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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. Pure-Religion

    Matthew 10: 34-35

    May 30, 2013 at 5:33 pm |
  2. Pure-Religion

    Deuteronomy 13:6-10

    May 30, 2013 at 5:32 pm |
  3. Kyle

    This just proves we getting closer and closer to communism. Religion is one of the biggest steps to eliminate.

    May 30, 2013 at 5:29 pm |
    • derp

      Funny, America was created in protest of divine theocratic rule.

      May 30, 2013 at 5:42 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      derp, you are convincing me that all unbelievers are plagued with dyslexia getting all things backwards.

      May 30, 2013 at 7:32 pm |
  4. Pure-Religion

    Psalm 7: 1 – 17

    May 30, 2013 at 5:26 pm |
    • Robert

      Do any of your verses contain a sacntion for lying about other religions? You should read that one.

      May 30, 2013 at 5:30 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Robert, seek and ye shall find.

      Isaiah 45:21

      Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the LORD? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me.  (KJV)

      Amen.

      May 30, 2013 at 5:58 pm |
  5. Pure-Religion

    In the Koran it says that the believers of the Bible are sinners and will burn forever.

    May 30, 2013 at 5:25 pm |
    • Saleem

      It certainly does not. You are a liar. Show us where.

      May 30, 2013 at 5:26 pm |
    • ISLAM FOUNDATION OF AMERICAN CONSTI TUTION

      Word bible is not mentioned in Holy Quran, to hind lie is way of hindu secular, filthy self centered to spew their hinduism, absurdities about truth absolute.

      May 30, 2013 at 5:26 pm |
    • Pure-Religion 1

      Some is now posing as Pure Religion as an impostor.

      Ignore the post putting down any other religion Or belief.

      I only post Biblical references.

      Web master has been notified.

      May 30, 2013 at 5:30 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      "Web master has been notified."

      You do understand that this is an anonymous blog and reporting to the web-master is futile...right?

      May 30, 2013 at 5:34 pm |
    • Pure-Religion

      Ha. People know your post is not me, because I do not put a "1" in my name.

      May 30, 2013 at 5:34 pm |
    • TDM

      Pure religion, there is nothing worse than a Christian lying about other holy books to promote their own. Grow up, if you want to be taken seriously.

      May 30, 2013 at 5:35 pm |
    • no

      Psalm 7

      May 30, 2013 at 5:50 pm |
    • no

      “Have you allowed all the women to live?” he asked them. “They were the ones who followed Balaam’s advice and enticed the Israelites to be unfaithful to the LORD in the Peor incident, so that a plague struck the LORD’s people. Now kill all the boys. And Kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

      Numbers 12:34

      May 30, 2013 at 5:52 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      TDM,

      Isaiah 44:6-8

      6 Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.
      7 And who, as I, shall call, and shall declare it, and set it in order for me, since I appointed the ancient people? and the things that are coming, and shall come, let them shew unto them.
      8 Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any.  [i.e – there is no OTHER God] (KJV)

      Amen.

      May 30, 2013 at 6:02 pm |
  6. mykel armory

    I cannot wait until the believers are oppressed and squashed. It will be great.

    May 30, 2013 at 5:20 pm |
  7. Dyslexic doG

    The King James version of the new testament was completed in 1611 by 8 members of the church of England. There were (and still are) NO original texts to translate. The oldest manuscripts we have were written down 100's of years after the last apostle died. There are over 8,000 of these old manuscripts with no two alike. The king james translators used none of these anyway. Instead they edited previous translations to create a version their king and parliament would approve. So.... 21st century christians believe the "word of god" is a book edited in the 17th century from the 16th century translations of 8,000 contradictory copies of 4th century scrolls that claim to be copies of lost letters written in the 1st century.

    May 30, 2013 at 5:02 pm |
    • Madtown

      The Word of Jimmy.

      May 30, 2013 at 5:05 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      1 Corinthians 3:19-20

      19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.
      20 And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain.  KJV

      Amen.

      May 30, 2013 at 5:17 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      @ HeavenSent,

      I hope you will recognize religions unceasing attempts to take that which is the worst in man and present it as though it were the best.

      Ignorant? Great! That's just how god loves you.
      Timid? The meek shall inherit the earth.
      Poor? Don't work harder to provide for your family... it's harder for a camel to pass through an eye of a needle...
      Murder? Well, did you do it for My namesake?
      Sexual love? It's wrong says Paul, but if you're going to do it... commit yourself to a lifetime with that person.

      If I were god and you my creation, I'd be embarrassed to call you my child. You've wasted your potential on convenient excuses that keep you from obtaining your highest self. If that is what it means to be heaven sent, heaven must surely be a place of the unachieved, ignorant and lazy.

      May 30, 2013 at 5:25 pm |
    • derp

      @GFN

      You must not have been on this blog long.

      HeavenSent is the resident religious nutbag.

      May 30, 2013 at 5:44 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      freenow,

      Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.

      Ephesians 5:6

      Amen.

      May 30, 2013 at 6:06 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      derp, it's easy to keep sinning. You prove to have mastered it.. It takes courage to live life and follow Jesus' truth.

      May 30, 2013 at 6:09 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      @ HeavenSent, It's easy to make excuses for ignorance. Educating oneself is hard.

      May 30, 2013 at 7:02 pm |
    • Clover

      HeavenSent,
      Re: Ephesians 5:6

      And what makes you think that those words from Saul of Tarsus aren't just vain deception?

      May 30, 2013 at 7:11 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Clover, read Galatians 1 for your answer.

      May 30, 2013 at 7:43 pm |
  8. Pure Religion

    Actually ... I have thought about it and I realize I have been wrong all these years. What a feeling!!! Now I know there is no God. What a fool I have been. I am now an Atheist and proud!

    May 30, 2013 at 5:01 pm |
    • Happy Atheist

      Glad you could join us. And just so you know, there is no such thing as "Pure Religion" so you may want to chaneg your handle.

      May 30, 2013 at 5:11 pm |
    • Pure-Religion

      @pure religion

      Impersonator.

      You didn't use correct name. Nice try.

      God knows who you are, and so do I.

      May 30, 2013 at 5:12 pm |
    • Pure-Religion

      You have been reported to the blog master at CNN for falsely representing a believer.

      May 30, 2013 at 5:15 pm |
    • mykel armory

      CNN's blog master couldn't care less that you are a sheep. Your god is a joke.

      May 30, 2013 at 5:19 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      HA, it seems you are mistaken:

      James 1:26-27 ESV

      Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

      May 30, 2013 at 5:26 pm |
    • Pure-Religion 1

      @ mykel armory

      Apparently CNN has notified me you are the impostor.

      May 30, 2013 at 5:34 pm |
    • Pure-Religion 1

      “Anyone who beats their male or female slave with a rod must be punished if the slave dies as a direct result, but they are not to be punished if the slave recovers after a day or two, since the slave is their property.

      God himself speaking in Exodus 21:20-21

      May 30, 2013 at 5:38 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      1 John 2:15 -17

      15 Love not the world, neither the things [that are] in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

      16 For all that [is] in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

      17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

      Amen.

      May 30, 2013 at 6:17 pm |
  9. Ode to the CNN cha cha cha

    First blog post
    Atheist metronome
    Cha cha cha

    Second blog post
    Anti Christian syncopated beat
    Cha cha cha

    Third and fourth blog post
    Repeat the syncopated beat
    Move the body
    Move the foot
    Impeach God
    Cha cha cha

    May 30, 2013 at 5:00 pm |
    • Dance

      💃

      May 30, 2013 at 5:02 pm |
  10. ME II

    Seriously, anyone? honest question.
    I've always wondered how Adam and Eve were punished for disobeying God before they had any knowledge that disobeying God was wrong.

    May 30, 2013 at 4:56 pm |
    • ME II

      dang it, misposted

      May 30, 2013 at 4:56 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      The wrong that Adam and Eve did isn't that they ate of the fruit. It's that they broke relationship with God. Once that was done, God has been redeeming us ever since though either the old covenant or the new.

      May 30, 2013 at 5:07 pm |
    • ME II

      @Bill Deacon,
      Ok, interesting, but wouldn't that break have been to the very disobeying of God that they shouldn't be held responsible for because they didn't know right and wrong.
      Labeling it 'break from God' versus 'disobeying God' seems inconsequential to the ethics of responsibility.

      May 30, 2013 at 5:14 pm |
    • Madtown

      they broke relationship with God
      ---–
      They broke THEIR relationship, not ours. Why are we having to pay for it? I wonder why he didn't just make good with them at that time?

      May 30, 2013 at 5:20 pm |
    • Len

      And the LORD God said, "The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever."
      Genesis 3:22

      Clearly, God expelled the first people from the Garden because he feared that they would become immortal gods like him.

      May 30, 2013 at 5:20 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Len, Adam and Eve died because they believed the serpent's (Lucifer, aka satan) lies over God's truth. Sound familiar?

      May 30, 2013 at 6:22 pm |
  11. Skorpio

    With more than 43,000 registered Christian churches in the US alone, nobody trust Christianity.

    May 30, 2013 at 4:50 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      and if it wasn't tax free, there's be 10% of that number!

      May 30, 2013 at 4:52 pm |
    • Pure-Religion

      Was there a question mark missing at the end of your statement?

      May 30, 2013 at 4:55 pm |
    • Pure-Religion

      Psalm 7:1

      "O Lord my God, in you I put my trust."

      Not men, church or any other.

      May 30, 2013 at 4:57 pm |
    • A Conversation

      Registered churches? Registered with whom?

      Dyslexic-you do know that 87% of all statistics are made up on the spot, right? 😉

      May 30, 2013 at 5:01 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      🙂

      May 30, 2013 at 5:06 pm |
    • Len

      Pure-Religion
      But where do get this idea of God in which you put your trust? Men wrote the Bible, and the Church authorized which books to include in it. So, ultimately, it all comes from men and the Church.

      May 30, 2013 at 5:23 pm |
    • derp

      "Registered churches? Registered with whom?"

      The IRS moron. You can't get tax exempt status unless you register for it with the Internal Revenue Service.

      May 30, 2013 at 5:47 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Skorpio, is there any more statistics you want to make up because you refuse to give up your sinful nature?

      May 30, 2013 at 6:25 pm |
  12. Pure-Religion

    Satanist, atheist and Christian phobiacs

    Try reading all the Scriptures posted.

    You may find something beneficial.

    Wisdom? Salvation? Knowledge?

    Forgiveness?

    Your future!

    May 30, 2013 at 4:48 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      @Pure-Religion

      "you may find ..." ???

      that's what the Bible is all about isn't it? You put enough nonsensical words together, anyone can find anything that they think relates to their needs or fears.

      What a crock!

      May 30, 2013 at 4:52 pm |
    • ChrisA

      @Dyslexic doG

      No that's not what the Bible is about. But yes it is possible for a person to interpret and twist things to conform to their own personal beliefs or biases, but obviously this is wrong. The Bible is meant to be read in context. You wouldn't start reading a book half way through, pick out a paragraph, and then say that's what the book was about. That's why you have to read the Bible as a whole. The Old testament makes more sense in light of the New testament and vice versa. There are some difficult things in the Bible to understand, but it is a cohesive piece.

      May 30, 2013 at 5:05 pm |
    • Pure-Religion

      Psalm 3: 1 – 8

      Psalm 7: 1 – 18

      Psalm 16: 1 – 11

      Need more?

      May 30, 2013 at 5:05 pm |
    • Huebert

      ChrisA

      I've read the bible from cover to cover. It is anything but cohesive.

      May 30, 2013 at 5:07 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      How can you say this when the King James version of the new testament was completed in 1611 by 8 members of the church of England. There were (and still are) NO original texts to translate. The oldest manuscripts we have were written down 100's of years after the last apostle died. There are over 8,000 of these old manuscripts with no two alike. The king james translators used none of these anyway. Instead they edited previous translations to create a version their king and parliament would approve. So.... 21st century christians believe the "word of god" is a book edited in the 17th century from the 16th century translations of 8,000 contradictory copies of 4th century scrolls that claim to be copies of lost letters written in the 1st century.

      May 30, 2013 at 5:07 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Dyslexic doG, you're a mess.

      May 30, 2013 at 5:19 pm |
    • derp

      "So.... 21st century christians believe the "word of god" is a book edited in the 17th century from the 16th century translations of 8,000 contradictory copies of 4th century scrolls that claim to be copies of lost letters written in the 1st century"

      Accurate and concise description of the KJV. I'll be borrowing this one.

      May 30, 2013 at 5:49 pm |
  13. mykel armory

    Pure-religion is going down!

    May 30, 2013 at 4:47 pm |
    • Pure-Religion

      Psalm 3

      May 30, 2013 at 4:52 pm |
    • Pure-religion is going down!

      Like Ted Haggart on a male prostltute...

      May 30, 2013 at 4:58 pm |
    • Pure-Religion

      .

      May 30, 2013 at 5:25 pm |
    • Pure-Religion 1

      You have been founded out. Impostor.

      May 30, 2013 at 5:38 pm |
    • Pure-Religion 1

      “Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves. You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property. You can bequeath them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life, but you must not rule over your fellow Israelites ruthlessly.

      (Leviticus 25:44-46)

      May 30, 2013 at 5:40 pm |
  14. mykel armory

    Your children will never believe in your mental illnesses. God is toast. Hail Satan! Hail Satan!

    May 30, 2013 at 4:46 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      Careful, some wishes do come true,,, 👿

      How're the kids these days?

      May 30, 2013 at 5:38 pm |
  15. CNN

    cnn

    May 30, 2013 at 4:45 pm |
  16. Header 1

    4

    May 30, 2013 at 4:43 pm |
  17. Pure-Religion

    Galatians 6 verses 7 and 8

    Luke 9 verses 55 and 56

    May 30, 2013 at 4:41 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      Genesis 6:3
      and
      Luke 17:21
      and
      even 1 Corinthians 3:9

      May 30, 2013 at 4:48 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      Christians talking together using quotes from their bronze age story book. Oh, how cute! 🙂

      May 30, 2013 at 4:54 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Dyslexic doG, you'd love Jesus' truth if you can free yourself from the chains of satan's lies.

      May 30, 2013 at 5:21 pm |
  18. Ernest T Bass

    My best advice to anyone who wants to raise a happy, mentally healthy child is: Keep him or her as far away from a church as you can.
    - Frank Zappa

    May 30, 2013 at 4:41 pm |
    • A Conversation

      ...so says the man who named his kids Moon Unit and Dweezil

      May 30, 2013 at 4:46 pm |
    • Briscoe Darling

      I reckon.

      May 30, 2013 at 4:49 pm |
    • Doobs

      @ A Conversation

      So what?

      May 30, 2013 at 4:49 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      @A Conversation

      Why is Moon Unit and Dweezil any funnier than a guy naming his son Jesus?

      May 30, 2013 at 4:56 pm |
    • A Conversation

      Dyslexic...really? Are you that dense? Really? Jesus was a common name back then.

      May 30, 2013 at 5:02 pm |
    • Cyle in Dublin

      um... no it wasn't.

      Jesus is an English derivation of the Latin "Yesu", which in turn is a translation of the Hebrew name Yeshua.

      If the long lost ancient letters based on word of mouth oral traditions were correctly translated today, your lord and savior would be named "Josh".

      May 30, 2013 at 5:16 pm |
    • A Conversation

      @doobs...an admitted non sequitur. So what. More to the point, why would anyone rely on the "wisdom" of Frank Zappa–what particular or special insight might he have that one would want to quote him, or even follow his lead?

      May 30, 2013 at 5:18 pm |
    • derp

      It worked for me.

      May 30, 2013 at 5:20 pm |
    • A Conversation

      Clye...a nice Wikipedia answer...scroll down a little further next time.

      May 30, 2013 at 5:22 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      I loved Zappa's music. He eventually died and he won't save anyone's soul.

      May 30, 2013 at 5:23 pm |
    • derp

      "He eventually died and he won't save anyone's soul"

      Same as jesus.

      May 30, 2013 at 5:50 pm |
  19. Links in HTML tutorial

    2

    May 30, 2013 at 4:40 pm |
  20. HTML code

    ,

    May 30, 2013 at 4:39 pm |
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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.