The number of filled pews is down and approval of gay marriage is up for every religious group.. Could the two be linked? May-be. Might there be more cultural attitude changes ahead as more folks form their own ethics and values? How might that effect the lock-step retort heard by many a NotMom, ‘But God wants women to have children”?
A fleeting, fanciful thought, and yet.
The Public Religion Institute reported in July that almost 6 of 10 Americans (59%) define being a religious person as “primarily about living a good life and doing the right thing.” Just 39%, more than one-third, feel that being religious “is primarily about having faith and the right beliefs.”
This conversation isn’t about spiritual beliefs – it’s about organized religion. Churches, synagogues, mosques, etc. are feeling the squeeze as one in 5 Americans say they have no religious preference. A different study reveals that number is more than double what it was in 1990. Religious affiliation in the U.S. is at its lowest point since it was first tracked in the 1930s.
The new data by researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, and Duke University mirrors findings from Pew Research Center released last October. In that study, the unaffiliated respondents overwhelmingly said they are not looking for a religion because they consider them to be “too concerned with money and power, too focused on rules and too involved in politics.”
For better or worse, as they say, ongoing changes in attitudes about religion impact the lives of regular service-goers and non-believers, too. In the U.K., for example, analyses of census data predict that with declining numbers of young Christians, in 10 years, the dominant religion there will be Islam. Change like that doesn’t occur in a vacuum for some and not all. Tweaks to language and behavior are guaranteed to follow, and we can pray that they’ll be positive.