According to a new survey by the respected Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, those without a religious identity now number one in five Americans. And at least a quarter of them identify with the left wing of the Democratic party.
They are called "nones" because they don't believe in anything. Protestants have fallen to 48 percent of the population, the first time they have dropped below a majority. Catholics are at 22 percent and the nones are 20 percent.
What to make of this? First, a lot of the "nones" are young and strongly influenced by secular college professors and classmates. They want to "fit in," and so if they had a religious upbringing, they often discard it in college.
Second, no one comes to Christ unless the Holy Spirit draws him or her. Many come back to or discover faith later in life when everything else they try doesn't satisfy.
Third, the end times will be marked by a falling away from faith. And so, as I like to say, everything is right on schedule.
I'm Cal Thomas in Washington.
Publication date: October 10, 2012