Praise the non-Lord! The faithless are on the march! The ranks of the religiously unaffiliated have risen from 5-8% in the 1980s to 16.1% today.
So says a survey of religious affiliation by the Pew Forum on Religious and Public Life. This is great news. It shows that the Question Mark God, a.k.a. Who knows?, has a plan for America: ever-increasing uncertainty.
A USA Today story on the Pew Forum report is titled, "Survey: Americans freely change, or drop, their religions." More good news.
A new map of faith in the USA shows a nation constantly shifting amid religious choices, unaware or unconcerned with doctrinal distinctions. Unbelief is on the rise.
The story quotes one of the report's co-authors, John Green.
"Fluidity is the rule today, not the exception. There's greater diversity and greater movement — a quantum leap in the rate of change."
"It will become increasingly difficult to find people who share a love for distinct doctrine," he adds.
"But there are always niches in the marketplace. There will always be a place for religions that are strict. They just may cater to smaller numbers."
We can only hope. Like eventually, zero.
Of course, I'm biased. I've tried the strict thing and found it wanting. Since religiosity is aimed at finding ultimate truth that's currently unknown, I now consider that flexible openness is the hallmark of genuine spiritual inquiry – not clinging rigidly to preconceived dogmas.
Today a friend sent me a Science vs. Faith Flowchart.
You can see that science is about examining evidence to see if it supports an idea. Then getting more evidence and/or changing the idea. It's full of feedback loops that produce changes in direction, homing in on truth.
Faith, on the other hand, is linear. It sticks with what it believes, ignoring discordant evidence.
Fortunately, Americans are coming around to the benefits of a more scientific approach to answering the big questions of life. They're increasingly willing to discard the faith they grew up with for something that makes more sense.
I'm proud to point out that nowhere is this more true than in Oregon, where I live. I perused the maps page on the Pew Forum web site and found that Oregon has the highest proportion of religiously unaffiliated adults, 27%.
We're #1! We're #1! Still, that's 73% remaining to be converted to faithlessness.