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Less-educated Americans are losing religion, study finds
The decline in church attendance among whites without college degrees is twice as high as for those with college degrees.
August 24th, 2011
03:17 PM ET

Less-educated Americans are losing religion, study finds

By Liane Membis, CNN

(CNN) - If you don't have a college degree, you’re less likely to be up early on Sunday morning, singing church hymns.

That's the upshot of a new study that finds the decline in church attendance since the 1970s among white Americans without college degrees is twice as high as for those with college degrees.

Study: More educated tend to be more religious

“Our study suggests that the less-educated are dropping out of the American religious sector, similarly to the way in which they have dropped out of the American labor market,” said W. Bradford Wilcox, a professor of sociology at the University of Virginia, who was lead researcher on the project.

The research, presented this week at American Sociological Association's annual meeting, found that 37% of moderately educated whites - those with high school degrees but lacking degrees from four-year colleges - attend religious services at least monthly, down from 50% in the 1970s.

Among college-educated whites, the dropoff was less steep, with 46% regularly attending religious services in the 2000s, compared with 51% in the '70s.

The study focuses on white Americans because church attendance among blacks and Latinos is less divided by education and income.

Most religiously affiliated whites identify as Catholics, evangelical Protestants, mainline Protestants, Mormons or Jews.

Lower church attendance among the less-educated may stem from a disconnect between them and modern church values, the study theorizes.

Religious institutions tend to promote traditional middle-class family values like education, marriage and parenthood, but less-educated whites are less likely to get or stay married and may feel ostracized by their religious peers, the researchers said.

The researchers expressed concern about the falloff in church attendance among the less-educated.

“This development reinforces the social marginalization of less educated Americans who are also increasingly disconnected from the institutions of marriage and work,” said Andrew Cherlin, co-author of the study and a professor of sociology and public policy at Johns Hopkins University.

Wilcox said that those who do not attend church are missing out on potential benefits.

“Today, the market and the state provide less financial security to the less educated than they once did,” Wilcox said. “Religious congregations may be one of the few institutional sectors less-educated Americans can turn to for social, economic and emotional support in the face of today’s tough times, yet it appears that increasingly few of them are choosing to do so.”

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Church • Polls

soundoff (1,621 Responses)
  1. pastafaria

    The role of Christianity in our society, especially Protestantism is to reinforce the ignorant conservative economic and political views of its middle class members and to keep the poor and working class docile by trying to convince them that their plight is just part of God's plan, and/or that it is their own fault b/c they refuse to blindly conform to middle class "values." The working class and non college educated are less likely to belong to a church for the same reason that someone who doesn't own a car is less likely to belong to AAA.

    August 25, 2011 at 12:22 pm |
    • A Theist

      I agree with your second statement, and disagree with your first.

      August 25, 2011 at 12:33 pm |
  2. Jason

    I find this article a little hard to believe. To me, I feel educated people are smart enough to see past the primitive nonsense of the bible and religions. There is to much evidence against religions to even believe in them in the first place, the truth is out there, but to many people let there religious beliefs get in the way of educated thinking.

    August 25, 2011 at 12:20 pm |
    • iluvthefalcons

      Obviously you have never opened a Bible or studied it. Your comments show your ignorance. The ideas and principles of the Bible are good. Its MAN who is evil.

      August 25, 2011 at 12:31 pm |
    • Calladus

      iluvthefalcons

      Which part of the Bible is "good"? Would that be Numbers 31? Where babies were slaughtered to please God and Moses?

      Pro tip: bronze age goat herders were not very "good", ethical or moral. And the New Testament ethics were not much better.

      August 25, 2011 at 12:44 pm |
    • TheRationale

      @iluvthefalcons

      The Bible commands the murder of disobedient children, ho-mose-xuals, adulterers, and those who gather sticks on the Sabbath, and it also describes how to best go about the slavery business. "Biblical scholars" have since found ways to convince people that God doesn't really mean that, or something humorous like that.

      It teaches that through human sacrifice (Jesus), the wrongdoings of others can be forgiven. Human sacrifice is barbarism at its peak.

      People read the Bible and take from it what they want and find ways to excuse the rest. You couldn't take the entire Bible word for word if you wanted to because of all the contradictions it has within its pages.

      And if you actually believe any of the magical tales in it are true...well...I'd suggest cracking open a science book. Reality is much cooler.

      August 25, 2011 at 12:51 pm |
  3. dk

    JOL,

    Is it possible that some being created the universe intentionally? Could that being affect the design for a certain outcomes?

    August 25, 2011 at 12:15 pm |
    • Stevie7

      Sure, it's possible. It's also possible that that being is a purple spotted unicorn.

      August 25, 2011 at 12:24 pm |
    • JOL

      What created that thing that created the universe? The only way to escape this chain of thought is to conclude that we live in a computer simulation. At that point all logic, reason, experimentation, etc. breaks down because we can longer trust anything that we can observe. I am NOT suggesting that we actually do live in a simulation! Based on our current level of understanding of the universe, the most likely to be correct view is that the universe continuously expands and contracts forever..a series of never-ending big bangs and big busts, over and over. It is extremely difficult for the human mind to conceive of such a thing due to our own mental barriers. For instance, the inability to accept that things don't have to have a beginning or an end, and the inability to be able to conceive of extremely long periods of time. Our species only lives maybe 65-100 years max. That means absolutely nothing when compared to the age of the universe. What we perceive as a "long life", is barely even a flash of time. We simply cannot cope with that.

      August 25, 2011 at 12:25 pm |
  4. TampaMan

    The uneducated are leaving because Christian education is a thing of the past. Once upon a time, EVERY church catechized every member. Everyone knew what they believed and why. Now, not so much. Education today, if it exists at all, is bogus. No real Bible studies and no real solid theology. There is a lot of rubbish about situational ethics, personal improvement and passive denial of God Himself. Yes you read it right; denial of God in church.

    Morality as an issue, repentance as a necessity and evangelism as a duty are passe. The gospel has become the cotton candy flavor of the month. It's every man (and woman) for themselves. God will bless every adventure and forgive every misadventure they say, so why worry about what He may REALLY think....or DO about it.

    It is the duty of the shepards to lead, but they have been feeding themselves instead.
    Judgement will fall upon THEM for the neglect of their responsibilities before God.

    August 25, 2011 at 12:14 pm |
    • JOL

      "Christian education" is a contradiction in terms.

      August 25, 2011 at 12:16 pm |
    • "Research" has no meaning

      It's sort of the irony of a "Christian Nation." Immersion in a system of beliefs means that no thinking is required, and therefore ignorance is spread amonst the very people who claim to have the faith. It's pretty embarrassing talking to some "believers" about their faith because it becomes clear quite quickly that what they believe is mere parrot-talk of what they heard as children–no substance.

      August 25, 2011 at 12:20 pm |
  5. Kelly

    Does anybody proofread this material before it get published? There are syntactical errors and improper grammer usage throughout the article. Reading this work was difficult to get through. Even as the article speaks to those who are uneducated, the education of the author is in question.

    August 25, 2011 at 12:13 pm |
  6. "Research" has no meaning

    "Lower church attendance among the less educated may stem from a disconnect between them and modern church values, the study theorizes." Clearly the conductors of this study have never met anybody "less than Middle Class." You really think basing religiosity on church attendance is a good variable when considering education?

    Here's something to consider: Less educated -> less likely to get a job that pays well -> likely to work in a career with fewer options (i.e. hours are tough, etc.) -> means the luxury of church on Sunday morning isn't always available.

    Clearly the "brilliant" minds performing this study have yet to notice the increasing divide between the upper and lower classes and that this means working more hours with less selection of those hours for the "less educated." Why didn't they interview some of these people and ask WHY they weren't going to church? Then I might take this study even a little seriously...

    August 25, 2011 at 12:07 pm |
  7. EnergyBeing3

    @ Thoryourgod

    You might have a point but I'm using the basis that there is a proven energy field around our human vehicles. This is the energy connected to our Chakra System... our soul energy. Plus, with the experiences of OBE's, there is no doubt of a consciousness outside of the human vehicle. I highly recommend experiencing an OBE for yourself, then simply decide what is or isn't real. A good read (even if you don't believe any of it) is from Michael Newton's books. Well worth looking into.

    August 25, 2011 at 12:03 pm |
    • Paul

      I stopped taking you seriously after "chakra system."

      Wouldn't at all be surprised if your next post was on acupuncture and the yeti.

      August 25, 2011 at 12:05 pm |
    • "Research" has no meaning

      Paul, I've experience the OBE and believe me, it's quite real. Reseach Lysergic acid diethylamide from Wikipedia and you'll see exactly what I mean.

      August 25, 2011 at 12:09 pm |
    • JOL

      "there is no doubt of a consciousness outside of the human vehicle. "

      Outline an experiment that could prove or disprove this claim. First you have to define consciousness. Then you have to determine what "outside" means. Good luck with that! LOL

      August 25, 2011 at 12:15 pm |
  8. Paul

    Weird, I'd expect something like this from Fox, but not CNN...

    Whatever. The point of this article is to try to push an agenda by leaving out one very large component. It assumes when someone a little less intelligent would read this, they'd instantly correlate "less church attendance" with "atheist", whereas the article says absolutely nothing on atheism, and the statistics pertain only to those who already/still attend church, but rarely.

    It's kind of funny, though, seeing the religious on here who clearly misinterpreted the entire article parading it around like it's some moral victory. I personally don't care if you're religious. If you are, good for you. Just don't believe it somehow makes you better than others for it.

    August 25, 2011 at 12:02 pm |
    • Bruce

      "The point of this article is to try to push an agenda"

      No, that is not the point of the article at all. You should try reading the article. This time throw in some comprehension.

      August 25, 2011 at 12:07 pm |
    • Paul

      Before you try calling anyone out, try understanding the article, Bruce.

      The entirety of it is based on church attendance. Point to me a spot where it talks about atheism or non-believers.

      A study done by The London School of Political Science found that atheist males have an average IQ of 110, which is significantly above the average of Christian males at 99.

      August 25, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
    • Bruce

      Paul, I know what the article is about. I read it.

      It does not talk about belief, like you say. It is not pro-theism. It might be pro-church-attendance, sure. The theory they give is that social behavior (like getting a college degree, getting a job, getting married, going to church on Sundays, getting involved in politics) is generally a good thing, and that the more social behavior you engage in, the better, and the less social behavior you engage in (even if it's not your fault, like you get laid off from your job), the more likely that you will become more and more alienated from society and it tends to be reinforcing.

      I think it's pro-church-attendance, pro-degree-getting, pro-job, and pro-marriage–but it is most certainly not pro-theist as you claim it is.

      August 25, 2011 at 2:18 pm |
  9. JOL

    The educated people have already left the churches. The only ones left are 1) the less-educated 2) the "educated" who still require their illusions. Therefore the only people in churches who are left to measure are the stragglers. The big picture trend is that belief in things for which there is no evidence can only happen when a majority of the culture is ignorant. Science, technology, global awareness, and general progression of human consciousness will continue to make christianity and other deity-based belief systems obsolete.

    August 25, 2011 at 12:02 pm |
    • Sean

      Agreed, study after study shows the higher you go in education the less likely you are to be religious.

      August 25, 2011 at 1:41 pm |
  10. 3monkies

    Getting a degree does not mean you are educated… I see it all the time, people straight out of college that are dumber than a box of rocks.

    August 25, 2011 at 12:01 pm |
    • Bruce

      Actually, "getting a degree" is pretty much the definition of "educated." Similarly, "regular weekly attendance at church worship services" is pretty much the definition of "religious."

      Seriously, what do people not understand about "define your terms" and "quantifiable results"? Have they completely ignored their science education?

      August 25, 2011 at 12:12 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      However, if the terms represent useless information then the "science" is a waste of time. Just because you can measure it does not make the data appropriate for the type of analysis intended.
      The only problem I see with the article is that the conclusions appear to be purely speculative, with no supporting data.

      August 25, 2011 at 12:18 pm |
    • Bruce

      MarkinFL–actually I think the theory that relates economic issues to the social aspect of church attendance and the social values of marriage and work, and postulates that people who don't have as many ties to society (one tie is a degree to a public insti.tution such as a university, another tie is to a job, another tie is to a spouse, another tie is to a church, etc.) will tend to get pushed further and further away from those things (such as church) that tie us to society, hence the "alienation" that the article talks about–I think that theory is not only plausible but also potentially very useful if you want to use a study like this to promote certain things later on, such as public funding of higher education for poorer people.

      As far as supporting evidence goes, the article doesn't link to the actual study, so I can't comment on that. The article only has the barest of summaries of what the study came up with and can't be judged as it is.

      August 25, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      I agree, its a total fluff piece. It does however imply that the poll results are the primary data source. Their conclusions are plausible, but there are many plausible explanations and nothing in the article would suggest they have a specific reason for their suppositions about the cause.

      August 25, 2011 at 12:56 pm |
  11. kenny

    They should have broken this up into scientifically educated people vs everyone else. Just because you have a so called college degree doesn't mean you know anything. After all Bachman is a tax attorny and her husband has a PHD, both are idiots when it comes to hard science. Hard science is what makes cars, planes, roads, bridges, buildings and all the electronics that have made our country great along with all the military tech that have made us the most powerful nation on the planet. No scientist believes in religion, its a fairy tale for the small weak minded people who can't handle reality.

    August 25, 2011 at 12:01 pm |
    • Bruce

      No, hard science did not build cars, roads, bridges, etc. People did those things. Science/engineering was involved, of course, but it wasn't the science or even the scientist who made this country great. It was the people who were motivated to do these things, people who were motivated by moral values informed by social insti.tutions such as marriage and productive-worth-ethic.

      August 25, 2011 at 12:15 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      Yep, but it was the applied engineering and science that allowed all that work to produce those products. Otherwise we may as well be rooting in the dirt for grubs.

      August 25, 2011 at 12:20 pm |
    • Jason

      Well said, Kenny. I to believe religion is for the weak minded.

      August 25, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
  12. dk

    Laughing said, "...discuss religion with believers and it ends up that I've made an arguement that god most likely doesn't exist..."

    Little mistake there. The "most likely" part is not atheist. Once you introduce doubt, then you lean away from atheist and toward agnostic.

    And that is fine. Agnostic is more honest than atheist. When the religious pose the question, "Prove there is not a god," the unbelieving answer, "You cannot prove a negative." And rightly so. A true atheist believes in something that cannot be proven. By my estimation that puts them in the same boat as the faith-following.

    On the other hand a person who says, "I see no proof of any god, but there is some chance that something is out there," gets a whole lot more respect from me.

    August 25, 2011 at 12:01 pm |
    • Bruce

      "Once you introduce doubt, then you lean away from atheist and toward agnostic."

      Absolutely wrong. The presence of doubt is not indicative of a lack of knowledge. Doubt is just an emotion that naturally occurs to people with an understanding of their limitations. One's belief can be justified even if doubt is still present, and if that justified belief is also true, then it is knowledge. This is epistemology 101.

      No. An agnostic is not an atheist with doubts. An agnostic is also not a theist with doubts for the same reason.

      August 25, 2011 at 12:05 pm |
    • JOL

      That "something" out there though, would STILL not not be God though as it is normally defined, due to the problem of infinite regression. Infinite regression is the problem of: "God created us all!", "What created God?", "God has always existed!", "the universe has always existed, and therefore a God is not required". SO Atheism is a completely logical position, if for no other reason, due to the problem of infinite regression. The only way to "break" the infinite regression problem is through logical fallacy. Christians generally do this through the special pleading fallacy.

      August 25, 2011 at 12:08 pm |
    • dk

      atheist – a person who denies or disbelieves the existence of a supreme being or beings.

      agnostic – a person who holds that the existence of the ultimate cause, as God, and the essential nature of things are unknown and unknowable, or that human knowledge is limited to experience.

      I don't think that the dictionary agrees with your, Bruce.

      August 25, 2011 at 12:12 pm |
    • Bruce

      The dictionary, dk, does not teach us fundamental epistemology, and the (non) role of doubt in knowledge. You need a very small amount of philosophical education to understand these things. You will not get this education from a dictionary.

      It is also the lamest of rebuttals to pretend that the lexicon proves a point about anything...

      August 25, 2011 at 12:18 pm |
    • Laughing

      @dk

      Bruce has the right of it. Being an atheist is tantamount to saying that it is highly unlikely that god exists and is the designer of everything around us. An atheist who flat out refuses there to be any sort of god whatsoever doesn't know what he/she is talking about. Do not however, take my answer that there might be a god as showing doubt in my position. Any person who thinks critically will not count out all possibilities, however ridiculous they are, until it can be "proven". He's the crux of the problem though. Because you show proof that scientists can't prove there is no god, that god has a good chance or at least of a 50-50 chance of existing. This is not true. Just because there is a chance there is a supreme being out there that is the creator of the universe does not mean that theory has more of a chance than there existing multiple designers, or any other notion of what might be out there that is unprovable.

      Atheists say you can't prove a negative. I agree, my issue is that I think we've come far enough in science to at least prove that a lot of the feats attributed to god can now be explained without a divine hand. When we proved that the Earth is more than 6,000 years old, that it's closer to a couple of billion years old, how does that not show the fallibilty of the bible though? Isn't proof of an alternative god proof in of itself its highly unlikely god (especially the abrahamic god outlined in the bible) as exisiting?

      August 25, 2011 at 12:25 pm |
    • Colin

      DK – the person who gets the most respect from me is one who says, "I see no evidence that there is a creator-god and the chances of any of the mythology Human Beings have inveted to provide themselves with answers to the "where did we come" from question are so small as to be discounted."

      That, to me, is functionally indistinguishable to pure atheism.

      August 25, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
    • J.W

      The Bible really doesn't say that the Earth is 6000 years old. The history in the Bible isn't really supposed to be the history of the entire Earth, just of a specific timeline of events.

      August 25, 2011 at 12:34 pm |
    • Laughing

      Unfortunately JW, that's your interpretation, but most people believe differently. Although it clearly leaves many, many events out and only focuses on the timeline of a tribe of people in the middle east, many people take it as a literal history of the beginning of time (not just the earth mind you, but time)

      August 25, 2011 at 12:37 pm |
    • dk

      And I thought that the dictionary had all of these definitions that everyone agreed on. I did not realize that we could redefine the words at a whim. I was under the impression that dictionaries were the gatekeepers that insured we could all communicate with common meanings.

      My mistake. Besides it all boils down to semantics. My original point still stands.

      August 25, 2011 at 12:41 pm |
    • Bruce

      J.W., the first person recorded as extremely critical of young-earth creationists and people who use OT scripture to "prove" things about who begat whom and how much time passed between event X and event Y was none other than Paul:

      "As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain people not to teach false doctrines any longer or to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. Such things promote controversial speculations rather than advancing God’s work—which is by faith. The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Some have departed from these and have turned to meaningless talk. They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm." 1 Tim 1:3-7

      One of these days I wish the YEC people would read their own scriptures and stop with the "meaningless talk" that only "promote(s) controversial speculations" that are apparently at-odds with modern science.

      But I've never accused them of actually believing in these scriptures, or even reading them. The LAST thing that should come to mind when someone reads Genesis is, "hmmm... how does this compare to the fossil record?"

      August 25, 2011 at 12:42 pm |
    • Jason

      if i remember right 1 day is 1000 years in gods time, from what it says somewhere in the bible. Im not religious this is just what i remember from going to church as a child. So even then that would put the earth at around 13 to 15 years old which is still wrong.

      August 25, 2011 at 12:44 pm |
    • Stevie7

      @dk – that all depends on what dictionary that you use. One can easily be an agnostic (things are unknowable) atheist (lacks a belief in god).

      August 25, 2011 at 12:46 pm |
    • Laughing

      @dk

      Just to be clear, you original point is that atheism only includes people who outright fully reject the notion of god. If a person says there might be a god then they aren't atheist but agnostic?

      Just to make sure

      August 25, 2011 at 12:46 pm |
    • Jason

      13 to 15 thousand years old* .... type O my apologies!

      August 25, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
    • Jason

      Im a diest, but i dont believe a holy spirit of any kind started anything, i feel it was something other then holy! Look at the ancient text all around the world and it points to something else we like to think of as a joke and only science fiction.

      August 25, 2011 at 12:51 pm |
    • dk

      Atheism in every dictionary and reference I have ever found is defined as the belief that there is no deity in any form.

      Honest scientific thinking requires room for some uncertainty. Beliefs to the contrary are faith-based.

      So, if you are 100% confident that there is not any sort of god – atheist, then you exercise faith. If there is any possibility of a god out there, then it is agnostic.

      August 25, 2011 at 12:57 pm |
    • Stevie7

      Seems like we're splitting hairs. By this definition, Richard Dawkins is not an atheist. But by the definition, one can be both and agnostic and an atheist. Just as one can believe there are no leprechauns while also recognizing that one cannot KNOW that there are no leprechauns.

      August 25, 2011 at 1:00 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      Your interpretation of a dictionary definition has as little bearing on reality as the bible itself. I have 0 reason to believe in a supernatural being watching over us all. However, if it knocked on the door and introduced itself I certainly would not deny its existence. If it turned out to be the god of the Old testament I would be seriously disappointed since he seems such a narrow-minded egotistical homicidal maniac.

      August 25, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
    • Laughing

      Alright,

      Thanks for clarifying. Belief is a fickle word and depending on context can be an absolute term (such as I believe in god, or I believe the sun will rise tomorrow morning ) or it can also be used in uncertainty (I believe there is nutmeg in this dish, or I believe you are lying about xyz subject). It's all about context.

      I said it previously, but I want to make you understand. No atheist worth his salt will fully committ to the position that god absolutely, does not exist, the same way a scientist believes that evolution and general reletivity are theories and not laws. Evolution for instance has yet to have a serious contender and actually scientifically be disproven.

      Agnosticism and Atheism are two different things. Agnosticism aims more at uncertainty about a creator and designer. Atheism has its sites purely on religion itself and the specific nature of god and religous interpreations.

      August 25, 2011 at 1:04 pm |
    • AtheistSteve

      @dk
      The epistemology of even the dictionary quote you posted is clear. Theist/ Atheist is a definition of BELIEF. Gnostic/Agnostic is a definition of KNOWLEDGE. The two are disparate and the only acceptable stance for anyone to take is to be agnostic whatever your belief is. To claim to be a gnostic in either camp is unsupportable and forces the burden of proof on them.

      August 25, 2011 at 1:05 pm |
    • Bruce

      No, dk, you are still wrong. And LOL at "semantics," as if you know the meaning of that word or could discern it from "pedantics" in this context (I'd call that ironic, but you obviously have no grasp of what irony means). That a religious person, especially a Christian, would ever dismiss something as "semantics" as if the meaning of a word (or the Meaning of the Word, if you get my drift) is inconsequential to the point, is just delicious.

      You want to tie doubt to a lack of knowledge, and you want to show that anyone who has doubts about their belief is essentially calling their belief something less than knowledge, and anyone who says you can't get rid of 100% of all doubt concerning their belief is essentially calling their belief un-knowable. This is still wrong, dictionary or not.

      Doubt can exist side by side with both belief AND knowledge. Knowledge is not what belief graduates to once all doubt disappears and you are left with 100% certainty. Not at all. Doubt can and does still exist as an emotion for most of our beliefs, even those quite well justified in that we have good, solid, epistemic reasons for believing them to be true.

      So, saying "I know this to be true, but I still have some doubts about X, Y, and Z aspects of this" is not a contradiction. Saying, "I know this to be true, but I'll never be 100% certain about X, Y, and Z aspects of this" is not the same as saying "the truth of this belief of mine is unknown and unknowable."

      So no–you are still wrong, and the dictionary agrees with me. Agnosticism is not what atheism turns into in the presence of doubt.

      August 25, 2011 at 1:28 pm |
  13. Bobbi

    This is about the most fllawed study I've seen yet. It's the uneducated people (all races) who attend church indoctrination each week. Most educated people can think for themselves and distinguish faith from organized religion. I have more faith now than when I became involved with churches and worked tirelessly to raise money, not for God's work, but to maintain the big, old, undercoded buildings and the pastor's ridiculously high salary. I found that God wasn't in that sanctuary or the people, and deceit and lying which came from the pastor, was commonplace. This was a mainline religious denomination, too..

    August 25, 2011 at 12:00 pm |
    • Thinking

      You have to keep in mind that there are many more under-educated, poverty-stricken people than before. Even if a smaller percentage of them attend church, there are so many that they could still easily make up the majority of many congregations.

      (In short – as fewer people qualify as wealthy and educated, the % in a given congregation is likely to go down)

      August 25, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
  14. what matters

    What matters at the end of the day is "Christ"not 'religion'

    August 25, 2011 at 11:59 am |
    • Jason

      How does that matter at the end of the day, its all primitive nonsense!

      August 25, 2011 at 12:51 pm |
  15. Elias

    Easy to understand. Those with money are either spending it on fancy vacations and toys or feel guilty they think they have to thank god by going to church. The folks without money know there's no god, so they're either working on Sunday to feed the church crowd or they simply realize you can't thank god for having very little.

    August 25, 2011 at 11:57 am |
  16. Lanfear

    Just shows that having a degree does not necessarily make you smart.

    August 25, 2011 at 11:57 am |
    • kebo72

      I was thinking the exact same thing. Pretty shocking report.

      August 25, 2011 at 12:03 pm |
  17. Fly Guy in SJ

    @AB – no, that means they are becoming even less well-educated than before. A college degree doesn't get you into heaven; acceptance of Christ does.

    August 25, 2011 at 11:53 am |
    • Paul

      "Even less well-educated"?

      Judging by your posts, if this article is correct you're a MENSA genius.

      August 25, 2011 at 11:55 am |
  18. Bev

    Those without college degrees are more likely to be working on Sunday. Stores and restaurants used to be closed on Sunday but now they are open during church hours. Those making lower salaries are also finding it harder to purchase the wardrobe to dress for church. In 1968 the minimum wage was 1.60 – it would take $10.38 to equal that buying power now.

    August 25, 2011 at 11:51 am |
    • Jim

      Thereis much truth to your post about working days and hours being a big part of this.

      August 25, 2011 at 11:58 am |
    • Bruce

      If what you say is true, then the unemployed would be leaving the church at a slower rate than the employed. I think the numbers in the study say the opposite, but it is not clear from the article.

      August 25, 2011 at 12:34 pm |
  19. Sue

    The opening statement of this story is so ridiculous – that I didn't even finish it. If you want to see what a 4 year degree will do for you – watch Jay Walking on Leno – that will open your eyes.

    August 25, 2011 at 11:50 am |
  20. Joe

    This is based on going to church, not being religious. People often attend church for social and business reasons. I've gone to church many times and I read the bible often. That doesn't make me religious. I'm not a believer. It makes me interested and intelligent enough to know that you don't do well in business in the Bible Belt without attending a church and being able to tell your customers that when they ask. I tried being honest about religion and it cost me a lot of customers thanks to right wing discrimination against the non-religious. I have kids to feed so I learned to play the game. Blue collar workers don't have to play political games to get customers. This is a BS study.

    August 25, 2011 at 11:50 am |
    • Bruce

      "Blue collar workers don't have to play political games"

      Actually, they do (or at least they did). Have you ever heard of a labor union? Do you ever wonder where the idea of collective bargaining came from, where it fomented, and where these people organized themselves?

      Check out your history. The study in this article is supported by the fact that big business has succeeded in basically gutting organized labor over the past four decades. The labor union was another social insti.tution, like marriage and the church, where people were connected to each other socially. Getting rid of that organized structure was another source of alienation for these same people since the 1970's.

      August 25, 2011 at 2:39 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.