Archive for May, 2014

Religious Belief and Non-identification—making sense of change.

27/05/2014
Changing Faith Chapter 3: Believing and Belonging

Changing Faith Chapter 3: Believing and Belonging

Mark Silk has been trying but failing to understand conflicting “survey” data on religious beliefs among people who do not identify with a religion. He’s taken exception to my colleague Tobin Grant’s analysis of high quality data from US Voters, and favored instead data from a couple of online shit polls supplemented with loser level phone poll data. Garbage does not trump science. Tobin  is right, however the 2012 ANES data can say nothing about how increases in non-identification have impacted religious beliefs over time or across cohorts. Indeed, even in high quality surveys, there are not enough respondents in a single year to adequately address this question. In my forthcoming book, Changing Faith: The Dynamics and Consequences of American’s Changing Religious Identities,  I examine this in Chapter 3, along with other beliefs and behaviors available in the GSS. What I show is that younger cohorts of “nones” are less likely to be atheists or nontheists. In the older cohorts, nearly one in five “nones” are outright atheists, however in the youngest cohorts this falls to under 10%. Of course, for many reasons (lifecourse factors being central) there are many more “nones” in the younger cohorts, and many of them never had a religious identification—while most of the older “nones” rejected a former religious identification. If you lump together atheists, agnostics, and people who believe in a “higher power BUT NOT A GOD”, what I call “non-theists” then the proportions increase to over 50% across all cohorts, but non-theism is also higher in the earlier generations. I show in the chapter that not-believing and not belonging is a dominant trend, but that is because of higher rates of non-identification and unbelief.

Race, Religion, and Support for Capital Punishment

05/05/2014

 

 

Trends in Support for Capital Punishment, General Social Survey

Trends in Support for Capital Punishment, General Social Survey

Christian Barbarism was in full display this week in Oklahoma, with Christian officials moving forward to murder prisoners despite not having legitimate drugs for their lethal injection system. Post-Christian Europe cut us off from the pharmaceuticals because they don’t want to promote barbarism. As a consequence, there have been several brutally botched executions throughout the country. The latest in cruel and unusual punishment was perhaps the worst. But, white Christian Americans are willing to do anything to continue to execute brown people according to their interpretation of their religion. Funny, though, Christianity doesn’t work the same way for African Americans.  “Only” 63% of those who reject the divine authority of the Bible support capital punishment. What is interesting is that the Christian gods work differently among African Americans—I suspect that they find a disconnect between the gods and the white people who prosecute the gods’ laws.

Thankfully, even white Americans are becoming less comfortable with state sponsored murder, though an astonishing number still support it. Above you can see the trend over four decades divided by race and by religious beliefs. More than three fourths of white fundamentalists continue to support cruel and unusual punishments, in line with the sadistic and unethical prescriptions for retribution from their evil gods. Indeed, only 42% of African American fundamentalists support execution—while 50% of secular African Americans are barbarians.