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The Imperfectionist

4955 Posts

Posted - 01/02/2005 :  22:45:25  Show Profile Send Cuneiformist a Private Message
In Saturday's New York times I came across this blurb in their religion section (as usual, you have to log in to read the piece). It noted that while beleivers in the US are typically said to number between 90 and 95 percent, "that figure has been considerably refined by Darren E. Sherkat, a sociologist at Southern Illinois University, whose paper to an October meeting of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion was summarized in the Dec. 14 issue of The Christian Century."

Unfortunately, some quick Googling turned up no actual article to link, but perhaps in time it will be available. Nevertheless, the summary that the Times presented makes it clear something that to me is quite surprising:
"Data from six General Social Surveys conducted by the National Opinion Research Center from 1988 to 2000 actually show that 8 percent of the nation's adults opt for the statement 'I don't believe in a personal God, but I do believe in a higher power of some kind.' An additional 4 percent identify with the statement 'I find myself believing in God some of the time, but not at others.' Over 16 percent prefer 'While I have doubts, I feel that I do believe in God.'

"In sum, an untroubled faith in a personal God is reported by just over 2 of 3 American adults, rather than more than 9 of 10."

The key, of course, is the "untroubled" part. Still, it's good to see that at least a third of the country has questioned the staus quo and found is less than satisfying. I'm still curious to see the hard data and find out how many among the "troubled" are actually "troubled" enough to be atheist or agnostic. If that number still hovers around 5 percent, then I'm not sure that we've gained too much from this study. But if it's higher...

Skeptic Friend

148 Posts

Posted - 01/02/2005 :  23:03:26   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send satans_mom an AOL message  Send satans_mom a Yahoo! Message Send satans_mom a Private Message
I wouldn't be very surprised at those numbers in my particular region. In my workplace, I am the ONLY professed nonbeliever. That's one out of at least 70. However, my voice is a very strong one. In this scenario, the numbers aren't as important as the merits of the party. I apparently have very strong merits, and they prove that to me in various ways, fear being one of them. I know that recently, when this one girl was asking me questions about my beliefs (as they always do) she has due some contemplation. That's all I'm after. At least evaluation.

In any case, it varies from region to region. I'd rather someone be agnostic in saying, "There might be a god," then someone wasting their life to serve one that still has yet to show its existance. I'd like to take a street survey in New York, LA, etc, myself, just to get a little taste.

Yo mama's so fat, she's on both sides of the family.

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SFN Die Hard

14408 Posts

Posted - 01/03/2005 :  04:40:39   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send filthy a Private Message
I do not entirely trust these polls and surveys, although this looks like one of the better ones, by far.

The reason is simply that people lie. I know many folk who never attend services, except for weddings and funerals (and even I do that), and really don't much care about their 'faith.' But if asked, they will tell you that, oh yes, they are believers. I think they're all a bunch of closet agnostics who don't want to stand out from the crowd.

It is interesting to see the way the survey broke it down. There might be a bit of accuratcy, here.

"What luck for rulers that men do not think." -- Adolf Hitler (1889 - 1945)

"If only we could impeach on the basis of criminal stupidity, 90% of the Rethuglicans and half of the Democrats would be thrown out of office." ~~ P.Z. Myres

"The default position of human nature is to punch the other guy in the face and take his stuff." ~~ Dude

Brother Boot Knife of Warm Humanitarianism,

and Crypto-Communist!

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New Member

21 Posts

Posted - 01/16/2005 :  09:40:08   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send questionit a Private Message
I think you're right, filthy. And there's a huge difference between someone who believes in God and someone who follows a particular organized religion. The poll numbers don't reflect that reality, like poll numbers showing decreased joblessness don't reflect the fact that a laid-off white-collar employee forced to now work at a department store isn't a reflection of the true condition of the economy.
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SFN Regular

1613 Posts

Posted - 01/17/2005 :  02:46:35   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Starman a Private Message
Originally posted by Cuneiformist
In Saturday's New York times ... (as usual, you have to log in to read the piece).
I usually use this site to access sites requiring free subscriptions.
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