More Americans are ditching religion, Pew study says

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Pew Study: Americans Becoming Less Religious

Americans have been believing in God less and less in recent months, and new research is shedding light on why that may be.

According to a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center as part of a broader Religious Landscape Study, 78 percent of people who do not identify with any religious group were raised in a faith system and then left as adults.

RELATED: Religion in United States

Further, about half of those people said that a lack of belief caused them to leave their faith, citing, among other things, "science" and "lack of evidence" as reasons for this skepticism.

"I'm doing a lot more learning, studying, and kind of making decisions myself rather than listening to someone else," one respondent explained in the survey.

Click through images of children practicing religion around the world:

Children practicing religion around the world
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Children practicing religion around the world
Exiled Tibetan school children wearing traditional costumes sing at a gathering to celebrate their spiritual leader's 80th birthday in New Delhi, India, Monday, July 6, 2015. The Dalai Lama was born on July 6 according to the Gregorian calendar, in the eastern Tibetan region of Amdo in 1935. (AP Photo/Tsering Topgyal)
A Lebanese Shiite child poses for a picture during activities marking the holy day of Ashoura, in southern Beirut, Lebanon, Saturday, Oct. 24, 2015. Ashoura is the annual Shiite Muslim commemoration marking the death of Imam Hussein, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad, at the Battle of Karbala in present-day Iraq in the 7th century. Arabic writing on bandana reads, "Oh father of Abdullah al-Hussein," (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)
Pakistani Muslim girls attend a religious madrassa, or school, to learn the Quran, in Karachi, Pakistan, Wednesday, March 4, 2015. Religious schools in Pakistan, most of them in mosques are the only source of education for thousands of children. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)
A Nepalese man holds his child up high for a better view during the Bisket Jatra Festival in Bhaktapur, Nepal, Friday, April 10, 2015. During the festival, also regarded as Nepalese New Year, images of the Hindu God Bhairava and his female counterpart Bhadrakali are enshrined in two large chariots and pulled to an open square after which rituals and festivities are performed. (AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha)
Indian Muslim children read the Quran, the holy book of Muslims, at a madrasa or a religious school, in Bangalore, India, Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015. A media tour of madrasa was organized to highlight the positives of Islamic religious schools. (AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi)
Pope Francis caresses a child during an audience with Roma, Sinti and others itinerant group members, at the Vatican, Monday, Oct. 26, 2015. Pope Francis met Gipsy people from around the world on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Pope Paul VI visit to a Pomezia gipsy camp in Italy. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
A young Malaysian Muslim child peeks while his father prays during the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Adha at a mosque in Shah Alam outside Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015. Muslims in the country start celebrating Eid al-Adha, or the Feast of the Sacrifice, which honors the prophet Abraham for his willingness to sacrifice his son Ishmael on the order of God who was testing his faith. (AP Photo/Joshua Paul)
A Nigerian Muslim child offer prayers in Lagos, Nigeria, Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015, during the Muslim feast of Eid al-Adha (the Festival of Sacrifice) which is celebrated throughout the Muslim world as a commemoration of Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son for God. The festival falls on the tenth day of Zulhijjah, the final month of the Muslim Calendar. Cows, camels, goats and sheep are traditionally slaughtered on the holiest day.(AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)
Palestinian children hold balloons during the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, near the Dome of the Rock Mosque in the Al Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem's old city, Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015. Muslims will slaughter cattle and goats later, with the beef and meat distributed to the needy in the holiday which honors the prophet Abraham for preparing to sacrifice his son on the order of God, who was testing his faith. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean)
An Indian child eats snacks as she sits in front of idols of elephant-headed Hindu god Ganesha displayed for sale ahead of Ganesha Chaturthi festival in Ahmadabad, India, Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2015. The ten day long Ganesh festival begins on Sept. 17. (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki)
Kenyan Muslim children read verses from Quran, Islam's holy book, on the 11th day of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan at a Madrassa (Religion School), in Nairobi, Kenya, Sunday, June 28 2015. Muslims throughout the world are celebrating the holy month of Ramadan, where observants fast from dawn till dusk. (AP Photo/Sayyid Azim)
A Muslim woman tends to her children as others perform an Eid al-Fitr prayer to mark the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan at Sunda Kelapa port in Jakarta, Indonesia, Friday, July 17, 2015. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)
Pope Francis blesses a child as he arrives for the weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2015. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
An Indian woman carries a child dressed as Hindu god Krishna during Janmashtami festival celebrations in Ahmadabad, India, Sunday, Sept. 6, 2015.The festival marks the birth of Lord Krishna. (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki)
In this Friday, July 10, 2015 photo, children gather around Essam Sayed, a 45-year-old "mesaharati," or dawn caller, as he wakes people up for a meal before sunrise, during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, in the Arab Ghoneim district of Helwan on the southern outskirts of Cairo, Egypt. Each night, Sayed, sets out after midnight on his donkey "Aziza" banging his small drum, chanting traditional religious phrases and calling out on residents by name to wake them in time for the vital pre-dawn meal known as âsuhour.â (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
A Palestinian child recites verses from the Quran, Islam's holy book, as he waits for the noon prayer at a mosque during the holy month of Ramadan in Gaza City in the northern Gaza Strip, Thursday, July 9, 2015. Muslims throughout the world are marking the month of Ramadan, the holiest month in the Islamic calendar during which devotees fast from dawn till dusk. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)
Exiled Tibetan school children wearing traditional costumes dance at a gathering to celebrate their spiritual leader's 80th birthday in Dharmsala, India, Monday, July 6, 2015. The Dalai Lama was born on July 6 according to the Gregorian calendar, in the eastern Tibetan region of Amdo in 1935. (AP Photo/Ashwini Bhatia)
FILE - In this Friday, June 19, 2015 file photo, a Pakistani Muslim woman holds her child during Friday prayers at the Badshahi mosque in Lahore, Pakistan. Muslims around the globe are observing the holy fasting month of Ramadan where they refrain from drinking, eating, smoking and sex from dawn to dusk. (AP Photo/K.M. Chaudary, File)
Kashmiri Hindu children, dressed as Hindu gods, participate in a procession on Ram Navami festival in Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, Saturday, March 28, 2015. Ram Navami marks the birth of Hindu God Rama. (AP Photo/Dar Yasin)
Indian Sikh children participate in a religious procession ahead of the birth anniversary of Guru Gobind Singh in Jammu, India, Monday, Jan. 5, 2015. The birth anniversary of Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Sikh guru, will be marked on Jan. 7 this year. (AP Photo/Channi Anand)
Afghan children learn to read the Quran, Islam's holy book, at a local Madrassa, or seminary, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, Dec. 28, 2014. Islamic seminaries in Afghanistan are generally considered a source of education for poor families and children whose families could not afford expensive fees of formal schools. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)
A boy whose Buddhist name is Chung A smiles as he touches his newly shaved head during a service to celebrate Buddha's upcoming birthday at Jogye Temple in Seoul, South Korea, Monday, May 11, 2015. Nine children entered the temple to have an experience of monks' life for two weeks. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)
Kashmiri Muslim children recite verses from the holy Quran at a Muslim religious school, during the holy month of Ramadan in Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, Thursday, July 2, 2015. Muslims across the world are observing the holy fasting month of Ramadan, where they refrain from eating, drinking and smoking from dawn to dusk.(AP Photo/Dar Yasin)

About 20 percent of people who left their childhood faith oppose organized religion generally. "I think that more harm has been done in the name of religion than any other area," one respondent said. "I think religion is not a religion anymore. It's a business... it's all about money," said another.

Another 18 percent said they were religiously unsure, meaning that they had some connection to religion or spirituality but didn't identify with any particular religious group. One participant explained: "Right now I'm kind of leaning towards spirituality, but I'm not too sure. I know I can pray to my God anywhere. I do believe in a higher power, but I don't need a church to do that."

Yet another 10 percent said they "didn't have time to go to church" or "participate in any of the rituals of the church." These respondents were classified as "inactive": that they may hold certain beliefs, but that they do not currently practice religion.

Copyright 2016 U.S. News & World Report

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