Pharyngula

I’m surrounded by…

See this map of religiosity? I’m stuck there in the brick red swath of traditional dumbassery running down the middle of the country.

i-452c634a0b74076024c18d14b373a2c5-adherents-sm.jpg

I grew up in those lovely areas of Light out on the west coast.

May the benighted darkness someday fade from my current home.

(via Res Ipsa Loquitur)

Comments

  1. #1 bigdumbchimp
    April 18, 2006

    dumbassery.

    Wow I figured where I live in South Carolina to be much higher on the dumbassery-o-meter.

  2. #2 ryan
    April 18, 2006

    Reason #875 why I love living in Oregon. Palest state on the map people!

  3. #3 pablo
    April 18, 2006

    I’m surprised at how relative pink my Kansas City area is. I wonder if there are comparable maps through the decades to show changes and trends

  4. #4 Linkmeister
    April 18, 2006

    That’s kind of interesting, in an it-must-be-self-reporting kind of way. Look at Manhattan. Can it possibly be true that that den of hedonism is 50-74.9% religious?

    O’ahu, on the other hand, looks a little too yaller to me, and who knew about Kaua’i?

  5. #5 george cauldron
    April 18, 2006

    Interesting how that map doesn’t line up terrifically well with the Red/Blue state map from 2004. A lot of religious folks in wicked old blue Northeast, and a lot of nonreligious folks in the ‘Mountain West’ and Florida.

    Except for Utah. Utah looks exactly like we’d expect.

  6. #6 george cauldron
    April 18, 2006

    That’s kind of interesting, in an it-must-be-self-reporting kind of way. Look at Manhattan. Can it possibly be true that that den of hedonism is 50-74.9% religious?

    I’d assume that’s mostly Jews and Catholics.

  7. #7 razib
    April 18, 2006

    Reason #875 why I love living in Oregon. Palest state on the map people!

    word, god’s country! every other state is second best, oh yeah! (oh why did you leave PZ, you truly are a heathen!)

    btw everyone, this looks like a map of church affiliation, not “religiosity” in the broad sense. different churches have different standards of membership, so roman catholic areas tend to be a bit ‘inflated’ vis-a-vis very protestant areas because many (not all) protestant churches demand more day-to-day participation to “count” as churched. in other words, PZ isn’t really in a super-nutso part of the country, he is in a super-communitarian part of the country, so if you are religious you will be a member of a church.

    the low religiosity of the south atlantic coast is probably a function of the relatively atomistic and non-traditional (evangelial) churches dominant in that region. in contrast, the upper midwest and utah and the northeast have a few large stable churches which “suck” in all the people who are willing to go to church (eg., lutheran, catholic and mormon).

  8. #8 thelemurgod
    April 18, 2006

    Maine is an interesting assortment. Our only populated urban areas are darker than the rest of the state! Except, of course, for the very northern part where all the potato farmers live. :D

  9. #9 Jason
    April 18, 2006

    I live in Bolivar county in the middle of the Mississippi Delta. I am SHOCKED that the map reports that county as less than 35%! Almost all of Massachusetts (my home state) scores higher than that…except for the Amherst/Northampton area from which I came, they are the same color as Bolivar county.

  10. #10 Ian B Gibson
    April 18, 2006

    Squares with this pretty well, I think.

  11. #11 Apikoros
    April 18, 2006

    I saw that map a bit back and was fascinated by it. It is my hypothesis that it tracks people who cannot or do not read, especially those who have not read John Wesley Powell’s “Report on the Arid Lands”.

    The band of religious observance that you see on that map very closely tracks the line west of which 20″ of rain does not fall on a regular basis. It was first laid out by Maj. Powell in his 1878 report to Congress. The area between the 95th and 105th parallels is a classic “famine belt”, like the Sahel, like Central Asia.

    It’s the ultimate expression of Santayana’s “Those who will not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it.” Prayer will not change the climate, but I guess praying comforts them somehow.

  12. #12 philosopundit
    April 18, 2006

    That map has to be way off. I’m down in the South and there should be way more red around me! You wouldn’t imagine the dirtly looks my wife and I got at the store on Sunday because we weren’t appropriately dressed for Easter Sunday.

  13. #13 garth
    April 18, 2006

    my area, san diego county (bottom left, easiest county to find…), is a lot paler than I thought it would be based on the amount of church trafic clogging the streets every sunday. I see at least fifteen churches just on the way to work.

  14. #14 theo
    April 18, 2006

    razib is right. it’s because you’re surrounded by Lutherans.

    http://www.valpo.edu/geomet/pics/geo200/religion/lutheran.gif

    So, no self-pity. It could be worse. A lot worse.

  15. #15 somebody
    April 18, 2006

    I think this must not include evangelicals – no way the deep south is that smart

  16. #16 Troutnut
    April 18, 2006

    Ithaca, NY — a nice little oasis!

  17. #17 spencer
    April 18, 2006

    Now if only we could skew that map by population rather than strictly adhering to geography, like those maps after the 2004 election. That would be something.

  18. #18 kansas_lib
    April 18, 2006

    How nice that my little county in the corner of southeast Kansas is yellow while PZ’s is brick red. It’s nice to feel pity for someone else, for a change.

  19. #19 CL
    April 18, 2006

    Spencer: I know that the least-believing part of Ohio is both the poorest and least-populated (the southern/southeastern chunk). On the other hand, it appears that Manhattan is in the 50-75% bracket, with LA and Chicago there as well.

  20. #20 spencer
    April 18, 2006

    The maps skewed by population, if you don’t know what I’m talking about already, can be seen at http://www-personal.umich.edu/~mejn/election/

  21. #21 Molly
    April 18, 2006

    Some’n's wrong here. Ain’t no way in hell fewer than 35.1% of my neighbors in this decencyforsaken patch of Western Colorado are “religious adherents.”

  22. #22 Molly
    April 18, 2006

    On the bright side, though, this map is a strong reinforcement of our decision to move to Portland…

  23. #23 Macaroon
    April 18, 2006

    How nice that my little county in the corner of southeast Kansas is yellow while PZ’s is brick red. It’s nice to feel pity for someone else, for a change.

    As a fellow Kansan, I am amazed as well! Of course, the bright plumage of the Wichita area explains the excellent turnout at the David Sedaris reading last night.

  24. #24 Kagehi
    April 18, 2006

    Hmm. I am in one of the yellow regions of Arizona, or maybe in the red strip sticking out to the left in there.. Given today, I suspect the later. Both the lady I am working for and the dry wall installer also working there are believers in the end of times, she calls herself evangelist, “but not really, because she doesn’t shove it in people’s faces”, though she does like to throw out phrases like, “That’s how God made us!”, while insisting that I shut up because I mention some bits of history or facts from early Christianity that calls into question her version. She also insists that she “knows” that a lot of it isn’t well translated and that part of it where in languages that have no direct correlation in English, **yet** both her and the other nut I talked to today insist that somehow they either a) are following the right version (guess all those pamphlets and appologistics she buys are good for something… lol) or simply that it somehow doesn’t matter, since belief is enough. I just hope I get $@#$@#$ paid before the Anti-Christ shows up to lead 90% of the morons, including her, into drone slaves.

    But seriously, I am beginning to suspect that I will want to get paid before I hit someone. I just got the, “I don’t push me values on you, never mind that I spout religion more or less randomly and every time you sneeze, so show some respect (she calls in honering people’s view?!?) and shut up.”, speech. :p

  25. #25 Chris Mitchell
    April 18, 2006

    Something must be wrong here…For example, King County, WA (where Seattle is) has 1,777,143 people according to 2004 data. It has 35-50%. Now….Let’s take the low end, 35%. 35% of King County = 620,000 people. Ok. How many churche sessions would it take to house 620,000 people? At 1000 per session (that’s huge), we’re talking 600 church sessions just to house that many people. More realistically, its 200-300 people…meaning 2500-3000 church sessions. I’m not sure I beleive this number…

  26. #26 Bruce
    April 18, 2006

    Oregon Rocks! Not one bit of red in the whole state. Eugene is cool (I grew up there) but Portland is the best.

  27. #27 75
    April 18, 2006

    I live just north of that pointy light patch in Minnesota on the north shore of Lake Superior. I wonder what a similar Canadian map would look like.

  28. #28 Dave Eaton
    April 18, 2006

    Hmm. There is something wrong here. Look at eastern Kentucky. This is holy rolling, snake handling, washed in the blood bible smackin’ country. It’s possible that the fact that everybody there is well-armed might have disuaded data gathering, mistaking the researchers for revenue agents looking for stills or dope. I’m not even kidding a little.

    I grew up in Western Kentucky, so the fact that it is brick red doesn’t surprise me at all. I spent plenty of time in the eastern half of the state before finishing college, so I know how bug-eyed batshit nuts about Jesus it is. So something is awry.

  29. #29 CL
    April 18, 2006

    Dave Eaton:

    I think razib nailed it above. When you look at Eastern KY or the rural parts of the Deep South–places we know are the “Bible Belt”–we’re seeing the big failing of the study. It measures religious adherents, not believers. Non-denominational Protestants probably aren’t counted because they can’t be easily categorized. On the other hand, large urban areas, which have high populations of people who identify as Catholic or Jewish even if they aren’t all that religious anymore, and the Upper Midwest, where everyone is Lutheran, score highly.

  30. #30 AndyS
    April 18, 2006

    I agree with CL and razib, the data do not include true believers who are not part of one of the denominations studied. Even so, a good case could be made for making a separate country of the states between and including those bordering the Mississippi to those bordering Utah.

  31. #31 Veritas
    April 18, 2006

    Of course you could always do the intelligent thing and retire yourself to friendlier environs.

    Oh, wait..forgot where I was for a second.

  32. #32 Reed A. Cartwright
    April 18, 2006

    A lot of people consider themselves to be religious but don’t go to church. I’m from Georgia, and the last time I had jury duty, I was surprised how few people said they attended church.

    I’m curious how this map would correlate with a church diversity study. I imagine that in areas dominated by one or two dominations or big churches, most people get associated with a church weather they want to or not, under the idea that people will stick to the church they were born into. Places with more diversity probably see a lot more people swiching churches and thus the churches can’t count on anything.

  33. #33 Dave Eaton
    April 18, 2006

    CL (and razib)- that must be it. There is a lot of extreme religious factionalism in E. KY. My grandparents were some sort of freewill footwashing missionary something or another, though I’m pretty sure they drew the line at snakes and holy rolling.

    Still, I wouldn’t count out the gun-totin’ hillfuck moonshiner/dope cultivator hypothesis entirely.

  34. #34 Don Culberson
    April 18, 2006

    Interesting… I’m down here in the bible belt and my territory is lighter than PZ’s in Minnesota? My frame of reference is shakier than I thought! Not seeing ANY brick red in Alabama? How wierd is that?
    Uncle Don

  35. #35 RCP
    April 18, 2006

    Off-topic, but does anyone know why some pictures won’t show up on this site? I can see the top banner and PZ’s smiling face on the sidebar, but everyhing else just doesn’t show.

  36. #36 canuck
    April 18, 2006

    Ehh, Canadians tend to view religious expositions by public leaders (or really, anyone) in the same light as public orgies with animals.

    I happen to live in Alberta, a province that finds more in common–politically and socially–with America than our neighbour British Columbia, and yet religion here is very much a keep-it-to-yourself subject. AMEN!

    So I’d say that map would be as bleached out as my legs after this long winter–and it’s SNOWING outside at this moment.

  37. #37 JMcH
    April 18, 2006

    Considering how dumb you think religious people are, it’s amazing that the country hasn’t imploded (if it were true, which it is not).

  38. #38 Alon Levy
    April 18, 2006

    I’m inclined to agree with Razib and CL, but I’m interested to know how the map was created, that is how the mapmakers define an adherent.

  39. #39 darthWilliam
    April 18, 2006

    JMcH,

    Umm, how do you know the country is not imploding *now*? W just refused to rule out using nuclear weapons to prevent another country from developing *nuclear weapons*! Does anyone else see the bizzaro-worldness of this type of logic? I feel an implosion coming on!

    …darth

  40. #40 Paul W.
    April 18, 2006

    JMcH,

    Please answer the question about inerrancy—what DO you mean when you say that the Bible is inerrant?

    Considering how dumb you think religious people are [...]

    Some aren’t dumb; some are just ignorant. And some are evasive, hypocritical trolls like you, who like to play the misunderstood, “misrepresented” victim while refusing to actually say what they actually do believe.

  41. #41 BlueIndependent
    April 18, 2006

    Fear not Sir Myers, for remember that the darkest areas house the least population.

  42. #42 JMcH
    April 18, 2006

    Some aren’t dumb; some are just ignorant.

    But that’s not PZ’s assertion, is it? He didn’t call it a “swath of traditional ignorance.” He called it a “swath of traditional dumbassery.” Thus, all religious people = dumb. The bigotry couldn’t be clearer.

    Posts like this make me wonder what it’s like being one of PZ’s religious students or coworkers. Do you think he keeps his frothing contempt under the radar until their backs are turned, or do you think they can see it?

    And some are evasive, hypocritical trolls like you, who like to play the misunderstood, “misrepresented” victim while refusing to actually say what they actually do believe.

    I say what I believe when it’s on topic. If you and others don’t know what Christians mean when they refer to inerrancy, I guess that shows who the truly ignorant people are.

    And keep hiding behind that “troll” condemnation as if it actually is rational. Whatever helps you dodge the points I make.

  43. #43 razib
    April 18, 2006

    Considering how dumb you think religious people are, it’s amazing that the country hasn’t imploded (if it were true, which it is not).

    amazing you haven’t imploded :) idiocy scales up and down, right? :)

  44. #44 razib
    April 18, 2006

    oh, and i elucidate my points here. just in case ppl skim the comments and don’t see my nuggets of obvious wisdom.

  45. #45 Jason Malloy
    April 19, 2006

    Considering how dumb you think religious people are, it’s amazing that the country hasn’t imploded

    I’m Picturing a Randian-esque scenario, where the atheists put down their tools of production. I’m sure all that wonderful sci-tech that drives the American economy would be juuussst fine. Kirk Cameron will do a good job molding the superior science curriculum of tomorrow.

    . . . that is if that pesky Armageddon doesn’t strike first.

  46. #46 Paul W.
    April 19, 2006

    …where the atheists put down their tools of production.

    Or pick up their tools of destruction.

    The whole “war on Christianity” thing is just ludicrous. If this was anything like a war, and with about 90% of top scientists on “our side,” they’d be dead already.

  47. #47 Jason Malloy
    April 19, 2006

    Ok, that’s just creepy. Also they’ve got the military, so ‘no’.

  48. #48 Paul W.
    April 19, 2006
    And some are evasive, hypocritical trolls like you, who like to play the misunderstood, “misrepresented” victim while refusing to actually say what they actually do believe.

    I say what I believe when it’s on topic. If you and others don’t know what Christians mean when they refer to inerrancy, I guess that shows who the truly ignorant people are.

    No, it doesn’t, and this is just more of your deceptive, evasive bullshit.

    As has been repeatedly pointed out, many of us have been Christians—including P.Z. and myself—and some of us have been fundamentalists. We know what we meant by inerrancy as Christians ourselves; you are not willing to accept our personal “been there, done that, decided it was bogus” understanding of inerrancy.

    And I, myself, have discussed biblical inerrancy with many Christians and Jews, including ministers and rabbis. I can tell you some things they’ve said, which support my understandings of several senses of inerrancy. But I suspect that wouldn’t satisfy you.

    So I ask you straight: what the fuck do you mean? I do not want to misrepresent you by telling you what dictionaries and qualified theologians I’ve discussed the concept with say.

    If I’m confused about inerrancy, so are most of the Christian ministers I know, after going to seminary. So why don’t you just spell it out for us ignorant non-Christians and Christians with Doctor of Divinity Degrees, okay?

    It’s rather a controversial subject, even among Christians, and even among inerrantist Christians. So in order not to “misrepresent” you by stating a particular view—a non-Christian view, or a non-inerrantist Christian view, or the wrong kind of inerrantist Christian view—I thought I’d just ask what the hell you’re talking about.

    And keep hiding behind that “troll” condemnation as if it actually is rational. Whatever helps you dodge the points I make.

    That’s extremely funny, for somebody who won’t even MAKE his points—but chooses intstead to use cheap “intuition pumps” about complicated subjects, asking “gotcha” questions while shielding his own views from similar scrutiny.

    You’re a lightweight, Jinx. You don’t have the balls to have a serious argument about deep issues.

    Prove me wrong. What does “inerrant” mean, if not what the dictionary says it means?

  49. #49 Rey
    April 19, 2006

    “And keep hiding behind that “troll” condemnation as if it actually is rational. Whatever helps you dodge the points I make.”

    Points like “PZ Myers is mean”, and “You guys are all mean for agreeing with him and being mean”? Yeah, we all know those to be true, we don’t really feel the need to debate them.

  50. #50 Dan
    April 19, 2006

    JMcH:

    Considering how dumb you think religious people are, it’s amazing that the country hasn’t imploded (if it were true, which it is not).

    This country has already imploded at least two times in its history (arguably three), and there’s no use denying that it’s doing it again right now. History shows that that’s just what countries/empires/nation-states do, and that it’s usually (but certainly not always) the religious people who fuck things up for everyone else.

    So really, you should be pretty happy in the knowledge that you’re doing everything you can to help the process along.

  51. #51 george cauldron
    April 19, 2006

    Jinxy, you’re being a weasel. What we’re asking you is HOW DO YOU DEFINE BIBLICAL INERRANCY FOR YOURSELF? Do you believe every last story in the OT is literally true, like Noah’s Flood & the Tower of Babel? How old do you think the Earth is?

    There isn’t some one-size-fits-all definition that applies to everyone.

    And don’t blither about how it’s off topic, or how you want to keep in line with PZ’s wishes, since we all know your main reason to be here is to antagonize people and most of your political rants aren’t on-topic anyway. And you can hardly be accused of ‘respecting PZ’s wishes’.

    Why are you so eager to shove your political views on us but you WON’T answer this question? Are you ashamed of your religious views? Most people with fundamentalist Christian views are PROUD of it, why are you hiding it?

  52. #52 Alon Levy
    April 19, 2006

    Could you guys please scroll up to my first comment in this thread, and see that it is actually possible to try continuing discussing things instead of feed the troll?

  53. #53 Daniel Martin
    April 19, 2006

    I’ll attempt to restart discussion by pointing at several maps like the one quoted. In particular, I find the “which type of church has the most adherents” (labeled “church bodies”) a very informative one.

    I tried posting this before, but my comment was held for approval and never made it apparently.

  54. #54 Alon Levy
    April 19, 2006

    If you have more than one link (or two – I’m not sure) in your comment, then ScienceBlogs automatically holds it for approval.

    Do you know of any map about the percentage of nonreligious people in the US by county?

  55. #55 Carlie
    April 19, 2006

    I think it would be interesting to have a quick post to survey the religious backgrounds of the people reading this blog – at the least, it would show that we weren’t all raised with feral wolves in the wilderness with respect to religion (as some *ahem* seem to think), but also to see what diversity PZ’s got going here.

  56. #56 Roy S
    April 19, 2006

    In particular, I find the “which type of church has the most adherents” (labeled “church bodies”) a very informative one.

    I hope you’re just getting qualitative information from that map – it would be more accurately labeled as “which type of churches report the most adherents”, and the differences between different churches’ membership definitions and counting methodologies can make a big difference.

    Take a look at the tables at the bottom of the Census’ Statistical Abstract of the United States; there’s no religious data collected by the census itself, but there is one table obtained by an independent random telephone survey and one other obtained by collecting numbers from the religions themselves, and the differences between the two are in the millions.

  57. #57 Russell
    April 19, 2006

    JMcH: “Considering how dumb you think religious people are..”

    PZ didn’t say that religious people are dumb. He said that religious belief is dumb. Even smart people do dumb things. I’m suspicious that the person who can’t look back on their recent past and point out a few boners is more showing arrogance than brilliance.

    Saying that it is dumb to believe religion is no more bigotry than saying it is dumb to carry a large debt on credit cards, or to stay in an abusive relationship, or to enter a business relationship with a Nigerian banker who oddly emailed you with an interesting opportunity. When one points out the dumbness of some course of action to someone still committed to it, the usual response back is anger. People addicted to uncontrolled consumer debt often resent the financial advisors who frequently write on the harm of that. That doesn’t make the financial advisors bigots.

  58. #58 James
    April 19, 2006

    Its always amusing to see expressions of bigotry given a “scientific” veneer, with little colored maps and everything.

    And who cares how the “data” was collected? You all know all about those fundies anyway.

  59. #59 Uber
    April 19, 2006

    I think it should be pointed out that Catholic numbers are vastly inflated for the simple reason once your born a Catholic you stay one unless excommunicated. That means a good number of people counted as Catholic are either now non religious or going to another denomination. In effect they are counted twice.

  60. #60 Gh
    April 19, 2006

    Its always amusing to see expressions of bigotry given a “scientific” veneer, with little colored maps and everything.

    How is it bigotry to examine the demographics of a subject?

    No one is oppressing anyone or even hurting another. Unlike protesters of various gay events around the nation.

  61. #61 spencer
    April 19, 2006

    It’s funny – I’ve lived in Florida, Massachusetts, Michigan and North Carolina over the course of my life. In three of those states, I have lived only in counties in the under-50%-religious range.

    The fourth? Godless liberal Massachusetts, where as many as 75% of my neighbors were believers of some sort. Go figure.

  62. #62 Paul W.
    April 19, 2006

    James writes:

    Its always amusing to see expressions of bigotry given a “scientific” veneer, with little colored maps and everything.

    It’s always amusing to see a minority that thinks the dominant theory is stupid accused of “bigotry” by the poor, persecuted majority.

    (I suppose Galileo was a horrible bigot for thinking that heliocentrism was stupid, in light of the facts, and for bemoaning being surrounded by dogmatic heliocentrists.)

    P.Z. thinks religion is dumbassery, and for good reasons. (No, no he didn’t give his arguments in this post, but he has given them many times, and thoroughly justified the opinion he is expressing.)

    If you want to disagree with him on points, go ahead; perhaps you can show that P.Z. has no good reasons for his views after all, and is really just rationalizing bigotry.

    That would be interesting.

    But if you just assume that he’s a bigot just for thinking certain common ideas are stupidly wrong, you’ve fallen prey to a common kind of dumbassery, making you the bigot.

  63. #63 Loris
    April 19, 2006

    Back on the topic of why certain areas of the map don’t look like we’d expect. Did anyone notice the legend states the map is a product of the responses from 149 religous bodies that participated in the survey. I believe that probably left out many very small denominations or local churches not affiliated with larger groups.

    For instance, in the Southeast, many people are fundamentalist Xians and attend crazy chruches or really large megachurches that aren’t neccesarily associated with a denomination.

    As for the major denominations, I think much of the red in the South could probably be associated with Southern Baptists and Episcopalians (sp?). In St. Charles and St. Louis counties in Missouri, the red is probably associated with a very high number of Catholics and Lutherans. I doubt the Church of God Holiness in St. Charles reported their numbers seeing as how they’re a tiny church in a city with much larger ones.

    The survey methodology behind this map seems to be flawed. Perhaps actual people should have been asked about their religious life.

  64. #64 Melanie Reap
    April 19, 2006

    Hmmm, Winona County, Minnesota is a lighter shade than PZ’s county despite our being the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Winona. Odd.

  65. #65 CCP
    April 19, 2006

    so back to the map…
    It sure got Oklahoma right. That one pale county right in the middle? Oklahoma City. The other one, to the east? Tulsa.
    I did 6 years in one of the red counties.

  66. #66 Uber
    April 19, 2006

    An interesting aspect of this map is that it shows with a large degree of probability that religion is something you simply are indoctrinated with from your parents. Certain regions of the country are disctinctly religiously flavored due to historical factors.

    None of it has to do with the veracity of one religions claims as you would expect with a normal idea.

  67. #67 Melanie Reap
    April 19, 2006

    “As for the major denominations, I think much of the red in the South could probably be associated with Southern Baptists and Episcopalians (sp?).” quoted from Loris

    Piskies?? No way. We’re holding at about 2 million actual attending members nationwide. Our brand recognition has always far exceeded our numbers (highest # was about 5 million actual communicants during the 1950′s). The largest denomination in the US is the RC Church with Southern Baptists coming in second and the United Methodist Church a distant third. Us Piskies are WAY down the list.

  68. #68 Melanie Reap
    April 19, 2006

    The pale county in the middle of Oklahoma is not Oklahoma County (home of OKC) it is Logan County. Oklahoma County is the square one just south of Logan County. The county south of Oklahoma County (the one that looks like Vermont)is Cleveland County, home of the University of Oklahoma.

  69. #69 greensmile
    April 19, 2006

    clearly, a move to Oregon is in order!.

    Can’t figure my Massachusetts out: by churchyness, a red state, by votes, a blue state.

  70. #70 Loris
    April 19, 2006

    Melanie,

    I didn’t realize the Episcopal church was so small. I’ve seen lots of them in the South, and very few RC churches, at least in rural areas. Maybe the red is Methodists? Where I live there are Baptists, Methodists, Lutherans and Catholics….and your small fundy denominiations.

  71. #71 GH
    April 19, 2006

    The largest denomination in the US is the RC Church with Southern Baptists coming in second and the United Methodist Church a distant third. Us Piskies are WAY down the list.

    This is a little deceptive as previously mentioned. The RC church counts everyone even those attending other churches or not attending period. Other denominations don’t do this. Most studies I’ve seen place the RC’s actually numbers 50-70% lower than they claim. Which washes with the number of closing RC churches in the USA.

  72. #72 Keith Douglas
    April 19, 2006

    Troutnut: I assume that Ithaca is secularized by Cornell, no?

    Jason Malloy: I saw 2 minutes of that Kirk Cameron clip. It is crap like that for which I did, in fact (though in part) throw away my television.

    All: People seem to be mistaking adherence for service attendance. I suspect there are millions of people in the US who would say they are X and yet very rarely attend religious services of X. “Twice a year Catholics” are probably pretty common, for example.

    Uber: Sociologists of religion have already demonstrated that hypothesis: religious affiliation of parents is the best predictor of religious affiliation.

  73. #73 TXatheist
    April 19, 2006

    somebody said [b]I think this must not include evangelicals – no way the deep south is that smart[/b]

    Hey! I’m down here by myself fighting this ugly mess of inbred, backwardass rednecks. I can use some help. No,seriously, I a non-conformist so I don’t mind. I almost moved to Birmingham to fight 2 issues, racism and religion but TX is as far as I’ve gotten. It keeps me busy though:) Yes, I could move but the fundys would think they won then and that ain’t going to happen. The South lost the war and they’ll lose their religious ignorance with my help:)

  74. #74 Molly
    April 19, 2006

    Well, if those giant nondenominational megachurches aren’t being counted, that definitely explains the uncanny paleness of Colorado (home of Focus on the Family, Ted Haggard’s New Life Church, etc., etc.). I swear, you can’t throw a rock in this town without hitting a member of one of those “rock’n'roll for Jesus” churches. (Believe me, I’ve tried.)

    In this town of approximately 50,000 people (“metropolitan” area of about 75,000), there are at least four megachurches I can think of off the bat… all of whose devotees would be missed by these studies. And ohmygosh, give me an old-fashioned Methodist or Catholic or Episcopalian over one of these Bible-thumping bigots any day. (My in-laws go to the biggest of these churches… so I kinda sorta know whereof I speak.)

  75. #75 Macrobe
    April 19, 2006

    I’d like to see how that map compares to current (and more complete) stats.
    I live in a sea of Godfearers: Central Texas. A few of us remain holding flickering lights of reason.

  76. #76 Molly
    April 19, 2006

    Well, if those giant nondenominational megachurches aren’t being counted, that definitely explains the uncanny paleness of Colorado (home of Focus on the Family, Ted Haggard’s New Life Church, etc., etc.). I swear, you can’t throw a rock in this town without hitting a member of one of those “rock’n'roll for Jesus” churches.

    In this town of approximately 50,000 people (“metropolitan” area of about 75,000), there are at least four megachurches I can think of off the bat… all of whose devotees would be missed by these studies. And ohmygosh, give me an old-fashioned Methodist or Catholic or Episcopalian over one of these Bible-thumping bigots any day. (My in-laws go to the biggest of these churches… so I kinda sorta know whereof I speak.)

  77. #77 ericnh
    April 19, 2006

    Living in southern NH and working in Boston, those areas are much darker than I thought. I can only guess that folks around here talk about it much less than they actually practice it. I know plenty of people go to churches (and jam up the roads in the process) but it’s not talked about much, at least not in my day-to-day experience. And that’s all I ask. Go to church and pray all you want, just don’t talk to me about it. I’ve got my own views (and I’m not exactly sure how I feel about those–still sorting them out).

  78. #78 Melanie Reap
    April 19, 2006

    True about the RC’s Loris. I know that my sister and I are still “counted” since we were baptised RC, even though she’s a nominal Buddhist and I’ve swum the Thames.

    As far as all of those Episcopalian churches you’ve seen, there are at least two reasons I can think of to explain it: 1. ECUSA has many very small parishes, especially in rural areas. We don’t “do” megachurches. 2. Those might not be ECUSA Episcopal churches. They could be one of the break away groups which are conservative to very conservative and more prevalent in the South. However, they still retain “Episcopal” in their name. Sort of a bait and switch.

  79. #79 cfeagans
    April 19, 2006

    Correlation doesn’t imply causation, but the red/orange sections down the middle of the continent are also where the most serious weather occurs.

    Robin Horton surmised that people find religion to fullfil unmet social needs. Primitive people turn to sky gods to help them with their lack of technology and ability to affect things like weather, crops, sickness, etc. Techno-advanced cultures are more individualistic and less social, and they turn to gods to form personal relationships (“Jesus is my co-pilot”).

    The mid-continent people are more rural and experience the worst weather (storms, droughts, floods, tornados, etc).

    Just a thought.

  80. #80 Jenna
    April 19, 2006

    I live in San Francisco, and while most adults here are sane and open-minded, the dumbassery asserts itself in those that are so open-minded that their brains have fallen out. I grew up in upstate NY, and I think there should be more red in the Rochester area specifically.

  81. #81 Rupert
    April 19, 2006

    A few points: I can’t speak for the US Episcopalians, but in the Church of England ( * ) once you’re baptised you’re in for life. This gives rise to two things – the very high percentage of C of E believers in the census compared to the numbers who actually go to church, and the functional equivalence to a reasonably high degree of atheism and C of E membership.

    R

    ( * The C of E is Anglican, aka Piskie. The Church of Scotland is Presbyterian but by no means the only one, whereas the C of E is the only Piskie church in England (This may change soon, due to an excess of Christian Love).

    There is no Church of Great Britain, despite us being one country. There IS the Methodist Church of Great Britain, which is the same both sides of the border, but that may rejoin the Piskies when, one expects, it will become part of the Church of England but not the Church of Scotland. They can drink now, so it’s not as bad as it seems.

    The Episcopalian church is so called because its distinguishing feature is bishops, just like the Roman Catholic church. The Roman Catholic church is episcopalian but not Episcopalian, whereas the Episcopalian church is catholic but not Catholic. Anyone caught asking why Anglo Catholics are much more like Roman Catholics than Roman Catholics are these days will be dropped in the middle of the Tiber to see whether they’re a witch.

    And all that is very, very simple compared to the reasons it got that way in the first place. Other side effects include America, genocide and the Vicar of Bray. May contain nuts.)

  82. #82 Melanie Reap
    April 19, 2006

    Great explanation, Rupert! We should mention the Episcopal Church of Scotland just to keep heads spinning.

  83. #83 MyGoodness
    April 19, 2006

    I think we can conclude by saying that this map is no good whatsoever. Religion is always trickly to measure, and this map has done a bad job of it. No point talking about it or getting excited about it.

    Asking denominations to tell you how many believers they have is an incredibly bad method, as most denominations (and congregations) inflate their numbers (not just the RC, but also the Mormons, the Bahai, and just about any other group). It is, in any case, very hard to say whether someone is affiliated to a religion or not, just as it is difficult to say whether someone is affiliated with say, the vast “secular humanist” conspiracy the religious crazies like to talk about. Does drinking latte and reading Russel and Hume make you a “secular humanist,” even if you go to church, say, once every two months?

    To continue the discussion of Canada, I would say that Canada would also be quite mixed – it would by no means be all pale. I would guess that Toronto and most big cities would be reddish (Catholics, Jews, Muslims and Sikhs), as would be parts of the Maritimes and rural Alberta, but that we would also have surprising lapses. I wouldn’t be surprised if Calgary was also somewhat paler than people expected.

  84. #84 Christopher
    April 19, 2006

    I’m a little bit baffled as to why threats against SAW don’t really matter, but threats against Malkin are “the true face of the left”.

    As far as I can tell the only reason to make one set of shit-headded harrasment indicitive of an entire political party’s thought and the other a fringe movement is that it makes your side look good.

    If you have some statistics that show that, say, Russ Feingold was behind one of those racist e-mails I might be more sympathetic to case that those represent the “true” face of the left.

    Incidentally, if you pay a bit more attention, you’ll note that it’s not just a matter of Malkin posting public contact information; she A href=”http://michellemalkin.com/archives/004999.htm”>continued to post contact information even after SAW had taken it down and complained about her posting it!

    I don’t have a problem with her original posting, but this second one is pretty damn lame. She deliberately posted personal information again even after the people involved said they didn’t want people to see it anymore.

    Ideally, she would’ve taken down the original posting. Also acceptable would be to simply leave it and not publish the information further.

    But to REPUBLISH information that has no value accept as a tool to harass people Malkin doesn’t like, I think that’s going too far.

  85. #85 arensb
    April 19, 2006

    I’m going to join the chorus of people saying that there’s something fishy about that map. I have trouble believing that Prince George’s County, MD, has fewer religious adherents than neighboring Montgomery County. Or maybe I don’t quite understand what the map is showing.

  86. #86 the valrus
    April 19, 2006

    Hey, don’t be talking smack about Montgomery County. I’m from there.

  87. #87 arensb
    April 19, 2006

    Walrus:
    I’m not. I lived there for years. It just seems implausible to me for Montgomery to be more religious than PG.

    In the final analysis, I think the problem is that the map doesn’t show what it looks as though it ought to.

  88. #88 with a Y
    April 19, 2006

    Hey Paul, You’re welcome back in Eugene anytime ………..

  89. #89 with a Y
    April 20, 2006

    As for the attempted survey ….

    My wife and I were both raised Methodist with little lasting effect. Our children are mostly indoctrinated in anti-dumbassery .. except for that one that got away. Of course we continue our attempts to reverse her slide, but she does live in Idaho so the odds are against us.

  90. #90 A White Bear
    April 20, 2006

    A few years ago I moved to Brooklyn, having imagined that all of NYC was the secular paradise I was promised by my God-fearing Midwestern family (okay, that was more “threatened”), but I find it really is completely full of religious people. Even the academics here are likely to practice religion of some kind. NY has very devout Muslims, Jews, Catholics, and Protestants, in addition to Hindus, Buddhists, and on and on. It’s no Patrobertsonland since it’s so diverse and you really can’t proselytize to everyone you see, but it’s highly religious on the whole.

  91. #91 A White Bear
    April 20, 2006

    …though I have to add, I don’t see how anyone could distinguish Manhattan on that map. I see yellow around Brooklyn, but I can’t see Manhattan at all. Did someone confuse it for Long Island, which is extremely religious?