NEW YORK, NY – A growing number of Americans say they don’t see Christmas as a religious holiday, according to a Pew Research poll released Tuesday.
Thepoll resultsshow that 55 percent of those polled celebrate Christmas as a religious holiday, down from 59 percent in 2013, and that only 46 percent see Christmas as more religious than cultural, down from 51 percent in 2013. The majority of Americans, 90 percent, still celebrate Christmas, but the results from the 1,503 adults polled indicate that the overall perception of the purpose of Christmas is changing.
The results show a trend toward a distinctly secular interpretation of Christmas, according to the Pew Research Center, and that faith in the story of Jesus’ birth is waning. Of those polled this year, only 66 percent believe that Jesus was born of a virgin, down from 73 percent in 2014, while only 68 percent believe that three magi followed a star to find baby Jesus and present him with gifts, down from 75 percent in 2014.
The percentage of those who believe that no religious displays should be allowed on government property has grown from 20 percent in 2014 to 26 percent in 2017. The percentage of those who believe Nativity scenes should be allowed on government property unaccompanied by religious displays of other faiths meanwhile has declined by 7 percentage points since 2104.
Researchers said the decline in belief in the Nativity story is the result of two factors, according to the New York Times. The first is that those who do not affiliate with any one religion and those who identify as atheists are less likely now to believe aspects of the Biblical nativity story, and the second is that there is a 5 percent decrease among those who identify as Christians who believe in the story as well.
As for “Merry Christmas,” 52 percent of those polled said they did not care what greeting is offered to them during the season, while only 32 percent said they preferred “Merry Christmas.”
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