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 Religion Trends

Wednesday August 11, 2010
ChristianityReligion TrendsRNB's Religion News Blog:
Bye-bye church. We’re busy.” That’s the message teens are giving churches today.

Only about one in four teens now participate in church youth groups, considered the hallmark of involvement; numbers have been flat since 1999. Other measures of religiosity — prayer, Bible reading and going to church — lag as well, according to Barna Group, a Ventura, Calif., evangelical research company. This all has churches canceling their summer teen camps and youth pastors looking worriedly toward the fall, when school-year youth groups kick in.

Talking to God may be losing out to Facebook,” says Barna president David Kinnaman.

“Sweet 16 is not a sweet spot for churches. It’s the age teens typically drop out,” says Thom Rainer, president of LifeWay Christian Resources in Nashville, which found the turning point in a study of church dropouts. “A decade ago teens were coming to church youth group to play, coming for the entertainment, coming for the pizza. They’re not even coming for the pizza anymore. They say, ‘We don’t see the church as relevant, as meeting our needs or where we need to be today.’ “

Monday August 9, 2010
Religion TrendsRNB's Religion News Blog:
The proportion of people who regularly attend religious services has declined steadily throughout Europe in recent years, according to the European Social Survey.

Before you take a peak: can you guess in which European countries people are least likely to attend religious services?

ChristianityReligion TrendsRNB's Religion News Blog:
For the past 10 years, the estimated median age of candidates for master of divinity degrees has fallen steadily, from 34.14 in 1999 to 32.19 in 2009, according to an analysis by the Center for the Study of Theological Education (CSTE) at Auburn Seminary.

That marks a reversal: From 1989 to 1999, the estimated median age had climbed steadily from 31.4 to 34.14.

Denominations hail this new pattern as a positive sign now, as churches increasingly depend on aging leaders and struggle to attract parishioners under age 30.

Friday July 30, 2010
JudaismReligion TrendsRNB's Religion News Blog:
Dozens of “independent minyanim” — unaffiliated Jewish worship communities — have sprung up in the past decade, mixing elements of the mainstream denominations while answering to none of them.

Ten years ago, the United States had two independent minyanim, plural of minyan. Today, there at least 70 involving about 20,000 people, said Rabbi Elie Kaunfer, who wrote a book on the independent minyanim, “Empowered Judaism.”

The number involved is a small percentage of the estimated 5.2 million Jews in the U.S. But Jonathan Sarna, a professor of American Jewish history at Brandeis University, said the movement is driven by the most devout and educated Jews, and its ideas on worship, prayer and what defines a community will inevitably cross into mainstream practice.

“What happens in American Judaism over and over is that the margins influence the mainstream,” Sarna said. “I don’t expect many of the independent minyanim themselves will be long lasting. But I think we will look back and say that they had long-lasting influence.”

Thursday July 29, 2010
Religion TrendsRNB's Religion News BlogSpain:
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.

Religion TrendsRNB's Religion News Blog:
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.

Sunday July 4, 2010
Religion TrendsRNB's Religion News Blog:
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.

Monday May 3, 2010
Anglican / Episcopal ChurchCatholic ChurchReligion Trends:
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.

Friday April 30, 2010
ChristianityReligion Trends:
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.”

Thursday April 15, 2010
Religion TrendsSurveys:
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.

Wednesday December 16, 2009
Religion Trends:
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.

Thursday October 8, 2009
IslamReligion Trends:
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.

Wednesday September 30, 2009
Religion Trends:
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.

Religion Trends:
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.

Wednesday September 23, 2009
Religion TrendsSpiritual Direction:
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.

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