Lots of interesting tidbits in the latest Pew poll on religion

A lot of the focus from the latest Pew poll on religion will be on how the U.S. is becoming less religious, but that is not even close to the whole story. In fact, Pew notes that:

Among the roughly three-quarters of U.S. adults who do claim a religion, there has been no discernible drop in most measures of religious commitment. Indeed, by some conventional measures, religiously affiliated Americans are, on average, even more devout than they were a few years ago.

The religious are becoming more religious, and young people are less religious but are more “spiritual.”

The Pew poll of 35,000 people in 2014 was an update on a similar poll taken in 2007. Some of the most interesting details were released today, Nov. 3.

Here are some highlights I found interesting:

*Mormons are more likely to say they pray daily, read scriptures, attend Gospel study groups, share the Gospel and attend church than they were seven years earlier.
*Mormons, along with the rest of the world, are much more likely to say that “homosexuality should be accepted by society.”
*People who are generally not religious are much more likely to be associated with the Democratic party, and this tendency is growing significantly.
*There has been very little movement in the last seven years in peoples’ views on abortion. Mormons are least likely to say that abortion should be legal in all/most cases.

There is a lot more there. Please check it out and read it yourself.

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About Geoff B.

Geoff B graduated from Stanford University (class of 1985) and worked in journalism for several years until about 1992, when he took up his second career in telecommunications sales. He has held many callings in the Church, but his favorite calling is father and husband. Geoff is active in martial arts and loves hiking and skiing. Geoff has five children and lives in Colorado.

9 thoughts on “Lots of interesting tidbits in the latest Pew poll on religion

  1. Delightful. Love data. I wish there had been more commentary about the economic decline that occurred in 2008, after the 2007 survey.

    The change relative to accepting homosexuality was interesting, as was the lack of change relative to accepting abortion.

  2. Huh… I’m not sure how I could even answer a question as to homosexuality being accepted by society.

    Define accept:
    regard favorably or with approval; welcome.
    – nope definitely not

    receive as adequate, valid, or suitable.
    -not sure I can say society should view homosexuality as a suitable behavior

    None of this means it should be criminalized. But should adultery be accepted by society? Should sex outside of marriage be accepted by society?

    I do not believe these things (homosexuality, premarital sex, adultery) are in any way beneficial for society. It doesn’t mean I believe they should be criminalized, but I’m still shaking my head at the supposed support of Mormons in this poll who “accept” homosexuality and think others should do so too.

    I get it, we don’t want to be accused of bigotry, etc. So that question might just bias toward that answer?

    In this day and age of regulating salt and the size of a drink, if Mormons can’t stand up for the appropriate use of the procreative powers that literally make the creation of a society possible, what good is that light we’re supposed to show forth to the world?

  3. It would’ve been interesting to see how the youth divide is reflected in the various religions. As I work in the Provo Temple Baptistry beginning before 5 AM on Monday I see hundreds of middle and high school students begin their week by coming to the temple before they go to school. This is a relatively new development. Many believe the decision to convert the Provo Tabernacle into a temple after it was gutted by fire was inspired in part by the need for another baptistry to serve the youth.

  4. This study is being spun as “the U.S. is becoming less religious.” I think a more accurate take is that many people who were once a year religious people, or people who were raised in a religion but have abandoned it, are now saying they are not religious at all. But meanwhile the people who are more religious, including Mormons, are becoming more devout and are more likely to actually take their religion seriously. There is a lot of good news for religious Mormons in this study.

  5. Gerry, agreed that there are different ways of interpreting “accepted by society.” I think most of us can agree that homosexuality should not be criminalized, and that people with same-sex attraction should not be bullied or shunned. In addition, I think that we can agree that the Church teaches that God loves the sinner but does not love the sin. So, if your definition of “accepted by society” is: “gay people should not be bullied,” then of course you are going to agree with that. If your point is that gay people should be treated with respect and dignity like all people, then of course you are going to agree as well. What is less clear is how Mormons feel about same-sex marriage and bakers being forced by government to bake wedding cakes for homosexual unions. So, if the question were more specific I think we could come to stronger conclusions about Mormons’ views on this issue.

  6. The problem with opinion polls is exactly that they are ‘opinion’ polls. In my experience truly righteous people have less self conceit than people who are actually pretty evil. I have frequently heard bad people say ‘I’m really a good person.’ I was encouraged by the apparent desire of most Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Evangelicals to want to be seen as prayerful and frequently attending religious services even more now than in the past.
    I like to follow the observable effects of religion. There are many who are very willing to dismiss and ridicule Utah County, particularly Provo or ‘Happy Valley’ where Mormons are in their greatest concentration. However there are several measurements that indicate the effect of this concentration. The abortion rate in Utah County is very low. The charity of most people in the United States is inversely related to their income. People making $50,000 will give a greater proportion of their money to charity than those with an income of $500,000. This inversion weakens in areas of high religious participation. It is almost reversed in Utah County where the more a man makes, the more he contributes in direct proportion.

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