Review of America’s Blessings

Meet the Author Since 2004, Rodney Stark has been a University Professor in Social Sciences and the Co-Director of the Institute of Studies of Religion at Baylor University.  Stark is an American sociologist of religion who previously taught for over thirty years at the University of Washington.  He has published 30 books (my review of What Americans Really Believe / my review of The Triumph of Christianity: How the Jesus Movement Became the World’s Largest Religion) and more than 140 Read More …

Low Commitment Christianity

Yesterday, I reviewed Rodney Stark's latest book: The Triumph of Christianity: How the Jesus Movement Became the World’s Largest Religion (2011).  Throughout the book he offers considerable sociological insight, including the following paragraph on the shortcomings of low commitment religious groups: The conclusion that competition among faiths will favor "low cost" religious organizations mistakes price for value.  As is evident in most consumer markets, people do not usually rush to purchase Read More …

Review of The Triumph of Christianity

Meet the Author Since 2004, Rodney Stark has been a University Professor in Social Sciences and the Co-Director of the Institute of Studies of Religion at Baylor University.  Stark is an American sociologist of religion who previously taught for over thirty years at the University of Washington.  He has published 30 books and more than 140 scholarly articles, mostly on religion.  One of his recent books, What Americans Really Believe (2008), has been reviewed on this blog (click here to read Read More …

Findings from 2011 Baylor Religion Survey

Baylor University recently released the findings of its latest Baylor Religion Survey, which is characterized as "one of the most extensive surveys ever conducted on the religious practices, attitudes, beliefs and values of the American public."  The 2011 survey is a follow-up to those released in 2006 and 2008 by Baylor's Institute for Studies of Religion. (For more on the results of earlier surveys consider reading Rodney Stark's What Americans Really Believe.  My review is available here and 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 …

Reflections on 75 Recently Published Books

Over the last year and a half (roughly 75 weeks), I have posted my reflections on 75 recently published books.  I encourage you to browse the list as you think of your reading list for 2011.  Each title is linked to my review. Author Title Year Allison, Jay and Gediman, Dan, eds. This I Believe: The Personal Philosophies of Remarkable American Men and Women 2006 Allison, Jay and Gediman, Dan, eds. This I Believe II: The Personal Philosophies of Remarkable American Read More …

Reading the Whole Bible

Who Reads the Bible? Considerable research has been done regarding Bible reading.  Most research focuses on the percentages of people who read it and how often they engage in that behavior.  In What Americans Really Believe, Rodney Stark reports that 28% of Americans (24% of women and 32% of men) read the Bible at least once a week (p.64). Very little research has been done regarding those who have read the entire Bible.  Earlier this week, New Testament scholar Scot McKnight wrote that he Read More …

The Missing Millennials

Many denominations and local congregations worry about the increasing age of their members.  Differing sources provide a variety of explanations for why fewer young people attend church or choose to affiliate with a religion.  According to the graphic below, provided by the Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion and Public Life, the youngest generations have the highest level of  religious non-affiliation.  By generation the numbers for those who claim no religious affiliation climb from 5% for Read More …