The Catholic Church in America has been grappling with a culture war over the past few years, with some of its most prominent leaders embracing the idea of “universalism” in their theology.
Today, a new survey shows that Catholics who do not agree with these tenets are not only more likely to reject a theology that they find alien, but are also more likely than their non-Catholic peers to reject the Church in general.
The survey, conducted by the Pew Research Center, found that the most common response to the question “Do you identify as Catholic or Protestant?” was “no.”
Only 10 percent of those who said “no” to the “no religion” question said they identify as a Catholic or a Protestant.
The vast majority of respondents (88 percent) also said they did not believe that the Catholic Church is a true church.
“We have seen in the past several years a significant increase in people who do identify as ‘Catholic’ and ‘protestant,’ both of which have seen a huge increase in their numbers, which is not surprising given the Church’s ongoing problems,” the Pew report says.
“A number of factors have contributed to the rise in these two groups of Catholics, including the rise of the internet and the growing number of people who identify as Christian without a formal religious affiliation.”
Among those who do have a formal affiliation, however, the numbers are not nearly as dramatic.
The Pew survey found that only about one-third of people said they were Catholic or Protestants, and nearly one-in-ten (9 percent) said they identified as Catholic.
This is a significant difference from other religious groups that are growing in numbers.
In 2015, Pew found that more than half of Americans said they “believe in a supreme being who created the universe,” while only 4 percent said they said they believed in God.
(In 2015, the proportion of those saying they “did not believe in a creator of the universe” was similar, at about 6 percent.)
A 2015 Pew survey of about 7,000 adults found that while many Catholics (58 percent) say they believe in God, just 23 percent of Americans overall said they also believe in the existence of a supreme creator.
A Pew survey released last month found that there are still roughly four in 10 Catholics (39 percent) who said they believe God exists, but that the percentage of Americans who said this number is similar to other religious traditions has increased.
More than one-fifth of Americans, 23 percent, said they do not know enough about religion to say whether they believe it or not.
The poll also found that Catholics and Protestants who identify themselves as non-believers are more likely (33 percent) than those who identify with a religious tradition to be dissatisfied with their own religion.
Among Catholics, 29 percent said that they are dissatisfied with Catholicism, compared to just 14 percent who said the same of Protestants.
In addition, two-thirds of Catholics (67 percent) and one-quarter of Protestants (26 percent) feel that the teachings of their faith are not relevant to life, compared with only 14 percent of Protestants and 16 percent of Catholics.
And about one in five Catholics (19 percent) report that they feel “religiously unimportant” in the way they perceive their religion.
Pew found some notable differences between Catholics and non-Catholics on the question of whether the teachings and practices of the Catholic church are in keeping with the teachings that they believe to be true.
Among those Catholic and Protestant who identify their faith with the Catholic faith, 70 percent said the teachings in the Catholic and evangelical traditions are not in keeping, compared by only 12 percent of the non-religious.
And in a separate Pew survey, more than three-quarters of Catholics and just under half of Protestants said that the doctrine of original sin is “not true,” compared with one-fourth of Catholics who identify more with the evangelical tradition. More News: