A new study reports that most former churchgoers (44 percent of U.S. adults) “just gradually drifted away” from church attendance.
According to the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life’s “Faith in Flux” report, 71 percent of former Protestants and Roman Catholics said their decision to leave happened over time, not because of any one-time event.
Their reasons for leaving ranged from disagreement with specific church teachings to marrying outside their childhood religion or seeking new ways of worshiping.
More than half cited hypocrisy and judgment within church traditions as one of their reasons for disaffiliation. Forty-two percent of former Roman Catholics and 39 percent of former Protestants said they no longer believed in God or most religious teachings.
Most Protestants who changed their affiliations said they found a religion they liked better (58 percent) or had unmet spiritual needs (51 percent).
© 2013 Augsburg Fortress, Publishers