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 …

A Religious Double Standard

While one would hope that Americans hold informed, respectful, and tolerant views of persons of all religious traditions (including those who have opted to not follow a religious paths) numerous studies indicate that most people have very limited levels of religious literacy.  Sadly, one recent study found that there is a religious double standard regarding religious violence. More specifically: when people claim to be a Christian and commit violent acts in the name of Christianity, only 13% Read More …

Global Religious Futures

Earlier this week the Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion & Public Life launched a beta website, Pew-Templeton Religious Futures Project, that explores demographics and survey data on global religion.  The site is the home for all things related to the project, which "analyzes religious change and its impact on societies around the world."  While the current data and functionality are impressive, the group is planning enhancements to both. So What? When I learned of this new site, Read More …

Mistreating Atheists?

Intriguing Article Earlier this week my wife sent me a link to Tania Lombrozo's recent NPR article: "Atheist Shoemaker Loses Faith in U.S. Postal System."  The article explores a study by the maker of Atheist Shoes considering what appears to be unfair treatment of their shipments by the USPS. Troublesome Experiences Atheist Shoes is a "cadre of shoemakers & artists in Berlin, Germany who hand-make ridiculously comfortable, Bauhaus-inspired shoes for people who don't believe in Read More …

The Church’s Seven Deadly Secrets

Meet the Author Paul H. Jones is Professor of Religion at Transylvania University in Lexington, KY.  An ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Jones has written two books: Christ's Eucharistic Presence: A History of the Doctrine (1994) and The Church's Seven Deadly Secrets (2013), and has co-authored two additional texts: The Structure of Religion: Judaism and Christianity (2005) and 500 Illustrations: Stories from Life for Preaching and Teaching (1998). Book Read More …

1,000 Posts

In June 2009, some 44 months ago, I launched this blog.  My initial goals were quite modest: Learn more about blogging and social media by deepening my own engagement Share my thoughts on timely topics with an emphasis on raising questions rather than offering answers Encourage conversation about matters of faith that matter (within and beyond the congregation I was serving) After a few months of posting on an occasional basis, I began to be more intentional about when I posted. Read More …

Paging God

Meet the Author Wendy Cadge is associate professor of sociology at Brandeis University.  Her work focuses on religion in the contemporary United States with an emphasis in how such relates to healthcare, immigration and sexuality.  Cadge is the author of two books: Heartwood: The First Generation of Theravada Buddhism in America (2005) and Paging God: Religion in the Halls of Medicine (2012). Book Basics Health-care is a near universal value in America with average per person spending Read More …

Review of The God Problem

Meet the Author Robert Wuthnow is the Gerhard Andlinger Professor of Social Sciences and Director of the Center for the Study of American Religion at Princeton University.  Wuthnow is widely published in the areas of sociology of religion, culture and civil society.  His recent books include After the Baby Boomers:  How Twenty-and Thirty-Somethings Are Shaping the Future of American Religion (my review) and Boundless Faith: The Global Influence of American Churches (my review).  For more Read More …

Religion is Morally Neutral

An account of a conversation between the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu includes Tutu's words below, which explain how he understands religion as morally neutral: And you have to remember that religion is of itself neither good nor bad . . . Religion is a morally neutral thing. It is what you do with it. It is like a knife, a knife is good when you use it for cutting up bread for sandwiches. A knife is bad when you stick it in somebody’s gut. Religion is good when it produces a Dalai Read More …

Remaining Relevant

Justin Lathrop, executive search consultant at the Vanderbloemen Search Group, recently suggested five ways churches can remain relevant: Leverage the strengths of church networks Engage social media Expand online offerings, including worship services Consider the possibilities of strategic church mergers Welcome the diverse population of the community So What? Many of the items on Lathrop's list focus on structural matters: the possibility of belonging to multiple networks Read More …