(CNSNews.com) -- A new survey shows that religion is important to 72% of Americans and that, among weekly churchgoers, 81% believe religion can answer "all or most of today's problems."
In the poll, conducted Dec. 3-12, Gallup asked, "How important would you say religion is in your own life -- very important, fairly important or not very important?"
For "all Americans," 51% said religion is "very important" and 21% said "fairly important," which equals a total of 72% on the importance scale. However, 27% of all Americans said religion was "not very" important in their lives.
For "Christians," the percentages were higher: 62% "very important and 25% "fairly important," for a total of 87% important. Only 13% of Christians said religion was "not very" important in their lives.
Gallup also asked, "Do you believe that religion can answer all or most of today's problems, or that religion is largely old-fashioned and out of date?" For those attend church weekly, 81% of them said religion can answer today's problems. In that same group, 11% said religion is old-fashioned and out of date.
For those who attend church "less often" than weekly/monthly, only 27% said religion can answer today's problems and 58% said faith is old-fashioned and out of date.
"When Gallup first asked Americans to rate the importance of religion in their lives in 1952, 75% said it was very important and 20% fairly important," reported the polling firm. "Those percentages were roughly the same when the question was next asked, in 1965, but by 1978, they had dropped to 52% very important and 32% fairly important."
"Since then, the percentage identifying religion as very important has fluctuated, rising above 61% in only two single readings: 64% in 2001 after the 9/11 terrorist attacks and 65% one year later," said Gallup.
In conclusion, Gallup reported, "In recent years, Americans have been less likely to say religion is important in their lives, that it can answer the problems of the day, and that its influence on American life is increasing."
"Yet, despite these signs that religion is on the decline, religious leaders can be heartened by the fact that religion remains important to nearly three-quarters of Americans," said Gallup. "And on this Christmas Eve, 62% of Christians in the U.S. consider religion to be very important."