Religious protest outside this year's Academy Awards ceremony.
Updated studies on Americans’ affiliation with organized religion continue to show a dramatic departure from churches ~ much of it provoked by increased right-wing political stances from pulpit and pews alike~ though the traditional western concept of God remains high.
Based on data compiled by sociologists Michael Hout and Claude Fischer of the University of California, ScienceDaily reports:
According to the new data, 93 percent of Americans believe in God; a figure unchanged since 1988. The group that increased was the group Hout and Fischer call "unchurched believers," those people who believe in God but report no religion. "If you think of organized religion as having two parts—the organized part and the religious part—the church-leavers' quarrel is with the organized part," said Hout, lead author of the study.
As originally reported in 2002, Hout and Fischer assert that politics continue to play a role in the increase in those reporting no religion preference. The sociologists note a parallel between the rising rates of non-religious Americans and the number of mentions of the "religious right" in press coverage in the past nearly four decades.
Political liberals and moderates are much less likely to report a religion now than in 1988; almost all political conservatives identify with a church now as they did twenty years ago.Americans expressed stronger anti-religious feelings in 2008 than in 1998, according to the new data. Two-thirds of adults believed "religion brings more conflict than peace" in 2008 compared with just one-third in 1998.
"Invoking religion to promote a conservative social agenda may energize conservative members, but it alienates political moderates and liberals," Hout said. "The result has been a significant decrease in the fraction of American adults identifying with an organized religion."
Click here for the complete ScienceDaily article.