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Discussing religion, spirituality and values. Amy Umble is the religion reporter for The Free Lance-Star. You can email her at
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Shopping for Faith

Last year, a Pew poll found a lot of Americans changing faith. It seemed a new phenemenon and, for a while, you couldn’t go anywhere without seeing a story about America losing its faith. This was partly because of the survey’s findings that the ranks of the unaffiliated–those who claim no particular religion–were growing. Well, today, Pew released a follow up poll, exploring why these people are switching faith and where they’re going.

The study found that more than half of Americans change their religion in their lifetime–and many more than once. Adults are more likely to switch before the age of 24 and less likely after 50. 

Interestingly, most switch simply because they "just drifted away." Another majority leave because their spiritual needs aren’t met. 

When it comes to choosing a religion, many pick based on worship service or style, or clergy. And while the ranks of the unaffiliated may be growing, that group is also losing membership fast. Most people who were raised unaffiliated now belong to a religion. 

Conversely, most people–79 percent–who are unaffiliated now belonged to a religion growing up. 

And for those who think the rising ranks of unaffiliated means less faith in America: four-in-ten unaffiliated Americans say religion is important in their lives. So maybe the headlines about a godless America were a bit premature…

Find the full study here.




  • MAVRICKinc

    Why do we continue to co-mingle man’s faith with his religion. They are two very different things. Faith belongs to the Power of One, not the many. Religion is for those who use faith as a crutch. What religion brings to the table is the notion that to conform to any religion and its laws is to advance their congregation closer to the front of the line. Those with or with out faith can now ask the hard questions without reprisal. May be a hard pill to swallow but man is starting to move ahead, leaving “religion” behind and HE is pleased, not because we are leaving the business of religion, but because we are standing up on our own two feet, Bible in hand, and working ourselves from the tall grass. Check it out. The Bible is a guide, a map of sorts to original thought without masters. We are going write many new and next chapters. This time around the sky is not going to be the limit. Simply said, faith will be all inclusive and not branded. The mavericks of this world graze on both sides of the fence.

  • Theophilus

    Amy, you might want to look at the recent Barna polls
    on why “Christian” kids are walking away from the faith
    after leaving the home and going into university. I am
    not saying that university education is bad. What I am
    saying is that our kids are not being prepared to take on
    the challenges that come from various professors
    pontificating their worldview and it not being engaged
    and challenged.