Dec. 13 (UPI) — Religious aspects of the Christmas holiday are less emphasized than they have been in the past, a Pew Research Center survey found.
The survey found 55 percent of adult Americans say they celebrate Christmas as a religious holiday, down from 59 percent of Americans in 2013.
Of the 55 percent who observe the religious aspects of Christmas, 46 percent said they see it as more of a religious holiday than a cultural holiday and 9 percent celebrate Christmas as both a religious and cultural event.
The decline has not affected the number of Americans who plan to participate in Christmas activities; 90 percent said they plan to celebrate the holiday, consistent with Pew’s 2013 findings.
The survey also found that many Americans no longer believe in certain aspects of the Biblical depiction of the birth of Jesus, including his virgin birth, his birth in a manger, the presence of three wisemen guided by a star and the announcement of his birth by an angel.
Fifty-seven percent of U.S. adults believe in all four aspects of the Biblical story, down from 65 percent in 2014.
The survey found that while two-thirds of Americans believe Christian displays like nativity scenes should be permitted on government property during the holiday season, the amount who believe they should be allowed if not accompanied by symbols of other faiths has declined to 37 percent from 44 percent in 2014.
Despite the changes, two-thirds of Americans either did not perceive a decline in the religious aspects of Christmas or are not bothered
In addition, 52 percent of Americans said a business’s choice of holiday greeting doesn’t matter to them, while 32 percent prefer to be greeted with “merry Christmas” during the holiday season.
The data was collected in a series of telephone interviews of 1,503 people above the age of 18 living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia conducted between Nov. 29 and Dec. 4. The total sample size featured a 2.9 percent margin of error.