Christianity has remained at the forefront of the USA’s social, political and religious conversations for many centuries. However, it has started loosing the sheen and the people have started a mass exodus to leave the Christianity like never before.
According to a new Pew Research, the number of Americans leaving Christianity behind for atheism, agnosticism, identifying with “nothing in particular”, or other faiths has rapidly increased in the past 3 decades and this trend has been accelerated in last few years.
A recently published report by Pew Research Center and the General Social Survey has found that the large numbers of Americans who practice Christianity are declining. The American religion demographic has been on downward trending since the 1990s. The reports says that a large number of adults are transitioning to an identity of agnostic, atheist, or “nothing in particular.”
The report explains that in early 90’s, almost 90% of Americans used to identify themselves as Christians. However, by 2020, the landscape was changed and now only 64% of Americans identify themselves as Christians. In the meantime, the number of those who are not affiliated with a religion has grown from 16% in 2007 to 30% in 2020. All other religions, including Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Sikhism, and Buddhism, accounted for about 6% of population in 2020.
In all of the scenarios, even if nobody switches their religious affiliation in the coming decades, the number of religiously unaffiliated people is hypothesized to approach or exceed the number of Christians by 2070, the report found.
None of the models considers Christianity numbers increasing, researchers said, as they are based on “dynamics currently shaping the religious landscape.” Dramatic events, such as armed conflicts, social movements, or rising authoritarianism could trigger social and religious upheavals, they added.
While there isn’t one particular answer why Christian numbers are declining and the numbers of atheists, agnostics, and “nones” are rising, there are several possible reasons for this massive demographic change. This is the topic we’re going to explore today with the following 5 possible reasons why Christianity is losing its grip on Americans.
Emergence and Acceptance of Science
We have seen how science’s popularity has been spreading in our culture in last century. You may not believe it but people have started seeing science as a fun, interesting, and valid, non-magical source for their queries that they couldn’t find anywhere else.
The fact is, the science itself is devoid of any religious ideas, and that is why it contradicts every possible specifics of religious beliefs of Christians. Science contradicts the fundamental views of christianity with respect to spontaneous creation, a 6,000 year-old earth, Noah’s flood, virgin births, Jusus’s miracles, resurrections. All these concepts are impossible as per the modern scientific point of view.
As the scientific awareness is growing, it is wedging out the religion from the public consciousness, and this is certainly a reasons why more people are leaving the Christianity.
Celebrity Non-Believers have come out in the mainstream
We are living in a world where celebrities are respected, idolized, and adored. This includes movie stars, players, politicians, media figures, authors, and even musicians. We have seen an emerging trend where famous celebrities’ are coming forward and sharing their religious alignment with the public, which influences the people.
When someone sees Brad Pitt on TV telling us that he’s an atheist-agnostic, it wouldn’t be unusual for people to think “Hey, I always thought atheists were bad. But if Brad Pitt is one, then maybe there’s something to it. I always liked him.”
Such gestures help the non-believers to know they’re not alone and not weird either. It helps them to muster up the courage to tell the world how they feel about their religious identity, and later they are capable enough to shed their religious tag.
Influence of TV, Film, and the Social Media
TV, Films and even Social media can also be highly persuasive in determining our opinions on religion. We have multiple shows where actors or comedians are openly poke fun at religion, ridicule faith, or make a joke out of Jesus, that can have a huge impact on a viewers’ religious perspective, especially on young viewers.
While, it is said that jokes are just to make the moments lighter, but they do convey an irreverent opinion, point out flaws otherwise unnoticed, and result in the viewer henceforth associating the mocked beliefs with silliness and absurdity.
If you constantly hear a joke about a specific thing, then you start dissociate yourself from that concept, because no one wants to be the butt of the joke.
Non-Belief has become a Style Quotient and luring the masses
Non believing is a new trend, and anyone who wants to become a non-believer can easily get adequate support, proponents, fans, or activists to stay by their side. Any innivative idea can set the ball rolling and eventually becomes a trend over a lrage period of time. The similar phenomenon happens with the non-believing community as well.
With the help of Media and Internet, such innovative ideas can spread faster and this lead to their wider acceptance as well. Now, an inevitable critical mass can be achieved quicker than ever before and large number of people can be influenced easily and pushed towards non-believing society.
The changing political landscape of America and Religion’s Bad Image
The USA has been changing rapidly. We have seen how political and social landscape has been changing in recent time. Several issues such as LGBTQ, same sex marriage, women empowerement were used to be a farfetched conclusions few years back. But now we have seen how these concepts have become a reality in American society.
Not too different from the changing attitudes about people of color from the late 19th century through the 1960s, progressiveness is occurring. Those not on board are quickly being left behind, and Americans are steadily beginning to disassociate themselves from those dissenters; who, typically, consist of a lot of Christians.
As people’s opinions are changing on women’s roles in society, abortion and same-sex marriage, it has gradually become very difficult for the churches to deal with such issues. They thought it meant “alienating large segments of people” who didn’t agree with the church’s stances on issues, and that’s exactly what happening now.