Skip to comments.Americans underestimate Protestant population
Posted on 09/23/2012 1:11:04 PM PDT by markomalley
A few months ago we looked at a survey that showed that the vast majority of Americans have no idea whatsoever what percentage of the population is gay.
Mainstream studies indicate that percentage is somewhere in the low single digits, but Americans believed on average that 25 percent of the population is gay. Yes, 25 percent. This includes data showing that 35 percent of Americans think that more than 25 percent of the population is gay.
Ive long wondered why it is that Americans are so wrong on this, but I cant help but think that the mainstream media plays a significant role.
I was reminded of that study when I read this Religion News Service report showing that Americans are way off when estimating the percentage of Americans who belong to various religious groups:
The typical American underestimates how many Protestants there are in the U.S., and vastly overestimates the number of religious minorities such as Mormons, Muslims, and atheist/agnostics, according to a new study.
Grey Matter Research and Consulting asked 747 U.S. adults to guess what proportion of the American population belongs to each of eight major religious groups: Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Mormon, Muslim, atheist/agnostic, believe in God or a higher power but have no particular religious preference, and any other religious group.
The average response was that 24 percent of Americans are Catholic, 20 percent are Protestant, 19 percent are unaffiliated, 8 percent are Jewish, 9 percent are atheist or agnostic, 7 percent are Muslim, 7 percent are Mormon and 5 percent identify with all other religious groups.
Respondents were correct on Catholics 24 percent of the country is Catholic. But according to the 2008 U.S. Religious Landscape Survey from the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, 51 percent are Protestant, 12 percent are unaffiliated, 2 percent are Jewish, 4 percent are Atheist/Agnostic, less than 1 percent are Muslim, 2 percent are Mormon and 4 percent identify with all other religious groups.
The article quotes Ron Sellers, the president of the research firm, theorizing that the word Protestant might have thrown people off. But this was the part that got me interested:
Sellers also mentioned that with Mitt Romney running for president as a Mormon and the current emphasis on Islamic-American relations, smaller faith groups also may be getting disproportionate media coverage.
This is undoubtedly true. But do we take this to an extreme? No one would claim that Mormonism and Islam or various tiny religious groups shouldnt get disproportionate coverage at times but I am sometimes surprised at the lack of good reporting on the majority of religious adherents in the coverage. If the coverage is disproportionate to the point that it is negatively affecting peoples understanding of the real world, that might be an argument for a bit more evenly distributed religious news coverage. Particularly since there are gobs of stories that go under-reported as it is.
Look at New England. I live in Massachusetts. It’s practically a wasteland. I had to change churches a few years ago — an elderly, and very Christian pastor retired and was replaced by a left-wing, green, lesbian who clearly did not see Christ as a Savior. Took us months to find a new church with a Bible-centered mission.
Maybe the Catholics could post a few more stories about Protestants to the Religion Forum :)
That's because they do 25% of the talking. :)
Misleading...I don’t see the God haters and heathens representing the Democrat party and Muslims here....
Hope you don't regard it as a slam. I thought it was pretty interesting.
I grew up in Manhattan in the mid-60s. My family was Catholic and we knew a lot of Jewish people. I was aware of this religious difference mostly because of some kids getting days off from Public School because of the Jewish Holidays.
When I was in second grade (in Catholic school) we read in our social studies book that most Americans were Protestant. This was disturbing news to me because I had never heard that word before.
Imagine, learning that MOST of your fellow citizens were something you’d never even heard of.
When we got out of school that day I asked my mom “What’s a Protestant?” And she looked at me shocked and said “You don’t know?!?!?”
Oooh boy, I was really up the creek on this Protestant thing!
Then she said “Oh, of course you don’t know, there aren’t anymore Protestants around here any more.” Then she sort of explained it to me. A few years later my friend introduced me to the tales of Henry VIII and the history started to fall into place.
I had to laugh seeing this thread, I’ll never forget that day. Aside from the day JFK was killed that was pretty much the most confused I’d been up to that point in my life.
I notice that somewhere between 20 and 30 percent of the population consider themselves to be evangelical (another hard to define term) and that may be what people are picking up on when they estimate the percentage of Protestants to be in that range.
Or they may be thinking of the number of mainline, non-evangelical protestants which is roughly the same, though it declines as the Evangelical and unbelieving populations increase.
Add the Evangelicals and the other, mainstream Protestants together and you get the total Protestant population.
FWIW, I notice your map doesn't count Mormons as Protestants. I suppose that's true doctrinally, though those who don't belong to either group sometimes have a different impression.
Look at the names in the legend to the map. Take out the Baptists and the LCMS, and the rest are apostate IMO:
American Baptist Churches in the USA
Assemblies of God
Christian Churches and Churches of Christ
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
Southern Baptist Convention
United Church of Christ
United Methodist Church
I think the pollsters have overestimated the Protestant population, myself.
The map was posted at Get Religion.
Mormons are not Christians. Of course they are not Protestants,
Mormons are Mormons.
The writings of their own founders indicate that Mormons did not consider themselves part of any Protestant church. They regarded Protestants in the same light as they regarded Catholicism, which is to say very negatively. Mormons wanted no part of either and regarded both Protestant and Catholic as being in serious error.
In all fairness, leftists are very adept at joining organizations with the intent of subverting their purpose to the leftist agenda. Any organization and every organization.
They have successfully done this in most religions in the US, and only after years are finally now being countered by religious schism, by the faithful in those religions rejecting the infiltration and the agenda, who split off from the religion and take their money and resources and faith with them for a reformed version.
But at the same time, this creates the impression that there are far more *believing* faithful than there actually are.
Call them PINOs if you like, Protestants In Name Only.
But their faith is not in religion but in the leftist agenda, so they truly neither believe in their articles of their denomination, or even in God for that matter. They continually afford to pretend that the doctrines of their church are identical to those of the left, despite all evidence and history to the contrary.
So how many *real* Protestants, Catholics and Jews are there in the US? Good question. But I suspect the real number may be closer to the “underestimation” than not.
It is 75% horse and buggy Old Order Amish. The surrounding counties are heavily Mennonite and other versions of Old Order Amish. You can tell by the pattern of the dresses on the women and the hats on the men.
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Well, looking at polling data and voting patterns, better than half of the Catholic population is apostate as well. We can’t expect non-Christians to be able to make a distinction between the two if we don’t ourselves.
I look at that sea of red in Missouri and have hope that McCaskill will be ousted, despite the efforts of certain Republicans to undermine or even destroy her opponent.
I look at that sea of red and know where the startling numbers turning out for CFA day can be primarily attributed, even in largely liberal states. Look at California. There’s a large red coastal county right by the Bay Area.
Heck, look at Utah.
I look at that map and know why Sarah Palin had such an upwelling of support in 2008, too. All other criticisms aside, she spoke their language and walked the walk.
Every TV show has a token gay person on it now, so it’s easy to presume that 20% of the population is gay if one is getting one’s impression of the world through watching TV.
I wouldn't argue with that. I think the number of observant trinitarian believers, of all stripes, has steadily dropped over the last 100 years across this country.
We cant expect non-Christians to be able to make a distinction between the two if we dont ourselves.
You make an awesome point. Thank you!
Seems like that might also be the case for the Jews and Mormons (2% Jews & Mormons as well).