How Grim is the Future of Religion?


PEW Researchers predict that religion in the west will have a bleak and empty future.

According to a PEW Research Center Study, 1 in 6 Americans select in “None” for their religious affiliation. Researchers predict that by 2050, it will be 1 in 4 in the West. All around the United States churches are shutting down, and are made into buildings for businesses and housing. While the study suggests that in the future there will be some groups that will continue practicing religion, the majority will have a very different attitude about such traditions. It could take something major to give religion a second opportunity; however, due to the way humanity has developed and progressed,  churches will have a difficult time if they want to continue the way they have been for centuries.

In the Past

As religion began to develop and grow, it was highly dependent on the information that their followers had access to. They were able to prevent others from discovering their secrets, ensuring that their patrons were privy only to what the Church wanted them to know. As more information is shared through the internet and technology, people have a better understanding of their religions, as well as other religions. Above that, we are entitled to information and have access to a majority of it. According to Tufts Professor Daniel C. Dennett, it is “nearly impossible” to control what people know these days.


There are many things that factor into the background of religion’s future fall or reform. The media shares a lot of bias about religion, quickly swiping over exposure of religion’s falsehoods. One example is the Benson Study by a Harvard Medical School team. In 2006, they published findings that showed prayer didn’t work, and in certain cases increased complications after surgery. However, there are many other forms of media that are anti-religion or promote ideals that various religions are something to mock.

Other studies support this religious future

Several studies have indicated that as the population’s sense of well-being and security reduces the dependency on religion. However, the theory was first introduced by John Calvin in the 16th century. He observed his fellow Genevans as they became more comfortable in their lives, and enjoyed more wealth, and saw that they began to draw away from the Church. There are few plausible scenarios in which religion can be revived. One study conducted by PEW claimed that the citizens they interviewed who were of a higher education level or income bracket were less inclined to connect with a faith.

The Future

Depending on how the future pans out, there is little can provide religion their second shot. They are likely to simply alter their ways, similar to how they drew away from the Old Testament toward the New Testament when people didn’t like the wrathful God. There have been some studies that show people feel the creed should be less important, while fostering a sense of community and loyalty. It could mean the institutions will become communities that prioritize good works. However, in the event of a world war or other horrifying situations, the fear will likely fuel their return.


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