Wednesday, December 30, 2009

We're Number One! We're Number One!

Yes, it's that time again. The Pew Forum released its annual survey of rational thinking and Vermont and New Hampshire, combined in the totals because of our small population, came out in first place.

Well, okay, if you want to get technical about it, that wasn't the way the Pew people viewed the survey. The way Pew asks the questions: Which of the 50 states has the most religious population? Since there are many ways to define "religious," there is no single answer to this question. But to give a sense of how the states stack up, the Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion & Public Life used polling data to rank them on four measures: the importance of religion in people's lives, frequency of attendance at worship services, frequency of prayer and absolute certainty of belief in God. Mississippi stands out on all four, and several other Southern states also rank very high on the measures.

Although the Vermont/New Hampshire combo ranked at the bottom of the scale in the importance of religion in people's lives and certainty of belief in god, we were one from the bottom in church attendance (above Alaska, which may be assisted by the difficulty of transportation) and fourth from the bottom in frequency of prayer.

Still, those of us who favor rationality and evidence-based thought can take pleasure in Vermont's stellar performance. Keep up the good work, Vermonters!

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Blogger Jay W said...

Is it that the poor folks in MS, SC, etc. don't have as much education, social support, medical care and thus are led to rely on prayer? Is there an inverse relationship of tax rates and religiosity (leaving aside oil-rich Alaska)? There is probably a racial/cultural component of this too that may reflect some of these factors. How to we account for the Caeserian/Marxist prescriptions/explanations of bread, circuses and opiates? And, who is happier?

December 31, 2009 10:20 AM  
Anonymous Tom McC said...

I wonder if there is a correlation between church-going and average temperature, as the colder states, including Alaska, have lower attendance rates.

January 02, 2010 9:50 AM  
Blogger John said...

@Tom McC - Even more interesting, in the warmer states, is there a correlation between church attendance and the availability of air conditioning in the church?

January 07, 2010 11:30 PM  

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