The Largest Religion in America in 2037

The rise of the "nones" (those claiming no religious affiliation) has been well documented in general, and also here on this blog.  Assuming the shift away from religious affiliation continues, when might the largest "religious group" in America become those without a religious affiliation? Rise of the Nones Allen Downey, Professor of Computer Science at Olin College, recently shared on his blog an extended version of an article he initially published in Scientific American titled "The Read More …

Necessary to Believe in God to be Moral?

Is it necessary to believe in God in order to be moral? The Latest Research Last month the Pew Research Center published the results of their latest survey on the topic.  The survey item asked American respondents to fill in the blank in the following statement: "It is ___ to believe in God in order to be moral and have good values." Respondents were able to chose from "is necessary" or "is not necessary." A majority (56%) chose "is not necessary" in 2017, which was up from about half Read More …

Non-Profit Giving Habits

The only annual study dedicated to analyzing the giving habits of donors worldwide was recently published.  Produced by the Public Interest Registry and Nonprofit Tech For Good, the report "seeks to gain a better understanding of how donors prefer to give and engage with their favorite causes and charitable organizations" (p.3). Giving Habits The report provides considerable global insight for those tasked with leading fundraising for faith-based non-profits: Donors prefer to give Read More …

4 Out of 10 Nations Favor a Specific Religion or Religions

Earlier this month the Pew Research Center published  the results of their analysis of  their study of 199 countries and territories around the world.  They found that more than 40% of these countries or territories (83 of 199), "favor a specific religion, either as an official, government-endorsed religion or by affording one religion preferential treatment over other faiths." Government-Endorsed Religion Only four religions have been granted the status of government-endorsed religion in Read More …

Church Commutes

The Baylor Religion Surveys provide some of the best recent data on American religion. The surveys consist of five waves: 2005, 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2017.  Data from the latest wave was released last week, including the full 65 page report. The 2017 wave focuses on the religious, political, and ideological values of Trump voters mental health and religion in American today the intersection of technology and religion the geography of religion. Commuting As someone who spends a Read More …

Top 5 Posts of 2017 (at Mid-Year)

Somehow the first half of 2017 is now behind us. As we enter the second half of the year, I thought it would be interesting to see what posts my readers viewed most often. Among posts published in 2017, the top five (by view count) are Christian Alternative Facts Our Search for a Church is Over! The Immigrants Creed Review: Days of Awe and Wonder Search for a Church: Attending New Member Classes Interestingly, many older posts continue to be viewed quite frequently.  So far in Read More …

Politically Partisan Pastors

Over the last week I have seen one red, gray and blue graphic more than any other.  It seeks to tell the complex story of pastoral political affiliation in the United States in a single image. The widely shared graphic comes from Kevin Quealy's June 12 New York Times article "Your Rabbi? Probably a Democrat. Your Baptist Pastor? Probably a Republican. Your Priest? Who Knows."  Quealy's article reports on the most ambitious research of its kind, which was undertaken by Eitan D. Hersh and Read More …

Less & Less of the Old Testament?

Earlier this month Yonat Shimron's Religion News Service article "Is the Old Testament Dying?" captured my attention. Put differently: Is the First Testament losing importance for those who follow the Way of Jesus? Do Christians have far greater biblical literacy in the Christian Scriptures than in the Hebrew Scriptures? Less & Less? Shimron's article answers the initial and repackaged questions affirmatively based on a new book by Brent Strawn titled The Old Testament Is Read More …

The End of Biblical Literalism

For the last 40 years Gallup has polled Americans on their view of the Bible.  For the purposes of this research, respondents are asked to choose between inspired by God not to be taken literally actual word of God to be taken literally, and fables, history, and moral precepts recorded by people. Over the entire 40 year period the most common way Americans have interpreted the Bible is as a book that is inspired by God but not to be taken literally.  That perspective has held rather Read More …