Quotable: Understand religion

Michael Lindsay, assistant director of the Center on Race, Religion and Urban Life at Rice University, echoed that view. “Religion is the single most important factor that drives American belief attitudes and behaviors,” said Mr. Lindsay, who had read the Pew report. “It is a powerful indicator of where America will end up on politics, culture, family life. If you want to understand America, you have to understand religion in America.

rel_landscape.jpgThat quote is from a NYT article, published today, called Americans Change Faiths at Rising Rate, Report Finds. The focus of the piece is the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life’s new survey entitled “U.S. Religious Landscape Survey.”

While the erosion of denominational loyalty as been commented upon before, this new study finds that “if shifts among Protestant denominations are included, then it appears that 44 percent of Americans have switched religious affiliations”  (see chart, click for full size) and the fascinating observation that the unaffiliated describe themselves as “nothing in particular” rather than athiest or agnostic.  Really interesting stuff.

What does that mean for our congregations?  What about youth ministries?  For evangelism?  

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