the black churchAccording to a new survey by the Pew Research Center, 20 percent of Americans now report that they are not affiliated with any religion. The numbers indicate a shift in the American spiritual identity, which was once dominated by those participating in organized religion.

Although the numbers indicate that a growing number of people are eschewing traditional religion, the majority of them still believe in God.

The Washington Post reports:

…According to the study released Tuesday. About 19.6 percent of Americans say they are “nothing in particular,” agnostic or atheist, up from about 8 percent in 1990. One-third of adults under 30 say the same. Pew offered people a list of more than a dozen possible affiliations, including “Protestant,” “Catholic,” “something else” and “nothing in particular.”

Despite the increasing numbers of Americans no longer identifying with an established faith, the U.S. is still one of the most religious countries in the world, with 79 percent of the populace identifying with a religious group.

The growing divide in religion also breaks down along political lines. Most of those sidestepping traditional religions lean toward the Democratic Party (about 68%), while white evangelical Christians make up nearly 34 percent of the Republican base.

While many worry that America will turn into Europe, with its institutionalized secularism, Harvard political scientist Robert Putnam says the faithful shouldn’t worry.

“Religion as a whole in America has been astonishingly resilient. That’s because we have really entrepreneurial leaders,” he told the Washington Post. “I think it would be bad to bet against the creativity of American religion.”

Do you identify with an organized religion? 

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