cur-mud-geon: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner
Gallup does regular polling throughout the year as to religious affiliation, if any, and has done this for over 60 years. The questions have changed a bit but the trends that are seen over time are very interesting, for me at least.
Based on over 327,000 individual interviews from January – November, 2011, this is how we stack up on religion as a country:
52.5% says they are Protestant or another form of Christian
23.6% says they are Catholic
1.9% says they are Mormon
1.6% says they are Jewish
o.5% says they are Muslim
2.4% says they are other non-Christian
15.0% says they are None/Atheist/Agnostic
2.5% gave no response
This would have little bearing as to the practice of religion; I doubt that 82.5% of us are regular church-goers. This can be seen when looking at the trends in Gallup’s polls over the decades.
In 1952, 75% said religion was very important while 20% said it was fairly important and 5% said it was not very important.
In 1964, those numbers had become70%, 22% and 7% respectively.
In 1978, the numbers were 52%, 32% and 14% respectively.
In 2010, the numbers were 55% very important, 26% fairly important and 19% not very important.
The low point for those who said religion was either very important or fairly important was 1978 when 52% said religion was very important and 32% said fairly important. The other notable change was the number who said religion was not very important in 1952, 5%, versus today at 19%. That is a significant shift.
The None/Atheist/Agnostic group standing at 15% today would be a big piece of that growth from 5% to 19%. That group has nearly quadrupled in the past six decades.
Food for thought in the season of Christmas.