PDA

View Full Version : Pew's 2008 U.S. Religious Landscape Survey


Achilles
06-23-2008, 11:18 PM
I suppose on the surface this could have just as easily have gone in Ahto, however I imagine that any conversation it generates (if any) would most likely belong here :)

Enjoy!

U.S. Religious Landscape Survey (http://religions.pewforum.org/)

My favorite part:

22% of "Unaffiliated" indicated no belief in god (e.g. atheists).
Percentage of "Unaffiliated" that pray daily: 22%

I'm sure that these aren't the same people, but you have to wonder how useful this data is when it churns out information like this :D

Totenkopf
06-24-2008, 12:34 AM
Perhaps it IS the atheists......praying that there's really no God. :lol:

Arcesious
06-24-2008, 12:53 AM
Very interesting... Yet somehow, unsuprising... Seems that a lot of people have contradictions in their beleifs about many different things...

Jae Onasi
06-24-2008, 01:59 AM
The 22% of the unaffiliated that pray daily could be part of the 78%-80% of the unaffiliated that are not atheists. Just to make that all more clear. :xp:

SilentScope001
06-24-2008, 01:41 PM
This is completely terrible. It's like hearing the stat that 10% of Americans don't even know where America is located.

At first, I thought that the Newsweek poll (http://www.lucasforums.com/showthread.php?t=180248) that stated that 40% of Agnoistcs and Atheists believe in God was just dumb, but this poll just takes the cake.

People don't know what religion they are following. Some call this tolerance, but I just call it, well, um, bad.

Here's an AP article with statistics (http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5h8ftb8lipCc_XqwfUp0PLhdQGYTwD91FUSB02) and quotes about this new poll, straight from religious experts:

The findings, revealed Monday in a survey of 35,000 adults, can either be taken as a positive sign of growing religious tolerance, or disturbing evidence that Americans dismiss or don't know fundamental teachings of their own faiths.

Among the more startling numbers in the survey, conducted last year by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life: 57 percent of evangelical church attenders said they believe many religions can lead to eternal life, in conflict with traditional evangelical teaching.

In all, 70 percent of Americans with a religious affiliation shared that view, and 68 percent said there is more than one true way to interpret the teachings of their own religion.

"The survey shows religion in America is, indeed, 3,000 miles wide and only three inches deep," said D. Michael Lindsay, a Rice University sociologist of religion.

"There's a growing pluralistic impulse toward tolerance and that is having theological consequences," he said.

...

The report argues that while relatively few people — 14 percent — cite religious beliefs as the main influence on their political thinking, religion still plays a powerful indirect role.

The study confirmed some well-known political dynamics, including stark divisions over abortion and gay marriage, with the more religiously committed taking conservative views on the issues.

But it also showed support across religious lines for greater governmental aid for the poor, even if it means more debt and stricter environmental laws and regulations.

By many measures, Americans are strongly religious: 92 percent believe in God, 74 percent believe in life after death and 63 percent say their respective scriptures are the word of God.

But deeper investigation found that more than one in four Roman Catholics, mainline Protestants and Orthodox Christians expressed some doubts about God's existence, as did six in ten Jews.

Another finding almost defies explanation: 21 percent of self-identified atheists said they believe in God or a universal spirit, with 8 percent "absolutely certain" of it.

"Look, this shows the limits of a survey approach to religion," said Peter Berger, a theology and sociology professor at Boston University. "What do people really mean when they say that many religions lead to eternal life? It might mean they don't believe their particular truth at all. Others might be saying, 'We believe a truth but respect other people, and they are not necessarily going to hell.'"

...

Roger Oldham, a vice president with the executive committee of the Southern Baptist Convention, bristled at using the word "tolerance" in the analysis.

"If by tolerance we mean we're willing to engage or embrace a multitude of ways to salvation, that's no longer evangelical belief," he said. "The word 'evangelical' has been stretched so broadly, it's almost an elastic term."

Others welcomed the findings.

"It shows increased religious security. People are comfortable with other traditions even if they're different," said the Rev. C. Welton Gaddy, president of the Interfaith Alliance. "It indicates a level of humility about religion that would be of great benefit to everyone."

More than most groups, Catholics break with their church, and not just on issues like abortion and homosexuality. Only six in 10 Catholics described God as "a person with whom people can have a relationship" — which the church teaches — while three in 10 described God as an "impersonal force."

"The statistics show, more than anything else, that many who describe themselves as Catholics do not know or understand the teachings of their church," said Denver Roman Catholic Archbishop Charles Chaput. "Being Catholic means believing what the Catholic church teaches. It is a communion of faith, not simply of ancestry and family tradition. It also means that the church ought to work harder at evangelizing its own members."

Inyri
06-24-2008, 01:52 PM
"The statistics show, more than anything else, that many who describe themselves as Catholics do not know or understand the teachings of their church," said Denver Roman Catholic Archbishop Charles Chaput. "Being Catholic means believing what the Catholic church teaches. It is a communion of faith, not simply of ancestry and family tradition. It also means that the church ought to work harder at evangelizing its own members."Maybe people are starting to think for themselves and not just swallowing everything their priest/pastor tells them. Kudos to those people, I say.

Identifying yourself as member of _____ religion and believing everything that religion is academically meant to do not necessarily go hand in hand. People can think for themselves, believe it or not. I'll admit that a good part of it is people don't have the background required to understand what their religion specifically believes (I'll admit I'm not even 100% sure what my religion believes), but I don't think it really matters. I personally identify myself as Christian above whatever minor denomination I've chosen, and I'll bet you a lot of people are the same.

After all, it seems kind of silly to leave your church if you disagree with one or two points. If people did that they'd have to make a religion to fit their own beliefs, then how long before we have Josephism or Bobbyism? Unnecessary, really.

Pho3nix
06-24-2008, 01:55 PM
Very interesting... Yet somehow, unsurprising...
I concur, not very surprising. An interesting read though.

Rev7
06-24-2008, 01:56 PM
This is completely terrible. It's like hearing the stat that 10% of Americans don't even know where America is located.

<snip>


That's an interesting article. Some things just don't make sense.

Inyri
06-24-2008, 01:57 PM
Why would it be interesting? Those 10% are probably the poor and uneducated. It wouldn't surprise me in the least that they wouldn't know where America is. Would you guys know where it was if you hadn't learned it in school? Not everybody is as lucky as we are to have a good education and access to the googles. :)

Rev7
06-24-2008, 02:08 PM
I found it interesting because they they say that they are atheists, but believe in God, or know that He is real. That is what I found interesting. ;) Yes, to me, they seem uneducated. :)

Inyri
06-24-2008, 02:09 PM
They probably just have 'athiest' and 'agnostic' mixed up.

EnderWiggin
06-24-2008, 02:23 PM
Identifying yourself as member of _____ religion and believing everything that religion is academically meant to do not necessarily go hand in hand. People can think for themselves, believe it or not.

Amen.

Thanks, Inyri.

_EW_

Nedak
06-24-2008, 03:25 PM
Ever notice where the evangelicals are? :P

Arcesious
06-24-2008, 04:30 PM
This also further proves that the 'intellectuals' in the world are, somewhat, a minority... Honestly, I don't see an increase in tolerance- I see a mess of conflicting beleifs and ideals that is just waiting to explode.

PoiuyWired
06-25-2008, 04:14 PM
Well, depends on how you see it. Some religions have a rather interesting demographics on the chart.

Look at things like Buddhists.

Jae Onasi
06-25-2008, 09:07 PM
This also further proves that the 'intellectuals' in the world are, somewhat, a minority.

Are you saying people of faith can't be intellectual?

I personally identify myself as Christian above whatever minor denomination I've chosen, and I'll bet you a lot of people are the same.Me too. I happen to align mostly with evangelicals and happen to go to a Baptist church, but I don't care what the name on the door is as long as the people there are committed to doing what Christ said to do and are active in serving both within the church and out in the community around them.

Achilles
06-25-2008, 09:26 PM
Are you saying people of faith can't be intellectual?I would hope that we would all agree that people of faith can be intellectual about some things

Me too. I happen to align mostly with evangelicals and happen to go to a Baptist church, but I don't care what the name on the door is as long as the people there are committed to doing what Christ said to do and are active in serving both within the church and out in the community around them.Westboro Baptists Church? I imagine they would argue that they meet all your criteria.

KinchyB
06-25-2008, 09:35 PM
Westboro Baptists Church

Ummm...so who do these folks like exactly? wiki entry for them... (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Westboro_Baptist_Church)

I have to say, if these folks were to show up at one of my family members funerals, KinchyB would be very unhappy. :(

Achilles
06-25-2008, 09:45 PM
Ummm...so who do these folks like exactly?Upstanding christians who are serious about serving god's will and spreading jesus' word...just like them.

I don't think the fact that other people have differing interpretations of what that means is the slightest bit significant.

Nedak
06-25-2008, 10:52 PM
Ummm...so who do these folks like exactly? wiki entry for them... (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Westboro_Baptist_Church)

I wonder how many of them actually know how to read...

I kid, I kid.

Brings a whole new meaning to "You're not from around here are you?"

Emperor Devon
06-25-2008, 11:21 PM
Are you saying people of faith can't be intellectual?

Not theologically. Although you were probably only referring to that area, 'faith' by definition has no place in intellectualism.

On the topic at hand, I'm in no way surprised at hearing people don't know the definitions of their purported beliefs. Humans have certainly acted stupider.

Arcesious
06-26-2008, 12:41 AM
Are you saying people of faith can't be intellectual?

Of course not. I'm only saying that a majority of both religious and un-religious people alike aren't all that bright.

mur'phon
06-26-2008, 04:30 AM
Arc: I asume you put yourself in the "bright" category like almost everyone do. Now, asuming the majority is not very bright, odds are that you (and I for that matter) fall into that category:)

Darth InSidious
06-26-2008, 06:02 AM
Maybe people are starting to think for themselves and not just swallowing everything their priest/pastor tells them. Kudos to those people, I say.

Identifying yourself as member of _____ religion and believing everything that religion is academically meant to do not necessarily go hand in hand. People can think for themselves, believe it or not. I'll admit that a good part of it is people don't have the background required to understand what their religion specifically believes (I'll admit I'm not even 100% sure what my religion believes), but I don't think it really matters. I personally identify myself as Christian above whatever minor denomination I've chosen, and I'll bet you a lot of people are the same.

After all, it seems kind of silly to leave your church if you disagree with one or two points. If people did that they'd have to make a religion to fit their own beliefs, then how long before we have Josephism or Bobbyism? Unnecessary, really.

Or maybe forty years of poor catechesis and a total lack of philosophical inculcation has had an effect.

Achilles
06-26-2008, 11:42 AM
Or maybe forty years of poor catechesis and a total lack of philosophical inculcation has had an effect.You make that sound like a bad thing :xp:

Darth InSidious
06-26-2008, 12:13 PM
You make that sound like a bad thing :xp:

... That people are unaware of exactly what they're objecting to and have no grounding in philosophy?

Arcesious
06-26-2008, 12:26 PM
Arc: I asume you put yourself in the "bright" category like almost everyone do. Now, asuming the majority is not very bright, odds are that you (and I for that matter) fall into that category

Eh, more or less. I'm not all that smart with actual science, IE, I have a lot of learn about Physics, biology, and such. But, as for philosophy, I know a bit more in that area than I bet many others do. (I admit that that may, more or less, be wishful thinking...) However, I wouldn't want to call myself nearly as 'bright' as, say, Achilles. I've got a lot to learn, but, compared to the people who were in this survey, and me only being a teenager... Yeah you can probably see my point... (I'm assuming only adults were in this survey?) Eh, I'd like to phrase this reply in a better way, but I still end up sounding arrogant...

Achilles
06-26-2008, 12:31 PM
Please forgive me if I've misinterpreted the terms that you used above, but couldn't your post also have been written as:

"Or maybe forty years of failing to indoctrinate children into a specific way of thinking before their critical thinking skills have been fully developed and a total lack of requiring people to memorize specific principles by rote has had an effect."

I 100% agree with you that people shouldn't object to something without first understanding it. I suspect that you and I probably have a difference of opinion regarding where that bar exists when it comes to theology. :)

mur'phon
06-26-2008, 12:50 PM
Arc: You said you are (relatively at least) good in philosophy, at the same time you admit you aren't as good at for instance science. it's common for people to be good in some areas and bad in others. Now, what if those people who don't really know much about their belief are very good in something else, would you still say they aren't very bright?

Arcesious
06-26-2008, 05:37 PM
mur'phon:

The person can be skilled in almost anything. Be it history, math, art, architecture, cooking, or soemthing else. That doesn't neccessarily make up for a lack of knowledge in theology, science, philosophy, or something of that category... Let's just say: 'A person can be really smart, but that doesn't stop them from being stupid'.

mur'phon
06-26-2008, 05:50 PM
Change a person to 99.99999% of the population, and we agree:)

SilentScope001
06-26-2008, 08:28 PM
Inyri: Because I need to deal with this situation that presents itself by Pew, I'm going to reply to your post, with the following premise in mind:
1) We'll assume that we share the same Judeo-Christianity-Islamic religious traditions (divine belief in one God, for instance). You said this in your post, but I want to restate this just to ensure.

Maybe people are starting to think for themselves and not just swallowing everything their priest/pastor tells them. Kudos to those people, I say.

Or, they are listening to the media, and not thinking for themselves either. Or maybe they are intellectually lazy, willing to accept whatever they want just to please themselves, and not out of any logical reason. All that we know from the data is that people's beliefs are not in step with that of what their religion actually states. We cannot access wheter people are actually thinking...yet. We should have a poll on that though.

Plus, Priests/Pastors can also be liberal, and their liberal view of their religion can in fact sway people to be liberal themselves.

Identifying yourself as member of _____ religion and believing everything that religion is academically meant to do not necessarily go hand in hand.

Yes it can, assuming we following Judeo-Christian-Islamic religion here. (Please, realize, I'm going to be using my understanding of the religious scriptures here, so if you have an different view of what the scriptures state, well, alright then, I accept that. I know you are a Christian, while I am a Muslim, so these things may be a tad different. I think many Christians might rely on the 'God forgives all' theory, while I take a somewhat harder line on that...there are 'core issues' that matter, for instance...)

In that sort of religion, there is a God-figure, who we will term God. God has seperated people from those who accept his message and those that do not accept his message. Those who accept his message will be accepted into Heaven. Those who do not accept his message will go into Hell. God has already told people what his message is, and he will be the sole person who will determine who followed his message and who does not.

Now, then, accepting that message means accepting ALL of that message, because if you do not, then you are only picking and choosing whatever God, who is accepted as the creator of Judeo-Chrisitan-Islamic religion, has said. You can declare that priests are totally, completely wrong, and I'll accept that. But when you start denying parts of the message that is in fact transmitted by God himself, or by the messengers of God, then that's where it crosses the line. If God himself desired that [] is something that should supported or gone against, God would have made that clear inside of his message.

Otherwise, by going against a portion of the message of God, you have
shown a insult to God himself. You have put your judgment of right and wrong over that of God himself, an act of pride that would most likely lead to God declaring that you will go to Hell, and disowning you from his religion.

Now, it can be debated what is in fact God's message. The way I try to determine it is by reading the scriptures, and listening to scholars who have studied this issue more closely. But if you instead 'pick and choose' what message of God to follow or not, then it is obvious that you are putting your view of the world over that of God's view. And in which case, if you go against God, then you go against his religion, egro, you are outside of the religion.

People can think for themselves, believe it or not. I'll admit that a good part of it is people don't have the background required to understand what their religion specifically believes (I'll admit I'm not even 100% sure what my religion believes), but I don't think it really matters.

I think it most likely does matter. Without having a background, how would you know if you are following the message that God has sent down rather than what you personally believe? You are not dealing with the issue of what type of clothing to wear today, you are dealing with issues of eternal salvation and damnation here. It's a bit too dangerous to let your fate hang in the balance, and hope luck comes in to save the day.

People can think for themselves, but that does not mean that they actually do, and this huge disparity in religion does not indicate that it is a good thing. To prove that people are in fact thinking for themselves, they must show some reasonable effort to showcase that they are thinking, instead of engaging in intellectual laziness.

For example, 21% of Atheists believe in God. I want to know how a person can believe in God and yet not believe in God. It may be likely that most of them are Deists, instead of Atheists, in which they believe God exist, but is an impersonal force, and does not interfere in the affairs of Man. These Atheists just do not know that the term 'Deist' exist.

But then you got the remaining 6% of Atheists who believe in God as a personal God (therefore not being Deist), and the 3% of Atheists who believe in God, but are unsure as to the nature of this God. But, an Atheist, as commonly accepted, is someone who does not believe in God. So, again, I want to know...why are these Atheists still 'atheists'?

And again, I shall point to the 1% Catholic who do not believe in God, the 4% Othrodox who do not believe in God, and the 5% Muslim who do not believe in God. Last time I checked, belief in God is one of the core tenants in each of these three religions, and the failure to believe in God basically means you are not really a part of that religion. So, I would be interested in hearing a Catholic speak about why God does not exist, and yet he still listens to the Pope, or to a Muslim why he believes in Mohammed and the Quran but not in God.

Until I listen to the God-fearing Atheist and the God-denying Catholic, I cannot ascertain their logic, so I cannot claim they are in fact "thinking for themselves". I do however believe that such logic must be internally consistent, and from what I am viewing, it does not appear to be internally consistent, because a God-fearing Atheist cannot exist, and so can a God-denying Catholic, at least according to the definitions of the term.

I personally identify myself as Christian above whatever minor denomination I've chosen, and I'll bet you a lot of people are the same.

These denominations might matter. Each denomination has their own view of what the Bible states. If you change your denomination on a whim, you may not be able to understand what is in fact the correct view of the Bible.

Now a person can claim that different views of the Scripture may be equally valid. However, if this is so, then it leads to the question of which 'different views' that God endorse? Will God endorse either the views of a radical black church, a radical white church, or the view of a moderate church, all of whom have different views about race relations? Will God endorse equally the pro-life and pro-choice camp, stating that it is okay for a person to kill a child and it is equally okay to prohibit people from using their constitutional right to choose? Does God endorse both gay-marriage and non-gay-marriage?

Alright, that's all politics, and I understand full well that your political views may be separate from your religious views, as do most people in that survey. But keep in mind that these are moral issues as well as political issues. Is it morally acceptable to engage in gay marriage yourself? Is it morally acceptable to abort? Morally acceptable to engage in affirmative action? What you believe the government should do is far different from what [i]you should actually do in such a situation, and then what?

If God is equally willing to adopt both positions at once, that, say, abortion is both morally acceptable and not morally acceptable, then God displays a lot of moral relativism, which would be upsetting to both pro-lifers and pro-choicers, who believe that their respective position is the only true and correct one. And to see both a KKK member and Mr. Wright both in Heaven too...well...er...

Assuming, however, that God has, in fact, taken a position, we need to know what position is, and ensure that we follow that same position, otherwise, we will be putting our view of right and wrong over that of God, which is a insult, as I said before. Once we begin to accept that God has a position, the amount of different views of the Scripture that are acceptable begin to diminish, until it likely enough stops at only a few, or even one, correct readings of the Scripture, that is in line with God's view.

After all, it seems kind of silly to leave your church if you disagree with one or two points.

Maybe. Or maybe not. It could make an equal argument that you can state "I disagree with you on one or two points, but I'll follow those points anyway because I believe in this religion."

More likely however, the church has considered that you have already left it, if your point of disagreement becomes rather critical and key to the whole religion itself. (For example, I'd consider the denial of the existence of God by a Catholic to be an example that the so-called Catholic is not actually an Catholic) And if the Church itself disowns you, then what is it to claim that you are still a member of that Church?

If people did that they'd have to make a religion to fit their own beliefs, then how long before we have Josephism or Bobbyism?

They already exist, Iyri. If God rejects those who do not believe in his approved message(s), then it is obvious that they are not really following the message of God, but rather they are believing what they want to believe. They are outside of the fold of that religion.

Silentism, Jaeism, Inyriism, InSidiousism, etc. can and likely do exist. What matters ultimately is what God himself believes, not what we ourselves want to say.

Inyri
06-26-2008, 08:43 PM
Without having a background, how would you know if you are following the message that God has sent down rather than what you personally believe?It's impossible to know God's message. He hasn't spoken directly to us and men wrote all the current scriptures. Sure, they claim God told them what to write (some of them do, but not all the books in the bible are straight from the horse's mouth) but none of us were alive back then so there's no way to know whether it's the truth, a half-truth, or a gross stretch of the truth.

Hence where faith comes in. You have to believe what you believe based on what you have to go by. People who take the bible as a 100% truth straight from God's mouth are idealists. Intellectual people who can read the bible and then apply logic and reasoning to it are far more realistic. :)

So in the end, it is what you personally believe. That's what faith is.

Rev7
06-26-2008, 11:38 PM
So in the end, it is what you personally believe. That's what faith is.
QFE.

EDIT (thank you Devon for pointing out my error.) : It does come down to what you believe, but faith is a belief in something that you cannot see or that there is no proof of. ;) That is the definition that I use. :)

Emperor Devon
06-27-2008, 12:14 AM
So in the end, it is what you personally believe. That's what faith is.

Incorrect. Faith is a belief not supported by any sort of proof. What you described there was an opinion, which obviously is far broader.

QFE. Well said. :)

It's ironic seeing you not know the definition of faith in this thread.

Totenkopf
06-28-2008, 11:22 AM
Incorrect. Faith is a belief not supported by any sort of proof. What you described there was an opinion, which obviously is far broader.


I would basically tend to agree that Faith is something that is, more often than not, based on something other than tangible proof. Btw, your avi looks a bit like corey feldman.

Nedak
06-28-2008, 01:55 PM
Has nobody gone to Dictionary.com yet? You're all killing me.

Faith:belief that is not based on proof: He had faith that the hypothesis would be substantiated by fact.

Christian Theology: the trust in God and in His promises as made through Christ and the Scriptures by which humans are justified or saved.

Rev7
06-28-2008, 02:17 PM
Has nobody gone to Dictionary.com yet? You're all killing me.

Faith:belief that is not based on proof: He had faith that the hypothesis would be substantiated by fact.

Christian Theology: the trust in God and in His promises as made through Christ and the Scriptures by which humans are justified or saved.
I have, and I use both. :) Thanks for the definitions.

Nedak
06-28-2008, 02:29 PM
^
Just trying to be official/technical :P