Why are the most religious states in the South?

  The last time I checked the statistics from the Gallup poll regarding religious fervor, which was a few years ago,  America’s so-called Bible Belt was living up to that nickname. Eight of the 10 most religious states were in the South, while nine of the 10 least religious states were in the Northeast or Northwest. Midwestern states were about average in religiousness. Mississippi was the single most religious state, and Vermont was the single least religious state. Gallup began compiling these statistics on religion in 2008,...

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The future of religion in America is increasingly murky

  If we Americans bother every once in a while to take a serious look at how our society is profoundly changing from what it used to be, we’re often surprised at what we find. Take religion, for example. The long-held stereotypes of religious people in this country simply don’t apply any more. Daniel Cox, research director at the Public Religion Research Institute, wrote this last summer on the website FiveThirtyEight.com.: “The U.S. was once a predominantly white Christian country, but fewer than half of Americans (45...

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Yes, let’s teach public school students about religion

  Having recently dissed Vice President-elect Mike Pence for suggesting that creationism should be taught in science classes in public schools, I should qualify my rejection of the idea. Creationism has no legitimate place in a science curriculum — except perhaps as an example of nonsense. But religion deserves a sharper focus in the classroom than it currently receives in public schools. Of course, valid history is going to touch upon the profound role of religion in the rise of virtually every civilization. American history alone...

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A theory on how God works in mysterious ways

  In the nearly nine years I’ve been writing the Applesauce blog, I’ve received tens of thousands of comments, ranging from  A to Z, from brilliant to foolish, from profane to respectful and from any other extremes you might imagine. One of my favorites, published in 2013,  came from a guy who used the pseudonym “labman57” and was his only submission here, at least under that name. He was responding to a story about an audience at a junior college in Waco, Texas, roundly booing Bill Nye, “The Science...

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Divorce has hurt the growth of religion in America

  This post isn’t necessarily about me. I’ve been divorced twice, but my agnosticism predates my first marriage. My daughter from my second marriage and my four step-daughters from my first marriage were not encouraged to attend church. But neither were they actively discouraged. The point to be made here is about a new study from the Public Religion Research Institute showing that not only have divorce rates increased sharply  in recent decades, but the children of divorced parents are more likely to be non-religious. The...

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