Though there have been reports in the mainline media indicating a decline in religious beliefs among Americans, it is a bit misleading. It leaves the impression that faith is decaying on all fronts.
That is not true.
According to a report released by Landon Schnabel and Sean Bock professors at Harvard and Indiana University (based in Bloomington), any declines in religious attendance are only being noticed in liberal or what they classify as moderate religions.
The numbers for those with a strong faith and literal belief in the Bible remains strong.
According Schnabel and Bock, the number of Evangelical Christians as a percentage of the American population grew from 18% in 1972 to 28% in 1989 and that percentage has held true since then. In their report, they describe Evangelical faith as intense and persistent.
However, the same can not be said for liberal or moderate churches, those who no longer believe in the Bible. Over the same period, their numbers declined from 35% in 1972 to 12% in 2016.
Schnabel and Bock note:
“But we show that rather than religion fading into irrelevance as the secularization thesis would suggest, intense religion – strong affiliation, very frequent practice, literalism, and evangelicalism – is persistent and, in fact, only moderate religion is on the decline in the United States.”
People are leaving churches that already have little to no faith in God or the Bible. These churches have lost any sense of a spiritual anchor and turned into little more than social clubs, and if these figures are any indication, not very good ones.
As people abandon liberal congregations, this explains why those with “no” religious affiliation are now the second fastest growing group in America behind Evangelicals. In the late 1990s, 95% of Americans reported that they belonged to a religious group and by 2017 that number was around 75%.
But parallel to that decline, there has been a noticeable increase in the number of people who believe in ghosts. People who do not regularly attend church are twice as likely to believe in ghosts than those who attend church. Overall 30% of Americans state they believe in ghosts and 20% say they had been in contact with a ghostly presence.
Nonreligious people are also more likely to believe in UFOs than Christians. And even atheists are not exempt from this. According to a poll released by Astronomer David Weintraub from Tennessee’s Vanderbilt University 55% of atheists believe in aliens.
And even some famous scientists believe in aliens even though there is no evidence they exist aside from YouTube videos of people claiming to have been carried up to UFOs for testing purposes.
One of those who believe is Physicist Stephen Hawking who says that aliens are one of the biggest threats facing earth. In a documentary released on the Discovery Channel, Hawking said:
“If aliens visit us, the outcome would be much as when Columbus landed in America, which didn’t turn out well for the Native Americans.”
However others are not convinced.
In his documentary entitled the Human Universe, British physicist Brian Cox stated that he does not believe in aliens because what happened on earth was so extraordinary, so impossible, he does not believe it could have been repeated on another planet. Cox currently works as professor of particle physics in the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Manchester.
- The Persistent and Exceptional Intensity of American Religion: A Response to Recent Research: Sociological Science
- Surprising Harvard Study: American Religion ‘Persistently and Exceptionally Intense’: CBN
- Believe in Aliens? Then you’re probably an atheist or Muslim: Study reveals how religion affects your likelihood of believing in ET: Mail Online
- We are alone in the universe: Professor Brian Cox says alien life is all but impossible and humanity is unique: Daily Mail