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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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February 26, 2008

Losing our religion?

From the Chicago Sun-Times: a Pew Forum poll found that 44 percent of 25,556 adult Americans surveyed have changed religious affiliations or claim no formal religion at all. About 16 percent are unaffiliated—atheists, agnostics and those who consider themselves believers but belong to no denomination.

The reasons cited include: “I needed something different” ... “I’m a little fed up with the whole ritualistic thing and with all the scandals” ... “diversity is important” ... there’s no need to be loyal to a denomination because “it’s about the love of the same God.”

Pew Senior Fellow John Green said this is what happens when you have a lot of religious freedom, adding: “America has become more diverse, and there are more places people can come from religiously and more places they can go.”

From the Arizona Daily Star : 22 percent of Arizonans don’t affiliate with any religion—a higher percentage than the rest of the country. This doesn’t surprise Dave Waserman, co-pastor of Trinity Presbyterian Church, Tucson: “The image of the U.S. as a mainline Protestant nation is an old one. The mainline has moved to the sideline. Some of us bemoan that shift. Others of us see it as an opportunity to share the gospel from a new perspective, closer to Jesus’ viewing the world through the eyes of the poor and marginalized.”

Makes for an interesting evangelism field, doesn’t it?

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