Category : Sociology

(Telegraph) Divorce rates increase for the first time this decade as over-50s untie the knot

Divorce rates in England and Wales have increased for the first time this decade according to the Office for National Statistics.

There were 106,959 divorces of opposite-sex couples in 2016, an increase of 5.8 per cent compared with 2015, with men and women getting divorced at a rate of 8.9 per 1,000 married people – up 4.7 per cent.

The last time there was an increase in divorce rate was between 2009 and 2010.

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Posted in England / UK, Marriage & Family, Sociology

Americans Top Ten Fears in 2017

Posted in America/U.S.A., Psychology, Sociology

François Gauthier–Religion is not what it used to be. Consumerism, neoliberalism, and the global reshaping of religion

Religion is not what it used to be. Not so long ago, this statement would have been understood as meaning the decline of religion. A claim that seems supported by the recent survey that shows that over 50% of British adults today declare to be “non-religious”. Yet this trend is only a very superficial appraisal of what is really going on. If we look closer, the last half-century has not been a shift from religion to no religion¾what we commonly refer to as “secularization”¾as it is a shift from one type of religion to another. What are the forces that are driving this shift? I believe these can be boiled down to two complementary processes: the joint rise and globalization of consumerism and neoliberalism. Not as monolithic and unidirectional forces, but as the two heads of a process that has eroded the National-Statist foundations of our societies in favour of a new configuration in which the mechanisms and the idea of Global Market are determining. As a consequence, we are shifting from what I call a “National-Statist regime” of religion towards a “Global Market” one.

It is fascinating that scholars of religion have all but ignored the obvious: the incredible rise of economics as a dominant and structuring social force in the beginning of the 1980s. We have all noticed that education, health and the state’s mission in general are now all submitted to the logics of economic efficiency. And we have all noticed that consumption impregnates social life in such a way that it is impossible to relieve oneself in public facilities without having to stare at publicity. Branding has become a must for political parties, hospitals, NGO’s and even people. Still, the most prominent authors typically make no mention of the recent developments of capitalism in their analyses of religion, contrary to other disciplines which have acknowledged the neoliberal revolution.

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Posted in Consumer/consumer spending, Globalization, Religion & Culture, Sociology

(PRC FactTank) The share of Americans living without a partner has increased, especially among young adults

In the past 10 years, the share of U.S. adults living without a spouse or partner has climbed to 42%, up from 39% in 2007, when the Census Bureau began collecting detailed data on cohabitation.

Two important demographic trends have influenced this phenomenon. The share of adults who are married has fallen, while the share living with a romantic partner has grown. However, the increase in cohabitation has not been large enough to offset the decline in marriage, giving way to the rise in the number of “unpartnered” Americans.

The share of adults who are unpartnered has increased across the young and middle-aged, but the rise has been most pronounced among young adults. Roughly six-in-ten adults younger than 35 (61%) are now living without a spouse or partner, up from 56% just 10 years ago.

The rise in adults living without a spouse or partner has also occurred against the backdrop of a third important demographic shift: the aging of American adults. Older adults (55 and older) are more likely to have a spouse or partner than younger adults. So it is surprising that the share of adults who are unpartnered has risen even though relatively more Americans are older.

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture, Sociology, Young Adults

(TLE) Study of group of C of E ministers shows extreme dedication to your career damages long-term success

People who feel their work is integral to their lives and identity may actually find it difficult to sustain productivity over long periods of time, new research from Kings Business School suggests.

According to Dr Michael Clinton, who studied the working lives of 193 Church of England ministers, people who view their career as an intense calling are less able to successfully disengage from work in the evenings which limits their energy levels the following morning.

One would assume that these people would dedicate more energy to their work. However, Clinton has discovered that having an intense career calling motivates people to work longer hours which directly limits their psychological detachment from work. In turn reducing sleep quality and their ability to focus.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Psychology, Sociology

(PRC) Many Countries Favor Specific Religions, Officially or Unofficially

More than 80 countries favor a specific religion, either as an official, government-endorsed religion or by affording one religion preferential treatment over other faiths, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of data covering 199 countries and territories around the world.

Islam is the most common government-endorsed faith, with 27 countries (including most in the Middle East-North Africa region) officially enshrining Islam as their state religion. By comparison, just 13 countries (including nine European nations) designate Christianity or a particular Christian denomination as their state religion.

But an additional 40 governments around the globe unofficially favor a particular religion, and in most cases the preferred faith is a branch of Christianity. Indeed, Christian churches receive preferential treatment in more countries – 28 – than any other unofficial but favored faith.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Globalization, History, Religion & Culture, Sociology

(Gallup) On Moral Issues, Not All Protestants Are Created Equal

U.S. Protestants’ views on moral issues such as abortion, gay and lesbian relations, and premarital sex differ sharply, depending on their denominational affiliation. Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Methodists and Lutherans — the “mainline” denominations — are distinctly more liberal on a number of moral issues than are Baptists, Pentecostals and those identifying with nondenominational Protestant groups.

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

(1st Things) Mark Regenerus–The Death of Eros

The introduction of the Pill has not changed what men and women value most, but it has transformed how they relate. The marriage market before the Pill was populated by roughly equal numbers of men and women, whose bargaining positions were comparable and predictable. Men valued attractiveness more than women, and women valued economic prospects more than men. Knowing that men wanted sex, but realizing that sex was risky without a corresponding commitment, women often demanded a ring—a clear sign of his sacrifice and commitment.

Not anymore. Artificial contraception has made it so that people seldom mention marriage in the negotiations over sex. Ideals of chastity that shored up these practical necessities have been replaced with paeans to free love and autonomy. As one twenty-nine-year-old woman demonstrated when my research team asked her whether men should have to “work” for sex: “Yes. Sometimes. Not always. I mean, I don’t think it should necessarily be given out by women, but I do think it’s okay if a woman does just give it out. Just not all the time.” The mating market no longer leads to marriage, which is still “expensive”—costly in terms of fidelity, time, and finances—while sex has become comparatively “cheap.”

For every one hundred women under forty who want to marry, there are only eighty-two men who want the same. Though the difference may sound small, it allows men to be more selective, fickle, and cautious. If it seems to you that young men are getting pickier about their prospective spouses, you’re right. It’s a result of the new power imbalance in the marriage market. In an era of accessible sex, the median age at marriage rises. It now stands at an all-time high of twenty-seven for women and twenty-nine for men, and is continuing to inch upward. In this environment, women increasingly have to choose between marrying Mr. Not Quite Right or no one at all.

For the typical American woman, the route to the altar is becoming littered with failed relationships and wasted years.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Men, Pastoral Theology, Sexuality, Sociology, Women

(Church Times) ‘Purpose-filled’ clergy score highly on well-being according to the Experiences of Ministry research project

Despite demanding work that often starts before sunrise and does not finish until late in the evening, clergy report higher levels of well-being than people in other occupations, because they are “filled with purpose”, a seven-year study suggests.

Started in 2011, the Experiences of Ministry Project has explored the views of 6000 Church of England clergy through regular national surveys, in addition to more than 100 in-depth interviews, and a series of week-long daily diaries. It was led by Dr Mike Clinton, a reader in work psychology at King’s College, London, and supported by the Ministry Division.

A summary, Effective Ministerial Presence and What It Looks Like in Practice, was presented at King’s last week. Its conclusions bear out the findings of the Living Ministry study published last week (News, 15 September).

“The well-being of clergy in our research compared favourably with other occupational groups,” the report says. “Despite having highly demanding roles, most priests cope, and even flourish, because they are filled with purpose, and derive meaning and fulfilment from their work. Even though they make substantial and frequent sacrifices as part of their role, they mainly do so willingly and see them as worthwhile.”

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Health & Medicine, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Sociology

(PA) Britons skipping birthdays over lack of money, Christian charity finds

The Church of England’s social action charity has revealed that one in nine British adults missed out on celebrating a birthday or other special occasion last year because of a lack of money.

The Church Urban Fund said more must be done to help hard-pressed Britons as figures from its food survey suggest almost a million adults used a food bank last year.

The charity’s executive director Paul Hackwood said the results paint a “deeply troubling picture of food insecurity throughout Britain”.

He described the effects of such poverty as wide-reaching, adding: “Those affected don’t just go hungry or poorly nourished – they suffer isolation, are excluded from participating in social activities and experience considerable anxiety.”

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Posted in Charities/Non-Profit Organizations, Economy, England / UK, Personal Finance, Sociology

(Church Times) New Church of England poll confirms image of inactive Christians

The survey of 8150 British adults was conducted by ComRes in March and published this week. Just over half (51 per cent) of those responding to the survey defined themselves as Christian. This compares with the latest British Social Attitudes (BSA) survey, published last week, which found that 41 per cent of 2129 respondents identified themselves as Christian (News, 8 September).

Of the Christian respondents in the ComRes survey, 32 per cent were over 65 and just six per cent were under 24. Fifty-six per cent classified themselves as Anglican, once again, a higher percentage than the BSA finding. Almost two-thirds of the Christians said that they had become a Christian aged 0-4. Just 14 per cent agreed when asked whether they were an “active Christian”; 28 per cent agreed with the definition: “follower of Jesus”.

Asked about how often they read or listened to the Bible, 55 per cent of Christians answered “never”; 14 per cent said at least once a month. Twenty-nine per cent said that they never prayed; 40 per cent at least once a month; 18 per cent daily.

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

(PewF FT) As U.S. marriage rate hovers at 50%, education gap in marital status widens

Half of U.S. adults today are married, a share that has remained relatively stable in recent years but is down 9 percentage points over the past quarter century and dramatically different from the peak of 72% in 1960, according to newly released census data.

The decline in the share of married adults can be explained in part by the fact that Americans are marrying later in life these days. In 2016, the median age for a first marriage was 27.4 for women and 29.5 for men – roughly seven years more than the median ages in 1960 (20.3 for women and 22.8 for men).

But delayed marriage may not explain all of the drop-off. The share of Americans who have never married has been rising steadily in recent decades. At the same time, more adults are living with a partner instead of marrying and raising children outside of marriage.

Marriage rates are also more closely linked to socio-economic status than ever before…

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Education, Marriage & Family, Sociology

(Christian Today) Should the Church panic at the latest statistics on religious affiliation? Why Bishop Stephen Cotrell says ‘no’

The survey conducted by the National Centre for Social Research showed that 53 per cent of adults have no religious belief. It also revealed there was a decline in the number of people who identified as Anglican. Out of the 2,942 adults asked, 15 per cent said they were Anglican.

Responding to the figure that 71 per cent of 18-25 year olds have no religious affiliation, Bishop Cottrell said young people are more comfortable describing themselves as spiritual rather than religious, but this often means an openness to the possibility of God ‘and often a deep attraction to the person of Christ’.

He admitted it is impossible for any Christian or any Christian leader to look at the figures ‘without a certain amount of despondency’.

But it was not something to panic about and Britain had not suddenly become ‘a nation of atheists’.

He said: ‘It awakens us yet again to the great missionary challenge we face.’

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

(PewF) After 500 Years, Reformation-Era Divisions Have Lost Much of Their Potency

As Protestants prepare to mark the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, new Pew Research Center surveys show that in both Western Europe and the United States, the theological differences that split Western Christianity in the 1500s have diminished to a degree that might have shocked Christians in past centuries. Across Europe and the U.S., the prevailing view is that Protestants and Catholics today are more similar religiously than they are different. And while the Reformation led to more than a century of devastating wars and persecution in Europe, both Protestants and Catholics across the continent now overwhelmingly express willingness to accept each other as neighbors and even as family members.

Although Martin Luther and other Protestant reformers in the 16th century held that eternal salvation is attained solely through faith (a belief known in Latin as sola fide), the surveys show that many Protestants today say instead that eternal salvation is attained through a combination of faith and good works – which is the traditional Catholic position. Indeed, in most of the Western European countries surveyed, Protestants who believe that salvation depends on both faith and works outnumber those who say salvation comes through faith alone.

These are among the key findings of two separate Pew Research Center surveys – one in Western Europe and one in the United States – conducted in recent months. In Western Europe, the Center conducted telephone surveys from April 11 to Aug. 2, 2017, among 24,599 people across 15 countries. In the U.S., the survey was conducted online from May 30 to Aug. 9, 2017, among 5,198 panelists on Pew Research Center’s American Trends Panel…

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Posted in Church History, Sociology, Theology

(Atlantic) Emma Green–The Non-Religious States of America?

Over the last few decades, religious disaffiliation has been rising relative to earlier points in the 20th century. In 2014, Pew Research Center found that the share of unaffiliated adults in the U.S. had grown from 16 to 23 percent over a seven-year period. While roughly 70 percent of American adults identify as Christians, the so-called nones—people with no religion in particular—have been growing as a share of the population.

The new PRRI data shows that this is happening more noticeably in some places than others. Roughly 41 percent of Vermonters and 33 percent of those from New Hampshire aren’t affiliated with any particular religion, carrying the banner of secularism for the Northeast. This was also true in the Pacific Northwest, where more than one-third of residents in Oregon and Washington didn’t claim a specific faith.

But there were some surprises in the geographic break-down, too, including states that don’t fit regional stereotypes about secular, coastal elites or hippie-ish mountain terrain. Non-religious people compose the largest share of the populations of Hawaii and Alaska compared to other faith groups. In general, the non-religious states of America are concentrated west of the Mississippi River, according to PRRI, spanning Arizona to Nebraska to Wyoming.

Non-religious Americans are often portrayed in stereotypical fashion. They’re the white, yuppie city dwellers of Portland; the blue-haired atheists who attend Skeptic conferences; or the godless youth at progressive political rallies. While these images aren’t necessarily wrong, they’re incomplete. Non-religious Americans come from a range of income, education, and racial backgrounds.

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