[lbo-talk] looking for data on declining religiosity in U.S.

Fernando Cassia fcassia at gmail.com
Sun Apr 3 23:15:26 PDT 2011

On Mon, Apr 4, 2011 at 2:33 AM, Jeffrey Fisher <jeff.jfisher at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Sun, Apr 3, 2011 at 7:58 PM, Doug Henwood <dhenwood at panix.com> wrote:
>> On the first, the buzzwords are "religious identification":
>> http://www.americanreligionsurvey-aris.org/.

2007 data:

May 25, 2007 One-Third of Americans Believe the Bible Is Literally True High inverse correlation between education and belief in a literal Bible http://www.gallup.com/poll/27682/onethird-americans-believe-bible-literally-true.aspx

2004 news story:

----------------------------- http://channels.isp.netscape.com/news/package.jsp?name=fte/holybible/holybible

WHO Says the Bible Is Literally True?

A majority of Americans believe the Holy Bible is literally true and not just a book of stories that are meant to be interpreted as symbolic lessons, reports The Washington Times of a recent ABC News poll of 1,011 adults.

61 percent believe the story of the creation of the Earth in seven days as told in the book of Genesis is literally true.

60 percent believe in the story of Noah's ark, the global flood, and God's covenant to never destroy the Earth again.

64 percent believe that Moses really did part the Red Sea so the Jews could escape their Egyptian captors.

"These are surprising and reassuring figures, a positive sign in a postmodern world that seemed bent on erasing faith from the public square in recent years," the Rev. Charles Nalls, a priest with the Catholic-Anglican church, told The Times. "This poll tells me that America is reading the Bible more than we thought. There had been a tendency to decry or discount Bible literacy among the faithful." -----------------------------


How can the United States be devout, diverse and tolerant?

David Campbell pondered this question at a lunchtime forum at the Pew Research Center on a blustery Thursday in Washington. How could a country that is more devout than Iran (at least in terms of worship service attendance) get along so well?

Campbell, a professor at Notre Dame, and Robert Putnam, a professor at Harvard, sought to find the answers to those questions through an exhaustive examination for their recent book, "American Grace: How faith Divides and Unites Us."

The authors conducted the Faith Matters survey of 3,000 people in 2006 and then came back to many of them again in 2007 to see how things may have changed. They combined that with snapshots of a dozen distinctly different congregations spread out across the country and just about every recent survey done on religion in America to try to get the fullest picture possible of religion in America.

"The U.S. actually does present a very unusual environment for religion," Campbell said while manning the Power Point presentation solo (his co-author was stuck on a runway in New York).

The fact that America is devout and diverse might lead to the conclusion (that) as a country it would be less tolerant. But their research showed the opposite.

In their book, Putnam and Campbell aim to rise above the recent decades of mistrust and even hostility that have marked relations between religious and nonreligious Americans - and, not coincidentally, the country's political right and left.

Relax, they say. Religion is good for America, and mostly, things are working out fine.

They're not the first to argue that church/state separation combined with an entrepreneurial spirit has produced a decidedly tolerant religious culture in the United States. John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge of The Economist magazine advanced much the same thesis in "God is Back" last year, going so far as to argue that other countries should decouple religious and state institutions in order to get similar results.



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