Thursday, July 30, 2009

Religion and college majors

A study recently came out that looks at the role of religion in university students education choices. I haven't read the article yet, but here are some of the findings as summarized here.

  • The odds of going to college increase for high school students who attend religious services more frequently or who view religion as more important in their lives. The researchers speculate that there may be a "nagging theory" in which fellow churchgoers encourage the students to attend college.
  • Being a humanities or a social science major has a statistically significant negative effect on religiosity -- measured by either religious attendance and how important students consider the importance of religion in their lives. The impact appears to be strongest in the social sciences.
  • Students in education and business show an increase in religiosity over their time at college.
  • Majoring in the biological or physical sciences does not affect religious attendance of students, but majoring in the physical sciences does negatively relate to the way students view the importance of religion in their lives.
  • Religious attendance is positively associated with staying in majors in the social sciences, biological sciences and business majors. For most vocational majors, the researchers found a negative relationship between religious attendance and staying in the same major. The researchers compare this finding to their data about how students who attend services are more likely to enroll in college in the first place: "In both cases, religious attendance encourages a shift toward a higher status path."
I suppose that the take home message for Christian parents is: "Momma don't let your babies grow up to study sociology."

Actually, I wonder about the cause and effect of this. Do students who question their religion gravitate toward the social sciences or does taking classes in the social sciences make students question their religion.

I would assume that GenEd requirements have all students take some social science courses, so the majors just take maybe six to eight more of them.

What do you think?

Thanks Patti!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Marriage patterns by religion

Here's an interesting graphic from the Pew Foundation about Americans' marriage patterns by religion.

What patterns do you see in the data?

Monday, July 27, 2009

What did you do this weekend?

What did you do this weekend? Whatever it was, I'll bet it wasn't as cool as what my brother John did... he went hang gliding in Yosemite Valley!!!! You have to be really, really good at hang gliding to do that, and he is and did.

Here are some pics of his:

Sunday, July 26, 2009

A Midwestern wedding entrance

Here's a video of a charming and joyful dancing wedding entrance. When I saw it, I wondered why more people haven't done it. (We didn't because I am a felony-level bad dancer). When I showed the clip to Cathy, without any introduction, she asked after about a minute if it was a Midwest Church. Sure enough, it was shot in Minnesota. I asked her how she knew, and she figured it out by how the people looked and dressed. (She's from the Midwest).


Saturday, July 25, 2009

Barn Window (pic)

Here's the window of an old barn, and it was torn down about a month after I took the picture. :-(

Friday, July 24, 2009

Yes, we worry when the kids are quiet

Yesterday, Cathy told Gus and Floyd that they needed to go outside because there were getting pretty wild inside. Then, after about 5-10 minutes, she realized that she wasn't hearing them play, which could only mean trouble. Yes, they ignored the trampoline, the swingset, the treehouse, and the pool so that they could... take turns locking each other in trunk of the car.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Joel Stein on Christian Improv.

Joel Stein, pop culture journalist, has written a really funny article about an comedy improv group at Rick Warren's Saddleback Valley Church.

Here's the first paragraph:

"There are many things Evangelical Christians are good at, such as bake sales and talking to me on planes. They're less adept at other things, such as comedy and fighting lions. Christians aren't funny because they tend to be literal-minded. Also because they're sad about having had sex with only one person. So when Kevin Roose, author of the excellent new book The Unlikely Disciple, told me that Rick Warren's giant Saddleback Church has its own improv group, for the first time in my life, I felt my calling. I may not be the Woody Allen or Jon Stewart of the secular world, but in the land of the unfunny Christian, the one-joked Jew is king."

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Boy and puppy (pic)

A boy in our neighborhood recently got a new puppy, so I asked if I could take his picture with it. This is another use for panoramas.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Summer camp for atheists

Here's an interesting article in this week's Economist. Apparently a series of summer camps for kids from atheist families. The article frames these camps in terms of such kids needing social support, but what interests me is that it's another example of atheism being practiced in the same way that people practice religions.

Monday, July 13, 2009

The problem with linearity (comic)

Some social things are linear, but many things are not... as shown in this comic.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Barn & lillies (pic)

Hm-m-m-m, I seem to be stuck on barns. Another pic that I've posted before but I've redone it.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Theories of church growth

Andy Rowell has done of nice job of summarizing some of the main theories about church growth. He identifies 14 factors, and what strikes me about this list is how wide-ranging the ideas are. Makes me think that we don't really know what's going on. :-/

"I looked at work from seven researcher teams: Stark, Hout/Greeley/Wilde, Woolever/Bruce, Stetzer/Dodson, Olson, Chaves, and Thumma.

Here is a summary of the 14 factors which I document fully below: (1) witnessing, (2) strictness, (3) high fertility rates, (4) caring for children and youth, (5) high involvement, (6) welcoming new people, (7) leadership, (8) prayer, (9) being a church of 1000+ attendees or under 50 attendees, (10) being located in rural counties, (11) being in rapidly growing zip codes, (12) being in a tradition that is altering worship practices slightly but not too much, (13) churches that offer “intimacy and choice” and (14) attractive worship style, senior pastor, and church reputation."

Monday, July 06, 2009

Religion in Scandinavia

Here's a very interesting article about religion in Scandinavia. It's based on the book Society without God by Phil Zuckerman. Though irreligious in many ways, the Danes and Swedes that he interviewed "were in no way despairing nihilists but “for the most part, a happy, satisfied lot” who “generally live productive, creative, contented lives.”"

They seem to embrace religion but at a very shallow cultural level. Actually believing in God in a deep, moving manner is almost a faux pas.

Sounds like an interesting book.

Thanks David!

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Barn & Forsythia (pic)

This is probably the first picture I took that I still really like.... I took it several years ago and have been back in spring since, but it hasn't looked as good.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Dancing contagion

Here's an amusing example of contagion... a guy starts dancing by himself and soon starts quite the party.

It gives me hope that really, really bad dancers can make a difference in the world.

Thanks Adrienne!

Thursday, July 02, 2009

The answer

Here's the answer to yesterday's question. Frankly I thought that the Pope and Hannah Montana would have done better. As many golfers as Catholics and not that many preteen girls who answer surveys?

Who would you rather meet and have your picture taken with?...Barack Obama, the Pope, Hannah Montana, Tiger Woods

42% Barack Obama
21 The Pope
5 Hannah Montana
22 Tiger Woods
8 None (Vol.)
1 Don't know

FOX News/Opinion Dynamics Poll [June, 2009]

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Today's obscure survey question:

Somehow I came across this stirring bit of knowledge.

A FoxNews survey asked the following question:

Who would you rather meet and have your picture taken with?...Barack Obama, the Pope, Hannah Montana, Tiger Woods?

Any guesses as to how people answered? (I.e., the order of the four?) I'll post it tomorrow.