Your Unique Story

Every person I have ever met who is seeking to follow the way of Jesus has a unique faith story -- an account of her or his life to date and how it has been impacted by one or more religious traditions.  Some of these stories begin with or feature a moment of conversion (often an event on a specific day), but many more explain the transition to becoming a Christian as a long term process.    Reflection on one's own journey to date is an important aspect of knowing one's own story, seeing how Read More …

Should Religion and Business Mix?

When I was a young adult, I learned that religion and business were independent spheres.  Since that time, I have, thankfully, learned that any such division is necessarily artificial.  One does not cease being guided by one's faith because one enters the marketplace any more than one is only guided by it while on the campus of her or his religious gathering space (e.g. mosque, synagogue, church, etc.) or in some other space set aside for religious purposes.  A person must, however, ascertain, Read More …

Less Educated = Less Churched

Religion News Service contributor Nicole Neroulias, recently wrote an article that begins with these words: A recent study reports that white Americans without college degrees are dropping out of church faster than their more highly educated counterparts . . . The study, by University of Virginia sociologist W. Bradford Wilcox, found that since the 1970s, white Americans with no more than a high school diploma have been leaving the pews twice as fast as other Americans.  Wilcox's research was Read More …

How Important is Religion?

Bradley Wright is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Connecticut.  His two most recent books are Christians are Hate-Filled Hypocrites . . . and Other Lies You’ve Been Told: A Sociologist Shatters Myths From the Secular and Christian Media (included in my Top 10 Books of 2010) and Upside: Surprising Good News About the State of Our World (read my review here).  Recently he blogged about an important question:  "Is religion less important now than it used to be?" To answer Read More …

Education & Religion — It’s Complicated

Two weeks ago, I blogged about Philip Schwadel's latest research that shows that while education does influence religion (religious participation, belief, and affiliation) the nature of that influence is far more complicated than the commonly held view suggests.  My original post was based on a summary of his findings.  After writing that post and engaging in a few discussions, I sought out a copy of the journal article: "The Effects of Education on Americans’ Religious Practices, Beliefs, and Read More …

High Levels of Education and Religion

The claim that as levels of education increase levels of religious belief and practice decrease is stated so often that many simply assume it is true.  Earlier this year, I shared Barry A. Kosmin's (Trinity College) work that provides substantive data suggesting the relationship between religion and education is far more complex than this generalization.  In fact, in some areas those with post-graduate degrees have higher rates of belief or practice than those with less education, Read More …

Review of God’s Century

Meet the Authors Monica Duffy Toft has taught at Harvard since 2004.  Currently she serves as Associate Professor of Public Policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government and as Director of the Initiative on Religion in International Affairs.  Her research interests include international relations, religion, nationalism and ethnic conflict, civil and interstate wars, the relationship between demography and national security, and military and strategic planning.  For more information visit Read More …

Review of Spiritual Envy

Michael Krasny.  Spiritual Envy: An Agnostic's Quest.  New World Library, 2010.  ISBN: 9781577319122. Meet the Author Michael Krasny is a professor of English at San Francisco State University, where he has taught since 1970.  He is a widely published scholar and literary critic as well as a fiction writer.  Krasny is  the co-author of Sound Ideas (2009) and author of Off Mike: A Memoir of Talk Radio and Literary Life (2007) and Spiritual Envy: An Agnostic's Quest (2010) .  He is the host Read More …

Why Religion is Needed

Oliver Thomas recently wrote an interesting opinion piece for USA Today: Why Do We Need Religion?  In the article, Thomas suggests that religion's greatest contribution to society is that it "makes us want to live."   He continues: Alas, many of us have discovered purpose for our lives through religion. Inside America's churches, synagogues, temples, mosques and ashrams, we wrestle with the great questions of life. And with due respect to my atheist and left-leaning friends, most of those Read More …