Prayer, Belief in God Sinks to All-Time Low in U.S.
"Miracles from Heaven" may have been big at the box office last weekend, but fewer Americans than ever have faith in the divine, according to a new analysis of a decades-long survey.
Twice as many Americans said they did not believe in God in 2014 compared with the early 1980s, and five times as many said they never prayed, the study led by San Diego State University psychology professor Jean M. Twenge found.
In fact, the percentage of Americans who believe in God or prayed reached an all-time low two years ago. Americans were also less likely to describe themselves as religious, attend services or believe the Bible is divinely inspired.
The religion-related fall-off among Americans ages 18-29 was especially stark, "further evidence that millennials are the least religious generation in memory and possibly in American history," said Twenge, whose research team's findings were published Monday in the journal Sage Open.
The results stemmed from analysis of the General Social Survey, a poll of 58,893 Americans from 1972 to 2014.
The findings may undercut the notion that while fewer Americans publicly affiliate with a particular religion, they still express their faith and spirituality in more private ways.
"That's no longer the case, especially in the last few years," Twenge said.
While Americans are generally more secular, there was one discrepancy within the broader results, the analysis found: Researchers saw a slight uptick in belief in the afterlife.
"It was interesting that fewer people participated in religion or prayed but more believed in an afterlife," Twenge said. "It might be part of a growing entitlement mentality – thinking you can get something for nothing."
"Cut your losses short and let your winners run." , Stocks Always Bounce Back - Don't They?
A glance at a long-term chart of any major stock index will see a line that moves from the lower-left corner to the upper right. The stock market, over any long time period, will always make new highs. Knowing that the stock market will go higher, investors mistakenly assume that their stocks will eventually bounce back. However, a stock index is made up of successful companies. It is an index of winners. Those less successful stocks may have been part of an index at one time, but if they've dropped significantly in value, they will eventually be replaced by more successful companies. The indexes are always being replenished by dropping the losers and replacing them with winners. Looking at the major indexes tends to overstate the resiliency of the average stock, which does not necessarily bounce back. In fact, many companies never regain their past highs and some go bankrupt.