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2012 Archives

The New Profile Of Faith

Religious faith now in America. Protestants, in a minority for the first time ever. And “no affiliation” on the rise. We’ll look at the new profile of faith.


The following ran on the Oct. 11, 2012, edition of WBUR, Boston's NPR news station. Professor William Lawrence, dean of SMU's Perkins School of Theology, provided expertise for this story.

November 9, 2012

Everything changes. Including Americans’ relationship with religion. Not so long ago, more than two-thirds of Americans were Protestant. Christians, read to check the box. A new study, just out, finds fewer than half now say they’re Protestant. Lowest ever.
Nearly one in five say they’re atheist, agnostic, or “nothing in particular.” Catholics, with big immigration, now the largest single faith group. But just a touch ahead of the unaffiliated…two-thirds of whom say they still believe in God. It’s complicated.
This hour, On Point with Tom Ashbrook: Religious faith now in America.


  • William Lawrence, dean of the Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University.
  • Gregory Smith, senior researcher at the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life . He is one of the primary researchers for the report released Tuesday titled “Nones on the Rise.”
  • Robert Putnam, professor of public policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. His most recent book, American Grace, co-authored with David Campbell of Notre Dame, focuses on the role of religion in American public life.

Listen to the interview. audio icon