Category : Sociology

(Gallup) Sermon Content Is What Appeals Most to Churchgoers

As Easter and Passover help fill churches and synagogues this week, a new Gallup poll suggests the content of the sermons could be the most important factor in how soon worshippers return. Gallup measured a total of seven different reasons why those who attend a place of worship at least monthly say they go. Three in four worshippers noted sermons or talks that either teach about scripture or help people connect religion to their own lives as major factors spurring their attendance.

Religious programs for children and teenagers are a major draw for just under two in three worshippers. Providing opportunities for community outreach or volunteering, as well as having dynamic religious leaders are highly important to majorities as well.

About half of regular worshippers say that getting to know people in their community is a major factor in why they attend, while 38% cite having good music, such as a choir or praise band.

These results are based on a nationally representative survey of U.S. adults interviewed from March 9-29, who attend a church, synagogue or mosque at least monthly. In line with the religious composition of the country, the vast majority of these respondents indicate they are Christian, allowing for a comparison of Catholics’ and Protestants’ answers.

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Religion & Culture, Sociology

(Barna) Denominational Distribution: The Most Catholic and Protestant Cities in the U.S.

Last year marked 500 years since the Protestant Reformation, but it’s not hard to see that the impact of the most significant Church split in history is still felt today. For instance, the World Christian Encyclopedia estimates that over 30,000 Christian denominations exist worldwide. Churches of all stripes practice their own flavor of ministry in cities across the United States, all based on particular interpretations of scripture and style. But what is the denominational makeup of each city in America? What are the most Catholic cities? Which areas have the greatest percentages of Baptist, or Lutheran or Pentecostal residents?

Over the years, Barna has been tracking denominational affiliation and publishing this data in our cities reports. In the infographic below, we list the top five cities for each of the main denominational categories and a few of the largest Protestant ones (specific denominational definitions below).

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Religion & Culture, Sociology, Urban/City Life and Issues

(CEN) Peter Brierley–Older churchgoers today

The number of older people, 65 and over, attending church on a Sunday in England is increasing. There were 810,000 going to church in 1980, and 980,000 in 2017 (a 21 per cent increase). In Scotland, however, the numbers are respectively 190,000 and 170,000 (an 11 per cent decrease).

The proportion of older people in church in England is also increasing. It was 18 per cent in 1980 and 34 per cent in 2017; in Scotland the percentages were 21 per cent and 42 per cent respectively, also increasing significantly. In the population, numbers of those 65 and over are also increasing.

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Posted in --Scotland, Aging / the Elderly, England / UK, Religion & Culture, Sociology

Generation Y still hope to walk down the aisle according to new Church of England Research

Millennials still value marriage with almost three quarters of those who are unmarried (72%) intending to tie the knot, according to new research by the Church of England.

While official figures recently showed a decline in the marriage rate, a study commissioned by the Church of England’s Life Events team suggests that 18-to-35-year-olds still dream of having their big day.

More than 1,000 unmarried young people were asked about factors that would influence their wedding plans for the research.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Marriage & Family, Sociology, Young Adults

(NYT) Holocaust Is Fading From Memory, Survey of Americans Finds

For seven decades, “never forget” has been a rallying cry of the Holocaust remembrance movement.

But a survey released Thursday, on Holocaust Remembrance Day, found that many adults lack basic knowledge of what happened — and this lack of knowledge is more pronounced among millennials, whom the survey defined as people ages 18 to 34.

Thirty-one percent of Americans, and 41 percent of millennials, believe that two million or fewer Jews were killed in the Holocaust; the actual number is around six million. Forty-one percent of Americans, and 66 percent of millennials, cannot say what Auschwitz was. Only 39 percent of Americans know that Hitler was democratically elected.

“As we get farther away from the actual events, 70-plus years now, it becomes less forefront of what people are talking about or thinking about or discussing or learning,” said Matthew Bronfman, a board member of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, which commissioned the study. “If we wait another generation before you start trying to take remedial action, I think we’re really going to be behind the eight ball.”

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Posted in Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Germany, History, Judaism, Poland, Religion & Culture, Sociology, Violence

(BP) Church discipline rare in US Protestant churches, Lifeway survey shows

More than 8 in 10 Protestant senior pastors say their church has not disciplined a member in the past year, says a new study released today (April 5) by LifeWay Research.

More than half say they don’t know of a case when someone has been disciplined, which can include being asked to leave the church for misconduct, according to the study conducted Aug. 30-Sept. 18.

“It’s one of the topics that churches rarely talk about,” said Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research.

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Sociology

(Wash Post) A Look Back to 2011-Brad Wilcox: Closing the book on open marriage

So, what is the problem with a little “nonmonogamy” in marriage, so long as everyone is open and honest about it? There are at least five problems with open marriage.

1. Even today, sex often results in pregnancy. In the heat of the moment, couples do not always use contraception. And for those who do, more than 10 percent of women aged 15-44 engaging in “typical use” contraception get pregnant over the course of a year, according to a recent Guttmacher Institute study. So, open marriages pose a real risk that children will be born without the benefit of two, married parents.

2. Monogamous, married sex is more likely to deliver long-lasting satisfaction than the quick thrill offered by infidelity. According to the renowned University of Chicago Sex Survey, a “monogamous sexual partnership embedded in a formal marriage evidently produces the greatest satisfaction and pleasure.” This study found that both women and men like the emotional security that fidelity affords, and are more likely to report that they are “anxious,” “scared,” and “guilty” when they have had sex with multiple partners in the last year.

3.People often do not realize what they are really consenting to when it comes to open marriage. Sexual relationships require some combination of time, money, and emotional effort. Efforts devoted to an outside partner can detract from efforts to invest in your spouse. Women who have sex with multiple partners are significantly more likely to end up depressed than women who do not. And, because sex is an emotionally bonding experience for many, extramarital sex can easily lead to the breakup of an existing marriage, even when all parties go into the situation with their eyes open….

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Posted in Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Sociology, Theology

(USA Today) Brad Wilcox–Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson should put a ring on it — for his kids’ sake

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Lauren Hashian recently announced they’re expecting their second child this spring — outside of marriage. Although cohabiting Hollywood couples present an unusually glamorous and attractive model of unmarried family life, their path into family formation is not as unusual as it once would have been. A study examining U.S. births between 2006 and 2010 found that almost one-in-four children (23%) are born to cohabiting couples.

But theirs is not an example that should be imitated. It’s true that cohabitation has become a normal and accepted practice in the United States in recent years. While cohabitation was frowned upon in the age of Leave It to Beaver, today most adults will cohabit at some point in their lives. But even though cohabitation is increasingly appealing to adults, that doesn’t mean it is good when children are involved.

Cohabitation is appealing to many adults because it offers more freedom, more flexibility and less commitment than marriage. And it’s not without its own benefits — for the adults. An Ohio State study finds that young adults — especially women — get about as much of an emotional boost from living with a partner as they do from marriage. But these benefits do not extend to the growing number of children who are spending time in a cohabiting family.

That’s because for kids “less commitment” between the two people heading up their family often spells trouble. Cohabiting families in America, partly because they are characterized by markedly lower levels of commitment, are also characterized by markedly higher levels of instability. In fact, children born to cohabiting parents in the United States are almost twice as likely to see their parents break up by age 12, according to my research.

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Posted in Children, Marriage & Family, Sociology

([London] Times) Students at Oxford, Cambridge and Durham are twice as likely to worship on a Sunday as the general population

Students at Oxford, Cambridge and Durham are twice as likely to worship on a Sunday as the general population, according to Church of England data.

Almost 5,000 people regularly attend services at the universities, whose colleges contain 56 chapels.

It is the first time that the church has published data for all three universities, finding that their chapels have at least 4,688 regular worshippers. In 2016, 2,981 people attended every Sunday, of whom 1,685 were students — equating to 2.6 per cent of the student bodies.

This is almost double the 1.4 per cent of the English population who attend Sunday services in Anglican churches. The real figure will be higher, as only 43 of the 56 chapels provided data.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Race/Race Relations, Sociology, Young Adults

(Telegraph) Will Heaven–Christianity in Britain is only decades away from vanishing – but there is hope yet

….it’s overwhelmingly likely that the children and grandchildren of today’s immigrants will be less religious. Secularism is the dominant cultural force. For Christians, especially, the trends are alarming. If they continue, we are only decades away from complete statistical invisibility and near-total atheism.

But it would be wrong – and surely un‑Christian – to give in to fatalism, or to the Marxist historical view that we are subject to vast, impersonal forces and can’t do a thing to resist them. There are points of light scattered about and reasons for hope.

For a start, young people become parents – and when they do, they’ll find faith schools dominating the league tables and achieving the best results for their children. They may even find themselves re-engaging with the Church to win a place at them.

There is also evidence of an emerging Christian counter-culture. Evangelical churches are springing up, partly thanks to a sympathetic Archbishop of Canterbury. The new Gas Street Church in Birmingham, based in an old warehouse, attracts hundreds each week. Good liturgy – tambourines for some, the music of Thomas Tallis for others – is for me the crucial factor. It helps to explain a wonderful fact: attendance at Anglican cathedrals is up over the last decade.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Religion & Culture, Sociology

Europe’s Young Adults and Religion–Findings from the European Social Survey (2014-16) to inform the 2018 Synod of Bishops

[Some] key findings:

1.
The proportion of young adults (16-29) with no religious affiliation (‘nones’) is as high as 91% in the Czech Republic, 80% in Estonia, and 75% in Sweden. These compare to only 1% in Israel, 17% in Poland, and 25% in Lithuania. In the UK and France, the proportions are 70% and 64% respectively…

2.
70% of Czech young adults – and c. 60% of Spanish, Dutch, British, and Belgian ones – ‘never’ attend religious services. Meanwhile, 80% of Czech young adults – and c. 70% of Swedish, Danish, Estonian,Dutch, French and Norwegian ones – ‘never’ pray….

3.
Catholics make up 82% of Polish, 71% of Lithuanian, 55% of Slovenian, and 54% of Irish 16-29 year-olds. In France, it is 23%; in the UK, 10%.

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Posted in Europe, Religion & Culture, Sociology, Young Adults

(Barna) The Enduring Influence of Billy Graham

In 2011, Barna asked American adults who they consider to be the single most influential Christian leader in the U.S. today:

19 percent of American adults chose Billy Graham.
This is particularly striking considering only 9 percent chose the Pope. The survey also included figures such as Barack Obama (8%) and Joel Osteen (5%).

In 2014, Barna asked American adults how familiar they are with Billy Graham:

34 percent of American adults said they were “very familiar” with Billy Graham.
Other religious leaders in the survey included Pope Francis (28% very familiar), the Dalai Lama (21%) and Andy Stanley (4%).

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Evangelicals, Religion & Culture, Sociology

(PR FactTank) 5 facts about U.S. evangelical Protestants

1 About a quarter (25.4%) of U.S. adults identify with evangelical Protestantism, according to Pew Research Center’s 2014 Religious Landscape Study. In that survey, evangelical Protestants are identified mainly on the basis of their affiliation with evangelical denominations (such as the Southern Baptist Convention, the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod or the Presbyterian Church in America, to name just a few) or with nondenominational evangelical churches. Evangelical Protestantism is the nation’s single largest religious group, exceeding the size of the nation’s Catholic (20.8%), mainline Protestant (14.7%) and religiously unaffiliated (22.8%) populations.

2 The evangelical Protestant share of the population has dipped slightly in recent years (from 26.3% in 2007 to 25.4% in 2014), but more slowly than the mainline Protestant and Catholic populations. Though the percentage of Americans who identify with evangelical Protestant denominations has ticked downward, the absolute number of evangelicals appears to be rising as the overall U.S. population grows. In 2014, there were roughly 62.2 million evangelical Protestant adults, up from about 59.8 million in 2007.

3 Three-quarters (76%) of evangelical Protestants in the U.S. are white, but the share of evangelicals who are not white is growing.

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Evangelicals, Religion & Culture, Sociology

(DJ) Ruth Perrin–Losing My Religion: Millennials and Faith Loss

What causes faith loss?

There is no rule, it’s not a predictable pattern but there were some core factors that came up in their stories and which mirror other research findings.
1. An existential reshaping of their worldview

For many, exposure to a convincing alternative worldview caused them to question beliefs they had never previously queried. Various things triggered this process:

New relationships in professional environments or further study
Ethical concerns – particularly around sexuality, Christian claims of exclusivity or divine judgment
Doubts about the credibility of the Bible
A gap between their lived experience of suffering and the simplistic theological answers they were given

Often the dominant cultural narratives of pluralistic tolerance and secular rationalism were just more convincing or appealing than Christianity. It was different for each person – but the result was that for all of them, eventually Christian faith no longer seemed credible.
2. An experience of personal difficulty or trauma

A second contributing factor was some sort of personal struggle. It’s fair to say that this is a normal part of most young adult’s twenties (In fact part of developing a stable adult faith is finding a way to make sense of where God is in the challenges of life). However for these individuals it combined with and exacerbated their existential doubts.

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Posted in England / UK, Religion & Culture, Sociology, Young Adults

(PR FactTank) 5 facts about the religious lives of African Americans

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Sociology