|Photo by Nicholas Smith, Getty Images, via Pew Research Center|
Americans’ “church membership, church attendance and belief in God all declined during the pandemic years,” but the growing membership in nondenominational Christian churches gave that largely unorganized group its first plurality among U.S. believers, Daniel de Visé writes for The Hill‘s “Changing America” series.
“At least one-fifth of Americans today embrace no religion at all,” DeVisé notes, citing polls. “A similar share tell pollsters they do not believe in God, an all-time high. The lone, striking counter-trend is a steep rise in nondenominational Protestants.” They became a plurality among U.S. Protestants in 2021, “signaling a new era of churches and clergies untethered from religious tradition.”
This is a fundamental change in a key element of American society. DeVisé notes, “Multigenerational communities formed around the Baptist and Methodist churches that dominated town squares for generations. By contrast, nondenominational churches often thrive on their otherness, attracting congregants who mistrust ancient American institutions.”
At the same time, many of those who say they identify with no religion say they consider religion important in their lives, DeVisé reports.