'Nones' fastest growing religious group in America - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

'Nones' fastest growing religious group in America

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This is how things used to break down in America: most people called themselves Protestants, followed by Catholics, followed by 'Nones', or people with no religious affiliation. This is how things used to break down in America: most people called themselves Protestants, followed by Catholics, followed by 'Nones', or people with no religious affiliation.
Here's how things breakdown now: Catholics, followed by 'Nones', and then Protestants. Here's how things breakdown now: Catholics, followed by 'Nones', and then Protestants.
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CAPE GIRARDEAU COUNTY, MO (KFVS) -

The religious face of the United States appears to be changing.

According to a new study from the Pew Forum, this is how things used to break down in America: most people called themselves Protestants, followed by Catholics, followed by 'Nones', or people with no religious affiliation.

Here's how things breakdown now: Catholics, followed by 'Nones', and then Protestants. It's the first time Protestants have been outnumbered by this unaffiliated group.

Of those surveyed, just over a third call themselves atheist or agnostic, the rest just aren't into labels. Local pastors say they've watched this trend become a reality here in the Heartland in some days.

The group of 'Nones' is a diverse one, and segment into many categories.

"I think people are realizing they don't want another country club," said Andy Cutrell, Worship Pastor of Crossroads Church in Jackson.

Cutrell agrees the focus of the church is changing.

"All denominations are welcome here," said Cutrell. "I think the survey is certainly true. As far as nondenominational churches go, we want people here to know Jesus Christ and experience His love. It's not about a name on the building. It's important that Jesus transforms your life."

Bob McCain says he came to Crossroads to find a real connection with Christ.

"I grew up strict Southern Baptist and my wife grew up Catholic," said McCain. "We found that here." McCain like so many surveyed say they feel many are jaded by rigid religion traditions and just want to get real with God.

"People have become so disillusioned with religious dogma," said McCain. "I don't think they're disillusioned with God."

But the rise of non-denominational churches only shows part of what this study revealed.

Religious or not, one in three surveyed said they had no plans to return to any church.

Another 13 million of the 33 million surveyed described themselves as atheist or agnostic.

Youth pastor Donnie Shaw says these days the debate over whether or not there is a God comes up often. He feels churches could do a better job to spread the gospel. He feels some people just don't know what they're missing.

"If you know how great something is its natural reaction to want to let everyone know," said Shaw.

Others feel our modern world has pushed us away from original tradition and desire to learn about it. Gideon Barr is an exception to the survey he's a 22-year-old new Catholic.

"I would say a lot of young people have not interacted with orthodox ideas or great Christian thinkers," said Barr. "I would encourage everyone to become informed. That's what brought me to my faith."

Here are some other interesting tidbits from the Pew study:

Forty-six million unaffiliated adults are religious or spiritual in some way.

Two-thirds of them say they believe in God (68%).

More than half say they often feel a deep connection with nature and the earth (58%).

One-in-five (21%) say they pray every day.

In addition, most think that churches and other religious institutions benefit society by strengthening community bonds and aiding the poor.

Overwhelmingly, they think that religious organizations are too concerned with money and power, too focused on rules and too involved in politics.

See the full study here.

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