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Poll: America losing its religion
The Reason Rally, sponsored by secular organizations, draws a crowd to Washington.
May 29th, 2013
03:06 PM ET

Poll: America losing its religion

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN) – More than three in four of Americans say religion is losing its influence in the United States, according to a new survey, the highest such percentage in more than 40 years. A nearly identical percentage says that trend bodes ill for the country.

"It may be happening, but Americans don't like it," Frank Newport, Gallup's editor in chief, said of religion's waning influence. "It is clear that a lot of Americans don't think this is a good state of affairs."

According to the Gallup survey released Wednesday, 77% of Americans say religion is losing its influence. Since 1957, when the question was first asked, Americans' perception of religion's power has never been lower.

According to the poll, 75% of Americans said the country would be better off if it were more religious.

The poll doesn't reflect Americans' personal religiosity, such as church attendance, but rather how large events and trends shape shared views, Newport explained.

For example, the sexual revolution, the Vietnam War and the rise of the counterculture fed the perception that religion was on the wane during the late 1960s, he said.

Views of a secularizing America peaked in 1969 and 1970, when 75% of Americans said faith was losing its clout in society. A similar view dominated from 1991-94 and from 2007 to the present.

Americans saw religion increasing its influence in 1957, in 1962 and at a few points during the Reagan presidency in 1980. This number also spiked to its highest point ever - 71% - after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

The pollster didn't speculate on the contemporary factors that led to the current views on faith's influence.

Still, the poll numbers are dramatically influenced by church attendance, according to Gallup. More than 90% of people who attend church weekly responded that a more religious America would be positive, compared with 58% of Americans who attended church "less often."

The Gallup poll was conducted via telephone from May 2 to May 7. A total of 1,535 people were sampled for the poll, which has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Atheism • Belief • United States

soundoff (6,389 Responses)
  1. Rick

    Atheists are immoral animals and their women are easy

    May 29, 2013 at 10:53 pm |
    • Albert

      Not as easy as preachers daughters, and Catholic priests!

      May 29, 2013 at 10:55 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      I've known many atheists, male and female.
      Not a one of them ever claimed a woman to be "theirs".
      You're thinking of monotheists, not atheists.

      May 29, 2013 at 10:59 pm |
    • Rick

      Nah, your basically a cult with Dawkins as your leader

      May 29, 2013 at 11:06 pm |
    • Myrd

      Spoken like a true Christian, Rick, because the bible teaches to promote hatred, hostility and school kids insults, right? I see clearly now how morals can only come from God.

      May 29, 2013 at 11:06 pm |
    • Arthur Bryant

      Back under the bridge, troll.

      May 30, 2013 at 7:07 pm |
  2. Biblical Truth

    The importance of becoming Born Again, that is, giving one's life to Jesus Christ in order to attain salvation now and especially for when you pass-on cannot be understated. Here is Biblical Proof for that: "Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." - JOHN 3:3 (KJV)

    May 29, 2013 at 10:51 pm |
    • whateva

      Well, since you busted out the "proof" I guess I have no choice.

      May 29, 2013 at 10:57 pm |
    • Godzilla

      Shut up you slobbering fool!

      All you have is an ideology that is a magnet for stupid and violent people who think imaginary things can be real.

      You do not have any salvation, only salivation as you bubble and froth in your impotent rage.

      May 29, 2013 at 10:57 pm |
    • EuphoriCrest

      "Biblical" proof is to actual proof as Monopoly money is to real cash.

      May 29, 2013 at 11:03 pm |
    • Biblical Truth

      Oh, Godzilla, no matter what you say to me I still Love you even more in Christ Jesus because you are currently and surely under the influence of Anti-Christ and may not even realize it. But his strength is no match for Christ's! You need go no further than to this passage when Jesus was confronted and tempted by Satan: "And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the LORD thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve." - LUKE 4:8 (KJV) That goes for you too, my friend, and again I love you in Jesus Christ. For it is far more wonderful to love those who hate you than to spew forth their hate in kind that only serves to condemn them.

      May 29, 2013 at 11:25 pm |
    • Chad

      Carry your cross daily, then you are born again. Repenting of all sin is bing born again. It's awesome.

      May 29, 2013 at 11:42 pm |
    • Arthur Bryant

      Biblical truth = oxymoron.

      May 30, 2013 at 7:08 pm |
  3. RichardSRussell

    YAAAAAYYY!

    May 29, 2013 at 10:49 pm |
    • HellYeah!

      😎

      May 29, 2013 at 10:51 pm |
    • Godzilla

      I make a joyful noise as I blast every religion in sight! SKREAAGGGGHHHHHH!!!

      May 29, 2013 at 10:59 pm |
  4. Hooligan

    We are not losing it.. we are giving it the boot.

    You can keep it if it makes you feel better but you can't force it down our throats any more.

    May 29, 2013 at 10:49 pm |
    • dibsdone

      Exactly. You are free to believe in your imaginary friend but don't make me believe in your imaginary friend.

      May 29, 2013 at 10:57 pm |
  5. Joe in Ottumwa

    We in the tea party thank that instead of you all libs making funnies about Sarah Bachmann, that sterling star of conservative brain power, you all might want to thank the savior and son og god Jesus for creating all those so great people like Jonah and Moses and Adam and Even and Rush for shining a shiny beacon of light to show us, yup, even you pot shooting libs, thw ay to salvation! Think about it! Maybe you'll git it too, just like I make my kids Ronald and Reagan git it!

    May 29, 2013 at 10:48 pm |
    • Helena Troy

      You're too funny!

      May 29, 2013 at 10:57 pm |
    • dibsdone

      LOL! Funny CNN posted this the same day Bachman announced she won't run again.

      May 29, 2013 at 10:58 pm |
    • Arthur Bryant

      LOL

      May 30, 2013 at 7:10 pm |
  6. amalek

    Why in a secular country do we get presidential candidates like Perry dancing with rabbis in a circle? No other religious group is allowed to subvert our govt and laws like that, only Judaism.

    Atheists lie as well they are infantile minded cattle with no strong and enforcing principles to protect

    May 29, 2013 at 10:48 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Wow how long have you been thinking up that post – wasn't that 2 years ago? I don't see how Perry dancing with rabbis is an example of Judaism influencing government. Christians have a lot more influence.

      May 29, 2013 at 10:56 pm |
    • Observer

      analek,

      "infantile minded cattle"? Is that like people who don't question 2,000-year-old stories about talking animals and unicorns? How about the earth stopping still?

      Get serious next time.

      May 29, 2013 at 10:58 pm |
    • dibsdone

      Atheists have very strong principles to protect! They have RATIONAL principles to protect. Some of which are the same principles but only based on reason, not a fairy tale. Unfortunately when you have to take the whole book, the bible, a lot of irrational rules start to come out. The old testament is meant for an ancient people a long time ago and doesn't have any relevance to today.

      May 29, 2013 at 11:02 pm |
  7. sereny

    The greatest headline of this century.

    May 29, 2013 at 10:48 pm |
  8. Truth

    Losing religion will be the best thing humanity has ever done. Let's hope it doesn't happen to late (i.e. Sun expands before we invent FTL travel AND colonize multiple planets outside our own star system).

    May 29, 2013 at 10:47 pm |
  9. ISLAM FOUNDATION OF AMERICAN CONSTI TUTION

    Meet god monkey of hindu atheist of land of hindu atheism, ignorant self center ism called india.

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dMRgB36z710&w=640&h=360]

    May 29, 2013 at 10:47 pm |
    • amalek

      get lost already u filthy indian or paki

      no one cares

      May 29, 2013 at 10:48 pm |
    • Answer

      slam, goes, boom.

      May 29, 2013 at 10:49 pm |
    • ISLAM FOUNDATION OF AMERICAN CONSTI TUTION

      What is wrong, why do you not like your father by your belief in hinduism, denial of truth absolute, believer of hindu atheism, ignorant self center ism by faith.

      May 29, 2013 at 10:55 pm |
  10. chuckmartel

    hey Einstein, your concerns are irrelevant. Islam will get religion back into PC stupid USA. At only1 percent the US population, the religion of peace are in the news every day for killing or trying to kill fellow Americans. Everyday the peace/love crowd blows up other islamies in islami land. Anyone who can read and count would understand that. Even without the disproportionately large terror attacks, the last thing this country needs are a bunch of dark age, rag headed idiots that whip out rugs and pray 5 times a day. However the lords of pure stupid USA insist on importing not just jihad but every type of terrorist available. Celebrate the diversity.

    May 29, 2013 at 10:46 pm |
    • ISLAM FOUNDATION OF AMERICAN CONSTI TUTION

      Get out of hinduism, ignorance and see the light hindu, ignorant, Muslims have to do nothing to conquer USA, Truth of Islam is foundation of American consti tution, and deniers of truth of American foundation are none other than hindus atheist, ignorant self centered, pretending to be American. By consti tution, USA belongs to Muslims, none other. Get off of cannibis of hindu sanatan, ignorant goon and smell fresh air of reality.

      May 29, 2013 at 10:52 pm |
  11. Biblical Truth

    And if there be any atheist who still thinks they can enter into Heaven without first accepting Jesus Christ and becoming Born Again, they are sadly mistaken! Here is the Proof from Jesus Christ Himself: "Jesus saith unto him, I Am the Way, the Truth, and the Life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me." - JOHN 14:6 (KJV)

    May 29, 2013 at 10:46 pm |
    • Yobby

      You don't enter anywhere when you die, except maybe a coffin.

      May 29, 2013 at 10:47 pm |
    • dan

      I am an atheist and one thing for sure: I DO NOT WANT to go to your heaven to be herded with morons like you.... luckily there is no heaven so I can truly enjoy my life here, create a better life for all the people around me... it is very easy to do when you don't waste time praying, reading the bible or worrying about what your daddy in the sky might think... sorry you are so fearful... cheers, peace and love to you too anyway.

      May 29, 2013 at 10:49 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      No atheists EXPECT to enter your imaginary wish-fulfillment Field of Dreams.
      If we don't believe in God, why would we believe in Heaven?

      May 29, 2013 at 10:52 pm |
    • Hooligan

      No Atheist thinks they will get in to heaven because no Atheist believes in heaven.

      Your point fell flat before it even got out the gate.

      May 29, 2013 at 10:53 pm |
    • Kerry

      I'm glad I'm not going to an imaginary place when I die.

      That's like me saying "If any person of faith thinks they're going to enter the kingdom of happy times, cotton candy and lollipops when you die, they're mistaken! Only by accepting the 2 cm pebble in my driveway as your savior can you enter it."

      Sad thing is people would line up to worship the pebble. That's how blind people are in this world. I assume you'd be one of the first.

      May 29, 2013 at 10:57 pm |
    • Brad

      All hail the proof from Jesus himself!!! Even though it was in quotes from John. 😀

      May 29, 2013 at 11:01 pm |
    • dibsdone

      I too don't want to be in your heaven either. I have more incentive to make sure this Earth lasts for generations to come while the religious zealots, muslim and christian, keep trying to set everything up for doomsday.

      May 29, 2013 at 11:05 pm |
    • Biblical Truth

      Hooligan and others, know that your words cannot penetrate through God's shield of truth no matter how hard you try to use them as a demonic weapon. Also know that God has given we Christians these words as protection against yours: "Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error." - 1 JOHN 4:4-6 (KJV)

      May 29, 2013 at 11:36 pm |
  12. HellYeah!

    More people rubbing the lies from their eyes and waking up.
    Feels good, man

    (•_•)
    ( •_•)>⌐■-■
    (⌐■_■)

    May 29, 2013 at 10:45 pm |
  13. Elias

    God hates america.

    May 29, 2013 at 10:45 pm |
    • JK

      Invisible purple unicorns have glitter and rainbows in their veins

      May 29, 2013 at 10:56 pm |
  14. StuporDave

    Only natural to seek to explain the unexplainable, that's the essence of spirituality. What's unnatural is how that curiosity got shaped and organized into tools designed to control people. What's even more curious is how organized religion, by standing pat, is actually moving away from those of us who are evolving. Belief in absolutes may be comforting, but may not be serving us in any other useful ways.

    May 29, 2013 at 10:43 pm |
    • dibsdone

      Very well said!

      May 29, 2013 at 11:06 pm |
  15. Joe in Ottumwa

    For all you slamming evolution, check out another story about the GOP sweeping away the stupid. Good luck with.

    May 29, 2013 at 10:42 pm |
    • Geraldine

      Oh, you mean the story about Bachmann not running again?

      May 29, 2013 at 10:46 pm |
    • Chad

      2peter 3: 8But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.

      May 29, 2013 at 11:47 pm |
    • counter

      Micro evolution = proven fact.

      Macro evolution = educated guess.

      May 30, 2013 at 10:06 am |
  16. bassmaster

    Amazing. Arguing with a "believer" is like arguing with a star wars fan. They know every little piece of their little made up world and continually reach back in to it to pull out proof that only exists in their bubble.

    Why we spend any time debating this is beyond me. Believe or don't. If I'm not at the pearly gates, that's not your problem now is it? So why waste the time trying to convince me of anything. Does it somehow get you a discount on a fast pass when you get up there or a free balloon or something?

    May 29, 2013 at 10:40 pm |
    • mrt473

      Honestly, comparing religious to Star Wars fans is offensive to Star Wars fans. People who embrace the science fiction and fantasy may know every little detail, but we also KNOW it isn't real.

      That's the true difference.

      May 29, 2013 at 10:56 pm |
    • Chad

      We are trying to save your soul.

      May 29, 2013 at 11:48 pm |
    • counter

      At some juncture there is no point in convincing an atheist that God is real. This I agree with. If you don't want to hear it, say so and this believer will back away. On the other hand there are many intellectual believers that can have a robust discussion with those that refuse to believe.

      May 30, 2013 at 10:03 am |
  17. Yobby

    Progress at last perhaps people can think in terms of logic instead of fairy tales.

    May 29, 2013 at 10:40 pm |
    • counter

      WHo defines "progress" or "rationality" ??

      May 30, 2013 at 10:04 am |
  18. Lost Sheep

    What is truly Sad is that these Heathens and Infidels are now in such a dire hurry to dig their own graves being in denial about God and listening to untruths being perpetuated by one another in an effort to live a life where they know they will not be able to enter into Heaven when they die. That is the saddest part about it because right now they can All change that. For it is far better to err on the side of Caution and become Born Again than to encounter and face what awaits them at the time of their death. We can only continue to pray for these lost sheep.

    May 29, 2013 at 10:39 pm |
    • Gerladine

      You capitalized too many words unnecessarily. Get ye self to a shrink, asap.

      May 29, 2013 at 10:44 pm |
    • Rick

      I think you need to read your bible again

      May 29, 2013 at 10:46 pm |
    • bassmaster

      Capitals are the work of the devil. Fiction 3:16

      May 29, 2013 at 10:46 pm |
    • Austin

      Very good

      May 29, 2013 at 10:47 pm |
    • EuphoriCrest

      And how does one acquire faith to become a believer? Either one has it or doesn't. To "become born agin" without faith is to be a hypocrite. I doubt your god would appreciate that.

      May 29, 2013 at 10:53 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      You know who's REALLY in denial about God?
      The ones who continue to believe that he, she, or it is real, despite the complete and utter lack of any supporting evidence whatsoever.

      May 29, 2013 at 10:54 pm |
    • nightwriter

      But "erring on the side of caution" is an argument any religion can make. And you can't be a member of all religions so you have to use your own intellect and the scientific method to try to find truth. You may not believe this but you show a tremendous amount of faith in science every day – planes don't fly because people pray that they will. They fly because people figured out how to make them fly. I have nothing against faith, and I love most of the Christians I know, but religious is more philosophy than knowledge.

      May 29, 2013 at 10:56 pm |
    • Lost Sheep

      The eternally lost will find fault with everything, Gerladine, but in the end they will find that it was their own fault.

      May 29, 2013 at 10:59 pm |
    • Lost Sheep

      What you need to know and realize, nightwriter, is since man cannot self-create himself, Who gave man the intellect and created man in the first place in order for him to learn how to fly - it was none other than God.

      May 29, 2013 at 11:09 pm |
    • dibsdone

      @LostSheep
      The fact that you proclaim your faith "just in case" is further evidence of the mind control played. You don't really believe. You just want to make sure your included on the imaginary ride after you die in case it actually might exist. To say you believe in something for that reason is an affront to your own sense of reason much less to subsequently use to control other people. If that is why you believe, fine. It doesn't mean you have to keep propagating a false myth to keep the collections up, that should be taxed by the way.

      May 29, 2013 at 11:12 pm |
    • Lost Sheep

      dibsdone, you and others may continue to obfuscate the Word of Truth to try to confuse others but know that God is not mocked! God addresses your intent and words and that of others most succinctly and to the point in the following Scripture: "These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for He is the LORD of Lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful." - REVELATION 17:14 (KJV)

      May 29, 2013 at 11:49 pm |
    • Chad

      The evidence is the continuous answers to prayers and the truth of the bible, try it you might be surprised what you find. God will answer you.

      May 29, 2013 at 11:51 pm |
  19. Fred Flinstone

    "American losing their religion"? All I got to say is thank god.

    May 29, 2013 at 10:37 pm |
    • pentecostal

      thank GOD ! you say so u do believe there is a GOD!

      May 29, 2013 at 10:41 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      Oh, boy, Fred, you seem to have struck a chord with one of the irony-challenged fundies.

      May 29, 2013 at 10:55 pm |
  20. Chad

    The word of God (bible) will judge all of us. You better read it and prepare. I saw it in a vision.

    May 29, 2013 at 10:37 pm |
    • tokencode

      You need to start taking your meds...

      May 29, 2013 at 10:38 pm |
    • Answer

      Cling on.

      That small comfort.. go and cling.

      May 29, 2013 at 10:39 pm |
    • dan

      I would love to smoke what you smoked. Is it legal???

      May 29, 2013 at 10:39 pm |
    • Chad

      Reference Gods sharp sickle in the bible and the sharpness of his word (bible).

      May 29, 2013 at 10:40 pm |
    • Answer

      Yeah look at the "gods." Not even careful enough to say there is only one god.

      Hilarious.

      May 29, 2013 at 10:41 pm |
    • Chad

      One God. I'm not lying. Have no reason to lie. Acts 2:17.

      May 29, 2013 at 10:44 pm |
    • bassmaster

      Bring it on.

      If our world is of his creation, he should be fired or reincarnated as an alter boy. We all know what happens to them. Praise be to he.

      May 29, 2013 at 10:44 pm |
    • Chad

      Also see Hebrews 4:12.

      May 29, 2013 at 10:48 pm |
    • Answer

      Sure, Chard.

      The piece of shit that you are...

      May 29, 2013 at 10:48 pm |
    • Vns

      Need to check your vision, something wrong with your eyesight? Visionworks might help..?

      May 29, 2013 at 10:49 pm |
    • Chad

      I pray that you all who do not believe will read, pray and believe. God loves us all so much and wants to be close to you.

      May 29, 2013 at 10:56 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Chad, you're starting to sound like Austin. Show me a verified example of an amputee healed by prayer and I'll rethink my position.

      May 29, 2013 at 10:59 pm |
    • Chad

      Santa, read John 12:37-50.

      May 29, 2013 at 11:08 pm |
    • dibsdone

      No. No reason to lie. You can just quote another lie.

      May 29, 2013 at 11:14 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.