Category Archives: religiosity

Open thread: The fetishization of suffering

by Grania Jerry wrote a post years ago on Mother Teresa that has proved to be the most popular post ever on this website (even more popular than the one on penis sizes, which is quite remarkable given that this is humanity we are talking about). Jerry pointed out, as did Christopher Hitchens before him […]

Robert Sapolsky: Religion is a mental illness

I discovered neuroscientist Robert Sapolsky this weekend, and now reader jjh called my attention to this video showing him lecture on religion. In response to Westerners who laugh at shamans and the like, Sapolsky argues that our own society is afflicted with equally stupid stuff, ranging from religion, which he calls “Westernized irrationality”, to New […]

New data on the religiosity of U.S. states and its correlation with accepting evolution

Back in 2013 I put up a post showing a negative correlation between the religiosity of American states and their acceptance of evolution, a relationship that also holds among European countries (see original post for figures). At that time, I had access to religiosity for only the 10 most and 10 least religious states in the U.S., but […]

Why the “nones” leave religion: US and UK getting less religious

The Pew organization, which certainly has no bias that I can detect against religion, had reanalyzed some data from its 2014 U.S. “Religious landscape study,” asking people who said they were both “nones” (those not affiliated with a church) and also had formerly been raised as church members but later abandoned that membership. The results are […]

Belief in moralistic gods makes people generous—towards coreligionists

I’ve been meaning to write about this paper for some time, but it’s fallen into my backlog of 1000-odd draft posts that I almost never look at. However, I found a printout in my daypack, and so will try to describe it briefly, for the results are somewhat hard to interpret. The paper, in a January, 2016 […]

England and Wales are now predominantly nonreligious

There’s a new survey out about the religiosity of England and Wales, and although the Guardian report on it doesn’t link to the original study, it does give the salient results, which are these: The secularization of Britain is very rapid, to the point where most of England and Wales consists of people who say […]

Tennessee legislature repeals religious defense for parents who hurt their children by withholding medical care

We have two pieces of good news today from the American South—both from Tennessee. One refers to the subject of reports in The Tennesseean and the Knoxville News Sentinel: the Tennessee legislature has repealed a state law that gives parents exemptions from hurting their children by withholding medical care in favor of faith healing. As do many […]

Open thread: Susan Jacoby talks about people who go through religious conversion

by Grania There’s an interesting interview with Susan Jacoby over on Fresh Air (NPR) about her new book Strange Gods: A Secular History Of Conversion. Susan looks at people in history as well as current examples, and examines reasons why people choose to exchange one god for another. Interestingly, the answer is very rarely, as she calls it, […]

Religious countries are more unhappy

Six days ago, I wrote about some data (presented by the Telegraph and Christian Today) showing the degree of religiosity among various countries in the world—the proportion of inhabitants who agreed that “religion was very important in their lives.” A subjective look at the rankings suggested that the most religious countries were also the least well […]

The new Pew survey: religiosity in America continues to decrease, “nones” are biggest group among Democrats

This time I won’t digest the whole thing for you, as the title of the newly released Pew Survey, called “U.S. Public Becoming Less Religious,” tells the tale (full pdf here). But they try to leaven the “bad” news with some other findings: Is the American public becoming less religious? Yes, at least by some […]