Thursday, August 2, 2012

Research shows a significant amount of American nondenominational church members are checking "unaffiliated" or "no religion" on surveys

Is the percentage of evangelicals rising in America? Since American evangelicals tend to be creationists, this is an important question about the American religious landscape.

The Western press is far less religious than the public and they often make poor investigative journalist when it comes to religion. As a result, it doesn't come as a surprise to me that they missed that the growing number of "unaffiliated" and "no religion" people is being misinterpreted in terms of its implications.

Based on research done by Baylor University, a February 2011 article entitled Good News about Evangelicalism declares:
Nondenominational churches, almost exclusively evangelical, now represent the second-largest group of Protestant churches in America, and the fastest growing section of the American religious market...

This trend has affected popular statistics and has also served to exaggerate the loss of religious faith and evangelical influence in America. Most previous research missed a new phenomenon: that members of nondenominational churches often identify themselves on surveys as unaffiliated or even as having “no religion.” Because traditional surveys do not provide categories that adequately describe those who attend nondenominational congregations, their members often check “unaffiliated” in typical surveys and questionnaires...

Similarly, claims that Americans, including evangelicals, are falling away from the faith contradict seven decades of survey research confirming that only 4 percent of Americans are atheists.,,

...We found no statistically significant difference between younger and older evangelicals on other moral and political issues, however. Younger evangelicals were, in fact, sometimes more conservative than their elders.

...The number of evangelicals remains high, and their percentage among practicing Christians in America is, if anything, rising.

This data rings true because I have met many people who attend nondenominational churches who are absolutely insistent that they are "not religious" and "spiritual" instead. The social scientists are going to have to refine their surveys if they want to accurately measure religious affiliation in America and the world at large.

Since American evangelicals are generally creationists, this is good news for American creationism and helps explain why the Gallup organization reported in June of 2012 that creationism increased in America in the last 12 months or so.

In addition, please read this article on the "nones" and "non-religious" which provides addition data and the religious research on "nones" and its limitations: Religious research and "nones"

Lastly, since atheists, agnostics and deist have claimed "no religion" and "nones", this certainly could dash their hopes.

Related resources:

Question Evolution! Campaign

15 questions for evolutionists

Responses to the 15 Questions: part 1 - Questions 1-3

Responses to the 15 Questions: part 2 - Questions 4–8

Responses to the 15 Questions: part 2 - Questions 9-15

Refuting evolution

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