Half of atheists’ children fall away into belief

Christians often worry about their children falling away from the church.  Atheists have the same problem.  According to the Pew research, half of the children raised by atheists end up as believers.

A column on this phenomenon, excerpted and linked after the jump, includes another interesting observation:  “It’s mostly interpersonal relationships that sway beliefs.” [Read more...]

Christian “decline” is just Nominals becoming Nones

The headlines about the Pew Report, including at this blog, say that Christianity is declining in America.  But if you look closer, says Christianity Today’s Ed Stetzer, the data shows that the decline is in “nominal Christians”–those in name only–who are becoming open about their unbelief and calling themselves “Nones.”  The number of “convictional” Christians–those who really believe all that stuff–is holding steady.  See his analysis of the data after the jump.

There was a time when church membership was a cultural advantage.  Belonging to a church was good for business and a sign of fitting into the community.  So church membership rolls were filled with “pewsitters” or “Christmas/Easter” members.  Today, belonging to a church can be a cultural disadvantage.  So there is no reason for nominal Christians to bother with it.

This exit of the nominals can be a good thing, on one level, but I want to make two important caveats. [Read more...]

New study shows percentage of Christians declining

The Pew Research Center has released a new study of American religion.  In 2007, the date of its previous research, the percentage of Christians was 78%.  By 2014, the percentage dropped to 70%.   The percentage of those with no religious affiliation has shot up from 16% to 23%.  (Atheists have gone from 1.6% to 3.1%.)

Much of the decline in the number of Christians has come from dwindling mainline Protestants and Roman Catholics.  Evangelicals (and the study explicitly puts the LCMS in this category) are holding pretty steady.  Though declines are evident across regions, ages, and other demographics, the study says much of it can be accounted for by the Millennial Generation.  A link to the study, which has lots more fascinating details, after the jump. [Read more...]

Why the percentage of the non-religious is declining

We blogged about the Pew study of global religious affiliation, which included the rather surprising fact that the percentage of “nones,” or people with no religion, is declining world-wide.  An article at the Pew website explains why. [Read more...]

Where you fit politically

The Liberal/Conservative dichotomy does not really explain where people are on the political spectrum.  There are different kinds of conservatives and different kinds of liberals.  This has been a theme of a number of our blog posts.  But now the Pew Research Center has formulated a “political typology” that consists of nine different positions:

Staunch Conservatives take extremely conservative positions on nearly all issues – on the size and role of government, on economics, foreign policy, social issues and moral concerns. Most agree with the Tea Party and even more very strongly disapprove of Barack Obama’s job performance. A second core group of Republicans – Main Street Republicans – also is conservative, but less consistently so.

On the left, Solid Liberals express diametrically opposing views from the Staunch Conservatives on virtually every issue. While Solid Liberals are predominantly white, minorities make up greater shares of New Coalition Democrats – who include nearly equal numbers 0f whites, African Americans and Hispanics – and Hard-Pressed Democrats, who are about a third African American. Unlike Solid Liberals, both of these last two groups are highly religious and socially conservative. New Coalition Democrats are distinguished by their upbeat attitudes in the face of economic struggles.

Independents have played a determinative role in the last three national elections. But the three groups in the center of the political typology have very little in common, aside from their avoidance of partisan labels. Libertarians and Post-Moderns are largely white, well-educated and affluent. They also share a relatively secular outlook on some social issues, including homosexuality and abortion. But Republican-oriented Libertarians are far more critical of government, less supportive of environmental regulations, and more supportive of business than are Post-Moderns, most of whom lean Democratic.

Disaffecteds, the other main group of independents, are financially stressed and cynical about politics. Most lean to the Republican Party, though they differ from the core Republican groups in their support for increased government aid to the poor. Another group in the center, Bystanders, largely consign themselves to the political sidelines and for the most part are not included in this analysis.

via Beyond Red vs. Blue: The Political Typology | Pew Research Center for the People and the Press.

You can even take a quiz to see which one of these you are.  This is not one of those Facebook quizzes, like seeing which Star Trek character you are.  This is sophisticated social science research!

And yet, it still seems to leave a lot of political ideologies out:  Where are the Burkean conservatives?  The neo-conservatives?  The paleo-conservatives?  The crunchy conservatives?  The Wendell Berry conservatives?  The localists?  The Reconstructionists?  Where are the socialists?  The Greens?  The Anarchists?  The Jihadists?  The Marxists?

I think the true political spectrum is even more complicated than this typology shows.

Take the quiz.  Does it peg you?  Or are there other issues that this study doesn’t even raise that are more definitive, as far as you are concerned?

HT:  Jackie


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