whether or not government school teachers have time, keep in mind that America's schools are still the most over funded in the world. The "nones" all believe in the slogan "under God".

But you do have a point since mainline seminaries have been churning out atheist and agnostic clergy who have possibly done more damage to Christianity than the schools.

Rummuser said...

Looney said...

@Rummuser, thanks for the articles.

I have two relatives who went to the military academies, but neither completed. They have a very high failure rate, but the issue is was academics.