Fifty years ago this month, Time magazine published one of its most famous and controversial covers. Splashed in bold red print across a black background was a short, simple and yet intensely provocative question: “Is God Dead?”
But a half century after the Time article was first published, a recent Pew Research Center survey shows that belief in God is strong in the United States. Indeed, according to our 2014 Religious Landscape Study, nearly nine-in-ten American adults say they believe in God or a universal spirit.
To be sure, the share of people in the United States who say they believe in the Almighty has dropped a bit recently, from 92% in 2007 (when the Center’s first Religious Landscape Study was released) to 89% in 2014. And among the youngest adults surveyed (born between 1990 and 1996), the share of believers is 80%.
In recent years, there also have been small declines in other measures of religious commitment. For instance, between 2007 and 2014, the share of Americans who say they attend church or another house of worship at least once a week has dropped from 39% to 36%. During the same period, the share of Americans who say they pray daily also has dropped 3 percentage points, from 58% to 55%.
Perhaps more strikingly, the number of people who no longer consider themselves to be part of any religious denomination or tradition has risen dramatically in recent decades. Between 2007 and 2014, for example, the share of Americans who are religiously unaffiliated jumped from about 16% to almost 23% of the adult population. However, it’s also important to point out that a majority of these “nones” (61%) still say they believe in God or a universal spirit.