A Growing Number Of American Adults Are Rapidly Abandoning Religion; New Research Found
The number of Americans who didn’t identify with any religion jumped from 36.6 million in 2007 to 55.8 million in 2014.

A growing number of Americans choose not to identify with any religion. Between 2007 and 2014, the number of religious “nones”, or atheists jumped from 36.6 million to 55.8 million, the Pew Research Center found.

The Pew Research Center’s massive 2014 Religious Landscape Study revealed that atheists make up roughly 23 per cent of the US adult population in comparison with the last study in 2007 when 16% of Americans were “nones.”

During the new survey, published Wednesday, the group asked 1,300 non-religious people that why they choose “not to identify with a religion”, and the most common answer, 60 per cent, was that they question a lot of religious teachings.

The second-most-common answer by atheists, 49 per cent, was that they oppose the positions taken by churches on social and political issues, 41 per cent said they dislike religious organisations, 37 percent said they don’t believe in God, 36 percent answered religion is irrelevant to them and 34 percent said they dislike religious leaders.

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“Those who identify as atheist, agnostic or ‘nothing in particular’ tend to give different reasons for their lack of affiliation, showing that nones’ are far from a monolithic group,” wrote Becka Alper, the Pew research associate.

“For example, about nine-in-ten self-described atheists (89 per cent) say their lack of belief in God is a very important reason for their religious identity, compared with 37 per cent of agnostics and 21 per cent of those in the ‘nothing in particular’ category. Atheists also are more likely than other ‘none’ to say religion is simply ‘irrelevant’ to them (63 per cent of atheists vs. 40 per cent of agnostics and 26 per cent of adults with no particular religion).” Alper added.

According to the study, there are major differences among the three unaffiliated subgroups on this question as well. Three-quarters of atheists say the most important reason they are atheists is that they don’t believe in God. Far fewer agnostics (17 per cent) and people in the “nothing in particular” group (8 per cent) say this, highlighting the fact that many non-believers do not necessarily identify as atheists or even as agnostics.

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