February 26, 2008

Protestants are Nearly a Minority

The LA Times reported on the new Pew Forum report: The Religious Landscape of the United States.

The report says that only 51% of Americans consider themselves Protestant, and only 43% of adults ages 18-29 include themselves in that number.

At the same time 44% of adults have switched religious/faith traditions.

78.4% of Americans are Christians, about 5% belong to other faith traditions, and 16.1% are unaffiliated with any religion.

Secular unaffiliated Americans account for 6.3% of the population; religious unaffiliated, 5.8%; atheists, 1.6%; and agnostics, 2.4%.

At 1.7% of the population, Jews make up the next-largest religious group. Buddhists are 0.7% of the population; Muslims 0.6%; and Hindus and New Age followers, both 0.4%.

I found this quote interesting: Luis E. Lugo, director of Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life said, "It is a very competitive marketplace and if you rest on your laurels, you're going to be history."

What does this mean for churches? What should it mean?

I am bothered by the general apathy of the church about reaching hurting, broken people. We are content to huddle up until we can get out of this place...when we should be bringing the Kingdom of God to earth. We should be transforming lives, healing marriages, and helping people break out of their poverty and self-destruction.

Update:
Church Relevance adds this:

Growth Rates
factors adults entering and leaving each group

+700%= Agnostic

+220% = Atheist

+75.0% = Buddhist

+33.3% = Muslim

+16.7% = Jehovah’s Witness

0.0% = Hindu

-4.8% = Protestant

-5.6% = Mormon

-10.5% = Jewish

-23.9% = Catholic

We are certainly living on the mission field!

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