The American shift towards a non-religious mindset is still moving along swimmingly. Now, a new Pew survey is giving a clearer idea as to why.
In a follow-up to Pew’s 2014 Religious Landscape Survey in which it was found that 78 percent of people raised in religious households now claim no religion, Pew got back in touch with 5,000 of the 35,071 first surveyed to ask why they shook off their religious beliefs. Almost most half of those who were brought up religious said that one thing caused them to ‘evolve,’ and it was science.
About half of current religious “nones” who were raised in a religion (49%) indicate that a lack of belief led them to move away from religion. This includes many respondents who mention “science” as the reason they do not believe in religious teachings, including one who said “I’m a scientist now, and I don’t believe in miracles.” Others reference “common sense,” “logic” or a “lack of evidence” – or simply say they do not believe in God.
Other reasons for shaking off religious faith included a distrust of organized religion coupled with a dislike for the “hierarchical nature” of religious groups. Others think religious groups operate too much like a “business” while others cite clergy sexual abuse scandals as the reason they’ve wavered.
A similar share (18%) say they are religiously unsure. This includes people who say they are religious in some way despite being unaffiliated (e.g., “I believe in God, but in my own way”), others who describe themselves as “seeking enlightenment” or “open-minded,” and several who say they are “spiritual” if not religious.
According to the study, one-in-ten religious “nones” (a term used to refer to those who are unaffiliated with any organized religion) who were raised religious are now classified as “inactive,” meaning they may hold certain religious beliefs “but they are not currently taking part in religious practices.”
Most of those who say they don’t go to church or practice rituals say it’s simply because they’re too busy. It looks like religion’s most reliable way to control people is losing its power.