Easter represents the holiest day of the year for millions of Christians throughout the world. About 78% of Americans are Christians, but our religious landscape is changing. Roughly 20% of Americans no longer identify with any specific religion, and they are the fastest growing religious category. Even the practices among Christians are changing. Only 41% of Christians say they plan to attend Easter worship services. The trend over the last few decades shows that religious holidays have become more secular, with church attendance on the decline and fewer believers.
The Barna Group recently released a study on Americans and the Bible. It found the following: “Half of adults (50%) believe the Bible has too little influence in US society today—more than three times the proportion of those who think it has too much influence (16%).” There is a propensity to blame the youngest generation, the Millennials, for this decline in influence. After all, 32% of Millenials claim no religious affiliation compared to just 9% of those 65 or older. But is the loss of religious affiliation the fault of Millenials or does some of the responsibility fall on their parents in the Boomer generation? Consider that the parents of today’s Millenials did attend religious services when they were kids but now their children are not. Or consider other cultural shifts among American adults, like this example from Pew Research: “Roughly eight-in-ten Americans (79%) say they plan to put up a Christmas tree this year. By comparison, 92% say they typically put up a Christmas tree when they were children.”
Our reasons for not attending religious services may be just as compelling as our reasons for going. Fewer Americans are choosing to make religion a high priority with their time, money and practices. Does this mean religion is losing its influence in our society? Is this a good or bad thing?
THE STATE OF THE BIBLE | 2014
In U.S., 3 in 10 Say They Take the Bible Literally
Celebrating Christmas and the Holidays, Then and Now
Most Americans Consider Easter a Religious Holiday, But Fewer Correctly Identify its Meaning
Pew Religious Landscape Survey
Relationships are the new religion for many
A Portrait of Jewish Americans
“Nones” on the Rise
Worldwide, Many See Belief in God as Essential to Morality
U.S. Religious Knowledge Survey
Americans get an 'F' in religion