Religion: Unchanging Faith?

Many observers hold two related theories about U.S. religion: it is 1) booming, and 2) growing progressively more secular. Sociologist Seymour M. Lipset of the University of California disagrees. While church membership has clearly risen in recent years, Lipset reports in the Columbia University quarterly Forum, there is "no basic trend" in churchgoing: it was 41% of the adult population in an average week of 1939, only 39% in 1950, and 47% in 1957. Other statistics:

¶ A survey of leading businessmen in the mid-1920s showed 37% without religious preference, while a comparable survey in 1950 showed 59%.

¶ In 18 Protestant churches,...

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