Most Americans continue to see religion losing influence in America. A full 77% say that religion is losing influence, while only 20% say that religion is gaining influence.
Although this has been the general sentiment since the 1970’s, it has proven to reverse itself in the past. In the 1960’s, “losing influence” reached a high of 75% – roughly where we are now – but then it receded and the drop in “gaining influence” was arrested until it leveled off.
In the 1980’s, during the Reagan administration, the influence began to climb again, and it continued throughout the 1990’s, which as someone who grew up in the 1980’s and 1990’s I find a bit surprising.
Predictably, after the 9/11 attacks, influence skyrocketed to over 70% before slowly descending again. There are many more factors such as church scandal, economics and tax laws, which have all influenced this index in the past. I dive much deeper into this in my book.
Frank Newport as well from Gallup, wrote “God is Alive and Well,” which interestingly demonstrates that even though Americans are cynical regarding organized religion, He – the almighty – is doing just fine in our hearts. Again, I would fault the church for their failings – not Americans for their Godlessness. That is clear from the survey result below. Americans seem to be very fond of God, just not those who claim to know him. Looks like my book’s thesis is holding water.