MILLENNIALS & Though less religious than older Americans, they are just as spiritual #PewResearch #ORGANIXbook

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: A cultural predilection of older generations is to judge younger generations as less religiously interested. Yet if you look at the research, Millennials are just as spiritual as older Americans, though they are less attracted to our churches. This reminds us that most churches’ attractional strategies (see chpt. 2, ORGANIX) are culturally limited. So before you write off Millennials or choose not to reach out to them, read this Pew Research article which points out that most Millennials are on a spiritual quest.

by BECKA A. ALPER, Pew Research, 11/23/15.

By many measures, Millennials are much less likely than their elders to be religious.

For instance, only about half of Millennials (adults who were born between 1981 and 1996) say they believe in God with absolute certainty, and only about four-in-ten Millennials say religion is very important in their lives. By contrast, older generations are much more likely to believe in God and say religion is important to them.

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And this lower level of religiosity among Millennials manifests itself not just in what they think, but in what they do. Just 27% of Millennials say they attend religious services on a weekly basis, a substantially lower share than Baby Boomers (38%) and members of the Silent and Greatest generations (51% each). Similarly, a smaller share of Millennials say they pray every day compared with those in older generations.

PF_15.11.20_millennialsReligion

But while Millennials are not as religious as older Americans by some measures of religious observance, they are as likely to engage in many spiritual practices. For instance, like older Americans, more than four-in-ten of these younger adults (46%) say they feel a deep sense of wonder about the universe at least once a week. Likewise, most also say they think about the meaning and purpose of life on a weekly basis (55%), again, similar to older generations.

Roughly three-quarters of Millennials feel a strong sense of gratitude or thankfulness at least weekly (76%). And 51% say they feel a deep sense of spiritual peace and well-being at least once a week.

By comparison, older Americans are only slightly more likely than Millennials to say they feel a strong sense of gratitude. Only when it comes to feeling spiritual peace and well-being are members of these four older generations more likely than Millennials to answer in the affirmative.

Read more at … http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/11/23/millennials-are-less-religious-than-older-americans-but-just-as-spiritual/

Speaking hashtags: #Kingwood2018

RELIGION & Lesbian, gay and bisexual Americans differ from general public in their religious affiliations #PewResearch

by CARYLE MURPHY, Pew Research, 5/26/15.

Although many lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) adults feel that most major faiths are unwelcoming to their community, a majority of LGB adults are religiously affiliated, according to a new Pew Research Center study. But they are much less likely to be Christian than the general public and are more drawn to smaller, non-Christian denominations.

About 5% of the 2014 Religious Landscape Study’s 35,000-plus respondents identified themselves as members of the LGB population. Of that group, 59% said they are religiously affiliated. But only 48% of them reported belonging to a Christian faith group, compared with 71% of the general public.

Religious Composition by Self-Reported Sexual Identity

In another contrast, while only 6% of the general public affiliates with a non-Christian faith, almost twice as many (11%) gay, lesbian and bisexual adults do so. And almost half of these gay, lesbian and bisexual adults (or 5% of adults overall) said they belong to one of the smaller faith groups, including Unitarian and other liberal faith traditions (2.9%) and New Age groups (2.4%), such as Wiccans and pagans. The Jewish and Buddhist faiths also attracted small percentages (2% each) of LGB adults.

Read more at … http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/05/26/lesbian-gay-and-bisexual-americans-differ-from-general-public-in-their-religious-affiliations/

EVANGELICALS & Compared with other Christian groups, evangelicals’ dropoff is less steep

by DAVID MASCI, Pew Research, 5/15/15

Number of Evangelical Protestants GrowingUnlike some other groups of Christians in the U.S., evangelical Protestants have not declined much as a share of the U.S. population in recent years, according to a major new Pew Research Center study.

Our 2014 Religious Landscape Study finds that since 2007, when a similar survey was conducted, the share of evangelical Protestants has fallen only modestly, from 26.3% of the adult population to 25.4%. By contrast, both Roman Catholics and mainline Protestants have declined by more than three percentage points during the same period.

Looking at the raw numbers, the evangelical population actually appears to have grown slightly over the last seven years, rising from roughly 60 million to about 62 million. Again, this contrasts with mainline Protestants and Catholics, who together have lost several million adherents during the same time period.

Evangelicals Make Small Gains Through Religious Switching

Read more at … http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/05/15/compared-with-other-christian-groups-evangelicals-dropoff-is-less-steep/

RELIGION & Pew Research Center’s New Report on Religion in America Shows the Power of Choosing Your Own Faith #TheAtlanticMagazine

by Emma Green, The Atlantic Monthly, 5/12/15.

…Every American has a religion story, which is why it’s a little strange to think of America as an increasingly secular nation. That would be one way to read the Pew Research Center’s new Religious Landscape Study, a massive survey of more than 35,000 American adults. Over the last seven years, it found, the share of Americans who aren’t part of any religion has grown significantly, rising from 16 to nearly 23 percent of the population. A small portion of this group are atheists and agnostics—3 and 4 percent, respectively. More commonly, though, they are detached from organized religion altogether. When asked what religion they identify with, they answer simply: “Nothing in particular.” All in all, roughly one in ten Americans say religion is “not at all important” to them.

But the survey actually reveals something more complex than a slow and steady march toward secularization. Those who didn’t identify with any particular religion were asked a follow-up question: “How important is religion in your life?” The answers reveal that this group might be churchless, but it’s not wholly faithless: 44 percent said religion is “very” or “somewhat” important to them, while 56 percent said religion isn’t important to them, according to Greg Smith, Pew’s associate director of research. This is a slight drop compared to findings from a similar survey taken in 2007: That year, 48 percent of the “nones” said religion was important to them, while 52 percent said it wasn’t.Even taking this decline into account, there’s a pretty significant group of Americans who don’t identify with a particular denomination or congregation, but who still care about religion to some degree. That’s not the pattern of a Godless nation; it’s the pattern of people finding God on their own terms.

And that holds true even among many of those who do identify with a particular faith. The survey gives at least a partial look at what the researchers call “religious switching”: People converting to other faiths, joining new kinds of churches, or ditching religion altogether. If you count switches among the major traditions in Protestantism (mainline, evangelical, and historically black congregations), roughly 42 percent of Americans no longer consider themselves part of the religion in which they were raised. The researchers point out that this estimate is probably on the low side; many people leave their childhood religions, only to return to them later in life. If those decisions were measured, the estimates of “religious switching” would likely be even higher…

Read more at … http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/05/american-religion-complicated-not-dead/392891/