Fewer Spaniards say they are Catholic: study

The proportion of Spaniards who say they are Roman Catholic has fallen to 73 percent from around 80 percent eight years ago, according to a survey released Thursday by the CIS research centre.

About 25 percent of all Spaniards now claim to be atheists or without a religion, compared to 17 percent in 2002, the June survey of 2,500 adults found.

For Apple Followers, It’s a Matter of Faith, Academics Say

Apple is the new religion, say several academics. It’s not a matter of rationality, it’s a matter of faith.

In a research paper published this month by two professors at Texas A&M University, the authors argue that the only way to understand the slavish adoration and over-the top financial success of Apple and its “Jesus Phone” (the iPhone) is to understand its minimalist, white-walled stores as the new churches of the tech generation.

“The religious-like behavior and language surrounding Apple devotion/fandom is an example of ‘implicit religion,'” Prof. Heidi Campbell, one of the authors of the study, told FoxNews.com. Implicit religion can happen when the use of, say, technology becomes a substitute for belief and behaviors once attached to religion and religious practice, she said.

That, according to the authors, explains why fans still believe when the leader of the Church of Apple, Steve Jobs, blames consumers for the poor reception of the company’s cell phone (clearly, users are holding their phones incorrectly). In fact, they flock to buy the device despite its serious design flaws.

Shopping for a new belief

From Buddhism to Kabbalah and from Scientology to Bahai… Hollywood biggies like Tom Cruise, Madonna, Steven Seagal, Richard Gere… are not the only ones on a spiritual hopping spree.

Several city-based spiritual teachers and followers insist that this spiritual shopping or spiritual surfing is definitely on an upswing here too. But most of them insist that this not so-fanatical approach towards any one faith is in fact, healthy to a large extent.

Thousands of Anglican churchgoers could cross over to Rome with bishops

Anglican Church Churchgoers in almost 300 parishes that disapprove of women priests may take advantage of Pope Benedict XVI’s offer to change denomination if their “flying bishops” lead the way.

“Flying bishops”, who provide “episcopal oversight” to parishes that cannot accept women priests.

Survey: 72% of Millennials ‘more spiritual than religious’

religion survey Most young adults today don’t pray, don’t worship and don’t read the Bible, a major survey by a Christian research firm shows.

Among the 65% who call themselves Christian, “many are either mushy Christians or Christians in name only,” Rainer says. “Most are just indifferent. The more precisely you try to measure their Christianity, the fewer you find committed to the faith.”

US study sheds light on Africa’s unique religious mix

Africa religion study In the space of a century, Africa has morphed from a continent dominated by traditional beliefs to one where the majority of people are Christian or Muslim, a US study showed Thursday.

The vast majority of people in sub-Saharan Africa are deeply committed to the world’s two largest religions, according to the study by the Pew Research Forum on Religion and Public Life.

Just half of Britons now call themselves Christian; ‘nones’ growing

religion trends Only half of Britons now consider themselves Christian after a “sharp decline” in religious belief over the past quarter of a century, according to a new academic study.

At the same time, the proportion of Britons who say they have “no religion” has increased from 31 per cent to 43 per cent.

Nearly 1 in 4 People Worldwide Are Muslim

Muslim population The global Muslim population stands at 1.57 billion, meaning that nearly 1 in 4 people in the world practice Islam, according to a report Wednesday billed as the most comprehensive of its kind.

These findings on the world Muslim population lay the foundation for a forthcoming study by the Pew Forum, scheduled to be released in 2010, that will estimate growth rates among Muslim populations worldwide and project Muslim populations into the future.

Why are fewer Americans identifying with a religion?

Nones choose no religion The number of Americans who don’t identify with any religion is growing. A new study by Trinity College suggests that more than one in five Americans will identify themselves as “Nones” in religious terms in 20 years (up from 15 percent now). Most would not consider themselves atheists. But they are increasingly skeptical of organized religion and clerics. They are, said one researcher, a stew of agnostics, deists and rationalists – and their numbers appear to be increasing.

Clearly, interest in religion is high. News magazines run cover stories. Megachurches are booming. Political campaigns target churchgoers as a valuable metric to win elections.

So why are fewer Americans identifying with a religion, denomination or particular faith group? Why are a growing number of people becoming faith-free? And if the trend continues, is it a matter of alarm?

These are questions Wayne Slater, of The Dallas Morning News, asked of a panel of religious leaders.

Religious life won’t be the same after downturn

financial crisis Organized religion was already in trouble before the fall of 2008. Denominations were stagnating or shrinking, and congregations across faith groups were fretting about their finances.

The Great Recession made things worse, AP reports.

It’s further drained the financial resources of many congregations, seminaries and religious day schools. Some congregations have disappeared and schools have been closed. In areas hit hardest by the recession, worshippers have moved away to find jobs, leaving those who remain to minister to communities struggling with rising home foreclosures, unemployment and uncertainty.

Religion has a long history of drawing hope out of suffering, but there’s little good news emerging from the recession. Long after the economy improves, the changes made today will have a profound effect on how people practice their faith, where they turn for help in times of stress and how they pass their beliefs to their children.

Spiritual direction grows in popularity

Spiritual Direction Spiritual direction, an ancient practice with Christian roots that has recently seen a revival among contemporary seekers from all faiths, including some who don’t necessarily believe in God.

In a culture where people readily engage physical trainers to hone their bodies and psychotherapists to untangle their neuroses, an increasing number are looking to spiritual directors as “spotters” for their souls.

Nones: people with ‘no religion’ gaining on major denominations

religion trends Americans who don’t identify with any religion are now 15% of the USA, but trends in a new study shows they could one day surpass the nation’s largest denominations — including Catholics, now 24% of the nation.

As it has grown larger, the no religion or None population is no longer a fringe group and the “None” choice in terms of (ir)religious identification is now attracting wide swaths of Middle America.

Atheists groups double in size on U.S. college campuses

Atheism The number of atheist or agnostic student groups on U.S. campuses has more than doubled in the past two years — from 80 to 162 — according to the Secular Student Alliance (SSA), the national organization for the secular student movement.

The rise of the secular student movement parallels that of the broader secular demographic in the U.S.

Prayerism: Prayer in America

prayer Is praying becoming a religion unto itself?

Consider this: 39% of Americans attend church weekly yet 75% pray at least weekly, according to the Pew Religion Forum. In fact, 58% overall, and 66% of American women pray daily.

And maybe most remarkably: 35% of those who don’t identify with any religion at all — the “unaffiliated”– pray weekly or daily. That means there’s a large number of Americans who don’t attend church regularly but pray a great deal.

These statistics, as well as the popularity over the years of books like the Prayer of Jabez and The Secret and many other devotional books, show that prayer has become popular on its own, sometimes detached from the tradition of church. Call it Prayerism.

God is back: How Ned Flanders won the evangelical crusade

God is back Virtually everywhere in the developing world fiery preachers are preaching a faith that would appeal to Ned Flanders: live your life according to God’s law, read the Bible as the literal word of Truth, treat your neighbour as yourself. And everywhere they are thriving.

In 1900, 80 per cent of the world’s Christians lived in Europe and the United States; today, 60 per cent of them live in the developing world.

Survey shows major faith shifts; Growing group of Americans claim no religion at all

American Religious Indentification Survey America is a less Christian nation than it was 20 years ago, and Christianity is not losing out to other religions, but primarily to a rejection of religion altogether, a survey published Monday found.

The only group that grew in every U.S. state since the 2001 survey was people saying they had “no” religion; the survey says this group is now 15 percent of the population. Mark Silk said this group is likely responsible for the shrinking percentage of Christians in the United States.

But researchers point out that just because people are dropping out of organized religion, that doesn’t mean they’re abandoning faith.

Most US Christians define own theology

Religion Trends A sizable majority of the country’s faithful no longer hew closely to orthodox teachings, and look more to themselves than to churches or denominations to define their religious convictions, according to two recent surveys. More than half of all Christians also believe that some non-Christians can get into heaven.

“Growing numbers of people now serve as their own theologian-in-residence,” said George Barna, president of Barna Group, on releasing findings of one of the polls on Jan. 12.

UK 2050: Church attendance ‘to fall by 90%’

church attendance Christian Research, the statistical arm of the Bible Society, claimed that by 2050 Sunday attendance will fall below 88,000, compared with just under a million now.

The controversial forecast, based on a “snapshot” census of church attendances, has been seized upon by secular groups as proof that the established church is in decline. But the Church of England has rejected the figures, saying they were incomplete and ignored new ways of worshipping outside the church network.

Atheists take aim at Christmas

Freedom From Religion Foundation Alongside a Nativity scene at the Legislative Building in Olympia, Washington, a sign put up by an atheist organization celebrates the winter solstice. But it’s the rest of the sign that has some residents and Christian organizations calling atheists Scrooges for attacking the celebration of Jesus Christ‘s birth.

“Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds,” the sign says in part.
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