The Least Educated Americans: Christians

A few weeks ago the Pew Research Center published a detailed chart showing a nation by nation breakdown of the educational attainment of those identified with select world religions. United States In the United States, the average educational attainment of all adults aged 25 and older was 12.9 years. In rank order by average educational attainment in number of years the report shows:  Hindus - 15.7  Jews - 14.7  Muslims - 13.6  Buddhists - 13.4  Christians - 12.6 Note: Read More …

Unique Opportunity to Learn About World Religions

Religious literacy is an essential interpersonal competency for all who seek to live well and to relate effectively to other people.  The lack of basic religious literacy continues to fuel isolation, hate, and even violence. My belief that all people need to expand their religious literacy beyond their own religion to the world's great religions has inspired me to teach world religions at the college level eighteen times (and counting!). While I cannot invite you to audit my class, I can Read More …

Fewer and Fewer Christians (& Even Fewer Mainline Protestants)

In 2007 the Pew Research Center conducted their initial U.S. Religious Landscape Study.  The 2014 edition, published earlier today, shows Christianity declined by 8% in America over the last seven years (78.4% to 70.6%).  Allowing for the margin of error, this means the number of Christian adults in the U.S. has shrunk by somewhere between 2.8 million and 7.8 million. Decline Impacts All Christian Traditions Mainline Protestants and Catholics top the list for experiencing the greatest Read More …

World Religions from 2010 to 2050

Last week the Pew Research Center released projections for how the makeup of the world's largest religions are likely to shift between now and 2050.  These projections rely on complicated assumptions and modeling designed over the last six years by team of demographers from the Pew Research Center (Washington, D.C.), and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (Laxenburg, Austria). Globally between 2010 and 2050: world population will increase by 35%, number of Muslims Read More …

Religious Symbols on National Flags

According to a new Pew Research analysis, a third of the world's countries have national flags that contain religious symbols.  The 64 flags with religious imagery can be categorized by religion as follows: Christianity - 31 Islam - 21 Other Religions - 6 Hinduism/Buddhism - 3 Buddhism - 2 Judaism - 1. So What? According to data gathered a few years ago by Pew Research, more than half of the global population are adherents to one of the world's two largest religions: Read More …

Sermon: Be A Quitter

Sermon Text: I Corinthians 1:10-17 (The Message)   Sermon Excerpt Churchy Christians often say, “Wherever two or three are gathered in God’s name, God is present.” While they are likely right, practical Christians recognize that wherever two or three are gathered, many perspectives are present.  And somehow, more often than we care to admit, extended conversations that highlight our differences turn into arguments. Good Christian people have been known to argue about nearly Read More …

Check Your Privilege

I rarely click through when I see friends sharing their score to the latest quiz, but I did a few days ago after seeing a number of posts on my Facebook feed declaring just how privileged people were based on their response to a rather lengthy checklist.  As I took the assessment, I realized my score would be high. I was, however, surprised by just how high it was, and that this placed me in the "you're the most privileged category." So What? I invite you to take the quiz, and to reflect Read More …

Implied Institutional Messages

Jim Palmer, ordained minister turned activist  in the non-religious spirituality movement, offers several implied messages of the institutional church based on Marshall McLuhan's frequently quoted premise that the medium is the message.  The first three are especially troubling as we begin Holy Week: church is a place, a location, a building; Christianity happens in services, classes, meetings, events, and programs; and what people need most is good information about God. So Read More …

Is Christianity Bad for Entrepreneurship?

A new study by economists Travis Wiseman (Mississippi State University) and Andrew Young (West Virginia University), found that the "measure of total Christian adherents is robustly and positively correlated with states’ unproductive entrepreneurship scores.” Put more simply: the more Christians in a given state the more likely that state is less successful in entrepreneurial endeavors.  Additionally, the study found that atheism and agnosticism positively impact Read More …

Inviting People to Church

One of the most common reasons people visit a church is invitation.  Church members and others actively involved in a given community of faith are those most likely to issue such invitations. Angela Jamene recently shared an apology to those who are on the receiving end of such invitations along with her understanding of what typically motivates the ask: On behalf of Christians everywhere, I would like you to know that we really, just whole-heartedly, love you.  And, we want to share this Read More …