Americans lie about church attendance

Discussions about society in general and social activity.

Moderators: Calilasseia, amok, ADParker

Americans lie about church attendance

#1  Postby Clive Durdle » Dec 30, 2010 9:27 pm

http://talkrational.org/showthread.php?t=34025

Two in five Americans say they regularly attend religious services. Upward of 90 percent of all Americans believe in God, pollsters report, and more than 70 percent have absolutely no doubt that God exists. The patron saint of Christmas, Americans insist, is the emaciated hero on the Cross, not the obese fellow in the overstuffed costume.

There is only one conclusion to draw from these numbers: Americans are significantly more religious than the citizens of other industrialized nations.

Except they are not.

Beyond the polls, social scientists have conducted more rigorous analyses of religious behavior. Rather than ask people how often they attend church, the better studies measure what people actually do. The results are surprising. Americans are hardly more religious than people living in other industrialized countries. Yet they consistently—and more or less uniquely—want others to believe they are more religious than they really are.
Clive Durdle
THREAD STARTER
 
Name: Clive Durdle
Posts: 4069

Country: UK
United Kingdom (uk)
Print view this post

Ads by Google


Re: Americans lie about church attendance

#2  Postby I'm With Stupid » Dec 30, 2010 9:36 pm

Clive Durdle wrote:http://talkrational.org/showthread.php?t=34025

Americans are hardly more religious than people living in other industrialized countries. Yet they consistently—and more or less uniquely—want others to believe they are more religious than they really are.

Which is almost as bad. Because it doesn't matter to religious authorities whether people genuinely believe or not, as long as they can keep up the impression that they're culturally relevant or representative of mainstream opinion. Which is why the atheist and secular movement is so much more important in America than any other developed country, because it's also the place where you're likely to see the biggest apparent shift in opinion.
Image
User avatar
I'm With Stupid
 
Posts: 7380
Age: 30
Male

Country: Vietnam
Jolly Roger (arr)
Print view this post

Re: Americans lie about church attendance

#3  Postby Areopagitican » Dec 30, 2010 9:59 pm

I'm not sure I understand what the motivation is behind lying to one volunteer survey, then not lying to another volunteer survey?
User avatar
Areopagitican
 
Name: Max
Posts: 643
Age: 22
Male

Country: United States
United States (us)
Print view this post

Re: Americans lie about church attendance

#4  Postby I'm With Stupid » Dec 30, 2010 10:23 pm

Areopagitican wrote:I'm not sure I understand what the motivation is behind lying to one volunteer survey, then not lying to another volunteer survey?

It's all about the way the question is asked, as usual. If people know that the survey is about religious attendance, they will give the answer they think is right or expected of them, rather than the correct answer. If you ask people a more general question about what they did step-by-step last weekend, they'll just tell you the truth. Well, if they went to a strip club or something, they might leave it out, but basically, if you explicitly mention religion in questions, you tend to over-report the religiosity of a group. It's no secret that the number of Christians in the UK plummets from over 70% to under 50% when the question asked isn't the sort of loaded question we see in the census, for example.
Image
User avatar
I'm With Stupid
 
Posts: 7380
Age: 30
Male

Country: Vietnam
Jolly Roger (arr)
Print view this post

Re: Americans lie about church attendance

#5  Postby divagreen » Dec 30, 2010 10:30 pm

One should not believe everything they hear on talk radio.

Some garner their information from a closed circuit.
I never did mind the little things.
User avatar
divagreen
 
Posts: 3001

United States (us)
Print view this post

Re: Americans lie about church attendance

#6  Postby Delvo » Dec 31, 2010 4:05 am

Areopagitican wrote:I'm not sure I understand what the motivation is behind lying to one volunteer survey, then not lying to another volunteer survey
Not all of the information is from surveys. They also checked how many people the churches actually had in them.
User avatar
Delvo
 
Posts: 971

United States (us)
Print view this post

Re: Americans lie about church attendance

#7  Postby Weaver » Dec 31, 2010 5:19 am

I'm With Stupid wrote:
Areopagitican wrote:I'm not sure I understand what the motivation is behind lying to one volunteer survey, then not lying to another volunteer survey?

It's all about the way the question is asked, as usual. If people know that the survey is about religious attendance, they will give the answer they think is right or expected of them, rather than the correct answer. If you ask people a more general question about what they did step-by-step last weekend, they'll just tell you the truth.
This is a very valuable and effective technique when investigating criminal suspects, and trying to separate out those telling the truth from those who are lying.
Well, if they went to a strip club or something, they might leave it out, but basically, if you explicitly mention religion in questions, you tend to over-report the religiosity of a group. It's no secret that the number of Christians in the UK plummets from over 70% to under 50% when the question asked isn't the sort of loaded question we see in the census, for example.
Image
Retired AiF

Cogito, Ergo Armatus Sum.
User avatar
Weaver
RS Donator
 
Posts: 16749
Age: 46
Male

Country: USA
United States (us)
Print view this post

Ads by Google


Re: Americans lie about church attendance

#8  Postby Hnau von Thulcandra » Mar 07, 2011 12:34 am

I'm With Stupid wrote:
Clive Durdle wrote:

Americans are hardly more religious than people living in other industrialized countries. Yet they consistently—and more or less uniquely—want others to believe they are more religious than they really are.

Which is almost as bad. Because it doesn't matter to religious authorities whether people genuinely believe or not...

Hehe. So atheists can infiltrate religious organizations, but believers don't exactly pose very often as atheists. Unless you're in Soviet Russia or something. Quite an interesting point.
"I am an Anglo-Catholic in religion, a classicist in literature, and a royalist in politics".
User avatar
Hnau von Thulcandra
 
Posts: 566
Age: 22
Male

Country: United States
United States (us)
Print view this post


Return to Sociology

Who is online

Users viewing this topic: No registered users and 1 guest