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November 04, 2003

A decadent age

Some evangelical Christian pollsters have an interesting survey on morality online. The general conclusion? Morality Continues to Decay. A few other points:

  • There is a big gap in social conservatism between the general "Born Again" and "Evangelical" categories. Many general interest magazines trumpet conservative American Christianity by citing the 30-40% "Born Again" figure, but many of these individuals aren't that religiously conservative. Those who identify themselves as Evangelical though are in fact far more conservative than the typical American, and the Barna survey notes that non-evangelical Born Again Christians are more similar in their views to the general public than they are to Evangelical Born Again Christians. In a similar vein, Bainbridge and Stark in The Future of Religion note that liberal and moderate American Christians are socially clustered with the non-religious rather than conservative Christians (for example, what movies you watch). One problem that the general public has is that they often conflate Born Again, Evangelicals and Fundamentalists. The latter are the loudest, and so their views are projected to the larger clusters in which they are embedded. For instance, the conception that Evangelicals are all Creationists is belied by the existance of The American Scientific Affiliation, a group of Evangelical scientists who reject Creationism.
  • Moral permissiveness is negatively correlated with age. In other words, the young are more tolerant of various behaviors than the old. This flies in the face of idiotic sociological pronouncements asserting that the gen-Y and gen-X cohorts have recoiled from the free & liberated ways of their baby boomer parents, in fact, baby boomers are more conservative than gen-Y and gen-X (though yes, the boomers might have become more conservative as they age-nevertheless, attitudes toward homosexuality are probably more tolerant among the young today than in the 1960s).

Posted by razib at 04:15 PM

The people who think having sexual thoughts or fantasies is morally unacceptable scare me. A lot. There is something seriously wrong with them.

It looks like atheists and agnostics are the fun people! Yay!

Posted by: Jacqueline at November 4, 2003 06:19 PM

I noticed they didn't have "leg humping" on that list.
Interesting that these "surveys" take the attitude of "we are obviously better than you" and then complain about sex on TV and who touches who. Yet they never reference anything meaningful-and when you point out that divorces, and crimes don't reflect very big differences between catholics, atheists or whoever they go nuts. I can tell you, anecdotally of course, that in my field of science there is an inverse relationship between religious intensity and level of education. Assistants can be anything, scientists may be protestant with some more conservative ones sprinkled in, lab heads are rarely parcticing and when you get to multiple PHD's, MD combos or science track directors, I'd bet my leg they're agnostic/atheist, in or out of the closet. Is it a prefontal cortex thing or is there social pressure to separate the vatican from science?
Who knows, I'm happy to be in a somewhat loony free work environment though.

Posted by: Raisin Lord at November 4, 2003 11:29 PM