Wednesday, July 02, 2008

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

(Part 9 in a series)

This post continues a series of analyses of whether Christianity has an image problem relative to other religions. Here I use data from the General Social Survey, perhaps the most commonly used data source in sociological research. The GSS asks a series of questions using a "feeling thermometer" in which respondents rate their feelings toward a social institution from 0 to 100. The higher the number, the more favorable the feelings toward that institution. According the directions given to respondents, a score of "50" means that they don't feel particularly warm or cold toward the group.

The GSS also asks questions about the respondents religious affiliation, and so I could separate out the temperature feelings toward different religions by whether the respondent was Christian themselves. (Note: the sample wasn't big enough to separate out young non-Christians).

As shown below:
- Christians rate all four religion groups more favorable than do non-Christians (though this is especially true for Protestantism and Catholicism).
- Non-Christians rate Protestantism, Catholicism, and Judaism slightly above average, meaning an average slightly warm feeling toward the religion. (Note: the non-Christian respondents include Jews, of course, which may account for the slightly higher rating of Judaism).
- Islam is the lowest rated religious group, by both Christians and non-Christians.

My conclusion? If we compare Christianity to other religious groups, there seems to be no evidence that Christianity has a particular image problem. In fact, non-Christians have average slightly-warm feelings toward both Protestantism and Catholicism.

Next: Attitudes toward Christian over time


J. R. Miller said...

excellent series. keep writing brother :-)

Ray Fowler said...

I agree. This has been a great series, Brad.

Brad Wright said...

Thank you JR and Ray... I appreciate the encouraging words.

Brandon said...

It's been a great series. I'm so glad I no longer have to worry about being extra nice to people! ;)

Brad Wright said...