Pew Research shows there has been a drop in Americans who feel churches make a difference in the world.
In 2008, about 75 percent of Americans believed that churches and other places of worship played an important role in addressing important social issues, such as poverty, civil rights, and so on. The survey conducted by Pew Research Center received answers from the participants that the religious institutions contributed “a great deal” or “some.” That figure dropped down to 65 percent in 2012, with the survey participants stating that the institutions played at least some role in dealing with the society's problems.
The recent survey based on the same subject shows that only about 39 percent of Americans now believe that religious institutions don’t make any significant contribution in making the society a better place. This shows that the majority of Americans has grown skeptical over the years of how much difference the religious institutions can make in tackling social issues.
According to the Pew Research Center report, 80 percent of Protestants, in 2008, believed that religious institutions played a vital role in addressing social issues. In 2012, it was reduced to 73 percent. Right now, the figure is at 65 percent. Under the Protestants, 86 percent of white evangelicals, 77 percent of white mainlines, and 75 percent of black Protestants held the same belief in 2008. 2012 saw the numbers getting reduced to 77 percent, 70 percent, and 72 percent respectively, and right now it is 70 percent, 62 percent, and 61 percent. In the case of Catholics, 79 percent of them believed in the power of religious institution's ability to tackle social issues in 2008. 2012 saw it dipping to 63 percent. It did not dip any further; right now the figure is 63 percent. Under Catholics, 79 percent of white Catholics, and 81 percent of Hispanic Catholics held the same belief in 2008. 2012 saw the numbers dipping to 62 percent and 63 percent respectively. Right now, the statistic is at 61 percent and 69 percent. As far as the unaffiliated are concerned, about 56 percent of them saw churches/other houses of worship as society's main problem-solvers in 2008. 2012 saw the figure dipping to 45 percent, and right now it is at 38 percent.
People with no religious affiliation such as the agnostics and the atheists, obviously, do not see churches as the main problem-solvers in the society. The fact is, over the years, Americans of all ages, Democrats and Republicans, those who regularly attend religious services and those who do not, all have become less likely to see religious institutions as society's key problem-solvers. One explanation for this could be attributed to the fact of the growing number of religious “nones” in the American population.