01: American Catholics are more likely than other Americans to be wired to the Internet, according to a survey by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA).
America magazine (Aug. 27-Sept. 3) cites the study as showing that 64 percent of U.S. Catholics have Internet access while 56 percent of all Americans are connected. Younger Catholics who go online are more likely than older ones to visit sites about religion. In fact, connecting to religious sites is especially high among teenagers, including those who do not attend church regularly.
(America, 106 W. 56th St., New York, NY 10019)
02: The majority of Christians oppose such new biotechnology procedures as the genetic modification of food and animals, reports a new Zogby International Poll.
The survey, conducted in mid-July, found that 57 percent of Protestants and 52 percent of Catholics oppose the technique of manipulating genes from one species or organism to another. Among those self-identifying as born-again Christians, 62 percent said they were against such technology. Among Muslims, 46 percent opposed genetic engineering (with 32 percent supporting it and 22 percent not sure).
Jews were the only group in which a majority supported such biotech measures, with 55 percent favoring them and 35 percent opposed. The majority of respondents believed God empowered people to use technology for human betterment, but drew the line at “playing God” by transferring genes between different species, according to an article in the Long Island Catholic newspaper (Aug. 8).
03: While religious practice in France continues to slide, there are signs that young people are more likely to “buck the trend,” reports Quadrant (July), the newsletter of the British Christian Research Association.
In comparing results from the 1999 European Gallup Survey to that of 1981, the newsletter notes some slippage occurring: In 1981, 59 percent of young adults (ages 18-29) said they were Catholic, while only 48 percent said they were in 1999. Yet in the more recent poll, 53 percent say the church provides answers to spiritual needs, compared to 42 percent in 1981. In 1999, more young people believed in life after death, heaven, reincarnation and hell (increasing by about 10 percentage points) than in 1981.
These increases were more pronounced among younger than older French people. In fact, older people placed less importance on having religious ceremonies at birth, death, and marriage from 1981 to 1999, while support for these rituals surrounding life events grew among young people (in 1999, 75 percent said it was important to have a religious ceremony at death, compared to 68 percent in 1981).
(Quadrant, Vision Bldg., 4 Footscray Rd., Eltham, London SE9 2TZ)