March 10th, 2009
06:00 PM ET

More Americans say they have no religion



FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

More Americans are saying they have no religion - according to a wide ranging study done by Trinity College.

The survey shows 15 percent of those polled say they have no religion; that's up from about eight percent in 1990. Northern New England and the Pacific Northwest are the least religious regions. And the number of Americans with no religion rose in every single state.

Organized religion seems to be playing a smaller role in many people's lives. 30 percent of married couples say they didn't have a religious wedding ceremony, and 27 percent say they don't want a religious funeral.

Nonetheless almost 70 percent of those surveyed say they believe there is a God; and another 12 percent say they believe in a higher power but not the God of traditional organized religions.

Some suggest that the rise in evangelical Christianity is actually contributing to the rejection of religion by other Americans. The survey shows about one in three are evangelicals. The number of evangelicals is actually increasing while the number of Christians overall is declining.

Other findings include:

- The percentage of Catholics in the U.S. has remained steady since 1990.

- The percentage of Muslims has doubled since then but remains statistically very small.

- Mormons have remained steady as a percentage of the population.

- Finally, the number of Jews is falling if the category includes only those who define themselves as religious Jews.

Here’s my question to you: What does it mean when more Americans say they have no religion?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Gordon from New Jersey writes:
Jack, It's certainly nothing to worry about. I have a great relationship with God, while organized religion leaves me cold. I'm much more afraid of the wrath of the religious than the wrath of God.

Marie from South Carolina writes:
It means that Americans now know the difference between 'religion' and 'spirituality'. They equate 'religion' to the manmade set of bureaucratic rules that are set up by a church. Spirituality speaks to people's relationship with their God.

Steve from Florida writes:
I think the conservatives have actually given "religion" a bad name in a lot of ways, made it over-bearing, divisive, seemingly narrow-minded, way too political and pretty much a caricature of itself. If what we've seen in the last 8 years is the definition of a "religion", I certainly wouldn't want to be put in that particular box.

Jim from Willowick, Ohio writes:
As a "cradle" and lifelong Catholic, I've been feeling incrementally disappointed with my official Roman Catholic Church and its leadership from the Vatican, diocesan and even local levels for many years. Organized religion is all about money and 'my God' is better than 'your God'. Hundreds of millions of lives have been taken over the centuries in the various names of God and it's all a load of sheep-dip.

Theresa from Atlanta writes:
It means that Americans have grown tired of and wise to the ways of organized religion. They all have one political agenda: get their beliefs inserted into our legal system. Our country would go to the dogma.

Filed under: Religion
soundoff (820 Responses)
  1. Kevin in Dallas, TX

    Hopefully it means that people can start admitting to being Atheist without being cast out of society. Muslims thought they had it bad, Atheists havent been welcome anywhere.

    March 10, 2009 at 1:02 pm |
  2. Roger Wolff

    It's a rather basic indication that this will be another of many nations which never lasted like many in which the ill-informed populace thought it would. Look about you,and note where our priorities are – American
    Idol as only one example.

    March 10, 2009 at 1:03 pm |
  3. Kathy/ GA

    It means that people like George Bush has scared them away from having faith in God. After all, remember Bush told us that God told him to run for president. As a christain, I have had to question God as to why he would allow Bush to become president. I can only say He works in mysterious ways and Bush being president is certainly mysterious.

    March 10, 2009 at 1:06 pm |
  4. Marianne Fischer

    Many Americans like me a former catholic have stopped going to church for two reasons. 1 lack of relavence: I don't need the church to be a kind giving person 2. Too political: the conservative churches care more about their power than inspiring a generation of Americans.

    March 10, 2009 at 1:07 pm |
  5. JD in NH

    It means more Americans are thinking for themselves and not following like blind sheep. They are seeing the hatred generated by some religions and recognizing just how disingenuous they really are. Some religions, for example, focus on the rights of the unborn while ignoring the millions upon millions of children who do not have adequate food, shelter, healthcare and education. Another holds one of the world's finest art collections, but allows millions to starve to death. This same religion uses the tithes of the faithful to pay molestation lawsuits. If a person wants to find God, they don't need religion.

    March 10, 2009 at 1:07 pm |
  6. Kevin in Masschusetts

    Because the ACLU is helping to take it away. ACLU wants no more "inGod we Trust", no school prayer, no Nativity scenes on Town property. The mood is take away religion and replace it with more government.
    Religion, no matter what brand gives one a disipline of right and wrong and helps shape a moral character. Take it away and all thats left is politics, which has little or no morals. We see it more and more every day.

    March 10, 2009 at 1:08 pm |
  7. Marianne Fischer

    Many Americans like me a former catholic have stopped going to church for two reasons. 1 lack of relavence: I don't need the church to be a kind giving person 2. Too political: the conservative churches care more about their power than inspiring a generation of Americans. I live in the suburbs of Phila

    March 10, 2009 at 1:09 pm |
  8. samir from florida

    People have questions and those questions are not being answered by thier religion. People ask "why?" in trying times and can't find a reason, which brings doubt that there is a God. The next time you ask "why is God doing this to us", follow the question of "what have I done for God".

    March 10, 2009 at 1:09 pm |
  9. Terry in Virginia

    The Religious Right has driven more people away from organized religion than towards it by being divisive, hypocritical, judgmental, and filled with hate. Our country was founded on separation of church and state. The very thing our Founding Fathers escaped from England, the Religious Right returned to the halls of Congress. If someone wants to believe in God, it's a personal choice, not something to be forced down anyone's throat by a religious zealot or Congressman.

    March 10, 2009 at 1:10 pm |
  10. odessa

    most of them may lost their faith because they probably think that God isn't helping or caring them..they need to read the bible more and stop listening to preachers who aren't preaching the message towards them..people need to have faith as well confidence in themselves because it will happen..religion is the centerpiece in our modern lives that deals with our morality and social issues.people should start believing in GOD and continuing to keep their faith..

    March 10, 2009 at 1:14 pm |
  11. Paulette,Dallas,PA

    Remember Jack,there is no aetheist in a fox hole. Maybe these people don't attend church but I'm sure that they are aware that there is a higher power. Freedom of religion is being able to have a conversation with this higher power any way an individual chooses.

    March 10, 2009 at 1:14 pm |
  12. toni in chicago

    It means all the fake tv so called pastors will have to find some other way to steal money from the elderly and any one that stupid to think that if they send money they will get into Heven.

    March 10, 2009 at 1:15 pm |
  13. Eva Martinez

    The americans have religion, we are too lazy to practice it!

    Miami Beach FLorida

    March 10, 2009 at 1:15 pm |
  14. Leigh (Minneapolis, Minnesota)

    To me, it means that we might have some hope of truly realizing our founding fathers' desire for separation of church and state.

    March 10, 2009 at 1:16 pm |
  15. erinmontague

    I believe most problems in this world stem from organized religion. War, prejudice, hypocrisy – all have their roots based in organized religion. There is nothing wrong with being 'spiritual' and believing in a higher power, just don't give it a name and collect money for it.

    Northern CA

    March 10, 2009 at 1:17 pm |
  16. JR in Norfolk VA

    It means the mantra of the liberal media and popular culture are sinking in – do whatever you feel like doing, every man (and woman) for themselves, no consequences for your actions, self-discipline and morals are for suckers. There's a saying that if you don't believe in something, you'll believe in anything. Sadly, that is the state we are approaching as a nation. We have lost our bearings, but this has been a systematic take-down of our fundamental beliefs and values, thanks to people like you, Jack, who think they are doing the world a favor by constantly questioning everything and forcing the idea that there are no moral absolutes.

    March 10, 2009 at 1:18 pm |
  17. Mark

    Where have you been, Jack? Obama is President now and it is really hard to worship TWO Gods at once.

    March 10, 2009 at 1:19 pm |
  18. debi~california

    I believe in spiritually, NOT religion.

    March 10, 2009 at 1:22 pm |
  19. gerry in toronto

    The republican religious right turns multiple people off religion.

    March 10, 2009 at 1:25 pm |
  20. Janet, Yosemite Gateway, California

    It means more and more Americans have seen the light.
    Organized religion is too political. Come all ye sheeples.

    March 10, 2009 at 1:25 pm |
  21. Macmillan

    I think it's a sign of the times. Religion has never been so complicated: co-existence with other religions, religious fundamentalism, church scandals, the interplay of religion and the political process, and hate mongering like the Westboro Baptists. It's enough to make a lot of people lose interest, especially with all of the negative press the Christian right has been getting since the election began.

    Does it mean people are getting less moral? I don't think so. You can still see the universe as beautiful without the idea that God made it, perhaps even more so becasue the Bible doesn't cover stuff like biological processes, physics, chemistry, or astronomy. You can still say it's wrong to hurt others without the reason being the 10 commandments, maybe it's even easier because you don't have to judge people for having different beliefs.
    Macmillan, Toronto, Ontario

    March 10, 2009 at 1:26 pm |
  22. Latoya - Charlotte, NC

    It means that the evangelicals are becoming even more radical. I am one who question my own faith but realized that I cant let the idiotic behaviors of others trump my personal beliefs. Thats exactly what they are, PERSONAL BELIEFS. A good Christian is not one who wants to oppress others just to fulfil their own selfish beliefs, but I will let God jugde them. Im just going to worry about myself!

    March 10, 2009 at 1:26 pm |
  23. Jackie in Dallas

    Jack, I think you are misquoting that. It isn't that they have no religion, is that they do not participate in organized religion. I believe that most people in this country have a spiritual core, but with many organized religions becoming homes for whack cases, those people no longer feel comfortable worshipping there.

    I'm reminded of the lyrics of an old Peter, Paul, and Mary song from the 70s, I think: "Whereever two or more of you are gathered in His name, there is Love." Many no longer identify with megachurchs, evangelicals who make millions then caught with their hands in the till or their pants down, and churches that prey on their children.

    But I still believe that most believe in a Higher Being, loving their neighbors, and treating others as they would like to be treated. They just don't make the news.

    March 10, 2009 at 1:28 pm |
  24. AndyZag Lynn, MA

    Great question Jack! Could it be that the western world has finally realized that more people have been killed in the name of God than for any other reason? Could it be that the leaps forward that science has made has rendered religious dogma obsolete (All terrorist ragheads please read and be prepared to explain. There will be a quiz.) Or is r.e.m's song, "Losing My Religion," making a comback on the charts?

    March 10, 2009 at 1:28 pm |
  25. Terry

    Jack, when people say they have no religion, it means that they don't know what life is all about. No one has ever taught them that the only thing in life that really has meaning is what God teaches us to do. If we followed the Way, the Truth and the Life defined by our God in the bible then we wouldn't be in the mess that find ourselves in today. It's really quite simple–in fact it is so simple that people who are caught up in money, power and sex as their way of life do not even have a clue. If you find yourself wondering what I'm talking about-then you are one of them.
    Terry of Austin

    March 10, 2009 at 1:28 pm |
  26. Mike Stone

    I honestly don't believe that Americans have less religion than before, I think that they simply can't afford organized religion. I live in the south and religion seems to be flourishing here. Salem, Arkansas

    March 10, 2009 at 1:31 pm |
  27. Robert J, Washington State

    It simply means more Americans have come to realize they no longer need the political affiliations embedded in the institutions of modern day churches.

    We are innately endowed with the knowledge of spirit and moral standards. Those that will choose to live by these standards do not require the peer pressure of organized religon.

    March 10, 2009 at 1:35 pm |
  28. David in San Diego

    It is confusing to say the least. By various reports, majorities say they pray; hold to religion-based views on abortion, evolution, etc.; and want their president to believe (s)he is guided by a higher power than reason and fact. Maybe the religious really don't know what "having religion" or what "not having religion" means. Maybe they think their wholly-religious views are just good, common sense. That's frightening

    March 10, 2009 at 1:40 pm |
  29. Ron K

    Hi Jack:

    It is a lack of faith by some our people. Remember Apollo 13, when both the house of representatives and senate both passed resolutions for the American people to pray for the safe return of the astronauts? And the American people did. And they beat the odds and returned safely to earth. There is a true and living God among us. Wether or not people have faith in God. It does not change the truth that there is a God and God lives among us every hour of every day.

    Ron San Diego

    March 10, 2009 at 1:44 pm |
  30. Conor in Chicago

    It means you can't stop human progress. Eventually people will come to terms with the fact there may or may not be a higher power but spending you life convinced that you've been given the answer by a book of essays spanning 9 centuries (Bible) is not good for human social cohesion.

    In short, I think the day that all humans see the prophets as philosophers, and damn good ones I might add, instead of agents of God, humanity will be much closer to world peace.

    March 10, 2009 at 1:45 pm |
  31. Rich Monk

    Hey Jack,
    That is because anyone can be Spiritual without God!
    No magic, no superstition, no miracles, no invisable flying pink snakes or elephants, just reason, cause and effect.
    There was good people long before fictional religion hit the planet. In fact religion, all of them actually degrade women worse than any other form of philosophy that has ever existed. Where in the 10 Commandments does it say, Men do not hit your wife? Men do not molest your children? Men be responsible for the women you get pregnant?
    There ideals are nowhere to be found.
    It would seem that like religion, God has no interest in the wellbeing of women and children either!
    Religion only continues to keep women in bondage and slavery physically, emotionally, and Spiritually.
    Religion only benefits men!
    It was "designed" by men for men.
    Rich Monk,
    Carlsbad, Ca.

    March 10, 2009 at 1:45 pm |
  32. Dave Zoller o Blue Springs, MO

    I think it means they do not attend church or temple on a regular basis, or at all. Many find their religious experience in a variety of ways from meditation to Golf, but still find some connection to God in their life. Others view any connection to the supernatural as pure superstition but from surveys I have seen they are less than 20% of the population.

    March 10, 2009 at 1:46 pm |
  33. Dave, Brooklyn, NY

    It means that they have looked around and can not believe that – free will aside – a just and merciful God can allow all of this mess to have happened to those of us who have always done the right thing and are innocent of wrong doing.

    March 10, 2009 at 1:48 pm |
  34. Jerome, Montana

    That is a good thing, there are to many false prophets running around this country causing angst among the people. Little would be Oral Roberts, Jerry Falwells and Justin Crowe's [Carnivale] and don't forget unmarried priest's that can not control themselves. It is good people are turning away from outmoded organized religious activities. They do try to bend a person's thinking. The Dark Ages were the direct result of the church's repression of all original thought and truth. We can not go that way again, the church hated women and men that were educated they hated anybody that looked honestly at nature. The ancient Greeks new more about medicine, math and how nature really worked than did Europeans till the 1500's. A lot of people still believe the Earth is only six thousand years old why do they even send their children to public school. That is how bad the influence of religion can be. A thousand years wasted because of religious intolerance. Have a good day.

    March 10, 2009 at 1:49 pm |
  35. Tom in Desoto Texas

    I grew up in a home where we had to go to church, even though no one believed. If you are a good decent person, and there is a heaven, you'll make it past the governing board. Actions speaks louder than words. How many times have we seen preachers of the bible get caught they've been preaching against?

    March 10, 2009 at 1:57 pm |
  36. Chad from Los Angeles, CA

    It means we have finally noticed that throughout history religion has caused more death and suffering than anything else, and also how religion has stifled (and continue to slow) the human race's technological advancements!

    March 10, 2009 at 1:58 pm |
  37. Eddie in NC.

    More than not you are talking to people who did not have a real relationship to start with, that said, those who beleave are stronger in the faith because the Bible has warned and hopefully prepared us for these times for it is written that times are going to get worse.

    March 10, 2009 at 2:01 pm |
  38. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    Jack: We all look to religion when times get difficult--but religion only offers us the opportunity to help ourselves--it doesn't reslove the problem--when we have no religion then we have no faith to believe in something greater than ourselves-and sometimes that greater substance doesn't have to be GOD--but rather humanity.

    March 10, 2009 at 2:02 pm |
  39. Allan Hanson Placerville, Ca

    They are being honest, not politically correct. People are afraid to admit they have no religion afraid of ridicule, likely by people that also have no religion.

    March 10, 2009 at 2:03 pm |
  40. dan in Tucson

    Look what religion has done throughout history. Religion was a means to control the masses by instilling the wrath of god amongst us. People today are far to educated to need such an entity and reject it for what it is. Now our government has taken this role by subjecting us to fear on a daily basis. Some of us are too savvy to buy into it.

    March 10, 2009 at 2:04 pm |
  41. Arp Schnitger

    Ordinarily I'd say it was nothing more than American self-indulgence, but given the way that most expressions of organized religion seem to be crash-diving into irrelevance these days, is it any wonder that people are re-examining their faiths? Americans don't gladly suffer small-minded autocrats of any stripe, even religious ones. Wonder if the Vatican has noticed the empty pews at Sunday Mass? We do . . . .

    Brandon, MS

    March 10, 2009 at 2:04 pm |
  42. Mack in Traverse city Michigan

    Ever since one of the political parties decided the franchise on religion in America belonged to them and not god anymore, religion has become more a referendum about abortion and less about the solemn bond between God and a man's soul. More americans say they have no religion because the line between religion and politics has become so pale. My feelings about abortion or stem cells or birth control may not always jibe with the republican party and I dont need them to interpret god's will for me! Me, my god, and my soul will work this out without them.

    March 10, 2009 at 2:05 pm |
  43. Kerry Diehl

    At least we/they still have the freedom of choice.

    I think they are in for a big shock come judgement day and at the least should have hedged their bets when they had the chance.

    March 10, 2009 at 2:06 pm |
  44. circy in New Mexico

    It means they are no longer buying into the thinking that implies one is unpatriotic or aligned with Satan if they dare to question so-called religious leaders. Politicians use the same nonsense to further their agenda. After 9/11, the same crap was used. Never mind that 9/11 was a response to Desert Storm (how easily some Americans forget that the first Pressident Bush assembled half a million armed troops and then slaughtered thousands of Iraqi soldiers and civilians, many of whom were just trying to get out of the way). Religious leaders use the same tatics to push their agendas. No wonder people question what they're hearing from the pulpit.

    March 10, 2009 at 2:10 pm |
  45. Laura

    Gloucester MA

    It means that Americans don't like being told what to do.

    March 10, 2009 at 2:10 pm |
  46. Rob of Brooklyn

    Times change , I would never say I am religious , but I am spiritual . There is a difference .Organized religion is a farce and is into fear mongering. The one to be concerned is the Catholic church. . many people I know are leaving that church in droves and trying other religions.
    And what can you say about a man that wears red Prada shoes–you think he's out of touch . maybe when he clicks his heals he'll be gone!

    March 10, 2009 at 2:12 pm |
  47. Tiffany, Philadelphia, PA

    I think more Americans aren't making the religion the centerpiece of their lives anymore. Before TV, Internet, and women in the workplace, family and religion were high on the American values list. Now we've become a culture of self-interest, and religion has become less important.

    March 10, 2009 at 2:12 pm |
  48. Janet from Canada

    It means that people are finally starting to realize that they don't need a church to tell them how to think. We have evolved into rational beings that don't need "sky fairies" anymore. We base our rules on the principles of fairness, not on whether some god approves of us. We are rational thinking beings who may finally be slowly willing to accept the reality of our own mortality.

    March 10, 2009 at 2:13 pm |
  49. Rae from Indiana

    I think it just means that many people are unhappy with organized religion. Love thy neighbor, judge not....these things are not evident in many who are supposed to be religious leaders. There seem to be a lot of radicals and that is not good in any religion.

    March 10, 2009 at 2:14 pm |
  50. Anthony Smith

    I think what they are saying is that they are sick of the hypocrisy of religion. I grew up strict Irish/Italian Catholic and was an altar boy. If I swore at all, I would be beat senseless. Meanwhile everyone had multiple marriages, abused their kids, allowed others to abuse them, were alcoholics, and still found it in themselves to take us to Church on Sunday with a smile. When you hear supposed Compassionate Conservatives like Bush lie in front of the country and act morally superior than the rest of us, people get sick of religion. I think most believe in God, its man's interpretation that they don't believe!

    Wildwood Crest, NJ

    March 10, 2009 at 2:15 pm |
  51. Colleen Brooks, Charlotte, NC

    It means we are moving in the correct direction.

    March 10, 2009 at 2:16 pm |
  52. Bram


    Its about time every one realizes that the biggest FRAUD ever concocted by any one, is RELIGION. It has Killed more humans then any Natural disaster, or disease.

    Toronto, Canada

    March 10, 2009 at 2:16 pm |
  53. Rodney, Minnesota

    Religion, organized religion,seems to create more problems than it solves. What started out as enlightenment has turn into a lazy set of rules with out thoughtful reflection.

    March 10, 2009 at 2:18 pm |
  54. Mike, Albuquerque, NM

    Religion has failed to provide community for our neighborhoods. Religion has failed to provide inspiration for our lives. REligion became just another mechanism to manipulate our political views and seperate us from our money without giving any thing back. Do we really need to tithe ten percent of our hard earned money for the vacuous speeches of windbags? Increasingly the public is saying no.
    This doesn't mean that Americans are backsliding into amorality. Americans now prefer to exercise their own spirituality and relationship with God independent of indoctrination. In that personal spirituality the truth has set us free.

    March 10, 2009 at 2:20 pm |
  55. Marti Heckman Milledgeville, GA

    Many people say today that they "have no religion":. That does not necessarily mean they have no faith. The corporate church has become just that – a for-profit business. Organized religion has been used to bring the middle class and poorer people into line for centuries. That line was formulated for and by the rich to sedate the poor.and bring them into submission and acceptance of their lot in life, One can have faith without religion: Faith in a higher power, faith in their fellow beings, faith and hope for a better tomorrow, faith in themselves and hope for those who will follow. Just listen to any televangelist or modern day pastor from the pulpit. Jesus chased the money lenders from the temple and that is where they ended up.

    March 10, 2009 at 2:24 pm |
  56. David Gerstenfeld

    Organized religion has always been based on power & control. More people have, and will be killed in the name of God. We need only to practice the Golden Rule which satisfies all ten commandments.

    March 10, 2009 at 2:24 pm |
  57. Linda from New York City

    It means that more people are becoming humane. God will not forgive us of all our sins....we have to live sinless for the benefit of humankind. I have never heard of an atheist murderer, rapist, etc. They all see to have religion, but claim to really find Jesus, God, Allah, etc. while in prison.

    Atheists realize that we have to look out for each other because there is no God to step in and rectify the horrible situations on earth. Religious people believe they can do anything and God will forgive them just for believing.

    Is there an athiest CEO or top banker in America. I bet not. Plus all of our wonderful politicians claim to have religion, and we know a large percentage are guilty of adultery, bribery, lying, etc.

    Religious organization, such as the Anglican Church in England, the Vatican, etc. are places for some of the largest accumulations of wealth. Take your tithes and give them directly to an organization that does some good instead of investing in silly gold-embossed gowns for men wearing silly hats.

    March 10, 2009 at 2:26 pm |
  58. Billy G in Las Vegas


    I think that there are many Americans that are totally turned off by the so called "Religious Right" and their "WE know what's GOOD for YOU" attitude esp when many of their so called "leaders" turn out to be completely phony.

    March 10, 2009 at 2:27 pm |
  59. Tom, Avon, Me, The Heart of Democracy

    It means we are not all defining the word in the same way. If "God is Love, and he who abides in Love, abides in God, and God in him," then some men are better Christians than I'll ever be, despite insisting they are atheists.

    March 10, 2009 at 2:33 pm |
  60. Katiec Pekin, IL

    Wow, Jack,
    That is hard question and personal subject.
    My only input would be that many are disenchanted with the
    religious right trying to run our country, condemming other
    Christians if their beliefs are not the same.
    Politics and religion should always be separated but that has
    not been the case these last few years. Many are concerned
    that a minority demand to speak and try to represent us all.

    March 10, 2009 at 2:34 pm |
  61. Christine, Edmeston NY

    Well, you're not born with religion...it's part of your education. The American triumverate of education used to be home, school, church. These three sources worked together in an overlapping way to impart both knowledge and values. Today, people don't learn from each other at home, they exist in separate orbits. In school, they barely have time for real knowledge, because they're either preparing for or taking standardized tests. And if a teacher dared to bring up values, she'd lose her job. Church is no longer the center of the community experience because it is no longer is the center of the family experience. The unfortunate consequence is not only the deficits we're imparting to our children, but also the field we've left wide open for the extreme Christian denominations to dominate American religion.

    March 10, 2009 at 2:34 pm |
  62. Jim from Chicago

    Jack, it does not mean that we do not have a firm belief in God. It simply means that for many of us, organized religion has failed to keep pace with the rapidly changing world and become less relevant in our daily lives. Moreover, in some cases, the teachings of our churches have become so hypocritical and political as to cause serious doubts about how their narrow doctrines fit into our ongoing system of beliefs.

    March 10, 2009 at 2:34 pm |
  63. Kim in Dodge City, KS

    It means most intelligent people refused to be pidgeon-holed into the fanatacisim of organized religion.

    March 10, 2009 at 2:35 pm |
  64. Pablo in Tejas

    The existence of a supreme supernatural being or in any sort of supernatural phenomena is highly debatable and ultimately unprovable. I suppose that is why belief in such things is called Faith. Personally, I recommend following the advice given by Stephen Hawkings. If you want to read the word of God; Study the Life Sciences. If you want to read the mind of God; Study Physics.

    Arlington Texas

    March 10, 2009 at 2:36 pm |
  65. Larry from Georgetown, Texas

    You can add me to that list. When my parents wanted to get married, they couldn't find a church that would seal the deal. My Mother was Jewish and my Father was Catholic. They got married in a courthouse and had one of the best marriages that I have ever seen. Is it a wonder that many of us choose spirituality over man made rules?

    March 10, 2009 at 2:37 pm |
  66. Portia, Los Angeles CA

    God help us!

    March 10, 2009 at 2:46 pm |
  67. Terry from North Carolina

    All this means is they are tired of putting money in the collection basket instead of buying food and paying their bills as a result they dont attend services anymore.

    March 10, 2009 at 2:47 pm |
  68. Mike Syracuse, NY

    They must have converted to Obamanism.

    March 10, 2009 at 2:49 pm |
  69. Mark, Orlando, FL

    I grew up catholic in Europe and was disgusted what has happened. Another fact is what the evangelical Republicans have done to this country. Lunatics and religious fanatics are the downfall of humanity. I have become a devoted atheist.

    March 10, 2009 at 2:49 pm |
  70. Daniel Indiana

    It means that more people are finding the radicalism of evangelism to be distasteful. Just like many of us find radical Islam to be threatening, many, also, find evangelism and many other well defined religions to be lacking in the spirituality that is being sought and demanded by many. I find Christianity to be distasteful when those that are leading this country down to destruction to be morally bankrupt and cannot follow where they would like us to follow.

    March 10, 2009 at 2:49 pm |
  71. Gigi in Alabama

    I would almost bet you that if any of those Americans that say they have no religion were put in a position that they were fearful of their lives, they would certainly call upon God for help. . . and he would be there for them.

    March 10, 2009 at 2:50 pm |
  72. Kevin, Chester Springs PA

    As Lenny Bruce once said, "Every day people are straying away from the church and going back to God."

    March 10, 2009 at 2:51 pm |
  73. Scott in Canada

    I find religion and America fascinating. In most industrialized nations, you have a dominant religion – even more dominant than Christianity is in America – and yet all the political parties aim to run a respectful and mostly secular government. In America, the Religious right and left are extraordinarily powerful factions able to turn elections

    So what does it mean that more Americans have no religion? Nothing, until these powerful factions are not dominating politics and secularism is allowed to thrive.

    March 10, 2009 at 2:51 pm |
  74. Jim/NC

    What it says to me is that our school systems are finally getting their godless message across that these systems have been teaching for many years, which is very, very sad and dangerous to society as a whole. When teachers can teach evolution and not creationism, the deck is stacked and not balanced in terms of the choice one can make in life. Citizens that attend church on a regular basis, and believe in God, tend to be our most productive citizens. The vast majority are not in our prison system, make good grades, less likely to divorce, less likely to sell drugs or become a user, and truly respect the right of citizens that disagree with their religious beliefs. Yes, christians do not believe in the secular life style and they will voice their opinions, but almost never (you do have your zealots) in a violent manner.

    March 10, 2009 at 2:54 pm |
  75. Jerry,OK

    Jews discover they are the chosen people of the one and only God, and write the Bible. Later Jews deny God's Son, however; pagans form the Christian Religion, and write their own Bible honoring Gods Son. Later Christians break away into different sects, writing many versions of the Bible creating a breeding ground for Tammy Faye, and Jim Baker.

    How could one not have faith in religion after JIm, Tammy Faye, and Catholic child molesting priests?

    Jerry N/Broken Arrow, OK

    March 10, 2009 at 2:56 pm |
  76. Judie from St. Augustine, Florida

    For me it means that God as I understand Him is everywhere and I don't have to practice a man made religion to gain entry into heaven or hell. I just have to be the best person I can be and let GOD judge me according to His guidelines and in His time. Having no religion does not mean having no God.
    St. Augustine, Fl

    March 10, 2009 at 2:56 pm |
  77. David of Alexandria VA

    It means that of the people aren't either intellectually curious enough or simply smart enough to look around and wonder how there can be an infinately expanding universe and no beginning of time.

    Of course, who knows? Maybe they solved it.

    March 10, 2009 at 3:00 pm |
  78. Ann from Hampton, New Jersey

    People see that no amount of prayer is getting them out of situations with the economy, health care, climbing taxes, etc. and a Congress that is not helping them out of debt, but getting them and their children more in debt, and just plain give up and stay away from church and anything that has to do with religion..

    March 10, 2009 at 3:00 pm |
  79. Bizz, Quarryville, Pennsylvania

    I think there are a lot of people who have got in their heart and talk to him on a regular basis. I happen to be one of them people. I believe in the separation of church and state. I do not get upset when the 10 commandments are removed from the courthouse. I know right from wrong and believe in helping my neighbor whenever possible. I receive e-mails from people who attend church on a regular basis and belong to an organized religion, telling me how I should worship my god. The very next day the same people will send me e-mails saying President Obama is a Muslim. I think this is why you see a decline in people joining a church today. Some of these religions brought politics into a place where politics does not belong and are now suffering the results of their actions.

    March 10, 2009 at 3:00 pm |
  80. Andrew Allen

    To a large extent it means that serious religious people, primarily Christians, have failed by allowing religion to be defined not by the people who understand it best, but by the people with the biggest mouths and smallest brains. Thinking that Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, or Oral Roberts have proclaimed the teachings of Christ requires the same cognitive dissonance as believing that Fox News is "fair and balanced."

    Andrew Allen
    Enid, Oklahoma

    March 10, 2009 at 3:01 pm |
  81. Deb in Lancaster, PA

    Jack, I personally believe it means that Americans have a lack of commitment to anything beyond themselves. Having faith takes dedication and the willingness to defer to power greater than ourselves. But the rewards are many. When times are tough, faith offers hope. Not having a view beyond ourselves can lead to feelings of despair, isolation, and hopelessness. Stir these ingredients gently and you get mental illness, desperate and possibly criminal actions, and suicide. I know I couldn't make it through this alone.

    March 10, 2009 at 3:01 pm |
  82. Jane (Minnesota)

    Americans see the "Christianity" flowing from the Religious Right & do not want to align themselves. I a Christian is to follow ideas such as "judge not......" & "love one another". That isn't the meessage I hear from the RR.

    March 10, 2009 at 3:02 pm |
  83. Michael Voorhees, New Jersey

    God help us.

    March 10, 2009 at 3:03 pm |
  84. Jim, from Las Vegas

    I have long considered myself an agnostic (after having been raised an evangelical) and am pleased to see the trend reported by the poll. I think that it is mostly due to people reealizing there is not as much social stigma attached to saying one is not a believer as there once was. Also, I think that new advances in science are causing people to question the Bible's factual accuracy, which makes the "literaly true word for word" position hard to maintain.

    March 10, 2009 at 3:03 pm |
  85. Kyle, DuPont WA

    I believe religion is a by product of man's relationship with God. So though many may say they have no "religion", I'll bet they still carry on a personal relationship with the creator. Reminds me of a M*A*S*H episode where Klinger was asked if he was really an atheist. His response "Yeah! Swear to God!"

    March 10, 2009 at 3:06 pm |
  86. David,San Bernardino,CA.

    That,maybe,we are learning to stop believing in things that can't be proven and we stop following cults.

    March 10, 2009 at 3:08 pm |
  87. Ann from Charleston, S.C.

    I'm not sure how the question was put to those who responded to the survey. I think that when Americans say they have no religion, it means they don't buy into the religious institutions, not necessarily that they don't believe in a higher power. Many religious institutions have such a narrow point of view and are so adament that they are right and other institutions are wrong that I think they are turning people off – at least that is how I respond to their message.

    March 10, 2009 at 3:09 pm |
  88. Tina Tx

    Why have to get up early on Sunday morning when you can flip on the tv and watch all the Christian preachers on the idiot tube? I don't go because I don't like what the churches have become. Nothing but big business. They don't help the poor and down and out like they should. They want in politics and my ancestors left England because of religion in politcis.

    March 10, 2009 at 3:09 pm |
  89. Jake, Oregon

    OMG, I never knew that Jack....

    March 10, 2009 at 3:10 pm |
  90. Roger from Espanola,New Mexico

    Let's hope that it means people are starting tthink! Believing in God is one thing, but we need to remember that religions are created and controlled by people!

    March 10, 2009 at 3:11 pm |
  91. walt Utah

    Not Much....

    There always has been and always will be certain individuals who don't believe in GOD or an established Religion. That is their perogative, after all we still live in a FREE country,...... I think.

    I for one will keep my Bible, FAITH and my gun....Obama can keep the change.

    March 10, 2009 at 3:12 pm |
  92. J Georgia

    To me it means that Bush, Falwell, Robertson's etc ridiculous moralistic political notions foisted on the nation based on their particular beliefs have done damage not only to the nation but to organized religions. I think it's totally appropriate that organized religion contracts given the situations caused by a dangerous intersection of church and state over the last eight years. There's a reason American founders saw fit to keep the entities of church and state separate. Given an all out battle of will, I believe state would win in a death match.

    March 10, 2009 at 3:12 pm |
  93. Shawn from Phoenix,Az

    In this day and age when churches try and tell us how to act in the bedroom, who to vote for in the voting booth, and with whom we should associate with (straight people intead of gay peaple) it is no doubt that many Americans have said "Thanks, but no thanks," to organized religion. I still believe many Americans believe in some sort of a higher power but just do not want a church official with a book of rules and regulations coming with it.

    March 10, 2009 at 3:12 pm |
  94. John from Alabama

    Jack: It might mean they do not belong to a religion, such, catholic or methodist, but rather they believe in the teachings of Jesus Christ. A person might believe in a higher power, but not a particular church. A person might not like the traditional church service, but rather rock and roll for hymns, and a more emotional time spent praying to God. Or they might just be non-believers who want sleep in on Sunday's.

    John from Alabama

    March 10, 2009 at 3:14 pm |
  95. Jerome

    Americans do have a religion, and they always did. It's call do what
    ever everyone who is in the right click is doing. Right or Wrong because the click is the thing. And I am not just talking about children.
    Clicks feed on all others. And the religion of getting rich by feeding
    on others has always been here. You make or produces sometime for 1 dollar and sale it for 100 dollars. That is not business,
    that is feeding on people. But do not fear, when this is over they will
    have a real religion. Everyone will walk in the shoes of pain.

    March 10, 2009 at 3:20 pm |
  96. Connie from Indiana

    Jack, Most Americans had better get on their knees and Prayer to God Obama can get us out of the mess the republicans have put us in.Believe me I have been Praying for eight years for the Bush/Cheney years to end.

    March 10, 2009 at 3:20 pm |
  97. ed from chicago

    As more of the mysteries of human existance are explained by science, the thoughts of bronze-age people on the great questions of life become largely irrelevant. Historians are doing their part as well. Just recently, archeologists have found evidence that the Jewish people never were slaves in Egypt, never wandered in the desert, and, in fact, lived in the "promised land" from their earliest days. The wisdom contained in most religious writings can be accessed without the accompanying legends, myths and stories.

    March 10, 2009 at 3:23 pm |
  98. garrick

    hi jack
    I dont know what Americans dont have religion,and i wish them the best,but thats a small number like the GOP party is.in hard times most people i know pray alot more now than when times were good.I bet your not one of them that dont beleive.

    March 10, 2009 at 3:23 pm |
  99. Danny , Sacramento,Ca

    Years ago I gave up religion for lent. I believe there is a god, I also believe that religion is the greatest cause of war, hate and death. Why stop and channel through some slick suited tax evading sales man when I call dial direct.

    March 10, 2009 at 3:27 pm |
  100. Lynn

    It means they have a brain that actually works! Religion is man-made cooked up to gain power through using God as a Boogy Man. You can probably find more people living a Godly life with out ritual than you can find in any church.

    March 10, 2009 at 3:28 pm |
  101. EJ in metro Houston

    Jack...I think a lot of people are starting to see organized religion as being not true the matters they are teaching. I think that there are still plenty of people that trust in a higher power, but are turned off by others like some on the religious right that don't practice what they preach. I see more bigotry, racism, intolerence from people that are supposed to be so pious and to me it IS a big turn off. The term Christian is supposed to mean being Christ-like and there are too many that just don't fit that form. It really became more prevelant in the last campaign with a lot of the Palin supporters and their antics. A lot of non religious people after seeing some of them I'm sure decided to stay that way.

    March 10, 2009 at 3:31 pm |
  102. Stacy from Leesburg, VA

    Jack, the numerous scandals involving Protestant Mega churches and the Catholic Church have shown that these organizations are no different than the large banks and corporations that have failed us recently.

    These churches and businesses are driven by greed, divisive political agendas, and a “what’s in it for me?” philosophy that has bankrupted business literally and the churches morally. Both of these organizations propagated myths of happiness, only to show that they are seriously flawed organization.

    March 10, 2009 at 3:31 pm |
  103. DEVILDOG1958

    they are finding out god don't need money,

    March 10, 2009 at 3:32 pm |
  104. steve in Florida

    I think the Conservatives have actually given "religion" a bad name in a lot of ways, made it over-bearing, divisive, seemingly narrow-minded, way too political and pretty much a caricature of itself. If what we've seen in the last 8 years is the defintion of a "religion", I certainly wouldn't want to be put in that particular box. It's embarrasing. And not the private, personal and humble belief system that you quietly and respectfuly "share" with others of the same cloth, rather than force it down the throats of total strangers. And certainly not as a political tool.

    March 10, 2009 at 3:34 pm |
  105. Kevin Monticello Fl

    It doesnt mean that they necessarily believe in nothing.....it means they have stepped out of the trap of conventional thinking. I myself believe in God but not at all in what I call the "bi laws" of the church. Too often today churches are not used as places of worship, but rather a way of brainwashing and financial gain, as well as political platforms. This is not what God intended. If I have relations with the woman I love but cant yet afford a marriage ......it is between myself and the creator i believe in , not a man who probably has sinned just as many times as I have.

    March 10, 2009 at 3:34 pm |
  106. Moke Morgan

    Excellent news! Now maybe people will begin to reason, and make decisions based on reality, rather than mythology.

    March 10, 2009 at 3:35 pm |
  107. Jerry Alpharetta. GA

    It is obvious that many Americans are involved in a new religious order that was growing at a phenomenal rate until the past three months. It is the worship of the new triune, Me, Myself and what's Mine. In this new order Greed is the primary driver with the ultimate goal to attain all that can be accumulated without concern or thought for the well being of others.

    There will be a turning away from this new cult as the Millennials start taking over and have to face the consequences of the financial disaster that has been wrought on them by the ME-Generates. Tune into iReport and listen to some of these Millennials who are faced with a really tough future thanks to the worship of Greed.

    March 10, 2009 at 3:40 pm |
  108. Steve of Hohenwald TN.

    Good question Jack, this is directly connected to the down fall of the GOP. The reason more and more people have no religion is because, no matter how many witches we burn, the crops just wan`t grow. You can`t be a good christan and keep your common scence.

    March 10, 2009 at 3:44 pm |
  109. Paula in Albuquerque

    Americans seem to "feel the Spirit", when the "sun is shining", and everything is "rosy". They can parrot chapter-and-verse...and, sing "hosannas", until the cows come home...beating the bushes for "converts", and spreading the Good Word. But...boy, when the pendulum swings the other way, and their fortunes change...just hear all of the whining and BLAME that they heap on God!!! Like spoiled children, who have, at last, come to face the hard realities of "discipline" and "restraint"...they throw tantrums at Dad, and accuse Him of being "mean", and of "not caring"! When the stock-market turns around, the churches will fill-up, again...and the charitable verses will, once again, be spouted...and, the sermons will ring-out cautioning against profligracy, and wantonness. Then, "God" will be back "in favor", again...when Americans have everything they want, and their "party" is once again in full sway...

    March 10, 2009 at 3:48 pm |
  110. Deborah, Waleska Georgia

    Religion is a freedom and a personal decision. Religion has turned into corporations who do not pay tax. They have had scandal after scandal. Reminds me of politics..those two should not be together.
    If you have faith in God then their is no need to put your faith in people. You can put your hope in people. If you don't believe in God then that's your choice. We have become a nation without integrity and belief, other than the almighty dollar.
    I do not believe in religion, but I personally believe in a creator that is so far above our understanding. That belief helps me to do what is right.

    March 10, 2009 at 3:50 pm |
  111. me46

    It's just one more institution in which people have lost faith and trust.
    spring valley

    March 10, 2009 at 3:50 pm |
  112. Chris from NY

    It means Christ is coming soon.

    March 10, 2009 at 3:55 pm |
  113. Griff...... The Truth

    No What? No free-loader, to live on your already small income.

    March 10, 2009 at 3:55 pm |
  114. jim Toronto

    religion is just a state of mind, those who have religion are missing something else in their lives. those who do not have religion either have it in their hearts where it belongs or they are seeking it from some other false source...

    March 10, 2009 at 3:56 pm |
  115. james

    if you don't beleive in god who do you beleive in ?

    March 10, 2009 at 3:56 pm |
  116. Joyce-Marshall, TX

    It means they forgot who they called on when they nearly missed this or that. I've yet to meet anyone who doesn't believe in a higher being of some sort. Maybe they don't have a religion in particular because each teaches something different. One thing is for certain, in death and life, the higher being has no respect of person, Nothing will be simply because you're catholic, baptist, methodist, COGIC, pentecostal, Jew or gentile. Religion is merely an affiliation to some extent. I'm a Christian and I've got Jesus. That's enough.

    March 10, 2009 at 3:57 pm |
  117. Griff...... The Truth

    For religion to exist. You have to first have a teacher. But I already that didn't I. Sorry i don't speak your language Jack...

    March 10, 2009 at 3:57 pm |
  118. Leah (Seattle, WA)

    Hopefully it means America is smartening up, some! 😀

    March 10, 2009 at 3:57 pm |
  119. Cathy Ohio

    I believe in God, but I don't believe in religion.

    March 10, 2009 at 3:58 pm |
  120. Paul S. Columbia, SC

    Really? Put them in a foxhole alone in Afghanistan with a rifle and see how fast they change their minds.

    March 10, 2009 at 3:59 pm |
  121. Diane, Barneveld, NY

    I don't need a church or a religion to talk to God, but I don't understand why this country is so bent on making sure any religion is taboo everywhere and yet we have a religious litmus test for people that run for president. Why don't the same people protest and whine about that? When the religion and the religious stop being such hypocrites and stop trying to convince everyone that God talks to them personally, maybe people will embrace religion again.

    March 10, 2009 at 4:00 pm |
  122. JD in NC

    It means no one religion has a monopoly on god or morality. Being a good person is something you do, not something you receive from a religious organization.

    March 10, 2009 at 4:00 pm |
  123. Melissa

    What does it mean? That people are either starting to realize that religion holds no place in the world or that the ancient religions no longer apply to the modern mindset.

    People are tired of the hatred the ancient religions espouse so they're leaving them behind.

    That doesn't mean they've given up believing in deity or deities, it just means they've given up religion.

    Honestly, not a bad thing at all. Religion has held far too much power for far too long and caused far too much suffering.

    March 10, 2009 at 4:02 pm |
  124. Pete, Fla.

    Who needs Christianity when you've got Obama's blessing of "hope" and "change"?

    March 10, 2009 at 4:03 pm |
  125. Len in Clarkston, Wa.

    Jack, I for one am fed up with the devisive, hate filled speech coming from pulpits all across the country. The rhetoric of Wright, Dobson and others is not filled with acceptance and care but is, instead, filled with deceipt and intolerance. Religion? I'd say "indoctrination."
    I don't need it. I don't want it. I don't recognize it. And...I'm not alone.

    March 10, 2009 at 4:04 pm |
  126. Kirven

    There are several reasons. Here is a short list.
    First, people are wiser. A burning bush that talk, a virgin having a baby, the Red Sea parting, and so on. If you are a realist like me you know this is nonsense.

    Two, too much hate. Religion is now pushing a hateful agenda against gays and lesbians, just like they did against blacks, interracial marriage and many others. They should live their lives by their believes; but they should not forced their believes on others.

    Third, they do not believe or practice what they preach. I have a big list here but here is the one that gets them every time. Christians say that Jesus Christ is white but the bible says he had hair of sheep wool and skin of burnt brass. They will not knee for a black man.

    And finally, the world sucks! War, hate, rape, disease. This God guy is not very good.

    Kirven Dunham
    Rancho Cordova, CA

    March 10, 2009 at 4:04 pm |
  127. Sandra South Carolina

    Being from the "Bible Belt" in Atlanta and all over South Carolina, I worshiped through the vehicle of regular church attendance. In the mid 1980's i became disenchanted with with my church and tried different denominations. Most of these protestant churches were politicizing the congregations and interacting to make a block of so called "Christian right wing voters.
    I am a Christian. Christ was in the business of love and forgiveness. People including pastors, the disable and the able, the clean, the dirty, the rich and poor, different skin colors, different sexual orientation are sinners. I want to attend organized church where all sinners are welcomed. I worship at home, and try to practice my beliefs each day. The Organized Church of our country are arrogant and believe that their perception is "the Truth."

    March 10, 2009 at 4:06 pm |
  128. Kim - Blair, NE

    Whether right or wrong, I don't affiliate myself with any particular religion. I consider myself to be a Christian, pray every day & believe in God. If there are very many others like me, I don't think it means anything negative.

    March 10, 2009 at 4:07 pm |
  129. Ken in NC

    Mother always told me I was so bad that I could drive the Devil out of his Den. She never counted on so many Lobbyist and members of Congress and the Senate being there so my efforts to do this has caused me to lose my religion. I still believe. I just don't see it.

    March 10, 2009 at 4:07 pm |
  130. Randall in Springfield, Missouri

    The Republican right spent the last eight years entangling religion with politics. It should come as no surprise that people are now running from religion with the same speed as they are abandoning the Republican party.

    March 10, 2009 at 4:07 pm |
  131. Brandon J. in Jamestown, VA

    It means Christians are lying when they tell you America is a Christian based nation. It is not now, nor has it ever been. It has always been a melting of pot of secular and multi-religous influences.

    March 10, 2009 at 4:07 pm |
  132. Kevin L. / Omaha, NE

    That their faith isnone of anyone's business. Or; that worshipping one way or the other brings problems. People don't want any pressure from their own either. Back to the closet.

    March 10, 2009 at 4:08 pm |
  133. Carol c.

    Christian faith is all that separates us from the ideas where human life has no value. All I can say is that the people who don't realize the importance of faith have never stood by the side of a loved one dying and seen the hand of God at work. I worked for cardiologists over 27 years and they all attest to the fact that they can tell which of their patients have a close faith affiliation and are prayed for because they have seen miracles beyond medicine's ability.

    The bible says all we have to have is just the faith of a mustard seed–perhaps those people should see a mustard seed to know what God can do with that little faith!

    Knoxville, TN

    March 10, 2009 at 4:08 pm |
  134. Rose in Az

    I feel very sorry for those who say they have no religion. Religion is a great source of comfort for most of us and for many religion is all they do have. How many times I have heard people say "thank God" for something that has happened to them, I wonder of they really mean it.

    March 10, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  135. Liz, Windsor, Ontario, Canada

    It simply means that the U.S. is becoming a more secular culture – I believe most Americans do believe in a higher power; they just don't subscribe to any particular religion.

    March 10, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  136. Jay in Texas

    It can mean two things. Either they are atheists or they are spiritual, like I am, and believe in God but don't need some organized religion to communicate to God for them. I think organized religion, in most cases, is the cause of some of our world's greatest problems.
    Brownwood, Texas

    March 10, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  137. David - Montreal

    Less and less now believe in fairy-tales. Hallelujah!!

    March 10, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  138. Mike McKinnon

    Religion is what someone believes about the world, or how they view the world. To not believe in anything would be ignorant. As humans, we all have some type of belief system which is a religion. I'm writing from Grand Rapids, MI.

    March 10, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  139. HD in AZ

    In short, the sins of religious right wing extremists in this country are finally showing their true colors. I have a bachelor’s degree in Bible and Religion and I say all this with no religious or denominational bias. Every since religious right wing extremists infiltrated and played their part in hijacking the GOP, it has become obvious to those in this country who exercise sound personal thought that a great deal of religion in this nation is a very ugly thing. Anymore, the face of religion is very much like the hate mongering spew and intolerance preaching spew of those like Ann Coulter . Christianity in the U.S. has lost the message of Jesus Christ and if those in our religions are supposed to be the good guys, most people would rather not see the bad.

    HD in AZ

    March 10, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  140. michelle, whittier,ca

    not much, because most people still claim to have a religion.

    March 10, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  141. Allen in Hartwell GA

    I think it means what the study indicated: that many people are fed up with organized religion. I'm an old time fire and brimstone Baptist, and the preachers had no problem telling us that we would go to Hell for sinning, but they didn't get involved with our politics or political matters. I think we need to get back to that.

    March 10, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  142. arlene in iowa

    It just goes to show how parents are raising their children with no values or morals.It's a down right shame. When they say it takes a village to raise a child they didn't mean send them outside to let the wolves raise them..Religion is morals and values..

    March 10, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  143. Donna Colorado Springs,Co

    Unless you are a card carrying atheist, everyone believes in something or someone. I feel that someones religion or lack of should be a strictly private matter. It shouldn't be forced down someones throat if they don't believe, and they should never be treated like an outsider. Most people believe but choose to keep it to themselves.I think the pompasity of the religious right over the past eight years scared many people away.

    March 10, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  144. William N. Clarke

    A very interesting question. I hope the people that says they have no religion are saying this because of a long and thoughtful decision they have made for themselves throughout their life experiences. I am an Agnostic, because of the experiences I have had traveling around the world back in the sixties as a flight crew member with the United States Air Force. Before my military career, growing up in the city of Philadelphia I was an altarboy (called an acolyte) in an episcopal church. I believed I was firmly committed to my faith, and religion. Traveling around the world didn't deminish my faith, but it showed me that I could maintain my faith with out the cumbersome mantle of religion. I have been out of the military now for about forty years and during that time I have achieved a graduate degree, married, and my wife and I have raised three children and now have five grandchildren, and I still hold true to my faith being an Agnostic. I feel I am no less of a person for that decision, and still an American.

    March 10, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  145. Dennis North Carolina

    religion is big business and big money and people are tired of giving up their earnings. they can pray to GOD any time and he will not ask you for your wallet as they do in Churches of today.

    March 10, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  146. Dan, Chantilly VA

    It means that healthy debate, the ability to question authority, and the free flow of information are alive and well. I can't say for sure whether people are right or wrong for turning away from religion, but I know it's a good thing we have the freedom to do so.

    March 10, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  147. Bob D. Morristown

    All religion is mythology, though we reserve that word for the the polytheistic predecessors of our current monotheistic variety. Religion was used to control the masses, to get them to endure the wretched lot for a reward in the afterlife, as opposed to rebelling against their current oppressors (political leaders) who were deemed to be dieties, or annointed by the diety(ies). But religion has also been the most devisive and catastrophic force of civilization.

    More people no longer require this mythology to guide their lives or explain the unkown. They now have a quality of life that is not worth risking by violating the social contract (laws) of civilization. They now believe more of knowledge attained by scientific methodology rather than ancient mythologies of human authors.

    However, this may change if things get really bad. It has often been said that there are no atheists in fox holes.

    March 10, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  148. Jessica

    Corona del Mar, CA

    When I ask people if they're religious, most of them say they're not sure, they believe in a "higher power", or they agree the Bible is a little wack. I have no religion and I call myself a rationalist. Which means we understand the world through reason based on factual analysis. I think Americans are beginning to realize how ridiculous and hypocritical religion is.

    March 10, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  149. Karen - Tennessee

    I suspect people are just less afraid to speak their minds, especially now that as a people we have become more diverse. I have relatives who faithfully attended church because as members of society and their social group it was expected of them, even though they had no religious inclination. These days, we don't bother.

    March 10, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  150. Gia in Los Angeles, CA

    I am one of those people. I consider myself spiritual, but not religious. I believe in the afterlife and I believe that we are all on a soul journey to improve ourselves. However, I do not follow any specific religion, but take concepts that I find inspiring and useful from numerous religions. Religion tends to divide people against each other, and we need ways of understanding each other and getting along in these times.

    March 10, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  151. Judy, Exeter, Calif,

    Spirituality and religion are two different things. Many people do not ascribe to religion, but remain faithful to God. Church for others is a social occasion. It is the Jerry Falwells of the world that turn many away from the churches. Much ignorance and fanatical behavior is brought on by religion and those who preach it, not by God.

    March 10, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  152. Melissa , CA

    Americans losing their religion will lead us down the road of progress. Countries with less religious populaces have lower crime rates, teen pregnancy rates, stds...the list goes on. This is excellent news for our nation!

    March 10, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  153. Jeff in E. Lyme, CT

    It means maturity and intelligence is finally setting in. Science beats Fairytale every time. With any luck, people will stop believing Pro Wrestling is unscripted as well.

    March 10, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  154. Sandi from Arizona

    I profess to not having a religion. I think that those of us who were once Christians, or Christians light as I called it, have been so turned off to religion due to the last 8 years. We have watched religion used as an excuse to exclude people from society (gays), to take rights away from us (abortion) to kill thousands of people (911), and to pick world leaders.

    The golden rule is the essence of all religion, but once a god is introduced the beleivers forget the golden rule and find anything they want in the proclamations of that god and can justify just about anything. We have seen it time and again over the generations.

    Wouldn't it be a better world if we all just took care of each other?

    March 10, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  155. Michael - Boston

    It means people are finally starting to wake up. Religion is nonsensical, antithesis to free will and just plain old silly. Not to mention it's almost entirely dependent upon your parents and/or where you live, it's not some magical journey we go on to discover for ourselves. It also has been the cause of most of our wars.

    March 10, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  156. Meg from Troy, Ohio

    I gave up organized religion about 10 years ago, and I've found that my life has become more spiritual. Too much of organized religion is taken up with social and political issues that aren't really what going to church every Sunday should be all about. Worshiping God shouldn't be all about tithing, building, protesting as it is in many churches today. And frankly, I don't want someone else telling me how to think, feel, act, and vote. So, I think it means many Americans want freedom from an organized omnibus organization that calls itself a religion. Spirituality doesn't happen just on Sundays in a designated building and many Americans have found that out.

    March 10, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  157. Mickie

    What does being religious mean? Perhaps it means that people don't want to belong to a "church" but still believe in a Creator, life after death, and share the ethics of most religious groups. Many people are turned off to the organized church with it's narrow and country club attitudes.

    March 10, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  158. NYC REPUB, Bx., NY

    I for one believe in the good Lord, Jesus Christ...... How can we not, with all the turmoil in this world? I'll make a safe assumption to say that we'll look back on this time one day, and realize that he carried us all (believer, non-believer) through...... God is definitely needed for such a time as this.

    March 10, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  159. Rachel Tampa, Fl

    It means that Americans are waking up and realizing that religion is false and it only causes problems for people and divides them. Hopefully more will use their own logic in looking at the world and stop relying on institutions to tell them what to see.

    March 10, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  160. cy gardner

    More people realize that they are not living their lives according to religious tenets, so why keep up the charade that they are "christians" or other religions just because that's what they were taught as children. Crazy fundamentalists, pedophile priests and the higher ups who aided and abetted them, the nuts who used Terry Schiavo to advance their crazy beliefs, raving homophobes...... who wants to be associated with religious people when so many of them seem like hypocrites and lunatics? Not me. cy gardner arlington, va

    March 10, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  161. David

    The reason is the religious right have turn people off with their brand of Christianity they don't hear the savior message of love they brother, and Judge not if they did the pews would grow. I'm sorry I only use christianity as an example but I sure the other religions are having the same problems messaging.

    March 10, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  162. Mike - Hot Springs, Arkansas

    Jack I am an old 70 year old man. I played the religion game for years being a participating member of several christian organizations. After all these years I have found great peace in not believing in any religion. We live and we die. It is a great adventure and it can be very enjoyable. Religion interferes with that process.

    March 10, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  163. jeh15

    I think it is because Jack, that Americans are seeing religion as becoming much more political and secular (wanting the material to include material power in government) as opposed to spiritual. Americans do not want or need government telling what to believe or how to believe. If one religious faction wants to control the message and through the offices of government, then the people can turn around and say what they won't accept about it. They will have no religion rather than have their freedoms of belief compromised by politically religious groups.

    March 10, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  164. mitchell, arkansas

    established religions are things of 'men'. i always considered myself christian cuz thats what i was raised around. as i get older, i think my common sense has taken over, and , so, i just consider myself as 'spiritual' or 'how the hell do i know?'. established religions seem more interested in stealing money from the sick and the old ,than anything else.

    March 10, 2009 at 4:38 pm |
  165. James In Kamiah, Idaho

    Jack, Contrary to popular inference, it doesn't mean Bill Maher is winning.

    My mom is a devout Jehovah's Witness, and she doesn't have a religion herself... she has faith. Faith is an entirely different understanding. Religion is just a conditioning set of traditions, bored into the skulls of impressionable children, that continues to prove itself entirely subjective.

    Faith is something wholely different. Faith is what strengthened the colonies to believe that the United States was a tangible fact. Faith is what supported my brother when he prayed that god would take the tumor from his brain at age 18, and it is what allowed my childhood friend, Jessica, to live far beyond expectations and helped her deal with the fact that Leukemia was going to kill her.

    So, when you ask what it means that more and more Americans are saying they have no religion, my response is .... people are trading defeatable traditions for indominable faith.

    Bet you thought you'd never hear an Atheist give a shout out to faith huh?

    March 10, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  166. Ralph Nelson

    Doesn't mean a thing. Religion is old 2,000 year old semi-history. Faith is a belief in God, your fellow man, and loving each other. Church is often just hate and greed. I worship God which to me is the life force (E=MC2) and I have faith. Religion? Forget it, Christ wouldn't get caught dead in one of those places. Ralph, Yakima, Wa.

    March 10, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  167. Jim McCormack

    As a "cradle" and lifelong Catholic, I've been feeling incrementally disappointed with my Official Roman Catholic Church and its leadership from the Vatican, diocesan and even local levels for many years.
    Organized religion is all about money & 'my God' is better than 'your God'. Hundreds of millions of lives have been taken over the centuries in the various names of God & it's all a load of sheep-dip.
    I'll maintain my personal spirituality but the worldwide industry of Religion can just blow it out their blow-hole.


    Jim – Willowick OH

    March 10, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  168. Jenny from Nanuet, New York

    Many wars are based on religion. Much social divisiveness is due to religion. The fewer people with religion the better.

    March 10, 2009 at 4:41 pm |
  169. docb

    Could it mean that people are no longer interested in the radical confining structure of organized religion? It may not mean that they are not spiritual or do not believe in a higher being but do not hold much faith out for the necessary contortions of interpreted /restrictive /exculsionary dogma?

    The 'this way only' or 'my way is right and yours is wrong' is not inclusive and is most devisive ! The World is open and knowledge is flowing-it no longer must be me against you!

    if my neighbor is of a different faith it is an opportunity to learn -not exclude!

    March 10, 2009 at 4:41 pm |

    It is very sad. They have no chance of an after life. Jesus was hung on the cross, so we can all be saved. Please don't let it be for naught. It seems like the young people are being led into situations that is related to guns, sex, gangs, hate, etc. Please give all of this up and grow into great men and women as You will lead this Country in a few years. Maybe your parents will see that you have turned out for the better and want to do the same.

    March 10, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  171. Sue -Idaho

    Jack, it means that a good many people, myself included, are Christians, but don't believe that some guy standing in front of you and telling you all about repenting, then going to meet his hookers is the one you need to listen to. In addition, the money your giving is to keep that guy and his family supported, and to build more churches. I recall that Jesus wasn't that worried about money. Last I looked all those preachers put their pants on the same way we do, one leg at a time.

    March 10, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  172. Marjorie Lominy

    I am what they call a "cafeteria catholic". Why??? because the laws put in place by my church are more and more impossible to follow. And more so now that my hero John Paul II is no longer here. Benedict XVI is turinng out to be a disapointment. So give me a few years I may be amongst the non believers.

    March 10, 2009 at 4:43 pm |
  173. Michele - NY

    Guess their life is pretty empty. No God, No Life!!!!!!

    March 10, 2009 at 4:46 pm |
  174. Tino

    Good to see they're getting smart!
    Tino, NYC

    March 10, 2009 at 4:46 pm |
  175. Greg from LA

    I believe in god but I am considered Cafeteria Catholic because I support gay marrige, embryonic stem cell research and am pro-choice. I am in my 20's and hope we finally start letting us determine for ourselves the truth isn't this the land of the free. Any religion who would use these hate tactics against any minority well good riddence. Stop hate America please!

    March 10, 2009 at 4:47 pm |
  176. Robert in Galveston

    Many people in this country, including myself, are turned off by the narrow mindedness of the fundemental christian message being put out by the "mainstream" churches. I know the intolerance that I see in these bodies would make Jesus sick. That and the "money grubbing, backsliding and just plane hipocritical actions make me want to stay away. Yes, I am a christian but I will worship in my own way. Oh yes, how has the "fundemental" government worked out in Iran?

    March 10, 2009 at 4:48 pm |
  177. Jon from Charlotte, NC

    Jack, more Americans having no religion is not a horrible thing or some sign of social deviance. It is simply a cultural shift in the way we, as Americans, view the world we live in. I believe it is also a result of the fast-paced "live in the moment" kind of lifestyle that we have adopted.

    March 10, 2009 at 4:49 pm |
  178. Jenny from Nanuet, New York

    Religion is divisive. It's used as justification to do everything from denying people rights to killing others. The more Americans with no religion the better.

    March 10, 2009 at 4:50 pm |
  179. Jenny from Nanuet, New York

    It means more people are wising up.

    March 10, 2009 at 4:51 pm |
  180. Jeff Crocket

    And, who promoted and calculated this survey? A pro secularist activist professor. Consider the source before you pass out false information created for an agenda!!

    Jeff Crocket
    New Britain, CT

    March 10, 2009 at 4:53 pm |
  181. Randy from Salt Lake City

    Finally, more people are deciding not to be delusional.

    March 10, 2009 at 4:53 pm |
  182. Mary Johnson

    I think it means they just do not practice a structured religion.
    Saying you don't have a religion doesn't mean you don't believe in God.
    I found, some years ago, I could be a believer without going to church.
    Some people need to have the fellowship and that is good if you are truly comfortable with all the strings that come with it.
    My religion is straight to God with no strings fastened by humans.

    March 10, 2009 at 4:56 pm |
  183. Ron K

    Hi Jack:

    It is a lack of faith by some our people. Remember Apollo 13, when both the house of representatives and senate both passed resolutions for the American people to pray for the safe return of the astronauts? And the American people did. And they beat the odds and returned safely to earth. There is a true and living God among us. Wether or not people have faith in God. It does not change the truth that there is a God and God lives among us every hour of every day.

    Ron San Diego

    March 10, 2009 at 4:56 pm |
  184. Alan-Buxton,Maine

    It means people are finally coming to their senses.

    March 10, 2009 at 4:57 pm |
  185. Charles in Lawrenceville, NJ

    Hesitant allegiance to organized religion is the flight response ever since the last evangelical President dragged the nation to the dump and Sarah Palin tried to do it again. People are paying better attention to powerful voting blocks saying “never again”.

    March 10, 2009 at 4:58 pm |
  186. KarenB, centralFlorida

    who is saying that? most people we know that might even feel that way usually keep quiet about it.

    March 10, 2009 at 4:58 pm |
  187. david doherty

    I think more & more people in general are starting to realize that religion is nothing but a crock. If you added up all the people that have died, either in the name of religion or because of differences in their religion, then you would come up with a number that exceeds the world population!
    Dave from NH.

    March 10, 2009 at 4:58 pm |
  188. Karen - Tennessee

    I suspect people are just less afraid to speak their minds, especially now that as a people we have become more diverse. I have relatives who faithfully attended church because as members of society and their social group it was expected of them, even though they had no religious inclination. These days, we don’t bother.

    March 10, 2009 at 5:00 pm |
  189. Roy

    Jack here is the truth of the matter. Religion and spirtuality have for the most part nothing in common especially when the religions are run by nut cases and power mongers. The deeper truth is that not to have any religeous affiliations does not mean they don't have God in their hearts and lives. I think they have finally figured out that they don't need some preacher in a thousand dollar three piece suit telling them that they have the answers and that the population needs them to get saved. God is a personal choice and if you decide that you and God are doing just fine, thank you, then more power to them. The only thing that churches are good for is to keep someone in a job and a place to give all your money too so that the preacher and family can live in a life of luxury and do nothing for it but attain the ability to yell and scream.

    Olympia, Wa.

    March 10, 2009 at 5:01 pm |
  190. Andrew, California

    It seems to me that more Americans have been on an airplane, they all peered through the window to find no kingdom in the sky.

    March 10, 2009 at 5:03 pm |
  191. C D Metzger

    People are disillusioned with institutionalized religion. No one wants to identify themselves with an ideological institution. I myself worship privately and occasionally attend a Methodist church. But I don't identify myself as a Methodist. I believe in God, and I think many Americans still do, but religious institutions need to face up to the hyporisy that is evident among many of them.

    March 10, 2009 at 5:05 pm |
  192. Dan

    Jack. It means one thing. We blame the one that loves us most. God.... I’m not a preacher, but I do know one thing. When I am in trouble I tend to blame God for my misfortune. I was down on my luck and was told I have a life threatening disease. I then learned to talk to God and asked for help. This was back in 2000. I am still alive. The doctors told me I am in the upper 10 percent that defeat this disease. I am still here. When life gets hard don’t turn on the one gift we have that can see us through the toughest times. Believe. It doesn’t hurt to pray and hope. Religion is shared in many ways by many nations. Yes, blaming the one we are taught is our savior is the easiest ticket of releasing our pain. But isn’t it better to pray then to quit? Back in 2000 I fell to my knees and then I spent months talking to God outside in a private way. One night a voice came to me and said, "Dan, just go to bed. Everything will be ok" I trusted that voice. I am the one typing this message. Believe it or not. But then again, it;s much easier to not believe....

    March 10, 2009 at 5:05 pm |
  193. Paul Austin,Texas

    After listening to Rush the other day and hearing his joke on yes CNN I can see why. Just where is the religious right. Why did they not demand he be fired for saying God thinks he is Rush. Also manny of our religious leaders are corrupt equal to Madoff and the churches want your money but just wherer does what you give them go. The trust is gone with religion at least for now.

    March 10, 2009 at 5:05 pm |
  194. Diane Dagenais Turbide


    are public funds used for based faith organizations?

    Does it mean you get some tax credit for not having a religion?

    Does it mean less public funds will be used in faith based initiaitives and influence government policies?

    March 10, 2009 at 5:05 pm |
  195. David M.

    I think you can look at the current state of the economy and see that more Americans have no religion. If they had, they would have been reminded on a regular basis that greed and steeling are wrong – just because you can get away with it doesn't make it right. The business "leaders" that made the shady loans have obviously either forgotten that or were never taught that in Sunday school / Church.
    David M.
    Danville, CA

    March 10, 2009 at 5:07 pm |
  196. Lynn Georgia

    Lets see we've all but ruined the country with runaway greed and recklessness and it's hard to find any example of morals in our culture. Maybe we don't need religion but we need something.

    March 10, 2009 at 5:08 pm |
  197. Agnes from Scottsdale, AZ

    Jack: Americans are de-toxing from years of comand and control rules that don't work for them anymore. As such, they are sick of being told what to think. While many churches are well intentioned, many have a political agenda which people are just turning away from. In time this will change again, but right now people are "made and they're not going to take it anymore"!!

    March 10, 2009 at 5:08 pm |
  198. john .... marlton nj

    Religion (any one of them) is probably the power of last resort that guides one's conscious and quest to be held accountable. Considering those now running the country, I am not surprised this final hurdle of responsibility and accountabiilty is being diminished.

    March 10, 2009 at 5:08 pm |
  199. Alisa- Seattle, WA

    Less religion equals less hate, less ignorance, and more promise for peace.

    March 10, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  200. tim

    As a former christian and now devout agnostic I can truely say my life changed when I reached an age of reason. Perhaps our fellow countrymen and women have achieved the same.

    March 10, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  201. LInda in Bisbee, Arizona

    Oh, another, "what does it mean?" question. Sorry, I don't ever seem to know what anything "means". Let's see, maybe it means people are getting smarter. That's it! I'll bet that's what it means.

    March 10, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  202. Pugas-AZ

    With all the wars that have a religous bases I can see why people are backing away. Guess we are getting tired of it all. Maybe we have just stopped wearing our religion on our sleeves. Too bad the Taliban can't do that.

    March 10, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  203. lynnej

    It means that common sense is finally shown up after a 25 year absence. It is nice to believe in a higher power, but not to the detriment that rational thinking goes out the window. Yes, it is in the higher power's hands, but that higher power also gave humanity a brain. It is time we used it.

    March 10, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  204. Angel from Birmingham, AL

    I'm one of those "no religion" folks. For me, it means I've seen too many manmade religions. I was married to a minister who didn't believe there was a God - yet he was just fine with preaching every Sunday to collect a paycheck. So my "religion" is between me and my Maker now. I don't plunk down money to pay for a church's stained glass window or a new gym. I give to St. Jude's Hospital or to other worthy causes that do some good in the world. I have no religion - no name that I call myself - no set of rules to follow - but I believe in a God who comes from a place of love.

    March 10, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  205. jay

    what it means is that we are tired of the religious right telling us that their god is the ONLY way to go.. Their god is a homophobic, lopsided, omniscient pretend man in the sky. Whatever happened to just living by the golden rule? Nobody wants to be forced to follow nutjobs who preach, more than they practice..

    March 10, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  206. victoria

    Because our american forefathers were not religious....quote..
    ""The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a virgin, will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter."
    –Thomas Jefferson, letter to John Adams, April 11, 1823

    March 10, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  207. G.

    I am New Yorker currently living in Texas, and I'm more afraid of the religious extreme and illogical conservatives down here than the non-denominational Christian or atheists from the north. A lack or organized religion doesn't equate to more violence or amorality, nor does its presence promote the opposite. Perhaps we actually have more open-minded people, which is better all-around.

    Former Catholic
    Dallas, TX

    March 10, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  208. Ed in Savannah, GA

    Oh my, it means the recession is worse than I thought. When workers get laid off they say "I have no job". That people are saying "I have no religion" must mean that like every other Big Business corporate enterprise today, religions are laying off parishioners!

    March 10, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  209. Rosa

    I think that the decrease in people that are interested in pursuing religion is due to the foothold that has been allowed by social conservatives in government. Many fundamentalists apparently believe that inserting religion into our government will lead to more people becoming involved in religion when in fact it is scaring people away from religion and causing distrust in our government.

    The saddest part about this is that whether you believe in God or not, churches and religion can play an important part in the success of a society because it can serve as support to people who feel they are at the end of their rope. Now is when we need churches to stick to what God intended and get their noses out of government.

    March 10, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  210. Bob S Philadelphia,PA

    That's the problem with the country religion is missing from the schools work place and in our lives , we need more religion in this country we need to bring prayer back into the schools or at least a minute of silence to pray to whomever you want. We need more religion in this country I think that is a big problem with the country we have put religion on the back burner

    March 10, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  211. William - Silver Spring, MD

    Religion, like pornaography, should be kept away from children until they are old enough to understand. A lot of religion is vulgar, manipulative, and just plain bad for anyone. It is possible 0 maybe even more likely – that a non-religious person can be both-moral and spiritual. We stopped putting our hard-earned money into the plate 5 years ago - it was the best descision I ever made.

    March 10, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  212. lisa tx

    Jack, I think most people have just gotten too busy for Religion.Maybe we shoulkd go back to the days when stores closed on sundays.

    March 10, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  213. Yasir Kamal, NY

    Americans have woken up and facing reality and taking matters into their own hands instead of looking into books that have been a great seller for thousand of years, a time when people didn't know how to read.

    March 10, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  214. Mike Carter, Paramount CA

    People used to say "I like religion, it's the God thing I have trouble with." Now, with religious leaders becoming increasingly disconnected to the people, that quip seems to have been reversed.

    March 10, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  215. Greg, Ontario

    When your country says "in god we trust" more than anyone else but takes god out of the schools. When it allows obviously challenged women with 6 kids to have eight more or allows drug cartels to enter the country and kidnap hard working people (the list is long) you are bound to lose faith sooner or later. When all you see on CNN is the negative day after day when do people get to see the positives that come with having faith in god or their country? Maybe you and wolf could devote a minute or two every day to find something positive to say about America. I'm not American and I can think of enough to fill the spot for months.

    March 10, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  216. bill in TX

    Religion is a very private personal choice. Our Founders gave us an absolute stone wall between church and state. We should restore that separation. Humans, in the name of their various religions, have done untold damage. They are still more than champing-at-the-bit to continue to do so. No thinking person would disclose their personal beliefs, if asked by an unknown person.
    Just look at the listeners to the hate-monger radio hosts. They would all tell you they are very religious. Yeah, right! They have hate and wish for failure for all of us here in the U. S.
    Maybe the non-believers are on to to something.

    March 10, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  217. Tom in Iowa

    I stopped believing in 'Religion' years ago when I realized that 99.9% of all 'Religion' was simply a money grabbing scam.

    I may consider going back to a 'Religion' if I could find one (JUST ONE) that was more interested in giving then taking.

    My personal belief is YOU give when you can and others give to YOU when you need.

    Find a religion that preaches that and I will be first in line to join. LOL

    March 10, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  218. Bruce

    They are done with corrupt churches. They are looking for some real connections, spiritually, and have had enough with the mind control and stifling of grown that the "churches" normally direct. They are looking at meditation and real deeds of humanity as a guide, not institutions.

    March 10, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  219. Ram Riva -- Calexico, CA

    That Is a serious problem of "The Church"...
    Most Americans, a large majority of young people, realize now that the Chuch is man made...
    Is your faith what makes your religion...
    If you think they're fairy tales like David from Montreal, writes...then you don't have any faith at all...
    Therefore you don't believe in any type of religion, no matter what anyone tells you...
    Is very easy to be convinced that everything is made up....
    The burden of proof falls on "The Church", that's where they have failed miserably....
    Faith is private and is within you...
    Is very simple, either you have it or not..
    Is a personal decision....

    March 10, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  220. Raj

    i think they are young, strong and were successful in every thing they did till present.

    March 10, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  221. RSB

    It means we're probably headed for some kind of major crisis to humble us all, and remind us that we are not as self-sufficient or in control of the universe as we arrogantly think we are.

    (Roland/St George, UT)

    March 10, 2009 at 5:20 pm |

    Perhaps they just don't hold an affinity to any organized religion. I suspect that a grater number believe in GOD [as they perceive him/her] but that organized religion in general has distanced itself from the spiritual needs of many Americans. The major faiths should engage in a greater shared spirituality instead of adhering to individual dogma, some of which is over 1000 years old.
    The old adage may apply, i.e. that if you're leading a parade, you have to look behind you occassionally to see if anyone is following

    March 10, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  223. Rick in Dallas

    Perhaps the healing has begun. Although it will take many generations for such an insidious and addictive delusion to completely dissipate.

    'Believing' is using a well-honed imagination to set parameters and boundaries for living
    If I jump off a building, I will hit the ground.
    Unlike religion, I don't have to believe in gravity for it to exist.

    March 10, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  224. Nestor, Austin, TX

    It means the Communist Party is succeeding in their 1963 goals. Some of their goals were to destroy the fabric of American society by destroying morality, religion and education through the schools, media and Hollywood. It's been working for a while, but now it's really coming to fruition.

    March 10, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  225. Jeff - Oregon

    It means people are getting wise to the unholy amount of crap perpetrated by, or in the name of, religion. It is not to say that people are less spiritual.

    March 10, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  226. Hugh ~ Tracy, California

    It means you can have compassion without needing a religion to prove it. More people are killed in the name of God than anything else. Far too many think believing in God means hating your enemies, when the opposite is what's needed. I love the story of Camelot, but I know it's just a magnificent legend. Forces of good and evil exist, and I still believe there is an author in the universe, but who, I can not say.

    March 10, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  227. Mike in Akron, OH

    More Americans are educated.

    March 10, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  228. ANDRES SAENZ(Albuquerque, NM)

    Well, when someone claims that they have "no religion", then that just means that they don't believe in God or any higher deity for that matter. Or it could simply mean that they don't believe that God exists.

    But I believe that Christianity is NOT a religion nor was it meant to be, because Jesus Christ is the only one that was courageous enough, man enough, and daring enough to sacrifice His own life on the cross of Calvary to redeem humanity from our iniquities.

    March 10, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  229. Shane from California

    When American's say they have no religion it does not imply that they have no ethics or morals. Many have become disenchanted with the seemingly empty promises of age old religions. Our society is a result driven which has created a major ridge between work and faith. Many religions promise results during the afterlife, but many people, like my self, are looking for results and happiness in the here and now. Consequently many have turned to help Guru's and the like settling for instant results that don't necessarily incorporate spiritual practice.

    March 10, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  230. karen-phoenix

    Most of them are in a 12 step program and believe in a Higher Power which eventually lead me back to the Lutheran church!!!

    March 10, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  231. Ron San Antonio

    Come on Jack, even if we don't talk about the whole mess with the Catholic Priests, just what has God done for us in the last 2000 plus years?

    Religion has had it's place in society to keep order and peace in most areas of the west. It's worked. But in a purely science way of thinking, is God believable? I think the bible is probably the greatest book ever written and in itself calms the beast within all of us. It's kind of like a text book to learn how to be a human! And it should be read. I believe it's author(s) were extremely intelligent .

    But God? I believe if there were a God, he would smite Wall Street and the banks. Jesus walked through the temple during the Sabbath and tossed over the tables of the merchants. I think this Jesus knew how this would end up!

    Money has corrupted just like "God" and "Jesus" said. Sounds like some guys who had seen this before!!!!! Science Jack, we got to get off this rock! Believe in Science! Would God want us to be stupid?

    March 10, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  232. Jackie in Dallas

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    Jack, I think you are misquoting that. It isn’t that they have no religion, is that they do not participate in organized religion. I believe that most people in this country have a spiritual core, but with many organized religions becoming homes for whack cases, those people no longer feel comfortable worshipping there.

    I’m reminded of the lyrics of an old Peter, Paul, and Mary song from the 70s, I think: “Whereever two or more of you are gathered in His name, there is Love.” Many no longer identify with megachurchs, evangelicals who make millions then caught with their hands in the till or their pants down, and churches that prey on their children.

    But I still believe that most believe in a Higher Being, loving their neighbors, and treating others as they would like to be treated. They just don’t make the news.

    March 10, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  233. Shane from California

    *self-help Guru's

    March 10, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  234. Charles from Roswell, Georgia

    Jack, your question is midleading. According to the survey, majority of Americans, that is 3 out of 4, have religions.

    March 10, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  235. Brandon Kyle, Colorado

    What does it mean? Well it mean that we're making progress as a culture and product of our country, the no nonsense church and state, both are becoming to that statement because money and the means to a meal are more consecrate then just going on about very, very old means to protest this growing population, Too many people, too little time, communication between church and state now lost when it no longer has a mass the size of our country to play too. i dont think religion can withstand in even piety the riseing price on our liberty.

    March 10, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  236. Gigi

    But...If you ask if they believe in God most do. The fault lays in the bad conduct of the churches. which makes you not want to go to a organized church. After our government/states demands more than a third or better of our income for government programs. The church wants 10% which is supposed to take care of the church body so we have no needs Malachi 3:10-11. But actually goes to pay inflated wages/benefits, buildings, programs etc. And you are left about 50% of your wage to live on which you buy your needs that also has taxes added to your wants .
    Who can afford religion...well a lot of us who actually believe.

    March 10, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  237. Betty, San Diego, Ca.

    Religion became so politicized under the last administration until people did not know where politics ended and religion began. Many are not so disillusioned with politics, they think it had something to do with their religion. This is what happens to a democracy when there is no separation of church and state.

    March 10, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  238. LeRoy in Jersey City, New Jersey

    It means that we are finally witnessing some growth in the spiritual evolution of humanity. Throughout the ages, culture’s have created religious maps to answer the mysteries of the universe and navigate the unknowable spiritual territory. Yet, we have mistaken the map for the territory, and kill in the name of God because the words, “love, compassion, and forgiveness,” are written in different languages.

    Most of those who say, “I have no religion,” also pray and believe in some kind of ultimate truth. We are exposed to a myriad of maps, recognizing that none of them represent the ultimate truth — but are mere beacons to help us navigate the spiritual landscape. It is a sign of humanity’s progress when people say, “I’m spiritual, but not religious.”

    March 10, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  239. Christine, Thousand Oaks Ca

    I think it's a number of reasons – more people see the hypocrisy in religion and religious zealots and thus the Christian right has turned many people off to religion -throughout history so many wars have been caused by religion-more people think freely today and have rejected the status quo. Atheism is more prominent among educated, intellectual people who aren't afraid to think and question. Most of the founding fathers were not Christians, but rather, were Deists whose beliefs originated in the Enlightenment and John Locke and evolved to Unitarianism.

    March 10, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  240. Sandi , Oklahoma

    I truly believe that there is a vast difference these days between Religon and Christianity. I have been a Christian all of my 64 years. As a child I even baptized my pets. But, no I do not belong to a church. Somewhere along the way the churches have forgotten why they were put here and instead of teaching and helping their fellowmen they have become big businesses................more concerned with making money and controling their fellowmen and our government. Since when did our Creator give them authority to take away the freewill He gave us?

    March 10, 2009 at 5:34 pm |
  241. Rebecca in SC

    It means that the republicans who continue to pander to the extreme religious right do so at their peril. People are fed up with the evangelical hardliners who give religion a bad name by ignoring the actual teachings of the religion they claim and substitute a dogma of intolerance, whine that they are mistreated if the government does not foster thier narrow religious views, and make no attempt to hide their contempt for people who disagree with them. Moreover, I think that the truly religious are as fed up as those who profess no religion.

    March 10, 2009 at 5:34 pm |
  242. James in San Diego

    It means that a few more Americans are finally growing up and leaving their make believe fantasies behind.

    March 10, 2009 at 5:37 pm |
  243. Rick Medina,OH


    Religious people go to church every Sunday, because they think that will keep them out of hell. Spiritual people have already been there, and don't want to go back.

    March 10, 2009 at 5:37 pm |
  244. Kyle Dickerson

    Jack, I am currently studying the sociology of religion at Georgia Southern University. In class we discuss the relationship between education and religion. As education increases religious belief decreases. This study seems to support that theory in that the least religious regions, Northern New England and the Pacific Northwest, are also the best educated.

    March 10, 2009 at 5:37 pm |
  245. Susan - Plano, TX

    Less religious and church people, less confusion. It's about time for people to realize religion is nothing but personnal communication with the Great Creators: whoever that may be. Keep it personal and don't ever bring it up in discussion because God is not the solution, we People are.

    March 10, 2009 at 5:40 pm |
  246. Marie, South Carolina

    It means that Americans now know the difference between 'religion' and 'spirituality'. They equate 'religion' to the made-made set of bureaucratic rules that are set up by a church. Spirituality speaks to people's relationship with their God.

    March 10, 2009 at 5:42 pm |
  247. Alex P, NYC

    It means that religious zealots and those who use religion to broadcast hate and bigotry have finally managed to pack 15% of American citizens on their ever expanding list of undesirables and outcasts. Religion is a beautiful thing until the human agenda is foisted upon it.

    March 10, 2009 at 5:42 pm |
  248. Tarek El-Messidi

    It means that profits have replaced prophets, and the 'In God We Trust' printed on our currency no longer holds an relevance. Unfortunately, consumerism has become the new religion of our time.

    Tarek El-Messidi
    Cincinnati, Ohio

    March 10, 2009 at 5:42 pm |
  249. Waldo in Austin

    Jack, it's not that I'm not religious. I'm just against people telling me how to pray. Haven't most wars been because one tells the other that you have to pray, and believe, this way, or else?

    March 10, 2009 at 5:42 pm |
  250. Doug - Dallas, TX

    It means they can't afford the gas to go to church or maybe it means they're having trouble dealing with reality. Keep praying for the answer.

    March 10, 2009 at 5:43 pm |
  251. Raj

    it means they are young, strong and were successful in every thing they did till present.

    Pittsburgh, PA

    March 10, 2009 at 5:46 pm |
  252. Patrick Jean Baptiste North Miami Beach, Florida

    Jack please read my answer live. When Americans say they have no religion, it means that they are not ideologues. Of course Americans believe in God. It's just that they don't cling to it.

    March 10, 2009 at 5:49 pm |
  253. Ralph Spyer

    Thank god.

    March 10, 2009 at 5:51 pm |
  254. Terry in Iowa

    It might not be the message, but the messengers. The message is of hope, of love, of mercy. Too many of the messengers are about their politics.

    March 10, 2009 at 5:52 pm |
  255. Peg

    Spirituality seems to be "of the day". Organized religion is losing followers due to antiquated ideologies, in my humble opinion. I, for one, would find a place of worship a safe refuge, especially during these tough times. However, unless you are "welcomed", adhere to "rules" (beliefs, I think they are called) and pay up regarding the collection basket they do not want us. Perhaps the Catholics should look unto themselves for the obvious answers. Jews are definately losing out as there is so much against mixed marriages. same with catholics. I hope and pray we all believe in something other than selfish greed. It will take all of us to believe in Faith, Hope and Charity to get us through these trying times. Bush really hurt religion, as has the Religious Right.

    March 10, 2009 at 5:52 pm |
  256. Theresa in Atlanta

    It means that Americans have grown tired of and wise to the ways of organized religion. They all have one political agenda: get their beliefs inserted into our legal system. Our country would go to the dogma.

    March 10, 2009 at 5:52 pm |
  257. TZ

    well im not religous never been to church but i do have to say this story is like the maggiage story. First they tell you that divorce at an all time high then when the rate drops they tell you the people are just stuck cuz they are broke it's what i call a win win for cnn no matter what the numbers say cnn will tell you they are write.I fell that you can make a poll say what you want it to say. For instance if i poll people in certyain areas of u.s.a alot of people may be religous if you call another community may be the oppisite knowing info like this includeing the age,race,sex,area of united states can get you the poll results that you desire. Im not saying all polls are wrong im am saying they exsist for the purpose of manipulateing you and people like jack,wolf,and cnn do just that.

    March 10, 2009 at 5:54 pm |
  258. David in Georgia

    It means it is Safer to admit non belief than it used to be. I'd be amazed if even 50% actually believe.

    March 10, 2009 at 5:57 pm |
  259. Gordon from NJ

    Jack, It's certainly nothing to worry about. I have a great relationship with God, while organized religion leaves me cold. I'm much more afraid of the wrath of the religious than the wrath of God.

    March 10, 2009 at 5:59 pm |
  260. Terry from Illinois

    We Americans are embarrassed of the extreme right positions of the last 8 years of W. and Rush Limbaugh, Hannetty and Ann Coulter.
    Look at the positions of the extreme right on a woman's choice, on trade and jobs, on capitolism greed on Wall Street, on tax breaks for the rich, on ending your life if your chronically ill, no drinking, no jewelry, no gambling. Need I say more....

    March 10, 2009 at 5:59 pm |
  261. Miriam Fl

    Jack, I have one word that cannot be more appropriate in these times we are facing "IMAGINE" John Lennon said it best.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:01 pm |
  262. Tripp Mechanicsburg, PA

    Do not confuse "no religion" with not believing in God. I was raised by the daughter of a Methodist Minister to believe in God and His Son, Jesus Christ. I always have and now more than ever, but for the longest time I had no religion. I belonged to no church. I disagreed with Chrisitan church dogma. For a while, I was a religious man with no religion. I think that's what a lot of people are. Religious with no religion. You don't need to belong to a church or to any religion to believe in God or to worship Him.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:01 pm |

    If someone were to ask me, I might reply that I have "no religion", but in reality I have no ORGANIZED religion. That does not prevent me from having religious beliefs of a sort.

    The Christian fundamentalists seem to think that scientists don't believe in any "supreme power", but especially scientists will usually say that they believe there must be or have been some being or force behind the existance of everything.

    Here's one for you... "God Created Evolution"!

    March 10, 2009 at 6:01 pm |
  264. Diane Dagenais Turbide


    about education...I strongly believe in teachings kids about rights, freedoms and responsibilities since it is about the history of our society to learn to live by our values and our principles! I had the best teacher in creating a charter of rights, freedoms and responsibilities in moral classes with enriched experiences in getting how respect of these principles are difficult but worth it!

    March 10, 2009 at 6:02 pm |
  265. Josh Kerner

    It appears now that America is on the way of leaving the religious abyss that has plauged civilization for the past 2000 years. Now let do something with this minority, as does the NRA lobby and the like. I feel a change a comming and it feels good.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:04 pm |
  266. Carmelo - Guilderland, New York

    Because religion is a scam. I've decided to cut out the corrupt middleman.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:04 pm |
  267. Virginia Hendrick

    Who did you poll? No one every asks me what I believe! If this is true, then our world has sunk to another new low. How much lower can we go? At the rate our country is going it won't be too long before God says.... "I have had enough" and I could not blame him one bit!
    I look forward to the promise of Eternal Life and being in a place that is too wonderful and perfect for us to imagine. The time here on earth is just a blip on the screen compared to Eternity with our Heavenly Father.

    Virginia Hendrick Haddad
    Monroe, LA

    March 10, 2009 at 6:04 pm |
  268. Donna from Minnesota

    IT means that alot of us got away from the most important meaning of living. We all need a savior to believe in,that is way there is alot of pain and trouble in our world. Even if you have religion,that is not enough we all need a personal relationship with Jesus,Christians fell us but we are still humans and we all make mistakes.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:06 pm |
  269. ZowieHanssen

    I have no formal religion, but my morals are founded in christianity. I believe in doing unto other's as I would have them do to me. This simple rule has done well in guiding my life. I have a true respect for my fellow humans. In my exprerience people use religion as a shield to hide who they really are. Most religions want to punish us for our faults, not accept us for who we are. It a way to control people.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:07 pm |
  270. Mason (Tuscaloosa, Alabama)

    Dear Jack,

    Are more people joining the Westboro Baptist Church? If more people are, that may be the reason why more people are saying they have no religion. It is churches and organizations like the Westboro Baptist Church that's turning more and more people away from religion.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:07 pm |
  271. Barbara in Boston

    I was raised Catholic but now I'm agnostic.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:07 pm |
  272. Will from San Jose, CA

    The religious right has equated being a Christian to being a Republican. The short term effect was to boost Republican votes. The longer term effect of telling 50% of the population that they aren't Christians is that a lot of those people started to agree.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:08 pm |
  273. Susan Frost

    I once saw a sign in front of a country church that said, "The love of God brings forth spiritual fruits, not religious nuts." Unfortunately, the fundamentalists – no less dangerous if they call themselves "Christian" than "Muslim" – who promote war, greed, racism, ignorance, and raping the planet, have given religion a bad name over the past thrirty years. Just look at Bush and Palin, for example! When I hear anyone in public life claim that he/she is a "born-again Christian" I crings and grab my wallet

    Tuscaloosa, AL

    March 10, 2009 at 6:08 pm |
  274. Carl from Citrus Heights, California

    It is satisfying that religion isn't being accepted with such blind devotion, however some form of faith in something greater than ourselves seems to be a better alternative.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:08 pm |
  275. James West Chautauqua NY

    Maybe if the hardcore religious(right wing) believers respected other peoples veiws of the world, instead of just their own,then just maybe they wouldn't be veiwed as crazy and hardline. I don't believe in a book that was written a thousand years ago, study some history most of christianity was taken from pagan religions and based off pagan beliefs. 90% of the Bible is stolen material that has been twisted and conformed into a pliable religion to sucker the masses of medieval Europe, I have no problem with other peoples beliefs, just other peoples ignorance and to the aetheists of this country that is what religion has come to personify.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:08 pm |
  276. Daniel in Colorado Springs

    Such a good sign. People are finally thinking rationally

    March 10, 2009 at 6:09 pm |
  277. Justin, California

    it means Americans are becoming more educated

    March 10, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  278. Nigel

    I means that we are finally evolving as a race and dropping the 2000 year old book club. Finally we are getting smarter!

    March 10, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  279. Myles of New York (Upstate)

    Peace on Earth?

    March 10, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  280. Omar Reynolds

    It means Americans are getting smarter.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  281. Connie

    This means people will be using their heads to vote and make policy instead of their imaginary friends'. All and all a good thing, don't you think?

    March 10, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  282. Jenea

    Jack...It means we're all going to hell.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  283. Abby

    I think it's obvious.... More people are finally thinking for themselves!!!

    March 10, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  284. Alex

    It means a better America

    March 10, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  285. Vicki

    I think there is confusion over religion and faith. I am a Christian who has no faith in the current administration.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  286. Yago Vieyra

    Obviously, a better country. It's an inevitability that people will realize religion is obsolete. All it religion has ever done for us is separate us.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  287. todd stevenson

    it means we are continuing a slippage into socialist america. Socialism: yes Obama can!

    March 10, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  288. bhupi

    It means that we may see an end to world war.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  289. Tony DeRosier

    To me it means more and more people are growing up to make their own choices about religion. It seems in the past more people were grown into a certain religion through their parents and thankfully more people are able to make their own choices about religion after educating themselves and realizing the truth, that it's all fairy tale.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  290. Adam

    Maybe all Americans have found the way of the Force.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  291. N. Kumar

    A move away from organized religion should not indicate a loss of faith in this country, rather, we should laud the move from mindless conformity toward an individualized approach to finding God in everyday life.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  292. Erin

    It means that we're getting smarter!! Finally! We can move on and leave the superstition, oppression, hatred, and bigotry behind us!!!

    March 10, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  293. Chrishon - Charlotte, NC

    It means that more people are going to college.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  294. END the Republican DICTATORSHIP Over the US


    March 10, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  295. Thomas Volante

    It means Americans are growing up.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  296. Glen Duff

    Religious? I hope not, it interferes with my faith in Jesus and the God of the bible.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  297. Cale

    It means there might be some hope for you yet

    Vancouver, BC

    March 10, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  298. Eric

    It means that as people are becoming more educated and our civilization advances, they are realizing the truth. Religion has done nothing but hurt us and this planet and it's about time people open their eyes: religion is a sign of weakness and a harmful mindset.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  299. Rick

    Jack....No Religion....less division! Simple and to the point.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  300. Joseph

    It means that more Americans are rejecting dogma and indoctrination, and learning to think for themselves. This is a good thing.
    Joseph P.
    Albuquerque, NM

    March 10, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  301. Jack - Phoenix, Arizona

    Religion - especially organized religion - is an assault on intelligence, usually a lie about the founders and their intentions, and a trick to control pocket books and behavior. It's time for religion to fade into history like Greek myths and the bipartisanship of George W Bush.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  302. Trent Garrison

    Jack, it simply means we are becoming more educated.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  303. Anthony...Swedesboro, NJ

    Look at history and learn. Religion is the ultimate reason for wars, treachery, terror, scientific regression, and downright genocide.
    I'm not wise enough to know if there is a Creator, but I know also, no one else is. Please keep your beliefs in your pocket. I'm tired of being preached to.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  304. Ove

    Yes, I think that's right way: less religion and more real faith or more personal connection with God or Hihger Power.
    I think it's much more beneficial spiritually and healtier to wallet too.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  305. John Brinker

    George W. Bush was guided by religion! Look where that got us. No wonder lots of people have chosen a different route.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  306. Steve, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

    It means that reason still has a chance.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  307. John

    It means IQ scores must be on the upswing.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  308. James Emery

    It is nothing But a Good thing Jack! religion is nothing but Mass superstition

    March 10, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  309. Jacob

    I see a direct comparison to the lowering education, higher crime, and lower morals in personal lives as well as political and business. No I am not for organized religion, but it does give people something to strive for, no just do for the sake of doing

    March 10, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  310. Mark Gillis

    That they are so disgusted with the way right wing evangelical nuts have being attempting to impose their extreme views on the rest of us by tearing down the wall between Churck and State and turning us into a theocratic dictatorship, like the Taliban. The thinking goes like this – if that is religion, then I don't want any part of it.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  311. Nicholas

    It means the United States is evolving

    March 10, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  312. Brian, Vestal

    It means the same thing as the when you see the number of independents is increasing. People are starting to think for themselves rather than follow what they've been told their whole life.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  313. Andrew

    It means we're finally getting into an age of some what critical thinking, enough so that we can reject crazy outdated superstitions that have NO bearing on reality nor ever should.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  314. Kingsley - Georgia

    As a liberal arts education becomes more necessary and common in our country, religious affiliation will decline. I attempted the whole evangelical thing at my university during my first few semesters, but found it too hard to be a science major at the same time. Moderate interpretation of the bible is a nice moral compass, but I can't rely on it to solve every problem in today's world.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  315. Eddie Rodriguez

    I for one say that I don't have a religion. The Lord gave laws and commandments not Religion. To me religion is nothing more than segregation and man created religion not GOD.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  316. Billy McFarland

    The gradual process of National enlightenment.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  317. Tom, Switzerland

    Maybe, just maybe, America is beginning to leave ancient superstitious beliefs behind and join the ranks of modern, civilized and enlightened countries. But I doubt it.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  318. garsduc

    It means we are finally moving in the right direction as a country.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  319. Terrence Decatur, GA

    It means that we are slowly but surely growing up.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  320. Dave Walsh

    It means there may still be hope for a more enlightened nation...

    March 10, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  321. Justin

    Finding out that Americans are living without religion in their lives shows that our country is catching up with the rest of the modern world. I can't believe it has taken this long.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  322. SY, Oviedo, FL

    Where "bigger is always better," people get lost. Same thing...mega-churches! Most of us have faith and belief in a God but despise labels and power structures. Rest assured, most of us have a very personal relationship with our God...no matter what name she or he is given.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  323. Collin Hannah

    It means that the country is going to a place no one every thought it would go. The country will not necessarily be in worse shape, in fact it may be in better shape. But ultimately what is signals is the conflict between evangelical christians and others. We cannot allow radical evangelical fundamentalist to continue their message, it turns to many people off of christianity.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  324. Scott Evans

    The increased rejection of traditional religions is not, as some might say, an indication of the moral decline of America, but rather is a positive sign that Americans are thinking more for themselves and relying less on some "cosmic babysitter" to take care of them.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  325. Trenton, Austin, TX

    It probably means that more people are exercising free thought and free will, not depending upon organized religion to dictate to them how to live.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  326. Michael, Normal Illinois

    It means Americans are getting smarter. Religion is the cause of more troubles than it's worth.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  327. END the Republican DICTATORSHIP Over the US

    It means we have minds of our own.

    We don't need Gold Encrusted Popes or Hateful Preachers telling us what we should believe in.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  328. David in Chicago

    it worries me, as the basis for ethical moral behavior, for most people is religion. without religion, most people are more likely to do what they want at any moment, rather than what they think is 'right.' and i can't say i'm helping, as i'm not only religious, but don't really believe in god either ...

    March 10, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  329. Faye

    I see it as a maturing of intellect. Religion was created by and for ppl 2,000 yrs ago who were puzzled and frightened by the world around them. Science is slowly proving the old testament is a book of myths. To quote Jesse Ventura: religion is for the weak minded. It's never been more true! Religions have fed hypocricy more than any other source.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  330. Ava

    It means we are getting smarter.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  331. Chris P from Minnesota

    To me it means more people are begining to question and think for themselves....

    March 10, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  332. Tanner, San Diego

    It means Americans coming to their senses. We're finally beginning to realize that dogma and stories can't make the world a better place and it is OKAY to say so.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  333. Amanda F.

    It means that Americans are becoming more intelligent.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  334. Janusz Janas

    The day I might start believing is when god sends me a check, whatever amount, that I can cash at Bank of America.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  335. Kevin

    Nothing's wrong with religion, Jack, but less organized religion means America is thinking simpler, something our government should do.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  336. Mike (Ventura, CA)

    It's as simple as can be. It means orgainized religion is no longer relevant to our survival. For the most part religion has halted our spiritual evolution and keep the world at WAR!

    March 10, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  337. Lynne Frances

    It means we are becoming a more rational nation. We are rejecting superstion and magical thinking. And thinking for ourselves!

    March 10, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  338. Michael

    It means that American’s are waking up to the shortcomings of religion and the advantages of rational thought. Information, science and logic are finally starting to win.

    Having no religion does not make you an evil person, it means that you’re reflective and like rational well-thought out answers.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  339. Rikki-Miami,FL

    It means that more Americans are beginning to think for themselves. Accepting what someone dictates to you from a book without questioning and thinking makes you just another lifeless drone. Instead of simply filling the mold, Americans are beginning to realize they don't have to.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  340. william lyon

    It means there's finally some hope for America. Now it only remains for some of our politicians to put aside hypocrisy and join the agnostics —beginning with our new president.

    Madrid, Spain

    March 10, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  341. Anis Benhayyoun

    Education finally shows his purpose

    Amsterdam Netherlands

    March 10, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  342. Adam in Dallas

    Nothing has changed, it's just that more people are being honest about not being religious. The percentage will go higher, when many of the people who claim to have a religion, actually realize that they don't really know anything about the religion they claim they are

    March 10, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  343. cl harper

    All religion is man made- that is why we have so many different beliefs and denominations. Some people prefer to have a spiritual and personal relationship with God that eliminates the middle man – like the preacher/rabbi/priest etc.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  344. James

    i fall into what is probably much greater than the 15% of the population that claims no religious preferences. I feel that as people become comfortable with who they are they become more comfortable with their doubts as well as their faiths and when you reach The Middle Path you find much less resistance and an easier life that isn't focused on the differences between people but the commonalities between human beings.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  345. Grace, Florida

    It means that they are godless, and living their life according to their own conscience and whim. It means they are without God.

    For me, that would be akin to death, as I am a born-again Christian believer and know that my enjoyment in life has increased exponentially since I met Jesus Christ. Come on board all who are weary and heavy-laden and He will give you rest!

    March 10, 2009 at 6:14 pm |

    I believe it means that those of us who know the God of The Holy Bible and love Him have not been the "letters" God's Word would have us be. If we look exactly like the world, what difference is there to see? And based on the religious rhetoric that comes from many pulpits in the USA - rhetoric which is NOT Biblically accurate, I'm glad people aren't engaging. That just means there will be less junk for The Lord to overcome when they do turn to Him.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  347. David

    More people are becoming Atheist, They should be more accepted into society. Some states, such as the Arkansas constitution require you have a belief in a higher being. Doesn't that break the 1st Amendment of Freedom of Religion? And From it?

    March 10, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  348. Naresh

    Less religion is better in the long run, meaning less wars and less fanatisicm in society. Religion has killed more people than all wars put together and still does, it is nothing but hindrance human progess !

    March 10, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  349. Dawn

    Hi Jack,

    I think that it means that human beings are finally evolving into intelligent life forms! Hooray!

    March 10, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  350. Lee in MN

    That is a good part of the reason our country has been going down the drain the past years. Greed and corruption and selfishness have led to this mess. If ever, we need people to have faith and trust in this country Now. Can anyone disagree???

    I believe President Obama is doing things based on his true christian values. What a change..................................

    March 10, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  351. Uno Cervesa

    Jack Americans steering away from organized religion can mean only one thing. "Americans are finally evolving".

    Sincerely Uno

    March 10, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  352. Doug

    Jack, I think it is a good thing people put so much faith in and base so many decisions on mythology is just scary in my opinion, these mythologies served as a means for control and maintaining law and order when they were created 2000 years ago and have been the cause of more deaths than anything in history. i have to say its about time to let it go!

    Tampa ,Fl.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  353. Mike in British Columbia Canada

    It means that most Americans are finally coming to their senses Jack! Organized religion has been the leading cause of almost every war the world has ever seen. Talk about irony, the one thing that was created to save humanity is the one thing that will end humanity. I say the more people realize that leading their lives based upon an invisible creator is ridiculous, the better off we'll all be!

    March 10, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  354. Catie: Lockport, IL

    What it means is that more Americans are able to think for themselves. They no longer require an organized religion to tell them what their morals are. That's not to say that Americans are any less "spiritual". I think maybe they should ask that question next time.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  355. Mike from Lone Tree

    The more we Americans are exposed to scientific truth, the less room there is for religious mysticism. Religion is antithetical to reason. Islamic and Christian fundamentalism have done more to expose the folly of blind faith than the most articulate atheist.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  356. Jarrett


    It means the religious right has had a deleterious effect on Americans perception about religion. If they had sticked to their pulpits instead of straying into politics, the statistics would have read much more favorable.

    Manitowoc, WI

    March 10, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  357. Stacy

    Having "no religion" is people finally coming to their senses that advocating one dogma against another has been the root of almost every conflict in human history – and it's stupid. You can be spiritual without being religious – and do we really need the prospect of Hell to keep us from acting like jerks? Doesn't seem to work anyway. Perhaps we're finally becoming enlightened. Let's hope.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  358. Candace

    The age of information we live in directly contributes to people asking questions. Questions that traditional regligioins gave answers to that were accepted blindly. In additon, our society is certainly more open to individual expression which includes individuals not following the status quo when it comes to choosing their faith.

    Spirituality and faith don't always carry labels. Some chose not to label themselves which could group them together with those evangelical folks who are very adamant about their views.

    Whatever people in America feel like practicing, who cares? As long as it makes them happy. How about we focus on the suffering of American people instead of what they do on Sunday morning.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  359. Ryan

    Society is evolving.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  360. Robert N. Adams

    No religion means a rejection of the concept of organized religion. It may include atheists or theists, but increasingly, ones spiritual beliefs are becoming personal, not driven my some doctrine. Much of what people believe and call religion has become silly at best and dangerous at it's worst.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  361. Rick

    Hi Jack....No religion, no division. Plain and simple.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  362. Chuck

    It means that people are finally starting to wake up. We don't want to live in the matrix any longer. We are willing to accept that the world might actually be as it appears.

    Valencia, California

    March 10, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  363. Christopher E.

    I think it means more Americans are being honest with themselves. At some point, America has to grow up. Bronze Age belief systems only help so much.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  364. Dixie Shaw

    Seems to me it means that the parents are doing a lousy job when it comes to raising their kids. I think this also shows up in their willingness to accept responsibility. Wake up parents, it's not enough just to feed and clothe your children. There are more important things than the labels on their clothes and the toys they have.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  365. END the Republican DICTATORSHIP Over the US

    Religions are just a way to keep the people of the Earth separated.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  366. Mariaelena Raymond

    Money is our god. Dems want it, Gops have it and say it takes remarkably like chicken. Go money!


    March 10, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  367. Ruth Miller

    I think people are just feeling less pressure to conform to traditions in general.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  368. Brian McCarthy

    I think its great-and long overdue-Maybe there IS hope for America after all!
    All my life I've seen organized religious groups and their followers hold back progress in so many vital areas of science and culture.Now I'm not against people belonging to an organized religion,but I resent their influence on American culture and on the rest of us who DONT share their beliefs.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  369. Brenda

    It means that people are finally getting it. Giving up superstition and relying on themselves. It's about time. Now if only we atheists had some representation in the U.S. Congress and if more people had the nerve to say they were atheists and not the fuzzy "agnostic" or "believe in a higher power". Really?

    New York

    March 10, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  370. Joseph

    What does it mean? It means" oh god if there is one, save my sole if I have one" and the hell with everything else.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  371. Griff...... The Truth

    There is a God! Jack Cafferty? My God, is my Mentor. No not you Jack.
    Mine is Fiction. You?
    You may ride out into the sunset. But still no wiser.

    Mine, is my Muse! Yes strange she is a Female.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  372. Christian Haerle

    I think it is not important that people say they "have no religion". All that is important is that people behave morally. I am a Catholic but disagree with a lot of the Catholic doctrine, so some of my fellow Catholics say I have "no religion". I have atheist friends that are totally moral. Perhaps they are more moral than us religious folks because they have no fear of some devil with a pitchfork tormenting them for eternity and yet they understand how to "do the right thing".

    Don't harm others except in self-defense or defense of others, and help those who need help when you can. If you do that, you can skip church and religion (in my opinion) because it is mostly "fluff".

    Christian Haerle

    March 10, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  373. tom from Boston, MA

    Jack, it means nothing. I could care less who or what people worship as long as they are not hurting anyone. Some idiots on here are going to post that they have lost their faith because of religious leaders, and blah, blah, blah. These people are simpletons. I am not religious, but I do not think any less of someone who is. I worship the constitution.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  374. Dylan in Bakersfield, CA

    It means that 15% of americans won't be using a common term I am sure you cannot say on TV to describe this fiscal crisis that is what it means! I would be thinking that religion rates would be going up in our times. everyone needs a shoulder to cry on after all.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  375. Andrew

    it means finally they "see the light" its a comfort not an absolute, Bill Maher has it right in"Religious" NOBODY KNOWS yet it affects EVERYTHING, AND NOT FOR THE BETTER IN ALOT OF AREAS.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  376. tom - Pa.

    I'm a vietnam veteran,and I was the atheist in the fox hole.
    how can anyone believe in a god that allows young men and women to die needlessly in an unnecesary war.
    religious zealots arethe cause of most of the worlds problems.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  377. John

    The American people are finally starting to grow up. No more fairy tales, and no more illusions.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  378. Christine Beatty

    The religious right will doubtlessly blame the media and popular culture, rather than examining how their militant and meddlesome ways are turning off people from God. Time for them to get back to Christ's principles of love, tolerance and a hatred of greed.

    – Christine B.
    Sherman Oaks, CA

    March 10, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  379. Taylor - Atlanta, GA

    More and more people seem to be focusing on things that actually make themselves more secure financially and such. Maybe more and more people are realizing flaws in religion? It's not like we have it figured out. At that, people might simply have lost interest in trying to find a truth unable to be found.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  380. Josh from Texas

    I think this means more people are accepting free, logical thinking as opposed to a religion we've been told we must follow from cradle to grave. Religious figureheads claim we get our morals from the bible, but what they're really saying is we would all be a bunch of crooks and murderers without an ancient (and man-written) book telling us not to. But if we really do get our morals from the bible, why does the VAST majority of prisoners in the country consist of Christians, while very few athiests are incarcerated?

    March 10, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  381. Jake in delco pa

    well i think it simply means that they are finding god on there own. personally i feel closure to god ever since i started believing that none of the religions we have in this world have it completely right.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  382. Nancy, Tampa FL

    I believe it may mean we've found a huge contributing factor to the constant lowering of moral standards...Sodom & Gamoraha sound familiiar? Without an integrated belief system...faith...there seems nothing to lose...so why not? God help us all!!

    March 10, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  383. Scotty

    It means that sanity is beginning to replace the brain-washed haze that religion has held the human mind in for way too long. Americans have been looking harder at religion since 9/11 and now are realizing that religion dogma just doesn't make sense anymore.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  384. naomi

    Jack it means that the bible prophecy is being fullfilled. The Bible speaks about people will turn away from God right before he comes back. Also too many evenglicals are prejudice, mean, judgemental and ignorant. People leave religion because of people in the church but they don't necessary leave Jesus and their belief in him.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  385. Shawn-Illinois

    WOW! I think it means we are in a lot trouble. Everyone should have some type of religion in there life. Even a pray every night would help. But that's why this country is so great, because you get that choice.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  386. Candice North

    Spirituality and religious organizations are not one and the same. You can be a spiritual person without believing in the rules and contraints within specific religions. The hypocracy and radical views on the rise within organized religions is driving people away, but just because someone claims themselves as not having a religion, does not mean they are evil or have terrible moral values. This is a misconception that I receive all the time for not following a religion although I consider myself spiritual.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  387. Bill in Coventry, RI

    It means that more people are using common sense and less are being scared into believing in something that there is no basis for.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  388. Devin


    I think that people are leaving organized religion and becoming more "spiritual" rather than traditionally religious. This only means that the 2000 year old definitions of God are no longer applicable and that people believe they can find God without having to go through a church or a priest. People now find God in nature or through introspection. I think if religion could evolve, you may find people becoming more 'religious." There are community benefits of being religious but without a God that can make sense in the 21st century, people will opt to find God on their own.

    Devin, Boston, MA

    March 10, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  389. Lou from NJ

    Well Jack it means this nation is finnaly growing up. When will this nation realize that it's religion that divides us, creates and esculates war, death, poverty and starvation. Let's all have a revelation and take stock in the human race... in the here and now. Can I get an amen?

    March 10, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  390. Trent Garrison Frankfort, KY

    Jack, it means we are finally starting to realize how silly organized religion actually is.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  391. terry

    We are finally coming out of the dark ages.
    so I can finally put away my voodoo doll.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  392. Sean in San Jose

    Imagine all the things we could've discovered and accomplished if there were less wasted time because of religion.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  393. Matt

    Well according to what organized religion would have us believe, this clearly means that more Americans than ever are destined for hell, and not to mention that Armageddon and then the Rapture are right around the corner...

    It couldn't possibly just mean that Americans are now more focused on their work and on safeguarding their economic future, to spend as much time as they could before on pondering their spiritual salvation... could it?

    March 10, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  394. steve paul,from Owerri Nigeria

    Jack,a man without religion ie religion which means anything worshipable,it could be stone,fire,thunder,animal,water and tree,is like salt without taste.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  395. Donald From Durham, NC

    Religion has proven to be one of the most divisive creations in human history. More people have died in the name of religion and it limits the true potential of human beings. If we aren't hampered by the barrier of who's God is the "true God", it will be a huge step forward in accepting tolerance in others instead of rejecting them for being different. In all honesty, we are all looking for the same thing, but the presence of religion clouds the goal of being more connected to a higher power. Instead it widens the gap of that connection.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  396. Kathy K

    Hopefully this is the beginning of religion stepping out of politics and the laws that govern the United States. I believe the increase in Evangelical Christians has finally shown Americans what happens when religion goes too far in the public sector. Hopefully this will lead to the United States actually becoming the secular nation our forefathers envisioned.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  397. Sharon Warday


    It simply means that more and more of us are embracing the diversity of mankind with a more humanistic conceptual theory than that of an idealogical religious based theory.

    My husband often reminds me of the many wars that have been fought over religion in this world. I then have to queston which of the prophets encouraged war on mankind versus the love of one another.

    Sharon for South Carolina

    March 10, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  398. jordan

    It means that American's are progressing and evolving. Organized religion has been the basis of just about every war in the history of man kind. It's done far more bad than good. Spirituality is personal and does not have to be defined by your Pope, Rabbi, Priest or parents. As humans evolve organized religion will become less and less relevant and personal spirituality will be the guiding principle... and that by the way can carry many of the familiar values from organized religion, but hopefully not all the hypocrisy and baggage.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  399. Kimi

    I'm hoping this means that we as humans are stepping towards true enlightenment: that we, ourselves and each other, are all we have. And that's why we should aim to do the right thing, not for a "heavenly reward."

    March 10, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  400. Coby

    All this means is that the liberal agenda has finally got its' way. Now American values will dissipate, and things are only going to get even worse.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  401. Chad

    It just means people are actually thinking for themselves ( instead of their parents ) and realizing that religion is actually a antiquated and destructive force of humanity and is no longer needed.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  402. Anis Benhayyoun

    Losing you're religion is a sign of intelligents.

    Anis Benhayyoun Amsterdam The Netherlands

    March 10, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  403. ObyWonAmerica

    Heaven may have fewer overweight angels...

    March 10, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  404. Shawn

    It means that people are starting to think more for themselves and use the brain that the reliigious right wants to brainwash. More people are using their brain to figure out our world and lives based on real, science-supported information.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  405. Naresh, Los Angeles, CA

    Less religion is better in the long run, meaning less wars and less fanatisicm in society. Religion has killed more people than all wars put together and still does, it is nothing but a hindrance to human progess !

    March 10, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  406. Roberta

    American's are rejecting organized religion in favor of spirtuality. I think it is ironic that the evangelical christians say that God gave us free will but then reject any attempt by followers to think for themselves. As a former "evangelical" I believe my relationship with God is personal and shouldn't require a political affilation or agenda. IF they wanted more converts they should practice what they preach...you know things like "judge not lest ye be judged'...etc.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  407. Mike

    So many use religion as a pedestal from which they can look down onto others and defend a narrow-minded viewpoint with the only answer to a question being "because that's what the bible says". I can only hope these studies mean we're coming to an age of reason where religious fanaticism will no long be the driving force behind every decision.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  408. Tim

    Americans are starting to realize that all these organized religions that are sure they have the only correct answer are wrong. It is the globalization of religion.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  409. Jason Kelly

    I'm in my twenties and there's only one person in the 100 friends of mine on facebook who attend church at all. More and more people are making decisions for themselves instead of letting it up to chance by placing their lives in "god's" hands. Could this be the era of personal responsibility the religious ideologues have been waiting for?

    Jason in Phoenix, AZ

    March 10, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  410. Katie in Iowa

    Count me in as one of them. I was a Catholic for the first 15 years of my life, but after listening to one particular "holier-than-thou" CCD teacher constantly complain about Roe v. Wade and gay marriage, saying we couldn't support Obama or Hillary... I had enough. Lessons of helping the poor and the disadvantaged morphed into discrimination and self interest.
    If religious people think this is a concern, they ought to look at themselves in the mirror and rethink their message.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  411. Regena

    There's a difference between religion and spirituality. The "practice" of religion has become a con game. People who are spiritual recognize this. Organized religion has become synonymous to our day of capitolism...corrupt.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  412. Ricky from Roseville, MI

    I'm Roman Catholic, and to hear that there are more Americans with no religion is unbelievable. But what does it mean from the organized religion's perspective? For my case, Christianity and Roman Catholicism needs to take a more loving and moderate approach to welcoming new members. With no disrespect to Christianity, there are street evangelists out there who can say that even Catholics and Christians will go to an underworld ("Hell") if we walk with one shoe lace untied. Whatever happened to "love thy neighbor as thyself"? So what does this mean? Organized religion needs major "personality reform" and begin "loving" each other again.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  413. Ruth Miller - Eugene OR

    think people are just feeling less pressure to conform to traditions in general.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  414. Roman Deutsch, Butler, PA

    Apostasy! and you know what comes next Jack. It's amazing, God did say he would destroy the web of nations, did he not? I think our banking system is pretty much history. Just look at our world today Jack. Some fool in Japan comes up with a video game that teaches kid's to rape girls. I think the Second Coming of our Lord is under way...have a great day Jack. I really do like the show. Tell Wolfe keep it up...

    March 10, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  415. Tony in Milwaukee, WI

    Modern times demand more proof than ideology. Hardships and crazy zealots pushing their beliefs on people (see the Republicans and Al-Qaeda) make it very difficult to have any religion in day-to-day life. There's a difference between breaking to rigid archaic rules and avoiding doing anything to another life that is flat out wrong.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  416. Kerry Murphy

    Jack, if this means that more Americans are using REASON to define there place in this world, GREAT! Maybe the religious community in response will need to become more inclusive and begin to seek truth rather than arrogantly act as if they are truth no matter what and then shove it down the throats of the rest of us.


    Oakland, CA

    March 10, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  417. Gary in Maine

    It is a sound rejection of the excesses for the Moral Majority and the shameless exploitation of religion by ambitious and power-hungry politicians.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  418. AJ - Florida

    It means that rationality is seeping into the populace and that we might finally be able to let go of these ancient superstitions and arcane beliefs. Honestly Jack, if religion had its way, the Earth would still be flat, the Renaissance would not have taken place and the general public would be an easily duped mass, barely aware of the world around them....Oh, wait....I guess we're still working on that last one...

    March 10, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  419. Alex in Florida

    Jack it means that we are becoming a more secular nation ...and many people like myself do believe in God but do not consider themselves religious .

    March 10, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  420. Adam

    Maybe Americans are learning the way of the Force.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  421. Charles Helt

    After the religious rights rightiousness, who could consider Christianity as anything but hatred. .

    ...Charles (Tulsa, Oklahoma)

    March 10, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  422. Dottie in Pa

    It means there is hope for our country-finally. Also I would bet the numbers are higher than what you see. We non-believers spend most of our lives in the closet with gays. To me there are two kinds of people in the world.-non believers and non thinkers.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  423. John

    I hope it means that more people are growing up and not clinging to the fairy tales and fear that have caused so much pain and destruction throughout history.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  424. Jack/IL

    If believing in right or wrong is religious, I am. If believing in a particular religion, I have done. Almost all religions from Moslem, Jews and Catholics, have failed their people. No religion should support war or illegal sexual acts. I feel sorry for these religions and the people who continue to support them. Jack/IL

    March 10, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  425. Dana Meier

    I used to go to an Evangelical Bible church, but during the Bush era, things just seemed to change. I was no longer comfortable, I heard hatred, divisiveness, and fear mongering, even if all of it was not overt, it was there and this just left me feeling like this was not what God and Jesus intended. Frankly, I think the right wing Evangelicals are truly turning "cultish". They blindly follow their leaders, even into ugliness, and never seem to question any of it. Simply because they fear the consequences, if they do. Sadly, this falls into the definition of a true cult, and I want no part of it. I am more spiritual than ever, but will not step foot in the church.

    Dana in Rogue River, Oregon, home to 23 churches w/ a population of less than 1500.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  426. Heather NS Canada

    It means that Americans are opening their eyes and their minds and admitting that believing in such a thing that has no evidence or proof of existing is the same as believing in the tooth fairy.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  427. Carol Prinz

    I considered my self a religious person until Bush got into office and showed me how much damage religion can cause, I think people are ashamed to say they are religious now. I still believe in God but have a real prejudice against evangelicals.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  428. George, from New Orleans

    Jack, religiosity and education usually exist inversely in relation to one another. The more we understand about our lives and our universe, the more we divest ourselves of religion. More and more, people are allowing science to light the way. This doesn't mean that folks are no longer spiritual. Maybe they're just exploring their spirituality on a more personal level and sloughing off organized religion. Remember, there was a time when the Church beheaded Giordano Bruno for saying that the earth circled the sun. Bruno was right.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  429. ed

    Maybe the media is partially to blame regarding declining religion. Maybe if we saw a story that made us feel good, instead of death, and mayhem, we might be more inclined to think that there was a gracious and generous God. Right now all I think is how could there be a God that lets all this bad stuff happen. He or She is sure acting mysterious these days!

    March 10, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  430. Irene

    Jack, Maybe people are seeing the hyprocrisy in religion. The fact that politics has been taken over by right wing religious head hunters, who leaders stand in front of pulpits and tell congregations who and who not to vote for. Why don't we reconsider the tax exemption laws for these followers that have so much political voice? Maybe it would put a dent in our deflated economy.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  431. Jim Walker

    The decline in the number of Americans who are practicing members of an organized religion simply shows that the forces of reason, logic, and common sense are slowly overcoming the archaic dogmas of blind faith and superstition. It is also not a conflict to believe in God, yet not identify with a religious group. I think that more Americans are realizing that religions are created by human beings, not by God. As a mere mortal, it is beyond my ability to fully comprehend what or who God is. And, it would be supreme arrogance to suppose that I, or anyone else could speak for Him/Her/It...whichever the case may be. By the way, atheists are every bit as arrogant in their beliefs as are religious zealots. A thinking person will always choose to be an agnostic.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  432. don

    Would someone please explain why one has to go to a church to be spiritual? I wake up and pray to my higher power, while I'm in the car I talk to him/her. And I don't have to worry about being excommunicated from my spirituality if my 9 year old daughter gets raped by some idiot, becomes pregnant and needs an abortion if I should do the right thing. Tough decision, right Jack?

    March 10, 2009 at 6:17 pm |

    all i know is "religion" is the main pillar of your! life! it carves the main paths of your evry day life--the way you walk, talk, make decisions--is definitely guided by your relegious beleifs–

    March 10, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  434. bryan ottawa canada

    sort of makes you wonder if john lennon had it right.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  435. george german

    science and religion are at war................science is winning.............thank god.. no pun intended.
    the big three organized religions represent the idocy and hypocracy lurking in all of us 911 ....the priest scandal involving children.
    most people are starting to see through all of this and as with most other things such as an ineffective gov. are fed up.
    stem cell research...........abortion the list go's on and on.
    church needs to stay there in church. maybe people would start showing up again...... probobly not.
    its abot time we started thinking for ourselves and being a little more prygmatic and free thinking.....

    March 10, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  436. Boots

    That Americans are falling away from organized religion means several things. For some, it's a sign that they live in modern times, not antiquity. Others realize how flawed and self serving the human beings running their religious organizations are. Some prefer to embrace the spirit of religion. That has no borders, no rituals and no enemies – only ethics and a belief in individual moral standards. Then of course there are the rest – you know, those who only worship the almighty dollar?

    March 10, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  437. Sam Maynard

    Jack, If the economy continues to tank, we will all find a little religion, I'm sure.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  438. NATE


    Hearing this only confirms that this nation is in a down whirl spiral straight down the drain.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  439. Donni Melninkaitis

    It means that while we may believe in God, or a Higher Power, or whatever you choose to call him/her, less people believe in the dogma of organized religion. Organized religion is, for the most part, out of step with modern society. Most young women today use birth control, live with their potential spouses before making a decision on a life-time marriage, as any responsible young adult should. These are things condemned by organized religion and to practice the organized form of your religion is to be hypocrite, pretending to believe a dogma that you do not follow. Therefore, many are leaving the "church" behind and forming their own idea of who and what God is and saying their prayers at night in the privacy of their own homes. I say, good for you. This is no longer the stone age. Organized religion needs a reality check up from the neck up. The politics of "exclusion" will no longer work in this society. Only an organized religion that decides to preach "inclusion" and actually practice the tolerance that they preach will survive in the 21st century.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  440. Calpurnpiso

    Jack. We create thoughts, i,e God & delusions of Religious belief with our BRAINS.
    Schizophrenics also believe in imaginary friends. No religion simply means Americans are becoming saner, rejecting intellect stagnating belief in Imaginary friend aka god & other supersititons. We are in the 21st Century not the 12th. Calpurnpiso. Chandler Arizona

    March 10, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  441. Salil Sodhi

    Being ultra conservative and religous is counterproductive to a burgeoning evolving society. The increasing number of independants/democrats and the rise of those who claim no religion means education, science, and common sense are finally making their mark. Organized religion is nothing but an extra curricular activity.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  442. Nigel Bodnar

    Jack, I'm a non-denominational Christian, and find a lot of todays "Christians" hard to take seriously. Christianity is not a religion, it's a relationship. A lot of people are saying religion is causing discrimination. But to be honest, any sort of oddity, or difference will always be discriminated against. No it's not right but this is the way our planet runs. No religion, in my opinion is ignoring the truth, now don't get me wrong I completely respect everyone's believes, but don't agree with "atheists" just because all the alleged atheists Iv talked to, really can't tell me why they're atheists.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  443. Fernando Illinois

    That means being in a diverse nation such as ours enlightened these people to look over the religious doctrines and work together with other people with different religions for a common goal. Religion acts as a barrier for progress and unity. It creates hatred, just look at those people last year that emphasized they will not vote for Obama simply because they thought he was muslim!!

    March 10, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  444. Walter Silveira - New Bedford, MA

    It means that Americans are finally realizing that Christian Fundamentalists are only a problem because the Fundamentals of Christianity are a problem. It means a return to logic, science, and honest discussion about tough ethical issues that isn't bogged down in absurd supernaturalist claims that are based on ignorance and superstition. It means, in short, that America is on the right track. Heres to hoping that other 85% pick up Richard Dawkins' bestseller "The God Delusion".

    March 10, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  445. Curtis Wampler

    It means that the consistent attacks on Christianity have successfully convinced more people that they do not need religion. We are becoming our own god... at our peril.

    Curtis Wampler
    Udall, KS

    March 10, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  446. John

    Simple: It means FINALLY Americans are waking up! Thank you Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Bill Maher and Sam Harris for making believing in things that are supported by evidence and facts, not intuitions and strong personal convictions – respectable again. Peer pressure and stigma have long kept those with Atheist beliefs in the closet. A new wave of anti-theists, in the vain of Lincoln, Edison, Franklin, Adams and Thomas Payne are restoring sense to this misguided nation. Obama just pushed stem cell research back into the fold. Now, if he'd only just come out himself and admit what his mother knew, believing in a personal god is unsupported, unrealistic and unnecessary.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  447. Gloria

    Too much press has been given to Evangelical and Catholic Christians. There is a progressive Christian movement within churches which speaks to "spiritual but not relgious" people today. I wish more emphasis would be given to this movement, and then maybe people would find a faith community they can love.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  448. Mike

    The less religion the better. As one example, imagine the Middles East without religious differences.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  449. Dave of Warwick, RI

    I'm not sure what it means, but I do wonder if the decline in religion and the seeming need of people to seek more government intervention are related. In other words, as people turn less to religion, they may be turning more to government as their savior.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  450. Kelly Tait

    More people are starting to think for themselves and question the legitimacy of man-made religions. I also think many of us are tired of the hypocrisy of many so-called religious people. A decline in religion may also be precipitated by people realizing that they are spending all of their "life" focusing on the "afterlife". We're all going to the same place when this life is over, so enjoy it while you can.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  451. Jay Boston

    I used to have more respect for religion. However, it occurred to me sometime back how many people have died in the name of God. Not any particular God, all of the Gods. It always comes down to my God is better than your God. Religion is more dangerous than cancer, heart attacks and fast moving buses.

    Seriously, How many have died since the beginning of time in the name of God?

    March 10, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  452. Mark Manz

    Well when you have these religous wing nuts, using god's name for hate, for gays, abortion, 9/11, blacks and everything else. And there being caught for being gay or having affairs while married.
    Mexico is being told by the pope, dont use condoms, but there are children living in tent and starving ther, most know thats NOT what god wants.

    Why would people want to join there god club?

    I think most people like me believe in a god, like me. but wont go to a church to be told what god loves and hates like there on the phone with him and actually speak for him.

    If these people would clean up there own life, back off gays and others I think most would be open to god and church, it's 2010 our god does not teach hate, as long as churches and the pope does ameircan will keep getting turned off.

    Mark M
    San Francisco Ca

    March 10, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  453. Gary Blackman

    It means that people are finally coming to their senses and shunning the idea of a fictitious supreme being and all the hate and intolerance caused by the "worship" of such an idea. When mankind finally moves civilization forward with it's best interests in mind instead of superstitions we all will benefit.


    Hebron, CT.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  454. Mark in Osprey FL

    I don't think there are more or less religious people. I think the nonreligious ones feel more comfortable admitting it now. Remember – an agnostic is really an athiest that doesn't want to admit it.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  455. CAT

    Great News! What does it mean? It means finally humanity has realized whether or not there's an "afterlive" doing the right thing, being a good, decent, honest person of integrity, respecting all people and doing our best every day is what's important and it feels good. It also means fewer wars - most wars are fought over religion, land or . . . .let me think. . .what is it? . . . . oh yes. . . . OIL.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  456. matasha j

    less religion and more personal relationship with God in privacy is the answer

    March 10, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  457. Mike- Bordentown,NJ

    It's that more and more Americans are finding loopholes and flaws in the traditional religions. They seem more like political groups with their own agendas, than holy figures doing God's bidding. When we see major religions contradicting themselves on important issues, we start to decide for ourselves what is good for us.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  458. mike

    americans desire intelligence in what they believe... when one in three christians are screaming intelligent design and a close minded approach where their god condemns anyone who doesn't believe what they do, those claiming to be religous will continue to decline as those representatives of christianity rise.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  459. Bobby Logan

    The evengelical movement which has diverted it's efforts from soul saving to politics, and attempts to force others to accept their own personal, warped, morals, has turned people off to religion. I know it worked on me. When someone says, "I'm a christian and I believe...my mind goes somewhere else. I think, Get a life, for Christ's sake!.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  460. Scotty from Louisville, Kentucky

    It means that sanity is beginning to replace the brain-washed haze that religion has held the human mind in for way too long. Americans have been looking harder at religion since 9/11 and now are realizing that religion dogma just doesn’t make sense anymore.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  461. Pam in WNC

    Traditionally, all religions have controlled information about themselves and the doings of the leadership. In the age of mass education and wisespread information outlets, Naughty no-nos can't be hidden easily or permanently. We, the followers, see the petty, cruel and sensless things that are done in the name of God that they can do, but the rest of us would be enternally punished for doing. Who really imagines a just creator endorsing a leadership that says "do as I say not as I do?"

    March 10, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  462. don, Carson City, NV

    I think that we who claim no religion have reached the conclusion that religions don't support a belief in God, but are arranged to further the agendas of the religious leaders. It is not that those of us who have no religion don't believe in God, but that we distrust religions. How can a religion be "the one true church"? Are all others doomed because they believe just as strongly in their religion? Evangelists in particular seem to be determined to forced the entire country to conform to their beliefs. Somewhat like the Islamists.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  463. Joseph

    Based on the comments posted before this, I believe that it means that many Americans are buying into a lie that religion is bad. As a result, those people will justify that it is okay not to "have a religion." True faith and relationship with God is not about the religious wars and political churches one might see. But since that is the extent that some people are looking, which is very shallow, that is all they are going to see. God tells us that we will find him if we "look for him with all your heart and with all your soul (Deut. 4:29)." It seems that Americans are no longer truly looking for God.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  464. Stacey B

    Because more Americans are becoming enlightened! Religion has nothing to do with God nowadays but what MAN dictates God says...hey, ask the Republican Party. There use to be a time when God said Black people were cursed and hence the devil, justifying slavery. Im glad that more americans say they have no religion. It says God is the center of their spiritual relationship than MAN.

    Saint Cloud

    March 10, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  465. Dee in Florida

    Where was this poll conducted? Certainly they did NOT speak to the nutcases who send me various and sundry emails every day about God, Angels, visions of heaven, warnings about the godlessness of America, and telling me of their 'revelations' or 'epiphanies'!

    Maybe the folks who still have religion are too busy ramming it down other people's throats to answer a poll question!

    March 10, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  466. rosemary

    Get it with it people. The world is going to Hell. Everyone thought they had control. See how little we have and how much we will lose. Beg God for forgiveness and get some morals back into the country. Perhaps things will then improve. But the selfish brats we have become it seems only fitting God's wrath will prevail. rose

    March 10, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  467. Eliot J Chandler

    It means that we are maturing.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  468. Bahar from Atlanta, Ga

    American's do have a religion that they believe in.......the United States Constitution..........its pretty sad because law books won't send you to heaven..........but your Holy Book might. Americans need to turn back to their religion because it might help to decline the divorce rates in America, foreclosures, money problems, and sex problems.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  469. Charles Jordan

    The decline in peoples faith is the cause of so many people feeling null and void. "Trusting in God" was the foundation in which America was founded upon and we've taken God out of everything we do, and as a result it has left a sour taste in the mouth of Americans. The percentage of people who said they have no religion clearly shows that many don't understand the difference between religion and relationship. Trusting God is spiritual and not tradional motions. We must get back to having a relationship with God through His Son Jesus Christ.

    Starkville, Mississippi

    March 10, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  470. Rick

    We've had the separation of Church and State.

    Now what is need is a separation of Moralilty from Religion.

    If a common Morality could become the new Religion, then perhaps where you pray, if you pray, or who you pray to would become less and less relevant and perhps reduce the number of wars fought over it.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  471. Murry Bubar

    I believe it shows that the human brain is slowly evolving from the dark ages into the 21st century. The fundamentalists will fight this evolution tooth and nail until the very end.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  472. Gary

    Personally, there is a difference between the term "religion" and "spirituality". As a teenager who is spiritual, the term religion causes a sharp divisiveness due to figureheads and stereotypical images of those who attend frequent mass. Your question is not a statement of more becoming Athiestic of what have you. More and more Americans are either trying to find this spiritual aesthetic themselves or are drawing themselves away from religion in general to focus on the contemporary troubles that ails us all.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  473. James Emery

    and has only been a plague on humanity for thousands of years

    March 10, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  474. Gavin Coble - Canby, Oregon

    I think people are fed up with the churches putting beliefs where they shouldnt even be mentioned. Domestic Policy, Foreign Policy, and especially the big one, Politics. People like Ted Haggard who had weekly calls to the our own president obviously forgot and dismissed the fact of "Seperation of church and state." People realize now, that the church is forcing its beliefs on a country who want to think on their OWN. I'm 17 and my life has shown me that religion has become corrupt and not based off its original ideals.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  475. Gene, Mills River, NC

    This is only a problem for the Christians.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  476. Brian

    It is the human condition to hold a religion; what we do everyday. Americans have abandoned the old religions of compassion, and replaced it with the mutual fund/gold necklace/SUV religion.
    (Did you notice all the poor people, in Elkon, lining up for food, inside their brand-new SUVs?)
    This is an off-world, religion, heading toward a dead-end.


    March 10, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  477. Tim

    This reflects a growing tendency for Americans to identify themselves as "spiritual" but not "religious." This is in part an instance of individuals wanting to define themselves rather than allow religious leaders and congregations to define them. Ultimately spirituality is about one's own understanding of "God" and "reality" anyway. And you can sleep in on Sunday.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  478. Craig Chilton

    So-called "evangelicals" do precious LITTLE evangelizing - which is spreading the gospel. They are too dedicated to unbiblical agendas that seek to destroy valuable personal liberties of tens of millions of people, to take time to carry out Jesus' "Great Commission." So it's no wonder that non-Christians, in the face of all that high-profile hypocrisy and intolerance, would rather attend a rat fight than have anything to do with becoming religious. Ergo, America is becoming less Christian - and the so-called "Christian" Right probably deserves much of the blame for that.

    –Craig, in Evansdale, Iowa

    March 10, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  479. Bahar from Atlanta, Ga

    American’s do have a religion that they believe in…….they believe in the United States Constitution only……….its pretty sad because law books won’t send you to heaven……….but your Holy Book might. Americans need to turn back to their religion because it might help to decline the divorce rates in America, foreclosures, money problems, and sex problems.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  480. Ron - Oklahoma

    We see more and more hate and intolerance spewed from the mouths and actions of the extreme religious right every day. When the group that claims to follow Christian beliefs to the letter strays so far from the love and tolerance preached by Christ, is it really any wonder that the number of people disconnecting themselves from those hypocrites is growing by leaps and bounds? Who can blame them for fleeing from a firestorm created by idiots?

    Ron from Oklahoma

    March 10, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  481. Gary in Maine

    t is a sound rejection of the excesses of the Moral Majority and the shameless exploitation of religion by ambitious and power-hungry politicians.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  482. Joe

    It means that Americans are finally growing up and out of this dependence on superstition, myth, and fear. The Universe is glorious enough as it is. It needs no explanation other than the right incredients, time, and chemistry and physics. Organized religion always and in every case reduces itself to I am right and you are wrong. And, in it's worst form it says... as a result of the fact that I am right – you do not deserve to live.
    When this virus infects politics it is a recepie for disaster... Right wing fundamentalist, evangelical nut-cases are as bad as the Taliban.
    Religion should be private and left out of the public domain. It should never be compared to science and should be left out of government.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  483. Andrew in Toledo


    It means that more people are starting to realize that you do not need to have religion to be a good person. I think more people are starting to realize that Rush and the extreme right are nothing but a hypocrytical hate group. The religion that they preach has nothing to do with being a good person; it preaches hate towards minorities. If it were up to the religion group; black people would still be sitting in the back of the bus, women still wouldn't be voting and gay would still be considered a disease.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  484. Warren Maley

    This is a good thing Jack, individuals without religion are free to be more 'moral' than those governed by the rules of religion. In the absence of religion one can rely upon reason and science. Supporting life becomes the guiding principle.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  485. mary amundsen

    Just because people say they have no religion does not mean they are immoral or have no spiritual philosophy. We all need to figure out the importance of our life and our legacy.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  486. C.J.

    It means that people are finaly waking up. Americans are finaly starting to understand that saying the magic word when the bells ring at the holy hour doesn't really make a difference. Now people are finding their own ways to connect with god, without having a brutal taskmaster to breath down their and tell them to worship their way, or else.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  487. Bill R. Streator, IL

    Maybe this Universe will show to the ones watching scientific justifications to scriptures in the Bible as a vision that we all can share investigative ideas, when given enough time to discover. The Big Bang theory is proving to be the standard. Each galaxy has its own sway in movement, and therefore we can establish a detail to our own. Many minds are continuously working to predict our outcome on this planet, yet other systems may have more to do with life here than anyone could imagine.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  488. Sindy

    It means the Conservative Christian coalition has succeed in turning all us sinners away. I should send them a Thank You card because my life has been so much better without religion.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  489. Arty Stoltz from Hawaii


    It just means that Americans are collectively realizing that the most faithful in this country and around the world have also been the most dangerous, hateful towards others, and obstructionist in terms of human progress.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  490. Nancy, Grand Ledge,MI

    The radical right has turned off many by spewing hate and venom. Gay bashing is not the message of Jesus. I've had this discussion with my children and grandchildren. They do believe in the message of helping the poor and healing the sick . Young people are very willing to help in disasters like Katrina. Preachers like Joel Osteen and Joyce Meyer are tremendously popular. They speak of Hope! Too many organized religions are sending the wrong message.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  491. Col. Karl Moates DFM

    I suggest those without religion are spiritualy myopic at best, for their's will assuredly be the "3rd" choice.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  492. Daniel

    Non-religous people have a view of the world that no other religion has, a certain type of relief. Not feel the need to cling to all these different types of religion. Religion seems to cause a certain types of terror on people lives. You have to live a certain way to get to this wonderful place when you die. I'm just not buying it. Reality is wonderful and I live every day in the moment. I think people have gone way from that somehow 🙂 so smile and maybe you will feel better

    March 10, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  493. Nick Colella

    It means that more Americans are embracing rationality and empirical wisdom over the illogical and non-scientific foundations of religion. Like it or not, there is absolutely no historical or scientific evidence that supports the mere existence Jesus Christ. Moreover, the story is plagiarized (mostly) from the Egyptian story of Osiris and Horus. The only scientific fact is that no one really knows.
    – Nick Colella
    Bradford, PA

    March 10, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  494. Bob in Dallas

    Hello Jack,

    I was raised in a Luthern family. My parents were very engaged in the activities of the church. I agree with the life lessons taught, but I have come to the conclusion that the world is older than 3000 years.

    My education in science and astronomy have brought me to the conclusion that existing organized religions were created in an age when people needed an explanation for things they did not understand, and religion gave them that answer.

    With what we have learn over the last 3000 years in science, the answers we now have conflict with many of the stories promoted by religion.

    I do not doubt that all the stories in the bible are somewhat factual. I just think there is more to it than what religion holds out.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  495. Scott - Rose City, MI

    Perhaps it means that we can finally pull ourselves away from the petty, simple-minded politics of the past and start debating about the truly important things in life. You know, like the economy, health care, and the future of our nation. Religion played an important role before civilization advanced into modern society. It is now an irrelevant relic of forgotten times. We simply don't need it anymore.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  496. Mac Randolph

    I believe that the contrasting rise of Evangelical Christians and the quickly declining populations of organized religion will result in a separation of beliefs so strong it will tear the country apart. I am not religious and have been accosted many times by Evangelicals telling me, my beliefs will result in me being condemned to hell. This has pushed me farther away I think many Americans feel the same way. It seems like petty attempts at manipulating large amounts of people and much of the populous has moved passed that.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  497. Beau

    Growing up in the south, I was always taught by my parents and family friends that it was not ok to not have a religion. My family would not let me play with other children who came from non-faith families. Now, some "new school" families are not going the way of their old school parents. Most "new school" parents and families are burned out on their parents' values and not going down that one way street.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  498. Casey - Palm Springs, CA

    God and religion are mutually exclusive. Each religion systematically brainwashes to teach that "their" religion is the only one that counts and that others, whether religious followers or not, are lesser. For this reason, each and every religion is nothing more than a cult using God as a leveraging point to generate revenues–how blasphemis and disrespectful! Who's to say that Reverend Moon is "lesser" than the Pope? You tell me, what is the difference when you boil it down?

    If I wanted to be extremist I'd make the case that reliigion is the work of the devil (gathering masses of people together under the auspice of "holy" and "moral" behavior with the intent to pit them all against each other to create the anhiliation of mankind), but I won't.

    And, just for the record, treating others as second class or "lesser" is THE most immoral behavior imagineable.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  499. Raj

    Jack, I'm not saying I'm an atheist, but isn't having "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance forcing Christianity on non-Christians. Isn't having "in God we trust" on the dollar bill forcing religion on other people. A majority of this country maybe Christians, but not all of us. Atheist Church in UT don't get a tax break like Christian Churches do. Isn't that defining religion, and since when can the government tell me what my religion can and can't be?

    Raj Patel
    Indianapolis, IN

    March 10, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  500. Carrie

    Having grown up in the Evangelical Lutheran church in the 70's & 80's explored life, I've realized I am more of a spiritual person. Religion, I've learned is more rigid with very little growth. It boils down to ceremony and people walk the same walk. There's more and more puppet and pulling or you're not wanted.

    Being a spiritual person, one is able to weave with life and even subject themselves to the ideas of steaming from multiple religions. And focus on the things that most religions say about treating one another with love...the humanity of it.

    It's not religious...and rigid, because it's a journey. I opt to walk with life, not stand still.

    Easton, Pa

    March 10, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  501. Dane

    Churches are great; they bring people together and support important societal values like community and giving. Religion, however, often leads to unwarranted division between those who would otherwise stand on remarkably similar ground. I expect the current religious trends in America to break down the walls between people that religion creates.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  502. Victor

    There is no greater turn-off from religion than the proven hypocricy of how the religious right sheepishly and naively embraced the Republican con of caring about religion while just using them to achieve the end game of power grab. As is usually the case with the religious flock, it will sadly take some time for them to realize how they have and continue to be used by the religious bombast of Republicans

    March 10, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  503. Bette S Baysinger

    I believe it means that more people are discovering that religion is based on fear of death so rejecting it, and also that our consciousness does not die (we do not die although our experience as us ends) as there is a conservation of information involved. There is more to reality than meets the eye, and many people are discovering this at this juncture in history by experiencing it for them selves. Religion has less evolutionary value for consciousness than it used to, although as a belief system it is useful for those that need it, and as I understand is used for comfort at experience end here.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  504. linda

    GOD is LOVE. This very simple premise, actualized, heals the sick.

    Unfortunately, human make this simple premise complex, by materialising it. The premise is Spiritual.

    I know this; Not believe it to be true. I know it to be Truth. It is the
    science of christianity. tested. proven. Our greatest demonstrator & teacher by example (Jesus) continues to be misunderstood by most of the world, because humans believe him to have been an anomoly.

    He was a man. A teacher. A perfect example of LOVE demonstrated and made manifest. We've all failed his class. We have little faith.

    Faith requires inspiration, trust, hope, charity & imagination. We must radically change our minds from material to spiritual (as Jesus did) in order to manifest everlasting LIFE.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  505. Regina Emaikwu

    I say it is because the world is coming to an END!

    March 10, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  506. Jeff W.

    I'm delighted with these new findings on the decline of organized religion, I never thought I'd se it in my lifetime. There are most likely many reasons why people are rejecting organized religion – between countless high profile priest sexual abuse cases and two wars being fought for ridiculous religious reasons, among other things, I don't understand why more people aren't rejecting it. I'd like to believe that people are finally beginning to reject Bronze Age thinking altogether and are finally realizing that basing decisions upon a 2000 year old fairy tale filled with magic and superstition might not be the best way to lead one's life. I am so thankful that science is back in the White House. Eight years of catering to religious nut-jobs is 8 years too many. Ultimately this decline in religion seems to suggest that we are finally maturing as a country.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  507. Craig

    Well, I hope it means that more Americans are finally shaking off Bronze Age superstitions, born of fear and ignorance, whose greatest contribution to history has been measured in body counts. And whose most recent gifts have been violent know-nothings like the Taliban and George W. Bush. As they say: No one ever killed for non-belief. I would have liked you to report the percentage of Americans who say, not merely that they have no religion, but affirmatively that they are atheist. Thanks for the report, though. This is important, fundamental stuff.

    – Craig
    Atlanta, GA

    March 10, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  508. Gail

    Many Americans in my opinion ever really practiced their religion in a fervent way, so it doesn't surprise me that they could lose it so easily!
    I also feel that too many Americans live a feel good, when things are going good type of religious experience and when things go wrong, instead of turning to God, they turn away.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  509. Richard in Colorado

    It means that people are finally using their brains instead of letting some preacher tell them how to live their lives. They have woken up to the fact that most wars (including terrorism) are at the very least, used as a reason for starting a war. Organized religions are the leading cause of overpopulation in the world and it is obvious to me that overpopulation is the cause of many of our most serious problems like global warming and famine. Water will be thle next serious problem caused by overpopulation and the major religions will be at the forefront of the cause.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  510. John

    Thank goodness that at least a few Americans are able to throw off the shackles of ignorance and superstition!

    March 10, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  511. Nigel

    It means people are more and more believing in the ways of sience and are changing their purpose in life from following a holy book, to looking after their family or just experience life the way you are supposed to. Well how are you supposed to live your life then? Well just have some fun and pleasure when you are able to and be serious when you need to be. This all is possible because of the results of a less prudish society thanks to technological progress. And don't get me wrong, but I find you Americans quite prudish and stil a little too religious in my eyes.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  512. Ron Bradley

    I believe what is happening is that there is a shift away from the belief in an anthropomorphic concept of God, a god that causes both good and evil, as many religions espouse. While there is a decline in organized religion there is clear evidence that there is an increase, especially among the young, in a quest for spirituality, those qualities that bring true happiness–love, integrity, selfless motives. Could it be that the source of these qualities is the God we are all looking for? They certainly don't belong to any one religion.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  513. A BGuerra

    No religion means trouble. When man believes he is the only one capable of controlling the world – politics, environment, science – he is competing with God. Pride always gets us in trouble. And not recognizing God is only the beginning of society's deterioration. I am a practing Roman Catholic and committed to leave this earthly world a better place. Why are we concerned about the youth not listening to parents and elders when we, the elders, don't listen to that deep voice in our hearts called the soul. What are we afraid of? Blessings!

    March 10, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  514. Chris Haakenstad

    I think this poll is very encouraging. Religion creates close-minded individuals and often breeds hate. Religion has often been a point of dissent and violence in world history and when religion plays no part in our government, lifestyle, judgments or personal beliefs, we will all be better off. As religion loses its hold on the population of the United States, there will be a more accepting and tolerant community.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  515. Memory Ryan

    As one who chooses to follow no organized religion, I can only speak for myself. My exit from "church" was not occasioned by the many good people who were there but by the divisions occasioned through man made "rules" and inherent prejudices, such as not fully accepting people or issues such as gays, immigration, life vs. choice, etc. People just got way bent out of shape in their belief that they were exclusively right, through what "we",as opposed to what "they" do or believe. My exit was a conscious one and through it I found a deeper and wiser spirituality filled with individuals and groups I now know who hold fast to the one commandment Christ left us...Love One Another.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  516. Mike, FL


    I left church years ago when it clearly became a click and all about our church. It is too me now just a country club, which wants money to promote themselves and not help the community for which it resides.

    Church = Money=Greed=Selfish=Bad behavior=Hypacrits!!

    Too Bad too!!

    March 10, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  517. Gary

    As an aetheist my first thought is its about time, but perhaps the economic disaster we are in has made some folks realize no supreme being is helping us out. The number of Catholics staying the same is suprising – the widespread molestation cases should have made them wise up and run – Gary in Miami

    March 10, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  518. Maria Miolan, Los Angelesa California

    seperation between church and state is right around the corner jack.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  519. Jeanne

    It's called evolution, Jack. Slowly, slowly, people are realizing that myths and folklore are less real than actual science.


    March 10, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  520. Corey - Burlington, Ontario

    Jack, it represents a shift in the way Americans think about religion, religious people, and this wonderful world we live in. The people and the nature around us, and the evolution that brought it all here, is pretty fascinating all ready without the idea that a god created it. Perhaps we will no longer have to associate "being good" with being "religious" and leaders like John McCain, the poor guy, won't have to disguise their cynicism towards organized religion and this god character.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  521. EB

    Having no religion, doesn't mean having no moral compass. Some of us draw our guidance from the philosophical teachings behind the religion rather than actually believing in the divine. Common sense, moral tales, real live role models of good people, and plain old fashioned thinking also contribute to forming that moral compass.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  522. Dude

    The extreme religion and capitalism of the last 8 years has made people realize that they don't need to believe in anything invisible, whether they be gods or hands. It's the 21st century America, let's wake up and move on from outdated ideas. It means we're realizing that we have to build and evolve society. Hopefully.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  523. Joe Kohen

    I am Jewish. I used to be an agnostic. Then I came to believe in a Higher Power. Then I came to believe in the biblical God of Abraham. At one point I became a Bahai because I believed in the unity of all religions. Then I stopped being a Bahai, and I became a religious Jew. I, myself, disagree with many things about the Jewish faith. Many people I speak with have a negative view of religion and God. I think that organized religion has caused the opposite effect of what it was intended for; instead of bringing more people to believe in God, now more people are against believing in God. I think that this new information should be a wake-up call to religious movements, that they should re-evaluate their methods, their doctrines, and their approach.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  524. Ryan B.

    Well jack, I think that it just means that people are taking the phrase "Freedom of Religion" too seriously.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  525. Godfrey . Lagos ,Nigeria

    Religion has truly become an unwanted opium to feed on the illusions of the people.How can religion continue to thrive succesfully when the Papacy and other organised religions enjoy a tremendous amount of wealth .
    The man who initiated Christianity "Jesus" did not even own a house.The cross has become a money exchange symbol for some so called churches .it is selling faster than FOREX ;And we are not blind not to notice the many contradictions of the pulpit ,the scriptures and humanity.The scriptures has become a tool for avaricious reasons and not for the enlightement of mankind.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  526. Von, Charlotte, NC

    Religion has been used to justify slavery. It is now being used to justify witholding rights to homosexuals. Religion in the middle east has created many deaths through suicide bombings. Christianity is essentially a part of the republican party. Using god as the reason to mistreat people only serves to turn people away from god. Morality should be the focus for our nation. Contrary to popular opinion, one can have family values, love their country, and be moral without religion. Religion has become tantamount to a parent saying "because I said so" when asked why? I believe in god but I'm not arrogant enough to proclaim I know which god is god as many religious fanatics proclaim. There is a reason why our founding fathers separated church from state. Unfortunately, despite their intentions religion has penetrated our government policies much to the detriment of our country.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  527. Deborah in Grain Valley,MO

    It was inevitable for the religions to merge, which is what's happening. The internet lifted the barriers of religion, causing Americans to identify with other religious sentiments. This, I believe, has caused many to favor no deity at all. We live in an emerging era. World Wide Web has changed humanity.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  528. Dave

    Just my opinion, but, I'm sick and tired of so-called 'Holy Wars', 'Jihads', and other nonsense that derives its arguments specifically from religion. $10 billion a month in Iraq, we'll still there, and I'm supposed to believe that religion plays NO part? An argument could be made that religion bears some responsibility for unravelling the hopes and promise of possibility that this world is capable of.

    Seattle, Wa

    March 10, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  529. Larousse

    Well, Jack, something had to give. I am just thankful that the rest of the nation is waking up from this long euphorical dream

    Athens, GA

    March 10, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  530. mary h leech

    How can there be peace in the world with Christians believing that only through them can God be reached. This leaves out the Jews, the Muslims, and all other religions, even when those religions are simply another way to reach God?

    March 10, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  531. Brian Horne


    Brian Horne,

    March 10, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  532. Victor

    What it means is that we are continually moving away from religion. Once upon a time we used to believe that are illnesses were an act of God. None of use would despite the science of the human body and how we get sick today. Science has left a lot of people questioning religion. This has been a gradual development over the past few generations. Few of us are as religious as our Grandparents were. The real question is how does a movement away from religion affect our moral values? Religion is has been historically good at maintaining social order in societies. I have no idea what could replace religion.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  533. Jackie Cannon

    Reduction in organized religion is a good sign to me. It means perhaps that we are now more willing to take responsibility for our own actions. Research by Jane Goodall and others have shown that chimps, an therefore humans, have bilogical hard wiring for altruistic behavior. Humans are responsible for what happens on our planet.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  534. Cynthia

    Hopefully it means that more people are realizing that you can be a moral person without being involved in organized religion.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  535. Manda

    I would be interested to see how the data fell according to age group. I am in my twenties and I have noticed an increase in atheism and agnosticism among my peers. I think it reflects a dissatisfaction with the corruption that has come to light in many mainstream religions. I also think many Americans are turned off by the fierce political activism and large donations to causes like Prop 8 by mega-churches. I believe many American Christian sects have tried to wage a war against science, as if religion and science have to be mutually exclusive, and this rubs many Americans the wrong way.

    I was raised a Roman Catholic and left the church in my teenage years. I always believed in a higher power but did not subscribe to any religious beliefs until recent years, when I became a Tibetan Buddhist (so I guess that would put me in the category that does not believe in a traditional western idea of "God"). It was a result of growing up and questioning what I had been taught my whole life by the church. When I was old enough to ponder the "big questions" I realized my beliefs did not line up with my religion's.

    While it was not the driving reason behind my departure, what started me on my departure from the faith was the Catholic church's position on reproductive rights and homosexuality.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  536. Patrick from Bäle

    When a religion, a sect even a race's task is over, its continuing struggle to be a leading influence over a group of people will only contribute to a regression of the progressive evolution of the rest of mankind.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  537. C.J.

    It means that people are finaly waking up. Americans are finaly starting to understand that saying the magic word when the bells ring at the holy hour doesn’t really make a difference. Now people are finding their own ways to connect with God, without having a brutal taskmaster to breath down their throats and tell them to worship their way, or else.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  538. Cheryl Tatum

    Let me preface this with that I believe that there is a sentient order that is in every living thing in the universe – everything is connected and every thing's actions impacts every other thing's existence (whether they like it or not).

    Considering that God is the biggest myth ever propagated against mankind, this means that people are now relating to each other as fellow human beings with all of the baggage that human beings carry, as opposed to what the religious institutions preach – e.g. 'they are sinners going to hell and you are to avoid/condemn/ex-communicate them' (typical Evangelical reaction) or 'they sinners and you are to kill them' (typical extremist Islamic reaction). We are finally rising above this crap and deciding to love each other – wrinkles and all.'

    March 10, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  539. Jack Reed

    It hopefully means Americans can recognize that people with no religion are still generous, productive and patriotic citizens. Now maybe atheists and agnostics will have their own civil rights struggle.

    American writing from South Korea

    March 10, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  540. Manda

    Hopefully this departure from religion will lead to a genuine separation of church and state.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  541. Lacey

    People are not letting themselves be brainwashed by certain religions anymore. They are drawing educated conculsions by themsleves instead of having the chuch tell them what and how to believe. They have a religion, but it is not organized–yet.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  542. Ruby

    It means that we have become a Nation of ruthless people, caught up in our very temporary exixtence on this earth. Mankind has become too smart to his own detriment.....this Nation needs much prayer. May God help us all before time rolls into eternity Only prayer can change this nation from this ungodly direction ....


    March 10, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  543. Sue

    It's very encouraging to me to think that more Americans are choosing rational free thought over mythology and superstition. One thing that study didn't mention, though, is the geographic distribution of the non-religious. There is a definite polarization in this country as certain areas, such as the South, remain highly religious, while the rest of the country advances. It isn't any coincidence that these areas are also the last strongholds of the ultra-conservative Republican party, and religious hate groups such as Focus on the Family.

    Sue in Jackson, Mississippi

    March 10, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  544. Bill

    I'm 51 and have been a non believer my whole life. I grew up in the south before the days of Evangelicals. I know live in Seattle because over the years the Evangelicals have become hate mongers instead of lovers of there fellow man. People are leaving the churches because most people prefer lovers to haters. Same reason for the decline of the right wing haters in the "republic" party.


    March 10, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  545. Colin

    "Guess their life is pretty empty. No God, No Life!!!!!! " REALLY,guess again!!!!!!

    Just try my life,I'm a commited atheist living in the Philippines,I'm 66 and work hard producing ten tons of meat to feed local people! God? I havent got time for delusions!

    March 10, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  546. Stephanie

    I believe the trend toward spiritualism as opposed to organized religion reflects a trend away from dogma and toward acceptance, cooperation and understanding - rather like Obama's hope for bipartisan (or better, nonpartisan) solutions.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  547. Daniel - Utah

    It means it is possible to be an American and an Atheist at the same time. Hopefully, With more of us around people will get to know who we truly are and abandon the myth that an absence of faith is the same as an absence of morals.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  548. Tom

    It means that Bill Maher will become the voice of America, Republicans are getting farther and farther out of touch with the rest of us, and we should tax churches just like every other business.

    Indiana, PA

    March 10, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  549. Justin in Tennessee

    It means that people are starting to get smart. Researching religion and realizing how man has created it as a justification for being or living. People need to research other religions and other made up Gods. They'll see the similarities of other Gods that existed way before Jesus and his Father. Prayer is therapy. A way to express your inner desires in an outward motion through verbal means to someone who listens and won't tell others your secretes. People need to wake up and realize that God does not exist.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  550. James R. Buch

    Many Americans say they believe in a God. However, until we define
    the word GOD, a statement like this is meaningless. Which God?
    There are millions of Gods so what does this statement mean?
    Every person on this planet has their own perception of a God since
    God is a "mental image." God cannot be defined if you require only
    facts and verifiable information in the definition.
    James R. Buch

    March 10, 2009 at 6:28 pm |
  551. Ben Goodman, Palo Alto CA

    People understand that the fundamental choice in life is between promoting the greater good or living as a parasite. Once that choice is made, all other religious dogma is nothing but politics, tools for those in power to stay in power. Religion is the source of the worst ideas in history, such as a divine reward for acts of violence, and a divine preference for one group of people over another.

    People are becoming enlightened to the realization that religion and other traditions are quagmires to be risen above, rather than wallowed in. The future belongs to those who stand up to a world that tries to shape them into something they are not, who recognize that every man and woman has the ability, right, and responsibility to think for themselves and question everything, to let no one speak for them.

    The good intentions of our ancestors to pass on to us traditions that perpetuate the status quo along with all of its evils, is a cycle that needs to be broken, and forgiven.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:28 pm |
  552. Daniel - Salt Lake City, Utah

    It means it is possible to be an American and an Atheist at the same time. Hopefully, With more of us around people will get to know who we truly are and abandon the myth that an absence of faith is the same as an absence of morals.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:28 pm |
  553. Jeffery, Toledo, Ohio

    I read USA Today's piece on this survey yesterday. As a practitioner of Wicca, I was pleasently surprised to find that our numbers have nearly doubled over the last twenty years, and stunned to find out that we now outnumber Muslims in this country, and are about equal to the Jewish population. This is pretty remarkable for a faith whose followers make no attemt to "convert" people, or even keep a list of menbership–until now, we didn't even know with any accuracy just how many of us there are.
    But the growth of the number of people who call themselves atheist, or just say that they have no religious faith troubles me. My question to these people is that if you don't believe in a power greater than yourself, what do you believe in? I don't know who said it, but he/she was a true visionary–"if you don't stand for something, then you'll fall for anything."

    March 10, 2009 at 6:29 pm |
  554. Richard (The Netherlands)

    It´s a good thing that very religious countries like Israel, Iran and the US will become less religious. In my opinion religion is a succesful genetical illusion that helps many people to live there lives more easily with the purpose they need. This is the possitive side. The negatives are that people with a certain look on reality will have other drives to do things. Their motivation is based on a sort of make belief and if they take it for real their motivations can become more extreme. Therefor religious ideas are at the base of most terrible conflicts and less religious countries are most of the time more peacefull. This because people are often more realistic and not living their dream to the extreme. This is my ´belief´.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:29 pm |
  555. James Papastamos

    If you think more and more Americans are without religion, don't complain. It's even worse in Canada, where Christianity is on its way "out" as politically incorrect. If we are without religion, it is because we have become Godless in our efforts deny the truth: that we are NOT masters of our destiny, and that there IS a higher power – a power that set these laws of nature, laws of physics, of evolution, in process. Without religion, we become reckless animals. I credit the Muslims. They never stop believing. If only we Christians could actually practice what we preach, eh?

    March 10, 2009 at 6:29 pm |
  556. AJ, Potsdam, NY


    I would hope that it means more Americans are eschewing dogmatic beliefs – and the bigotry, the hatred and fear that come with them.

    As the late Jacob Bronowski put it in his magnificent series "The Ascent of Man," "There is no absolute knowledge. And those who claim it, whether they are scientist or dogmatist, open the door to tragedy... All knowledge, all information is imperfect. We have to treat it with humility."

    And that knowledge MUST be based on observable, measurable and reproducible reality – not blind faith.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:29 pm |
  557. Michele from Michigan

    I believe in the basis of the teachings of Jesus Christ. I do believe is that most religious leaders have their own personal agenda. They consider what is important is how they can keep their parishioners paying for their support. Jim and Tammy Bakker, changed my view of how religion works. When they came on TV crying to have the followers help pay for the $40,000 kitchen re modeling on their property.

    We all have our own bills to pay. When you expect people to cover yours is where we all have to draw the line. Jesus Christ took only what was necessary to survive in Judea. Today the religious leaders need to live a lavish lifestyle which is unconscionable. Because the contributors for their lifestyle usually cannot afford to feed themselves. Also these men who consider that parisioners are their playthings. Should be arrested just as any prostitutes john or pedofile would be legally.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:29 pm |
  558. Charly

    Jack – look at all the hatred that organized religion brings to the world. I, personally, want no part of it and can't understand how some super being would want to be affiliated with it, especially when they do not practice its teachings. What a bunch of hypocrites.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:30 pm |
  559. Henry Pennymon

    First of all, Websters dictionary defines religion as superstition, believing in something that is based upon fact. The apostle Paul wrote in Ephesians the 4th cahpter that their is only ONE faith, One Baptism..... The fatih that Paul spoke of was given to him by divine vision and relelation which he refers to in 2nd Corinthians the 12th chapter where he explains how that he was caught up unto the 3rd heaven and saw and heard things that were unlawful for a man to utter. In the eleventh chapter of he Hebrews he clearly defines faith as the "substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen," not a blind, personal beliefe as many are being taught! If I tell you that the Apostle belived in Yahweh Elohim through his son Yahshua the Messiah, you say what? My point exacltly. People have not been and are not being taught the truth (as the savior proclaimed tha he is, so how in the world are they to believe in somthing that they have not heard? He asks in the the 8th chapter of 1st Corinthians How is it that that knowledge is NOT in every man.?

    March 10, 2009 at 6:30 pm |
  560. Alex Alban

    It means that Americans are finally realizing that religion is a tool to control the masses. Atheists in the U.S. will soon be heard instead of ignored.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:30 pm |
  561. Phil Stooke

    All Americans are atheists – believing in a non-existent god is the same as believing in no god, it just feels different.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:30 pm |
  562. Carole - Illinois

    I've been an atheist until I was about twelve and could THINK. IT MEANS WE ARE EVOLVING!!! If one were born alone on this planet and able to survive without interaction of already established civilizations of previous humans, one would find absolutely no reason or evidence to even vaguely suggest any sort of god in one's environment either in nature or in thought. There is not one naturally occurring shred of evidence or even hint that any god was ever here or existed at all. It is only from man's own desire to explain mystery to himself that such stories have evolved. It is the epitome of arrogance to believe that we are of the image of a supreme being who 'made' us in his own image. It is an idea of man to exalt himself by inventing god. Religion is based on fear and ignorance.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:30 pm |
  563. Mike- Bordentown,NJ

    Religion is something that man needs to explain what he does not understand. As more and more Americans embrace science and what it CAN explain, the more people are going to find religion obsolete and nothing more than a primitive way of making people behave when there is no authority figure around.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:30 pm |
  564. gerald

    Religion is usually equated with morality. The religionists would have us believe that without it we become an amoral or immoral society. Yet a recent survey conducted in Denmark and Sweden puts the lie to that shibbolleth. It turns out that morality exists in those countries along with a minimal impact of organized religion. Do people want to believe in a higher power? Its whatever taste people want to cater to. Regardless biological mortality affects all of us.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:30 pm |
  565. Dan in Colorado

    People are finally coming around to the fact that the multibillion dollar invisible friend industry is a fraud.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:30 pm |
  566. A.Lafle

    It means that more and more people don't believe in fairy tales.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:30 pm |
  567. Brad

    Because in this modern age, less people feel like they have to believe in a book written over two thousand or more years ago by a bunch of men. In which, they excluded many other stories of the time that did not fit the message they were trying to put forth and tried to suppress and or kill any person who did not accept what they were trying to sell. Hopefully, we can start to get past religion and the millions or billions of deaths it has caused...next up is money...

    March 10, 2009 at 6:31 pm |
  568. Josh

    That's easy, Jack. People are becoming more sane.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:31 pm |
  569. Rob

    Which statistic is more alarming – that 30% of Americans don't believe in God, or that 30% of Americans don't believe in evolution?

    March 10, 2009 at 6:31 pm |
  570. Judy Ahrens

    I think that the Non Believers feel it is finally their turn to be counted, especially in a country that is a Secular Nation not based on Christianity as has been professed loud and clear for so long that people that don't know any better believe it.....They point to the Pledge Allegiance and in God We Trust on our money as PROOF...Does anyone remember the Joe McCarthy Era.??????


    Mt. Vernon, Iowa

    March 10, 2009 at 6:31 pm |
  571. Beth

    The liberals must love this. With the demise of Christianity, government will become the new religion. So continues the decline of Western Civilization...

    March 10, 2009 at 6:31 pm |
  572. Richie, Hillsboro, Oregon

    Because religion is mostly about hate and intolerance. God is about love and tolerance. Therefore, religion is not about God.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:31 pm |
  573. Marilyn

    The old answers in the "good books" have been proven wrong by science. People are waking up and seeing organized religion as the businesses they really are. If you look at the history of churches on an individual basis you see they all were created by man in an effort to control others. Like Bill Maher says " if I don't know that there is a God, then you don't either because neither of us have supernatural powers".

    March 10, 2009 at 6:31 pm |
  574. Ted

    It means that maybe, one day, I can tell my son anyone, no matter their religious beliefs (or lack of belief) can become president.

    Riverside, CA

    March 10, 2009 at 6:32 pm |
  575. Lucas

    Religion's fundamental function in our current sociaty is to provide social stability. Organized religion is no longer the main educational and social base for our lives. We live in the Information age and are finding our place to exisit with the church. More and more people are asking questions and not accepting blind faith as the answers. Also, people are tired of religion holding back scientic progression.

    Lucas in Oklahoma

    March 10, 2009 at 6:32 pm |
  576. Lee Sweet

    As the world gets smaller through communication, thinking people
    find it impossible to believe just one religion out of millions can be
    the ultimate truth while the rest are wrong. What is especially
    preposterous is Evangelicals being conservative while claiming
    to follow Jesus, the most famous liberal of all time.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:32 pm |
  577. Karl from SF, CA

    A priest friend told me years ago, if you think Washington has politics, try the Vatican. I think young folks aren’t raised in a religious environment because many parents work 2 jobs and religion is secondary. I left the Church years ago and just deal with God direct. It’s a lot less complicated.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:32 pm |
  578. Aneta

    It means that people are waking up and prefer facts and science over fear mongering and dogma.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:32 pm |
  579. Thor Halldorsson

    Maybe americans are finally learning something and growing upand that there might not be a god. Look around you and enoy the heaven your on, help a friend and be thankful for the earth.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:32 pm |
  580. AJ

    It means that we're getting smarter and unafraid to be honest about it.

    I'm the son of a Born-Again Lutheran and a Sikh, my wife is Catholic, my ex-wife is Jewish....my sons are whatever they want to be...like me!

    The greatest scam from time immemorial in human civilization has been organized religion. Finally, Americans are realizing that its OK to believe science and to choose to believe individually in a God or not.

    Organized religion puts us into "Clubs" so non-members are non-believers and this is the biggest root cause of all human conflict.

    The more we accept each other, no matter what we believe, the more civilized and happier we will be.


    March 10, 2009 at 6:32 pm |
  581. Betsy Whitfill

    Religions, as institutions, are loosing their grip on the population because they no longer meet peoples' needs. Also, more and more people know that the Christ has returned, and is not a member of any existing church.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:32 pm |
  582. Tommy CA

    Why are less people religious? Probably because of the dissemination of information on the internet. Religion is just accepted superstition passed down from our parents. I want to know why people are religious when really there are no facts other than man made books filled with outright lies and inconsistencies.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:33 pm |
  583. Carl- Shakopee, MN

    It means maybe more Americans are becoming freethinkers, realizing how unnecessary religion is, especially the organized kind, to be a good human being. Not living your life based on what some supernatural being may or may not do to you in the afterlife based on how you lived. Maybe theists are tired of the corruption, hypocrisy, and discrimination that goes along with some belief systems.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:33 pm |
  584. EugeneWiese Midlothian,Va.

    To me it means that fewer people know God and have less understanding about the difference between right and wrong. Children should be taken to church school and church at an early age(this should be true for all religions) this is the best way for children to know God and have an understanding about the difference between right and wrong. Without moral law,free will can cause chaos,sound formiliar? I am a Theistic Evolutionist.I believe in a Christian God and Evolution is the way God did it. Gene

    March 10, 2009 at 6:33 pm |
  585. Doc

    It signifies America is growing up and putting away childish fables and fairy tales. We spent the last eight years locked in religious limbo, ignoring science and progressive thought, substituting instead the personal feelings of Governor Bush and the right wing evangelicals. At what point in our global history do we throw off the yoke of the inane, dangerous and divisive man made apocrypha in favor of reasoned and rational thought free from the attachment of superstition?

    March 10, 2009 at 6:33 pm |
  586. paul

    The church makes it really hard to belive in God.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:33 pm |
  587. Tracy

    We're getting smarter!! Maybe our state government here will loose interest in religion. Maybe then they will allow the public to vote on the selling of alcohol on Sunday's.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:33 pm |
  588. Ryan U

    maybe if these wing nuts, would live the life the preach people could believe.
    They says gay is a sin -some are gay and thats ok
    They say sex before marriage is a sin--– there having affairs
    They say give to the church--–there living in million dollars homes as we suffer.
    They say dont let mexico use protection, there not doing anything as children starve and cant be fed
    They say god loves you if you only do this, there out doing that and the other thing.
    There full of hate, there full of things god never said, and They pushed Americans away because we got sick and tired of them telling us whom we can love, and how to live our life.

    We live, we respect god and love thy neighbor.

    we just do it on gods terms not these nuts that preach there own words never gods , and these nuts that follow them and hurt in the name of there so called god!

    America Has had enough hate, and we need more of the real god!

    Ryan U

    March 10, 2009 at 6:33 pm |
  589. Corey in Liberty, Missouri

    The fact that being irreligious correlated with the increase of evangelicals points to an ineffectiveness of the evangelical movement. It is a sign that the preachy method does not work. Maybe their numbers would rise if they focused less on "do this, not that" and more on "Love Thy neighbor as thyself"

    March 10, 2009 at 6:33 pm |
  590. Nick Colella

    It means that more Americans are embracing rationality and empirical wisdom over the illogical and non-scientific foundations of religion. Like it or not, there is absolutely no historical or scientific evidence that supports the mere existence Jesus Christ. Moreover, the story is plagiarized. It is an exact replication of Mithraism, which was in existence over 2000 years earlier than Christianity. The only scientific fact is that no one knows.
    – Nick Colella
    Bradford, PA

    March 10, 2009 at 6:33 pm |
  591. George

    Jack, it means that many people who were religous are turning against it. It could be that many mainstream religions have given up making an effort to try better understand their own religion, their communities, and how to relate to people with limited exposure to religion in general. As a christian, I am sometimes taken back by the unnecessary intensity and gross-ignorance of would-be evangelists. The rise in so-called "evangelicals" and coresponding fall of republican intelectualism in the face of it only proves that hyper-emotionalism is no substitute for basic rational thought and genuine human empathy. To put it bluntly, if the Davinci Code is the first time you've heard of the First Council of Nicaea and it scared you, write Jack and tell him you are the answer to his question.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:33 pm |
  592. Harry Lime

    "Organized" religion always has an agenda, often it is self-serving and does not match up with morality. Much harm has been done in the world, and continues to be done, in the name of religion.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:33 pm |
  593. Arron Pinkney

    Religion for what?

    We free ourselves from sin! For example, if a drunk wants freedom from alcohol, he simply stops drinking. He doesn't visit AAA or pray to prophets and priests. We overcome sin by eliminating those things which cause us to sin. This is why "Religion" , the belief, is fading. While "Religion" ,the way of life, is flourishing. Why pray to Jesus when i alone control my own eternal outcome? This is a factor as to why some Christians are stuck in a physical state of idolatry and the focus of their religious being is in disarray.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:33 pm |
  594. KDR

    I haven't been "frightened" away from being a passionate Atheist by Bush, though I've been made to feel less American. Now that the mini-
    Renaissance of the Age of Obama's intellectual enlightenment has restored science, rational thought, and logic to the fore, we're able to engage in meaningful debate about the meaning and nature of the universe. One can start being honest about one's religion as well as one's politics. As many people are moderate, it's little wonder that agnosticism is becoming more prevalent.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:34 pm |
  595. Rebecca C.

    The drop in religious Americans simply reflects the rapidly changing society. That most of the people who calimed no religion but did believe in some form of a god shows that people have become independent enough to question the power of church over their beliefs.

    Prattville, AL

    March 10, 2009 at 6:34 pm |
  596. Toby in OK

    Thank God for secular enlightenment!

    March 10, 2009 at 6:34 pm |
  597. OBDAG in Appleton, WI

    When people say they have no religion it means those of us that do need to continue to work harder to assist those still looking to find religion. I have felt I am religious most of my adult life and know that it has carried me through some extremely difficult times in my life. There is not a day that I don;t take time to have a conversation with God and it makes everyday more enjoyable. I encourage those that say they don't have religion to take time to learn about various religions and see if one doesn't seem to fill a void in their lives. Let's also remember that being a Republican does not mean you have a religion, it just means you are lost and need a lot of religious help. If you come to my church I'm willing to welcome you and help each of you learn about God – you're welcome anytime.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:34 pm |
  598. Chris

    To me, organized religion is the #1 cause of war, violence, and suffering in human history. It has been at the root of most major wars and is at the heart of our current war on terror. It causes people to focus on chastising and attacking people who do not believe the same, or who are breaking the laws of one's religion.

    At it's heart, most religions do teach peace, love, and caring for one another. But in action, they cause nothing but pain.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:35 pm |
  599. Mary J.

    I believe there's a difference between "religion" and "faith". To me religion is/can be attached to a specific denomination, but has nothing to do with one's faith - faith in God or a higher being. I'm fortunate to be affiliated with a Methodist Church who follows the teachings of God to take care of and share with our families, each other, the poor, our neighbors and those we can reach in the world wide community. This sharing and caring is done without any expectation of reward, except to know we've done something good for someone else. My faith is a very personal thing, and can't and shouldn't really be attached to a "religion" or denomination.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:35 pm |
  600. paul

    I suppose it's a sign that America is finally maturing. Faith is a poor substitute for thoughtful self-reflection. Too many people opt not to think for themselves and, instead, parrot their religious leaders. But so many of these institutions - especially the Catholic Church - have proven to be morally bankrupt and not worth following. Plus, religious organizations are increasingly out of touch with the realities of most people's lives. It's a multiple incentive to exit organized religion and begin doing what we should've done all along - think for ourselves and look inward for affirmation.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:35 pm |
  601. linda

    My religion is Gratitude first, "Thank you, God, for what I am about to receive".

    This is what Jesus taught by his example. He never wished us to worship him.

    When we whole-heartedly follow his teachings, we will reap his rewards.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:35 pm |
  602. Doc

    It signifies America is growing up and putting away childish fables and fairy tales. We spent the last eight years locked in religious limbo, ignoring science and progressive thought, substituting instead the personal feelings of Governor Bush and the right wing evangelicals. At what point in our global history do we throw off the yoke of the inane, dangerous and divisive man made apocrypha in favor of reasoned and rational thought free from the attachment of superstition?

    March 10, 2009 at 6:35 pm |
  603. michael

    It means LIberals have finally bad mouthed religion and won the war of faith. Now lets see what happens to the world now that our kids will grow with less morals.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:35 pm |
  604. Eric

    As the son of a retired Roman Catholic priest and Irish Catholic nun, I have watched the decline of organized religion carefully. I believe we are entering a new Age of Enlightenment! We can map the human genome and calculate the age of our universe. We can clone cells and soon will unlock the potential of stem cells, all without the assistance of our clergy. These are scientific realities. Jesus, Mohammed, Buddah, and Abraham were all real, and excellent philosophers, but we as a human race have spent far too many years and destroyed far too many lives arguing over divinity. And for what? So preachers can drive fancier cars; so the pope can live in a bigger golden castle? All religions have abandoned their leaders teachings and corrupted the minds of the easily led. Everyone, save your 10% and just be kind to your fellow man. Help out those in need, and study science and medicine, and just stay home with your loved ones on Sunday. If there is a god, he already knows how you feel.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:35 pm |
  605. Lucas

    Religion’s fundamental function in our current sociaty is to provide social stability. Organized religion is no longer the main educational and social base for our lives. We live in the Information age and are finding our place to exisit withOUT the church. More and more people are asking questions and not accepting blind faith as the answers. Also, people are tired of religion holding back scientic progression.

    Lucas in Oklahoma

    March 10, 2009 at 6:35 pm |
  606. Simone

    Jack , it means that a majority of Americans are tired of being demonized for their personal choices epesically from those who hold religious ideologies. I'm a person of faith, yet I understand their are individuals who hold seperate beliefs from me and as much as I disagree with them, they are still entitled to their personal decesion. People like me need to respectfully disagree and not force religion down people's throats!! This is especially true at the governing level. What ever happened to the seperation between church and state!! Personal Faith and Public Policy should not mix if we a nation of many faiths. Just as God gave us free will, we must give others the same opportunity.
    Coral Springs, FL

    March 10, 2009 at 6:35 pm |
  607. Ronus- Ann Arbor, MI

    People nowadays are too busy to think about what religion or what their beliefs are. There is so much stress with all the unemployment, housing market, and so on. It also would mean that they do not believe in a certain religion. For example, they don't believe in what Christians believe or what Muslims believe. They don't think about those things.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:35 pm |
  608. Roxane from Hancock, MN

    Jack, it could mean that the Religious Right who love to mix church and state are scaring people off. I have a couple of friends who fit in that category and their beliefs sure scare me.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:36 pm |
  609. karen

    Maybe now as being an atheist, people will stop harassing me. well i can hope anyway.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:36 pm |
  610. Dave

    The real reason why more and more Americans don't have a religion isn't because they don't believe in God anymore, it's that they don't believe in dogmatic institutions that demand money (in the case of the Catholic church to pay off rape-accusors) from their faithful to go to causes that they don't believe in. Most "religious" institutions anymore are more worried about paying Moral Majority-type lobbyists in Washington than actually doing something worthwhile. If you pay attention, you'll see that there is a sharp rise in non-denominational churches and communities throughout the nation that reflects the rejection of radical churches that care about only putting out their own agenda and gaining more money than spreading the Word of God.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:36 pm |
  611. Chris from Austin

    One word Jack. Bigotry!

    Every Christian think they are better than the other Christian and the other is going to hell. While on the same breath, they are teaching others about being Christ-like. Go Figure.

    The younger generation are sick of this bigotry and this trend will start increasing.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:36 pm |
  612. Justin

    People are more self-aware these days. The advent of the information age has allowed many to experience alternate lifestyles and religions. More knowledge gives people more options. Now, instead of blindly following however one was raised, people now have the ability to see different points of view in the world.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:36 pm |
  613. genek1953

    If people say they have no religion but still believe in a God, it means they have no faith in those who claim to represent the God they believe in.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:36 pm |
  614. Phil Barone

    Why less religion? Because, look at what organized religion has done.
    The evangelicals will commit muder,elect Adolf Hilter to stop abortion but love executions and believe only "their kind" are right about anything. The catholics are basically the same on abortion but also hide pedophiles and some really wacko priests. The muslim will kill anybody to advance their goals. Protestants have so many branches who knows what they believe, maybe they should vote.

    You actually think that any sane human being should follow these sick people

    March 10, 2009 at 6:36 pm |
  615. Ryan (Maryland)

    I blame technology. People want instant satisfaction. With Christianity, the real prize comes at the end of our lives here on earth...people these days don't want to wait for that prize at the end of their lives. They'd rather have the little prizes now (drugs, ability to curse, extra-marital sex, etc...) than be eternally rewarded when they pass on.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:36 pm |

    Jack, You know that People Hunger for the True Knowledge of GOD!
    Right Winged Neo-Conservative Republicans Have Been Exposed as Organized Religion + Phony Religiousity by the Likes of "Sean Hannity + Rush Limbaugh Beck Babylonian Baloney-ism; Shouted From the Colloquial Nosebleed Balcony of FOX SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS-ism. A-MEN!

    March 10, 2009 at 6:37 pm |
  617. JP

    Who says more Americans say they have no religion?
    What about Jack Cafferty , Paul Begala and other Obama worshippers chanting ‘Obama’, ‘Obama’ day in and day out?

    March 10, 2009 at 6:37 pm |
  618. Vern, Denver

    Religion (especially the right-wing and evangelical arms) just seem to be another self-absorbed lobbyist movement – and Americans generally abhor self-interested lobbying groups.
    As the government becomes less secular, our "faith" in the righteousness of religion drifts accordingly. Thomas Jefferson had the right idea, keep religion out of government .

    March 10, 2009 at 6:37 pm |
  619. Shelley, SLC UT

    Too many "leaders" (and I use THAT term loosely) who profess to be pious on TV and then are really sleazebags in private.

    Find me a compassionate organized religion that accepts rather than excludes....

    March 10, 2009 at 6:37 pm |
  620. Jason

    I'm from Michelle Bachman's (sigh) district in MN and a proud atheist. Good timing of this article, as I just watched Bill Maher's "Religulous" last night on DVD. Reasons to be a proud atheist:
    1. Moral compasses can come from more places than a church or a priest, or a best-selling book.
    2. Hypocrisy and the twisting of religious teachings for benefit to create a "godly" side of the American political spectrum is dispicable.
    3. Many of the things the lead figures of religions stood for are in direct opposition to what their present day followers do. WWJD? He'd kick some hypocritical butts all over this country and the world that's what...if he existed as a higher power.
    4. I don't believe in talking snakes...thanks Bill!
    5. God could just use a really big megaphone and talk to everyone at once instead of talking to everyone individually in private...or in that phone booth thing the Catholics have...what's it called again? A Penalty Box? 2 Minutes...High Sticking on Lucifer.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:37 pm |
  621. KJ

    I see it all the time...I'm a christian myself. I see people who claim they are christian, but turn out to be hypocrites. You got ministers doing wrong in many ways...money, sex & greed. Then here come's the GOP...they say they are christian conservatives, but are quick to look out for #1 and look out for the the rich instead of the people who really need help. People are so confused right now.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:37 pm |
  622. Neil Curran

    It means more and more of us and getting tired of being told 'God works in mysterious ways' when there are school shootings, hurricanes, tornadoes, pointless wars, need I go on?

    March 10, 2009 at 6:38 pm |
  623. Salus in Ann Arbor

    Sad that "thinking" more means you have rationalized lack of religion as ok. You can't think away your mortality just as you can not think away God. There is going to be a housing bubble in purgatory in about 60yrs, has the US population forgotten Pascal's wager? I would think in tough times one would focus on family and religion, realizing that money means nothing.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:38 pm |
  624. Ray

    I am and agnostic. I have long believed in a God or something greater than us. When the pope was sick and could not fulfill his obligations, but did not give up his position I knew then that man was using religion to fulfill his own egotistical needs.
    When Pope John Paul died I thought that a God had died. People start worshiping the man and not the God they started believing in. Americans are starting to believe in themselves, this is good.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:38 pm |
  625. Lydia

    It means I stopped believing in Santa when I was 7, God when I was 12. Now if only the religious right when get out of my business, hypocrits, phonies, and hate-spreaders that they are! I hope the numbers grow and grow until those of those that have the intelligence to question silly indoctrination don't have this forced on us anymore! It was once thought insane to question that their was a God of War and Wind. Those who believe and believe without question are in the same boat.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:38 pm |
  626. John in Paradise Valley, AZ

    Jack – it means that more Americans have come to accept that life is what one makes of it, that one creates his or her own hell or heaven on earth in his or her own actions and that the concept of an omnipotent deity that controls everything is old time superstition.

    It is about time, now let's do what is right for it's own sake – the Golden Rule applies.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:38 pm |
  627. Sean

    What does it mean? Hopefully that more people are thinking logically and fewer are believing in magic. When one believes in magic, they can be convinced of anything.

    I should note that there are some very good people who are religious, but there are plenty of us who are not religious that are just as good. You don't need religion to tell you what's wrong or right, just a little common sense and honor.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:38 pm |
  628. miles

    It shows societal progress that people choose the framework of science and reason to guide their understanding of the world. More and more people are largely spiritual and ethical being while not needing the institute of religion to guide their lives.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:38 pm |
  629. Will- Kentucky

    It means that humans are finally realizing the absurdness and stupidity of religious ideology. People are now understanding that "God" doesn't do anything for you, that "God" is a concept created by humans to either justify the right to power or enslavement or to find a false sense of security in their lives.

    Ultimately, this is terrific news for all of the world, now that we are starting to break out of the shell of religious dogma

    March 10, 2009 at 6:38 pm |
  630. Bruce

    Americans are rejecting religion because we're finally figuring out that religion was created by MAN to control MAN. Too many instances of priests molesting alter boys, evangelicals building amusement parks and flying around in Gulfstream jets while their parishoners can barely afford the electricity to watch these vampires on tv. There is a reason why the preacher calls it his flock...because he hopes we're sheep and will dutifully follow along and not think for ourselves...oh, and we'll give him our hard earned money so he can tell us how to live our lives...while he is seeing the male hooker using that same hard earned money we gave him. What a joke and I pity those who still blindly believe the drivel they spew. God has to be watching us and wondering how all these ridiculous interpretations actually sell to the public.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:38 pm |
  631. Jason, New Jersey

    After being raised as a Catholic, I began to question the teachings of the church and came to the conclusion that religion is not meant to be taken as literal as people take it. The theme of catholicisim is to be nice to others and do good things. I can easily do that without going to church for an hour every Sunday to read a work of fiction (ie the bible) and sing songs.

    I've seen too many "very religious" people who are bad people to think that being religious has anything to do with being a good person.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:39 pm |
  632. Brian in Long Beach

    It's because people are finally admitting that having "faith" or otherwise believing in fake things has no meaning or value. We, as a race, demand proof for everything, but not for the existence of god–a very troubling inconsistency in our dialogue.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:39 pm |
  633. lared

    The waters(the people of the nations) are drying up that the great harlot.....Babylon the Great (world empire of false religion.....is sitting upon.--–Revelation 17,18

    March 10, 2009 at 6:39 pm |
  634. April S

    It's because there is no proof that any one particular religion is the truth. No one on this earth now knows where human life began and the only proven facts come from science.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:39 pm |
  635. Ian, North Carolina

    Hi Jack,
    It means Americans are finally waking up, using their brains instead of their bibles and recognizing religion for the hoax that it is. It’s great to be peacefully and privately spiritual, every person is spiritual in some way, but organized religion is irrelevant and I say good riddance. If I never see a church, mosque or temple in my life again, I’d be just fine and so would the rest of us quite frankly. Religion is a cancer on society, it creates ignorant ideology and limits our progress as a peaceful and intelligent global society. Why do you think nations go to war? People have been hoodwinked for far too long.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:39 pm |
  636. Juan Oquendo

    Juan Oquendo, Lakeland, FL
    It means that people are starting to understand that religion is part of the problem and not the solution. Christian dogma has been at the root of all of the worlds wars since the birth of Christanity. If you look at history from the days of the Crusades to the expulsion of the Moors to the Holocaust to the current state of terrorism, it's no wonder that religion beliefs have wained.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:40 pm |
  637. Larry Green

    I was saddened when I heard Barack Obama say we are no longer a Christian nation....I am an American because I was born in Delaware, but in my heart I am a Christian...I believe the United States of America was formed and based on Judeo-Christian values that tolerates all people in our country, but that does not mean we are no longer a Christian nation. I hope my fellow Americans will read their Bibles very carefully as this international stage is being set.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:40 pm |
  638. Joseph Hill

    I'm originally from Salt Lake City and consider myself a "Former Mormon."

    Education and the plurality of information the Internet has facilitated since the late 90's has built a larger sense of skepticism in our culture. It's still small compared to most developed countries, but it's growing.

    I can say with certainty that this dynamic led to my paradigm shift.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:40 pm |
  639. Judy Bell

    it means a move toward introspection and common sense and self-determination...all desparately needed in this challenging time. I don't have to belong to a church to be deeply spiritual and practice faith in the Creator/God/Supreme Being...whatever. Going to a church on Sunday and listening to a preacher tell me what that particular religion claims to be the truth has almost nothing to do with why we are here and how we should be living. Take a lesson from our Indigenous friends and treat the earth as our mother, share what we have, take only what you need, and look inside yourself for answers.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:40 pm |
  640. cyries

    jack are you suprised, look into the history of the church,full of conspiracy and today homosexuality has polish the inmorality of the church. All evils things seems to come from religious group.couple with all these, what will i belief in? may be an empty church buildings is more godly than the people inside.i belief in nothing.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:40 pm |
  641. Terry - Winslow, AZ

    Which god should we believe in? The Christian god, who blesses war on the Muslim god, who sanctions war on all of the other gods?

    I'm confused.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:41 pm |
  642. John

    Jack, I think more Americans are coming to realize that faith and religion can be two entirely different entities. Faith doesn't judge other religious beliefs by its own set of standards. Religion on the other hand judges other sects different than its own, usually with disdain and irreverence. Religion is responsible in some manner for nearly every war or act of terrorism that has ever been waged. I find it odd how people can be so sure in their religion that they feel justified in committing acts that make a mockery of their faith. Besides, no human has ever answered the question "Which came first the chicken or the egg?". Faith is a good answer and doesn't get caught up in all the trappings of religious persecution. John in Montgomery PA

    March 10, 2009 at 6:41 pm |
  643. Dee from St. Louis

    It means that Americans are beginning to see organized religion for what it is – unregulated business – and they are divesting from it. Why would people want not want to grow and transcend antiquated belief systems? Hopefully more and more will choose to see their spirituality as a journey of evolution instead of a struggle to remain shackled to centuries old practices and beliefs that no longer serve them or their needs.

    Many, like myself, separate religiosity from spirituality and I am a big proponent of the latter. Although I recognize that, for some, religion can be the springboard to spirituality, too often I think the two get conflated.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:41 pm |
  644. justin

    Religion is merely mythology that people actually believe. I think more Americans recognize that the emperor has no clothes! Too bad, there is a lot of money to be made in religion these days!

    March 10, 2009 at 6:41 pm |
  645. Clyde Farris

    Perhaps it's because we're learning the difference between myth and fact.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:41 pm |
  646. Chris

    It means that people have seen the amount of damage done to society by the unforgiving, unkind and unjust religions of the world and are beginning to reject them. They are all based on simple stories, originally meant to control the masses by their leaders. People are finally questioning organized religion and finding their stories failing. If you believe in God and you see such a higher power as a benevolent being, then you don't think you are superior in any way to any other person. You aren't automatically going to heaven if you go to a certain church or believe a certain way – it's naive and pathetic. People are growing out of it.. Finally!

    March 10, 2009 at 6:41 pm |
  647. Nathan

    It means they're finally realizing that religion is not necessary for a strong sense of morality and ethical conduct. People were humble, moral and ethical for thousands of years before the advent of religion. I have no problem with a tolerant, open-minded faith of any variety, but saying that your religion has the exclusive claim to "truth" and to look down on or condemn others for their beliefs is to perpetuate all the things that work to make religion a negative as opposed to a societal positive. If you need to be afraid of punishment before you're helping others, maybe loss of faith in your country isn't your biggest moral problem.

    In other words, for all you religious out there: you don't need a God of any kind to be a good person in any way. Not that it hurts, or that I'm necessarily against it. Just keep that fact in mind before you condemn others.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:41 pm |
  648. Jacob

    It means that Americans are growing up and not believing in fairytales that were written over 2000 years ago. If these people actually read the bible and researched its history they would know how ridiculous it is. For instance, almost everything about Christmas is from pagan traditions. The story of Jesus is very similar to other prophets from earlier religions.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:41 pm |
  649. Kathy

    I don't believe polls. You can find a poll to say anything you want.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:42 pm |
  650. Joe B, Arkansas

    it is finally becoming socially acceptable. We no longer have to pretend that we are something that we're not.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:42 pm |
  651. A

    Means that many people are tired of radicalization of any religion. Religion, what used to embody a stencil for someone who didn't have proper morals or ethics now serves a tool for manipulation. Religion is separating mankind, instead of bringing everyone together. Evangelicalism is to Christianity, as Christianity is to the rest of the world's religions.
    Its all the same stories, "I am right, you are wrong; I got to Heaven, You go to Hell; I must save you, if I cant your my enemy?"
    Yeah that sounds like great logic....good luck America??? good luck humankind!!! this problem is larger than just 360 mil population within in these 50 states!

    March 10, 2009 at 6:42 pm |
  652. Dave

    Most of the 'Christians' one sees in the media, come across as godless. Take Bush, if he is the Devil incarnate, I don't know who is. Mostly, Christianity is a tool that is twisted to the ends of those who would do evil in this country.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:42 pm |
  653. Emerson

    It means that people are being offered more choices in what they may or may not believe in, with less stigma if they choose to believe in something other than the majority. I find this refreshing, as I don't subscribe to what everyone around me is constantly pressuring me to believe in, and I've always been uncomfortable when people try to convert me. I don't try to convert church-goers to my way of thinking, why do they find it proper to try to convert me?

    March 10, 2009 at 6:42 pm |
  654. Lara Braish

    I believe more and more Americans feel disconnected to any fiber dealing with unity. We live in a country that has been over materialized, over consumed, and filled with too many individualistic thinkers who have forgotten what is truly important in life. Ideology has overcompensated morality for several years now creating a discourse in which lack of religion is the norm.

    Southern California

    March 10, 2009 at 6:43 pm |
  655. ray

    I think when the usage of Atheism gets thrown into the mix it confuses all..we need to realize that Deism was much more dominant and what the founding fathers had in mind...please don't confuse Atheism with Agnostics or Deism....for the progressive and analytical thinker, Deism has all the answers and what I believe more and more people can associate with rather than Atheism.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:43 pm |
  656. Joan: Burlington, Vt

    We need to distinguish between belonging to a particular religion and having a personal relationship with God.

    Sometimes a "religion" can let us down - many times that is due to other members or the clergy's weaknesses not being what a person is looking for in a community of believers.

    Our own personal relationship with God is just between ourself and God and no one can interfer - so it either flourishes or dies depending on our own nuturing of it.

    When our personal relationship with God is so tied up with a religion and that religion lets a person down then that person tends to say they no longer believe.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:43 pm |
  657. Phil

    Like a lot of things in the world gone bad – the combination of money, power, and control have corrupted.

    religion can be healthy its the organizations that need to change.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:43 pm |
  658. Bob Mutch

    Man created God; not the other way around.

    Humans are getting smarter (trust me on this), so we're beginning to become embarrassed of our creation. Some though, can't "put away childish things"; and that has led us to our violent moment in time. It will come to pass.


    March 10, 2009 at 6:43 pm |
  659. William in PA

    It means that our society has evolved yet again. We will no longer accept something as a "truth" just because a religious figure says so without any proof. We finally understand that religion is not the source of all that is morally right, and that common sense does just fine.

    Remember how we as a human community threw out Divine Right of Kings centuries ago? This is just the next step.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:43 pm |
  660. Charles L. Clarke

    Religions have always struck me as kind's of "Ponzi Schemes".

    Wow Christianity takes the cake. Jesus is the Bastard son of a god that Killed billions over millininia.

    Basically most religions start out with telling you their beliefs and asking you to join, then when you don't. Hey they offer you streets of gold and in some cases lots of virgins. Then if you don't believe, they threaten you with a satan an lake of fire. Hey sounds like another Harry Potter book to me. But if you resist the threats of terror, these people are so upset they would kill you if they could.

    Now what do we have as an alternative. There's Darwin 200 years of new facts that never have made a scientific mechanism that shows how evolution worked.

    We have arrived from Mendels theorys to a likening of Lego set with intelligent genes involved. That place dna on the chromosomes so they produce a certain affect. Sounds like another belief system to me.

    Looks like your figures are a bit skewed Jack.

    Most believe in something, I'm nearly 65 years old. I'll never know what it is and don't give. a damn.

    Charles L. Clarke

    March 10, 2009 at 6:43 pm |
  661. Paul

    As it has happened in Europe during last century, people are not less religious. They just changed "religions". From basic Christianity to secularism – to worshiping, self, power, money, wealth, sex, drugs, etc. And... its under guise of intellectualism, self thinkers, etc. Nothing new.... just re-labeling.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:43 pm |
  662. JJ-Montana

    I am so happy that Christianity is dropping in America. Its about time that we stop paying pastors/priests to stand up behind a pulpit and preach. I'd much rather donate to a charity that is out loving people with education, clothes, and food. Condoms for people! Abstinence is CRAZY!

    March 10, 2009 at 6:44 pm |
  663. Nick

    Too many people use god or religion as an excuse, a waiver or a pardon for bad behavior. As in god told Bush to invade Iraq, or, yes I screwed my neighbors wife but god forgave me. I think people are realizing that they are responsible for their own acts. Your spiritual life should guide your actions, not pave your excuses on the road to heaven. Better yet, do the right thing, because it is the right thing to do.

    the golden rule still rules!!!!!!

    March 10, 2009 at 6:44 pm |
  664. Darren

    It's actually a bit depressing that 82% of the population still believes in some sort of spirituality. I think it proves that the human brain is pre-programmed to feel spiritual about the nature of the universe... and to "believe" there is a God, despite the lack of evidence.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:44 pm |
  665. BJ

    People are realizing that there are more things to life than putting their faith into the hands of something that may/may not be real. They are putting their faith into their own hands. With so many religions in this world and so many different beliefs, there are only a few certain things that give us true life....the earth and the sun. No, don't go thinking that I'm all into the earth/karma/whatever gibberish. I'm just an average guy that knows what makes things grow and live. Why does one religious belief have to rule over another? Why do religions have to go head to head? Religions and their beliefs have caused more wars and more fighting than anything else. People are seeing that and disconnecting themselves from it.

    I'm not a religious person, but I admire people like the Dalai Lama and have, in fact, gone to see him speak in the past year. He never tries to push his religion on to his listeners. In fact, he simply tells you that the best religion you can belong to is a religion simply made up of being kind, striving for simple happiness, and being peaceful with your neighbor.

    What a great way to live. Put your faith in the real things you can control....not what you think a greater power force might have control over. That has never been proven. Make it happen mentally and physically.

    A quote from the Dalai Lama himself....

    “This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.”

    March 10, 2009 at 6:44 pm |
  666. Mike

    I think it's because the world is drifting away from God. True ... you don't have to go to church to be a Christian. You don't have to take a spanish class to learn spanish, but it sure helps. This country was founded on certain spiritual and religious ideas. Christians believe in Jesus and that he died for his sins. You hear very few of our leaders even say the name Jesus. They say God. When they talk about their faith in Jesus and their salvation, they are blasted and mocked by the media and others. You should not mock our Lord and there will come a time that you will regret it. I am not a religious nut. In fact, I have not been to church a long time, but that is going to change.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:44 pm |
  667. Curtis Wampler

    If it's true then it means that we are STILL a Christian nation

    Curtis Wampler
    Udall, KS

    March 10, 2009 at 6:44 pm |
  668. Mark White

    I just don't believe in it.
    I think its another phase.
    Zeus, Thor, Ra, etc etc.
    Who knows what people will be worshiping 1000's of years for now.
    I think it is the result of being self aware and also having self preservation instinct.

    If we can convince ourselves that we will live forever in some manner it helps us to cope with our imminent demise.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:44 pm |
  669. Frank in Wilton Manors

    What this may mean (and ironically it is the Republican mantra) is that more and more Americans are accepting responsibility of, and demand control over, their own lives and actions rather than blaming everything on 'God's will'. I firmly believe people should be allowed to worship as they choose, but do not blame your God for a dumb action on your part.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:44 pm |
  670. Dimitri Tamalis

    For the last 4 or 5 millenia of recorded human history belief in a supreme being has been accepted by an overwhelming majority. It didn't stop wars, genocide, and slavery to name a few evils. The idea that this being is fictioanal has been around for a relatively short time. Isn't it time we gave ourselves a new start?

    March 10, 2009 at 6:45 pm |
  671. Rick F

    One does not need religion to believe in God. In the end, religion needs God but God does not need religion.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:45 pm |
  672. Linda East End, NY

    Science and Health, with Key to the Scriptures
    by Mary Baker Eddy

    is one good book for those seeking a higher purpose in our world,
    today. It is timeless and very informative.

    The Bible and its correlative passages bring spiritual awakenings.


    March 10, 2009 at 6:45 pm |
  673. Matt - San Diego

    I think that there are a number of factors that have driven this number. I'll talk about the main one that I believe is the biggest catalyst. I am personally a God fearing Christian who believes that Jesus is the Son of God. However, I also believe that the church has done a horrible job up to this point of displaying a Christ like attitude and approach to the World. Those that have a disgust for "religion" are quite justified in many of their thoughts and reasons for it. Christians have not exemplified the type of mentality that we need to. Being a "christian" has nothing to do with going to church, what we drive and giving tithe as a write off at the end of the year. It is a life style and a heart condition. If we, and I definitely include myself, start displaying what it truly means to be a "christian" than the attitudes of others naturally change by our example. We need to display a SELFLESS approach to life. Until the church can come together and unify the number of non-religious people will continue grow. For those that have been driven away from the faith because of other Christians, I apologize.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:45 pm |
  674. Susan in Cambridge, MA

    It means many things:

    1) Our nation and our world are increasingly diverse, and that means religious diversity.

    2) The extremes of the Religious Right have turned many off of that particular breed of Christianity.

    3) The "mainline" Christian churches have lost their dominance and haven't yet figured out how to make their message heard in these new times.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:45 pm |
  675. anwar hawk

    because religious book does not make sense. when a person read in the Bible (Genesis Ch 1) that god said Adam, if you eat the fruit from the tree of knowledge, you will die. satan said to Adam you will not die. and Adam ate. he did not die. so bible's god lied to Adam and Satan told the truth. so most of the Bible is the Satanic version. some people wrote most of the Bible and throw the Jesus Christ words but attribute to the god. most people can't believe that father and son could be one person. god words can't have mistake. but Vatican punished Gallalio, because he told the truth. no Christian will go to the heaven by following the corrupted book like Bible. now a day even they do not follow what bible said. Mary covered her head. but now a day, women do not have to cover them. so Christian religion is man made religion. man made religion will be ignore by the god. and they will be thrown in the hell. most people understand that following the bible is the wasting the time.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:45 pm |
  676. SFDR

    When religion sees fit to attack a minority group (as is the case in California), hide pedophiles by moving them to different churches and in essence condoning such behavior & restricting people's ability to help each other in a humane capacity (stem cell research), it's no wonder people have given up on organized religion. Churches are spewing venomous hatred but the religions themselves are all about love and treating each other with kindness and respect. People aren't so stupid to believe that it can work both ways – and many of my friends have left their religions yet maintain their core beliefs in their God. I have been so disgusted by the RC church's actions in actually moving pedophiles around (like an honest-to-goodness predator) that I have called it quits. That and the bigotry against certain people are too much to handle. When a church moves a pedophile around instead of having them stand trial for their criminal actions, it tells you that the church itself is a criminal safe haven. That is NOT what ANY religion should be about.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:45 pm |
  677. Sir Andrew

    People are finally beginning to think for themselves rather than letting the holy crowd tell them what to think. Anyone with a working IQ who has the courage to question the silliness surrounding "Faith" will eventually come to the realization that it's all myths, legends and superstitions designed to control people. It is an ugly side to the human race that is slowly beginning to erode. Eventually the world will be made up of only atheists and evangelicals, though not evenly divided because, sadly, there are more stupid people than there are smart people.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:45 pm |
  678. Lynn, Columbia, Mo..

    I guess it means that there are more secular humanists. I hope so.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:46 pm |
  679. Autumn in Joliet, IL

    This (encouraging) decrease in religious belief indicates we are evolving into an increasingly educated, self-reliant and discerning population, with a greater capacity for critical thought. Hooray for brains!

    March 10, 2009 at 6:46 pm |
  680. Josh

    People are actually going for churches that entertain . Megachurches do all the worshipping for you , just add money. The mainline protestant religions where you actually know your priest and have to do some of your own spiritual work are declining. There is a divide that runs across all north American religions . Old paradym vs the new . The old takes scripture literally , the other takes it as metaphor. These two points of view have a hard time coexisting (just ask the episcopals ) , and the conflict sends people out the door........If we can get past "Did it happen ?" and move to "What does it mean for us here and now ?" the two points of view can find common ground.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:46 pm |
  681. carol

    It means that people like me are turned off by the various religions' entry into the political realm, where they do not belong. Religion has become less about facilitating one's relationship with the Creator – the transcendent – and more about man-made agendas, hidden and overt. It's disgusting – and calls seriously into question the need for the "middleman" in relation to one's belief in God. I've cut out the middleman and I'm happier and still living a decent, moral life. I will never step foot in a church again.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:46 pm |
  682. Mark Moir

    It means some of us are evolving...

    March 10, 2009 at 6:46 pm |
  683. Peg Kay

    I'm not big on math, but I think that 82% of those questioned believe in a god of some sort. I think the "drop" is among those who subscribe to an organized religion. And given the people who have been at the forefront of organized religion - from Jim Bakker to President Obama's virulent pastor - is it any wonder? And with a note to the bumper-sticker Christians: President Eisenhower inserted the words "under God" to the formerly Godless Pledge of Allegiance. Has the country been less violent since then? Have people become kinder and gentler? Have people noticed that if religious sloganeering has any effect at all the effect is to drive people away?

    March 10, 2009 at 6:46 pm |
  684. Valerie

    “Imagine, along with John Lennon, a world with no religion. Imagine no suicide bombers, no 9/11, no 7/7, no Crusades, no witch-hunts, no Gunpowder Plot, no Indian partition, no Israeli/Palestinian wars, no Serb/Croat/Muslim massacres, no persecution of Jews as 'Christ-killers,' no Northern Ireland 'troubles,' no 'honour killings,' no shiny-suited bouffant-haired televangelists fleecing gullible people of their money ('God wants you to give till it hurts.')”

    March 10, 2009 at 6:46 pm |
  685. Leigh from Seattle, WA

    It means that more people realize that god and religion is just a cop out or a way of shunning people from asking the most important questions, such as how the world or universe works or how we got here, when it is science that progresses more and more every day in attempt to explain everything.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:46 pm |
  686. Bob from Kansas city MO


    I think it is a mix of things. First off religious institutions have hurt themselves by betraying the public by helping pedophiles avoid justice (Catholic Church), their assinine stance on no-brainer issues like Birth Control (again the Catholics) and the corruption and meth fuels gay sex behind the scenes (evangelicals) is enough to make any sane person question what these institutions are selling.

    I hope the time is comming when these entities will be taxed to help lessen the burden on average americans.

    As a non-believer, I don't see why my tax dollars should be used to subsidize churches. Its time we taxed these tax shelters for Conmen and liars.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:46 pm |
  687. James R. Buch

    I decided to believe in 30 Gods instead of One. They are as follows:
    Common sense, Democracy, Freedom, Debate, Justice, Honesty,
    Knowledge, Real Truth (verifiable), Equality of opportunity, Science,
    Education, Logic, Reason, Reality, Humility, Open-mindedness.
    Love, Progress, Compassion, Fairness, Intelligence, Prosperity,
    Happiness, Hope, Scholarship, Free Speech, Discovery, Future,
    Confidence. All these Gods are Holy.
    James R. Buch
    Redondo Beach, Calif.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:46 pm |
  688. Grant from Denver

    Because God is defined in your heart, not by hypocrites with another agenda. There is no reason anybody should ever have to pay to pray.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:47 pm |
  689. Bud Burgoon-Clark

    A BIG thank-you to the Religious Reich for turning people OFF to organized religion. The hate displayed in the recent CA Prop 8 campaign was on display for all to see; the pope's constant mis-steps with Muslims, Jews, gay and lesbian people, liberals, and just about everybody else flashed over the Internet in seconds.

    I believe in GOD; the CHURCH ... not so much.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:47 pm |
  690. Franklin

    Religion was developed for primitive people. They are all myths to get people to behave. We have evolved and need to get rid of religion so we can move on as a species.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:47 pm |
  691. Dave in NYC

    Simple answer Jack: the overall number of people who identify themselves as Christian is decreasing because for the last 8 years under Bush we've all had Christianity shoved down our throats by the Government(!).

    That's right. Americans are a Freedom loving people. We like to *choose* how to live our religious lives, and there is no bigger turn off than having the President force his religion on everyone.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:47 pm |
  692. MsRotten

    "Here’s my question to you: What does it mean when more Americans say they have no religion?"

    It means that, FINALLY, people are waking up to the "god delusion" in the 21st CENTURY!!

    ALL religion is MAN MADE.

    It was/is a way to CONTROL THE MASSES.

    There is no such thing as god, ahla or whatever.

    But you all keep sending your $$$ to the dope they call the pope. He keeps getting richer!!

    FOOLS! hahahahaha

    March 10, 2009 at 6:47 pm |
  693. Dale from Colorado

    It is reflective of a suffering society that is surrounded by corruption at every level in our government and business world, until possibly now. Corrupt and self-regulating court officials at every level, the dismantling of our Constitution, torture by waterboarding, secret prisons, greedy corporate executives and Wall Street investment bankers, pardons for the wealthy and well connected, and great inequity as the disparity in individual wealth varies from tent cities in Sacramento and other cities to estates valued in the tens of billions. Families and individuals are tired and depressed as the American dream has become as much of a fairy tale as Cinderella. It is only appropriate that our government will be issuing a new dollar coin absent "In God We Trust."

    March 10, 2009 at 6:47 pm |
  694. Erin

    Is it possible to not have a religion? At the end of the day, everyone worships something. Some of us are moved to worship a God that at times IS difficult to believe in and rationalize in our human minds. While others choose to push the concept aside because it is too difficult or uncomfortable. We go on living out our daily lives worshipping status, money, vanity or whatever the case may be.... Everyone has an idol they worship.

    Erin – NC

    March 10, 2009 at 6:47 pm |
  695. Tim Welsh

    Religion has always been about power and money, with God as an afterthought.
    And if they're not screwing you out of money they're screwing your children. God has nothing to do with religion.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:47 pm |
  696. Dave in CO

    I still have my personal faith but the Churches turning into PACs that protect child molesters and condemn and judge people have turned me completely away from organized religion. I used to be an altar boy at a Church and now I have not attended in years.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:48 pm |
  697. Curtis Wampler

    It means that more people have bought into the media delivered caricature of what a relationship with God really is. It could also mean that people realize the difference between man-made religions and a true relationship with the God of Creation.

    Curtis Wampler
    Udall, KS

    March 10, 2009 at 6:48 pm |
  698. Aaron

    Religion is a belief system held to with ardor. Aethists have a system of beliefs – no God, humanism, materialism, etc – and they certainly hold to it with ardor (zeal may be more like it). They even have their own catechism (ref. Humanist Manifesto 2000). The fundamental Aethist tenant is to reject any notion of supernatural intervention "...despite the patent absurdity of some of [its] constructs..." (ref. Richard Lewontin). We all have an a priori belief system that qualifies as religion; this survey merely illustrates to which religion people are associating with.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:48 pm |
  699. millitant agnostic

    Its hardly suprising. Religion is much like a comfort blanket when you are a child. It fullfills a need that someone has, and makes them complete. Some have out grown the need for religion. Faith and religion are two wholly different things (no pun intended). You can find divinity anywhere, if you know where to look.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:48 pm |
  700. Richard Larson

    I think many are just tired of being misled and used for financial gain and power by organized religion. From the beginning, men have defined christianity in ways that have benefitted themselves, or those in power. There has been no belief that has truely grown out of what is called the New Testament. Virtually all Christian organizations have these traits in common:

    1. They speak of the Gospel, but with their very lives they deny the substance of that very same Gospel.
    2. Church organizations a have developed, not to spread the true word of God, but to manipulate the membership for status, personal power, and political gain.
    3. Organized religion in general has been more about collection of funds to enable political influence than it has been for collection of funds to provide for the needy and sick.

    I think that most people would like to be able to belong to a church organization that espoused the Biblical teachings and acted in a way that encourage philosophical examination, intellectual give an take, and an honest break from all of the stultifying dogma that has built up over the past 2,000 years.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:48 pm |
  701. Reasonable

    This is good. It is a sign that the population is exposed to more and more information and becomming more educated. Eventually, when confronted with such a lack of evidence of ANY kind, the reasonable mind must come to the conclusion that the existance of a god is no more likely than the existance of a fairy, or of Zues, or of any of the other gods in history that we are all athiests to. And in questioning this, you must also reject religions, which are filled with people who claim not only that there is a god, but that they know what he thinks!

    I for one dont think these people know any more than me, and I don't know if there is a god or what he thinks.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:49 pm |
  702. Jim in Rochester

    Hopefully it means we can finally get back to reason as a basis for decisions. You want to believe in an invisible man who is offended by people eating cheeseburgers feel free but don't bother me with it.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:49 pm |
  703. Chris

    It means the beginning of yet another set of superstitions fading into history, like countless others have in the past as they lost their usefulness–in this case because Americans are realizing that religion and "God" are not necessary or really even helpful to human morality, charity, and responsibility.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:49 pm |
  704. Vicki K

    Because they are finally waking up from a deep, dark sleep and realized believing in a fake being isn't going to solve their problems – they are!

    Religion has held this country back in going forward into the 21st century! We have held back on stem cell research, we can't resolve the abortion issue, etc, etc. Religion is the downfall of this country and halleluia if people finally realize how ignorant this is and finally allow us to move ahead!

    March 10, 2009 at 6:50 pm |
  705. AJR

    I think the internet is bringing about this change due to enhanced communication channels. With message boards, email, IMs, etc., people realize they aren't the only one with a disdain for religion. The facts come out for all to see, and some people simply embrace logic and reason and renounce their 'invisible man'.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:50 pm |
  706. Dave in CO

    I don't think Jesus would be too kind to the new batch of moneychangers that have taken over the temples.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:50 pm |
  707. Jim Walker

    The decline in the number of Americans who are practicing members of an organized religion simply shows that the forces of reason, logic, and common sense are slowly overcoming the archaic dogmas of blind faith and superstition. It is also not a conflict to believe in God, yet not identify with a religious group. I think that more Americans are realizing that religions are created by human beings, not by God. As a mere mortal, it is beyond my ability to fully comprehend what or who God is. And, it would be supreme arrogance to suppose that I, or anyone else could speak for Him/Her/It…whichever the case may be. By the way, atheists are every bit as arrogant in their beliefs as are religious zealots. A thinking person will always choose to be an agnostic.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:50 pm |
  708. Gayle G.

    I believe the study is right. No belief in God = no morals. The U.S. is going to H*ll...

    All the nudity, homosexually, children born out of wedlock, lack of marriage, couples living together, drugs, drunks, lack of respect of elders, parents, etc.

    That's just the beginning!

    March 10, 2009 at 6:50 pm |
  709. Kristen

    I think that there is far more than 15% of Americans that say that they're not religious. People are just afraid to admit to the fact. For some reason, many religious people claim that one can not be a moral individual if they do not believe in a god or higher authority. This is simply not correct. The fact that Americans are becoming less religous doesn't mean that the country is headed for destruction or will be overrun with violence and crime; it simply means that as a country we are increasingly able to admit that we don't need prayer, traditions, congregations, or any other form of religious expression to make ethical choices or to be able to sleep at night.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:50 pm |
  710. Darrin

    It means that we are slowly moving away from the dark ages and stone ages, where we need religions to explain rainbows and the seasons, diseases, famine, and anything else that can be explained with logic, reasoning, examination – that is, science. What is amazing is that so many people still believe the earth is only 6000-10,000 years old. Unfortunately, this country, including the media, still contains a "pro-god, pro-christian" bias.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:50 pm |
  711. Weldon from Canada

    There has been so much negativity in the world for the past decade that the public has given up on any religion. Religion has mostly been associated with the good things in life. In the past decade there has been very little of that.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:50 pm |
  712. Michael

    It means that churches fear based marketing techniques are not working better than the governments fear based marketing techniques.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:51 pm |
  713. chris

    In a world in which science can provide an answer to our basic questions about the universe, religion is simply becoming more and more obsolete. Though atheists have done a remarkably bad job at self-promotion, it is clear to those on the fence that a life without God does not mean a life without morals, community, or spirituality. I can only hope that this trend continues, and that those fanatics on either side do not get their hands on enough weapons to create their own man-made Armageddon.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:51 pm |
  714. Mike - Chicago

    Maybe people are finally starting to realize that just like the tooth fairy, Santa Claus, and the Easter Bunny, God is a phony man-made character. And, people who believes in God are sheep. Yes, that would be you Republicans.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:52 pm |
  715. Alex

    I suspect people have grown tired of the hypocracy of right winged evangelicals who claim to be religious, but are so intolerable about other people's views and are so wishey washey in their everyday lives. The examples these set are so far off from what they preach that many simply don't believe a thing they have to say. This same measuring stick applies to the Republican Party which is now seen as a bunch of lying, cheating and dishonorable group of yo yo's. They seem to say one thing and then do another.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:52 pm |
  716. Juli

    Perhaps it means people are getting smarter?

    March 10, 2009 at 6:52 pm |
  717. David Bal

    I believe the loss of religion in America is due to a trend of self-centerness. People are so proud and full of themselves that they believe they don’t need God.

    I was once a Mormon missionary. I knocked thousands of doors trying to share God’s plan of happiness. It is outright depressing how few people have time for God.

    Interestingly, the richer the neighborhood the less interest there is in God. Maybe one silver-lining of this recession will be a return to God.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:52 pm |
  718. Jeff W.

    I know for me I lost all interest in it due to a few factors. One is the profound sadness in this world for me. We have murders and diseases and cruelity. It just never seems to cease and never slow down. The second is the ignorance of people. To think that the Republican party is the moral and righteous party. They stand for greed and conservatism is the complete and utter opposite of Jesus. Yet the Christians flock to them. They have been saying for 30 years now they were going to stop abortion. A woman can get an abortion easier now than then and the Republicans wrap that Christian coat around themselves and the masses flock to them. Common sense is dead in the world. The third factor for me is the hypocrisy in the churches, especially here in the south. The last factor is that I don't believe God is here with us and I don't think he really cares what happens to us.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:52 pm |
  719. ER

    Maybe some people are waking up to the fact that religion is the root of 99% of the world's problems...by definition following a specific faith whatever it may be means that you are prejudice against everyone who believes in another faith and think that they are wrong. Because if they where right and you where wrong, you would switch religion. Religion only fosters a gap between people, it can never bind. The most oppressed group on the planet are atheists like myself, individuals who believe in living a fair, just, moral existence and realizing that stories of all powerful beings from above created us and influence us as just what they are stories made up by one group of humans to control another. Maybe there is hope that humans will one day learn to live, work, and think together.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:52 pm |
  720. Rick

    Jack, all it means is that Americans are finally coming to their senses, plain and simple. There is ZERO proof that any of the world's religions are objectively true. It's that simple.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:52 pm |
  721. Karl from Scottsdale

    It means the unGodly are winning in America and the world. But, fear not, there is a reckoning coming; God will not be mocked.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:52 pm |
  722. Eddie K

    I believe that this is symptomatic of a backlash from theocracy to democracy. Religion has driven too much of our policies, much to the exclusion of rights and inclusion of many poeple. Religion just makes things messy...

    March 10, 2009 at 6:52 pm |
  723. Monique Nashville TN

    It means people are changing their priorities. We are focused on what needs to be done. We are finding fullfillment in the day to day happenings of our lives and feel confident to be independent instead of leaning on an entity that can be excused when failure occurs, but praised and rewarded (tithing here!) when things are successful due to the actions we have taken to make them so! It's encouraging to see that even in a time of economic downturn people have not dropped to their knees in search of someone else to pick them up.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:52 pm |
  724. ken from greenwood lake, ny

    it means one thing to me...that Americans are increasingly wary of organized religion and how the right has made a mess of our value system. I am very spiritual...I need no building or organization to vaidate that for me!

    March 10, 2009 at 6:52 pm |
  725. Ricardo from Loma Linda

    Religion depending on how you define it I agree has been misused as a vehicle to hurt, kill, steal, and mame. But I would kindly remind all that it has also been a powerful vehicle for improvement including being the bedrock for the Civil Rights movement. Organized religion provided me the one atmosphere that brought me in contact with role models I could attempt to emulate and eventually lead me to become a physician. The problem is not organized religion. The problem is too often religion is dis-organized or not organized in the service of good. Let's not throw out the baby with the bath water. But I admit, it's a lot of bath water!

    March 10, 2009 at 6:52 pm |
  726. Kerry in Texas

    Religion has always served two purposes;

    * As a tool to help control the masses

    * As a way to answer questions that people needed answers to, but hadn't the intellect to answer them or accept that there was no available answer

    When humans were simple and ignorant they needed "gods" to answer real questions like "what is that glowing ball and why does it move across the sky each day?" or "what makes the water come from the sky?" as well as metaphysical questions like "Why am I here?" and "What happens when I die?"

    We, as a species, have evolved far enough to understand the sun and the rain, but some people are so desperate for purpose that they need to believe that they are actually here for some reason, and that some greater being is charting their life.

    Then there are those who have evolved beyond that and no longer need answers for irrelevant questions. We are here and, when we die, we aren't here anymore. No "greater purpose" or "master plan." No heaven or Valhalla or 72 virgins.

    So, in the end, instead of living a decent life in return for the promise of some reward later, you simply have to resolve to lead a decent life for teh rewards of leading a decent life, and try not to leave too many people angry or hateful with you when you die.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:52 pm |
  727. Joe

    It's real simple – we are evolving. People are starting to realize that religion is a blight on our society, and hinders our intellectual, emotional and moral growth.

    We will be much better off when we stop turning to "god" for answers, and instead look to science and reason. At some point in our evolution, these beliefs may have served a purpose to our society – but no more.

    As a life long Anthiest (since age 13 when I refused first communion), I am very encourage by the trend. I hope to still be around when the belief in god is considered what it is – a delusion brought about by a mental disorder, a lack of intelligence or education, or brainwashing.

    In the mean-time, I cringe when i see supposedly respected news organizations run articles such as "the top ten reasons to attend church" – like the one Fix had posted yesterday.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:53 pm |
  728. Jon Nagelvoort

    The bible, the torah, the koran, etc. are just different versions of the same 5000 year old story. The guy that told the original story wouldn’t recognize any version of it today and would be surprised to learn that anyone is taking it seriously. Religious people want their version of the story to be true.
    They believe it no matter how ridiculously unbelievable or downright stupid. Faith is irrational. Faith is belief in something for which there is no logical proof or physical evidence. Any differences between their irrational beliefs is reason enough for the believers to kill each other. Moslems believe they will receive several virgins in heaven for killing a non-believer. What would a deeply religious guy do with the virgins? The girls that went to Hell would be more fun but Heaven probably has a surplus of virgins.

    You can’t avoid being labeled on the subject. Those certain that there is no god and those that just don’t know, get a label.

    The Atheists, certain that there is no god, are as narrow minded and pushy as the religious people they oppose. These guys “crusade” against religion like it’s a disease. Like the existence of religion puts them in some danger. And given the history of religious people killing non-believers, they probably are.

    The Agnostics make no effort to promote their view. They don’t know if there is a god. They don’t give a fig what you believe. Agnostics don’t know and say logically no one can know.

    If there were no religions we would have a lot more peace on earth.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:53 pm |
  729. Marge

    I think a lot of people who used to be religious see what is going on in the world in the name of religion and are put off.

    You have the Muslims killing and treating people worst than animals. Look at the 76 year old woman they want to lash because she asked her nephew to bring her bread.

    Look at Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson and Dobson, perfect examples of what a real Christian should not be. Look at the Pope trying to tell people what to do

    . I tell you that's why people are dropping religion. I myself think if it produces people like that then the world does not need religion.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:53 pm |
  730. Craig Laurence

    It means Americans have been so prosperous lately that they haven't needed God anymore. It means we think we understand what is best for us and we don't need God to tell us what He thinks is best for us. It means God doesn't matter to us as much as He used to. Perhaps our economy is the way it is as a gentle (or perhaps not-so-gentle) reminder that God has not abandoned us, but rather we are abandoning Him.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:53 pm |
  731. JB

    Apparently an earlier poll was done in 1990. At least statsitics from 1990 are referenced. Anyway, 19 years is a short period of time and already we see an increase in secularism over that span. Compare now with say, 25 years ago, or 50, or even a hundred. What has been the trend? All religions have a secular basis to them. When the need for religion is gone, that is,when there is no longer a secular basis to religion, it will vanish. We see that process happening even in our lifetimes. This is a good thing.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:53 pm |
  732. Andrew from wv

    Why is it such a big deal for someone to not believe in god or a higher power. What is wrong with the idea that: your born, you live, then you die; end of story. Would you spend your life on this planet differently if you knew that once you died, there was no afterlife? Maybe religion is best suited for those who cannot think for them selves and could possibly help them stay out of trouble. Furthermore, I can't understand why any religious organizations would base their entire existence on a book written thousands of years ago?!? Wasn't the earth flat back then? Sorry to tell you folks, there is no god, gods, or Satan. Don't waste your time. Learn to believe in your self and your abilities.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:53 pm |
  733. Dave in CO

    My question is when caring and forgiveness get replaced by judgment and high finance? As said in the movie Fletch, “I don’t believe in a God with a need for high finance.”

    March 10, 2009 at 6:53 pm |
  734. Randy-Alaska

    All believers are fools...

    March 10, 2009 at 6:53 pm |
  735. uchenna

    Jack, it's really a pity. This country is slowly slipping from the grasp of God. It better change its ways, or God will change it.


    March 10, 2009 at 6:54 pm |
  736. DAVID

    It means that the United States is maturing.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:54 pm |
  737. Eric Beck

    Jeez, Jack, when you say, "Finally, the number of Jews is falling if the category includes only those who define themselves as religious Jews.", are we to assume you are an anti-Semite, grateful for the falling numbers, relieved that fewer Americans are religious Jews? This is a bullet point, not prose, and the "Finally" is misplaced. I mean, I'm just sayin'...

    March 10, 2009 at 6:54 pm |
  738. Alex in the Bay Area

    Religion is a tool to control the masses. I attribute the expansion of freedom of thinking slash shedding the shackles of religion to the information age we are fortunate to live in and experience.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:54 pm |
  739. Dr. Philippe Blais

    While there are surely a myriad reasons why people of faith are leaning towards removing themselves from organized religion (does one need to enumerate the endless abuses that still define it to this day?), one needs not reflect too lond as to why most people without faith at all become so. Peering at the ever growing mountain of scientific data and the inevitable contradictions this raises against the various religious dogma, they simply accept what their eyes see and ears hear and come to the cold, logical conclusion that the concept of a deity governing our lives simply doesn't make any sense to them anymore............

    March 10, 2009 at 6:55 pm |
  740. gilles mauviel

    dear Jack religion was created by humans with wealth not by god.
    In all the bibles that I read jesus never said that he was god.the kids today love heroes.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:55 pm |
  741. David from Newport News

    There is plenty of religion. A new religion, Environmentalism, has displaced traditional religions somewhat. Instead of worshiping the Son, now they worship the Sun. Instead of respecting the Pope, they have AlGore. Instead of buying indulgences to forgive their sins, they buy carbon offsets. It's all the same.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:55 pm |
  742. grizzly

    Because its the 21st century and more people are smart enough to realize that snakes can't talk, people can't rise from the dead, and Noah couldn't have gotten penguins and polar bears on his boat and kept them alive for for a year.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:55 pm |
  743. Lyndon W.

    It is a direct link to the overall intelligence of the population. The more intelligent the society is the less there is a need for mysticism.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:55 pm |
  744. SMP

    @Ron San Diego:

    If you think the Apollo astronauts getting back to Earth safely after Americans prayed for it is evidence of God, wouldn't you think hundreds of plane crashes in which surely every passenger was praying is a sign of the opposite?

    March 10, 2009 at 6:56 pm |
  745. Kirk - Arlington, VA

    The continuing increase in Americans abandoning religion and beginning to think for themselves is truly heartening news. Only when all of us have the courage to take personal responsibility for our actions, rather than leaning on the senseless crutch of blind faith, will we have any chance of tackling the world's gravest problems - murder, rape, poverty, war - that religion has so woefully failed to address over the past 2,000 years. Human bless us all!

    March 10, 2009 at 6:56 pm |
  746. Jeff

    Looking at it objectively it means that people are starting to think for themselves. I know many people that are spiritual and believe in some type of higher being but also realize that the fairytales we refer to as religion are simply a bunch of stories made up by people.
    Remember religion at the core always says not to question things and to have faith.
    I also think many people who might believe in the teachings of Jesus are turned off by how many religions misrepresent his teachings and this probably hods true for other religions as well.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:56 pm |
  747. joane

    The problem is not that Americans do not believe in religion. The problem is that too many church representatives / officials have taken advantage of our pocketbooks, our children and have manipulated our emotions. I am tired of them. I still pray at home and help people when there is someone in need. Good values and basic Godly rules start in the home.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:56 pm |
  748. Sonya

    People aren't as religious for several reasons. The massive spread of Evangelical churches in the 1990's, many of which resemble cults much more than religious organizations is one of the reasons at the top of the list. They are simply turning people off to religion. Another reason is people are emotionally stronger and more confident today and don't need to turn to spirituality for personal strength as much as they did in the past. It may be due in part to programs like Oprah and Dr. Phil because the kinds of topics that society used deem as taboo (i.e. addiction and other dysfunctional behaviors) are regularly discussed on TV and just about anywhere now. Also, by now many adults and children have been exposed at some point in there lives to the "theory of evolution". As a theory that is based on science, I believe it holds much more weight when compared to creationism/ intelligent design. People are just too smart and educated today to believe biblical stories like the Garden of Eden.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:57 pm |
  749. Da Professor

    I have to agree with most of the comments made here so far. My "take" on religion is that it can be and has been dangerous over hundreds, perhaps thousands of years. People forcing their religion on others has led to wars, killing for all sorts of phony reasons, and on-going battles like the one in Northern Ireland.

    Meanwhile, the Pope lives high on the hog in a mansion, and the poor donate to his "keep". Can the same be said of the ultra-religious in the good ole USA? You bet and there have been numerous examples of it.. People are just plain turned off by it all.

    Though the Dems are as religious as the GOP, the Republicans phony up their message of religious fervor every few years and take advantage of the weak of mind in the red States.

    Will the decline continue? Probably for as long as there are the screaming pastors on the pulpit demanding more and more $$$ for their next Cadillac. May they rot in heck!

    March 10, 2009 at 6:57 pm |
  750. Dan


    It means more desperation on part of the Eevangelicals to try
    and convert the Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists etc to Christianity by
    false promises, cheating and minor financial incentives to the
    desperate poor of the thrid world population.

    In doing so, they are destroying the social, cultural and moral fabrics
    of these societies. You got to see the animosity and hatred that the
    newly converted Christians display towards their previous religion,
    culture and the people who follow it, even though they have practised
    and followed their native religion for centuries. Somehow everything
    has suddenly become alien to these converts and has become
    the source of communal violence destabilizing these countries.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:57 pm |
  751. Vincent Lehotsky

    What I thought was interesting was when Jack C. mentioned that One in Three is an Evangelical Christian.
    Now mind you that I did not read any of this. Only caught Jack's piece.
    What I find of this 1 of 3 is that stuff in the Book of Revelations where two-thirds (666) will be thrown into Hell. The other third will go to Heaven.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:57 pm |
  752. Belleville, WI

    The decline in organized religion is aliging itself with the independence of thought rising from Geration X and Y thinking for themselves. As I recall, Christianity was a tool of the body politic of Constantine. Instead of living with the accepted dogma of foolish notions passed on through many generations, we can now decide and choose for ourselves instead of being told what to do as many generations of forebearers have done. We see clearly where that has lead too...

    March 10, 2009 at 6:57 pm |
  753. Mehdi

    I was born Moslem, but now I am free of all those chains.
    When someone says I have no religion most likely means ,God is for goodness of the mankind ,religions has been for the madness of the mankind.
    Even the God is product of those Messanger's lies.The lying is so huge that open the eyes.Tora says Noha 's storm was so big that even the tallest mountain on earth went under just imagin that.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:57 pm |
  754. john gray from lewisville, tx

    Citizens that attend church on a regular basis, and believe in God, tend to be our most productive citizens. The vast majority are not in our prison system, make good grades, less likely to divorce, less likely to sell drugs or become a user, and truly respect the right of citizens that disagree with their religious beliefs.

    i'm going to have to disagree with you right there Jim. Most people in the prison system are Christians; the divorce rate among christians is roughly 25%; and the whole respect issue with other religions is utter BS.

    the grades, productive citizens, and drug users have no bearing on religious affiliation, nor does it matter. as an ATHEIST, i'm assaulted every day by jesus freaks and bible-thumpers spouting the 'word of christ' nonsense that it sickens me. if i speak my mind about the brutal, child-murdering, pain in the rear that your supposedly just g-d is, i'm being an intolerant person. but this street runs both ways: i've never committed a crime, never raped anyone, never taken drugs: nothing. i'm not immoral: i have my own moral code that has served me well in my thirty years, and nothing you or your other jesus-freaks will ever say or do will turn me from the path that i walk.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:58 pm |
  755. Rishi, Orange County, CA

    Religion was originally devised to give people a way to live their lives so they could enrich the lives of others. However, that is not the case today as it is used as a political tool to manipulate people and achieve personal gains. I am glad people are realizing that they are being used for personal profits and moving away from this. I am a Hindu and I have never been a big fan of going to temples and praying like crazy. The only time I like to go to a temple or any holy place is to get away from the world and enjoy some peace. I believe that god is with you all the time and there is absolutely no need to go to the temple for that. If you ask god with a pure heart and put some effort behind it you will get what you want.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:58 pm |
  756. FormerSouthernBaptistInMobile,Alabama

    The population of the United States is gradually turning against organized religion because organized religion has historically supported untenable and immoral positions and institutions such as the inquisition, slavery and segregation. As the population becomes better educated, it can be expected that this secularization of our society will continue at a more dramatic pace. We can look at western Europe and see our country's future with regard to religion. In many European countries belief in god is substantially lower than in the United States and church attendance typically is in single digits.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:58 pm |
  757. Realist

    More people are realizing that god is a fairy tale and a man-made idea that is long overdue to be retired. More death and destruction has occurred in the name of god and religion than the lust for wealth and power. It is too bad the percentages are not higher for non-believers!

    March 10, 2009 at 6:58 pm |
  758. Susan

    After being brought up a Conservative Christian Evangelical – I turned to the "dark side" as my mother considers it when I was 16 – when I started paying attention to science, to history and to actual facts and now at the age of 31 continue to proudly call myself an Atheist. I am glad to know there are more like me out there not afraid to tell people that they don't believe in God without stigma being attached to you.
    As for the change in the nations heart...well I attribute it to evangelicals like my mother who feel that the nations laws should be based on "God's Laws". To me this belief of evangelicals is not different than the belief of some Muslims to instate Islamic Shariah Law on their people, my mother doesn't see it that way – but then again she has remained blissfully ignorant to fact most of her life.
    She didn't care soldiers were dying in a false war in Iraq – but damn those abortion doctors for killing the unborn.
    The hypocrasies never end with evangelicals – and they wonder why the nation turns away. Be care though – once they realize the fear and intimidation tactics are no longer working, they will become sneaky as a serpent...people must be hyper vigilant to religions and their quest for power.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:58 pm |
  759. Roberto

    Faith is synonymous with self-delusion.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:58 pm |
  760. Krystal from Page, AZ

    well... have you seen how well the "religious" people have done while they've controlled this country? i gotta say, most of the religious people i know are hypocrites. they never remember that the bible says to love one another- and "judge not, lest ye be judged yourself". now, i was raised Southern Baptist, and though i love my parents dearly, for the first 16 years of my life, i thought i'd go to hell for sneezing sideways! now that i have 2 young sons, though i am not a church-goer, i am a christian, and my boys have a good idea of God. i don't need the "Churches of Man" to worship the "God of all things". Chruches and organized religion in general (be it christian, muslim, ect) are all institutions created by man, so man can feel better about himself. and the fact that there are so many religions means no one has got it all figured out anyways! God can hear me pray to him just as well in my pj's in bed as in the confession booth, and i don't even have to say a hail mary!

    March 10, 2009 at 6:58 pm |
  761. none

    It means that more people are finally waking up to the fact that organized religion is responsible for more deaths, hate and intolerence then ANYTHING else on this earth. Organized relgions are corrupt, greedy, archaic organizations that badly need to be abolished.

    They were invented by man, corrupted by man, exploited by man. Whatever god you believe in, im sure they dont condone the child molesting priests, o the golden alters while people starve, the holy wars that kill millions.....i could go on and on. They are designed to enslave man.

    Im not talking about the belief in god, or spiritual values. That is completely different. You dont need to pay a child molesting priest to be one with your god.

    However, the belief in god is not necessary for someone to be a moral individual. An atheist who is good for goodness sake is a far more righteous man then another 'religious' man who is good because of the fear of hell.

    Cast off the shackles of corrupt religions. Question the world you live in, question your existance, question why the world is the way it is. Find your souls again.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:58 pm |
  762. Donald

    What does less religion mean? More hope for humanity and its long-term survival.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:58 pm |
  763. Jeff

    I think people are starting to understand that a book written 2000 years ago is irrelevant to today's world. The pope has made a few big mistakes recently, if he is really God's representative on earth, how can he make a mistake? Religion is a way to control people. It is absolutely obsolete. If you can't be a good person on your own, you aren't a good person.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:58 pm |
  764. Sue from Redwood City

    All organized religions start out with good intentions and then inevitably politics set in. It becomes all about controlling others, rather than suggesting guidlelines for growth and spiritual development. Catholocism and the Evangelical religions are a perfect example of this. People are finally wising up to their control freak power games and that's a good thing. There is a profound difference between spirituality and religion. I'm all for the former and the latter can just go extinct along with the dinosaurs. R.I.P.!

    March 10, 2009 at 6:58 pm |
  765. Mike

    It means that intelligent people are realizing what a sham religion is and how evil it is. Look at the world: if there is a god why would she let all of the blood shed happen to innocent women and children. Why are babies starving in Africa? Why, why, why everywhere you look.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:59 pm |
  766. Mike

    Could it be??? People have finally begun to think for themselves???

    March 10, 2009 at 6:59 pm |
  767. Joshua A. Eaton

    "...12 percent say they believe in a higher power but not the God of traditional organized religions."

    *The* God of traditional organized religions? Even within something as narrow and structured as Roman Catholicism, there are innumerable views on God and God's nature–much more so Hinduism or Unitarian-Universalism. If someone believes in it, there's almost certainly something like it somewhere in one of the major world religions. People have been thinking and talking about the transcendent for over 4,000 years. There are very few new ideas under the sun about it now.

    It is also true that religion has often been used as an excuse to kill, terrorize, and make money. So have the nation-state, Atheism (see Mao, Stalin, etc.), natural resources, patriotism, food, sex, love, children, language, ethnicity, and just about everything else human beings have ever come in contact with. Rejecting religion because of the Crusades or jihad is like rejecting love because of the Trojan War.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:59 pm |
  768. Debbie

    Wow, talk about politics or religion and the comments fly!!

    In any event, my 2 cents are: For me, bring brought up Catholic and being sent to a Catholic school for 12 years where the nuns and priests who are supposed to be "servants" of God smacked the kids, and/or were downright mean, showed me that it was all just a farce. Church was boring with the same old chants that speak to no one. As soon as I could make my own choices, I stopped going. You'd see hypocrites "praising God as holy people" and then as soon as they stepped outside the church building and went home they were back to swearing and abusing their kids or what have you. What a joke. There is something to be said for praying to whomever you believe your creator is in the comfort of your own home, in your own way, on your own time and/or however you please. A person's relationship with their creator is personal and I don't believe it was meant to be shared with a "congregation" that is fake and all they want is money.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:59 pm |
  769. Mark

    The average education level dictates the level of religiousness in a society. As people become more educated, the need for Faith diminishes. You don't need a god to explain why events happen; you have medicine, meteorology and seismology to explain plagues, storms and earthquakes.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:59 pm |
  770. Dave in Phoenix

    Maybe the IQ of americans is being raised and they are begining to understand that science and religion dispute each other. One has evidence and the other is myth.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:59 pm |
  771. galileo

    As religions become more extreme and more stringent, reasonable people leave them. Less intelligent turn toward the extreme and fundamentalistic religions.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:59 pm |
  772. UStaxpayer

    Perhaps the ones who said they have no religion should turn their dollar bills over, cross off "in God we trust", and write "In Bernie Madoff we trust", oh wait that won't work either!

    March 10, 2009 at 6:59 pm |
  773. James

    Within the past 10 years, two different co-workers in two different cities, when they found out I was a Christian, very sincerely said,
    "I find that so hard to believe. You're such a nice and decent person."
    Uunfortunately, I understood what they were talking about. Their only exposure to "Christianity" had been the so-called "Christian spokes-persons" on political talk-shows.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:59 pm |
  774. Carol

    The New Testament Church began on the day of Pentecost as it is told in the Acts of the Apostles. The Church of Christ has been tainted by "organized religion." Believers in God must get back to the Bible,
    and speak only where the Bible speaks, and silent where the Bible is silent.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:59 pm |
  775. Kevin

    Because much like a child must give up Santa Clause and the Tooth fairy, a maturing people will undoubtedly eventually have to look past god and move on to rational thought. How long can the planet sustain various groups arguing that their imaginary friend is better than yours...

    March 10, 2009 at 6:59 pm |
  776. Jeremy Robateau

    Well it think Religion is based on faith in God and his son but his son is the lamb who learns from the father.So once you gain wisdom from the father you become the lamb.And if you believe one person can sacrafice himself for change and peace then you are the son or the daughter of that land.Righteousness is the key to religion i am niether christian chatolic buddist or jewish Having faith in the higher power is the only religion.

    March 10, 2009 at 7:00 pm |
  777. Tom

    After a dismal 8 years led by a president who supposedly had a hotline to God, what do you expect? People have been turned off.

    Unfortunate, because many religious organizations do some good things here and abroad. But these organizations don't grab headlines since they aren't generally in it for the publicity or trying to fund a new flashy mega-church.

    March 10, 2009 at 7:00 pm |
  778. JohnJ

    It means logic and common sense is winning out over silly superstition.
    Or...I can wait for someone to prove there is a god.

    March 10, 2009 at 7:00 pm |
  779. Ryan aka Jesus Freak

    I am not sure what to say but i do have facts God has told me that we are like Sodom and Gomora of the Bible all we do is take the answer outta this country God wants to help but we refuse the answer if we wanted the economy and this world of crime to go down in percentage we must turn back to Jesus before its too late you think its bad now wait til his children are caught up in the rapture Jesus gave me a vision and has told me we are doomed if we don't turn to him we must avoid the one that will soon arise and many will think hes the one but hes not Jesus be prepared cause its coming and America needs Jesus is the answer here!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 10, 2009 at 7:00 pm |
  780. Erik

    I dont feel alone anymore. People ask me about my view on religion, and so I tell them that I have my own personal "pact" with God or Ala or Jesus... who ever it is. And the "pact" is, that as long as I do the right thing and help those who I can, then at the end of the day I will be okay. Churches are businesses, they collect money from everyone else by saying its part of Tithe. Next thing you know the local Preacher is driving a BMW. Religion has destroyed many people and civilizations, and is still continuing to do so now in places like Iraq. For America to shy away and become less involved, means that people want factual proof because believing in "air" isnt as easy t do now with Technology available.

    March 10, 2009 at 7:00 pm |
  781. brandon tushkowski

    I remember sitting by my dad in church when I was 13. My mother had passed away a few years before. It was a Catholic church. I had been raised Catholic. During a sermon, the priest went on about how single parent families can't live a happy and full life. That they don't work as good as a two parent family. That was the last day I went to church. I remember thinking, you s.o.b., thanks for making me feel worse than I did when I walked in to church that day. The Catholic Church, I feel, restricting life instead of celebrating it.

    March 10, 2009 at 7:01 pm |
  782. Starkey

    Organized religion was poisoned to me when my Presbyterian minister told me as a teenager that "all christians are, by definition, anti-semitic."

    It stupifies me that such a huge number of people are able to say that God is omnipresent and omniscient and takes every possible form, yet those same people, be they christian or muslim or jew or who-knows-what, are nonetheless convinced that they – and only they – perceive God as He/She/It really is.

    Kirby Hensley had it right: Whatever you believe; that's what we believe. And as long as everybody's included, we may come close to finally getting it right for all time. But that means acknowledging that, no matter how much faith we may hold in our particular religion, we're going to find all the other guys in heaven – and hell – too.

    March 10, 2009 at 7:01 pm |
  783. Joe from Shreveport, La

    Maybe people are realizing what faith really is.
    Mark Twain put it best: " Faith is believing what you know ain't so".

    March 10, 2009 at 7:01 pm |
  784. Aaron

    Many have already touched on it. Religious persons have recognized that their tithe is not being used for what it should, i.e. to help communities in need, fellow members of your congregation, food drives, homeless, etc; it goes to the paster, father, priest, etc who claims a need greater than that or his/her congregation. Items such as a bigger house, nicer car, commercials to pump up their buisiness. They come from private colleges that pump out practitioner after practitioner and each erecting a house of god on their land, in makeshift warehouses, singing the praise of the lord and only asking for you money in return. They have tainted religion to nothing more than another 'get rich quick scheme'; embracing the American Dream over the Word of God.

    March 10, 2009 at 7:01 pm |
  785. Paul

    Ronald Regan said it best “If we ever forget that we’re one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under.”

    March 10, 2009 at 7:01 pm |
  786. Kevin

    1Timothy 4:1: But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith

    Luke 17:26-30: “And just as it happened in the days of Noah, so it shall be also in the days of the Son of Man: they were eating, they were drinking, they were marrying, they were being given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. It was the same as happened in the days of Lot: they were eating, they were drinking, they were buying, they were selling, they were planting, they were building; but on the day that Lot went out from Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. It will be just the same on the day that the Son of Man is revealed."

    2Peter 3:3-7: Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.” For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water, through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water. But the present heavens and earth by His word are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.

    March 10, 2009 at 7:01 pm |
  787. CarolT.

    My life is made much better by the relationship I have with God. But it was a long time before I developed a relationship.
    I work in one of the corporate offices of the United Methodist Church. I am an administrative assistant but I am helping some of the most incredible and focused minds I have ever had the pleasure to meet. The people I work for are on the frontlines of actively working to end malaria through the "Nothing But Nets" campaign. They are also focusing on Global Health as a whole. I am in awe every day of their complete dedication and sincerity to solving the worlds problems. I am very proud to be a United Methodist because it is a religion that "makes sense" to me. Serving God by serving others is what I see everyday. If I were not already a United Methodist I would seriously consider changing my religious affiliation. You just wouldn't believe how neat it is to hear updates on plans to help people affected by poverty, ill health, hunger and so much more. My life has been made better by having a relationship with God and it's been made deeper by seeing the work around me. I am so proud to be a small part of it.

    March 10, 2009 at 7:02 pm |
  788. Sean

    Quite honestly, anyone who would renounce their religion because of political considerations or because they are not comfortable about the rise of people of other faiths were never truly Christian to begin with. However, is this really surprising when we consider that there has been a concerted effort to drive religion out of public life for at least the last 20 years?

    March 10, 2009 at 7:02 pm |
  789. Steve

    It means people are starting to ask the question, "why is it that we only turn to God in difficult times?"

    March 10, 2009 at 7:02 pm |
  790. Ron

    I find it amazing how ignorant some of the posters are of our heritage, repeatedly citing "Separation of Church and State", etc.

    I defy you to show me where that clause is found anywhere in our nation's founding documents. It doesn't exist. It's a myth made up by the left-wing nuts, atheists and anti-god zealots who want to purge every semblance of God and religion from our society.

    The reason fewer people are "religious", is because we are a here-and-now society. We don't care about tomorrow, or eternity, just what we can get and enjoy here and now. We are an unbelieving, self-centered, egotistical society. God is a gentleman, and if we insist on having things our way, then He will allow it.

    As we run toward that cliff, we need to make a mental note: when we find ourselves (our society) falling off the edge, don't blame God. It's our own fault.

    Turn to Christ now, before it's too late. Eternity is a long time to spend without Him.

    March 10, 2009 at 7:03 pm |
  791. I'm A Believer

    It is easy to see that the majority of respondents have no real experience with the True and Living God and appears to never have picked up His Word (The Bible) and learned for themselves how much He loves them, even in their own ignorance.

    It they would read His Word they would see how. not only they have failed him, but also themselves.

    March 10, 2009 at 7:03 pm |
  792. kh

    perhaps people are finally considering being good and kind just for the sake of doing so and not upseting their neighbors because they also hate to be treated badly. golden rule anyone? who needs threats of eternal damnation?

    March 10, 2009 at 7:03 pm |
  793. Alex

    Most of these comments miss the point entirely. The reason that more Americans are godless is because more people are starting to recognize what has been painfully obvious for some time: religion is a complete hoax.

    It has nothing to do with any specific shortcomings of either the Catholic Church or Islam. It has everything to do with people becoming more rational in their worldview, more independently minded and more willing to express their opinions.

    March 10, 2009 at 7:03 pm |
  794. Bob

    There are fewer people who find a reason to believe in a magic sky fairy who gets credit for every good thing that happens and never gets blame for the bad.

    March 10, 2009 at 7:03 pm |
  795. Carol in the "Bay Area"

    The New Testament Church began on the day of Pentecost as it is told in the Acts of the Apostles. The Church of Christ has been tainted by “organized religion.” Believers in God must get back to the Bible,
    and speak only where the Bible speaks, and silent where the Bible is silent.

    March 10, 2009 at 7:03 pm |
  796. Steven Burwood

    Religion is just another subject where adults can respect and be respected or not. I am an LDS member. In our basic beliefs, our beliefs must be respected, though not necessarily understood by people of other faiths, just as we resect the belief systems that we don't share.

    Present that thought in any aspect of life and you'll fix a lot of problems. Meat-eaters must respect vegetarians and vice versa.

    What's complicated about that? Even I understand that.

    March 10, 2009 at 7:03 pm |
  797. Blake

    The reason more and more Americans are saying that they have no religion is because of the increasing desire for common ground during times of great uncertainty and fear. In other words, most Americans see religion as divisive, and division is the last thing we need. Also, the rise of evangelical Christianity is a result of people seeking an authentic encounter with God despite religion. In other words, these individuals choose Christianity because they find solace and joy in the Good News - not because they want to pursue organized religion.

    March 10, 2009 at 7:04 pm |
  798. sean leslie, NY

    it is never about the numbers for prohecy told us that those who are lost are like sand of the sea. it is only a remnant will make it to the kingdom, not by Gods choice but by the many who sealed their destiny by walking away from eternity. we will keep preaching until our savior comes back to receive his faithful FEW.

    March 10, 2009 at 7:04 pm |
  799. Chad

    I can only speak about my transformation in becoming an Agnostic Atheist. It was twofold. The primary reason was my ability to think analytically due to my scientific training. Religious teachings do not stand against a rational mind. The second is due to the inequality religions purport. Events like the Prop. 8 issue in California and banning equality for gays turned me away from their teachings, even though some of it is positive. Some people need religion to be good people; others don't.

    March 10, 2009 at 7:04 pm |
  800. Henri D. Kahn

    I believe that disregard for religion is the manisfestation of disrespect
    for order, truth, empathy and loyalty to humanity.
    Henri D. Kahn

    March 10, 2009 at 7:04 pm |
  801. Mike

    The people who tell us to believe in organized religon are far too connected with the people who have stolen from America and put us in the mess we are today.

    Why do we need to pay money to have a connection with whatever higher power is out there? We don't, Jack, and its high time people separated church from bank.

    March 10, 2009 at 7:05 pm |
  802. BethA

    I think it's a little misleading. Speaking for myself, I don't believe in organized religions. They have come under disgrace the past decade with far to many scandals and misuse of funds and the trust given them by people who want to believe they speak for God.
    Many of us have woken up to the truth that just because a man can quote the bible and interpret it any way he wants does not make that man good or righteous in any responsible way.

    March 10, 2009 at 7:05 pm |
  803. larry - andalusia, al

    I believe in Jesus THE Christ, God incarnate in man. I believe he lived a sinless life as human. I believe he died, was born again as human. He lives eternally with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit in heaven.

    With or without organized religious groups, there are those who seek him daily. We share hope in his return and eternal life.

    March 10, 2009 at 7:05 pm |
  804. benchy

    I think many people just grow out of it, because they understand the difference between religion and morality. I think many have said it here. You don't need religion to be good. I grew up a catholic but now considered myself atheist and humanist. I am still a good person, who looks after other human beings, work hard, pay my taxes, make mistakes as any other person. Religion was invented by man. It was born out of fear of the unknown. I may not know the true meaning of life or how we came to be with certainty, but that doesn't mean that I a need faith to explain it to me. Religion tries to tell people that god is certain, without any real proof. Just because someone said so 2000 years ago doesn't make it so. Reason is the end of all religion and a good reason why many religions don't want you to think or question, but just follow like sheep.

    March 10, 2009 at 7:05 pm |
  805. Heather in Reno, NV

    For millenia, those who chose not to believe in anything had to lie about it to keep from being cast out, beaten, or murdered by those who had a not-so-hidden religious agenda. It has been acceptable to discriminate against them for so long, that even in modern times, you still hear people labeled as "Immoral Atheists" as though the two words go hand in hand.

    I think that the closeted non-believers have finally had enough of the endless bashing, discrimination, and misinformation about who they are, and have finally entered the spotlight for equality. They are demanding to be accepted as the decent, moral, ethical, loving, and good people they truly are, and not the "devil-worshipping", evil, immoral, hooligans they have been portrayed as. It has just taken this long for them to feel safe enough to express themselves without fear.

    March 10, 2009 at 7:05 pm |
  806. Mat B in Flower Mound, TX

    It means that the liberal have a bigger permanent base.
    Unfortunately, it will mean more evangelicals vs athiest political influences.

    March 10, 2009 at 7:05 pm |
  807. tjw

    Religion causes wars, is the excuse behind suicide bombings, and as a scientist...Adam and Eve make no sense. Religion provides some fantastic stories, and I'm sure some of the people writen about, like Jesus, were truly remarkable men. However, it stops there! Also, religion has made our forefathers stong during times of drought, poverty, difficult times, whatever it was, so it served a great purpose back in the day. Today...not so. Plus, Bush became president a 2nd term because too many bone heads put religion first...now look at this wonderful country!!!!!!!!

    March 10, 2009 at 7:05 pm |
  808. Michael

    Hi Jack,

    People are actually have their first re-birth or born-again moment and realizing there is no GOD and we are our own higher power.

    March 10, 2009 at 7:05 pm |
  809. Tommi Himmel

    Who knows??? Organized religion is a big business power grab cloaked in the guise of piousness and spirituality, but it has nothing to do with spirituality and everything to do with CONTROL. If you don't think so, just listen to the vituperative poison that falls from their lips. Talking snake, indeed!

    March 10, 2009 at 7:05 pm |
  810. Roy form Long Beach

    I beleive that most of the folks here should read "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire" by Henry Gibbons for an understanding of this phenomena. Religious beliefs have been replaced with something more fashionable and palatable for most: Consumerism.

    March 10, 2009 at 7:06 pm |
  811. Travis

    "Religion" as we know it is for the uneducated and misinformed. Its truly mind-numbing how many people drink the kool-aid and believe in a fictitious novel created prior to scientific evidence substantiating otherwise. Hopefully Americans are finally waking up to see the hypocrisy of it all and will exercise their personal rights to think freely without the fear of "God" or "Hell" bestowed upon them.

    March 10, 2009 at 7:06 pm |
  812. Brian

    I think this study is misleading. Americans have lost interest in junk religion. Many of our major religions have really lost touch. I knew someone who is an evangelical christian who preaches against homsexuality, stem cell research, abortion etc........ must get married have children etc..... I asked him once about being a kind person, caring, understanding loving, responsability. the answer I got was jaw dropping. He said that was just being a good person and that had nothing to do with religion. I think that is very telling and gives many answeres as to why people are becoming less affiliated with organized religion. I am catholic and I have to ask is anyone aware that the United States has about 100 married priests. Yet priests cannot marry. I thank God I am a recovering catholic.

    March 10, 2009 at 7:06 pm |
  813. Mark in Detroit

    If the evangelicals have proved anything over the last eight years with the masking of their bigotry, intolerance and hypocrisy as "Christian" doctrine, it is that Christianity, at least as it is practiced in American evangelical churches, is a false religion. I have many friends who always pipe in with "my church is different", but they never are. Never.

    March 10, 2009 at 7:06 pm |
  814. Mark

    Organized religion is a bucket of hogwash invented centurys ago to instill order in a hostil society. It's about taxes and power. If you really believe there is an all mighty omnipitent being watching over poeople, I have a stimulus package I would like to sell you on behalf of your grandchildren. The need for religion has passed, it is a complete and total watse of time.

    March 10, 2009 at 7:06 pm |
  815. lora l bowman

    In 1947 Iasked my bible school teacher –" If adam and
    eve had two sons ,Cain and Able–and

    cain killed Able–then Cain married–who was Cains wife? Did he marry his sister? I have asked many "ministers" this question-no answers–they all seemed very uncomfortable when trying to explain.?

    March 10, 2009 at 7:07 pm |
  816. Buffy

    But, Jack, they do. The dollar.

    March 10, 2009 at 7:07 pm |
  817. Bryan

    I am one of those that has no Religion. I wasn’t raised in one, although my grandparents were catholic and they tried to get me into the church. When I say I’m not a Christian, that I don’t have a ‘Religion’ people assume I’m an atheist. I find that amusing. I do believe in Source/God/All-that-IS. Allow me to say that when I say God, it has pretty much no-thing to do with how a Christian would define god. I don’t just believe in a higher-power, I Know. It’s such Magnificent experience, why limit it with the dogma of Religion? Why do people continually seek to limit God? To define God? To say what is and is not of God?(How can there be anything that is not God?)

    Freedom of Religion should mean freedom from having a religion imposed upon you!

    March 10, 2009 at 7:07 pm |
  818. Paul

    Jack it says that more and more people are seeing the obvious truth, that organized religions are corrupt creations by men in order to gain power and wealth here on Earth and have little to do with a higher sense of morality.

    March 10, 2009 at 7:07 pm |
  819. Jim

    More individuals having no religion strongly correlates to the rise in immoral and violent behavior. It’s true, more and more push religion aside as part of their daily lives. But more and more abuse drugs or alcohol, divorce, lie/cheat/steal at work or elsewhere, etc. I think a lot of individuals could benefit from some health doses of religion, today! Oh, and those who claim they don’t need religion, they know God and spirituality so much better without it, are full of it! Those individuals would not even have a concept of God or spirituality if it were not for organized religion.

    March 10, 2009 at 7:07 pm |