Recently the CNN.co.jp reported the following:
2019.04.14 Sun posted at 15:34 JST
(CNN) In a survey on Americans' view on religion, those answered “with no religion" exceeded Catholics and Christian evangelicals to stand at 23.1% to become the majority for the first time, it was made clear on the 14th.
Ryan Burge, a political scientist of Eastern Illinois University and also a Christian Baptist Pastor, had the result of a new analysis of a long-standing, comprehensive survey on social conditions. There were more than 2,000 participants in the survey who responded individually to interviews.
According to him, 23.0% were Catholics and 22.5% were evangelicals. However, the figures in these three groups were within the error of response rate and were statistically regarded as the same figure.
The survey asked the same questions for 44 years about religions that one believed in, but this was the first time that the numbers were in such a sequence.
The proliferation of the non-religious layer began in the early 1990s. It increased by 266 percent since 1991. He also speculated that in the next four to six years, it would be an obvious majority force.
The non-religious layer was composed of various groups, including atheists, agnostic, psychics, and those who did not want to be part of a specific organized religion.
There were various views among experts on the background factors of an increase in the non-religious layer. Atheist group leaders also analyzed the existence of the Internet was a factor and pointed out that the Net provided non-believers a place where they could find people with similar feelings.
There were also opinions on the unique tendencies of millennials born since the 1980s. This generation was also eager in analyzing the facts and had a curiosity about the world.
I am always interested in knowing the role of religion in different societies in different historical period. Religion is a key component of the culture of a nation or a society. The development of a religion in a society could tell us a lot about a society’s situation socially, politically and economically. In the scholarly world, more than 100 years ago, as least two scholars have looked into the religion of a society in order to find out an answer for their research questions. The first scholar is Emile Durkheim. His research is contained in a book entitled “Suicide: a Study in Sociology”; it was translated by John A. Spaulding and George Simpson; edited with an introduction by George Simpson; printed in 1952 in London: Routledge. The other book is by Max Weber entitled “The Protestant ethic and the spirit of capitalism”; it was translated by Talcott Parsons, with an introduction by Anthony Giddens and published in New York: Charles Scribbner's Sons in 1976.