An interesting new Newsweek article talks about the striking decline in the number of people who identify as Christians:
To the surprise of liberals who fear the advent of an evangelical theocracy and to the dismay of religious conservatives who long to see their faith more fully expressed in public life, Christians are now making up a declining percentage of the American population. … the percentage of self-identified Christians has fallen 10 percentage points since 1990, from 86 to 76 percent.
And here’s another interesting statistic:
The proportion of Americans who think religion “can answer all or most of today’s problems” is now at a historic low of 48 percent. During the Bush 43 and Clinton years, that figure never dropped below 58 percent.
And here’s one more:
The number of people willing to describe themselves as atheist or agnostic has increased about fourfold from 1990 to 2009, from 1 million to about 3.6 million. (That is about double the number of, say, Episcopalians in the United States.)
Along the lines of what I’ve suggested before, this decline in the number of self-identified Christians raises an interesting question: are that many people really giving up their personal belief in Christ, or has it just become more culturally acceptable for non-Christians to say that they aren’t Christians? And if it’s the latter, what fraction of the 76% of ostensible Christians are still falsely declaring that they’re Christians, just because that’s the culturally expected thing to say?