Teaching Evolution

A blog devoted to teaching evolution, both in our schools and in our communities.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Half of Americans Don't go to Church

I am stunned. I always assumed the broad opposition to the teaching of evolution was fostered by huge masses of people who go to church every Sunday. But a new Gallup poll shows that 43 percent of respondents answered no to one of the following questions:

1. "Do you happen to be a member of a church, synagogue, or mosque?"
2. "Apart from weddings, funerals, or special holidays, such as Christmas, Easter or Yom Kippur, have you attended the church, synagogue, or mosque of your choice in the past six months, or not?"

Surveys of church attendance tend to be skewed by people who think they should say they go to church even though they don't, so let's round it off and say that means half of all Americans aren't members of a house of worship or haven't gone in six months or more. So why does it feel like it's the other half of the American people who are always the ones out there in front of the cameras on the issue of teaching evolution?


At 8:56 AM, Blogger dhodge said...

As you mentioned, a lot of people who never go to church feel guilty about it. In a similar vein, I feel like a lot of people who aren't very religious are reluctant to criticise (or even analyze) ridiculous claims made in the name of religion.

At 9:03 AM, Blogger MDS said...

That's true. I think the popularity of a religion plays a large role in whether or not it's considered acceptable to criticize or question it. If a tiny sect with one leader and 15 followers makes some bizarre claim, people have no qualms about labeling it ridiculous. But an established church can make a ridiculously bizarre claim and people don't feel they can question it.

A good example is the idea of religious statues that allegedly open their eyes or shed tears or perform miracles. I've seen news stories about individuals who make such claims, and the individuals are generally ridiculed. But I've also seen news stories about large churches that make a claim like that about a statue in the sanctuary, and the claim is treated with respect.


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