A 2012 survey by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life, conducted jointly with the PBS television program Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly, reported that, for the first time in the surveys they have conducted, the Protestant share of the population has dipped significantly below 50%. They report that “the decline is concentrated among white Protestants, both evangelical and mainline.” The survey also reports as its main finding a significant increase among those with no religious affiliation, now reaching nearly 20% of the population, and that the percentage of those who they seldom or never attend religious services but describe themselves as belonging to a particular religious tradition has significantly declined over the past five years. For a summary of the survey with statistics, click here.
The report includes a section containing brief summaries of some of the leading scholarly theories put forward to explain the root causes of the rise in the number of those who are religiously unaffiliated. Click here for these summaries.
We’d be interested in your response to this report, and particularly your response to the theories that explain the rise in unaffiliated. We’d also be interested in your thoughts about what (if any) actions/strategies churches and presbyteries might pursue in response to these findings.