DENVER — A new Pew survey reveals the number of Christians has dropped dramatically over the past decade.
People, young and old, walked in the door and filled the sanctuary for worship at Parkview United Church of Christ in Aurora on Sunday morning.
“It really excites people to be a part of a church that is doing something new,” said Rev. Corbin Tobey-Davis.
The church has started new things like an after-school program, parent classes and talking about controversial topics like race relations and gay marriage.
“We’re having real conversations, not just talking about heaven and something far off, but really talking about what does for us here and now,” said Rev. Tobey-Davis.
That`s how Rev. Tobey-Davis believes they’ve kept its members and even grown in the last few years, which was a contrast to a national trend.
“The church has always been changing,” said Rev. Tobey-Davis.
According to the Pew Research Center, in 2007, 78.4 percent of American adults identified as Christians. In 2014, it stood at 70.6 percent, which was a drop of nearly 8 percent. The decrease comes mostly at the expense of Protestants and Catholics.
“It does indicate something about shifts in our culture, in our society at large,” said Dr. Adam Graves, Associate Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies.
Younger generations are more likely to identify as unaffiliated. Dr. Graves with Metropolitan State University of Denver said it’s mainly because millennials have more progressive and liberal views.
“Perhaps there’s an effort to distance themselves from these traditional organizations, which seem to be aligned with conservative causes,” said Dr. Graves.
The survey also finds 22.8 percent of Americans are unaffiliated with any religion, whether atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular.”
“These might be the people who describe themselves about being spiritual, but not religious,” said Dr. Graves.
While Graves believes we’ll continue to see this downward trend, Reverend Tobey-Davis said Parkview will focus on being a staple in the community.
“I think people are connected with a church that’s doing more than just talking but is actually living its faith,” said Rev. Tobey-Davis.
Dr. Graves said more studies need to be done before we can understand what the people who chose “nothing in particular” really believe.
You can find the results of the Pew survey here.