• Newest Baylor Religion Study results again draw national attention

    Since 2005, Baylor’s Department of Sociology, along with the university’s Institute for Studies of Religion, has been conducting national surveys of American religious beliefs, values and behaviors. They’ve delved into topics such as American secularism, megachurches, religion’s influence on voters, and whether Americans believe in healing prayer. Their results are often surprising, provocative, even incendiary — but the information is absolutely vital to understanding our country’s religious and political views.

    Researchers recently completed the fifth wave of research, this time taking a stark look at the intersection of American values, mental health and technology. Here’s a quick look at some of what they’ve found:

    • A new form of nationalism emerged among Americans that merges pro-Christian rhetoric with anti-Islam, anti-feminist, anti-globalist and anti-government attitudes.
    • Another prominent pattern among Americans: a fear of “others,” though who those “others” are depends on what group a person identifies with.
    • Nearly half of Americans are sure they will go to Heaven.
    • People who believe life has no purpose are the most despondent.
    • Most people have never used the Internet to find spiritual content or share their religious views, despite the prevalence of technology in everyday life.
    • Rural Americans are more likely to believe a stronger tie should exist between religion and the federal government.

    “We collected our data during the first few months of Donald Trump’s presidency. This was an ideal time to capture the uneasy tenor of American public opinion, especially with regard to the intersection of religion, politics and mental health,” says Dr. Paul Froese, professor of sociology in Baylor’s College of Arts & Sciences and director of Baylor Religion Surveys. “Today, divisions in the American public are stark, and we can trace many of our deep differences to how people understand traditional morality, theology and the purpose of our nation.”

    So far, these survey results have received national attention from outlets such as USA Today, the Washington PostHuffPost, Deseret NewsReligion News Service, Baptist News Global and ThinkProgress.

    Sic ’em, Baylor researchers!

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