Pew Reveals Protestants and Atheists Seek Similar Church Experiences

News: Life and Family
by Max Douglas  •  •  August 24, 2016   

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DETROIT ( - According to a Pew Research Report released Tuesday, Atheists and Protestants look for similar experiences when finding a congregation to worship.

ChurchMilitant had an exclusive interview with a representative for Sunday Assembly, an atheistic Sunday congregation, that is "totally secular." In the interview, the representative said, "We place great emphasis on being welcoming and inclusive."

While only 24 percent of Atheist/Agnostic Americans have looked for a new congregation in their lifetime, compared to 56 percent of non-Catholic Christians, both groups put great emphasis on quality sermons, styles of worship, and feeling welcomed.

Eighty-seven percent of non-Catholic Christians said sermons are very important compared to 76 percent of atheists.

The Sunday Assembly is set to add five new locations this fall. When asked what draws people in, the representative said, "Our speakers are the closest equivalent to a sermon, and they're often a draw for new members who may be interested in their topic or area of expertise."

For Catholics trying to find a new parish, sermons are not important, with only 60 percent saying it affects their decision. Most important to Catholics is location. Pew suggests this is "reflecting the geographically based system by which Catholics typically associate with a local church."

Pew also reported that among the issues that were least important for all groups were volunteering opportunities. In contrast a recent Vortex reveals the USCCB website has 427 results for "hell," whereas "social justice" has more than 6,000 results.


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