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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. KTShamim

    Wow! Shows they know the answer to their problems in in God … but not in Christianity.

    Muslimsforlife(dot)org – successfully collected 10,000 pints of blood to honor 3,000 dead of 9/11 (by saving 30,000 lives)
    Muslimsforpeace(dot)org – condemning terrorism, promoting Islamic value of loyalty to ones nation, peace, bus-ads and flyers and leaflets to promote the same
    love4all(dot)org(dot)uk – We serve humanity in many ways including a wide range of activities that provide disaster relief, medical facilities, energy, education and self-help programmes across the world

    June 1, 2013 at 10:59 am |
    • WAForest

      Appropriate conclusion: the god/religion stuff is unnecessary and we'll never agree on the right sky guy to follow. No "god" would need worship anyway, and no priests are needed (nor do they deserve your time and money).

      Just be a good person, help others and live a good life. You only get one short life, as far as we can prove, so make the best of it.

      June 1, 2013 at 11:11 am |
    • Simon

      KTShamin be link spamin. No thanks. Getting lots of money from those ads? God needs money...

      Go sell your god stories somewhere else from a soundproof room without a net connection.

      June 1, 2013 at 11:14 am |
    • Bob

      What WAForest said. Right on the mark.

      June 1, 2013 at 12:46 pm |
  2. Jerry

    Kind of like losing your badly soiled, torn, worn out underwear and getting a clean pair for free that fits your reality better. Not exactly a "loss".

    June 1, 2013 at 10:43 am |
    • WAForest

      bit harsh, but pretty apt.

      June 1, 2013 at 11:12 am |
    • .

      in this case the filthy underwear are being forced to be among the youth of the boy scouts

      June 1, 2013 at 1:49 pm |
    • Joan

      No longer true, ".". The baptists are leaving!

      June 1, 2013 at 3:06 pm |
  3. IslandAtheist

    That was a fun day in the rain.

    June 1, 2013 at 10:15 am |
  4. TheTruth

    Some believe they're better because of their religion.
    That is not just an opinion; it's a prejudice.

    June 1, 2013 at 10:13 am |

    • You seem damaged. Go away and get well.

      June 1, 2013 at 10:14 am |
    • TheTruth

      @(no name)
      Some believe they're better because of their religion.
      That is not just an opinion; it's a prejudice.

      June 1, 2013 at 10:18 am |
  5. TheTruth

    Some believe they're better because of their religion.
    That is not just an opinion; it's a prejudice.

    June 1, 2013 at 10:12 am |
  6. TheTruth

    Some believe they're better because of their religion.
    That is not just an opinion, it's a prejudice.

    June 1, 2013 at 10:12 am |
  7. TheTruth

    Some believe they're better because of their religion.
    That is not just an opinion, it's a prejudice.

    June 1, 2013 at 10:11 am |
  8. TheTruth

    Some believe they're better because of their religion.
    That is not just an opinion, it's a prejudice.

    June 1, 2013 at 10:11 am |
  9. faith

    batting 100.

    they cannot discuss him or his blood. just watch. or just look at the thousands of hours they've wasted here

    June 1, 2013 at 10:08 am |
  10. TheTruth

    “When I do good, I feel good. When I do bad, I feel bad. And that's my religion.”
    ― Abraham Lincoln

    June 1, 2013 at 10:06 am |
    • faith

      That I am not a member of any Christian Church, is true; but I have never denied the truth of the Scriptures; and I have never spoken with intentional disrespect of religion in general, or of any denomination of Christians in particular. abe

      June 1, 2013 at 10:27 am |
  11. TheTruth

    All men and women were born equal, regardless race or religion.
    No one race is above another. No one religion is above another.

    June 1, 2013 at 10:05 am |
    • faith

      the high and lofty one
      he who inhabits eternity
      king of kings
      lord of lords
      he that dwelleth in the secret place of the most high

      nah, fool. he was born far above everything
      and he chucked it all
      ain't no big deal he figured
      and he became the son of man

      TheTruth
      All men and women were born equal, regardless race or religion.
      No one race is above another. No one religion is above another.

      June 1, 2013 at 10:17 am |
    • TheTruth

      @faith
      Faith doesn't always mean religious belief.

      Definition of Faith:
      Noun
      1. Complete trust or confidence in someone or something.
      2. Strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof.

      June 1, 2013 at 10:44 am |
  12. TheTruth

    Some believe they're better because of their religion.
    That is not just an opinion; it's a prejudice.

    June 1, 2013 at 10:04 am |
  13. faith

    Pole dancing for Jesus
    That lord is one vindictive sob

    make up my mind.

    nazi god-haters either deny he exists or insult him like he's lil fatty sambo's momma.

    June 1, 2013 at 9:33 am |
    • faith

      these fools run from jesus christ and the power of his blood. they cannot speculate on the origins of all things "pantas alles" and they have no idea who their lord and savior is. none. he's fsm or zeus or sky daddy. that's the best they can do. scholars is right. geniuses. the intelligentsia.

      June 1, 2013 at 9:39 am |
    • faith

      lil fatty sambo's mommy is quite proud of her daughter. delightful girl. sweet. non-demon possessed. what her parents must have done to her. holy cow.

      who r u blowing 2day sambo? wipe off ur chin doll

      June 1, 2013 at 9:42 am |
    • Science

      Remember chad./faith.......... the talking donkey you like so much might of chewed on that BONE.............that created eve.

      June 1, 2013 at 9:54 am |
    • faith

      nazi fascist god haters r quite a nice bunch in reality. very respectful of others' faith.

      y did those ancient sheep and goat herders write that comic strip? that's the question. then, all the hands it went through of people desiring to forge it. (they've got em fixed, baby. they don't miss nothin.) once the tards can answer them and a couple other high-brow questions, then they will try to lower themselves to the tard's level to engage in serious debate.

      all the while jesus remains in the shadows, listening. our impotent god-man doing nothing to show his might to them personally bolsters their conceit. come down from that cross, "god" they command. like al qaeda instructing me 2 answer her!

      his winnowing fork lies rusting among the wheat and the chaff on the barn floor, and it holds its edge, sharper than all human thoughts and intents

      June 1, 2013 at 9:56 am |
    • faith

      our noisy bill ni has much in common with talking donkeys and snakes

      "Science
      Remember chad./faith.......... the talking donkey you like so much might of chewed on that BONE.............that created eve."

      June 1, 2013 at 10:05 am |
  14. New Religion

    by A Guiterman
    First dentistry was painless.
    Then bicycles were chainless,
    Carriages were horseless,
    And many laws enforceless.

    Next cookery was fireless,
    Telegraphy was wireless,
    Cigars were nicotineless,
    And coffee caffeineless.

    Soon oranges were seedless,
    The putting green was weedless,
    The college boy was hatless,
    The proper diet fatless.

    New motor roads are dustless,
    The latest steel is rustless,
    Our tennis courts are sodless,
    Our new religion — godless.

    June 1, 2013 at 8:48 am |
  15. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    June 1, 2013 at 7:27 am |
    • hubert39

      If prayer worked their would be no illness or wars.

      June 1, 2013 at 9:10 am |
    • TheTruth

      Some believe they're better because of their religion.
      That is not just an opinion; it's a prejudice.

      Teach your children well. Teach them to be free of prejudice.

      June 1, 2013 at 10:03 am |
  16. faith

    this idiot nailed it. duh. of course the universe itself has nothing to do with evidence for gods. nah. universes just explode onto the scene out of nowhere every other day. nothing unusual there.

    absolutely correct! rally-o

    what a moron

    Really-O?
    Things that are neither necessary nor sufficient evidence supporting the hypothesis that the god of Israel exists:
    1) Origin of the universe
    2) Origin of life
    3) Fine tuning
    4) Fossil record
    5) Empty tomb
    6) Existence of the laws (of science)
    These are simply evidence of the fact that Chad does not understand the nature of evidence.

    June 1, 2013 at 7:19 am |
    • HeavenSent

      faith, there's a bridge up in Brooklyn I'd like to sell you.

      June 1, 2013 at 4:17 pm |
    • fintastic

      Your phony religion already bought it stenchy!

      June 3, 2013 at 2:23 pm |
  17. GOOD NEWS

    America finding its New Religion,

    to be a real great and blessed Nation,

    under one Real GOD,

    here now:

    http://www.holy-19-harvest.com
    UNIVERSAL MAGNIFICENT MIRACLES

    June 1, 2013 at 5:14 am |
    • Science

      Ancient life...............3.5 billion years ago.............NO god(s) or horn-y red devil never has been

      Disappearance of Stromatolites, Earliest Visible Manifestation of Life: Ancient Enigma Solved?

      May 28, 2013 — The widespread disappearance of stromatolites, the earliest visible manifestation of life on Earth, may have been driven by single-celled organisms called foraminifera.

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130528143756.htm

      June 1, 2013 at 6:01 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Same applies to you two, there's a bridge up in Brooklyn I'd like to sell you. Which one wants to buy it first?

      June 1, 2013 at 4:20 pm |
    • fintastic

      I told you stenchy............ your religion is the ultimate con game! Thanks for playin!

      June 3, 2013 at 2:24 pm |
  18. Reality

    Summarizing for the new members of this blog:

    Putting the kibosh on all religion in less than ten seconds: Priceless !!!

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

    • There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

    • There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

    • There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

    • Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

    • Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated/reborn Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

    • A constant cycle of reincarnation until enlightenment is reached and belief that various beings (angels?, tinkerbells? etc) exist that we, as mortals, cannot comprehend makes for a no on Sikhism.

    Added details available upon written request.

    June 1, 2013 at 12:14 am |
    • faith

      something new from reality tv.

      u must b kidding.

      June 1, 2013 at 7:21 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Reality is shaking in his boots while using the word "probably". Are you hoping that Jesus probably won't fry you?

      June 1, 2013 at 4:23 pm |
    • Reality

      Jesus lies a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of Jerusalem and as such is harmless.

      June 2, 2013 at 12:02 am |
  19. Vic

    Is this Friday May 31st or the 13th?!

    Our hearts and prayers go out to all affected!

    http://news.yahoo.com/2-dead-tornado-hits-oklahoma-city-area-015538099.html

    http://news.yahoo.com/4-firefighters-killed-houston-motel-fire-220422732.html

    May 31, 2013 at 11:31 pm |
    • Pole dancing for Jesus

      That lord is one vindictive sob

      May 31, 2013 at 11:32 pm |
    • Vic

      http://news.yahoo.com/arizona-fire-officials-planes-collide-4-dead-185152407.html

      June 1, 2013 at 9:36 am |
    • sam stone

      pole dancing: it is petty, too

      June 1, 2013 at 10:53 am |
  20. L.E.A.P.

    Neither side has an answer to my question, that is my point. Neither of you can explain loss.....

    May 31, 2013 at 11:16 pm |
    • Bostontola

      How many sides are there?

      May 31, 2013 at 11:23 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      Oh, I know... 4 to a square. There you go. Now you officially have received a solution from an atheist.

      June 1, 2013 at 12:45 am |
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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.