Pew Research found that about one quarter of U.S. adults regularly watch religious services online and 21% use apps or websites to help with reading scripture.

Most are highly satisfied with the experience, according to a new Pew Research survey. Other findings from the survey found that 30% of U.S. adults say they go online to search for information about religion. The November 2022 survey was of more than 11,000 U.S. adults, well after COVID-era lockdowns had been lifted, Pew officials pointed out.

Those who attend in person (74%) say they are satisfied with the sermons, while 69% say they are satisfied with the music. Also, over half (51%) of those who regularly view worship online or on TV watch the services alone.

Pew found though that the idea of engagement and connection was the missing link between online and in-person worship. Fewer than 25% of virtual attendees feel connected to people involved in the service online, while 65% of in-person attenders say they are connected to others in the congregation. Only 25% say they feel they are an active participant in the service.

Pew Research’s survey has shown since early 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic first struck in the U.S., the percentage of U.S. adults taking part in a given month (either in person/online/on TV or both) has held steady at about four-in-10.

However, another troubling figure emerged with the fact that roughly 57% do not generally attend religious services and did not do so in the past month, either in person or virtually. And that has held steady.

Susan Barreto
Susan Barreto

Susan is an author with a long-time interest in religion and science. She currently edits Covalence, the Lutheran Alliance for Faith, Science and Technology’s online magazine. She has written articles in The Lutheran and the Zygon Center for Religion and Science newsletter. Susan is a board member for the Center for Advanced Study of Religion and Science, the supporting organization for the Zygon Center and the Zygon Journal. She also co-wrote Our Bodies Are Selves with Dr. Philip Hefner and Dr. Ann Pederson.

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