RELIGIOUS SWITCHING & Beginning in the late teen years 31% of Christians become unaffiliated, while 21% of unaffiliated Americans become Christian. This it has resulted in a net flow of millions of Americans from Christianity to unaffiliated. #PewResearch

by Alan Cooperman, Pew Research, 8/29/22.

Earlier this month, Pew Research Center released a study exploring how the religious composition of the United States might change by 2070. One of the conclusions of the study that drew widespread attentionis that Christians – who constituted 64% of the nation’s population in 2020 – may no longer be the majority five decades from now.

But the future course of Christianity in the U.S. is not set in stone. Whether the U.S. will continue to have a Christian majority in 2070 will depend on many factors, including one that was a key focus of the Center’s new study: religious “switching” – that is, voluntary changes in religious affiliation.

Religious switching goes in all directions. It might be a switch from one kind of Christianity to another, from Christianity to another religion, or from Christianity to no religion at all.

Religious switching goes in all directions. It might be a switch from one kind of Christianity to another, from Christianity to another religion, or from Christianity to no religion at all.

Research has shown that religious switching tends to occur when people are younger, typically starting in their late teens. We estimate that between the ages of 15 and 29, 31% of Americans who were raised as Christians become religiously unaffiliated – a group that includes atheists, agnostics or those who describe their faith as “nothing in particular.” (This doesn’t necessarily mean they give up all religious beliefs. Many of these so-called “nones” believe in God or a universal spirit. But by a wide variety of measures of religion and spirituality, they tend to be less religious and less spiritual than Americans who identify with Christianity and other faiths.)

We also estimate that before turning 30, 21% of Americans who were raised with no religious affiliation convert, formally or informally, to Christianity.

The difference between those two percentages – 31% of Christians become unaffiliated, while 21% of unaffiliated Americans become Christian – might not seem large. But the difference actually is huge because of the imbalance in the size of the two groups: Many more Americans are raised as Christians than as “nones.”

The bottom line is that although Christianity is by far the majority faith in the U.S., religious switching – beginning in the late teen years – has resulted in a net flow of millions of Americans from Christianity to unaffiliated.

Read more at … https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2022/09/29/religious-switching-patterns-will-help-determine-christianitys-course-in-u-s/?

NONES & U.S. ‘nones’ will approach majority by 2070 if recent switching trends continue. #PewResearch #graph

Pew Research, 9/13/22.

… The Center estimates that in 2020, about 64% of Americans, including children, were Christian. People who are religiously unaffiliated, sometimes called religious “nones,” accounted for 30% of the U.S. population. Adherents of all other religions – including Jews, Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists – totaled about 6%.1

Depending on whether religious switching continues at recent rates, speeds up or stops entirely, the projections show Christians of all ages shrinking from 64% to between a little more than half (54%) and just above one-third (35%) of all Americans by 2070. Over that same period, “nones” would rise from the current 30% to somewhere between 34% and 52% of the U.S. population.

… However, these are not the only possibilities, and they are not meant as predictions of what will happen. Rather, this study presents formal demographic projections of what could happen under a few illustrative scenarios based on trends revealed by decades of survey data from Pew Research Center and the long-running General Social Survey.

All the projections start from the current religious composition of the U.S. population, taking account of religious differences by age and sex. Then, they factor in birth rates and migration patterns. Most importantly, they incorporate varying rates of religious switching – movement into and out of broad categories of religious identity – to model what the U.S. religious landscape would look like if switching stayed at its recent pace, continued to speed up (as it has been doing since the 1990s), or suddenly halted.

Switching rates are based on patterns observed in recent decades, through 2019. For example, we estimate that 31% of people raised Christian become unaffiliated between ages 15 to 29, the tumultuous period in which religious switching is concentrated.2 An additional 7% of people raised Christian become unaffiliated later in life, after the age of 30.

Read more at … https://www.pewresearch.org/religion/2022/09/13/modeling-the-future-of-religion-in-america/?

GROWING THE POST-PANDEMIC CHURCH & More houses of worship are returning to normal operations, but in-person attendance is unchanged since fall. #PewResearch

by Justin Nortey, 3/25/22.

As COVID-19 cases continue to decline and pandemic restrictions are eased across the United States, churches and other houses of worship increasingly are holding services the way they did before the outbreak began, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. But there has not been a corresponding rise over the past six months in the share of Americans who are attending in-person services.

A line graph showing that the share of churches and other houses of worship operating as they did pre-pandemic continues to rise

… The same survey shows that attendance at in-person services – which grew steadily from July 2020 through September 2021 – has plateaued, as has the share of adults watching religious services online or on TV.

… The survey’s questions about in-person and virtual attendance can be combined to provide a sense of how many people are watching services online instead of attending in person, and how many are watching online in addition to attending in person. The Center’s survey finds that among all adults who say they typically attend services at least monthly, 36% have both attended in person and watched services digitally in the last month, while three-in-ten (31%) say they have only attended in person but not watched online or on TV in the last month.

One-in-five (21%) may still be substituting virtual attendance for in-person attendance, saying they recently have watched religious services online or on TV but have not attended in person. Just 12% of self-described regular attenders report that they have neither gone in person nor watched services virtually in the last month.

A bar chart showing that roughly one-in-five Americans who typically attend services monthly have participated virtually but not in person in the last month

Read more at … https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2022/03/22/more-houses-of-worship-are-returning-to-normal-operations-but-in-person-attendance-is-unchanged-since-fall/?

SUFFERING & Few Americans Blame God or Say Faith Has Been Shaken Amid Pandemic, Other Tragedies. Most U.S. adults say bad things just happen, and that people are often the reason. #Pew #GrowingThePostPandemicChurch

Pew Research, 11/23/21.

… The new survey finds that nearly six-in-ten U.S. adults (58%) say they believe in God as described in the Bible, and an additional one-third (32%) believe there is some other higher power or spiritual force in the universe. The combined nine-in-ten Americans who believe in God or a higher power (91%) were asked a series of follow-up questions about the relationship between God and human suffering. (Those who do not believe in God or any higher power were not asked these questions.)

A large majority of U.S. adults (80%) are believers who say that most of the suffering in the world comes from people rather than from God. Relatedly, about seven-in-ten say that in general, human beings are free to act in ways that go against the plans of God or a higher power. At the same time, half of all U.S. adults (or 56% of believers) also endorse the idea that God chooses “not to stop the suffering in the world because it is part of a larger plan.”

Meanwhile, 44% of all U.S. adults (48% of believers) say the notion that “Satan is responsible for most of the suffering in the world” reflects their views either “very well” or “somewhat well,” with Protestants in the evangelical and historically Black traditions especially likely to take this position.

Most Americans say the suffering in the world comes from people – not God

By comparison, relatively few Americans seem to question their religious beliefs because human suffering exists. For instance, 14% of U.S. adults overall (or 15% of believers) affirm that “sometimes I think the suffering in the world is an indication that there is no God.” Results are similar on questions about whether suffering has caused Americans to doubt that God is all-powerful or entirely loving.

In addition, fewer than one-in-five U.S. adults are believers who say they often (3%) or sometimes (14%) get angry with God “for allowing so much suffering.” And relatively small numbers view the suffering in the world as a punishment from God: Just 4% of U.S. adults overall are believers who say “all or most” suffering is a punishment from God, and 18% say “some” of it is. The remainder say that “only a little” (22%) or “none at all” (46%) of the suffering in the world is punishment from God, or they don’t believe in God or any higher power (9%).

Read more at … https://www.pewforum.org/2021/11/23/few-americans-blame-god-or-say-faith-has-been-shaken-amid-pandemic-other-tragedies/

SERMONS & Here’s the average length of sermons & keywords used according to Pew Research’s analysis of 50,000 sermons.

“The Digital Pulpit: A Nationwide Analysis of Online Sermons” by Pew Research, 12/16/19.

… This process produced a database containing the transcribed texts of 49,719 sermons shared online by 6,431 churches and delivered between April 7 and June 1, 2019, a period that included Easter.2 These churches are notrepresentative of all houses of worship or even of all Christian churches in the U.S.; they make up just a small percentage of the estimated350,000-plus religious congregations nationwide. Compared with U.S. congregations as a whole, the churches with sermons includein the dataset are more likely to be in urban areas and tend to have larger-than-average congregations (see the Methodologyfor full details).

The median sermon scraped from congregational websites is 37 minutes long. But there are striking differences in the typical length of a sermon in each of the four major Christian traditions analyzed in this report: Catholic, evangelical Protestant, mainline Protestant and historically black Protestant.3

Catholic sermons are the shortest, at a median of just 14 minutes, compared with 25 minutes for sermons in mainline Protestant congregations and 39 minutes in evangelical Protestant congregations. Historically black Protestant churches have the longest sermons by far: a median of 54 minutes, more than triple the length of the median Catholic homily posted online during the Easter study period.

Researchers also conducted a basic exploration of sermons’ vocabulary. Several words frequently appear in sermons at many different types of churches – for instance, words such as “know,” “God” and “Jesus” were used in sermons at 98% or more of churches in all four major Christian traditions included in this analysis.4

Christian traditions share common language, but also possess their own distinctive phrases

This computational text analysis also found many words and phrases that are used more frequently in the sermons of some Christian groups than others.

For instance, the distinctive words (or sequences of words) that often appear in sermons delivered at historically black Protestant congregations include “powerful hand” and “hallelujah … come.” The latter phrase (which appears online in actual sentences such as “Hallelujah! Come on … let your praises loose!”) appeared in some form in the sermons of 22% of all historically black Protestant churches across the study period. And these congregations were eight times more likely than others to hear that phrase or a close variant. Although the word “hallelujah” is by no means unique to historically black Protestant services, this analysis indicates that it is a hallmark of black Protestant churches.

Read more at … https://www.pewforum.org/2019/12/16/the-digital-pulpit-a-nationwide-analysis-of-online-sermons/

eREFORMATION & 25 Post-Pandemic Church Statistics You Need to Know for 2021 #ReachRightStudios #GrowingThePostPandemicChurch

Table of contents

Read more at … https://reachrightstudios.com/25-church-statistics-for-2021/#h-1-non-practicing-christians-are-on-the-rise

COMMUNICATION & SOCIAL MEDIA USE IN 2021: Facebook and YouTube are the two most used platforms among older populations, but here’s how the under 35 crowd is communicating. #eReformation

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: During the pandemic many churches have started to use Facebook and YouTube to stream their services and communicate with their congregants. And this is a good strategy to communicate with existing churchgoers.

Most of the younger generations are less frequent in their church going than their parents. And, they don’t communicate through Facebook or YouTube. They know that’s where the older generations are and they typically avoid them.

The under 30 crowd typically uses media forms such as Instagram, Snapchat and TickTock. Check out this article to find what they are listening to and then communicate through them.

Social Media Use in 2021

A majority of Americans say they use YouTube and Facebook, while use of Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok is especially common among adults under 30.

By BROOKE AUXIER and MONICA ANDERSON, Pew Research, April 7, 2021.

Despite a string of controversies and the public’s relatively negative sentiments about aspects of social media, roughly seven-in-ten Americans say they ever use any kind of social media site – a share that has remained relatively stable over the past five years, according to a new Pew Research Center survey of U.S. adults.

Growing share of Americans say they use YouTube; Facebook remains one of the most widely used online platforms among U.S. adults

Beyond the general question of overall social media use, the survey also covers use of individual sites and apps. YouTube and Facebook continue to dominate the online landscape, with 81% and 69%, respectively, reporting ever using these sites. And YouTube and Reddit were the only two platforms measured that saw statistically significant growth since 2019, when the Center last polled on this topic via a phone survey.

When it comes to the other platforms in the survey, 40% of adults say they ever use Instagram and about three-in-ten report using Pinterest or LinkedIn. One-quarter say they use Snapchat, and similar shares report being users of Twitter or WhatsApp. TikTok – an app for sharing short videos – is used by 21% of Americans, while 13% say they use the neighborhood-focused platform Nextdoor.

Even as other platforms do not nearly match the overall reach of YouTube or Facebook, there are certain sites or apps, most notably Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok, that have an especially strong following among young adults. In fact, a majority of 18- to 29-year-olds say they use Instagram (71%) or Snapchat (65%), while roughly half say the same for TikTok.

Read more at … https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/2021/04/07/social-media-use-in-2021/

POST-PANDEMIC CHURCH & the majority (of churchgoers) think that at least some virus-related modifications are in order (58%).

By Pew Research, 3/23/21.

… While the share of religious attenders who think their congregations should be closed altogether has declined since last summer (from 28% to 15%), the majority think that at least some virus-related modifications are in order (58%). One-quarter of U.S. religious attenders are in favor of fully opening up their congregations without any restrictions.

Read more at … https://www.pewforum.org/2021/03/22/life-in-u-s-religious-congregations-slowly-edges-back-toward-normal/?

GOVERNMENT & 8 facts about religion and government in the United States. #PewResearch

by Dalia Fahmy, Pew Research, 7/17/2020.

Here are eight facts about the connections between religion and government in the United States, based on previously published Pew Research Center analyses.

The religious makeup of the 116th Congress

While the U.S. Constitution does not mention God, every state constitution references either God or the divine. God also appears in the Declaration of Independence, the Pledge of Allegiance and on U.S. currency.

Congress has always been overwhelmingly Christian, and roughly nine-in-ten representatives (88%) in the current Congress identify as Christian, according to a 2019 analysis. While the number of self-identified Christians in Congress ticked down in the last election, Christians as a whole – and especially Protestants and Catholics – are still overrepresented on Capitol Hill relative to their share of the U.S. population.

Almost all U.S. presidents, including Donald Trump, have been Christian, and many have identified as either Episcopalian or Presbyterian. But two of the most famous presidents, Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln, had no formal religious affiliation. Most U.S. presidents have been sworn in with a Bible, and they traditionally seal their oath of office with “so help me God.”

Roughly half of Americans feel it is either very (20%) or somewhat (32%) important for a president to have strong religious beliefsaccording to a survey this past February. But only around four-in-ten (39%) say it is important for a president to sharetheir religious beliefs. Republicans are more likely than Democrats to say it is at least somewhat important for a president to have strong religious beliefs (65% vs 41%).

Half of Americans say Bible should influence U.S. laws; 28% favor it over the will of the people

Americans are divided on the extent to which the country’s laws should reflect Bible teachings. Roughly half of U.S. adults say the Bible should influence U.S. lawseither a great deal (23%) or some (26%), and more than a quarter (28%) say the Bible should prevail over the will of the people if the two are at odds, according to the February survey. Half of Americans, meanwhile, say the Bible shouldn’t influence U.S. laws much (19%) or at all (31%).

More than six-in-ten Americans (63%) say churches and other houses of worship should stay out of politics. An even higher share (76%) say these houses of worship should not endorse political candidates during elections, according to a 2019 survey. Still, more than a third of Americans (36%) say churches and other houses of worship should express their views on social and political matters. (The Johnson Amendment, enacted in 1954, prohibits tax-exempt institutions like churches from involvement in political campaigns on behalf of any candidate.)

Read more at … https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2020/07/16/8-facts-about-religion-and-government-in-the-united-states/

FIGUREHEADS & When Americans think about a specific religion, here are some of the first people who come to mind. #PewResearch

BY ALEKSANDRA SANDSTROM AND BECKA A. ALPER, 3/17/20, Pew Research.

The survey, conducted Feb. 4 to 19, 2019, asked respondents to name the first person who comes to mind when they think about Catholicism, Buddhism, evangelical Protestantism, Islam, Judaism and atheism.

For three of the religions, Americans are most likely to name a figure from long ago: for Buddhism, Buddha; for Islam, the Prophet Muhammad; and for Judaism, Jesus. For the two Christian groups asked about, people are most likely to name a modern religious leader – for evangelical Protestantism, Billy Graham; and for Catholicism, the pope…

Asked about evangelical Protestantism, nearly half of Americans (46%) say “no one” or “don’t know” or do not answer the question. An additional 21% name Billy Graham, 5% each name Jesus and Martin Luther, and 9% name other religious leaders…

About half of respondents asked about Judaism name a person who appears in religious scripture, including Jesus (21%), Moses (13%) and Abraham (8%). And 7% name either a well-known historical figure, such as Anne Frank or Albert Einstein, or a celebrity such as Jerry Seinfeld. An additional 5% name someone they are personally acquainted with, and 4% say God.

Note: Here are the full responses and the survey’s methodology. Read more at https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2020/03/17/when-americans-think-about-a-specific-religion-here-are-some-of-the-first-people-who-come-to-mind/

ECONOMICS & How to create “Dual Income Stream Churches” by #MarkDeYmaz #Exponential20 #Mosiax

image.pngThese highlights are from DeYmaz’s seminar at Exponential 2020. More details can be found in his book, The Coming Revolution in Church Economics (Baker, 2019). Also, insights can be found in Mark DeYmaz and Bob Whitesel’s book, reMIX: Transitioning Your Church to Living Color (Abingdon Press, 2016).

The key is what the business world calls “ROI” or return on investment.  Church economics is, basically, “how do you leverage the assets of a chruch to bless the community and secondly to create income for the church?”

image.png

Because of the “rise of dual income streams in households” (see the Pew chart on this page) this principle, when applied to church, leads to dual income stream churches. ”

Also, the reduction in income of the middle class means less charitable giving.

“Today most churches are just managing decline” – Mark DeYmaz.

“Those born before 1964 = 78.8% of the total church giving.” – Mark DeYmaz.

“If you keep giving everything away for free, you may not be here in 10 years.”

A strategy is …

  1. Leverage church assets
  2. Bless the community
  3. Generate sustainable income

Theologically, see Matt. 25:14-29.


Matthew 25:14-30 The Message (MSG)

The Story About Investment

14-18 “It’s also like a man going off on an extended trip. He called his servants together and delegated responsibilities. To one he gave five thousand dollars, to another two thousand, to a third one thousand, depending on their abilities. Then he left. Right off, the first servant went to work and doubled his master’s investment. The second did the same. But the man with the single thousand dug a hole and carefully buried his master’s money.

19-21 “After a long absence, the master of those three servants came back and settled up with them. The one given five thousand dollars showed him how he had doubled his investment. His master commended him: ‘Good work! You did your job well. From now on be my partner.’

22-23 “The servant with the two thousand showed how he also had doubled his master’s investment. His master commended him: ‘Good work! You did your job well. From now on be my partner.’

24-25 “The servant given one thousand said, ‘Master, I know you have high standards and hate careless ways, that you demand the best and make no allowances for error. I was afraid I might disappoint you, so I found a good hiding place and secured your money. Here it is, safe and sound down to the last cent.’

26-27 “The master was furious. ‘That’s a terrible way to live! It’s criminal to live cautiously like that! If you knew I was after the best, why did you do less than the least? The least you could have done would have been to invest the sum with the bankers, where at least I would have gotten a little interest.

28-30 “‘Take the thousand and give it to the one who risked the most. And get rid of this “play-it-safe” who won’t go out on a limb. Throw him out into utter darkness.’


Promising Practices …

I (Bob) would summarize this passage as saying that, securing church money rather than leveraging it to do more good is what Jesus is warning.

Strategies suggested by DeYmaz include …

  1. Benevolent ownership:

    • Lease out you building, rather than give it away free.
    • Rent out the less attractive parts of your church
      • A carpenter rents out an electrical cage in Mark DeYmaz’s church.
      • Storage lockers are popular
      • Loading docks are needed
    • How do you explain to an organization has been using it free, that it is no longer going to be a ministry.
  2. Monetize existing services

    • Janitorial services can be turned into a for-profit company that cleans other businesses.
    • Ask entrepreneurs to be enterprising, not managers …
      • Not to be greeters … then they become line workers.
      • Not to oversee greeters … then they become managers.
      • Ask them to figure out how to monetize something like free coffee (that can costs $100s a month) … then they operate in their wheelhouse as “entrepreneurs.”
  3. Start new businesses

    • Can start a for-profit under a non-profit.
    • But, you must have legal advice to do it right and to ensure you pay taxes.

For more see Mark’s book, The Coming Revolution in Church Economics (Baker, 2019). Also, insights can be found in Mark DeYmaz and Bob Whitesel’s book, reMIX: Transitioning Your Church to Living Color (Abingdon Press, 2016).

ATTENDANCE & Why Americans Don’t Go to Religious Services: Many cite practical or personal reasons, rather than lack of belief, for staying home. #PewResearch

by Pew Research, 8/1/18.

Among those who attend no more than a few times a year, about three-in-ten say they do not go to religious services for a simple reason: They are not believers. But a much larger share stay away not because of a lack of faith, but for other reasons. This includes many people who say one very important reason they don’t regularly attend church is that they practice their faith in other ways. Others cite things they dislike about particular congregations or religious services (for example, they haven’t found a church or house of worship they like, or they don’t like the sermons). Still others name logistical reasons, like being in poor health or not having the time to go, as very important reasons for not regularly attending religious services.

…Overall, the single most common answer cited for not attending religious services is “I practice my faith in other ways,” which is offered as a very important reason by 37% of people who rarely or never attend religious services. A similar share mention things they dislike about religious services or particular congregations, including one-in-four who say they have not yet found a house of worship they like, one-in-five who say they dislike the sermons, and 14% who say they do not feel welcome at religious services.

About three-in-ten non-attenders say they are not believers, while 22% cite logistical reasons for not going to religious services, such as not having the time or being in poor health. And fully a quarter of those who infrequently attend religious services say none of these factors is a very important reason why.

Among those who rarely attend religious services, nearly four-in-ten say they don’t go because they practice their faith in other ways

Read more at … https://www.pewforum.org/2018/08/01/why-americans-go-to-religious-services/

WORSHIP & Pew Research finds main reason people regularly go to church, synagogue, mosque or another house of worship is an obvious one: to feel closer to God. Because of the Hebrew word for “worship” I call this a “face to foot encounter.”

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: The Hebrew word for worship means to come close to a royal personage and kiss their feet in adoration and humility. Such closeness to God that we seek in our worship services I have called a “face to foot encounter.”

Sometimes today churches try to draw in people with entertaining events,. But, Pew Research confirms that people are looking for a personal encounter with God.

Top reasons U.S. adults give for choosing to attend or not attend religious services

“Why Americans Go (and Don’t Go) to Religious Services” Pew Forum, 8/1/18.

In recent years, the percentage of U.S. adults who say they regularly attend religious services has been declining, while the share of Americans who attend only a few times a year, seldom or never has been growing. A new Pew Research Center survey finds that the main reason people regularly go to church, synagogue, mosque or another house of worship is an obvious one: to feel closer to God. But the things that keep people away from religious services are more complicated.

Read more at … https://www.pewforum.org/2018/08/01/why-americans-go-to-religious-services/

#Olathe

 

ATTENDANCE & When Easter and Christmas near, more Americans search online for “church” #PewResearch

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: I tell church leaders not to plant a church in the fall or launch a new service or venue at that time. That is because while there is a peak of interest in going to church before Thanksgiving, the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is the lowest time of the year for people to be interested in attending church.

It is much better to launch new multiplication efforts during Lent in the Spring run up to Easter as depicted in the chart below.

When Easter and Christmas near, more Americans search online for “church”

by Nobel Kuriakose, Pew Research, 5/18/14.

More Americans search for “church” around Easter than at any other time, with the Christmas season usually ranking second, according to Google Trends data between 2004 and 2013. Google’s Trends tool measures the popularity of a search term relative to all searches in the United States. Data are reported on a scale from 0 to 100…

In 2013, the highest share of searches for “church” are on the week of Easter Sunday, followed by the week of Christmas and the week of Ash Wednesday, the day that marks the beginning of Lent.

The lowest share of searches occur on the week of Thanksgiving in November each year, and the summer months have consistently low levels of interest in web searches for “church.” Sociologists also have previously reported low levels of church attendance during the summer months. Laurence Iannaccone and Sean Everton analyzed weekly attendance records from churches and argued that people are less likely to attend church when the weather outside is just right in a journal article titled “Never on Sunny Days.”

Read more at … https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/04/18/when-easter-and-christmas-near-more-americans-search-online-for-church/

BELIEF & When Americans Say They Believe in God, What Do They Mean?

by Pew Research, 4/25/18.

Previous Pew Research Center studies have shown that the share of Americans who believe in God with absolute certainty has declined in recent years, while the share saying they have doubts about God’s existence – or that they do not believe in God at all – has grown.

These trends raise a series of questions: When respondents say they don’t believe in God, what are they rejecting? Are they rejecting belief in any higher power or spiritual force in the universe? Or are they rejecting only a traditional Christian idea of God – perhaps recalling images of a bearded man in the sky? Conversely, when respondents say they dobelieve in God, what do they believe in – God as described in the Bible, or some other spiritual force or supreme being?

A new Pew Research Center survey of more than 4,700 U.S. adults finds that one-third of Americans say they do not believe in the God of the Bible, but that they do believe there is some other higher power or spiritual force in the universe. A slim majority of Americans (56%) say they believe in God “as described in the Bible.” And one-in-ten do not believe in any higher power or spiritual force.

In the U.S., belief in a deity is common even among the religiously unaffiliated – a group composed of those who identify themselves, religiously, as atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular,” and sometimes referred to, collectively, as religious “nones.” Indeed, nearly three-quarters of religious “nones” (72%) believe in a higher power of some kind, even if not in God as described in the Bible.

Read more at … https://www.pewforum.org/2018/04/25/when-americans-say-they-believe-in-god-what-do-they-mean/

AFTERLIFE & Worship attendance is most common in areas where life is shortest.

by Pew Research, 6/13/18.

The ‘existential insecurity’ explanation for variation in religion.

Variations in religious commitment also can be attributed to differences in the way countries – and often whole regions – developed historically, and how each society practices religion. Even though these differences do not directly explain the existence of age gaps, they affect how successive generations experience religion and respond to questions about observance.

As the map above shows, the countries with the highest shares of people who say religion is very important in their lives are in Africa, the Middle East, South Asia and Latin America, while those with the lowest shares are in Europe, North America, East Asia and Australia.

This has led many researchers to observe that people in poorer parts of the world are, on average, more religious than those in societies with advanced economies.3 Other indicators of economic development – such as education, life expectancy and income equality – also tend to align with measures of religious commitment.

Pew Research Center data show, for example, a clear correlation between life expectancy at birth in a country and the percentage of its people who attend religious services weekly. That is, the higher the life expectancy in a country, the less likely people are to attend services frequently.

Political scientists Pippa Norris and Ronald Inglehart, examining findings from the World Values Survey, attribute the pattern of higher religious commitment in poor places to stark differences in existential insecurity – that is, the degree of safety and security people feel as they go about their daily lives.4

As their theory goes, in places where people face a constant threat of premature death due to hunger, war or disease, feelings of vulnerability tend to drive people to religion, which in turn provides hope and reduces anxiety. In countries with advanced economies, meanwhile, people are more likely to feel safe – in part because technology and infrastructure investments in these societies have helped people overcome many common health problems, cope with severe weather, and deal with other types of emergencies that can cause existential anxiety. Norris and Inglehart contend that people in these countries rely less on religion for emotional support or for explanations of the unknown.

When new cohorts of adults grow up in societies with greater existential security than their parents had – as may be the case in a country with improving economic conditions – young adults may drift away from religion, producing the age differences described in this report. By the same token, a decline in existential security within a country that falls into civil war or some other calamity could help to explain some of the exceptions – places where younger adults are more religious than their elders (see sidebar in Chapter 2).

Read more at … https://www.pewforum.org/2018/06/13/why-do-levels-of-religious-observance-vary-by-age-and-country/

RELIGIOSITY & Highly religious adults are more engaged with family, more likely to volunteer & happier overall. #PewResearch

by Pew Research Center, 4/12/16.

Highly religious Americans are happier and more involved with family but are no more likely to exercise, recycle or make socially conscious consumer choices

Highly religious adults more engaged with family, more likely to volunteer and happier overallA new Pew Research Center study of the ways religion influences the daily lives of Americans finds that people who are highly religious are more engaged with their extended families, more likely to volunteer, more involved in their communities and generally happier with the way things are going in their lives.

Highly religious adults not distinctive in interpersonal interactions, health, social consciousness

Read more at … https://www.pewforum.org/2016/04/12/religion-in-everyday-life/

HEALTH & Fat, happy? The comforts of practicing a religion #PewResearch

by Yonat Shimron  Religion News Service, 2/1/19.

…In a large meta-analysis of 35 countries, Pew researchers found that religiously active people around the world report a range of desirable health and social outcomes. They vote and volunteer more. They also smoke and drink less than the nonreligious or those who rarely attend.

The study, “Religion’s Relationship to Happiness, Civic Engagement and Health,” builds on a growing mountain of literature linking religion and health. That literature has mostly found that religions seem to contribute to overall health, though there are obvious exceptions.

Perhaps most notably, religious participation does not appear to encourage weight loss or regular exercise.

In 19 of the 35 countries, actively religious people are as likely as any other to be fat. They are also less likely to  exercise…

Religious people, he said, “are encouraged to eat. And the kinds of meals people eat in church fellowship groups are high-calorie ribs and fried chicken.”

In most countries, highly religious people are not more likely to rate themselves as being in very good overall health. The U.S. is among the exceptions. Thirty-two percent of Americans who are active in their religious congregations say they are in very good health, compared with 27 percent of their religiously inactive counterparts and 25 percent of nonreligious people.

The association between religion and happiness, however, is clear-cut: In every country studied, people who are active in religious congregations tend to be happier than those who attend infrequently or not at all.

PRAYER & Charts showing the percentage of adults who pray and their frequency. #PewResearch

Pew Research, Religious Landscapes Study, n.d.

Frequency of prayer % of adults who pray…

Frequency of prayer by religious group % of adults who pray…

  1. Chart
  2. Table

Read more at … http://www.pewforum.org/religious-landscape-study/frequency-of-prayer/#chart-1