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Growing disconnect between religion and mainstream culture in the U.S.

A recent survey conducted by Pew Research and reported by Religion News Service reveals a growing belief among American adults that the influence of religion in public life is declining, with half of the population viewing this trend as negative. The survey highlights a disconnection between personal religious beliefs and mainstream American culture, with increasing numbers of Americans perceiving conflicts between the two. It also explores attitudes towards Christian nationalism and the role of the Bible in U.S. laws, indicating a range of opinions on the separation of church and state, as well as the official endorsement of Christianity as the nation’s religion.

Religion News Service:

“We see signs of sort of a growing disconnect between people’s own religious beliefs and their perceptions about the broader culture,” Greg Smith, associate director of research at Pew Research Center, told Religion News Service in an interview.

He pointed to findings such as 80% of U.S. adults saying religion’s role in American life is shrinking — as high as it’s ever been in Pew surveys — and 49% of U.S. adults say religion losing that influence is a bad thing.

What’s more, he noted that 48% of U.S. adults say there’s “a great deal” of or “some” conflict between their religious beliefs and mainstream American culture, an increase from 42% in 2020. The number of Americans who see themselves as a minority group because of their religious beliefs has increased as well, rising from 24% in 2020 to 29% this year.

The spike in Americans who see themselves as a religious minority, while small, appears across several faith groups: white evangelical Protestants rose from 32% to 37%, white non-evangelical Protestants from 11% to 16%, white Catholics from 13% to 23%, Hispanic Catholics from 17% to 26% and Jewish Americans from 78% to 83%. Religiously unaffiliated Americans who see themselves as a minority because of their religious beliefs also rose from 21% to 25%.

Read the full article here.

Religion in Public Life

Key Points

  • Most American adults see the influence of religion in public life as decreasing, with many considering it a negative trend.
  • There’s a growing sense among Americans that their religious beliefs conflict with mainstream culture.
  • Opinions on Christian nationalism and the role of the Bible in U.S. laws show a diverse range of views.

Theme Pros Cons
Public Perception of Religion Recognizes changing societal values This may lead to feelings of alienation or conflict
Role of Religion in Law Promotes discussion on church-state separation Divides opinions on religious influence
Awareness of Christian Nationalism Encourages dialogue on religious and national identity Lack of change in awareness or opinion despite debate

Questions to Consider

  1. How does the perception of declining religious influence reflect broader cultural shifts in the U.S.?
  2. What are the potential impacts of growing feelings of alienation among religious Americans?
  3. How should society navigate the balance between religious freedom and the secular nature of the state?

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