Crisis of Faith - Fewer Americans Believe in God
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According to recent data from the General Social Survey (GSS) conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago, approximately half of Americans now express certainty in the existence of God. The survey, released on May 15, 2022, is highly regarded as a reliable source of information on Americans' beliefs and opinions.
More than ever, Americans are abandoning God.
During the survey, a range of views on the existence of God was explored. Around 50% of respondents indicated that they are certain about the existence of God without any doubts, a figure that has remained unchanged since 2021. This percentage reached its highest point at 65% in 1993 but declined to 60% in 2008. Another 16% stated that they believe in God but have some doubts, slightly lower than the peak of 19% recorded in 1988. Additionally, 14% of participants expressed belief in some form of higher power.
In terms of religious belief, 6% stated that they believe in God only occasionally, while 7% responded that they do not believe in God and see no way to ascertain the truth. Interestingly, none of the respondents selected the "don't know" option when given the opportunity.
The survey also explored self-identified religiosity among participants. Among those surveyed, 14% identified themselves as "very religious," 32% as "moderately religious," and 25% as "slightly religious." The category of "moderately religious" showed a decline from 38% in 2018 and 41% in 2010.
Religious attendance figures mirrored the trend of declining religiosity. The survey revealed that 34% of respondents reported never attending religious services, which represents a new high. This figure first reached 30% in 2018, having hovered around 15% for several decades.
Regarding prayer frequency, self-reported data indicated that 28% of respondents pray multiple times a day, slightly down from the peak of 31% in 2004. Another 20% reported praying once a day, an increase from 16% in 2021 but a decline from 28% in 2018, which had remained steady for many years.
The survey also inquired about respondents' identification with spirituality. Approximately 26% identified as "very spiritual," 32% as "somewhat spiritual," 26% as "slightly spiritual," and 15% as "not spiritual." The number of individuals identifying as "not spiritual" has experienced a slight upward trend in recent years, while the category of "somewhat spiritual" has declined.
Confidence in organized religion has witnessed a significant decline as well. In 2022, only 15% of respondents expressed "a great deal of confidence" in organized religion, comparable to the record low in 2021. About 49% indicated having "only some" confidence, marking the first time it fell below 50% since 2000. Furthermore, 33% stated they had "hardly any confidence" in organized religion, which is similar to 2021 and slightly above the previous peak of 30% in 1989. In 1975, this sentiment was shared by only 11% of Americans.
The 2022 GSS data was based on 3,544 completed surveys conducted between May 4 and December 20, with an additional 601 completed surveys oversampling Black, Hispanic, and Asian respondents from the NORC AmeriSpeak Panel.
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