31 December 2009


A Gallup poll released on Christmas Eve seems to agree with studies done by the American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS) and reported in previous posts:


Gallup reports increases since 2000 in those who have no religious preference (from 8 to 13%), that religion is not important in people's lives (from 10 to 19%), and that religion is out of date (from 20 to 29%).
When given the choice of Protestant (or Other non-Catholic Christian), Catholic, None, or Other, approximately 22% describe their religious preference as "Other" or "None." In 1948, that figure was only 2%.
About 78% of Americans still describe themselves as Christian, down from 91% in 1948.
In the late 1990s approximately 68% of Americans thought religion had answers to the world's problems. That has decreased to 57%. More people are seeing religion in a negative light.

You can find more information, along with graphs HERE.
Gallup concludes:

The United States remains a dominantly Christian nation. Almost 8 out of 10 Americans identify with a Christian religion. And the vast majority of those who identify with any religion identify with one that is Christian.

Yet, the percentage of Americans who in theory could celebrate Christmas this week as a specific component of their religious faith is down significantly from where it was 50 or 60 years ago. The most important reason for this shift is straightforward: there has been an increasing percentage of Americans who say they have no specific religious identity.

The fact that fewer Americans say they have a religious identity does not necessarily mean there has been a decrease in overall religiosity in America. It is possible that some proportion of those who don't identify with a specific religion are still personally or spiritually religious.

Although a little more than one out of five Americans do not identify with a Christian faith, the Christmas season has ramifications for a broader segment of society. A Gallup survey conducted last year showed that 93% of all American adults said they celebrated Christmas.


libhom said...

I love the pagan holiday of Christmas, except for the boring Christian parts added on.

Rita said...

A Gallup survey conducted last year showed that 93% of all American adults said they celebrated Christmas.
A testament to the power of advertising

C Woods said...

I was just reading something at "about agnosticism/atheism" on this very subject. Apparently many celebrate the pagan parts of the holiday: trees, Santa, etc. Others say they enjoy the music, the spirit of the holiday and being with family, despite not being Christian. We used to go to family holiday celebrations, but my extended Christian family decided to stop giving gifts about 12 years ago. Then my husband and I stopped putting up decorations, and after our parents were gone, we stopped spending the day with relatives. My husband and I usually pick up a few movies at the library and have a nice, quiet day together.

I think I might even enjoy it as a cultural holiday if I weren't sick of it about a week into November. I'm tired of the ads. I hate most TV holiday specials.

I do like some Christmas music, but I usually have a tolerance level of one hearing per season. I used to particularly hate the Hallelujah Chorus ---when I was a kid our church performed The Messiah every year, with all choirs participating including the children's and teenaged-girls' choirs so I attended practice of that from the time I was 8 until 18, and frankly I was sick of it after one year. Some of the distaste has worn off, but I still want to hear it just once a year. (I actually get sick of nearly any music if I hear it more than a few times.)

I have a book that has a question at the top of each page with space to answer it. They are things like, what do you admire most about your mother? or what did you fight with siblings about when you were young? I was answering the question, "What don't you like about the holidays?" on my break at work one day. I had just written the phrase, "people asking if I have completed my Christmas shopping" when the guy across from me asked me that very question. Instead of sticking my pen in his jugular, I told him that my family doesn't exchange presents. By the next day he had told several people I was a Jehovah's Witness. If he only knew.

rita said...

At the Newspaper, Christmas is a big deal...because of the advertising dollars. We are also in tune w/what's going on w/the Merchants Association & the Chamber of Commerce. Christmas is very important to small merchants, esp. those struggling because of current economic woes or for whatever reason. It is to the merchants benefit to cultivate the holiday season as early as possible & drag it out as long as possible. The baby Jesus is just an advertising ploy along with the Grinch, Frosty & Santa.

Personally, I've run the gamut with Christmas. I've loved it & hated it. The concept of it as a cultural holiday is easy to swallow.

BTW, I love Handel's Messiah. all of it. I use Christmas as an excuse to play it. A live performance is awesome.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...