Comments on: Does FRC index underline weak link between faith and family? Religion, faith and ethics Sat, 23 Apr 2016 23:25:07 +0000 hourly 1 By: alexander2 Sat, 18 Dec 2010 19:14:45 +0000 The FRC report does not show a weak link between faith and family, it shows a weak link between evangelicalism and faith. Asians, probably in part because of the South Asian Muslims (as the author notes) have high “belonging” percentages as do Mormons. That fact of the matter is that the findings are a critical commentary on the lack of conservatism in the evangelical world. They are very worldly people who are quite immersed in the secular culture and accept many of its values with a Christian veneer. I could say the same for many of my fellow religionists in America (Eastern Orthodox). The more socially conservative (not “evangelical” or “Catholic”) a group is, the greater the index of belonging. The trouble is that most Christian denominations do not use cultural pressure, including excommunication, in order to enforce standards. The utter hypocrisy will continue until they decide to do so.

By: rushhour3600 Thu, 16 Dec 2010 22:31:30 +0000 Pat Fagan happens to be a Catholic. He is evaluating data not promoting Evangelical presuppositions.

By: pff Thu, 16 Dec 2010 16:32:20 +0000 Pat Fagan here (the author of the study).
Overall I agree with the direction of FaithWorld’s questions but first a few clarifications (followed by almost-disagreements):
1: I am Catholic, not Evangelical (though FRC is).
2: I would have gladly put in the religious attendance data but Census NEVER collects such data though I wish they would (other federal surveys do and the American Community Survey would be so much better if it did). I hope you will push for that.
3: We have covered this anomaly (high worship and low marriage) and brought lots of attention to it. See our study based on the National Child Health Survey (  )
4: Bill O’Hare, former editor of the Kids Count from the Annie E Casey Foundation was the first I know of to point out this anomaly. (Mississippi is the highest weekly church attending state but the lowest family intact state). This clearly points to a family / marriage crisis within the church. Probably most within the Black church — but not solely there. One cannot call oneself a serious Christian (unless one also calls oneself an unreformed one and a sinner) while simultaneously breaking universal Christian doctrine on sex and marriage. This bears further digging into.
5: All the deep digging into the relationship between religious practice and marital stability points to a very clear and very strong relationship between both. (We have a review of that literature coming up on our website (MARRI.FRC.ORG) in the next few months. This will only heighten the anomaly, not diminish it.
5 (a) Our Mapping America Project ( does show — repeatedly — that the intact family that worships weekly is the strongest social unit and the most productive by far. So religious practice and marriage are very important for the strength of the country. Let’s not pit one against the other.
6: The Mormon states do very well and overall most exemplify (at the state level) this strength of relationship (which holds across all denominations). There is clearly grist for the church-leadership mill here.
7: As I hope this will make clear (and I hope FaitWorld will notice) we are interested in the truth, not ideological point-scoring. There is much to unravel in the tension between the macro data (state level marriage vs worship data) and micro data (the greater the religious attendance/ prayer the stronger and more stable the marriage). But it is precisely these “contrary” data that are the source of intellectual breakthrough.
8: To add to this dilemma: The social sciences (to date and probably always) cannot measure the heart (the inner workings, desires, cover-ups, prayers — or lack thereof). It is confined to measuring externalities — measurable behaviors and words. Getting to the hidden interiorities is beyond its competence. Christ excoriated the religious leaders of his time for what was not in their heart even as the externals looked rather devout. We may be in the same situation. I know I often am.
9: Our data point towards a need for reform within the church. History teaches two lessons about Christianity: practiced it yields enormous benefits, talked about but not practiced it yields untold suffering and it a great cause for scandal and shame.
10: The history of Christianity is a history of reform upon reform upon reform. Seems like we need it again.. at least that is what I take from the data.

By: BotBot Thu, 16 Dec 2010 00:12:22 +0000 The 2005 National Study of Youth and Religion published by UNC-Chapel Hill found that Church of Jesus Christ (LDS) youth (ages 13 to 17) were more likely to exhibit these Christian characteristics than Evangelicals (the next most observant group):

1. Attend Religious Services weekly
2. Importance of Religious Faith in shaping daily life – extremely important
3. Believes in life after death
4. Does NOT believe in psychics or fortune-tellers
5. Has taught religious education classes
6. Has fasted or denied something as spiritual discipline
7. Sabbath Observance
8. Shared religious faith with someone not of their faith
9. Family talks about God, scriptures, prayer daily
10. Supportiveness of church for parent in trying to raise teen (very supportive)
11. Church congregation has done an excellent job in helping teens better understand their own sexuality and sexual morality

. LDS . Evangelical
1. 71% . . 55%
2. 52 . . . 28
3. 76 . . . 62
4. 100 . . 95
5. 42 . . . 28
6. 68 . . . 22
7. 67 . . . 40
8. 72 . . . 56
9. 50 . . . 19
10 65 . . . 26
11 84 . . . 35

You would think Evangelical preachers would be emulating Mormon practices (a creed to believe, a place to belong, a calling to live out, and a hope to hold onto) which were noted by Methodist Rev. Kenda Creasy Dean of the Princeton Theological Seminary, as causing Mormon teenagers to “top the charts” in Christian characteristics.