While new reports indicate that Americans are growing increasingly irreligious as a whole, there are new and innovative groups cropping up around Alaska that address pressing issues about God, morality and the meaning of existence.
A new report from the Pew Research Center notes that 65% of American adults describe themselves as Christians when asked about their religion, down 12 percentage points over the past decade. Meanwhile, the share of the population who describe their religious identity as atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular,” now stands at 26%, up from 17% in 2009.
Additionally, self-described atheists now account for 4% of U.S. adults, up from 2% in 2009; agnostics make up 5% of U.S. adults, up from 3% a decade ago; and 17% of Americans now describe their religion as “nothing in particular,” up from 12% in 2009.
Religious attendance is also down. Over the last decade, the share of Americans who say they attend religious services at least once or twice a month dropped by 7%. It worse among younger Americans with only one in three Millennials saying they attend religious services at least once or twice a month.
Alaska in particular is among one of the least religious states according to recent Gallup polls. According to a 2018 poll Alaskans are more likely than the rest of the nation to say they have “no religious identity” (33 percent). Hawaii is slightly higher — also at 33 percent.
Despite the apparent decline in religious observance, there are robust speaker series, book clubs and discussion groups cropping up around Alaska where people gather to find answers to life greatest questions.
The University of Alaska’s Anchorage and Fairbanks campuses have a number of student clubs that support the faith of students, including groups that hold on-campus debates and forums about issues of faith. Other groups like “Brave Conversations” and Reasonable Faith Anchorage meet in local coffee shops to tackle some of life’s most hot-button issues surrounding faith and morality.
Additionally, institutions like Alaska Bible College are now hosting annual apologetics conferences in order to provide thoughtful answers to some of the most challenging questions about religion and the existence of God.
As these groups crop up, the Alaska Watchman aims to highlight them. If you know of groups in your area, please let us know so we can help spread the word.
Here is a partial list of groups we know of:
UAA, ANCHORAGE CLUBS
UAA, FAIRBANKS CLUBS