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Summary and Conclusions. Big changes occurred in religion in America the last 50 years: Americans have become polarized toward opposite ends of religious.

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Presentation on theme: "Summary and Conclusions. Big changes occurred in religion in America the last 50 years: Americans have become polarized toward opposite ends of religious."— Presentation transcript:

1 Summary and Conclusions

2 Big changes occurred in religion in America the last 50 years: Americans have become polarized toward opposite ends of religious spectrum: Highly religious vs. avowedly secular. Religious middle dominated in the 1950s, but is shrinking today. Catholic vs. Protestant divide in the 50s has been replaced by religious vs. secular divide Since 1990, secularism is growing dramatically.

3 Mainline Protestants are declining and “Nones” are increasing in America Mainline Protestants

4 Religion and the 2012 Election White evangelicals were 26% of actual voters—3 points more than in % of W. E. voted for Romney 70% of “religious nones” voted for Obama Increasing hispanic and “nones” more than offset conservative Christians, and the trend continues. Evolving opinions (long term trends) on abortion, gay marriage, and women leaders in religion are working against conservatives.

5 Latest Data on “Nones” 20% of Americans identify with no religion 33% of year-olds are Religious nones

6 Theories on the Increase of Religious Nones (according to Pew report) 1.Liberal Christians disillusioned with conservative Christian involvement in politics. 2.Shift reflects a broader trend away from social and community involvement (bowling alone). 3.U.S. is becoming more secular like Canada, most of Europe, and Australia (globalization of secularism).

7 Does Religion Matter? Yes! America is still very religious compared to other developed nations Higher level of religiosity predicts more volunteering, more financial gifts to charity, more neighborly (altruistic) behaviors, and HAPPINESS!

8 AMERICANS FEEL WARMEST TOWARD JEWS, MAINLINE PROTESTANTS, AND CATHOLICS (SCORES REFLECT HOW EVERYONE ELSE FEELS ABOUT EACH GROUP; SIZE OF CIRCLE REPRESENTS THAT GROUP’S SHARE OF THE POPULATION)

9 Level of social trust is critical for both good neighborliness and happiness. Trusting Christians are those who focus on God’s Love rather than on God’s Judgment

10 Religiosity Predicts Happiness Happier people (self described and described by others) are associated with: – Health – Religiosity – Higher Income – Marriage – Friendships Difference in happiness between nonchurchgoer and weekly churchgoer is the same as that between someone who makes $10K/yr and $100K/yr People who change and become more religious also become happier. Praying together is stronger prediction of happiness than bowling together or praying alone.

11 Does the decline of Mainline Protestant Denominations Matter? God’s Will and church will prevail: – Prevenient Grace – Predestination Matthew 28:19-20 New International Version (NIV) The Great Commission 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, (C) baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, (D) 20 and teaching (E) them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you (F) always, to the very end of the age.” (G)CDEFG Luke 3:11 ESV And he answered them, “Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise.”

12 Trends affecting the future of Mainline Protestants (MP) Working Against White people declining as % of population over time White people are more likely to become secular “nones” Religion has been linked with conservative politics thus alienating liberals Trends toward accepting increased roles for women and gay marriage cause conflict in mainline protestant dominations. Traditional worship and social structures don’t appeal to young people. Working in Favor Religiosity brings tangible benefits to believers (happiness and meaning) Focus on God’s Love (Loving Ministry) fosters trust for MP with the public. Focus on God’s Judgment and politics works against fundamentalist denominations. High income / education level of MP denominations provides resources to reach out in new ways.

13 How Mainline Protestants can adapt and grow in changing world* *At least according to these extensive sociological studies Embrace rights and dignity of those who are socially and politically different from traditional white Americans Reach out in new and modern ways beyond traditional worship Interact with secular America with social gospel, not judgment or with politics What other things can we do?


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