Archive for the 'Culture, Values and Attitudes' Category

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Is Personal Insecurity a Cause of Cross-National Differences in the Intensity of Religious Belief?

Is Personal Insecurity a Cause of Cross-National Differences in the Intensity of Religious Belief? An Interchange between Psychology and Religion
By: Tomas James Rees
Source: Journal of Religion and Society

The cause of cross-national differences in individual-level religiosity has a rich history of scholarly debate rooted in observations of an apparent decline in religiosity in the modern era. Numerous causal factors have been proposed. A prominent strand of thought, originally formulated by Weber, supposes that greater education, along with the free and open transmission and discussion of ideas, undermines superstitious or non-naturalistic thinking. Empirical support for this includes the observation that national-level religiosity and scientific productivity are inversely correlated (Jaffe). Another strand, rooted in the work of Durkheim, suggests that the displacement of religious social institutions by secular ones leads to the gradual loss of importance of religious ideas. Complicating the debate are the multitudinous definitions of the term “secularization,” which has come to refer variously to a decline in religious participation or a decline in individual piety.

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American Religious Identification Survey 2008

American Religious Identification Survey 2008
Principal Investigators: Barry A. Kosmin and Ariela Keysar
Source: The Institute for the Study of Secularism in Society and Culture (ISSSC), Trinity College
From press release:

Conducted between February and November of last year, ARIS 2008 is the third in a landmark series of large, nationally representative surveys of U.S. adults in the 48 contiguous states conducted by Kosmin and Ariela Keysar. Employing the same research methodology as the 1990 and 2001 surveys, ARIS 2008 questioned 54,461 adults in either English or Spanish. With a margin of error of less than 0.5 percent, it provides the only complete portrait of how contemporary Americans identify themselves religiously, and how that self-identification has changed over the past generation.

Download sections or full report (PDF)

Americans Believe Religious Values Are ‘Under Attack’

American Attitudes on Religion, Moral Values and Hollywood
Source: Anti-Defamation League
A majority of the American people believes that religious values are “under attack,” and that the people who run the television networks and major movie studios do not share the religious and moral values of most Americans, according to a survey from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) issued today.
American Attitudes on Religion, Moral Values and Hollywood, a national poll of 1,000 American adults conducted in October 2008 by The Marttila Communications Group, found that 61% of the American people continue to believe that religious values in this country are “under attack.” The poll also found that 59% of Americans agree that “the people who run the TV networks and the major movie studios do not share the religious and moral values of most Americans.”
Press Release; Poll Results (PDF)

Poll: Concerns About Racial Tensions Decline Sharply In America

American Attitudes on Immigration and Diversity
Source: Anti-Defamation League

There has been a steep decline in concerns about racial tensions in America over the past 15 years, according to a newly released poll from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). The poll also found a significant majority — 66% — views the growth of America’s minority populations as advantageous to the economy and society.

American Attitudes on Immigration and Diversity, a national poll of 1,000 American adults conducted on October 26, 2008 by the Marttila Communications Group, found that only one-third of the American people believes that racial tensions are increasing in this country. That is a substantial decline from 1992, when three-quarters of the American people expressed the same sentiment.

The poll also found that 66% of Americans view the country’s population growth due to immigration as “an advantage for America.” The poll was released during the League’s 2008 Annual Meeting in Los Angeles.

Press Release; Full Results (PDF)

American Attitudes on Religion, Moral Values and Hollywood

American Attitudes on Religion, Moral Values and Hollywood
Source: Anti-Defamation League
A majority of the American people believes that religious values are “under attack,” and that the people who run the television networks and major movie studios do not share the religious and moral values of most Americans, according to a survey from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) issued today.
The survey was conducted by the Marttila Communications Group, a Boston-based public opinion research firm that has conducted numerous national surveys for ADL measuring American attitudes on a wide range of domestic and foreign policy issues. The survey has a margin of error of +/-3.09 percent. For many questions, the survey used the technique of split sampling,” a process in which the 1,000 sample was split into two demographically representative national samples of 500 respondents each. The margin of error for questions answered by 500 respondents is +/- 4.38 percent.
Press Release; Poll (PDF)

Inside Obama

Inside Obama’s Sweeping Victory
Source: Pew Research Center for the People & the Press

Barack Obama captured the White House on the strength of a substantial electoral shift toward the Democratic Party and by winning a number of key groups in the middle of the electorate. Overall, 39% of voters were Democrats while 32% were Republicans — a dramatic shift from 2004 when the electorate was evenly divided. The Democratic advantage in Election Day party identification was significantly larger than in either of Bill Clinton’s victories.

Childrearing, Family Formation and Voting

The Big Sort, a blog by Bill Bishop on Slate.com, had a posting on Tuesday about the predictive nature of childrearing practices, family formation attitude and voting practices.
Spank Your Kids? You Likely Vote Republican

Genetics of Political Participation

Why Do People Vote? Genetic Variation in Political Participation
James H. Fowler, Christopher T. Dawes, Laura A. Baker
Source: American Political Science Review
The decision to vote has puzzled scholars for decades. Theoretical models predict little or no variation in participation in large population elections and empirical models have typically accounted for only a relatively small portion of individual-level variance in turnout behavior.However, these models have not considered the hypothesis that part of the variation in voting behavior can be attributed to genetic effects. Matching public voter turnout records in Los Angeles to a twin registry, we study the heritability of political behavior in monozygotic and dizygotic twins. The results show that a significant proportion of the variation in voting turnout can be accounted for by genes.We also replicate these results with data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health and show that they extend to a broad class of acts of political participation. These are the first findings to suggest that humans exhibit genetic variation in their tendency to participate in political activities.
Full text (PDF)

Changing Western Values

Changing Values among Western Publics from 1970 to 2006
Ronald F. Inglehart
Source: World Values Survey
In 1971 it was hypothesised that intergenerational value changes were taking place. More than a generation has passed since then, and today it seems clear that the predicted changes have occurred. A large body of evidence, analysed using three different approaches — (1) cohort analysis; (2) comparisons of rich and poor countries; (3) examination of actual trends observed over the past 35 years — all points to the conclusion that major cultural changes are occurring, and that they reflect a process of intergenerational change linked with rising levels of existential security.
Download Document (PDF); Download Survey Data Files

Pew Forum on Religion in the U.S.

U.S.Religious Landscape Survey. Religious Beliefs and Practices: Diverse and Politically Relevant
Source: Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life

The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life today released its second report on the U.S. Religious Landscape Survey, which finds that while many Americans are highly religious, most are not dogmatic in their approach to faith. This new analysis examines the diversity of Americans’ religious beliefs and practices as well as their social and political attitudes. It follows the first report of the Landscape Survey, which was published in February 2008 and detailed the size, internal changes and demographic characteristics of major religions in the United States.

Summary; Full Report (PDF)

Report #1 on Religious Affiliation may be found here.