Davidson Loehr comments on the “Sad state of religion in the U.S.”

It’s sometimes hard to tell, but America is becoming less religious and more secular as the years progress. It seems every so many months someone writes an article about the declining religiosity of Americans and here’s another one:

When you count the people in the pews on Sunday rather than having a pollster ask whether or not they attend church, fewer than 18% attend church regularly.  From 1980 to 2005 in the Southern Baptist Church, baptisms of people between eighteen and thirty four – in other words, their next generation of leaders – fell 40 percent, from 100,000 in 1980 to 60,000 in 2005.But the U.S. population grew by 27% during those 25 years, so the Baptists would have had to baptize 127,000 in 2005 just to stay even; they really fell by 52%.  In 2006, the Southern Baptists – who claim almost six times more members than any other white evangelical church – made a concerted effort to baptize one million people.  Not only did they fall over two-thirds short, they actually baptized even fewer than they had the year before.

You might think that some faith group must have grown during the last thirty years, and you’d be right: atheists and nonbelievers more than doubled in the eleven years between 1990 and 2001, from 14 million to 29 million: from 8% of the country to 14%.  There are more than twice as many atheists and nonbelievers as there are evangelical Christians.  And since it’s hard to believe that all atheists/nonbelievers would be willing to confess that to pollsters, the number is probably much higher.  From 2000 to 2005, church attendance fell in all fifty states.

Of course I see this trend as a good thing. More specifically I’m quite pleased that the numbers of evangelical Christians is on the decline while atheists and non-believers is on the rise. I wouldn’t have a problem with several other Christian sects continuing to thrive as many are not as problematic as the evangelicals, though if all the various sects were to fade away I wouldn’t be overly upset about it either. That possibility is pretty unlikely so I’m more than willing to be content with the more moderate denominations sticking around so long as the worse of the lot continues to shrink.

Then there’s this bit of heartwarming news as icing on the cake:

Then, to add insult to injury, when a sampling of non-Christians were asked to rate eleven groups in terms of respect, they rated evangelicals tenth.  Only prostitutes ranked lower.

Oooh, that’s gotta sting!

Evangelicals constitute not 25 percent of the U.S. population – as they have claimed – but at most 7 percent, and their numbers are falling, not rising.  All these numbers come from the churches themselves. While evangelical women make up at least 3.5% of the population (half of 7%), they make up about 20% of the women who get abortions.

Hypocrisy among the faithful? That’s unpossible!

Given that their numbers are so small and declining you have to wonder how it is that they seem to have control of the Republican party. More importantly, you have to wonder why the moderate Conservatives haven’t gotten their shit together and taken the party back to something a little less batshit insane.

But at least there’s some comfort to be found in their decline. They’ll eventually fade into obscurity so long as we can keep them from ruining the country first.

8 thoughts on “Davidson Loehr comments on the “Sad state of religion in the U.S.”

  1. Wait… atheists don’t respect prostitutes? I have much more respect for a prostitute than for, say, FOX News talking heads.

    (You might be thinking there’s not a difference, but there is.)

  2. Hehe DoF- word.

    Les- yes, the Republicans have been going downhill since approximately Eisenhower. I don’t agree with most conservatives, but I can respect them, if they have integrity: there are no absolutes in politics. I hope that the not-batshit-crazy conservatives grow some balls and take the GOP back, but I’m not counting on it in the near future.

  3. Don’t forget that the kind of conservative Christians that support the current Republican policies also include conservative Catholics and conservatives who continue to identify with other churches that are perceived as liberal. I also think we need to be careful in assuming that all those who idenify as non-believers aren’t religious given that some Christians don’t believe Christianity is a religion, religion being what others wrongly believe.

  4. rate eleven groups in terms of respect, they rated evangelicals tenth. Only prostitutes ranked lower.

    Must not have included politicians in those eleven groups!



  5. So we reached (at least) 14% of the population as far back as 2001, and evangelicals are only 7%?

    Time to come out of the closet and show those freaks who’s boss.

    in terms of respect, they rated evangelicals tenth. Only prostitutes ranked lower.

    Disappointing, but possibly explainable by the number of prostitutes (mostly gay ones) who so lower themselves as to consort with evangelicals.

  6. Count me among those who rank the evangelical christians lower than the prostitutes.

  7. Les,

    I see you found my last week’s piece “The state of religion in the U.S.” interesting. It was the first of continuing weekly installments I’m posting on DailyKos and iNewp, on religion, science, atheism, values, culture, etc. — an intentionally broad field. I think you might like #2 from two days ago. Here’s the DailyKos site:


  8. So the theists have lied about their numbers and about the number of non-believers? Why should we be surprised. A religion that was founded upon lies tends to attract more liars. Facts, critical questioning, and rational thinking are always fatal to any religion. Theist know this so discourage all of them, including free speech.

    Most of the problems of the world are, and always have been, caused by religion. For example, Northern Ireland, the Middle East, and family planning clinic bombing in the USA. Then there were the crusades, the inquisition, and the dark ages. Get the idea?

    Humanity will never truly be free until the black yoke of religion is lifted by the clear light of truth and rational thinking.

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