The Expository Files


The Pew Study - Religion in America


Today, most Americans believe that the influence of religion is declining in America. In fact, only 37% of those questioned thought religious influence is increasing. That is exactly the same as in March of 2001.

Interestingly, in November of 2001 a full 78% thought that religious influence was increasing. So from March to November there percentage went from 37% to 78%. The obvious reason for such a drastic change is the infamous date of September 11, 2001. The increase came as an aftermath of that tragedy. By December it was back down to 71% and continued its decline until it reached old familiar territory about six months later.

Interestingly enough, out of both groups, those who think religious influence is increasing and those who think it is in decline, a very large majority think that a decrease in religious influence is, or would be, a bad thing for the nation. Fully 84% of those who believe it to be decreasing believe that it is bad for our nation. Also, 85% of those who believe it to be increasing agree that a decline would be a bad thing.

Even among the secular and people with weak religious ties the majority say decreasing religious influence is a bad thing. 58% believe that America's national strength is related to its faith, while 36% believe America would be just as strong even if most of its people did not have religious faith. People with strong religious ties are much more likely to believe that national strength is based in part upon religious faith.

61% say that children are more likely to grow up to be moral adults if they have a religious background. 35% say children are just as likely to grow up into moral adults without religious faith.

75% of Americans say multiple religions can lead to eternal life. 54% look upon atheism negatively, with that negativity running strongest in the Midwest and south. Sadly, only 21% think that Americans are, on the whole, as honest and moral as they have been in the past.

I thought that these statistics were interesting. But leaving those behind, it is certainly appropriate to make the following observation just now: "Righteousness exalts a nation, But sin is a disgrace to any people." (Proverbs 14:34).

By Jon W. Quinn
The Front Page
From Expository Files 15.8;  August 2008