Sunday, February 24, 2008

All Ye Faithful

On the front of every major news website is the new Pew Study about U.S. Religious Landscape Survey. Among some of the most cited statistics of this new study are:
  • The United States is 78% Christian
  • Nearly half of American adults leaving the faith tradition of their upbringing to either switch allegiances or abandon religious affiliation altogether
  • Mainline Protestant churches are in decline, but non-denominational churches are gaining
  • The Roman Catholic Church has lost more members than any faith tradition because of affiliation swapping
    • While nearly one in three Americans were raised Catholic, fewer than one in four say they're Catholic today
    • That means roughly 10% of all Americans are ex-Catholics.
  • Hindus claimed the highest retention, at 84%
  • Jehovah's Witnesses claimed the lowest retention, at 37%
This study was interesting, especially the part about the flux in religions. Just yesterday, I jokingly told Alex that maybe I should convert to be an Episcopalian after hearing a great sermon by Bishop Charleston, President and Dean of the Episcopal Divinity School.

I will refrain from analyzing the entire sermon, but it was basically about how the two greatest threats facing the world are religious war and global warming, and how religions can come together to reduce carbon emissions. You can check it out the video here. (starts at minute 24). And no, this was not a liberal v. conservative sermon. Rather, Rev. Charleston approached this as a religious person and Native American who felt a duty to protect God's creation.

If the National Cathedral was closer, I would consider going more often. At every church I have been to, I have concluded that one priest is really good and the other two or three are just ok. But the National Cathedral has the "Centennial Celebration of American Preaching Series," where my odds of receiving a compelling, thought provoking, glued-to your-seat-sermon are much higher.

And just to clarify, I do not plan on converting to the Episcopal Church or any other religion. And going to the National Cathedral was my idea, not Alex- who was baptized as an Episcopal, confirmed Lutheran, but does not regularly attend church unless I take him. Finally, I can certainly see why the Catholic Church its losing members, but I am not ready to jump ship.

No comments: