28 April 2009

Americans not losing their religion, just changing it

More than half of American adults have changed religion in their lives, a huge new survey by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life found. And there is no discernible pattern to the change, just "a free for all," according to one of the lead researchers in the study, who attributes these shifting loyalties as simply "the free market at work."

The number of people who have changed religion is much higher than previously thought, the new report suggests. A study released last year concluded that just over one in four Americans had switched. Even that lower number was considered "striking," the Pew Forum said, and the latest research suggests it was a serious underestimate.

More than four in 10 American adults are no longer members of the religion they were brought up in, while about one in 10 changed religion, then went back to the one they left, the study found. Just under half have never changed religious affiliation.

Some have switched more than once, and a small number have changed three times or more, according to the study.


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