The Great Decline of religion in 60 years

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Great Decline in religion graph

Religiosity index shows the changes in religious activity in the United States.

Religiosity in the United States is in the midst of what might be called ‘The Great Decline.’ Previous declines in religion pale in comparison. Over the past fifteen years, the drop in religiosity has been twice as great as the decline of the 1960s and 1970s.

How do we track this massive change in American religion? We start with information from rigorous, scientific surveys on worship service attendance, membership in congregations, prayer, and feelings toward religion. We then use a computer algorithm to track over 400 survey results over the past 60 years. The result is one measure that charts changes to religiosity through the years. (You can see all the details here).

The graph of this index tells the story of the rise and fall of religious activity. During the post-war, baby-booming 1950s, there was a revival of religion. Indeed, some at the time considered it a third great awakening. Then came the societal changes of the 1960s, which included a questioning of religious institutions. The resulting decline in religion stopped by the end of the 1970s, when religiosity remained steady. Over the past fifteen years, however, religion has once again declined. But this decline is much sharper than the decline of 1960s and 1970s. Church attendance and prayer is less frequent. The number of people with no religion is growing. Fewer people say that religion is an important part of their lives. All measures point to the same drop in religion: If the 1950s were another Great Awakening, this is the Great Decline.

7 Comments

  • Reply June 25, 2018

    Varnel Watson

    it is here and now in our AG Jim Price Terry Wiles

  • Reply June 25, 2018

    Terry Wiles

    Troy Day In our church(es) people are still being saved, baptized, and filled with the Holy Spirit. Love the religious activity.

  • Reply June 25, 2018

    Varnel Watson

    Well you are not AG Terry Wiles so it is normal. Give us the scoop. How do you do it. What is your secret?

  • Reply June 26, 2018

    Terry Wiles

    Relational/invitational evangelism gets them in the door. Sermons that always end at the cross gets them to the altars. An atmosphere of safety and loving others regardless of their skin color builds a biblical community. It all results in penetrating the darkness and in changing lives for eternity. I’m in sales not management, the Holy Trinity doesn’t need my help in that area.

  • Reply June 26, 2018

    Louise Cummings

    But the Lord needs our help , because we should never be satisfied with just the ones we have coming. That might not be the case at your Church. Because The Spirit Of God does draw people to church. But if we move as the Holy Spirit moves. It could have an effect on many more if we put forth our best effort. And maybe your church does. But not all churches does. Because at our church. Sometimes at our church. It is hard to find workers to fill positions., that would help our church and others if someone would come with a burden just for a position like the one you need. I know we was praying for a good youth leader. And God seemed to send one , we had never thought. God sent a great couple that had youth also. And found a great job.

  • Reply June 26, 2018

    Louise Cummings

    And we found a couple with youth themselves. The youth love them and they are workers. And love what they are doing. God is really blessing our youth and our church.

  • Reply June 26, 2018

    Varnel Watson

    what is Relational evangelism ? Terry Wiles

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