What the Numbers Don’t Tell Us: Religion Is a Lived, Shifting Experience

A new survey doesn’t tell us why that’s occurring, only that it is occurring, and that it is unstoppable. Having spent most of the last two years in conversation with Nones, seekers, doubters, and those who feel culturally bound to a religious tradition even while they don’t participate in one, the latest Pew survey results come as no surprise. It’s been clear for years that Mainline Protestant Christianity in America is on the decline. That Catholicism also is in precipitous decline—and the news that the religiously unaffiliated now outnumber Catholics—is perhaps only surprising to those who haven’t attended a Catholic church recently. Today, 13 percent of American adults are former Catholics. For every person who joins the Catholic church, six Catholics leave. “No other group,” according to Pew, “has such a lopsided ratio of losses to gains.” When it comes to the topic of religious switching and the decline […] Read More