America’s most “churchless” and “dechurched” cities

The Barna group has data about which American cities are the most “unchurched,” breaking that category down further into “churchless” (people never having been involved in a church) and “dechurched” (people who used to be involved in a church but aren’t now).

English teacher that I am, I disapprove of the twisted grammar that went into those terms–using the noun “church” as a verb so as to add -ed to it, making it a past participle, and then using that as a noun again. But I’ll let that go.  I sample some of the findings after the jump.

At the link, for $99, you can buy a detailed study of individual American cities, showing the religious breakdown, the denominational percentages, and other useful demographic information. [Read more...]

Everybody’s a populist

Just about everybody in politics is claiming to be a “populist” these days–leftwinger Elizabeth Warren, rightwinger Ted Cruz, establishment icon Hillary Clinton, the Christian right’s Mike Huckabee, Occupy Wallstreeters, Tea Partiers, and on and on.

Rutgers history professor David Greenberg points out that the term once had a very specific meaning, relating to the farmer/labor coalition against the railroads and bankers in the late 19th century,  as led by William Jennings Bryan.  The ideology combined a type of socialist economics (nationalize the railroads!) with respect for “ordinary” Americans (a man of the people! champion of the common man!).  Today liberals are seizing upon the economic part (while comprising the cultural elite that the old populists scorned), while conservatives are seizing upon the ordinary American part (a demographic that today tends not to like socialism).

But this reminds us that the left owes a big debt to William Jennings Bryan, today often mocked for his creationism at the Scopes Monkey Trial.  And that there was a time when evangelical Christians were often leftists. [Read more...]

Hillary says “religious beliefs. . .have to be changed”

Hillary Clinton says that “religious beliefs. . .have to be changed” when they interfere with “reproductive health care” (that is, abortion).  And pro-abortion laws “have to be backed up with resources and political will.”

Notice that she doesn’t say “religious beliefs have to change.”  That would arguably be bad enough, but it allows for religions to change themselves, from within, perhaps over time.  Instead, she said religious beliefs have to “be changed.”  The passive construction here means  that religious beliefs have to be acted upon from the outside.  Nor did she say, “religious beliefs should change,” expressing a moral opinion. No, they “have to” be changed, an imperative, as in giving an order.  Then when she throws in that line about “political will,” the language is clearly that of government suppression.

[Read more...]

Access to the Bible

So what percentage of the world’s 6,101 languages do you think have translations of the Bible?  WRONG (probably)!

The Barna Group has conducted a study of Americans’ perceptions of how accessible the Bible is globally.  Most Americans think the Bible is more available than it really is.   See the findings–as well as the correct statistics–after the jump. [Read more...]

Language as “Darwin’s problem”

Noam Chomsky is not a conservative Christian but is rather a leftwing radical.  But in his day job, he is a pioneering linguist, having shown how all languages depend on “deep structures”–complex grammatical processes that are built into the human mind–that all languages have in common and that children can master almost without effort.

He has teamed with a famous anthropologist, Ian Tattersall, and other scholars (Johan J. Bolhuis and Robert C. Berwick) to pose the question How Could Language Have Evolved? They certainly believe in evolution and they try to find a minimalistic feature that might have evolved, but the article shows that language, with its irreducible complexity (the intelligence design term, not theirs), is very difficult  to explain in terms of random selection over time, to the point that the authors describe language as “Darwin’s problem.” [Read more...]

Making dismemberment abortion sound better

Kansas has banned late-term abortions that dismember the child.  Other states are considering passing the same law.  You have got to read the news story in the Washington Post, excerpted after the jump.  You might notice some bias in the story.  But notice to what extent the journalist has to twist her language–to the point of outlandish euphemism–to make this barbaric procedure palatable. [Read more...]


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