What do American believers believe?
A study (online version) conducted by the Graduate Center of the City University of New York reveals (no surprise here) that America's religious landscape continues to shift. USA Today reports that according to the findings, immigration, interfaith marriage, and conversion have increasingly changed the meaning of religious identity.
About one in six adults say they have switched religions at least once. Barry Kosmin, one of two lead investigators in the study, told USA Today that many view religion as a recreational choice; Changing denominations or faiths is like switching from skiing to snowboarding.
The first American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS) was conducted in 1990. At the time, it found—from interviews with 113,723 adults—two large trends in American religion: solo spirituality and church-shopping consumerism. The current study—based on interviews with 50,281 people— reveals these trends have only gotten stronger.
Because of this, the number of people who said they are Catholic or Protestant has slipped. The percentage of those identifying themselves with Protestant or other non-Catholic Christian denominations is down 8 percent from the 1990 study; those saying they're Catholic is down nearly 2 percent.
Some are leaving faith altogether. Twenty-three percent of those who said they now have no religion say they once did. Some don't associate with a religion, but consider themselves believers.
Others have chosen the solo spirituality path. While 81 percent claim a religious identity, the survey reports that only 54 percent said anyone in their home is affiliated with a house of worship.
The numbers of adherents to non-Christian faiths ...1