Majority of Americans Still Lean on ReligionDecember 17, 2014 |
by Dr. Elwood Watsonby
By now many people are deeply immersed into the holiday season, purchasing last-minute gifts, finalizing guest lists and other related festivities and otherwise going about their business as usual.
Many individuals are not likely to publically profess their religious faith outside their place of worship or with like-minded parishioners. The reality is that many men and women do see religion as a pivotal force not only in their personal lives, but for the greater good as well.
A recent Gallup poll revealed that 57% of Americans believed that religion can answer all or most of today’s problems, while 30% took the position that religion is out of date. These were the results of Gallup’s annual Values and Beliefs survey. Gallup initially asked this question in the 1950s. The question was asked once again in the 1970s. Since the 1980s, the question has been posed multiple times.
The following poll below demonstrates the gradual fluctuation of American attitudes toward religion:
The same poll also indicated among those who saw religion as crucial to society that:
· 84% attended church weekly
· 68% attended church nearly weekly or monthly
· 36% attended church less often
· 82% view religion as very important
· 40% view religion as fairly important
· 11% saw religion as unimportant
· 64% had a particular religious identity
· 21% harbored no particular religious identification
Among those who saw religion as old fashioned and out of date:
· 11% attended church weekly
· 20% attended church nearly weekly or monthly
· 45% attended church less often
· 8% saw religion as very important
· 41% saw religion as fairly important
· 76% saw religion as not very important
· 23% had a religious identity
· 67% had no religious identification
While a majority of those polled embraced religion, the 57 percent figure reflects a decline over the last 40 years in the number of Americans who believe religion is the answer. Meanwhile, the percentage of Americans who believe religion is old fashioned and out of date has continued to increase over the past 14 years when it was 19 percent.
Geographic region seemed to come into play as religious attitudes were measured. Senior citizens, women, people who leaned right on the political spectrum, and Southerners were found to be among the most religious groups of people. This was based on measures of church attendance and importance of religion. On the contrary, millennials, people who identified as liberal, and northeasterners were more likely to consider religion antiquated and outdated.
While the poll of 1,028 adults in all 50 states and the District of Columbia may not be entirely scientific, it did confirm many common assumptions that the South is seen as the Bible Belt and the North is more populated with men and women who are often agnostic or, at the very least, indifferent toward religion. While it would have been beneficial to see a breakdown of results by race, gender, age and class, the poll is likely to be a fairly accurate reflection of nationwide attitudes in regards to religion.Religion