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Author Topic: Study: Socioeconomics a factor in church attendance?  (Read 900 times) Average Rating: 0
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EofK
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« on: October 23, 2009, 08:42:58 PM »

A recent study suggests that a person's economic standing and/or social insecurity is a better indicator of church attendance than education.  The researchers came into the study expecting to see more highly educated people avoiding church but it appears that education is not a factor at all.  Interesting. 

http://www.nrc.nl/international/Features/article2394314.ece/Insecurity_not_education_determines_church_attendance
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« Reply #1 on: October 23, 2009, 10:07:55 PM »

An interesting article, thanks for linking to it. I wondered how they would respond to the evidence that more educated people do tend to be less religious, and their idea sounds possible:

"Other research has shown that highly educated people are indeed less religious. But at the same time they tend to be more actively involved in political parties, associations and thus also in churches. Less educated people are more religious, but less active about it. There is a higher rate of churchgoers amongst educated believers than low-skilled believers."
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« Reply #2 on: October 23, 2009, 10:44:38 PM »

Not sure, but seems a little close to religion as projection/unfulfilled desires.  Like food is a projection of hunger.

It does not, however, seem as facil as these studies tend to be.  My spin on it (which dove tails with the state Church leading to less attendance) is the "take it for granted" factor that lessens attendance.
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« Reply #3 on: October 24, 2009, 12:42:13 AM »

An interesting article, thanks for linking to it. I wondered how they would respond to the evidence that more educated people do tend to be less religious, and their idea sounds possible:

"Other research has shown that highly educated people are indeed less religious. But at the same time they tend to be more actively involved in political parties, associations and thus also in churches. Less educated people are more religious, but less active about it. There is a higher rate of churchgoers amongst educated believers than low-skilled believers."

Just a wild hunch...could it be that less educated persons are in  lower level jobs in service or retail that reqire them to work some time on weekends?Almost all retail and services are open on Sunday now. Also, could it be that less educated folks are more likely to hold a second job and have less time for church attendence?
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« Reply #4 on: October 24, 2009, 12:50:16 AM »

Quote
Just a wild hunch...could it be that less educated persons are in  lower level jobs in service or retail that reqire them to work some time on weekends?Almost all retail and services are open on Sunday now. Also, could it be that less educated folks are more likely to hold a second job and have less time for church attendence?

I think these are good points, and are probably factors. As an example, about 8 years ago I worked at Target and specifically asked for Sunday's off, but I don't think they gave me one Sunday off in the short time I worked for them (though I have worked other retail where the person who made the schedule was much more accommodating).
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« Reply #5 on: October 24, 2009, 11:49:11 AM »

Maybe this reply should be moved to the politics section but as the debate is happening here, I will post here. Moderators, feel free to move.

From the article:  Welfare state empties out churches
The US is no exception to the rule. "The US has long been regarded as a special case: a developed country and scientific vanguard that is exceptionally religious. But past researchers did not take uncertainties resulting from the high socio-economic inequality into account. In the US you can quickly climb the social ladder, but you can fall off very hard," Ruiter explains.

Van Tubergen: "Conversely, the link between religiosity and uncertainty explains why the churches in the Netherlands have emptied out. As a result of the welfare state great security can be found outside the walls of the church. It would be interesting to examine the impact of the current economic crisis on church attendance."


I think that this is particularly telling.  The churches, for years, before the Great Society were the main distributors of charity in this country.  Now the government is in the business, taking wealth from individuals (without their consent) and giving it to various charitable organizations across the spectrum leaving less money for individuals to donate to the charity/church of their own choosing, though Americans are still, by far, more generous in charitable giving than any other nation in the world.  But when the welfare state starts appropriating tax money to people and seeks to increase the welfare rolls, people are going to get their handout from the state, which has more giving power now than they are to seek refuge at a church.
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« Reply #6 on: October 29, 2009, 12:51:53 AM »

Scamandrius, doesn't your assertion assume then that people used to go to church as a form of "welfare"? That they were wooed to church in the hopes of handouts?

That doesn't really speak very well about Christianity, does it?

I think that a link between the rise of welfare and states becoming more secular is hard to prove.

Rather, I tend to agree with Robert Putnam, whose book, "Bowling Alone" points out that as our society becomes more individualistic and less family-oriented, then people have fewer support systems - of any type. (http://www.bowlingalone.com/). Putnam argues that Americans are less civic-minded these days - they join organizations like PTA less, and that goes for churches as well. (The book's title comes from the fact that more Americans are bowling alone, and fewer join leagues).

Putnam also points out that for families who have to commute a long ways to work, their chances of joining civic organizations is even less, because these families spend so much time driving to and fro in their cars.

So I think socioeconomics might affect people's church attendance. But what's welfare got to do with it? Welfare has been rolled back, starting in the '90s, by then-president Bill Clinton. And yet younger generations (Gen Y or Millenials) seem less likely to join churches than older generations.
« Last Edit: October 29, 2009, 12:52:50 AM by Eugenio » Logged
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