Americans Shrug Shoulders Over Religious Influence

For Christians who are deeply involved in their faith through regular church attendance, service and/or Bible study, acknowledging the importance of their beliefs usually isn’t that difficult.

In pulling the lens outward and looking at Americans as a whole it’s much more of a mixed bag.

A Gallup poll released Wednesday show equal amounts of Americans – 29 percent in each direction – fell religion should conversely have either more or less influence on culture. Thirty-nine percent said religious influence should stay where it is now.

And here’s where the glass half-empty or half-full viewpoint comes into focus. The 39 percent who seem relatively ambivalent about religion’s influence could either be seen as a potentially huge opportunity for evangelism or as simply people try to go along and get along without any real sustained interest in faith matters.

Data among self-identified Christians indicates, however, no great movement toward evangelism and satisfaction with the status quo. Only people who go to church on a weekly basis feel religion should have greater influence as opposed to staying the same, and that is only by a 46-41 percent margin. Among people who attend church almost every week or at least once a month, the balance tips 41-38 percent in being fine with the amount of religion now holds. Not surprisingly, among folks who seldom or never attend church, 46 percent say religious influence should lessen and 37 percent it should remain the same.

Along denominational lines, Protestants favor the same amount of influence over increased influence by a 40-38 percent margin, as do Catholics by a 47-27 percent spread.

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