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 …

Americans Feel More Positive About Most Religions

According to research conducted by the Pew Research Center, between June 2014 and January 2017, American views shifted to become more positive about about most of the world's great religions.  More specifically, survey respondents were asked to to rate a variety of groups on a “feeling thermometer” that ranged from 0 to 100 (with higher numbers reflecting warmer or more positive feelings). Respondents warmed to several religions during this two and a half year period, including Atheists Read More …

Evolving Religion is Growing Religion

I have read hundreds of blog posts and articles reflecting on the latest edition of the Pew Research Center's U.S. Religious Landscape Study  (and I even contributed one such post in the days after the data was released).  Since this body of research includes so much data with significance for my field of endeavor, I have benefited from the richness and diversity of these writings. The Texas Faith Blog of the Dallas Morning News asked several faith leaders whether these findings suggest Read More …

Striking Religious Findings from 2014

Pew Research Center continues to be a leader in providing research and commentary on matters of faith that matter.  During 2014 they published  150+ reports and  600+ blog posts considering what is happening in the USA and the world.  At the close of the year they reviewed this massive body of work and created a list of 14 facts they "found particularly striking, as they illustrate some major shifts in our politics, society, habits or families."  The list includes two religious items: Over Read More …

Growth of Social Networking

In early 2005 less than 10% of American adult internet users participated in social networking.  By late 2013 the number had risen to 72%.  These statistics and the chart at right come from Pew Research survey data. So What? A few key matters stand out to me as I review this data: the younger the internet user the higher the likelihood of participating in social networking, roughly half of those aged 65+ now use social networks, and ten years ago the usage rates were so low Pew Read More …

Most Important Values to Teach Children

The Pew Research’s new American Trends Panel survey asked respondents to pick the three most important values to pass on to children (from a list of twelve).  Overall, respondents selected being responsible - 55% hard work - 42%, and religious faith - 30%. So What? When an additional filter is applied, the results look quite different.  When you compare the most conservative respondents with the most liberal two rather different sets of responses emerge: Consistently Read More …

Latinos Leaving Catholicism

The longstanding cultural expectation that Latinos are overwhelmingly Catholic is shifting.  New data from Pew Research finds that "a majority (55%) of the nation’s estimated 35.4 million Latino adults – or about 19.6 million Latinos – identify as Catholic today."  To put this in perspective, one must understand that the percentage of Latinos self-identifying as Catholic has been declining for two decades, and the rate of decline is accelerating.  Over the last four years alone, the number has Read More …

Why Facebook?

According to a recent Pew Research survey, men and women share many "major reasons" for using Facebook.  The top reason women use Facebook is to see photos/videos whereas the top reason men use Facebook is that it allows them to share with many people at once. So What? Whether you are a relative newcomer to Facebook or have been a part of this social community for many years, it is likely your own major reasons for using it have evolved over time.  While some of the change may have come Read More …

Lowest Birth Rate Ever

Recently, the Pew Research Center released a report exploring the declining birth rate in the United States.  In 2011, the birth rate reached an all time low.  While birth rates have declined for all women in recent decades, the rate of decline is significant greater among foreign born women. Among all American women the change in birth rates by age group between 1990 and 2010 is Ages 15-19: -11% Ages 20-34: -8% Ages 35+: +18% Overall: -11% So What? Many factors, including the Read More …

Facebook Users Are . . .

The Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project recently released Social Networking Sites and our Lives, which is a report based on the findings of a survey on Americans' use of the internet conducted from October 20 to November 28, 2010 with a sample of 2,255 adults, age 18 and older who were contacted via both landline and cellular phones.  The research supports the commonly held view that Facebook is currently the dominant social networking option with some 750 million Read More …