America's religious identity is fast changing with more adults either having none or not identifying with a particular faith, according to a new comprehensive survey.
"More than one-quarter of American adults (28%) have left the faith in which they were raised in favor of another religion - or no religion at all," concluded the US Religious Landscape Survey.
The prominent Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life interviewed 35,000 Americans age 18 and older for one of the largest such polls ever done on religious affiliation.
It found that every religious group is gaining and losing members constantly with people switching, for example, from Christianity to Islam, Protestantism to Judaism or from Orthodoxy to Catholicism.
The survey concluded that Catholicism has experienced the greatest net losses as a result of affiliation changes.
"While nearly one-in-three Americans (31%) were raised in the Catholic faith, today fewer than one-in-four (24%) describe themselves as Catholic."
The losses would have been more dramatic had it not been to immigrants, particularly Latinos, who constantly replenish the church's membership.
The group that has grown the most is made up of people who call themselves unaffiliated, with 16 percent.
Although one-quarter of this group consists of atheist or agnostic, the majority is made up of people who simply describe their religion as "nothing in particular."
The Unites States has a population of more than 301 million.
According to the CIA Fact Book, Protestant make up 52 percent, Roman Catholic 24, Mormon 2, Jewish 1, Muslim 1, other 10 and none 10 percent.
Anh Khochareun, a teacher's assistant from Manassas, Virginia, was raised as a Buddhist in Vietnam.
She converted to Catholicism as a teenager after immigrating to the US.
Now, Khochareun and her husband are atheists.
"We make our own faith," she said, "within what we can do for ourselves in our own lives right now."
Fred Kurth, a retired aerospace engineer, converted from Evangelicalism to Unitarian Universalism, a self-styled spiritual movement whose followers do not adhere to a certain Christian denomination.
He reverted later to Islam after marrying his second wife during a business trip to Morocco, again after soul searching.
"I was soul-searching. I had to answer, How far is it? If I'm a Unitarian, I believe there is a direct link between me and God, and no third party to go through, how different is that from Islam?"
Kurth, who now goes by the name Ibrahim, prays every day at the mosque near his home in Fredericksburg, Virginia, and carries a prayer rug in his car.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 26 Şubat 2008, 17:57