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Study: Nearly Half Of Americans Say Increasing ‘Non-Religious’ Sect Bad For Society

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Americans are highly likely to inflate their amount of religious participation – if they even attend religious services at all. (LOUISA GOULIAMAKI/AFP/Getty Images)

Americans are highly likely to inflate their amount of religious participation – if they even attend religious services at all. (LOUISA GOULIAMAKI/AFP/Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON (CBS DC) – Nearly half of Americans say the increasing number of people “who are not religious” is troubling for society.

According to a new survey from the Pew Research Center on Religion and Public Life, 48 percent of respondents said that more non-religious Americans is a “bad” thing, while only 11 percent said that it is a “good” trend.

However, about four-in-ten (39 percent) responded that it does not make much difference. Even among adults who do not identify with any religion, only about a quarter (24 percent) say the trend is good, while nearly as many say it is bad (19 percent.).

The majority (55 percent) of the religiously unaffiliated say it does not make much difference for society.

A 2012 Pew Research Center survey found that one-fifth of the general American public – and one-third of adults under the age of 30 – described themselves as “religiously unaffiliated.” Fully, a third of U.S. adults stated that they do not consider themselves “a religious person.”

Two-thirds of both religiously “unaffiliated” and “affiliated” Americans said they believe religion is losing its influence in society and on people’s daily lives.

The most recent Pew study is from a nationwide survey of 4,006 adults conducted March 21-April 8, 2013. The margin of error is plus or minus 2.1 percentage points.

There is a lopsided set of opinions among white mainline Protestants, of whom 45 percent say the increase in those who are not religious is a bad thing, while only 6 percent say it is a good thing, and 46 percent say it doesn’t make much difference for American culture.

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