The religious observance of Christmas appears to be decline, according to a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center. Pew found that 55 percent of adult Americans celebrate Christmas as a religious holiday, which is a drop 59 percent of Americans in 2013. Of those who currently observe the Christian significance of the birth of Jesus Christ, 46 percent said they see it as more of a religious holiday than a cultural event. Nine percent celebrate Christmas as both a religious and cultural event.

However, the decline has not affected the number of Americans who will participate in Christmas-related activities: 90 percent said they plan to celebrate, which remains consistent with Pew's 2013 findings.

A declining number of Americans surveyed believe in essential aspects of the birth of Jesus, as revealed in the New Testament. These include the virgin birth of Jesus in a manger, the arrival of the three visitors guided by a star to Bethlehem, and the announcement of his birth by an angel to the poor shepherds. Of the American adults surveyed, 57 percent believe in the above Biblical aspect of the story of Jesus, down from 65 percent in 2014.

According to the survey, two-thirds of Americans believe displays like nativity scenes should be permitted on government property, the number who believe they should be allowed if not accompanied by symbols of other faiths has declined to the current 37 percent from 44 percent in 2014. Fifty-two percent of Americans said a business' choice of greetings at Christmastime does not matter to them, while 32 percent prefer to be greeted with "merry Christmas." 

Despite the above findings, two-thirds of Americans polled either have not noticed a decline or are unperturbed by it. 

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Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat and the editor of Spero News.

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