John Ortberg: Snapshots of Religious Life

What do the recent surveys tell us about the future of faith?

by John Ortberg

Snapshot: The recently released American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS) indicates that faith is going down across the board. The number of people who identify themselves as Christian has decreased by 11 percent in a generation. The single fastest-growing category when it comes to religious affiliation is "None," which grew from 8 percent to 15 percent since 1990.

The "Nones" are the single biggest group in the state of Vermont, at 34 percent of the state's population. And "None" was the only religious category to grow in all 50 states.

One of the other fastest growing categories is "Don't Know/confused." (You can supply your own mainline humor here. In fact, the "two-party system" of evangelical versus mainline Christianity that I grew up with is collapsing. In an ironic return to Reformation language, in the United States "evangelical" will soon be synonymous with "Protestant.")

Barry Kosmin, who co-authored the survey, commented that more than ever before "people ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe to Christianity Today magazine. Subscribers have full digital access to CT Pastors articles.

Homepage Subscription Panel

Read These Next

Related
The Hansen Report: Modern versus Postmodern Politics
The Hansen Report: Modern versus Postmodern Politics
Can differences between McCain and Obama be explained by worldview categories?
From the Magazine
Life and Death in ‘The Land of the Clouds’
Life and Death in ‘The Land of the Clouds’
In the mountains of Papua, missionaries and Indonesian professionals serve the lost together.
Editor's Pick
How to Preach When You Don’t Know Who’s Listening
How to Preach When You Don’t Know Who’s Listening
5 principles for online preaching.
close