Non-Religion on the Rise in America via AP
Non-Religion on the Rise in America
by Eric Lyons, M.Min.
Three extensive surveys over the past 20 years have revealed that a growing number of Americans are becoming less and less religious. In 1990, 8.2% of Americans claimed to be non-religious, most notably agnostics and atheists (Kosmin, 1991). In 2001, that number had jumped to 14.1% (Kosmin, et al., 2001), and by 2008 it had reached 15% (Kosmin and Keysar, 2009). Based upon a combined total of 217,742 residential households surveyed (an average of 72,580 per effort) in the contiguous United States, the percentage of non-religious Americans has almost doubled in two decades. Whereas in 1990, one out of every 12 Americans claimed to be non-religious, today nearly one out of every six Americans claims no religious affiliation. [NOTE: The percentage of non-religious individuals would be even higher were it not for the many millions of Catholic Hispanics who have migrated to the United States over the past two decades.]
Sadly, the America that we inhabit today is a very different country (religiously speaking) than it was when I grew up in the 1980s, and drastically dissimilar to the country in which my father was reared in the 1940s. In 1947, for example, 89% of Americans identified themselves as Christian Protestants or Catholics, in addition to the millions of other “religious” Americans (e.g., Jews, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, etc.; Gallup and Lindsay, 1999, p. 7), which would have left comparatively very few skeptics, agnostics, and atheists.
The odds of you crossing paths with an atheist, agnostic, or skeptic at some point in the next few months are pretty high. The likelihood of your children, grandchildren, nephews, or nieces running into atheistic professors or skeptical students in high school or college is very high (considering many public schools and universities are breeding grounds for non-religious Americans). More than ever, Christians need to equip themselves with the tools and weapons to help them “fight the good fight of faith” (1 Timothy 6:12). “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:4-5).
Being the time of the year when many are purchasing items for others, we hope that you will consider equipping your friends and family members with soul-saving, life-enriching materials. Why not order your younger children or grandchildren a subscription to Discovery, A.P.’s monthly children’s magazine on Scripture and science? Why not consider arming your teens with Truth Be Told: Exposing the Myth of Evolution? Why not purchase multiple copies of our newest book A Christian’s Guide to Refuting Modern Atheism and give them away to college students who may very well be struggling for the first time in their lives with knowing how to defend their belief in the one true God of the Bible? At the very least, why not send your friends or family members a link to this site, where they can join the millions of others who have obtained thousands of pages of free electronic Christian evidence material?
The Lord has blessed Apologetics Press with a 30+ year history. During that time, supporters of this work have enabled us to produce a plethora of material on Christian evidences. We believe that making available solid materials on the existence of God, the inspiration of the Bible, the deity of Christ, etc. is more important today than ever before in America’s history. Are you armed and ready for the fight? Have you helped to prepare your family and friends for this eternally important spiritual warfare? Why not take action today and make a difference? Please feel free to call upon us if we can be of any assistance (1-800-234-8558).
Gall, George Jr. and Michael Lindsay (1999), Surveying the Religious Landscape: Trends in U.S. Beliefs (Harrisburg, PA: Morehouse Publishing).
Kosmin, Barry (1991), The National Survey of Religious Identification, http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&cd=4&ved=0CCwQFjAD&url= http%3A%2F%2Fwww.jewishdatabank.org%2FArchive%2FNSRI1990- Research_Report_with_Selected_Tabulations.pdf&ei= nH_1TIvqG8WBlAfd5Jz4BQ&usg=AFQjCNHASEXKYZTsxzKlRe24U8-4foBJQA.
Kosmin, Barry A., Egon Mayer, and Ariela Keysar (2001), American Religious Identification Survey, www.gc.cuny.edu/faculty/research_briefs/aris.pdf.
Kosmin, Barry A. and Ariela Keysar (2009), American Religious Identification Survey, www.americanreligionsurvey-aris.org/reports/ARIS_Report_2008.pdf.