So here’s something interesting:
In 2007 Pew Research Center surveys, 15.3% of U.S. adults answered a question about their current religion by saying they were atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular.” The number of religiously unaffiliated respondents has ticked up each year since, and now stands at 19.6%.
While the ranks of the unaffiliated have grown significantly over the past five years, the Protestant share of the population has shrunk. In 2007, 53% of adults in Pew Research Center surveys described themselves as Protestants. In surveys conducted in the first half of 2012, fewer than half of American adults say they are Protestant (48%). This marks the first time in Pew Research Center surveys that the Protestant share of the population has dipped significantly below 50%.
The decline mainly occurred in the number of those surveyed identifying as white Protestants, whether evangelical or “mainline” (their term). Catholics, for their part, held roughly steady.
Damn. I thought it’d be easy to get a table for brunch after the Rapture.
Full Pew Study available here. (You might want to cross yourself or to place a wafer on your tongue before clicking.)
But this is what people have been saying about Protestantism since 1519, that if you let people make up their own minds it’s the gateway drug to unbelief. However, that the disaffected are so largely among the evangelicals, that’s noteworthy.
I wonder if evangelicals will become like Cubans in Florida—a smallish population with outsized political influence, longing for a promised land from which they’ve been exiled.