home
RSS
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. Omen

    But I wonder why N America has more problems than before? Is it because of more atheists?

    May 29, 2013 at 4:59 pm |
    • P3

      Nope. It's because of religious extremists, not athiests and the rest of us.

      May 29, 2013 at 5:01 pm |
    • I Am God

      Nope. The United States has always had problems. I don't recall Atheists being involved in the Salem Witch Trials. I don't recall Atheists being involved in forcing Native Americans from their lands. I don't recall Atheists owning slaves in the United States either. (Not saying Atheists didn't, but they were definitely not causing the problem of the things I stated.)

      May 29, 2013 at 5:01 pm |
  2. TrueBeliever

    God lives in hell. Satan lives among us. Evil lives in heaven.

    May 29, 2013 at 4:58 pm |
    • chooselife

      That is the most stupidiest thing I have ever heard. When you have a chance read the Bible front to back.

      May 29, 2013 at 5:01 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      "When you have a chance read the Bible front to back"

      Yes please do, it is the greatest path to Atheism.

      May 29, 2013 at 5:03 pm |
    • eno

      Allah Ahkbar!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      May 30, 2013 at 2:22 am |
  3. Drew

    This is what it will look like AFTER the rapture.

    May 29, 2013 at 4:58 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      The only rapture this earth will ever know is when the sun no longer exists millions upon millions of years from now.

      May 29, 2013 at 5:13 pm |
    • James

      Hey I've got some quick advice, don't hold your breathe waiting for the rapture.

      May 30, 2013 at 8:24 am |
    • Drew

      Wow. So sure. Absolutely positive, huh? Even people who have no Faith in God, have an unbelievable faith in what modern science is telling them. Just believe everything a scientist tells you. It's so much easier than studying, researching, and drawing your own conclusion. Lazy. Blows my mind how atheism is becoming a "trend."

      May 30, 2013 at 2:38 pm |
  4. me

    It's too bad if this is indicating that people just don't believe in some form of a creator (IMO), I do... but, at the same time, it's sickening to have religious groups attempt to convince others they know exactly what should happen... hate is hate, ignorance is ignorance and denial is denial, regardless of what package you wrap it in! I gave up on organized religion long ago, but I believe there is more to my ability to be here and walk this Earth, than just coincidences that led up to my mom and dad having a baby... maybe one day when common sense and religion can co-exist, then we will be a world full of believers... but I'm not naive...

    May 29, 2013 at 4:58 pm |
  5. sg

    Jesus died for us and loves us all

    May 29, 2013 at 4:58 pm |
    • Omen

      Like this bigot hire is killing religion.STOP PERSUADING others!

      May 29, 2013 at 5:02 pm |
    • James

      Yeah Jesus definitely loves all those innocent little kids who died in the tornadoes in Oklahoma

      May 30, 2013 at 8:26 am |
  6. Matt Greenwald

    Good there are more important things to worry about right now.

    May 29, 2013 at 4:58 pm |
  7. Jeebus

    Jeebus Christ, I leave for a thousand years and look how fat you all have become.

    May 29, 2013 at 4:58 pm |
  8. ImIrish

    Personally, I go to church every week. We have to keep getting there earlier and earlier to get a seat, so I guess I'm just not seeing this. I'm very happy with my religion and my faith.

    To each his own but, if anything, I see more younger people attending church all of the time.

    May 29, 2013 at 4:57 pm |
    • I Am God

      I honestly don't. Even some of my friends, who are religious, rarely attend church any more.

      May 29, 2013 at 4:58 pm |
    • James (not the apostle)

      We have friends who attend church, we are atheists. They go to church on Sunday, we go for brunch while the restaurant is quiet. In other words, they don't bug us with their religion, we don't bug them about the fact they have one.

      May 29, 2013 at 5:08 pm |
    • musicguy

      VEry few folks under 50 at any church I've been to in the past 10 years.

      May 29, 2013 at 5:08 pm |
  9. Danmj2

    Religion is alive and well, Just another false poll. Less than 10% of america is atheist. 3/4 of americans identifiy as Christian. 2 and 6 people in the world are Christian and that number is growing.

    May 29, 2013 at 4:57 pm |
    • James (not the apostle)

      Yes of course. Another "false" poll. But then religion has all the answers doesn't it – and the heck with facts.

      May 29, 2013 at 5:10 pm |
    • Just some guy

      If there are more and more Christians all the time, perhaps a large portion of them could quit acting as though they're an oppressed minority? Just because someone doesn't share your views, and would rather not have your religion shoved in their face, does not mean that you're being abused.

      May 29, 2013 at 6:35 pm |
  10. Gus

    Thank God (pun intended).
    Religion is the root of all evil. Not faith, mind you, just religion...

    May 29, 2013 at 4:57 pm |
    • cielo62

      AMEN to that! You'd think the Dark Ages wiould have taught civilization the evil side of religion.

      May 29, 2013 at 5:00 pm |
  11. Thank God.

    that is all.

    May 29, 2013 at 4:57 pm |
  12. bufkus

    Religion is a cancer and must be completely eradicated else we'll end up like the taliban.

    May 29, 2013 at 4:57 pm |
    • Gus

      true.

      May 29, 2013 at 4:57 pm |
    • ImIrish

      That sounds very Taliban-ish.....my way or the highway, huh?

      May 29, 2013 at 4:59 pm |
    • DemFromSC

      Amen brother!

      May 29, 2013 at 5:01 pm |
  13. Pot

    Lol so the poll was conducted on Christians only?
    Based on the2nd to last paragraph.
    I find it hard 75% would think becoming more secular like what our forefathers wanted, is bad.

    May 29, 2013 at 4:56 pm |
    • IG88a

      The forefathers set up the country based on Christian morals with a freedom of religion for the citizens. I'm sure they didn't mean for any of the religious based laws to become part of the civil law though, such as Sharia.

      May 29, 2013 at 5:07 pm |
  14. Lord Brahma

    America needs to introduce part of Shariya Law to stop Gays & Lesbians Rights and Religious will flourish again in America.

    May 29, 2013 at 4:56 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      America needs to educate the religious bigots about the facts of the LGBT community, maybe then they'd see less moronic comments like yours.

      May 29, 2013 at 5:01 pm |
    • johnharry

      yep we need more people telling other people what to do.

      May 29, 2013 at 5:02 pm |
    • musicguy

      Go say your prayers and stay out of everyone else's bedroom. I doubt my wife and I could be happy under Sharia law. Seems to me it is based on a religion of misery and degradation, particularly for women.

      May 29, 2013 at 5:11 pm |
  15. GBfromOhio

    What's really disturbing is that 75% of Americans think we'd be better off if the country was "more religious". What a primitive world we live in. Ironically, many of those who are into religious dogma are among the least ethical people around.

    May 29, 2013 at 4:56 pm |
    • ImIrish

      Please provide your irrefutable data. Thanks.

      May 29, 2013 at 5:00 pm |
    • James

      ImIrish: you just need common sense to be able to tell this. A lot of people are like you and don't have any

      May 30, 2013 at 8:30 am |
  16. Profit MohaveMud

    Hi Mohamud here and here is my picture 🙂

    May 29, 2013 at 4:56 pm |
  17. Brian

    Good. I don't understand how people can believe in sky fairies today? 2000 years ago when we didn't have telescopes and thought that a guy in a chariot dragged the sun across the sky is understandable. But today...?

    May 29, 2013 at 4:56 pm |
  18. Starman

    Religion is dead and it was killed off my the internet with immediate access to information and knowledge. Its impossible to live in a religious bubble. Society is just now waiting for all the people who don't know how to use the internet to die off to see it disappear the way of Greek Mythology.

    May 29, 2013 at 4:56 pm |
  19. Omen

    I say just keep religion to your self. Don't go out and knock on doors,or tell you religion stories to persuade others.keep it to your self.

    May 29, 2013 at 4:55 pm |
  20. Dinosaur God

    I the dinosaur God have awaken and will restore my great dinosaurs back to the rightful place as the leading life form on my earth that I made and your silly fake god, jesus, mohamud and other cretons tried to claim.

    May 29, 2013 at 4:55 pm |
    • eno

      Allah Ahkbar!!

      May 30, 2013 at 2:20 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78
Advertisement
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.