Increasing “Nones” and Shrinking Faith – Is It As Bad As It Sounds?

By Andrew Hess

If you’ve seen the headlines, you may be concerned. A new survey conducted by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion and Public Life1 found the number of Americans who identify with no particular religion is increasing:

– 20% of U.S. adults (32% under 30) now describe themselves as religiously unaffiliated, marking the highest percentage of such adults – often called “nones”2 – of any Pew poll to date.

– This is an increase since Pew’s 2007 Landscape Survey3 which found that only 16% of American adults described themselves as unaffiliated with any particular religion.

But are the headlines accurate in describing this shift as “steep” and “dramatic”? And are “nones” really turning from faith?

About Stan Guthrie

Stan Guthrie is an editor at large for Christianity Today magazine and for the Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview. His latest book is God's Story in 66 Verses. He also is author of All that Jesus Asks: How His Questions Can Teach and Transform Us, Missions in the Third Millennium: 21 Key Trends for the 21st Century, and A Concise Guide to Bible Prophecy. He is co-author of The Sacrament of Evangelism. Besides authoring, writing, and editing books, Stan is a literary agent, bringing together good authors, good books, and good publishers. Stan writes the monthly Priorities colum for He has appeared on National Public Radio's €œTell Me More,€ WGN's Milt Rosenberg program, and many Christian shows, including The Eric Metaxas Show and Moody Radio'€™s €œNew Day Florida.€ A licensed minister and an inspirational speaker, he served as moderator for the Christian Book Expo panel discussion, Does the God of Christianity Exist, and What Difference Does It Make?
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