N.C. (AP) — Despite the prominence of religious believers in politics
and culture, America has shrinking congregations, growing
dissatisfaction with religious leaders and rising numbers of people who
do not think about faith, according to a new study by a Duke University expert.
In "American Religion: Contemporary Trends," author Mark Chaves
argues that over the last generation or so, religious belief in the
U.S. has experienced a "softening" that effects everything from whether
people go to worship services regularly to whom they marry. Far more
people are willing to say they don't belong to any religious tradition
today than in the past, and signs of religious vitality may be
camouflaging stagnation or decline.
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