Most Americans think church attendance is admirable, even if they don't go themselves


Despite fears about a decline in church attendance, the majority of Americans believe that going to church is an admirable thing to do, a new study has found.

According to Lifeway Research, two-thirds of Americans consider church attendance admirable, and only one in ten (11 per cent) say it's useless.

Researchers polled 1,000 people in September 2014, and even of those who didn't identify with a religion, 43 per cent agreed that going to church was admirable, while 80 per cent said it was acceptable. Less than one in three (29 per cent) branded it useless.

However, Scott McConnell, vice president of Lifeway, said: "Americans have a much more optimistic view of the people and practice of attending church than they do of the health of the church.

"Church attendance is much like regular exercise and driving the speed limit. People do not live out everything they admire."

More than half of those surveyed said they believed the church was in decline, with 42 per cent saying it was dying. 27 per cent said they think church attendance is outdated and that figure rose to 34 per cent of 25-34 year olds, and 31 per cent of Catholics.

Though a majority (54 per cent) of over 65s considered going to church an expectation, the same was not found of any other age group, but McConnell said this was a good thing. "I don't think evangelicals would want that to be the reason people go to church anyway," he explained.

The fact that the Church has lasted for over 2,000 years "proves it is not a fad" he added.

"Some Americans feel cultural expectations to attend church, but our recent research shows that those who actually do attend hold more closely to the teachings of Jesus Christ."