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 …

The Great American Religious Decline

Tobin Grant, political science professor at Southern Illinois University and associate editor of the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, recently blogged about what he calls "The Great Decline" of American religion over the last two decades.  From 1994-2014 Gallup surveys show significant declines in religious identity, worship attendance, membership in churches or other religious communities, religion's importance in life, and religion's relevance for today.  When these five are Read More …

Sermon: Being and Making Disciples

Sermon Text: Matthew 28:16-20 Sermon Excerpt Earlier this week, I read an article about the big shifts in the global religious landscape.  This piece offered many significant facts based on the Pew Research Center's recent comprehensive demographic study of religion in over 230 countries and territories. Their research finds that 84% of all people in the world today practice a religion.   Christianity is the world's largest religion, and it is a majority religion in 157 Read More …

Rise of the Nones

Claude Fischer, professor of sociology at UC Berkeley, recently wrote a blog post that provides a solid overview of the growth of "nones" (those who self-identify as religiously non-affiliated) over the last 30 years.  The three most significant polls (GSS, Gallup, and Pew) all illustrate the rise of the "nones" from just 7% of the adult population in the United States in the 1980s to 18-20% by 2012.   Fischer remarks, "By all these methods, the rise in 'nones' is a major American social Read More …

Religion Is Losing Influence

According to the latest Gallup survey, "Over three-quarters of Americans (77%) say religion is losing its influence on American life, while 20% say religion's influence is increasing."  While the overall view tends toward pessimism, this year's results are the most pessimistic about the influence of religion since 1970. So What? At a time when the vast majority agree that religion is declining, an almost equal number (75%) believe that it would be positive for our nation if more Americans Read More …

Review of God is Alive And Well

Meet the Author Frank Newport is Editor in Chief at Gallup.  Before joining Gallup, Newport taught sociology at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, was news director and talk show host at KTRH Radio in Houston, and was a partner at a market research and public opinion research firm in Houston.  He is the co-author of two books and the author of  Polling Matters: Why Leaders Must Listen to the Wisdom of the People (2004) and God is Alive and Well: The Future of Religion in America (2012). Read More …

Religious Confidence Reaches All Time Low

Americans' confidence in religion has been declining for decades.  According to the latest Gallup poll, religious confidence has reached an all-time low. So What? Comparing the responses from 1975 to those of 2012 offers a sense of the significance of the shift: % of Americans with “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in “the church or organized religion" Then: 68% Now: 44% Rank on the list of 16 organizations included in the poll Then: #1 Now: #4 (behind  the Read More …

Churchgoing = Better Moods

Recent research by Gallup finds, "Americans who attend a church, synagogue, or mosque frequently report experiencing more positive emotions and fewer negative ones in general than do those who attend less often or not at all." So What? Higher levels of religiosity correlate to higher levels of well-being according to other findings from Gallup's research (see my post on the benefits of being religious).  Within that context, it makes sense that those who are most involved in religious Read More …

America’s Most & Least Religious States

Last week Gallup released the newest list of how religious residents of each state are based on the percentage of respondents who self-identified as "very religious." A majority (51% or more) are very religious in seven states: Mississippi (59%) Utah (57%) Alabama (56%) Louisiana (54%) Arkansas (54%) South Carolina (54%) Tennessee (52%) A relatively small minority (less than 3 in 10) are very religious in five states: Vermont (23%) New Hampshire (23%) Maine Read More …

Religious Benefits

The latest research by Gallup (more than 676,000 interviews conducted in 2010 & 2011) finds "very religious Americans of all major faiths have higher overall wellbeing than do their respective counterparts who are moderately religious or nonreligious." The following chart shows how specific groups fared by degree of religiosity: In the overall rankings when religions are considered as a whole (across the varying degrees of religiosity), Jews rank highest, Christians are in the Read More …