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Posts from the ‘religion’ Category

Racial Diversity Among Religious Groups

A new study conducted by the Pew Research Center revealed that racial diversity among various religious groups varies widely.


The study, which included Christianity, Jewish, Muslim, and Hindu religions, scaled each denomination or religion on an index. A 10.0 would mean that each of the five racial groups (Hispanics, non-Hispanic whites, blacks, Asians and another category of other or mixed ethnicities) was evenly distributed. A religion with one racial group would have a 0.0 on the index. For comparison, the racial average in the United States is a 6.6 on the index.




Seventh-day Adventists are the most racially diverse denomination with a score of 9.1 percent. This is defined as 37% white, 32% black, 15% Hispanic, 8% Asian, and 8% other or mixed ethnicities.

Muslims, Jehovah Witnesses, and Muslims were the next three most racially diverse religious groups, at 8.7%, 8.6%, and 8.4%, respectively.


The least racially diverse groups are the National Baptist Convention, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, with .2%, 1%, and 1.2%, respectively.
What do you derive from this study?
How can we bolster racial diversity in our churches, synonagogues, temples and mosques?

Below is a link to an interactive map of racial diversity by state, region, and metro areas.


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Study Reveals Decline in Religious Orientation Among Teens

One of the largest studies on religious beliefs in American youth has just been released. It revealed that change in culture is strongly influencing lower religious involvement.


As the above figure illustrates, the gap between teens and their parents’ religious affiliation is widening. Since 2000, there has been a steep decline in religious “nones” (those that do not claim adherence to any religion). Between 2000 and 2013:

  • 87% more college students claim no religious affiliation.
  • 50% more 12th graders claim no religious affiliation.
  • 43% more 10th graders claim no religious affiliation.

As the chart below reveals, girls, whites, and those living in the Northeast had the largest decline in religious affiliation.


The trend of religious decline affects all demographic groups, except possibly for African Americans.

The authors of the study present some possible explanations for the decline in religious orientation:

  1. An increase in individualism. This is characterized by focusing less on religious adherence and more on the self. Dr. Twenge, one of the researchers, stated, “Individualism puts the self first, which doesn’t always fit well with the commitment to the institution and other people that religion often requires.” She added, “when people become deeply involved in religious faith, they may be committing to a value system that may bring some costs to the self – albeit with the hope of benefiting others.”
  1. An increasing acknowledgment that religion is inconsistent with science. The researchers said it is possible that “debates about teaching creationism or intelligent design in U.S. schools, such as those in Kansas in 2005, pushed some young people away from religion.”
  1. Increasing religious pluralism in the U.S. “This could also result in the questioning or minimizing of all faiths”, the study suggested.
  1. Increase in online activities. The study stated that “a generation of “digital natives” heavily involved in online activities might simply have been less interested in religious teachings.”

What other possible explanations do you see for the decline in religious orientation in American youth?

Source: Jean M. Twenge, et. al. (2015). Generational and Time Period Differences in American Adolescents’ Religious Orientation, 1966–2014. May 11, 2015 DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0121454

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Top 20 Countries Where Christianity Has the Highest Growth Rates

Nepal and China are the countries with the highest Christian growth rates, according to a study conducted by The Center for the Study of Global Christianity. The chart below illustrates the top 20 countries with the highest growth rates, along with the average annual growth rate since 1970, the number of years it will take to double the number of Christians, and the majority religion of each country.


top 20

What surprises you about this study? What implications does it have for Christianity and missions?


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Attitudes Toward Religion by Country

A new global study by Gallup revealed that 59% of people in the world say that religion plays a positive role in society. The study surveyed 66,806 individuals representing 77% of the global population.


The regions with the highest net positive views toward religion are Africa (65%), the Americas (54%) and MENA (50%). The country with the highest view toward religion is Indonesia, at 95%.

Of the nine countries where religion had a negative influence, six are in Western Europe. Worldwide, the most negative views toward religion were found in Lebanon at -43%.

Jean-Marc Leger, President of WIN/Gallup International, said: “Over half of the world still believes that religion plays a positive role in their country.  Having said that, it is interesting to note that Western Europe bucks this trend considerably.”


What are your observations to this study?


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Millennials and God: New Study

Only 58% of Millennials are “absolutely certain” that God exists, according to a new study conducted by the Pew Research Center. This is lower than any other generation of people as indicated by the graph below.

millennials and God

Additionally, 29 percent of Millennials are not affiliated with any religion. This is in contrast to Gen Xers (21%), Boomers (16%) and the Silent Generation (9%).


Further, only 36 percent of Millennials consider themselves a religious person. This is considerably different from older generations as indicated in the graph below.

millennials see themselves

This chart also identifies more than half (51%) of Millennials as supportive of gay rights, the least patriotic of any other generation, and the least likely to describe themselves as an environmentalist. In all four areas, Millennials are markedly different than older generations.

What can we learn from this research?

1.  Millennials do not follow the trends of the older generations. They believe what they do and will not be pressured into anything different.

2. Millennials are a generation that is still growing and forming their own opinions. It should be noted that adults of older generations typically increase their belief in God as they get older. It may be that the faith of Millennials will increase.

3. We should not make hasty conclusions. We may need to more closely examine this research to understand it more completely. For example, in my association with Millennials, I have discovered that the word “religion” is changing. In fact, to many Millennials, the word actually has a negative connotation. This generation may be more apt to describe themselves as “spiritual”. We may need to adjust the wording in our research to reflect changing definitions. Further, we should avoid over-generalizing or “pigeon-holing” generations, but consider each person as an individual. 

What can you observe from this research?

These findings are based on a new Pew Research Center survey conducted
Feb. 14-23, 2014 among 1,821 adults nationwide, including 617 Millennial adults, and analysis of other Pew Research Center surveys conducted between 1990 and 2014.

Complete report: Pew Research Center

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