Sunday, April 19, 2015

Things that make you say "Hmmmmmm....."

This is interesting:

The “unaffiliated” group is rising much faster in North America than in Europe. Europe is projected to move from 19% to 23% of its population unaffiliated while North America would move from 17% to 26% (16% growth for Europe and 89% growth for US). Only in the Asia Pacific area is there expected to be a decline in the unaffiliated at 2% (82).

But it’s also not clear if being “unaffiliated” really means the same thing in the United States as elsewhere. Take that earlier number of 68% of the “unaffiliated” believing in God or a higher power in the United States.

That drops to 30% in France (233). According to that previous Pew research, one reason more people identify as “unaffiliated” now is that people who used to skip church and not really believe anything in particular simply felt a social pressure to identify with a religion anyway. Now, more people feel comfortable simply naming what they were already doing before.

Not because it gives a good definition of "unafflliated" (too often defined as "atheist" on the intertoobs), but because the difference in affiliation between Europe (supposedly all "atheist" and "post-Christian" according, again, to the intertoobs) and the US just now is only 2%.  Yes, Pew predicts it will rise and the percentage in the US will exceed Europe's, but that hasn't happened yet; and 2% is pretty much the margin of error with any poll.

So while religious expression is very different in America than in Europe, the level of religious affiliation is pretty much the same on both continents.  But Europe is full of atheists, and America is overrun with superstitious crackpots.

Isn't that right?

Besides, read down the article; the fastest growing religious population in North America is not "None," it is:  "Other."  Which pretty much ties in with the polls showing a steady rise in religious affiliation since the early 20th century.

1 comment:

  1. I strongly suspect the increase in "nones" isn't unrelated to the increase in independent voters and the flagging of membership in civic organizations. In my town it's almost impossible to get people to take out papers for two positions on the school board or the town council.

    If church were not held before noon on a Sunday I suspect it might be possible to get some of non-attenders to attend but that's just a suspicion. You'd get a different crowd depending on when the service was held.

    But you know my suspicion of how "nones" were invented.