Apr 27, 2009

Faith in Flux

Nearly half of Americans have changes religions--and that accounts for a lot of Catholics as well.

By Patricia Zapor
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- On the heels of a study of the U.S. "religious landscape" released last year that showed a quarter of Americans had changed faiths, a follow-up survey has found an even greater rate of "Faith in Flux," as the latest report is called.

When the number of people who now practice a different faith than that of their childhood is added to those who have moved around among religions or denominations and come back to where they started, nearly half of Americans have changed religions at some point, said the report by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life released April 27.

Among people who have changed religions, those who left the Catholic Church were more likely than those who left Protestant denominations to have done so because they no longer believed the teachings of the church, the study found.

It also made connections between how actively involved people were in their churches as children and teens and how likely they were to leave the faith in which they were raised.

Across the board, the vast majority of people who changed churches, who stopped being affiliated with any faith or who transitioned from being "unaffiliated" with a religion to belonging to a church did so before the age of 24, the survey found.

The reasons cited most often by those who have left the Catholic Church were that their spiritual needs were not being met, that they "just gradually drifted away" or they "found a religion they liked more."

A lot more to read here--but well worth the time.

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