The people of America are long known to be free people who can choose whatever life they would take and the belief system they would follow. According to a survey conducted by YouGov, Americans hold a positive view of Christianity, Judaism, and Buddhism.
However, the results could be more favorable when it comes to individual denominations within Christianity. Christianity has the highest net "favorability score" of +33 among all the religions surveyed. More than half of Americans, 51%, view Christianity either "very" or "somewhat" favorably, while 18% view it "very" or "somewhat" unfavorably. The remaining respondents either had a neutral view or were unsure about their opinion.
Christianity is Most Favorable Among Americans
A recent survey by YouGov asked 1,000 respondents to rate a sample of 17 religions or groups based on how favorably they viewed them. According to the Washington Times, the survey allowed respondents to choose "very favorably," "somewhat favorably," "neither favorably or unfavorably," "somewhat unfavorably," "very unfavorably," or "not sure."
To determine a net score for each religion or group, the share of those who viewed it favorably was subtracted from those who viewed it unfavorably. Christianity received the highest net score of +34, followed by Protestantism, the Amish, Judaism, Buddhism, and Catholicism.
The least favorably viewed groups were Satanism and the Church of Scientology, with a net score of -49, followed by Jehovah's Witnesses, the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Islam, Christian Science, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Some belief systems received roughly equal positive and negative ratings, such as Pentecostalism, the Assemblies of God, Hinduism, and the Mennonite Church.
The Lifeway Research study indicates that people who consider religion important to them have a more favorable view of faith groups than those who do not think it essential. Among the non-religious, only four had a positive favorability score: Buddhism, atheism, agnosticism, and Hinduism.
In the study, only a majority of Americans (51%) said they assume Pentecostal churches are not for them. In contrast, few Americans automatically reject a church based on denominational affiliation. When it came to Christian denominational groups, Baptists had the highest favorable rating (61%), followed by non-denominational (57%), Catholic (57%), Methodist (55%), Presbyterian (53%), and Lutheran (51%) churches.
However, views were more split regarding Baptist (50%) and Pentecostal (47%) churches, with Assemblies of God having the lowest percentage of those viewing them favorably at 43%.
Also Read: Against the Odds: Israel's Christian Community Thrives Despite Regional Decline in Church Attendance
A Significant Shift in American Religious Identity Over the Decades
The religious identity of Americans has undergone a significant shift in recent decades. At the same time, about 90% of U.S. adults identified as Christians in the early 1990s, and only about two-thirds of adults are Christians. According to Pew Research Center, this shift is mainly due to many adults leaving the religion they were raised to become religiously unaffiliated.
A declining percentage of people raised without religion also converted or took on faith later in life. This trend is particularly noticeable among young adults raised as Christians, as a shrinking share of them have retained their religious identity in adulthood. This report focuses on religious switching and briefly discusses other demographic forces that can cause religious change, including transmission, migration, fertility, and mortality.
Related Article: Regular Church Attendance Declines, But Belief in God Persists Despite the Growth of Megachurches