The future of religion in America is increasingly murky



If we Americans bother every once in a while to take a serious look at how our society is profoundly changing from what it used to be, we’re often surprised at what we find.

Take religion, for example. The long-held stereotypes of religious people in this country simply don’t apply any more.

Daniel Cox, research director at the Public Religion Research Institute, wrote this last summer on the website FiveThirtyEight.com.:

“The U.S. was once a predominantly white Christian country, but fewer than half of Americans (45 percent) identify as white Christian today.”

One of the reasons for this change is that there are more religions in America these days.

Cox explains:

The American religious landscape is transforming rapidly. At one time, religious diversity meant: Baptist, Methodist and Episcopalian. Today, it encompasses a multiplicity of religious traditions such as Sikhism, Buddhism, Islam and Hinduism, as well as an increasing variety of non-institutional belief systems such as humanism, skepticism, atheism and subjective spirituality. Racial and ethnic shifts have also changed the face of Christianity.

There are numerous other factors, of course, contributing to changes in thoughts about religion among Americans. . Greater mobility and the rise of social media expose us to a greater variety of attitudes toward religion. Our grandparents and great-grandparents likely knew relatively few people who didn’t share their religious beliefs. Diversity was not common among folks in those old days — at least not in most locales.

A funny thing about that is that diversity seems to militate against religious fervor. Here again, Daniel Cox explains:

Geographically, states with greater religious variety tend to exhibit lower levels of overall religiosity.2The religious diversity for each state was calculated using the Herfindahl-Hirschman index, one of the most commonly used measures of diversity. No state is more religiously uniform than Mississippi. It is a place where, as my colleague and native Mississippian Robert Jones once said: “It’s hard to swing a dead cat without hitting a Baptist.” And this is not far from the truth. Half of the state’s population identifies as Baptist and 54 percent are evangelical Protestant. No other state is so singularly dominated by a single faith tradition. It’s probably no coincidence that Mississippi is also one of the few states with constitutions that prohibit atheists from serving in elected office. According to Gallup’s 2016 rankings of the most and least religious states, Mississippi has the honor of being the most religious state in the country. A separate measure of religiosity computed by the Pew Research Center has Mississippi tied with Alabama as the most religious state in the U.S. See: Lipka, Michael and Benjamin Wormald. “How religious is your state?” Pew Research Center, Washington, D.C.: Feb. 29, 2016. In contrast, Oregon ranks high in terms of religious diversity — no one religious tradition makes up more than 20 percent of the state’s population — and falls near the bottom in Gallup’s ranking. Only four states are less religious.

Does all of this mean that religion is dying out in America? Probably not. But it seems to indicate that profound changes are at hand. As Daniel Cox says:

It does not signal the end of religion, but it may make it easier for Americans to abstain from religious involvement and encourage other types of spiritual and philosophical explorations. It may also make atheists more willing to “come out,” something that can be exceedingly difficult in very religious communities. Organized religion has never been in jeopardy of dying out due to a single traumatic event. Instead, it is a cumulative series of unanswered challenges that pose the greatest risk. Religious diversity might not represent a dramatic threat to religion, but it may represent another small hole in an already sinking ship.










  1. Robert Hazz Geaunads

    Here’s my attitude toward Trump’s latest EO on immigration and travel regarding multiple middle east nations, I’m all for it. Obama did it in 2011 with people from Iraq, where were all the SJW’s then?

    As far as the protest going on at the airports, round up these SWJ’s, charge them with mob action under RICO laws, give them the option to be relocated to someplace in the middle east, like Iran, Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia, and let them live “free” in the lands they want America to become like, or place them in those 100s of FEMA camps from conspiracy theory fame.

    Go ahead call me all the names you want to. Im sick of these phony sore losers destroying our country when their guy Obama, did the same thing and not a peep from them. By the way and on a different note, Obama deported more Mexicans than any other president in the history of the USA. Where were these phony SWJ’s then?

    The more these snowflakes protest, the more average American people just trying to go about their lives in the USA, will turn to the right.

    “As a result of the Kentucky case, the State Department stopped processing Iraq refugees for six months in 2011, federal officials told ABC News – even for many who had heroically helped U.S. forces as interpreters and intelligence assets.”


  2. Robert Hazz Geaunads

    Right on Katie, right on!

    “Have you noticed? There has been more outrage from the left over Trump’s so-called Muslim ban, than over terror itself.

    What is also strange that when I speak to Muslims and ask why they feel the need to flee persecution or seek refuge, I am told it is because Islam is suffering and is incredibly divided. Because the tensions between Sunni and Shia are simply overwhelming…

    What stumps me is why non-Muslim countries are expected to welcome such a divided religion with open arms. And if we think about the problems facing Syrian, Iran, Somalia and Yemen and the rest in the context of the US president’s inaugural address, why would America want to keep allowing such division to its shores?…
    Trump said, ‘We only want to admit those who will support our country and love deeply our people.’

    Think of it less as a Muslim ban, and more as an American invitation. If you support America and will put America first, you will be welcome.

    If you cannot bring yourself to condemn the actions of those who commit terror in the name of your god, probably best stay in what’s left of your home.”

    What brought home to me just how different Muslim society can be from the west. was when I encountered a Muslim sales clerk, complete with headscarf, at a well known national brand retail store. She was a checkstand clerk. I saw her talking freely with another female employee, so I knew she could speak. When it was my turn, I said hello. She said nothing and had a deadpan expression. When she completed the sale, I said thank you. She said nothing and maintained her deadpan expression. At first you would think she was just socially awkward or being rude, but I think its deeper, its the part of Islam she adheres to. No communication with non-family males I suspect. What bothers me more is that she will be protected by our constitution and labor laws, even though being courteous in a position like she has is a norm in America. Why do we Americans have to accommodate a religion that is so antithetical to our western culture? Why don’t they have to accommodate our social norms and culture? You know, that culture that so many woman marched for last Saturday, where men and woman are equal?


  3. Steverino

    Perhaps you haven’t noticed but we are also divided between compassion and reason against hate and intolerance. Resist!

  4. Robert Hazz Geaunads

    Oooohhhh, more platitudes from the alt-left, because they don’t have a legitimate response to legitimate concerns and observations.

  5. Robert Hazz Geaunads

    7 Muslim countries on Trump’s list and how many Muslim countries are there? More than 7 bud, lots more than 7… The left is doing nothing but promoting a false narrative. This list of 7 is also the same list that Obama worked with as promoters of terrorism.

    I love it. We’re watching the democratic party implode. All these stupid protest are doing nothing but angering the majority of people who secretly, if not openly, support Trump’s EO on immigration and particularly immigration from countries that are known for sponsoring terrorism.

  6. Robert Hazz Geaunads

    From Trump’s fingertips to the professional alt-left victims who post on this board, i.e., Patrick, tex, Steverino and all the others (not many left) who don’t come to mind. Peace baby…


  7. Robert Hazz Geaunads

    Shame on the Huffington Post. This is the headline this evening. AMERICA ON THE BRINK
    Inferring that the USA is on the brink of a constitutional crisis. This crisis is being deliberately sown, deliberately manufactured by the loony left. They will deliberately cause martial law then claim Trump is Hitler. Every news agency deliberately fanning the flames of rebellion, with their fake and misleading narratives, deserves to be shut down and their management held responsible for inciting riots.

  8. Steverino

    I love the smell of impeachment in the morning.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *