Archive for the ‘Current Research’ Category

CURRENT RESEARCH

A new survey of U.S. Jews finds that, while holding their own numerically, they are increasingly split between secularism and Orthodoxy, especially among the youngest adults. The survey by the Pew Research Center is a follow-up to its landmark 2013 study.

CURRENT RESEARCH

The case of Cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s sexual abuse, and its cover-up by his fellow bishops and clerics reflects less a singular instance of clerical misbehavior than a vulnerable episcopal system in which “bad actors find it more or less easy to operate, survive, and thrive.” So write sociologist Stephen Bullivant and psychologist Giovanni Radhitio Putra Sadewo in the Catholic Herald (April 18), based on their study of episcopal networks surrounding McCarrick.

CURRENT RESEARCH

A new Gallup Poll finds that for the first time since it began collecting data on church membership in the late 1930s, fewer than half of Americans say they belong to a religious congregation. The new survey finds that 47 percent of Americans now say they belong to a house of worship, decreasing from 70 percent in the mid-1990s and 50 percent in 2019.

CURRENT RESEARCH

Pastoral care in churches has gradually shifted from specific religious teachings to a more ecumenical spirituality and from concerns about human nature and morality to an emphasis on personal narratives, according to a study in the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion (online in February).

CURRENT RESEARCH

While religious attendance is negatively associated with women’s egalitarian attitudes toward gender, this relationship depends on a country’s rate of gender inequality and religious affiliation, according to an analysis of survey data from 37 countries. The study, published in the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion (online in January), is based on a survey of gender roles by the International Social Survey Program that measured women’s religiosity and attitudes on gender.

CURRENT RESEARCH

While it is true that the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) is showing steady
membership losses, a study parsing these figures by ethnicity reveals patterns of growth
beyond the majority white members.
The study, conducted by the denomination’s International
Mission Board, found that while the overall SBC membership decreased slightly by -0.1 percent
from 1990 to 2018, ethnic minority groups and congregations increased by more than one
million members.

CURRENT RESEARCH

Megachurches continue to grow in attendance, even as these congregations are subdividing into smaller satellite churches, according to a study by Scott Thumma and Warren Bird. The Hartford Institute for Religion Research-based study confirmed that the majority of participants continue to be white and college educated, although these racial patterns are changing. While megachurches experience people leaving the pews, nearly two-thirds have been at their churches for more than 5 years.

CURRENT RESEARCH

The most recent wave of the New Congregations Study (NCS) finds that the trend toward informal and more enthusiastic forms of worship shows no signs of plateauing while the ethnic diversity of American congregations has increased significantly, with the percentage of all-white congregations decreasing.

CURRENT RESEARCH

Just as there is a Protestant work ethic, a “Protestant family ethic” has emerged which encourages marriage and family formation, particularly among those who have attended Protestant schools, according to a new study. The study, conducted by sociologists Albert Cheng, Patrick J. Wolf, Wendy Wang, and W. Bradford Wilcox, looked at how enrollment in Catholic, Protestant, public, and secular private schools is associated with different family outcomes later in life.

CURRENT RESEARCH

Conflict is growing in congregations as they deliberate on plans to reopen during the pandemic, even as a majority of religious believers and the public tend to accept social distancing rules for all organizations, according to recent studies. A July survey by Lifeway Research found that 27 percent of evangelical and mainline pastors cited addressing complaints and conflict and keeping unity in their congregations as the pressure points they are most strongly feeling.