CHRISTMAS & Away With the Manger: More Americans Look for a Secular Christmas

by Aaron Earls, Facts & Trends, LifeWay, 12/14/17.

… While 9 in 10 Americans tell Pew Research they celebrate Christmas, less than half (46 percent) say they see it as a religious holiday—down 5 percentage points since 2014.

Compared to three years ago, fewer plan to attend church as part of their celebration (54 to 51 percent) and believe Christian symbols like nativity scenes should be allowed on government property even if unaccompanied by other symbols (44 to 37 percent).

Americans also seem less concerned about stores saying, “Merry Christmas.” More than half (52 percent) now say it doesn’t matter what greeting stores use, up from 45 percent in 2005.

Around a third (32 percent) now say they prefer businesses use “Merry Christmas,” while 15 percent want to hear “Happy holidays” or “Season’s greetings.”

The growing secular perspective on Christmas could come from the declining number of Americans who doubt the biblical narrative of Jesus’ birth.

From 2014 to 2017, fewer Americans say they believe the following about the biblical Christmas story:

  • Jesus was born to a virgin (73 to 66 percent)
  • Jesus was laid in a manger (81 to 75 percent)
  • Jesus received gifts from wise men guided by a star (75 to 68 percent)
  • Jesus’ birth announced to shepherds by an angel (74 to 67 percent)

The number of Americans who say they believe all four of those things fell from 65 to 57 percent. Only 11 percent of all religiously unaffiliated Americans believe all four—down from 21 percent in 2014.

Much of that decline can be attributed to the increasingly secular religiously unaffiliated…

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