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Will Religion Become Extinct?

A new study by researchers at Trinity College found that 34 million adult Americans -about 15 percent of the population – have no religious affiliation.  Less than 20 years ago,just 8 percent of the population claimed no affiliation, These people live predominately in the Northeast or in the Pacific Northwest.  Most of them are younger than the rest of the population – in part explaining that they are the fastest-growing segment of the religious landscape.  A majority of them believe in God and a third say that they pray weekly or daily.  Fewer than 10% say that are atheists.  The National Opinion Research Center says that regular church, synagogue and mosque attendance fell from 41 percent in 1971 to 31 percent in 2002.  Protestant churches saw a decline by as much as 20% in the last few years.

What are the implications?

Non-religious younger people are replacing older religious people.  The non-religious people tend to be more liberal both politically as well as culturally.  They believe in abortions, gay rights, limited school prayer and evolution.  These hot-button issues have been fought over by conservatives and liberals  in recent decades.

Reported in The Week Magazine, November 6, 2009

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