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The Changing Role of Religion in America

David Campbell, professor at University of Notre Dame Professor and coauthor of American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us, recently revealed the results of a study examining the changing role of religion in America.

One interesting statistic presented by Campbell was the changing face of religiosity among young people, as seen in the graphic below.

Since the late 1980’s we have seen an increase in Americans who indicate they have no religious preference. These “nones” represent approximately 27 percent of people ages 18-29. Additionally, there has been a sharp decline in the percentage of people in the same age bracket who claim to be evangelical Protestants.

Why is this so? According to Campbell, it is because people associate religion with specific political views. In other words, there is an increasing connection between religion and conservative politics. We have become more polarized on our religious and political views. There are fewer moderates—politically or religiously.

This presents a challenge for us. How do we reach the rising percentage of young people who claim to have no religious preference? Traditional, dogmatic approaches that tend to polarize us are not the solution. We need to focus on how to show the love of Jesus to others. Love brings peace, and love unites us.

In light of the changing face of religiosity, how can we show the love of Jesus to others?

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