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The New Profile Of Faith

Religious faith now in America. Protestants, in a minority for the first time ever. And “no affiliation” on the rise. We’ll look at the new profile of faith.

Empty pews. (kevin rawlings/Flickr)

Empty pews. (kevin rawlings/Flickr)

Everything changes. Including Americans’ relationship with religion. Not so long ago, more than two-thirds of Americans were Protestant. Christians, read to check the box. A new study, just out, finds fewer than half now say they’re Protestant. Lowest ever.

Nearly one in five say they’re atheist, agnostic, or “nothing in particular.” Catholics, with big immigration, now the largest single faith group. But just a touch ahead of the unaffiliated…two-thirds of whom say they still believe in God. It’s complicated.

This hour, On Point: religious faith now in America.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Gregory Smith, senior researcher at the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life . He is one of the primary researchers for the report released Tuesday titled “Nones on the Rise.”

Robert Putnam, professor of public policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. His most recent book, American Grace, co-authored with David Campbell of Notre Dame, focuses on the role of religion in American public life.

William Lawrencedean of the Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University.

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John Harwood, chief Washington correspondent for CNBC and a columnist at the New York Times.

From Tom’s Reading List

You can read the Pew report in its entirety here.

Daily Beast “One in five Americans today has no religious affiliation, and for the first time there are as many who claim no religion as there are white evangelicals, according to a new Pew report. With evangelicals forming the GOP’s backbone, the party may face a struggle to survive, says Michelle Goldberg.”

USA Today “In the 1960s, two in three Americans called themselves Protestant. Now the Protestant group — both evangelical and mainline — has slid below the statistical waters, down to 48%, from 53% in 2007”

Pacific Standard “The data, by the Forum on Religion and Public Life group at Pew, was based on telephone interviews with 2,973 U.S. adults around the beginning of this July. The study credits the overall rise in non-religious affiliations (up almost 5 percent in the last five years) to generational replacement—that growing number of young folks.”

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