The Critical 'I'

Read. React. Repeat.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

What does it mean that the long-time Protestant majority in the United States is about to disappear? Aside from the possible implications for the nature of this country's political culture, I think it just means that Protestants are so at ease being the default that they no longer have to explicitly identify with a particular denomination:
Among the reasons for the decline were the large number of young people and adults leaving denominations as the number of non-Protestant immigrants increased, comprising a greater share of the population. Also, a lower percentage are being raised Protestant, [General Social Survey director Tom] Smith said. Smith said it is also possible that some former Protestants are now identifying themselves only as "Christian," a choice on the survey.
A "Christian", in this case, is someone who believes in Jesus etc. but doesn't care for the trappings of church worship. It's a particularly American approach to religion and spirituality.

I got a kick out of the last paragraph:
People who said they belonged to other religions - including Islam, Orthodox Christianity or Eastern faiths - increased from 3 percent to 7 percent between 1993 and 2002, while the share of people who said they were Jewish remained stable at just under 2 percent.
It's great to see Orthodox Christianity get lumped in with the "other" religions. Small wonder that when I tell people that my official religious affiliation is Greek Orthodox, I get boneheaded replies like, "So, you worship Zeus then?"