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Survey: Protestants are no longer majority in U.S.
October 9th, 2012
01:00 PM ET

Survey: Protestants are no longer majority in U.S.

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN) – Following a string of recent developments that suggest waning Protestant power - like the first Supreme Court with no Protestant justices, and a Protestant-free Republican presidential ticket - a new Pew survey finds that Protestants are no longer the majority in the United States.

The Protestant population has declined from 53% of the U.S. population in 2007 to 48% this year, according to the survey by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, released Tuesday.

The results mark the first time since Pew has been tracking the country's religious demographics that the share of Protestant Christians in the United States has dipped significantly below 50%.

The largest decline among Protestant subgroups tracked by Pew was among white mainline Protestants, whose proportion of the population dropped 3 percentage points, from 18% to 15%.

At the release of the Pew survey, John Green, a senior adviser at Pew, quoted historian Robert Wuthnow in characterizing the changes as part of a wider “restructuring of American religion.”

Survey: One in five Americans has no religion

“The core of this phenomenon is many of the older distinctions that characterize American religion …  are being replaced with a new kind of religion,” Green said.

The study also found that the fastest growing "religious group" in the country is people who are not affiliated with any religion.

The decline of Protestant hegemony has been on display in recent developments in politics and government.

John Paul Stevens, who retired from the Supreme Court in 2010, was the last Protestant to serve on the Supreme Court. President Barack Obama replaced him with Elena Kagan, who is Jewish. The court is now made up entirely of Jews and Catholics.

Among the presidential and vice-presidential candidates, only Barack Obama is a Protestant.

Mitt Romney is a Mormon, while running mate Paul Ryan and Vice President Joe Biden are both Catholic.

The Republican ticket is the first Protestant-free presidential ticket in decades.

William Galston, senior fellow with the Brookings Institution, told CNN that the GOP ticket "really symbolizes the passing of an era.”

"All the groups that make up the new American population, as opposed to the population of 50 years ago, are now participating on equal" terms, in politics and American society in general, Galston said.

The Pew findings echo those of other surveys that track religious trends. The General Social Survey, conducted by the University of Chicago, has also shown a downward trend in American Protestantism.

According to Pew, Protestants are still the largest religious group in the United States, followed by Catholics, who make up 22% of the country, and the unaffiliated, who account for almost 20%.

“There are vast implications for this change for American society,” Green said. “The trends that we have been observing are likely to continue for at least several decades, if not longer than that.”

The Pew report is based on a telephone survey from June 28-July 9, 2012, that included a national sample of 2,973 adults. The margin of error ranges between two and four percentage points.

- CNN's Josh Levs contributed to this report.

- Dan Merica

Filed under: 2012 Election • Catholic Church • Christianity • Politics • Protestant

soundoff (386 Responses)
  1. Christianity and Islam is a mental disease- FACT

    JCS

    But what is interesting here (and often ignored) is that the largest *single* faith/church/belief/non-belief group is Catholic at 22%.
    ----

    And this is interesting why???????????????? Perhaps some things are ignored for a reason. When something or someone is not relevent, they are ignored. the Catholic church is hardly relevent and interesting. At best they are corrupt.

    October 9, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
    • JFCanton

      Rather, at best they run half our good hospitals. Who would you rather be doing that-the market? Or perhaps mouth-breathing political functionaries who only worship themselves?

      October 9, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
  2. Daniel

    I know for a fact that I will die one day and no amount of myth is going to ameliorate the uncertainty of what will happen to me when I do.

    I'm going to be the best person I can regardless. Actions demonstrate morals, not religious affiliation.

    Religion is mostly an opening for hypocrisy and a closing of tolerance and reason.

    I think the Republican Party likes to exploit people’s emotions using topics like abortion among others simply to rally their base and get some votes. Personally I do not think philosophical grounds are enough to remove the right of a woman to make her own choice about her body.

    I have got to ask Republicans though: Do you think life begins at conception but ends at birth?

    Furthermore, are you willing as voters to support the “social” systems necessary to avoid abortions within society; i.e. education, healthcare, ending poverty? I think Jesus himself would be turning in his mortal grave if he knew that the love, compassion, and forgiveness he so heavily preached was being ignored for what Convenient Christian Republicans have declared righteous for themselves.

    If you Christians are so righteous about protecting innocent life, then where were you when we caused the deaths of 100,000 Iraqi’s and 4000+ US service men and women? The fact there is a Christian Right is so sad because I guarantee you, if Jesus was a real man as described in biblical texts, he was definitely a liberal.

    I’m done with Republicans.
    It’s like Mr. T said; I pity the fool

    October 9, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • JFCanton

      That's a very confident statement with regard to your own righteousness. Shouldn't you question how you can arrive at that sweeping of a conclusion about members of something that is as unimportant in the big picture as a political party?

      From a philosophical perspective, the abortion stands should be perceived as *at least* as arbitrary from the pro-choice side as from the pro-life side. Why is choice a more ethically significant consideration after conception than before it? The real answers come down to practicality.

      Apart from the abortion issue, "Republicans" are better at some approaches to social ills than are "Democrats," in that they tend to be more generous with charities.

      October 9, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
    • Chick-a-dee

      The recently published IRS Spring 2010 Statistics of Income Bulletin provides insight into noncash giving by donation type, donor age and income for tax year 2007. More than 6.9 million tax returns reported $52.8 billion in noncash charitable donations. Of the roughly 18.6 million noncash donations that were reported:

      Corporate stock represented the largest category of noncash donations at $23.7 billion or 44.9 % of all contributions.
      Clothing donations represented the second largest category of noncash donations at $7.6 billion followed by land donations at $4.0 billion. They represent 14.4 percent and 7.7 percent of all non cash contributions, respectively.
      Taxpayers with annual gross incomes of $10 million or more gave the most non cash donations at $17.6 billion or one-third of all donations. The average donation amount per return of taxpayers in this category was $2.4 million. Taxpayers with annual gross incomes between $200,000 and $500,000 gave $6.6 billion (12.5 percent of all donations), representing the second largest group to give in terms of dollar value. The overall average donation amount for all taxpayers claiming donations and deductions were just over $7,600.

      http://www.nps.gov/partnerships/fundraising_individuals_statistics.htm

      October 9, 2012 at 8:29 pm |
    • Chick-a-dee

      @ JFCanton: Folks who donate stocks and bonds do so because they can deduct the full amount of the donation without paying capital gains taxes on the increase. It's a way for the wealthy to dodge taxes and still feel good about themselves.

      October 9, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
  3. Clint Lewey

    Reblogged this on Counsel of a Friend and commented:
    I think the findings of this survey are very telling. Whereas I do not identify myself as a Protestant (I'm a Baptist), I do think we ought to consider our direction and ministries.

    Thinking of the results of this survey, we have to ask:
    1. Are our homes being helped?
    2. Are our children being taught truth?
    3. Are need-oriented ministries working?
    4. Is the church all that different from the world anymore?

    I plan to write more on this subect, but, I would really like your thoughts. Please share in the comments below!

    October 9, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
    • Ted

      Baptist is protestant whether you acknowledge it or not. They all protested against the Catholic church. You need to learn more about your religion. Start there. I suggest a book: "The great controversy". Go read it for yourself.

      October 9, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
    • East Clintwood

      Southern Baptist was formed to provide a slavery-friendly Christianity to the Southern states so that they could feel good about what they were doing. After the Civil War, they continued until recently (many would say they still are) to champion overtly racist agendas, and they have a long history of intolerance.

      How do you feel empowered to comment on morality when your religion has such a long, hideous history of bigotry, hatred, division, and theocratic tendencies?

      October 9, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
    • 24 Hour Crisis Center

      @Clint Lewey

      Unless children are being raised in an openly atheist home, they are not being taught truth.

      October 9, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
    • Wondering

      "Are children being taught truth?"

      Tell me, Clint, do you have the courage to teach them the real truth, that there is not even the slightest particle of evidence supporting anything you say anywhere in the universe?

      October 9, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
    • JFCanton

      If your children are capable of acting like responsible human beings without believing in a higher authority, fine. That requires a lot more effort on the part of the parents, though. With the effort that the poor have to put out to live, if the poor raised their children that way, the product would be and is little better than a bunch of wild animals. The churchgoing poor are infrequently criminals...

      October 9, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      Baptists are 100 % Protestants. You can deny your historical roots. It changes nothing. If you are not a Catholic, you "protest" against "popery".

      October 9, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
    • JFCanton

      The initial question here is why the "mainline" label was added to Protestantism by people who want to categorize such things. Baptists derive a lot from Calvin, so there's no other really appropriate way to construct the label: "Catholic," "Protestant," and "other Calvinist" would still leave loads in common between the latter two.

      October 9, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @JFCanton,

      Pew distingushes between Mainline, Evangelical and Historically Black Protestants in their summaries.

      See here for an overview:
      http://religions.pewforum.org/affiliations

      Southern Baptist Convention is classified as Evangelical
      American Baptist Churches is classified as Mainline

      October 9, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
  4. Meet Super InvisiBuddy Jesus!!!

    You must use your imagination . . . uh, faith, to develop your relationship with Mr. IncrediJesus. You must imagine and pretend that he tells you what to do, which is always what you would choose to do. And your imagination will tell you that all those good coincidences are The SuperCreatorOfEverything, who has all the time in the world to worry about getting you a parking spot but doesn't seem terribly interested in curing your cancer.

    October 9, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
    • Where is your God now?

      I don't have a real Jesus, I prefer to use my infinite imagination... cause I ain't got no damn money.

      October 9, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
    • Towelie

      Towelie says, "If you are going to wash and polish Jesus' balls, don't forget to bring a towel!"

      October 9, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
  5. Where is your God now?

    On every island he set foot on, Columbus planted a cross, "making the declarations that are required" – the requerimiento – to claim the ownership for his Catholic patrons in Spain. And "nobody objected." If the Indians refused or delayed their acceptance (or understanding), the requerimiento continued:

    I certify to you that, with the help of God, we shall powerfully enter in your country and shall make war against you ... and shall subject you to the yoke and obedience of the Church ... and shall do you all mischief that we can, as to vassals who do not obey and refuse to receive their lord and resist and contradict him."

    October 9, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
  6. They say that RELIGION is what keeps the Poor from slaughtering the Rich

    Someone should tell them that attendance at Church is dropping...

    October 9, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Only a bit. The survey has particular data on this.

      Over the last nine years:
      Weekly or more attendance dropped 2 points to 37%
      Monthly / Yearly attendance dropped 1 point to 33%
      Seldom or Never increased 4 points to 29%

      There is a trend, but it is not very dramatic.

      October 9, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
    • Towelie

      Towelie says, "If you are going to slaughter the rich, don't forget to bring a towel!"

      October 9, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
    • Jaun Valdez

      Notice the trend that as religion becomes less tolerant of others, the attendance and numbers declline? Interesting don't you think? As organized religion preaches my way or no way americans wander away.

      October 9, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
  7. Where is your God now?

    Children are suffering from a hidden epidemic of child abuse and neglect. Every year 3.3 million reports of child abuse are made in the United States involving nearly 6 million children (a report can include multiple children). The United States has the worst record in the industrialized nation – losing five children every day due to abuse-related deaths.

    October 9, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • therealpeace2all

      J'ai essayé de deviner qui «Fluffy la gerbille of Doom 'est? Je pense que c'est soit vous ... ou mon intuition forte, c'est qu'il est «Bucky Ball» ... pouvez-vous nous éclairer à ce sujet?

      Peace ...

      October 9, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
    • CS

      @therealpeace2all

      Pas moi, je croyais que c'était toi! lol

      Probablement bucky parce qu'ils sont souvent le même temps ....

      October 9, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
    • Burbank

      When you consider that people who produce children when they can't afford to feed to raise them in a reasonable manner until age 18 are committing a form of child abuse, the figures would come out much, much worse! It should be illegal to irresponsibly produce a child you can't care for!

      October 9, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
    • therealpeace2all

      @CS

      LOL ... non, pas moi. 😀 Je pense que c'est Bucky, car non seulement après Fluffy près au même moment, mais utilise également une syntaxe similaire, la grammaire, et dispose d'une commande de la cosmologie, la neuro-sciences, l'histoire biblique ... et en parle à peu près de la même manière que Bucky.

      Oh, et btw - Je n'utilise mon nom, therealpeace2all ... toujours, et toujours. Bien que, dans le passé, il était Peace2All, mais wordpress ne me laisserait pas l'utiliser.

      Peace ...

      October 9, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • JFCanton

      Imagine that there is a lot of overlap between them and the more conventional definition of child abusers.

      October 9, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      Damn. Fluffy is my pet gerbil. Really really really he is. 🙂

      October 9, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
  8. JCS

    But what is interesting here (and often ignored) is that the largest *single* faith/church/belief/non-belief group is Catholic at 22%.

    October 9, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
    • therealpeace2all

      @JCS

      Why is this interesting to you ?

      Peace...

      October 9, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
    • Meatwad

      I like Catholics because you can hide bunnies in their big pointy hats. I can't get a bunny because I ain't got no damn money, but I can use my infinite imagination.

      October 9, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • Use of an imagination is not conducive to being Religious

      I'm sorry, but you'll have to be reported now.

      October 9, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • Meatwad

      @Use of an imagination is not conducive to being Religious

      Fudge you, butthole.

      October 9, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
    • JFCanton

      It's not surprising; if it were a worldwide measurement, the Catholic and Protestant numbers would be more than reversed.

      October 9, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
    • JCS

      True. A lot of it has to do with growth of Catholocism in South/Central America, and then the migration to here. Opposite is true elsewhere, except maybe for Africa.

      October 9, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • Ting

      December 23rd. Happy Festivus!!!

      October 9, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
  9. boboldschoolbolin

    So can we atheists/agnostics get our own national holiday?

    October 9, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
    • JCS

      New Year's Day isn't enought for you? It's a simple arbitrary day selected becuase of a base-10 numbering system and accentuated by godless partying and resolutions. I'd say that qualifies.

      October 9, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
    • Keith

      Sure, what exactly are you goig to honor on your special day?

      October 9, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
    • Ted

      Sure, you got your special holday. Aprril 1 or April fool day. The fool says there is no god.

      October 9, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • therealpeace2all

      @Ted

      " Sure, you got your special holday. Aprril 1 or April fool day. The fool says there is no god. "

      Yay ...! Good one -Ted !!! That sure hit us where it hurts ! 😯

      Peace...

      October 9, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
    • derp

      "Sure, what exactly are you goig to honor on your special day?"

      Logic and reason.

      October 9, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      Gee, and I thought we were doing a pretty good job of taking over Christmas.

      October 9, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      The Pastafarian religious observances:

      Holiday (The second half of December, as in "Happy Holidays")
      Ramendan
      Pastover

      R'amen

      October 9, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      I nominate "Towel Day" (May 25)

      or perhaps May 4 (May the Fourth be with you)

      or perhaps "Talk like a Pirate Day" (September 19)

      or perhaps March 25, perhaps significantly chosen by JRRT as the day Frodo cast the one ring into Mt. Doom.

      October 9, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • therealpeace2all

      @GOPer

      Nice... 😀

      Ramen !

      Peace...

      October 9, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
    • Al

      New Years is religious. It's full of spirits.

      October 9, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
    • therealpeace2all

      GOPer

      I think we should have a Dawkins, Hawking, Hitchen's and Harris day ! 😀

      Peace...

      October 9, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
    • Towelie

      Let's all get high on Towel Day!

      October 9, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
    • Ting

      December 23rd, Happy Festivus!!

      October 9, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
    • VanHagar

      Hello! You have Festivus.

      October 9, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
    • DannyC

      Festivus for the rest of us!

      October 9, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
    • JFCanton

      Add nine months to March 25 and you might see why Tolkien picked that one. That and the fact that it is near the solstice, so a convenient New Year.

      Why shouldn't atheists get as bothered about national holidays, though? The holidays exist in popular culture as a matter of heritage, not religiousness.

      October 9, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      The calendar of alternative holidays.

      Jan 01 ... New Years Day
      Mar 25 ... Fall of Barad-dûr (also the Feast of the Annunciation and a traditional New Years Day in Medieval Christianity)
      Apr 14 ... Christopher Hitchens' birthday
      May 01 ... Mayday (because apparently we're all Communist sympathizers)
      May 04 ... May the Fourth be with you
      May 25 ... Towel Day
      July 04 ... Independence Day – suggest replacing this with Const'tution day
      Sep 17 ... Const'tution Day – celebrating no "God" in our laws
      Sep 19 ... Talk like a pirate day
      Nov 24 ... Evolution Day (Publication of On the Origin Of the Species in 1859)
      Dec 23 ... Festivus for the rest of us

      Alternatively there are the solstices and equinoxes

      October 9, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @JF Canton,

      yes, I am familiar with the Feast of the Annunciation – which until 1752 was celebrated as New Years Day in Christian Europe. The "New Year" assoication is likely why Tolkien chose it, since the Fourth Age begins on that day.

      October 9, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @JF Canton,

      "The holidays exist in popular culture as a matter of heritage, not religiousness."

      Certainly. This (atheist holiday) topic is just a bit of fun. I don't think anyone is taking it seriously.

      October 9, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      Claim to be a "seeker". Then you get to celebrate ALL the holidays.

      October 9, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @RichardSRussel,

      "seekers" 😉

      Last week's 'spiritual but not religious' discussion was like a horde of pyromaniacs in a fireworks factory.

      October 9, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
    • Wrenn_NYC

      I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV
      You forgot

      March 14 – Pi day.
      October 6 – Mad Hatter day.

      October 9, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
  10. JCS

    What is keeping the realtive standing of Catholics high is the large influx of Hispanics, who are mostly Catholic. Not a lot of WASPs having kids these days.

    October 9, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      Hispanics and immigrants from third world countries with high birth rates. The move to collective sanity is being delayed by delusional believers who apparently haven't figured out where babies come from. The good news /bad news is that believers in the USA do use abortion to control the growth of their cults – 70+% of abortions in the USA are had by believers.

      October 9, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
  11. Atheist Hunter

    Do you know Jesus Christ of the Bible and more importantly, does he know you?

    October 9, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      Hello again troll.

      October 9, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
    • Really?

      Troll, do you know the superman of the comic books and more importantly, does he know you?

      October 9, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
    • Ricky

      I know Jesús Martinez, of the local branch of Bank of America, but most importantly, does he know you?

      October 9, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • Atheist Hunting - that's not very Christ like, is it?

      My, in fact, it's rather UNChristian.

      You were COMMANDED not to judge, and yet here you are – judging away. Prideful, sinful, boasting... Not at ALL a very good representative of your delusional and fictional Savior.

      "Before you worry about the splinter in your brother's eye – worry about the plank of wood that's in your own."

      October 9, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • sam

      So when you say 'Jesus Christ of the Bible", does that imply there is more than one??

      October 9, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
  12. Atheist Hunter

    God is the majority!!!

    October 9, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
    • Really?

      Not for much longer. Oh, poor god.

      October 9, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      How could an alledgedly single supernatural being ever be in the majority? Not only are you, and all believers, mentally ill, but you don't understand math or logic.

      October 9, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
    • MAJORITY OF ALL SOULS don't believe in Christian god

      What a PATHETIC loser your god is!

      Here he created ALL of those souls and the vast majority will be going to eternal damnation (in your silly and vapid little delusion), and that's even with his "sacrifice" supposedly wiping out all sin. AND HE STILL CAN'T GET PEOPLE TO BELIEVE IN HIM.

      Seriously – it's pathetic.

      October 9, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
  13. nubwaxer

    amen to reasonable people and science someday bringing us out of the dark age of religion. and thank god i am an atheist.

    October 9, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
    • ER

      Hahaha, love it. Right on!

      October 9, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
  14. jrmacclure

    Oh, dear. Rather a lot of ignorance here. No, a Protestant is not "any Christian who is not a Catholic".

    A Protestant must affirm the Reformation principles of justification by faith alone, the priesthood of all believers, and the primacy of the Bible as the only source of revealed truth. Mormons do not fit into that category, hence they are not Protestants.

    October 9, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
    • Lee-Anne

      Same reason Episcopalians (Church Of England) are considered separate as well by some groups.

      October 9, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
    • JCS

      Catholic Lite

      October 9, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
    • Keith

      That definition is not even accepted across protestant faiths.

      October 9, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • PROTESTANT: Someone who picks and chooses and then rewrites the Bible to suit themselves

      Don't like what the Bible says?

      WRITE YOUR OWN LIKE LUTHER AND HENRY VIII DID!

      You can get it to say whatever the hell you want!

      October 9, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
  15. nubwaxer

    "The study also found that the fastest growing "religious group" in the country is people who are not affiliated with any religion."
    sane people may someday make up the majority but not in my lifetime.

    October 9, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
  16. cgallaway

    CNN, perhaps it's time to dust off your dictionary. Any Christian group outside of Catholicism is protestant. Protestants include Baptists, Mormons, Evangelicals, etc. There are only so many ways to segment the population when using the term "protestant". In regards to the percentage of the total population, there are Jews, Muslims, Catholics, Protestants, Hindus, Aetheists and believers in other religions (Lumped together for brevity). So, please, quit being lazy and dumb and actually report something of fact.

    October 9, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @cgallaway,

      Ummm, no you're wrong.

      Jews, Muslims, Orthodox Christians, etc are in NO way Protestants.

      October 9, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • Russ

      cgallaway is correct and, no, he/she did not say Jews and Muslims were Protestant.

      If you're Christian and you're not Catholic, you're Protestant. That is the definition of Protestant.

      October 9, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
    • Alex

      Sorry, but mormons are not protestants. Their religion is completely different from any other.

      October 9, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
    • Brevity

      What about Orthodox Christians? They are neither Protestant nor Catholic.

      October 9, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
    • John

      And neither are Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Jehowas' witnesses, Latter day Sainters etc.

      October 9, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      In the first post here: @cgallaway says: "Any Christian group outside of Catholicism is protestant. Protestants include Baptists, Mormons, Evangelicals, etc."

      The statement above is factually incorrect.

      None of the 'oriental' Christian sects: the Orthodox (Greek, Serbian, Armenian, Russian) etc and the other eastern Christian sects like Copts and Ethiopian are Protestants. It is wrong whether or not you want to consider sects like Mormonism, Seventh Day Adventists, Jehovah's Witnesses etc as Protestants or not.

      The Pew Forum is pretty consistent on their definitions.

      October 9, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      To understand the Pew Forums 'definitions' look here:

      http://religions.pewforum.org/affiliations

      October 9, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
    • pbarosso

      actually it is correct, any group outside the catholic church is considered protestant since the church is the first and true church by doctrine. they are the mother and the protestants spawned off her. it does not mean the protestant churches are wrong, well most arent, but some have perverted the original scripture or made up their own...specifically the mormons and JW's...they began as protestant groups of all previous protestant groups. in FACT, islam and their prophet can be considered protestant too if you take into consideration that mohammad was trying to reconcile three religions because he thought they were all wrong.

      copts and othodoxy are generally catholic by doctrine but may not accept the pope in rome as their leader, but they may still revere him as "A" leader.

      October 9, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
    • pbarosso

      please allow me to correct my fast typing. in the first sentence i should have typed "any christ based church outside the catholic church"

      thankyou

      October 9, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
    • merecat

      Jehovah's Witnesses Certainly are Christian.. We believe in Jesus, Jehovah Gods firstborn son.. I know this will be lost on most of you.. but Just because of so much confusion since God's name has nearly been removed totally by Bible Translations, most people don't even have an idea he HAS a name, but he does.. The Bible teaches Jesus is his Son. John 3:16 and also John 17:3.. So due to lies and rumors about us, I wished to clarify this.. One cannot teach and read and believe the Bible with out faith in Jesus..

      October 9, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
    • Nii

      PBarasso
      Eastern Orthodoxy is the oldest denomination of Christianity not Roman Catholicism. The Ecu.menical Patriarch has always been the Patriarch of Constantinople. After him in Pr-eminence were Jerusalem, Antioch, Alexandria, Rome and Carthage. All Patriarchs bear the ti.tle of Holy Father and may as such be called Popes.

      October 9, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • Nii

      Note where the Bishop of Rome is in the heirarchy. He tried to excommunicate the Ecu.menical Patriarch and was duly excommunicated by a General Council called under the Authority of the Ecu.menica Patriarch. They did not Protest. They EXCOMMUNICATED YOU! So maybe you shuld call them EXCOMMUNICATORS! HAHAHAHA

      October 9, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @pbarosso

      the Pentarchy of patriarchs has been meaningless since the 11th century. Orthodox and Oriental Christian sects are not Protestants.

      Protestantism refers to the protest initiated by Martin Luther.

      October 9, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • pbarosso

      1. Jehovas whitness; you believe that Jesus is only God's son but not God on earth...a distinct difference from Trinitarian christians...this makes you protestant in nature, a protestant of protestantism.

      2. if you consider Peter as the Roman bishop around 70AD, and being personally appointed by Jesus to feed his sheep, then the idea of it being a "roman" church predates the "romanization" in the 4th century...

      3. i did not say that othodoxy catholics are protestants.

      4. sure luther initiated protestantlism. I am catholic, i am referring to how the church looks at protestanism=those that protest the catholic church as being the "one" universal church.

      October 9, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @pbarosso

      I don't think you will find that Orthodox Christians believe that they are part of the "Catholic" church and certainly not the "Roman Catholic" church which Pew counts to be 22% of Americans.

      Orthodox Christians represent only 1% of Americans so numerically they don't much influence this discussion.

      October 9, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      Coptic Christians aren't Protestants, either. Like the Orthodox, they precede Protestantism by centuries.

      October 9, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
    • cgallaway

      Here are the definitions of "Protestant"

      From google search of "Definition of Protestant"--prot·es·tant/ˈprätəstənt/
      Noun:
      A member or follower of any of the Western Christian churches that are separate from the Roman Catholic Church and follow the principles...

      http://www.thefreedictionary.com/Protestant

      Prot·es·tant (prt-stnt)
      n.
      1. A member of a Western Christian church whose faith and practice are founded on the principles of the Reformation, especially in the acceptance of the Bible as the sole source of revelation, in justification by faith alone, and in the universal priesthood of all the believers.
      2. A member of a Western Christian church adhering to the theologies of Luther, Calvin, or Zwingli.
      3. One of the German princes and cities that supported the doctrines of Luther and protested against the decision of the second Diet of Speyer (1529) to enforce the Edict of Worms (1521) and deny toleration to Lutherans.
      4. protestant also (pr-tstnt) One who makes a declaration or avowal.
      adj.
      Of or relating to Protestants or Protestantism.

      http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/protestant
      1prot·es·tant noun \ˈprä-təs-tənt, 2 is also prə-ˈtes-\

      Definition of PROTESTANT

      1
      capitalized
      a : any of a group of German princes and cities presenting a defense of freedom of conscience against an edict of the Diet of Spires in 1529 intended to suppress the Lutheran movement
      b : a member of any of several church denominations denying the universal authority of the Pope and affirming the Reformation principles of justification by faith alone, the priesthood of all believers, and the primacy of the Bible as the only source of revealed truth; broadly : a Christian not of a Catholic or Eastern church
      2
      : one who makes or enters a protest

      October 9, 2012 at 8:38 pm |
    • cgallaway

      So, to anyone who said that the eastern Christian religions were not "Protestants", you are correct. To those who think that I meant that Jews, Muslims, et all, were also "Protestants", I suggest you read again. The bigger point of my original post was that CNN is pointing out this study that states that Protestantism is on the decline, but use the rise of evangelicalism and other western Christian sects as proof of this. A quick look at the dictionary (You know, fact checking) would clear up any confusion. The Blogger clearly doesn't know what he is posting about and refused to educate himself. And he refused to ask the basic journalistic questions that anybody associated with a news agency should know to ask.

      October 9, 2012 at 8:44 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @cgallaway,

      then I'm still missing your point. You said: "The bigger point of my original post was that CNN is pointing out this study that states that Protestantism is on the decline, but use the rise of evangelicalism and other western Christian sects as proof of this.

      I see no reference to evangelicalism or other western Christian sects in the article. The following comment does not pertain to organized religion:

      "“The core of this phenomenon is many of the older distinctions that characterize American religion … are being replaced with a new kind of religion,” Green said."

      According to the survey, White Evangelical Protestants dropped 2% and White Mainline Protestants dropped 3% over the last five years. There was no change to Minority Protestants. I fail to see how this consttutes a 'rise'.

      See p14.
      http://www.pewforum.org/uploadedFiles/Topics/Religious_Affiliation/Unaffiliated/NonesOnTheRise-full.pdf

      October 9, 2012 at 8:58 pm |
    • Russ

      cgallaway...You are right. Period.

      October 10, 2012 at 10:03 am |
  17. Colin

    Great news. Next step is for reason, logic and science to pass the Catholics. I predict that, by 2020, non-believers (who make up the vast majority of non affiliated) will be over 40%.

    It is time for all thinking atheists to redouble our efforts to educate young people and put our boots firmly on the throats of Christianity, Islam and any other Dark Ages superst.itious garbage.

    Body of Darwin? Amen....

    October 9, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
    • Brevity

      I surely support the education of man to use properly his reason and thus become more completely a man. I also encourage reflection on the past to great men and women who have given us tradition of reconciling reason and God. Longer than it has been supposed that reason and God are at odds, they were considered together and in harmony. Two big names to reconsider are Augustine and Aquinas. Let the Catholics relish in their reasonable tradition.

      October 9, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
    • Colin

      Brevity, I am sorry, but nothing Aquinas or Augustine said about Christian theology is in the slightest way founded in reason or logic. Their respective theologies were both founded 100% in faith.

      October 9, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
    • Brevity

      I would have to disagree, but I would acknowledge we are likely using different definitions of the word reason.

      October 9, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
    • pbarosso

      1. you dont know augustine then.
      2. you sound like you have some hatred against religion judging by your use of the "boot against the throat" comment. this is very violent. perhaps you think christianity is somehow bad for people? a religion that teaches us to love your neighbor and enemies?

      and even if there was no religion people would fight over stuff, so the argument that religion creates intolerance is moot.

      October 9, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
    • JCS

      Both Hitler and Stalin used the "boot on the throat" technique. There is no coincidence here with the OP. It is he/she that will wind up in the dust bin of history, just like the others.

      October 9, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
    • PBAROSSO is a liar

      "a religion that teaches us to love your neighbor and enemies"

      Which one is that? Read the hate spewed here by your Christians. "Oh, but they aren't the "good" ones!"

      And where are the "good" Christians? Where are both of them hiding these days? Oh? Didn't get the memo? One of the three "good" Christians finally became VERY good and decided to give up being a deluded nutwhack for Lent and it stuck.

      October 9, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • pbarosso

      i have no clue what you are referring to. but i forgive you instantly for your hate filled rhetoric.

      October 9, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
  18. Reality

    Why Protestants are losing members:

    Luther, Calvin, Joe Smith, Henry VIII, Wesley, Roger Williams, the Great “Babs” et al, founders of Christian-based religions or combination religions suffered from the belief in/hallucinations of "pretty wingie thingie"/"horn-blowing" visits and "prophecies" for profits analogous to the myths of Catholicism (resurrections, apparitions, ascensions and immacu-late co-nceptions).

    Current problems:

    Adulterous preachers, pedophiliac clerics, "propheteering/ profiteering" evangelicals and atonement theology,

    October 9, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
  19. Mac

    American Athiests are one of the most intolerant group of bigots in the history of the United States.

    October 9, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Mac,

      and that's your answer to the question of why Protestants are losing numbers. Perhaps you posit that they're keeping their intolerance and rejecting God?

      But I jest. The people who are moving away from Protestantism (Lutherans, Methodists, Presbyterians etc) are the generally more tolerant ones. Why is this do you think?

      October 9, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
    • Amniculi

      You couldn't be further from the truth. Also, learn how to spell.

      October 9, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Mac,

      by the way are you referring to these guys: http://atheists.org/ (David Silverman et al) or just all atheists in the United States?

      Personally I don't care either way about atheists.org.

      October 9, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
    • Mickey1313

      Wrong, christians are far more intolerant than most atheists. But nice try on you petty christian propaganda.

      October 9, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • pbarosso

      many atheists are far more prone to belittle organized religion with derogatory things to say because they bear hatred or ill will towards religion in general. in a way they resemble Stalin or lenin, and hey thats not good. if they could i suspect they would push their agenda and atheist religion on us all.

      October 9, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
    • tekstep1

      When was the last time an atheist fought against marriage equality? When was the last time that an atheist was against abortion? Atheists don't use an antiquated text to try and govern an entire country.

      October 9, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
    • Really?

      pbarroso, you to need to learn some capitalization and punctutation, so that ypu do not become the web's laughing stock.

      October 9, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
    • miketofdal

      @pbarosso. Perhaps you should understand what you are writing about. There is no athiestic agenda or religion. Athiests do not believe in a God. Thus, no need for a man-made, man-ruined religion. And, whether you think there is hatred, belittlement, whatever, you should realize that most of us became athiests by watching and listening to people like you. I mean, really. Reading your post, what about it would make anyone say "I want to be like him?"

      October 9, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
    • pbarosso

      we are arguing religion not capitalization. also, check your spelling jerk. ......let the real discussion resume......

      October 9, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
    • pbarosso

      see what i mean? "be like you"?.."people like you"? listen to yourself, your words stink of intolerance. there is nothing in my post that could possibly make religion look bad.

      October 9, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
    • KMW

      Mac,

      I agree. It is their opinion that counts and ONLY their opinion. I recently went out to lunch with some atheists and never again! They were a bunch of blowhards. And they had the audacity to call me judgmental and opionionated.

      October 9, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
    • pbarosso

      atheists do indeed have an agenda or you wouldnt be here arguing against religion. from their presepctive everyone should be like them and anyone who believes in religion is stupid and retarded. you dont see any christians trying to get converts here do you? there are no christians here saying that atheists are wrong just attacks by atheists. its the same on every message board.

      October 9, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
    • derp

      "many atheists are far more prone to belittle organized religion with derogatory things to say because they bear hatred or ill will towards religion in general"

      We belittle religion because it is deserving of belittlement. I have the exact same amount of respect for religious people as I do people who believe in ghosts, bigfoot, unicorns and pixie dust.

      We don't hate you, we just think you are dumb.

      October 9, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
    • pbarosso

      you just proved my point. I dont think you are dumb.

      October 9, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
    • derp

      "there are no christians here saying that atheists are wrong"

      Huh? there are christians all over this message board telling us we are going to hell to burn in an eternal lake of fire. Is that how they tell us we are right?

      "I dont think you are dumb"

      That's great. I think people who believe in self contradicting iron age myths are dumb.

      Sorry if that's you.

      October 9, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
  20. I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

    Survey: Protestants are no longer majority in U.S.

    According to Pew, Protestants are still the largest religious group in the United States, followed by Catholics, who make up 22% of the country, and the unaffiliated, who account for almost 20%.

    Huh?

    What gives @Dan Merica?

    October 9, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      OK – a plurality but not a majority, sorry, I get it now.

      October 9, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Protestants (total) ... 48%
      White Evangelical .... 19%
      White Mainline.......... 15%
      Historically black ...... 08%
      Other minority........... 06%

      It is curious that this time it is white mainline Protestants with the biggest decline (18% – 15%)
      In the past it was Catholics. This time they dropped from (23% – 22%)

      October 9, 2012 at 1:15 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.