More Americans have left Catholicism behind than any other religion in the U.S., according to a new report.
About 13 percent of American adults are former Catholics – people who were raised in the faith but now say they have no religion, or converted to Protestantism or other beliefs, according to a survey by Pew Research Center.
At the other end of the spectrum, 2 percent of U.S. adults report converting to Catholicism.
Overall, there are 6.5 former Catholics for every convert to the religion in the U.S. – a far higher ratio of losses than any other religion in the country, researchers found.
‘It never connected with me,’ said Oakdale, New York resident Aria Dapree, of leaving Catholicism. ‘My mother actually taught religion in the house when I was young. It was weird stories. Jonah (and the whale), the Ark, all kinds of weird fantasy stories.’
The 62-year-old said ‘inclusion’ was the biggest reason she left the church, particularly Catholic opposition to homosexuality and the whole spectrum of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
‘Love thy neighbour? Well there’s all kinds of neighbors,’ Dapree said.
That attitude – and the ‘culture wars’ over sex before marriage and other choices that conflict with Catholicism – is a common reason people fall away from the church, said Dennis M. Doyle, a Catholic theologian and professor of religious studies at the University of Dayton.
‘The secular world kind of grinds down the nature of religiousness and then with the culture wars a lot of outward manifestations of religion seem to appear more extreme,’ he said.
‘These have been very difficult issues for centuries in the Catholic Church,’ he added. ‘I don’t think we (as Catholics) need to flip over and say, “Everything goes and let’s reopen the bath houses for everybody,” but I don’t think it’s as easy as “what we always thought is true.”‘
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Source: Daily Mail