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Thread: Pew Research Religion Typology

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    Pew Research Religion Typology

    Categorizing Americans' Religious Typology Groups | Pew Research Center
    Sunday Stalwarts are the most religious group. Not only do they actively practice their faith, but they also are deeply involved in their religious congregations. God-and-Country Believers are less active in church groups or other religious organizations, but, like Sunday Stalwarts, they hold many traditional religious beliefs and tilt right on social and political issues. They are the most likely of any group to see immigrants as a threat. Racial and ethnic minorities make up a relatively large share of the Diversely Devout, who are diverse not only demographically, but also in their beliefs. It is the only group in which solid majorities say they believe in God “as described in the Bible” as well as in psychics, reincarnation and spiritual energy located in physical things.

    t the opposite end of the spectrum, the Solidly Secular are the least religious of the seven groups. These relatively affluent, highly educated U.S. adults – mostly white and male – tend to describe themselves as neither religious nor spiritual and to reject all New Age beliefs as well as belief in the God of the Bible. In fact, many do not believe in a higher power at all. Religion Resisters, on the other hand, largely do believe in some higher power or spiritual force (but not the God of the Bible), and many have some New Age beliefs and consider themselves spiritual but not religious. At the same time, members of this group express strongly negative views of organized religion, saying that churches have too much influence in politics and that, overall, religion does more harm than good. Both of these nonreligious typology groups are generally liberal and Democratic in their political views.

    The middle two groups straddle the border between the highly religious and the nonreligious. Seven-in-ten Relaxed Religious Americans say they believe in the God of the Bible, and four-in-ten pray daily. But relatively few attend religious services or read scripture, and they almost unanimously say it is not necessary to believe in God to be a moral person. All Spiritually Awake Americans hold at least some New Age beliefs (views rejected by most of the Relaxed Religious) and believe in God or some higher power, though many do not believe in the biblical God and relatively few attend religious services on a weekly basis.
    I myself am Solidly Secular - I check all the boxes for that category.

    "For purposes of this report, the term “New Age” includes belief in psychics, astrology, reincarnation, and the belief that spiritual energy can be contained in physical objects like trees, mountains and crystals."

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    From the report, "Sunday Stalwarts, for instance, are largely Protestant, but also include Catholics, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Jews, Muslims, Hindus and others." - for Jews, they'd be Saturday Stalwarts, and for Muslims, Friday Stalwarts. "Sunday Stalwarts" was chosen as a shorthand.

    Sunday Stalwarts and God-and-Country Believers are much alike, though G&CB's are less religiously active than SS's and include more Catholics. Evangelical Protestants are the largest in both groups.

    The unaffiliated Diversely Devout people call themselves "nothing in particular", many Religion Resisters and Solidly Secular people call themselves agnostics, while of the rest of the two, RR's tend to call themselves nothing in particular and SS's atheists.

    "Outside of the Sunday Stalwarts, relatively few Americans – even those who otherwise hold strong religious beliefs – frequently attend religious services or read scripture."

    "The Solidly Secular are the only group that includes sizable numbers who say they do not believe in God or any kind of higher power." A large majority of RR's believe in some "higher power" or spiritual force, even if not in a biblical kind of a God. Most of the other categories of people tend to believe in such a God, however.

    The Diversely Devout, Spiritually Awake, and Religion Resisters tend to believe in New Agey beliefs (astrology, psychics, reincarnation, spiritual force in physical objects), the Sunday Stalwarts, God-and-Country Believers, and Relaxed Religious tend to have much less belief in those, and the Solidly Secular tend to be the most skeptical.

    Americans get meaning from a lot of sources, with family being high up or on top. Friends, the outdoors, music, and reading are also very meaningful. The Sunday Stalwarts consider their religion the most meaningful thing, while the other religious ones consider it meaningful but not as important as other things.

    Politically, the Sunday Stalwarts and the G&CB's tend to be Republican and conservative, while the two nonreligious ones tend to be Democratic and leftie.
    For the three highly religious groups (Sunday Stalwarts, God-and-Country Believers and the Diversely Devout), the answer is clear: Belief in God is a prerequisite for being a good person. By contrast, overwhelming majorities in the somewhat religious and nonreligious groups are united in the opposite view: It is not necessary for a person to believe in God to be moral and have good values.

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    As to being "spiritual but not religious", the Relaxed Religious, Spiritually Awake, and Religion Resisters had the most, with Solidly Secular having some.

    Nearly all the strongly religious ones believe in the kind of God described in the Bible, half of the someone religious ones do, and hardly any of the nonreligious ones.

    About half of the highly religious ones believe that the Bible is the word of God with a lot of literal truth in it, a tenth of the somewhat religious ones, and hardly any of the nonreligious ones.

    Etc.

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    I am obviously solidly secular, but I think I personally know one or more persons from each of those groups. I also know some who are totally confused about how they feel about religion.

    I also think it's weird that solidly secular describes this group as affluent and highly educated. I am friends with several atheists who are poor or lower middle class and barely made it through high school. But, they are strong atheists who reject all woo.

    One of my female friends is very intelligent, but she never had the opportunity to become formally educated, plus she had several children at a very young age, and didn't leave religion until she was around 30. I also know many other female atheists and there is a large group of black atheists in the Atlanta area. They are lead by a group of strong female activists.

    I think that those labels make stereotypical claims about atheists that are outdated. Atheists are now an extremely diverse group, and growing more so as time goes on. I spoke to a young, black male who was a high school grad a few months ago. He worked in an hourly job, not sure if he currently attended college. He was obviously in the process of leaving his Christian roots behind, as evidenced but the interesting discussion the two of us had.

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    I like that part of the definition of the Relaxed Religious which states that they say they believe in the God of the Bible. This is the constituency that I call social Christians. Most of my relatives were/are in this category. If you asked them about religious matters, you'd get a boilerplate response about God and his reality. But outside of short bits of chitchat, it never came up in daily life, and very few of them brought religious observances into the home, i.e., grace at dinner or Bible reading. I can't read minds, but I don't think the religious fever went deep. It was more a matter of living up to the image of nice Christian folk that had been instilled in them as kids. It was the presentation of oneself in nice Sunday clothes and nodding to one's dentist and banker at church. I suspected that the claim of belief never involved a "spiritual" experience of feeling the living presence of a Creator, Lord, whatever. They did have an inability to admit doubt and would have recoiled from the label of agnostic, let alone the dreaded atheist. (Remember that 4 or 5 decades ago, that meant joining up with That Atheist Woman, Madalyn Murray O'Hair. Perish the thought.)
    By contrast, today at least four of my cousins are out & out religious zealots. They would assess the breakdown of believers and nonbelievers from the standard of accommodations in the afterlife. Most of the Sunday Stalwarts: ye shall see heaven. Some of the God 'N' Country and a small percentage of the Relaxed: yes, I suppose. Everyone else, you have your ticket on the Black Diamond Express to Hell. With these four, my conversations are limited to things like recipes and family trips from the 60s.

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    Not sure how useful this is. One can be a Sunday Stalwart at a UU church, and be an atheist. Or many other liberal Christian denominations or Synagogues, and yet hold entirely different beliefs than a “god and country” fundy type. Such people would likely vote differently, have different levels of education, and of course have vastly different views on faith. My daughter is very religious in a sense. She attends church regularly, but believes in evolution, understands that much of the Bible is just metaphorical, but it gives her meaning. I doubt she believes in the Virgin birth. She despises Trump.

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