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Old 03-31-2019, 01:15 AM
 
Location: New Mexico
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Having spent 30+ years as a statistician working with this type of data, in the absence of any methodology or information on the source, I tend to doubt the reliability of the early years from 1972 to about 1990 or a couple years after. The data are too "jumpy" in the early years. Even the Jewish percent fluctuates which doesn't make much sense without some explanation. Furthermore, the reporting intervals are not the same. Some are one year and some are two years. After 1990, most of the categories calm down into either a fairly stable conformity or display a particular trend. Why would the "none" group conform to a relative flat line and then take off like a shot around 1990? One would think that there was some sort of soul-wrenching event in 1990. Whatever is classified as "Mainline" seems to be inexplicably losing adherents at an alarming rate to the "none" category. We don't have explicit detail on what is included in Mainline or Evangelical but Mainline was supposedly the most popular group at about 30% in the 1970s then declined to about 12% -- losing over half of the adherents in a steady decline. Now, about half the country is either Catholic or Evangelical, a quarter don't claim any religion, about 12% are Mainline and the rest are a mix of Jewish-Black Protestant-Other. Except for the decline and rise of Mainline and None, respectiely, it hasn't changed much in ten years.
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Old 03-31-2019, 03:06 AM
 
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Originally Posted by fishbrains View Post
No, what you are describing is belief, not truth. Truth is a statement that agrees with reality.

It is true that the earth is round. It can be measured, calculated, circumnavigated, photographed, etc. Some people believe that truth, others believe that it is flat. When a flat-earthier describes their belief as truth, it doesn’t mean they are correct. It simply means they are using the word truth incorrectly.
As in the Gospels. "Truth" there means "Christian Faith"

Quote:
Originally Posted by SunGrins View Post
Having spent 30+ years as a statistician working with this type of data, in the absence of any methodology or information on the source, I tend to doubt the reliability of the early years from 1972 to about 1990 or a couple years after. The data are too "jumpy" in the early years. Even the Jewish percent fluctuates which doesn't make much sense without some explanation. Furthermore, the reporting intervals are not the same. Some are one year and some are two years. After 1990, most of the categories calm down into either a fairly stable conformity or display a particular trend. Why would the "none" group conform to a relative flat line and then take off like a shot around 1990? One would think that there was some sort of soul-wrenching event in 1990. Whatever is classified as "Mainline" seems to be inexplicably losing adherents at an alarming rate to the "none" category. We don't have explicit detail on what is included in Mainline or Evangelical but Mainline was supposedly the most popular group at about 30% in the 1970s then declined to about 12% -- losing over half of the adherents in a steady decline. Now, about half the country is either Catholic or Evangelical, a quarter don't claim any religion, about 12% are Mainline and the rest are a mix of Jewish-Black Protestant-Other. Except for the decline and rise of Mainline and None, respectiely, it hasn't changed much in ten years.
I think that we know what the 1990 event was that kick -started irreligion. It was the use of the internet for the religion debate. That is when i got involved myself. Before that, atheism had little way of getting their views and arguments over to the public.

Last edited by TRANSPONDER; 03-31-2019 at 03:15 AM..
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Old 03-31-2019, 03:11 AM
 
37,656 posts, read 10,220,673 times
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Originally Posted by SunGrins View Post
I hear things like "I don't allow church to destroy my faith" and I can see how that resonates with people. My conservative protestant church takes political and social positions that have little to do with religion or elemental Christian teaching. I still count myself as a church member but find some of these positions to be unworthy of a religious body and damaging or toxic to a feeling of membership -- and driving people away from organized Christian denominations. My church is far from the worst offender and I can still support the things they do well while ignoring other things. Some friends are less tolerant (or more principled in their minds) and have left the church. In this instance it has nothing to do with atheism or agnosticism but a parting of ways on church political or social pronouncements...not faith. It is more Dissenting Christianity than Liberal Christianity.
That is an important point behind the Rise of the Nones. They do not have to be atheists, or even non -God -believers. They just have to consider themselves unaffiliated with any church or organised religion. Theism is in fact not what matters, but not supporting organised religion. Atheists (or 'agnostics' and irreligious theists can do business.

Looking again at the graph, it is mainline that seems to be declining so alarmingly (for them). Evangelicals and Catholicism seems to have a recent slight decline, but not much, in fact, and Other religions and Judaism hardly any.

I should have liked to see Catholics and Evangelicals drop off more than that, but I'll gladly take it as it is. One thing I notice is that - for the first time ever, Non -religion has just nudged tops of everything else. As i say - fingers still crossed, but I was waiting for another Survey, and I am not at all disappointed.

Last edited by TRANSPONDER; 03-31-2019 at 03:24 AM..
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Old 03-31-2019, 05:59 AM
 
3,711 posts, read 732,253 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SunGrins View Post
Having spent 30+ years as a statistician working with this type of data, in the absence of any methodology or information on the source, I tend to doubt the reliability of the early years from 1972 to about 1990 or a couple years after. The data are too "jumpy" in the early years. Even the Jewish percent fluctuates which doesn't make much sense without some explanation. Furthermore, the reporting intervals are not the same. Some are one year and some are two years. After 1990, most of the categories calm down into either a fairly stable conformity or display a particular trend. Why would the "none" group conform to a relative flat line and then take off like a shot around 1990? One would think that there was some sort of soul-wrenching event in 1990. Whatever is classified as "Mainline" seems to be inexplicably losing adherents at an alarming rate to the "none" category. We don't have explicit detail on what is included in Mainline or Evangelical but Mainline was supposedly the most popular group at about 30% in the 1970s then declined to about 12% -- losing over half of the adherents in a steady decline. Now, about half the country is either Catholic or Evangelical, a quarter don't claim any religion, about 12% are Mainline and the rest are a mix of Jewish-Black Protestant-Other. Except for the decline and rise of Mainline and None, respectiely, it hasn't changed much in ten years.
The source was noted at the bottom right of the graph. Here is the direct link.

http://www.norc.org/PDFs/GSS%20Repor...igion_2014.pdf

You can follow various links within the site. Here is one you may find relevant.

https://gssdataexplorer.norc.org/
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Old 03-31-2019, 06:05 AM
Status: "Pr 6:16-19, JeffBase, Pneuma!" (set 12 days ago)
 
Location: Germany
4,168 posts, read 764,968 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SunGrins View Post
Having spent 30+ years as a statistician working with this type of data, in the absence of any methodology or information on the source, I tend to doubt the reliability of the early years from 1972 to about 1990 or a couple years after. The data are too "jumpy" in the early years. Even the Jewish percent fluctuates which doesn't make much sense without some explanation. Furthermore, the reporting intervals are not the same. Some are one year and some are two years. After 1990, most of the categories calm down into either a fairly stable conformity or display a particular trend. Why would the "none" group conform to a relative flat line and then take off like a shot around 1990? One would think that there was some sort of soul-wrenching event in 1990. Whatever is classified as "Mainline" seems to be inexplicably losing adherents at an alarming rate to the "none" category. We don't have explicit detail on what is included in Mainline or Evangelical but Mainline was supposedly the most popular group at about 30% in the 1970s then declined to about 12% -- losing over half of the adherents in a steady decline. Now, about half the country is either Catholic or Evangelical, a quarter don't claim any religion, about 12% are Mainline and the rest are a mix of Jewish-Black Protestant-Other. Except for the decline and rise of Mainline and None, respectiely, it hasn't changed much in ten years.
Interesting points, but why should the 1990 event be soul-wrenching? The growth of home PCs and access to the internet may have played a role.
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Old 03-31-2019, 06:11 AM
 
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A lot of people began leaving the Mainline churches in the 1970's and began converting to Evangelical. The "Jesus Movement" of the younger generation was also a reflection of that. Then the Mainline rose briefly in the late 1980's after the extra-marital scandals of the televangelists. A lot of people thought those scandals were the beginning of the end of religion, but that's obviously not the case. The Trinity has always been a part of religion and will always exist IMO, though I have never been able to convince that to skeptics.

Anyway this is an interesting graph.
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Old 03-31-2019, 07:04 AM
 
227 posts, read 38,113 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SunGrins View Post
Having spent 30+ years as a statistician working with this type of data, in the absence of any methodology or information on the source, I tend to doubt the reliability of the early years from 1972 to about 1990 or a couple years after. The data are too "jumpy" in the early years. Even the Jewish percent fluctuates which doesn't make much sense without some explanation. Furthermore, the reporting intervals are not the same. Some are one year and some are two years. After 1990, most of the categories calm down into either a fairly stable conformity or display a particular trend. Why would the "none" group conform to a relative flat line and then take off like a shot around 1990? One would think that there was some sort of soul-wrenching event in 1990. Whatever is classified as "Mainline" seems to be inexplicably losing adherents at an alarming rate to the "none" category. We don't have explicit detail on what is included in Mainline or Evangelical but Mainline was supposedly the most popular group at about 30% in the 1970s then declined to about 12% -- losing over half of the adherents in a steady decline. Now, about half the country is either Catholic or Evangelical, a quarter don't claim any religion, about 12% are Mainline and the rest are a mix of Jewish-Black Protestant-Other. Except for the decline and rise of Mainline and None, respectiely, it hasn't changed much in ten years.
As others have mentioned, the source is the national longitudinal General Social Survey (GSS) conducted by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago since 1972 - About the GSS | NORC.

They have a published Codebook that delves into their method and other standards, and contains full questionnaires - Documentation | NORC. The report is yet to follow.

To answer your concern regarding data collection, the following is their breakdown:

Quote:
The General Social Surveys have been conducted in 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1980, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016, and 2018. There are a total of 64,814 completed interviews (1,613 in 1972, 1,504 in 1973, 1,484 in 1974, 1,490 in 1975, 1,499 in 1976, 1,530 in 1977, 1,532 in 1978, 1,468 in 1980, 1,506 in 1982, 354 in 1982 black oversample, 1,599 in 1983, 1,473 in 1984, 1,534 in 1985, 1,470 in 1986, 1466 in 1987, 353 in 1987 black oversample, 1481 in 1988, 1,537 in 1989, 1372 in 1990, 1,517 in 1991, 1,606 in 1993, 2,904 in 1996, 2,832 in 1998, 2,817 in 2000, 2,765 in 2002, 2,812 in 2004, 4510 in 2006, 2023 in 2008, 2,044 in 2010, 1,974 in 2012, 2,538 in 2014, 2,867 in 2016, and 2,348 in 2018). The median length of the interview has been about one and a half hours. Each survey from 1972 to 2004 was an independently drawn sample of English-speaking persons 18 years of age or over, living in non-institutional arrangements within the United States. Starting in 2006 Spanish-speakers were added to the target population. Block quota sampling was used in 1972, 1973, and 1974 surveys and for half of the 1975 and 1976 surveys. Full probability sampling was employed in half of the 1975 and 1976 surveys and the 1977, 1978, 1980, 1982-1991, 1993-1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016, and 2018 surveys. Also, the 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016, and 2018 surveys had sub-sampled non-respondents.
The chart source appears to be Ryan Burge. I am not sure if this was the actual GSS chart or one Ryan produced using recently released data. If Ryan is the author of the chart then I couldn't speak for his categorisation of "Mainline". However, it's a standard classification that is adopted by different survey institutions. Since GSS data is in line with the last Pew Research Centre's Religious Landscape Study of 2014, I refer you to its report that goes into a lot of detail regarding trends and their possible factors, as well as classifications - https://www.pewforum.org/2015/05/12/...ous-landscape/. See page 7 of that report for the standard breakdown of "Mainline" and "Black Protestant" denominations.

The biggest fluctuations usually occur around important events that force people to reevaluate their allegiances. The 60s and early 70s saw a growing number of anti-war protests, with students forming a big chunk of that movement and, as we all know, young minds are much more open to reexamining their worldviews and often fuel anti-institutional trends. The end of the Vietnam War, return of the soldiers, the start of the drug epidemic, Watergate scandal, desegregation and its accompanying population redistribution and intermarriages, the growth of Socialism, and the Charismatic Movement among other things would've all contributed to these fluctuations.

And then you have your 9/11 event, immediately followed by the whole host of armed conflicts, including Gulf and Afghanistan wars as well as ongoing Yugoslav wars. The refugee crisis, spike in immigration, and the highly publicised failings of humanity had amplified the ethics/moral crisis, which through the rise of internet, as Trans had pointed out, allowed people to form new alliances and modify or altogether abandon their previous beliefs in favour of something different.

Religion itself came under a lot of scrutiny given the role it played in terrorists' identities (I don't just mean 9/11 hijackers) and spurred a lot of high profile debate, including the rise of so called 'new atheism' movement and media debates, a flurry of publications and new legislation.

Another thing to take into account is that just because some trends display a degree of consistency doesn't mean there is no change, especially when you consider immigration and people simply changing one religion in favour of another.

Last edited by Itzpapalotl; 03-31-2019 at 07:27 AM..
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Old 03-31-2019, 08:04 AM
 
Location: Western Washington
8,558 posts, read 8,121,963 times
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Originally Posted by TRANSPONDER View Post
I think that we know what the 1990 event was that kick -started irreligion. It was the use of the internet for the religion debate. That is when i got involved myself. Before that, atheism had little way of getting their views and arguments over to the public.
I don't think it needs to be one reason. The Berlin Wall was torn down in 1989, and the communist empire of the USSR shortly thereafter. Atheism no longer carried the political stigma of being the equivalent of communist traitor, so it was ok to start to identify in that way.

My personal history might have a large impact on my view of this time though. I did the theist>agnostic>atheist journey in the mid to late 80s, so I started to notice all of the reasons supporting my opinions, and they seemed to become more and more obvious.
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Old 03-31-2019, 10:17 AM
 
37,656 posts, read 10,220,673 times
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Originally Posted by normstad View Post
The source was noted at the bottom right of the graph. Here is the direct link.

http://www.norc.org/PDFs/GSS%20Repor...igion_2014.pdf

You can follow various links within the site. Here is one you may find relevant.

https://gssdataexplorer.norc.org/
One link refers to 2014, but the graph on p1 appears to go up to 2018, so ones hopes it isn't projected data.

Quote:
Originally Posted by OzzyRules View Post
A lot of people began leaving the Mainline churches in the 1970's and began converting to Evangelical. The "Jesus Movement" of the younger generation was also a reflection of that. Then the Mainline rose briefly in the late 1980's after the extra-marital scandals of the televangelists. A lot of people thought those scandals were the beginning of the end of religion, but that's obviously not the case. The Trinity has always been a part of religion and will always exist IMO, though I have never been able to convince that to skeptics.

Anyway this is an interesting graph.
Yes. I found it interest to try to work out causal relationships between jumps and dips and evangelical campaigns or some Reason why affiliation might dip. The availability of the Internet is certainly what I'd bet on for the rise of irreligion.
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Old 03-31-2019, 10:25 AM
 
227 posts, read 38,113 times
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Originally Posted by TRANSPONDER View Post
One link refers to 2014, but the graph on p1 appears to go up to 2018, so ones hopes it isn't projected data.
It's not. The new data set was released on 3.19.2019 and the graph relates to this new release.
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