Polling & Religiosity

by Michael Sean Winters

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Vatican Insider asks "Is God a Goner" in the U.S.? The question is prompted by a new survey by Gallup that shows declining numbers of observant religious people in the U.S. The poll also indicated that many people do not like the fact that religion exercises a decreasing influence on society, even while they admit they are less influenced by it.

I do not make much of these numbers for a reason. I suspect that in the "good old days" what was meant by "religion" was really "the American way." When some people think that religion has too much influence, I wonder if they are thinking of Jerry Falwell and his heirs or Sr. Carol Keehan? I do worry that way too many people have bought into the "I am spiritual but not religious" mantra, and Lord knows the Church has given them ample reasons to be suspicious of organized religion, but it does not speak well of a culture that its conception of spirituality is something that conforms to me and makes no demands for conversion. That said, I am guessing in the 1950s, organized religion had a similar conformist appeal to most Americans.

So, I do not know if God is "a goner" in America. I suspect the answer is partly up to Him, no? But, religion wears many faces in American history so I would not sell the future of religion, organized or not, short anytime soon.

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