American Faith at an All-Time High

Joel Osteen is truly unique.  He is

Cheryl Wetzstein’s article in the Washington Post provides a look into his latest claim: “I see faith in America at an all-time high.”


So What?

Of course, Osteen bases this lofty assertion on nothing more than his own incredibly optimistic worldview.  He points to no facts, no research, and nothing beyond himself.  He offers the opposing view when no such view is defensible.

As a spiritual leader, I hope Osteen will formally retract his misstatement or provide additional insight that clarifies his statement is not intended to speak to American faith as a whole (as it now suggests).  Even if he never does so, I hope someone will hand him credible research that looks at American religious belief, practice and affiliation.  Perhaps a good starting point is Mark Chaves new book: American Religion: Contemporary Trends (2011).

  • Why do you think Osteen makes remarks such as these despite data that clearly proves he is mistaken?
  • What other claims have you heard well-known religious leaders make that were clearly inaccurate?
  • How does this type of activity impact how non-Christians view Christians?


  1. Faith in what? He also begins his statement with “I see…” which puts it more in the realm of personal observation. I don’t think it’s a statement that needs retracting.

  2. Laura, I agree that his choice to begin his remark with “I see” indicates that he is making a personal observation. The problem here is that as a spiritual leader, I expect Mr. Osteen to base his remarks on fact. Does he really mean from his perspective and his personal observations “faith in America is now at an all time high?” I suspect not, yet this is what he said. I would welcome any clarification, limitation or more in-depth explanation. I am thankful that there not only is a tremendous body of recent research on the trends in American religion, but that this data is available to the general public.

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