Tag Archives | Religion

The Persistent and Exceptional Intensity of American Religion: A Response to Recent Research

Landon Schnabel, Sean Bock

Sociological Science, November 27, 2017
DOI 10.15195/v4.a28

Recent research argues that the United States is secularizing, that this religious change is consistent with the secularization thesis, and that American religion is not exceptional. But we show that rather than religion fading into irrelevance as the secularization thesis would suggest, intense religion—strong affiliation, very frequent practice, literalism, and evangelicalism—is persistent and, in fact, only moderate religion is on the decline in the United States. We also show that in comparable countries, intense religion is on the decline or already at very low levels. Therefore, the intensity of American religion is actually becoming more exceptional over time. We conclude that intense religion in the United States is persistent and exceptional in ways that do not fit the secularization thesis.

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Landon Schnabel: Department of Sociology, Indiana University Bloomington
Email: lpschnab@indiana.edu

Sean Bock: Department of Sociology, Harvard University
Email: seanbock@g.harvard.edu

Acknowledgements: The authors are grateful to Brian Powell and Clem Brooks for exceptional feedback. Direct correspondence to Landon Schnabel, Department of Sociology, Indiana University Bloomington, 744 Ballantine Hall, 1020 E. Kirkwood Ave., Bloomington, IN 47405.

  • Citation: Schnabel, Landon, and Sean Bock. 2017. “The Persistent and Exceptional Intensity of American Religion: A Response to Recent Research.” Sociological Science 4: 686-700.
  • Received: October 19, 2017
  • Accepted: October 31, 2017
  • Editors: Jesper Sørensen, Olav Sorenson
  • DOI: 10.15195/v4.a28

Motherhood, Sex of the Offspring, and Religious Signaling

Ozan Aksoy

Sociological Science, September 27, 2017
DOI 10.15195/v4.a21

Using Turkey’s 2013 Demographic and Health Survey, I find that among married women, having a single child as opposed to no children is associated with an approximately five-percentage-point increase in the likelihood of religious veiling. Furthermore, the likelihood of religious veiling increases as the number of a woman’s children increases. Robustness checks show that these associations are rather stable across the Muslim world. In addition, I use the sex of a woman’s first child as a natural experiment and find that in Turkey, having a son versus a daughter increases the likelihood of religious veiling by 2.2 percentage points. In contrast, having a child and the sex of the first child have no significant effects on unobservable religious behaviors, traditional values, and gender norms. These results are consistent with the hypothesis derived from signaling theory that women use veiling strategically to foster family reputation.

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Ozan Aksoy: Department of Quantitative Social Science, University College London
Email: ozan.aksoy@ucl.ac.uk

Acknowledgements: I thank Aron Szekely, Francesco Billari, Alex Bryson, Diego Gambetta, Bilal Nasim, Nikki Shure, David Voas, and the participants of the University College London Department of Quantitative Social Science seminar for helpful suggestions and comments.

  • Citation: Aksoy, Ozan. 2017. “Motherhood, Sex of the Offspring, and Religious Signaling.” Sociological Science 4: 511-527.
  • Received: June 7, 2017
  • Accepted: July 27, 2017
  • Editors: Jesper Sørensen, Stephen Morgan
  • DOI: 10.15195/v4.a21

Fast or Slow: Sociological Implications of Measuring Dual-Process Cognition

Rick Moore

Sociological Science, February 27, 2017
DOI 10.15195/v4.a9

Dual-process theories of cognition within sociology have received increasing attention from both supporters and critics. One limitation in this debate, however, is the common absence of empirical evidence to back dual-process claims. Here, I provide such evidence for dual-process cognition using measures of response latency in formal data collected in conjunction with an ethnographic study of atheists and evangelicals. I use timed responses to help make sense of evangelicals’ language that frames “religion” as negative but “Christ-following” as positive. The data suggests that despite these Christians expressing a concept of the self that rejects “religion,” deep dispositions remain associating religion as a positive entity, not a negative one. I further argue that the significance of dual-process theories to sociology is in untangling such complex webs of identity discourse by distinguishing between immediate responses primarily due to fast cognition and those that are further mediated by slower, more deliberate cognition.

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Rick Moore: Department of Sociology, University of Chicago
Email: rickmoore@uchicago.edu

Acknowledgements: I would like to thank John Levi Martin, Terry McDonnell, Gabe Ignatow, and the editors of Sociological Science for their helpful comments on earlier drafts of this article. This research was supported by the National Science Foundation (Award number SES-1333672).

  • Citation: Moore, Rick. 2017. “Fast or Slow: Sociological Implications of Measuring Dual-Process Cognition.” Sociological Science 4: 196-223.
  • Received: October 20, 2016
  • Accepted: January 28, 2017
  • Editors: Jesper B. Sørensen, Gabriel Rossman
  • DOI: 10.15195/v4.a9

Religion, Time Use, and Affective Well-Being

Chaeyoon Lim

Sociological Science, August 10, 2016
DOI 10.15195/v3.a29

This study examines whether religious people experience more positive affect and less negative affect in everyday life and, if they do, whether it is because of the differences in how they allocate time to different activities or because they feel differently during similar activities. Using the well-being module from the 2010–13 American Time Use Survey (ATUS), I show that churchgoers enjoy a significantly higher level of affective well-being on Sunday than non-churchgoers do. The supplementary analysis of the Gallup Daily Poll data suggests that this higher level of affective well-being among churchgoers is found throughout the rest of the week as well. Further analyses of the ATUS demonstrate that about 40 percent of the affective well-being gap between churchgoers and non-churchgoers on Sunday can be explained by how they spend their time differently. Churchgoers spend more time on Sunday participating in pleasant activities shared with family members and friends than non-churchgoers do. More than half of the gap, however, remains unexplained, implying that it has to do with how they feel during similar activities rather than the activities in which they participate. I discuss the implications of these findings on the mechanisms underlying the link between religion and subjective well-being.

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Chaeyoon Lim: Department of Sociology, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Email: chaeyoon.lim@wisc.edu

  • Citation: Lim, Chaeyoon. 2016. “Religion, Time Use, and Affective Well-Being.” Sociological Science 3: 685-709.
  • Received: April 6, 2016
  • Accepted: May 8, 2016
  • Editors: Jesper Sørensen, Kim Weeden
  • DOI: 10.15195/v3.a29

Individual Religiosity and Orientation towards Science: Reformulating Relationships

David R. Johnson, Christopher P. Scheitle, Elaine Howard Ecklund

Sociological Science, March 11, 2015
DOI 10.15195/v2.a7

The religion-science relationship has been the focus of a growing body of research. Such analyses have often suffered from poorly specified concepts related to religion and to science. At the individual level, scholars often assume that an individual’s religiosity will affect her orientation towards science. But an orientation towards science consists of several sub-concepts, each of which may have a unique relationship, or lack thereof, with religiosity. We use observed measures from the 2008 General Social Survey to build latent variables representing science orientation sub-concepts and assess their relationships using structural equation modeling. We find that religiosity has no significant association with interest in or knowledge of science. Religiosity does, however, have a significant negative association with confidence in science. This suggests that the lack of faith in science held by religious individuals is not a product of interest or ignorance, but is instead based on theological or institutional reservations.
David  R. Johnson: Department of Sociology, Rice University. E-mail: drj4@rice.edu

Christopher P. Scheitle: Department of Sociology, St John’s University.  Email: cscheitle@csbsju.edu

Elaine Howard Ecklund: Department of Sociology, Rice University. Email: ehe@rice.edu

  • Citation: Johnson, David R., Christopher P. Scheitle and Elaine Howard Ecklund. 2015. “Individual Religiosity and Orientation towards Science: Reformulating Relationships.” Sociological Science 2: 106-124.
  • Received: November 18, 2014
  • Accepted: December 1, 2014
  • Editors: Jesper Sørensen,  Sarah Soule
  • DOI: 10.15195/v2.a7

Explaining Why More Americans Have No Religious Preference: Political Backlash and Generational Succession, 1987-2012

Michael Hout, Claude S. Fischer

Sociological Science, October 13, 2014
DOI 10.15195/v1.a24

Twenty percent of American adults claimed no religious preference in 2012, compared to 7 percent twenty-five years earlier. Previous research identified a political backlash against the religious right and generational change as major factors in explaining the trend. That research found that religious beliefs had not changed, ruling out secularization as a cause. In this paper we employ new data and more powerful analytical tools to: (1) update the time series, (2) present further evidence of correlations between political backlash, generational succession, and religious identification, (3) show how valuing personal autonomy generally and autonomy in the sphere of sex and drugs specifically explain generational differences, and (4) use GSS panel data to show that the causal direction in the rise of the “Nones” likely runs from political identity as a liberal or conservative to religious identity, reversing a long-standing convention in social science research. Our new analysis joins the threads of earlier explanations into a general account of how political conflict over cultural issues spurred an increase in non-affiliation.
Michael Hout: New York University.  E-mail: mikehout@nyu.edu

Claude S. Fischer: University of California, Berkeley. E-mail: fischer1@berkeley.edu

  • Citation: Hout, Michael, and Claude S. Fischer. 2014. “Explaining Why More Americans Have No Religious Preference: Political Backlash and Generational Succession, 1987–2012.” Sociological Science 1: 423-447.
  • Received: July 8, 2014
  • Accepted: July 16, 2014
  • Editors: Jesper Sørensen, Sarah Soule
  • DOI: 10.15195/v1.a24