It appears that faith in religion has recorded a decline in Americans, in spite of the fact that more of them claim to believe in the afterlife. The newest study on the matter suggests that numerous citizens of the United States prefer to pursue their personal spirituality instead of turning to the church.
Study author and psychology professor at the Florida Atlantic University Ryne Sherman has stated that the decline cannot be blamed on the distrust people have built in the institutions, because religious behaviors have also decreased. Today, a high percentage of the population claims that it is not spiritual at all.
According to the findings of the study, one out of five Americans have renounced religious faith. As author of the “Generation Me” book and San Diego State University researcher Jean Twenge has declared, this makes the current generation the least religious one in the last fifty years.
Faith has been steady among people in the 1970s and the 1980s, but it has started to decrease since 1995. People have started to give up on private practice such as the belief in God or prayers in 2005. The data for the study has been collected since 1972 through the General Social Survey of the University of Chicago.
The researchers wrote that
“Nearly a third of Millennials were secular, not merely in religious affiliation, but also in belief in God, religiosity, and religious service attendance, many more than Boomers and Generation X’ers at the same age.”
Published in the Sage Open journal last Monday, the study points towards the Evangelical movement. This process might have stalled this decline in the southern parts of the U.S., in spite of the general progress since 1972. While older generations still identify themselves as spiritual, young adults are not so concerned about religious faith.
However, the mainstream religious observance is not being replaced by spirituality, but we might soon witness a divide between the nonreligious and the faithful people. Data suggests that individuals who claim to be non-religious do not lack completely in religious teachings. Even if they do not believe in God, many hope they might be granted an afterlife. Millennials have started to believe in heaven more than previous generations.
The general religious belief is that if we believe and God and act according to spiritual teachings, it is more likely we will end up in heaven. However, young adults are of the opinion that their afterlife will not be affected by their lifestyle and the choices they make on Earth.
Image Source: Odyssey