Monday, June 30, 2008

Review of UnChristian: Comparing the image of Christianity to other groups II

(Part 8 in a series)

UnChristian claims that American Christianity has an image problem, especially among young, non-believers.

As part of investigating this claim, I have presented some data that compares the images of different religions in America. My thinking is that "problem" is a comparative term, and that if indeed Christianity has an image problem, it would be thought of more negatively than other religions.

Here are more data suggesting this probably isn't the case. They come from the Mosaic Study

The first survey question represents a measure of public acceptance and trust. It asks: "For each [group], please tell me how much you think people in this group agree with YOUR vision of American society. Below is a graph indicating the percentage of respondents reporting that the group did "not at all" match the respondents vision of America.

As you can see, the groups seen as most outside the American way are atheists and Muslims. Note: The question asks about "conservative" Christians, and that adjective alone should be enough to gain the disfavor of some people. (E.g., Q=Would you like a conservative $100 bill? A=get lost).

conducted by the University of Minnesota Sociology Department. (To be clear, these data bear upon the image of Christianity among the general populace, not just young people outside of the church.)

In another question, the Mosaic project asks about public trust and acceptance. Specifically, would the respondent disapprove if their son or daughter married someone from a particular group.

As shown again, it's atheists and Muslims who are not accepted, presumably due to part to what UnChristian would label an "image problem" (which could also be termed prejudice or stereotypes).

Source of data: Edgell, Gerteis, and Hartmann, American Sociological Review, April 2006

Thanks Edward for reminding me about these data.

Part 9 in the series.


yottzumm said...

It might be interesting to do a research study on how different groups view each other. That is, identify some people in a religious group, and then ask them how they feel about other religious groups, then repeat for another set of people in another religious group...

Brad Wright said...

That would be interesting...