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AP Survey: Americans switching faiths, dropping out

Found this one on cnn.com today, turned out to be pretty much what I expected, read it here

Anyhow, a few highlights:

  • U.S. Religious Landscape Survey estimates the United States is 78 percent Christian
  • More than one-quarter of American adults have left the faith of their childhood for another religion or no religion at all, the survey found
  • One in four adults ages 18 to 29 claim no affiliation with a religious institution.
  • non-denominational churches are gaining
  • Roman Catholic Church has lost more members than any faith tradition because of affiliation swapping, the survey found. While nearly one in three Americans were raised Catholic, fewer than one in four say they’re Catholic today. That means roughly 10 percent of all Americans are ex-Catholics. The share of the population that identifies as Catholic, however, has remained fairly stable in recent decades thanks to an influx of immigrant Catholics, mostly from Latin America. Nearly half of all Catholics under 30 are Hispanic, the survey found.

So, basically – The Catholic Church is ‘losing’ it’s members at a pretty incredible rate with the Catholic immigrants offsetting quite a bit of the loss. Given the various and numerous scandles that rocked the American Roman Catholic Church over the last 10 years or so this really isn’t all that surprising. Additionally I believe that more and more people are starting to grow out of the ‘this is what I was told/taught/etc all my life’ mantra and starting to honestly look for – well, something from their perspective.

At the same time non-denominational churches are growing, which is interesting – and also expected. Mainstream churches simply have too much baggage it would seem, the [generally] smaller non-denominational churches generally have closer ties to its members and local community.

And becase I know you are all wondering-  who’s on the bottom?
The group with the worst retention is one of the fastest growing — Jehovah’s Witnesses. Only 37 percent of those raised in the sect known for door-to-door proselytizing said they remain members.
Maybe sending them door to door isn’t a great faith-building-member-keeping idea after all?

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