MORE and more Ameri
cans are beginning to think the influence of religion 3n their lives is decreasing. The latest Gallup Poll shows that the proportion who say religion is losing its influence has tripled during the last eight years.
ln 1957 seven out of ten people said religion was increasing its influence on American life, one out of 11 that it was decreasing. And today only one out of three feel the impact of religion is rising, while nearly half feel it is on the wane.
1-1.owever, the poll shows that Catholics are far more .optimistic than Protestants. In fact, nearly half the Catholics interviewed said they felt the influence 04 religion was increasing.
Men tended to be more pessimistic than women, people with college educations more so than those without, and people in their twenties more so than older ones.
During the same period, the poll shows church attendance has dropped from 49 to 45 per cent of the American population on an average Sunday.
The results of the poll are tabled below:
1957 1962 1965 Increasing 69% 45% 11:%, Decreasing 14 31 45
No difference TO 17 13 No opinion 7 Another recent Gallup poll shows most Catholics and Protestants feel unity between their two faiths will not come about at least not within the next 20 years.
Two out of three Catholics said they did not think Catholics and Protestants would be united into one church in 1985, and three out of four Protestants felt the same.
When asking if all Catholic and Protestant groups were likely to be united into one church in the next 20 years, the poll got these
answers: thORCS Protest:in%