U.S. religion is increasingly polarized | Science News

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U.S. religion is increasingly polarized

Moderate forms of organized worship are losing ground while evangelicalism maintains a steady foothold

By
11:51am, December 14, 2017
church worshippers

PRAY TELL  Religion in the United States displays a resilience and intensity not seen in other Western, historically Christian nations, researchers say. A new analysis suggests that the popularity of fervent forms of religion has held steady since 1989 while moderate types of worship have lost followers.

There’s both inspiring and troubling news for holiday worshippers.

Unlike other historically Christian Western nations, the United States is not losing its religion, say sociologists Landon Schnabel of Indiana University Bloomington and Sean Bock of Harvard University. But America is becoming as polarized religiously as it is politically, the researchers report online November 27 in Sociological Science.

Intense forms of religion, such as Christian evangelicalism, have maintained their popularity for nearly 30 years, Schnabel and Bock find after analyzing almost 30 years of U.S. survey data. At the same time, moderate forms of religion, such as mainline Protestantism, have consistently lost followers.

Religious moderates’ exodus from their churches stems partly from a growing link between religion and conservative politics, exemplified by the rise of the religious right in

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