Only Half of Americans Are Sure God Exists – Intercessors for America

Church attendance is declining, and many people are walking away from a belief in God entirely.

From The Hill. Only half of Americans now say they are sure God exists.

This content is supported by your donations.
Give today.

That finding, from the closely watched General Social Survey, stands out among several nuggets of new data about religion in America.

Not quite 50 percent of Americans say they have no doubt about the existence of God, according to the 2022 survey, released Wednesday by NORC, the University of Chicago research organization. …

Thirty-four percent of Americans never go to church, NORC found, the highest figure recorded in five decades of surveys.

Another new report, from the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI), said that 27 percent of Americans claimed no religion in 2022, up from 19 percent in 2012 and 16 percent in 2006. …

Only 7 percent of people do not believe in God.

“Belief is very stubborn in America today,” said Ryan Burge, a political scientist at Eastern Illinois University who studies faith. …

Religious scholars consider NORC the gold standard of surveys on faith. The General Social Survey found 29 percent of Americans claiming no religion in 2021, up from 23 percent in 2018 and 5 percent in 1972.

During the pandemic 2020, the share of Americans who belonged to a church, synagogue or mosque dipped below half for possibly the first time in American history. …

Mainline Protestantism, the backbone of faith in many American communities, is “collapsing,” Burge wrote in a recent article on the decline of Baptists, Methodists and other denominations.

Since the 1970s, the share of Americans who identify with Protestant denominations has declined from nearly 1 in 3 to around 1 in 10.

Decades ago, nearly every American child was raised in some religion. Today, nearly 15 percent of the population reports no religious upbringing. …

While many religion trend lines are sinking, one key population is rising: nondenominational Protestants, or “nons,” who worship outside the mainline of Protestantism.

The population of nons has risen from next to nothing in the 1970s to nearly 15 percent of Americans. Nondenominational Protestants “are the second-largest religious group in America today, after Catholics,” Burge said. …

To some extent, declining faith is a generational trend. The share of Americans who claim no religion rises with progressively younger age groups: 9 percent of the Silent Generation, 18 percent of baby boomers, 25 percent of Generation X, 29 percent of millennials and 34 percent of Generation Z, according to data from the Survey Center on American Life.

But the rise in nonreligious Americans is too steep to be fully explained “in terms of generational replacement; that is, religious old people dying and secular young people taking their place,” said David Campbell, the Packey J. Dee Professor of American Democracy at the University of Notre Dame.

Campbell and other scholars suspect many Americans are simply becoming more open about rejecting religion, an admission once clouded in stigma. …

Changing societal norms may also explain why half of Americans can now say they aren’t sure there is a God.

Stigma remains, however, around the idea of rejecting God altogether.

The vast majority of Americans still report they believe in God without reservation, with some doubts, or at least some of the time. If not God per se, they believe in “some higher power.”

True nonbelievers — atheists — account for only 7 percent of the population. Agnostics, who say the existence of God is unknowable, make up another 7 percent. …

How are you praying for America? Share this article to encourage others to pray.

(Excerpt from The Hill. Photo Credit: Anh Nguyen on Unsplash)

Previous ArticleNext Article