While headlines often decry the “dechurching of America,” and experts talk about the country becoming more secular, like Europe, people are going to church ”“ and embracing religion ”“ in numbers that defy popular perceptions.
True, recent figures from the Pew Research Center show that 35 percent of Millennials ”“ adults born between 1981 and 1996 ”“ identify as “nones,” saying they are atheists or agnostics, or have no religious affiliation. And, yes, a host of other studies have, over the years, noted a similar drop in religious attendance in the United States, especially among the young. Many mainstream denominations, too, have been closing or consolidating churches.
But, experts note, America is far from becoming a churchless nation. On any given Sabbath, for instance, some 4 out of 10 Americans will make their way to churches and synagogues, mosques and temples ”“ a number that hasn’t fluctuated dramatically in the past half century.