Thursday 26 December 2013

‘None’ could be religion’s new normal in Britain, USA

Cathy Lynn Grossman writes for the Religion News Service, noting that "no religion is the new religion" in Britain:

Just in time for Christmas, new statistics show “no religion is the new religion” in Great Britain, according to a study released Monday.
The study, by Westminster Faith Debates, finds 38 percent adults in Great Britain, and 48 percent of those ages 18 to 29, checked no religion in online surveys conducted in January and June by YouGov.
“Whilst it’s always possible that this trend could be reversed, it gets less and less likely as the chain of memory connecting young people to religion stretches and snaps,” said Lancaster University sociologist, an organizer of the public debates on religion topics and author of the study.
These numbers fall midway between the findings of two other British studies that both show a trend away from the pews.
The British Social Attitudes Study in 2012 found 48 percent claimed to have no religion. And the 2011 Census reported about 25 percent of those surveyed in England and Wales said they were “nones,” including 32 percent of those under age 25.
“Nones” is an umbrella term that includes atheists, agnostics, humanists and a significant number who say they believe in God but don’t affiliate with any specific religious tradition. It was popularized by the American Religious Identification Survey, which tracked the rise in U.S. “nones” from 8 percent in 1990 to nearly 16 percent in 2009.
In 2012, the Pew Research Center calculated that about 20 percent of Americans overall are “nones” but Gallup put the number slightly lower at less than 18 percent...
Still, no matter how you ask or calculate it, “no religion” is growing at a faster rate than religions in Great Britain and the USA.

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