I Hope You’re Happy

Did you see the recent study that the Pew Research Center has posted, on the positive correlation between being religious and being happy? It’s worth looking at, especially if you think scholarship on religion ought to be no less rigorous than scholarship on any other aspect of being human.

Continue reading

Religion on the Television (Part 1)

1 Nashville REV

A recent article in the online journal Religious Dispatches discusses the Southern Christian presence, or lack thereof, on the hit television show Nashville. In an intriguing analysis, writer Carrie Allen Tipton points to the popular “spirituality” the show displays instead of the evangelical piety one would expect to find in a program situated in the Bible Belt and devoted to the culture of country of music. Perhaps the a-religiosity of the show can be attributed to the presumed proliferation of the unaffiliated—the “nones” so visible in the press of late. In any case, church going, if it is mentioned at all, seems a matter of nostalgia for Nashville’s leading characters. The church choir of long ago is recalled with affection, but those sacred precincts of yesteryear have been replaced for the show’s heroes with new sanctuaries: the Bluebird Café, in particular, and the famous Ryman Auditorium. Continue reading

Probing the Problematic Polls

Picture 6A few days ago I posted on Facebook and asked when someone was going to tackle a dissertation on the Pew Charitable Trust or its research wing, and the way in which their seemingly objective polling is actually constituting a very particular sort of social world into which it is trying to fit the entire population of the globe.

And voila, here’s a piece of data for that hypothetical dissertation: an article from the New York Review of Books on how the survey gets it wrong when it comes to the role of religion in China. Continue reading

One Bad Apple Don’t Spoil the Whole Bunch

juggalosIn the news this past week was the FBI’s classification of the fans — the so-called Juggalos — of the hip hop duo, Insane Clown Posse (ICP), as members of a gang (a classification that allows law enforcement greater freedoms). The group is now suing the FBI. Continue reading

Nones Panel Response and Discussion

killen pic

Did you miss the panel “Discussing the Nones: What They Say About the Category Religion and American Society” at the American Academy of Religion meetings in Baltimore last month? Our own Prof. Steven Ramey joined Chip Callahan (Missouri), Sean McCloud (UNC Charlotte), Monica Miller (Lehigh University) and Patricia O’Connell Killen (Gonzaga) for a lively panel discussion that is now available for your viewing pleasure. Steven and Monica have already written about their responses to the panel here. Now you can watch it for yourself, with a new segment posted each day this week. Continue reading

Talking on the Nones at the AAR

mon panel

Did you miss the panel “Discussing the Nones: What They Say About the Category Religion and American Society” at the American Academy of Religion meetings in Baltimore last month? Our own Prof. Steven Ramey joined Chip Callahan (Missouri), Sean McCloud (UNC Charlotte), Monica Miller (Lehigh University) and Patricia O’Connell Killen (Gonzaga) for a lively panel discussion that is now available for your viewing pleasure. Steven and Monica have already written about their responses to the panel here. Now you can watch it for yourself, with a new segment posted each day this week. Continue reading

Discussing the “Nones” at the AAR

Did you miss the panel “Discussing the Nones: What They Say About the Category Religion and American Society” at the American Academy of Religion meetings in Baltimore last month? Our own Prof. Steven Ramey joined Chip Callahan (Missouri), Sean McCloud (UNC Charlotte), Monica Miller (Lehigh University) and Patricia O’Connell Killen (Gonzaga) for a lively panel discussion that is now available for your viewing pleasure. Steven and Monica have already written about their responses to the panel here. Now you can watch it for yourself, with a new segment posted each day this week. Continue reading