Category : Sociology

More on the Scottish Episcopal Church Vote (V)–Professor Paul Johnson, Sociologist from the University of York, responds

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Posted in Scottish Episcopal Church, Sociology

(IFS) Tyler VanderWeele responds to Bella DePaulo–What The New York Times Gets Wrong About Marriage, Health, and Well-Being

DePaulo criticizes research of the sort we reported in the Nurses’ Health Study for not distinguishing between the transition from singlehood to marriage, versus from marriage to divorce. And indeed, the Nurses’ Health Study participants were married upon study entry so that the estimate reported above is more reflective of the adverse impact of divorce compared to marriage. DePaulo argues that if you marry, you are also more likely to divorce. That is, of course, true: the effects of continuous marriage on health are going to be more protective than marriage followed by divorce.

But DePaulo seems to suggest that the right way to avoid divorce is to not marry. A more sensible solution would be to develop support resources to work through marital difficulties, when appropriate. Marital counseling, maintaining commitment, online marriage support resources,19 and the passage of time can pay off.16 One study indicated that among those who were married and rated their marriage as “very unhappy” but stayed married, 77% said that five years later the same marriage was either “very happy” or “quite happy.”

Beyond the question of divorce, however, a vast literature now exists (in addition to the Switzerland study) on the objective health effects of marriage,including studies that have examined never-married populations: these studies find similar protective effects of marriage.

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Posted in Health & Medicine, History, Marriage & Family, Sociology

(PRC FactTank) Muslims and Islam: Key findings in the U.S. and around the world

Muslims are the fastest-growing religious group in the world. The growth and regional migration of Muslims, combined with the ongoing impact of the Islamic State (also known as ISIS or ISIL) and other extremist groups that commit acts of violence in the name of Islam, have brought Muslims and the Islamic faith to the forefront of the political debate in many countries. Yet many facts about Muslims are not well known in some of these places, and most Americans – who live in a country with a relatively small Muslim population – say they know little or nothing about Islam.

Here are answers to some key questions about Muslims, compiled from several Pew Research Center reports published in recent years…

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Posted in Globalization, Islam, Religion & Culture, Sociology

(Barna) Who Are the Lonely in America?

Science has shown that people who have close friendships are happier, more successful and even more physically and emotionally healthy. And in our hyper-connected culture, it may seem like it’s never been easier to make and maintain relationships. But is that true? How do Americans meet their friends? Who is most likely to feel lonely? In the infographic below, Barna explores new data about the care and keeping of friends.

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

(CT) Shame, Guilt, and Fear: What 1,000 Americans Avoid Most

Many Americans are more worried about their reputation than their conscience.

They worry less about guilt and fear and more about avoiding shame, according to a new study from Nashville-based LifeWay Research.

Shame has become particularly powerful in American culture in the internet age, said Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research. A single mistake or embarrassing moment posted on social media can ruin a person’s life.

“What’s our biggest cultural fear? Shame,” he said. “What’s surprising is not that personal freedom, ambition, and doing the right thing are valued by Americans. It’s that risk to our reputation is what matters most.”

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Evangelism and Church Growth, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Religion & Culture, Sociology, Theology

(Gallup) Views of US Moral Values Slip to Seven-Year Lows

Americans’ ratings of U.S. moral values, consistently negative through the years, have slipped to their lowest point in seven years. More than four in five (81%) now rate the state of moral values in the U.S. as only fair or poor.

Since Gallup first asked in 2002 whether the nation’s moral values were getting better or getting worse, the percentage saying worse has always been well above the majority level, ranging from a low of 64% in November 2004 to a high of 82% in May 2007. Over the past six years, it has stayed within a five-point range, reaching a low of 72% in 2013 and 2015 before climbing to this year’s high of 77%.

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

(Gallup) Americans Hold Record Liberal Views on Most Moral Issues

Americans continue to express an increasingly liberal outlook on what is morally acceptable, as their views on 10 of 19 moral issues that Gallup measures are the most left-leaning or permissive they have been to date. The percentages of U.S. adults who believe birth control, divorce, sex between unmarried people, gay or lesbian relations, having a baby outside of marriage, doctor-assisted suicide, pornography and polygamy are morally acceptable practices have tied record highs or set new ones this year. At the same time, record lows say the death penalty and medical testing on animals are morally acceptable.

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Sociology

(Telegraph) A recent survey shows that the decline of Anglicanism in England may be slowing

Academic Stephen Bullivant said that the growth in non-religious people has slowed and Anglicanism has seen a small uptick since 2013.

The professor of theology and the sociology of religion at St Mary’s University in Twickenham said that the church was recovering after losing a lot of believers after the publication of Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion in 2006.

He also said that a rise in patriotism might be linked to greater pride in Christianity among some groups.

“People see Christianity as an expression of Englishness. There has been more rhetoric around Britain being a Christian nation….”

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

(PEW RC) Religious Belief and National Belonging in Central and Eastern Europe

Roughly a quarter of a century after the fall of the Iron Curtain and subsequent collapse of the Soviet Union, a major new Pew Research Center survey finds that religion has reasserted itself as an important part of individual and national identity in many of the Central and Eastern European countries where communist regimes once repressed religious worship and promoted atheism.

Today, solid majorities of adults across much of the region say they believe in God, and most identify with a religion. Orthodox Christianity and Roman Catholicism are the most prevalent religious affiliations, much as they were more than 100 years ago in the twilight years of the Russian and Austro-Hungarian empires.

In many Central and Eastern European countries, religion and national identity are closely entwined. This is true in former communist states, such as the Russian Federation and Poland, where majorities say that being Orthodox or Catholic is important to being “truly Russian” or “truly Polish.” It is also the case in Greece, where the church played a central role in Greece’s successful struggle for independence from the Ottoman Empire and where today three-quarters of the public (76%) says that being Orthodox is important to being “truly Greek.”

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Posted in Europe, Religion & Culture, Sociology

(Bloomberg) Young Americans Are Killing Marriage

There’s no shortage of theories as to how and why today’s young people differ from their parents.

As marketing consultants never cease to point out, baby boomers and millennials appear to have starkly different attitudes about pretty much everything, from money and sports to breakfast and lunch.

New research tries to ground those observations in solid data. The National Center for Family and Marriage Research at Bowling Green State University set out to compare 25- to 34-year-olds in 1980—baby boomers—with the same age group today. Researcher Lydia Anderson compared U.S. Census data from 1980 with the most recent American Community Survey 1 data in 2015.

The results reveal some stark differences in how young Americans are living today, compared with three or four decades ago….

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

Barna Group–An in Depth look at the “Spiritual but Not Religious”

“I’m spiritual but not religious.” You’ve heard it—maybe even said it—before. But what does it actually mean? Can you be one without the other? Once synonymous, “religious” and “spiritual” have now come to describe seemingly distinct (but sometimes overlapping) domains of human activity. The twin cultural trends of deinstitutionalization and individualism have, for many, moved spiritual practice away from the public rituals of institutional Christianity to the private experience of God within. In this conclusion of a two-part series on faith outside the church (read the first part, on those who “love Jesus but not the church”), Barna takes a close look at the segment of the American population who are “spiritual but not religious.” Who are they? What do they believe? How do they live out their spirituality daily?

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

(NYT Op-ed) Thomas Edsall–The Increasing Significance of the Decline of Men

A study by the Dallas Federal Reserve published in 2014, “Middle-Skill Jobs Lost in U.S. Labor Market Polarization,” found that:

While women were hit much harder than men by the disappearance of middle-skill jobs, the majority of women managed to upgrade their skills and find better-paying jobs. By comparison, more than half of men who lost middle-skill jobs had to settle for lower-paying occupations.

From 1979 to 2007, seven percent of men and 16 percent of women with middle-skill jobs lost their positions, according to the Dallas Fed study. Four percent of these men moved to low-skill work, and 3 percent moved to high-skill jobs. Almost all the women, 15 percent, moved into high-skill jobs, with only 1 percent moving to low-skill work.

Men whose childhood years were marked by family disruption seem to fare the worst.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Men, Sociology

(Barna) Bible Reading in 2017: A New Year’s Resolution

During the first week of January 2017, millions of Americans hit the gym, opened a savings account, enrolled in a class or started a new diet, vowing to keep their resolutions to make big lifestyle changes in the new year. Sadly, most of those December 31 aspirations have already started to gather dust, casualties of the stresses and demands of life. Undoubtedly, some chose to focus their resolutions on exercising their spiritual muscles through Bible reading. So what level of commitment do they show toward their Scripture-reading habits? In a study conducted in partnership with American Bible Society, Barna looks at the Bible reading desires and motivations of American adults. Do Americans wish they read the Bible more? Has their reading increased or decreased, and why?

Who Wants to Read the Bible?
In an era of significant change, when so many cultural touchstones are up for grabs, what compels people to read an ancient document, and what prevents them from reading it? A majority””and significant plurality””read the Bible because it draws them closer to God (57%). This means that for many Americans, Bible reading is a pillar of their faith. Most Americans though, are not satisfied with their current level of Scripture reading. A majority””about six in 10 American adults (61%)””express a desire to read the Bible more than they currently do, while a little more than one-third (36%) don’t. These numbers have remained relatively stable over the years since 2011 (see chart). The groups who desire more frequent Bible reading than their counterparts are females (68% compared to 54% of males), Boomers (68% compared to 55% of Millennials), non-white Americans (67% compared to 58% of white American) and those with no more than a high-school education (67% compared to 56% of college graduates). Seven out of 10 (70%) southerners want to read the Bible more, an especially high number compared to their western and northeastern neighbors (55% each), and perhaps unsurprisingly, born-again (85%) and practicing Christians (84%) are the most likely to desire more Bible-reading in their day-to-day lives.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Books, Religion & Culture, Sociology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Express) Millennials believe Britain no longer a Christian country

A total of 41 per cent of 18 to 24-year-olds said Britain has “no specific religious identity” in a ComRes poll published to launch the new Faith Research Centre in Westminster.

And a third of 25 to 34-year-olds believed the same, the poll of 2,048 adults found.

Millennials, born between 1980 and 2000, had an entirely different perspective on how religious Britain is compared to the over 55s and pensioners.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Religion & Culture, Sociology, Young Adults

(IS) David Millard Haskell–Of Christmas and Church Closings

It’s also commonly asserted by our liberal critics that it is not the type of theology that matters for church growth but whether the theology is believed strongly and articulated clearly. However, we would suggest that different convictions, though equally strong and clear, produce different outcomes.

For example, all the growing church clergy in our study, because of their theological outlook, held the conviction that it is “very important to encourage non-Christians to become Christians.” As theological conservatives, these pastors believe Jesus is the only way to salvation and that they must “Go and make disciples everywhere.”

Conversely, half the clergy at the declining churches held the opposite conviction, believing it is not desirable to convert non-Christians. As theological liberals, these pastors believe there are many paths to salvation and that it’s culturally insensitive to peddle your beliefs on those outside your religious community. Comparing the two theological outlooks, which do you think is more likely to generate church growth?

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Canada, Christology, Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Sociology, Soteriology, Theology