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Religious identity: “strong” Protestants rise; “strong” Catholics fall

Religious identity: “strong” Protestants rise; “strong” Catholics fall

From the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life:

The percentage of U.S. Catholics who consider themselves “strong” members of the Roman Catholic Church has never been lower than it was in 2012, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of new data from the General Social Survey (GSS). About a quarter (27%) of American Catholics called themselves “strong” Catholics last year, down more than 15 points since the mid-1980s and among the lowest levels seen in the 38 years since strength of religious identity was first measured in the GSS, a long-running national survey carried out by the independent research organization NORC at the University of Chicago.

The decline among U.S. Catholics is even starker when they are compared with Protestants, whose strength of religious identification has been rising in recent years. About half (54%) of American Protestants – double the Catholic share (27%) – described their particular religious identity as strong last year, among the highest levels since the GSS began asking the question in 1974.

You can examine this study in much greater detail here.

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Andrew Trofka

Thank you JC for your thoughtful comment in response to mine! I like to try and spark thoughtful dialogue among fellow readers.

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tgflux

I know you're joking, Andrew, but I really do wonder if the very word "strong" influenced the results.

Early 20th century Protestants came up w/ the phrase "muscular Christianity", and I think that notion of "strength" is especially important in Evangelical Protestantism ever since. What self-respecting member of the FCA (that's the Fellowship of Christian Athletes), for example, isn't going to describe their faith as "strong"?

I'm really not sure this poll reveal all *that* much.

JC Fisher

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Andrew Trofka

I'm an Episcopalian (former Roman Catholic) and, WHOOHOO!, I'm strong! And nobody asked me. Hmmmm.

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