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Number of Americans Listing 'None' as Their Religious Affiliation Unexpectedly Changes

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Those who fear that America is quickly going to hell in a hand basket may take some comfort in new polling.

Gallup reported earlier this month that those responding “none” as their religious preference has leveled out in the last six years.

“The long-term trends on this measure are straightforward. The percentage of nones measured in Gallup surveys has risen from close to zero in the 1950s to about one-fifth of the U.S. adult population today,” Gallup’s Frank Newport wrote.

“But over the past six years (2017-2022), the rise of the nones has stabilized. An average of 20 percent or 21 percent of Americans in Gallup surveys in each of these years say they don’t have a formal religious identity. We are not seeing the yearly increases that occurred in previous decades,” he noted.

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Newport believes one reason for the rise of poll respondents saying “none” in recent decades may be because there is less stigma associated with it.

“It is more culturally acceptable now to state publicly that one does not have a religious identity than it was decades ago. The rise of the nones, arguably, measures cultural shifts as well as it does a person’s underlying relationship to religion,” he wrote.

“An individual may be more willing to tell an interviewer they have no religion than they were several decades ago — because the normative culture has changed, not their internal religion,” Newport argued.

Do you think America is about to experience another major revival?

A Pew Research Center poll released in September found that 63 percent of Americans identify as Christian, down from 90 percent in the early 1990s.

The firm’s Religious Landscape Study conducted in 2014 found Christianity to be the predominant religion in the U.S. with 70 percent saying they are of that faith, followed by Judaism at 1.9 percent, and Islam at just under 1 percent.

The “nones” in that survey were 22.8 percent, which is around the same percentage as the Gallup data from the past six years.

The United States has experienced major Christian awakenings and revivals in its history that brought millions to faith in Jesus Christ.

“The Great Awakening was a religious revival that impacted the English colonies in America during the 1730s and 1740s. The movement came at a time when the idea of secular rationalism was being emphasized, and passion for religion had grown stale,” History.com reported.

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George Whitfield, who was a friend of Benjamin Franklin, was among the most prominent evangelists of the time delivering sermons throughout the 13 colonies.

Whitfield and his fellow itinerate preachers offered the basic message that all are born sinners, but can be saved by faith in Christ’s death on the cross for them and become spiritually born again into a direct, personal relationship with God the father.

A second Great Awakening began in the 1790s, lasting into the 1840s. The Christian zeal arising from it helped fuel the abolition movement in the U.S.

Some other major revivals occurred in the early 1900s; the late 1940s and 1950s, during which evangelist Billy Graham played a prominent role with massive indoor and outdoor events; and in the late 1960s and early 1970s during the Jesus Movement.

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Randy DeSoto has written more than 3,000 articles for The Western Journal since he joined the company in 2015. He is a graduate of West Point and Regent University School of Law. He is the author of the book "We Hold These Truths" and screenwriter of the political documentary "I Want Your Money."
Randy DeSoto is the senior staff writer for The Western Journal. He wrote and was the assistant producer of the documentary film "I Want Your Money" about the perils of Big Government, comparing the presidencies of Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama. Randy is the author of the book "We Hold These Truths," which addresses how leaders have appealed to beliefs found in the Declaration of Independence at defining moments in our nation's history. He has been published in several political sites and newspapers.

Randy graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point with a BS in political science and Regent University School of Law with a juris doctorate.
Birthplace
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Nationality
American
Honors/Awards
Graduated dean's list from West Point
Education
United States Military Academy at West Point, Regent University School of Law
Books Written
We Hold These Truths
Professional Memberships
Virginia and Pennsylvania state bars
Location
Phoenix, Arizona
Languages Spoken
English
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Entertainment, Faith




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