Only 1.7% are gay, but 8% have had gay sex

A new study has found that the number of Americans who are exclusively homosexual is 1.7% of men and .9% of women, a number that has been stable over the years.  But the number of Americans who report having sex with someone of their own gender has doubled over the last two decades, to 8.2% for men and 8.7% for women.

The main issue today may not be homosexuality but bisexuality.  Furthermore, it would seem that this is experimentation due to the new social acceptability of gay behavior.  And that, whatever is the case about gay identity, many people can, in fact, choose whether or not to experiment with homosexual sex.  As for bisexuals, they can be encouraged to marry a member of the opposite sex, being faithful to that spouse despite temptations from whatever gender, like everyone else is expected to.

After the jump, read a story about this study, which gives details about how this varies generationally, with women compared to men, how church attendance makes a difference, and how sexuality is “fluid” (despite what we were told when gay marriage was an open issue). [Read more…]

Correlation is not causation in study of ELCA racial diversity

More evidence that scientists–especially social scientists–need to study philosophy, particularly the complicated question of what constitutes causality:  A study of ELCA congregations has found that the more racially diverse  a congregation is, the more it has declined in attendance.  The implication being that white people leave when minority races show up.  This effect is especially evident, the study says, in older congregations.

But there are lots of reasons that ELCA congregations have been declining in membership!  The study says nothing about the theological shift leftward that has caused so many members to leave.  Or, even more to the point, neighborhood demographics.  “Older congregations” originally started in big cities are nearly always in decline as assimilated immigrants and young families move to the suburbs.  These congregations do pick up some racially diverse members from the neighborhood, but since African-Americans don’t have a tradition of becoming ELCA Lutherans (though they could well be Missouri Synod Lutherans, which has a long tradition of black membership), there will be a net loss.  But to interpret this as racism is grossly inaccurate.  To use statistical terms, correlation is not causation. [Read more…]

Looking for a new moral code

Barna has released a fascinating study on Americans’ moral beliefs. Eighty percent are worried about the nation’s moral condition, and yet there is little consensus about what morality is and how we can know the difference between right and wrong.

A majority believe that this knowledge is a matter of personal experience.  Three-quarters of Millennials believe “Whatever is right for your life or works best for you is the only truth you can know.” (I don’t understand how you can get from experience or “what works” to moral truth, given the difference between what “is” and what “ought to be.”  And how do you know “whatever is right for your life”?  Isn’t that the question we are trying to figure out?)  [Read more…]

Millennials are moving to the suburbs

Contrary to the free-floating urbanite stereotype of millennials, that under-35-year-old generation is now preoccupied with buying houses in the suburbs.

Could it be that rather than over-generalizing about generational characteristics, what we have been seeing is far simpler?  Single people like living in cities, where possible mates are more plentiful and there is much more to do with them.  But once they get married and have children, cities lose their appeal in favor of bourgeois considerations like home ownership and looking for a “good place to raise a family.”

Perhaps the millennials have stayed single longer than other demographic groups, but eventually adulthood kicks in.  This might also apply to religious commitments, the lack of which among millennials has many churches worried.  But church attendance always drops off among single adults, only to pick up again among married couples, especially once they have children.

[Read more…]

Young voters prefer socialism, reject conservatism

A poll of first and second-time voters, age 18 to 26, has found that two-thirds prefer socialism or even communism to capitalism.  A majority believe that America is no better than any other country.  And only 15% favor Republicans.  This may spell doom for Republicans and conservatives in general for the next three decades.  So says pollster Frank Luntz.

I would say that once this cohort gains some life experience, some of their political beliefs will change.  That’s usually the pattern.  It certainly was for those of us in the Sixties generation.  I also suspect we are seeing the fruit of today’s educational system.  The founders believed that a free republic requires an educated citizenry.  Not just any kind of education, but a “liberal” education, the term coming from the Latin word for free citizens.  That is, the classical liberal education that expanded the mind, taught discernment, stressed the lessons of history, and studied the high points of our civilization.

When that kind of education is jettisoned in favor of relativism, revisionism, and leftist political indoctrination, what can we expect?  Why wouldn’t they think that socialism and communism are “more compassionate” than capitalism, if they know nothing about economics, history, or objective reality? [Read more…]

Unintended consequences of megachurches

The larger the group, the less the individual involvement.  That’s a long-established finding of social science.  So what does that mean for very large churches?  New research has shown that those who attend megachurches are less involved in their congregation than those who attend smaller churches.  That may be obvious, but the researcher then raises a disturbing question:  Has the rise of the megachurch thus contributed to the overall decline of religion in the United States?

I am not attacking big churches.  It’s natural for a congregation to want to become as big as possible, and many large congregations are quite orthodox.  But churches need to face up to this data.  Are there other unintended consequences of megachurches?  Is there a way to counter them?  How might a big congregation increase individual involvement?  Or should big churches split into smaller congregations, once they reach a particular size?

[Read more…]


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