The future of religion may look bleak in America. The Public Religion Research Institute found that 43 percent of Americans say they rarely or seldom attend church services, and a late 2012 study by Pew found that the number of Americans who affiliate with any religion are in steep decline.
But, hope is on the horizon. A recent Gallup poll found that the majority of Americans still think religion can solve many of the world’s issues, and another study by the Public Religion Research Institute found that Americans highly exaggerate their church-going habits. This data suggests that even though many today don't go to church, they absolutely do like the idea of it.
That's why we couldn't resist rounding up images of churches from across the nation, as seen on Instagram, to reflect upon and appreciate our country's long and beautiful history with religion, despite its hiccups.
Here are some of our favorite photos we found online:
Chapel of the Holy Cross — Sedona, Arizona
Hidden within the red rocks of Sedona, Arizona, the Sedona Church is beautifully structured to make it one special sight to see — especially when the sun glows over it, as pictured above.
Wayfarer’s Chapel — Los Angeles
Remember this wedding? Or this funeral? It happened at the Wayfarer’s Chapel, which has actually been host to many celebrity and fictional weddings in the past. Who wouldn’t want to get married next to those breathtaking ocean views?
East Liberty Presbyterian Church — Pittsburgh
As @Nolpgh says in the caption, this is an abandoned church in Pittsburgh, but that makes it no less eye-catching with its high towers and top architecture.
Church of St. Francis Assisi — New York City
Another hidden gem, the Church of St. Francis Assisi stands among New York City giants. But its simplicity — and gem green top — make it one excellent American church.
Glenshaw Valley Presbyterian Church — Glenshaw, Pennsylvania
What the Glenshaw Valley Presbyterian Church lacks in upfront beauty, it makes up for in its Halloween vibe. The church, built like those found in old New England, has the slightest touch of something wicked and rare.
St. Mary’s RC Church Closter — Closter, New Jersey
This church is small and simple. Its glass front window is masterful, but on a clear day, this church stands among the best.
Basilica and Shrine of Our Lady of Perpetual Help — Boston
Taken with a fisheye view, the Basilica and Shrine of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Boston is a nationally acclaimed church that’s as much known for its beauty as it is for its comforting power.
First Presbyterian Church — New Jersey
Small-town Northeast is what this First Presbyterian Church in New Jersey is all about. With snow spread throughout the outside, one look at this church, and you’ll be begging for the holiday season to draw near.
St. Dominic's Catholic Church — San Francisco
St. Dominic’s Catholic Church in San Francisco may boast well- constructed walls and a beautiful front alter, but the filter on this photo offers an orange tinge that highlights just how peaceful this church can be.
St. Mary's Catholic Church — McGowan, Washington
You have to admire this church for its worn, but loveable status. Old, fading gray panels on the inside with dead grass and a broken fence on the outside, but somehow this church still stands, showing no signs of fading away.
Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption — San Francisco
One of the most celebrated churches in the country, the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption in San Francisco features an excellent square- faced tower that stands high above the well-placed greens that border the outside. Even on a cloudy day this church stands excellently.