Statistical changes in American religious life

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Gehanna

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I did read it.

Here is a quote from it:

Table 4 shows that when asked about the existence of God less than 70 percent of Americans now believe in the traditional theological concept of a personal God.

Now let's look again ...

Table 4 shows that when asked about the existence of God, 69.5%, believe there is definitely a personal God. That 69.5%, can be rounded up to 70% which certainly is not less than 70% because, statistically speaking, it is 70%. Then again, statistically speaking, it can remain as 69.5% depending on intent.

In this case, I find the use of bias highly evident! Even satan knows how important presentation is.

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Gehanna
 

veinglory

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When the sample is 1000 people 69.5% is less than 70%. i.e. you can have more than one whole person less than exactly 70% of the sample.
 

maxmordon

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The Oxford English Dictionary is one of my trusted sources.

Sorry, apparently is not Online free, so we have to settle with Wiktionary:

From Latin paganus (“‘peasant, rural, rustic’”), later "civilian". The meaning "not (Judeo-)Christian" arose in Vulgar Latin, probably from the 4th century.[1] It is unclear whether this usage is derived primarily from the "rustic" or from the "civilian" meaning. English usage from the 15th century. As a self-designation of neopagans attested since 1990.
 

Gehanna

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When the sample is 1000 people 69.5% is less than 70%. i.e. you can have more than one whole person less than exactly 70% of the sample.

Is that the rule or a preference?

The above is a legit question that is not intended as sarcasm.

Sincerely,
Gehanna
 

AMCrenshaw

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695 ...whole people. The five could be considered significant enough not to round. Plus it is best not to round in case these numbers figure into other equations. Even if the presentation of the original stat is rounded up (for whatever reason), the raw number is still needed.


AMC
 

Gehanna

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Version 1:
Table 4 shows that when asked about the existence of God less than 70 percent of Americans now believe in the traditional theological concept of a personal God.

Version 2:
Table 4 shows that when asked about the existence of God nearly 70 percent of Americans now believe in the traditional theological concept of a personal God.

Version 3:
Table 4 shows that when asked about the existence of God 69.5% of Americans believe in the traditional theological concept of a personal God.

It takes a human to pollute the purity of numbers. Beware contextual rounding!

Sincerely,
Gehanna
 

Dawnstorm

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It takes a human to pollute the purity of numbers. Beware contextual rounding!

I agree. There may well be a perception bias revealed in the phrasing.[sup]1[/sup] This is why scientists (should) always insist on the numbers (and also the methodology of data collection). We must not confuse the results with the phrasing of the results.

1 It's not necessarily a "bias against God", though. A pessimist Christian might well think "No! Less than 70 % now!"
 

veinglory

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Is that the rule or a preference?

It sems like common sense to me. They said "less than" not "a lot less than", "significantly less than"--and it is less than.

If the sample is representative, half a percent is 150000 people.
 
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veinglory

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I agree. There may well be a perception bias revealed in the phrasing

In context I think the point was clearly to draw attention to shrinkage in God beleiving. That takes into account the whole document, its stated intent and the (religiously-based) institutionthat conducted it. the document is clearly pro-Christian and implicitly alarmed at the shrinkage.
 

Cranky

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I turn 30 next month, so be nice, people!
:roll:

Apparently, I fall into this age group as well (between X and Y generations, I guess). Never knew I was supposed to be narcissistic, special little snowflake.

I will agree I'm not keen on organized religion per se. I am nominally a Christian (I believe in Jesus, for example), but I'm not much on church.

Anyways, back to your regularly scheduled thread.
 

Monkey

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Max, I'm not sure what point you're trying to make, but we'll just have to agree to disagree. As I said, I trust the OED and hold it in higher esteem than other dictionaries, and that goes double for anything beginning in "Wiki".

As to the debate on rounding, I think that ColoradoGuy's chart on page one was pretty illuminating, and rounded or not, there was a distinct pattern. Why is it that more people are claiming no religion?

This study is also being discussed in Politics and Current Events. As I mentioned over there, I think that the actual numbers of people who are practicing Christians, Catholics, and Jews are probably lower than the ones who claim these religions..."Christian in Name Only" is a title I've seen people give themselves, and I know people who claim a religion but don't live it and can't even really answer questions about it--it's just how they were raised.

So if they're claiming the religion of their parents, but they don't go to church or practice their religion--or, in many cases, even fully understand it--what are their children going to claim? I suspect that we'll see the rates of agnostics, atheists, deists, and alternative religions growing at a steady pace for a while, until we get to a point where people who claim a religion are primarily the ones who actually practice it and aren't just claiming the religion they were born into.

That isn't to say that I believe you're not a religion unless you practice it; you can have faith and choose not to show any outward sign. You don't need special knowledge. But if you don't act on your faith, or study it, then, IMO, you're less likely to make your religions' case effectively, even to your own children.
 

Higgins

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Never knew I was supposed to be narcissistic, special little snowflake.

Apparently the special snowflake memo missed you by about two years.

This reminds me. I had a 27-year-old over for a week at the farm and she ate everything in the whole place worth eating without asking if she could ever. I thought I didn't mind, but I couldn't believe she found every last expensive delicacy down to the small bottle of good olive oil. When I belatedly discovered the incredible extent and precision of her depredations, I did mind sorta. Perhaps the spiritual odyssey of searching the entire place from basement freezer to beer fridge in the barn kept her slim and narcissistic. Obviously these millenials need close
supervision or they get out of hand.
 

Higgins

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Max, I'm not sure what point you're trying to make, but we'll just have to agree to disagree. As I said, I trust the OED and hold it in higher esteem than other dictionaries, and that goes double for anything beginning in "Wiki".

As to the debate on rounding, I think that ColoradoGuy's chart on page one was pretty illuminating, and rounded or not, there was a distinct pattern. Why is it that more people are claiming no religion?

This study is also being discussed in Politics and Current Events. As I mentioned over there, I think that the actual numbers of people who are practicing Christians, Catholics, and Jews are probably lower than the ones who claim these religions..."Christian in Name Only" is a title I've seen people give themselves, and I know people who claim a religion but don't live it and can't even really answer questions about it--it's just how they were raised.

So if they're claiming the religion of their parents, but they don't go to church or practice their religion--or, in many cases, even fully understand it--what are their children going to claim? I suspect that we'll see the rates of agnostics, atheists, deists, and alternative religions growing at a steady pace for a while, until we get to a point where people who claim a religion are primarily the ones who actually practice it and aren't just claiming the religion they were born into.

I claim to be a CINO. Christian in name only, on grounds that I am culturally Christian and tried sproatically to raise myself as a Catholic. I did not succeed in making myself into much of a Christian, but I think I made a effort of sorts. I think if I recieved some ecclessiastical office I would be more serious about practicing my Christianity. As an Archbishop or something I'm sure I would devote more time to my religion.
 

Monkey

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Forgive me if this is too private a question, and of course you aren't compelled to answer, but how would you have answered the survey?
 

Higgins

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Forgive me if this is too private a question, and of course you aren't compelled to answer, but how would you have answered the survey?

Non-religious unless given a major ecclesiastically significant office such as an Archbishopric.

I think most people could be converted to some form of heirarchical Christianity if they could have a nice title, a fine residence and a modest stipend. I think holding a Methodist Bishopric or two would be a nice hobby and would feature travel and speaking opportunities, plus a certain amount of pomp and ceremony...I hope.
And I could bless things. I really could. with some ironic conviction even.
 

Monkey

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That was an unexpected and pretty darn interesting answer...Thanks. :)
 

DMarie84

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I would bet that as children, the millennials were less likely to attend church regularly, or to receive religious education.

Not true with this 24-year-old :) I was raised Christian, though didn't really attend church regularly with the family until middle school. Mom was a bit disheartened with the Catholic church, but now she's a regular attender.

I no longer classify myself as Catholic but more of a non-denom Christian.

I do agree that my generation can be a bit on the narcissitic side. I think it has a lot to do with the fact that the millenials were raised in a period of great prosperity and that they ended up being spoiled throughout their childhood.

I hope I don't come across as narcissitic; I'd like to break the millenial stereotype.
 

Ruv Draba

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Here's another recent snapshot, showing percentage by age of Americans identifying as Protestant, Jewish, Catholic, or none. The age range is 18 (far left bar) to 89 (far right bar).
As with all such age-based graphs, it's hard to separate cohort effects from age. If the eighteen year-olds were surveyed in ten years' time, would they look like today's 28 year-olds, or much like they do now?

I have some qualitative evidence that religious devotion gradually increases with age. My doctoral supervisor was a scoffing atheist who told religious jokes on a daily basis until his father died. He became a Buddhist within a month. A friend of mine became Buddhist within three months of the death of his mother, and took up smoking too. (I don't know whether Tobacco Buddhism is a faith any more than say, Whiskey Catholicism, but he seems to have embraced both with equal dedication simultaneously :tongue).
 

Dawnstorm

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ETA: Where do they get off calling "self-described pagans" a New Religious Movement?

"New Religious Movement" is a fancy term for the "other" category you usually see on questionnaires. It's generally a bit more complex than that, but it doesn't look like they bothered to differentiate:

full article said:
The 2008 findings confirm the conclusions we came to in our earlier studies that Americans are slowly becoming less Christian and that in recent decades the challenge to Christianity in American society does not come from other world religions or new religious movements (NRMs) but rather from a rejection of all organized religions.

The Taxonomy of the Religious Traditions

...

11. New Religious Movements and Other Religions: Scientology, New Age, Eckankar, Spiritualist, Unitarian-Universalist, Deist, Wiccan, Pagan, Druid, Indian Religion, Santeria, Rastafarian.

So when the Summary says:

Adherents of New Religious movements, inc luding Wiccans and self-described pagans, have grown faster this decade than in the 1990s.

They may just be careless in naming the category (I bet they don't have separate numbers for NRM and other) and highlighting the ones that don't intiuitively fit. Basically, the NRM pool (named as above) catches everything that's not a "World Religion" (which in itself is a peculiar term once you start to think about it).
 

Monkey

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Right you are, Dawnstorm.

Regrettably, I haven't had time to read the whole document yet. I wish that I had. But you cleared that up nicely, thanks. :)
 
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