“Faith in Flux”

New study looks at changes in religious affiliation. Interactive chart. Executive summary. Those who were raised Catholic or Protestant who are now unaffiliated “just gradually drifted away” for the most part. Those who were unaffiliated and now go to a church did so largely to get their spiritual needs met (51%), but for 23% it was because of who they married.  Looking at why they joined their current faith, over 74% of each say because they “Enjoy the religious services and style of worship.”

Ex-Catholics who become Protestant are not generally upset about teachings about abortion, homosexuality, divorce, birth control, women’s issues, Catholic social teaching, etc. Rather, they say (71%) that their spiritual needs were not being met. Disagreement with those issues does figure strongly with those who leave Catholicism and do not become Protestant.

There wasn’t enough of a sample of people who were Protestant who became Catholic, or who left Catholicism or Protestantism for a non-Christian religion or vice versa. All of these together constitute only 9% of the US population.

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