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Fewer Americans Go to Religious Services: Pew Survey

The Pew Research Center found that there is a decline among Americans who are regularly attending religious services and the reason is not because of lack of faith.

“Why Americans Go (and Don’t Go) to Religious Services” was conducted to shed light on the reasons why there is a drop in attendance at church, synagogue, mosque, and other house of worship among U.S. adults.

Majorities of U.S. churchgoers say that when they’re at religious service, they ‘always’ or ‘often’ feel a sense of God’s presence (80%), a sense of community with others (73%), and a sense of connection to a longstanding tradition (60%). —Pew Research Center

The survey found that the main reason Americans who attend religious services a few times a year or less often is that they practice their faith in other ways. Among the participants, 37% of them answered “I practice my faith in other ways.”

The findings also showed that three-in-ten of adult Americans, or 28%, do not go to religious services because they are not believers. Others disclosed that they haven’t found a church or house of worship they like, some dislike the sermons, and 14% said they do not feel welcome at religious services. Some respondents revealed logistical reasons (not having the time, or having health problems) for not going to church.

As for the top reasons why American adults choose to attend religious services at least once or twice a month, eight-in-ten, or 81%, of the respondents answered to become closer to God. About two-thirds, or 69%, believe going to church regularly will give their children moral foundation. Others cited to become a better person, and a source of comfort in times of trouble as the reasons for attending religious services. A small percentage of participants said they regularly attend religious services for the valuable sermons and being part of “a community of faith.”

Researchers found that more than four-in-ten Christians, or 44%, practice their faith in other ways. The second most common reason Christians said for not attending church is that they haven’t found a house of worship they like (28%).

According to Pew, “Majorities of U.S. churchgoers say that when they’re at religious service, they ‘always’ or ‘often’ feel a sense of God’s presence (80%), a sense of community with others (73%), and a sense of connection to a longstanding tradition (60%).”

Professor Timothy O’Malley, director of the University of Notre Dame’s Center for Liturgy, was not surprised at the findings of the survey, reports Crux Now.

“Catholics who have endured multiple waves of the sexual abuse scandal would not be especially affected by the scandal of bad preaching. Instead, they come to Church because there they encounter the Eucharistic Lord, who comes to bring peace to the nations,” he said.

Pew surveyed 4,729 adults on its American Trends Panel via phone on December 4-18, 2017.

Sources:
Pew Research Center
Crux Now

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