A new Gallup survey shows that church membership in America has plummeted 20 points since 1999 to just 50 percent. And the percentage of Americans claiming to have no religion has more than doubled since then.
While stories such as this are worrisome, especially considering what pop culture and political opportunists would like to replace God with among young people, these numbers don’t tell the whole story. In fact, as Glenn Stanton at The Federalist points out, if you examine the numbers more closely, you find that the rise in people claiming to have no religion is coming almost entirely from those who were never committed believers in the first place (the kind who might go to church on Christmas and Easter, and only say they are of a particular denomination because that’s what their parents were.) These people haven’t abandoned religion so much as just gotten bold enough to admit what they’ve always been.
There’s some good news to be found in this article. For instance, those who say they’ve dropped religion were the ones who never got any sort of meaningful faith as children and never really had any faith to drop; while those who did learn in childhood carry their faith into adulthood. Also, these studies tend to gloss over the fact that there’s a far bigger rise in nondenominational Christianity than there is among those who say they have no religion. Read the whole thing, and it might make you feel better about the nation’s future. I won’t say it will restore your faith, but reading the Bible to your kids would certainly help solidify their faith, and that would be good for America’s future, too.