Personal Jesus Pod

For the last 15 years, America has seen a well-documented, well-researched retreat from religion as a practical matter (actual religious participation). I believe there is evidence that people no longer believe but are holding onto their religious labels because, as we have become more tribal as a nation, this provides safety. I want to explore how this retreat from religion and allegiance to religious identity is intersecting with American culture today.

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Updated a long time ago.

Welcome to the Personal Jesus Podcast. A look inside America’s need to believe. In 2015, 23% of Americans declared that they were Atheist or agnostic, up from 16% in 2007. The period between 2000 and 2015 is known among religious leaders as The Great Decline. Using data going back nearly 70 years and asking about religious service participation, membership in congregations, prayer and overall belief in religion, The Great Decline shows the steepest drop in religious participation ever recorded. So while only 23% of people will tell a pollster they are not affiliated with any religion, active involvement in religion has cratered. But a quick trip onto any Social Media site or Google Search will show you that while religious participation may be declining, it is a golden age to be a Zealot. Sports teams, political parties, community organizations, fitness classes, parenting organizations, fashion--in 2018, there is a religion for them all. And I set out to meet the true believers of these new religions, find out what makes them tick, and how they find their true-north in this increasingly godless world.