The Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) and Social Science Research Solutions (SSRS) have recently teamed up for a foray into “digital religion,” in the form of an ambitious mapping project called the “American Values Atlas” (AVA).
Posts Tagged ‘surveys’
A new poll by the Public Religion Research Institute finds that, while a majority of Americans (56 percent) support the upcoming Congressional hearings on radicalization in American Muslim communities, seven in ten believe that Muslim communities should not be singled out.
The 2010 elections changed a lot about the makeup of Congress, but did they change much about American secularism? A new poll shows partisanship in pulpits is rare, issue-based politics is alive and well, and Islam’s electoral prominence is ripe for future manipulation.
The majority of Americans may not know much about their own religions, but they seem to have a pretty good handle on the intricacies of secularization theory. That, at least, was what I got from looking at the findings of two surveys published this fall.
Recent poll data shows increasing support for same-sex marriage in the U.S., especially among White Catholics and mainstream Protestants. When and how can we use polls to gain insight about social policy and public debate? How much support is “enough” to change the way our institutions operate? And what is the role of progressive religious mobilization in changing attitudes on these kinds of “values” issues?
Diane Winston offers up her take on the Pew Forum’s U.S. Religious Knowledge Survey at The Huffington Post.
Following the release last week of the results of the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life’s U.S. Religious Knowledge Survey, which was widely reported as having demonstrated Americans’ considerable lack thereof, we invited a dozen leading scholars to weigh in on the survey’s significance.
What, we asked, do the results of Pew’s quiz tell us about knowledge—and ignorance—of religion in the United States? And how important is the sort of religious knowledge that the survey tested to American public life?
What is the relationship between rates of church attendance and national identity? When more than 50 percent of a country’s population does not attend religious services, is that the tipping point that makes for a secular nation?
Who are the Americans who identify as “spiritual but not religious”? What unifying characteristics, qualities, and beliefs might they share? And to what extent might their distinctive approach to religion, or to systems of meaning, have relevance to political discourse, electoral campaigns, and public policy? As many other contributors to this blog have noted, these questions elude easy answers, because defining spirituality is, as Courtney Bender aptly puts it in her brilliant book The New Metaphysicals, “like shoveling fog.” Nevertheless, perhaps we can obtain just a slight bit of traction by investigating some of the characteristics shared by SBNR Americans.
At Miller-McCune, David Villano reports on a new study that finds that religious adherents in the U.S. are more inclined toward ethnocentric attitudes than agnostics.
Recent events in Europe, from the cartoon crisis in Denmark to the controversy over the construction of minarets in Switzerland, have brought the status of Islam in the secular public sphere to the forefront of European political debates. The consequences of these debates can be seen in a hardening of the boundary between what is public and what is private, as many assume that religion generally belongs to the private sphere. Collective views in Europe have come to dictate that any claim or expression in public space deriving from religious beliefs be seen as illegitimate. As Jürgen Habermas has noted, the liberal vision of a secular public sphere imposes a special burden on the shoulders of religious citizens. Many believers, however, would not be able to undertake such an artificial division in their own minds between their religious beliefs and their civic commitments without destabilizing their existence as pious persons.
Sociology of Religion has just published a study by Neil Gross and Solon Simmons on US professors’ belief in God. Unsurprisingly, the American professoriate is less religious than the general population. But as the study shows, 35% of those surveyed believe absolutely that God exists, while another 17% believe so with some reservations, which is not small by any means.
Yesterday, Gallup released its 2009 numbers on church attendance (based on more than 350,000 interviews), breaking down the results by state. The distribution is not entirely surprising.
Religious identification is on the wane in the United States, as in most other nations in the developed world. Yet, many scholars and pundits are somewhat dismissive of trends in disaffiliation as evidence of growing secularism because, they claim, Americans increasingly believe but don’t belong. However, Americans’ beliefs are changing as well. And, many who do not believe are nonetheless forced to belong because of social influences on religious commitments. Indeed, as I will show, there are far more people who belong to religious groups but do not believe than there are people who believe but don’t belong. And, furthermore, a growing proportion of Americans neither believe in the authority of religious creeds nor belong to organizations devoted to religion.
In 2008, roughly 15 percent of Americans told telephone surveyors with the American Religious Identification Survey that they had no religious preference, were atheist, agnostic, secular, or humanist….Whether or not we want to feed these findings back into a very long-running debate about sociology’s secularization thesis, many of us will feel compelled to ask what this trend means for American public life. We are trained to ask the question because we are so used to thinking in Tocquevillian terms about religion’s relation to democracy. For that reason alone, it is worth taking a little time to clarify what the oft-quoted French traveler, diarist and social thinker Alexis de Tocqueville actually did say about American religion and its public consequences, so we can better decide what, if anything, in the Tocquevillian heritage helps us grapple with these findings.
The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life has released “A Brief History of Religion and the U.S. Census,” which reviews debates during the last century over whether questions about religion should be included in the census or whether such questions would “infringe upon the traditional separation of church and state.”
This month’s Commentary features a provocative piece (click on the link and scroll down) by Jennifer Rubin on Jewish reactions to Sarah Palin.
‘Tis the season for best-of-the-year lists, and the Religion Newswriters Association has gotten in on the action with their list of 2009’s top ten religion stories. They compiled the list by surveying more than 100 religion journalists, about 36 of whom responded to the survey.
The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life recently released a new study of “Global Restrictions on Religion.” Pew casts the report as the first “quantitative study that reviews an extensive number of sources to measure how governments and private actors infringe on religious beliefs and practices around the world.” Its methodology, however, deserves scrutiny.
The question used to identify evangelicals in today’s exit polls is “Would you describe yourself as a born-again or evangelical Christian?” Unfortunately, this is not a great survey question.
Despite the fact that there is considerable journalistic and scholarly discussion today concerning the role of evangelicals in American public life, the label itself has become a contested term. Just who should be labeled as evangelicals? And what serves as the basis of unity for those so gathered together under that label? Does the stipulated definition of evangelical exhibit any explanatory power either historically or currently? Or, is the term so contested that it would be better to abandon the use of the label altogether? […]