Sunday, October 16, 2005

Do we believe in God or not?

While referencing The CIA World Factbook, you'll find that 90% of our fellow Americans claim to be religious (2002 est.). Then, turning the pages of the Web to NationMaster.com, you'll find that only 44% (#11 worldwide, just below #10 Italy at 45%) of adults surveyed claimed that they attend Church services one or more times per week.

Curious stats for an area of our lives that's suppose to take top billing on our list of important future events—leaving this world.

So what gives?

Either the "practice what you preach" rule doesn't apply to today's American religious or over half of our religious citizens are "just saying" they have a religious bent in order to appease their peers, bosses or those omnipresent feelings of impending biblical doom. There could be trouble, if they don't believe. Saying that you are affiliated with a particular church or religious belief certainly has it's advantages in America. Even saying you believe in "God" brings you into the proverbial fold and affords you at least some minor parochial privilege that subtly and socially escape non-believers.

Something even more puzzling, or obvious if you're European, is that of the Top Twenty Religions in the United States, 2001 (self-identification, ARIS), Deists (those believing in God, but that religion plays no part and is irrelevant) are the fastest growing group, up 717%, with Sikhism the second fastest group at 338%. Protestants still hold the largest percentage of Christians in the U.S. at 52% (March 2002)—Adherents.com: National & World Religion Statistics - Church Statistics - World Religions.

So what gives?

Is religion as important in our daily lives as we think OR is it just something we've gotten into the habit of identifying with, so we can round out our lives and feel good about ourselves? How much time do you spend contemplating ecclesiastical affirmations and how much time watching Desperate Housewives (the highest rated episode this season had 28.4 million viewers), sports or thinking about your money.