01: U.S. college students show an almost equal division between three distinct worldviews: religious, secular and spiritual, according to the American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS) series from Trinity College in Hartford, CT.
The study, done in conjunction with the secular humanist Center for Inquiry (CFI), found that 32 percent identified their worldview as religious; 32 percent as spiritual; and 28 percent as secular. The online survey of 1,800 students was conducted in April and May. Researchers contacted students using e-mail address directories from 38 colleges and universities nationwide. Within each group, there was a high level of cohesion on answers to questions covering a wide array of issues, including political alignment.
Researchers Barry Kosmin and Ayiela Keysar note that “almost two-thirds of the students who self identified as “nones” [non-affiliated] in the sample preferred the secular worldview and the remainder chose the spiritual.
Hardly any chose the religious option…This finding is a challenge to the notion that the “nones” are just ‘religiously unaffiliated’ or religious searchers who have not yet found a religious home.”
(The study can be downloaded from: http://goo.gl/SA8nte)
02: The first-ever independent survey of American Jews finds a huge generational shift in identity and practice.
The study, conducted by the Pew Research Center, was based on contacts with 70,000 people in all 50 states and on interviews with 3,500 Jews—the largest such study in more than a decade and the first one to be done outside of the American Jewish community. Forward.com (Oct. 1) cites the study as showing that young Jews are increasingly likely to say they have no religion, despite saying they are Jewish. “In doing so, they are rewriting the norms of behavior of American Jews, the survey reports…These `Jews of no religion’ are far less likely to marry other Jews, raise their children Jewish, give to Jewish charities, belong to Jewish organizations, feel connected to the Jewish community or care about Israel.”
03: The Pacific Northwest, comprising Oregon and Washington, has been considered one of the most secular regions of the U.S., but a new survey of Oregonians suggests that at least this state shows a persistent interest in religion and spirituality.
The survey of 2,971 residents of Oregon, conducted for Oregon Public Broadcasting, found that religion plays some role in 61 percent of Oregonians’ lives. Although just 18 percent consider themselves “very religious,” another 39 percent of Oregonians say they are “moderately” religious; four percent overall say they are “spiritual,” although that number is said to be rising from previous years. The longtime divide between conservative eastern Oregon and the more liberal western part of the state extends to religion—75 percent of respondents from the east said they were either moderately or very religious.
04: Canadians are growing more wary about non-Christian religions such as Islam, Hinduism, and Sikhism, reports a new survey by pollster Angus Reid.
The survey, conducted among 2,025 Canadians, finds that the acceptance of all religions outside of Judaism and Christianity has declined from recent years. The results from the last of three comprehensive national surveys about religion, religious freedom and values show 69 per cent of Quebecers hold an unfavorable view of the Muslim religion, while about as many (66 percent) view Christianity favorably. More than half of the rest of Canadians (54%) view Islam unfavorably, while almost three quarters (73 percent) hold a favorable opinion of Christianity. While 24 percent of Canadians found intermarriage of their children to Muslims to be unacceptable in 2009, that rate has increased to 32 percent in the recent survey.
(The study can be downloaded from: http://goo.gl/amvWvJ)
05: While disaffiliation from organized religion continues, most people in the UK still hold beliefs in the power of spiritual forces, according to a study conducted by the Christian think tank Theos.
BBC News (Oct. 17) reports that the survey found that 77 percent of the British believe in some things that could not be explained by science or any other means. The polling firm ComRes surveyed just over 2,000 people and found that only a quarter of those questioned thought spiritual forces had no influence on Earth.
Almost two-thirds of those who identified themselves as Christians thought such spiritual forces could influence people’s thoughts or the natural world. More than a third of the non-religious shared that belief.
Among the other findings, eight percent said they or someone they knew had experienced a miracle, while one in four expressed a belief in angels.