Is America a Christian Nation? Research Says, Definitively, ‘No’

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Probe Ministries president and longtime host of the nationally-syndicated ‘Point of View’ radio program, Kerby Anderson has long seen and discussed the dwindling number of American Christians. But what was once an alarming trend has grown into a full-blown red alert.

Figure 1 Religious Affiliations of Young Adults Over Time


According to newly-released results from Probe Ministries’ Religious Views & Practices Survey—a comprehensive study of the results of numerous surveys conducted in the last decade by Pew, Barna, GSS (General Social Survey) and Probe themselves—the current number of adults under the age of 40 who select Atheist, Agnostic or ‘Nothing in Particular’ when polled about their position on faith or affiliation with the church is approaching (quickly) an unprecedented 50%.
“America is changing before our very eyes,” Anderson says. “We can no longer assume that our fellow Americans see the events in our society from a biblical world view.”

Highlights from the initial survey results include:

  • Between 1988 and 2018, among Emerging Adults (18-29), the ‘Unaffiliated’ population nearly tripled (from 13% to 35%)
  • Since 2010, the number of Young Adult (18–39) Born Again Christians with a Basic Biblical Worldview has dropped by two-thirds, from almost 15% of the population to near 5%
  • Emerging Adults who claim an affiliation with an evangelical church have declined from 28% in 2007 to 20% in 2019 according to multiple surveys


Perhaps as alarming as any figure to church leaders may be the idea that as young adults come into their thirties and begin to raise families, they are not, as many had believed, coming back to the church to raise their families. Many are staying away.


“Pastors and church leaders need to understand what this means for their churches and Christian organizations,” concludes Anderson. “We can’t even assume that many members of our churches even view the world biblically.”

The first of five reports Probe will release monthly through the fall, the initial results explore American religious affiliations over time and biblical worldview. In August, the topics explored will be the reaction of American young adults to:

  • the doctrine of Jesus Christ
  • the belief that Jesus is the only path to heaven
  • tolerance

For the full report and statistical summary, click here.

In the meantime, be in prayer about what you can do in your sphere of influence to stem the trends listed above.

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Probe Ministries is a non-profit ministry whose mission is to assist the church in renewing the minds of believers with a Christian worldview and to equip the church to engage the world for Christ. Probe fulfills this mission through our Mind Games conferences for youth and adults, our 3-minute daily radio program, and our extensive Web site at www.probe.org.

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