Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Religious math

There are some fascinating numbers behind religious behavior, which Arthur C. Brooks brought to light yesterday in a Wall Street Journal editorial.

Compared to Americans, Danes were seven times more likely to agree with the statement, “Religions bring more conflict than peace.”
Americans are four times more likely than the French and eight times more likely than Norwegians to attend a house of worship regularly.

Recently two books that promote the benefits of atheism and the failures of religion made the best seller list. A rise in American secularism? On the contrary: the authors and readers of those books who agree with their premise are fighting a losing battle for the hearts and minds of America.

The simple reason may be that adults who regularly attend a house of worship have an average of 2.23 children, while those who don’t attend have just 1.58 children. I wonder what they do with all that extra time? Whether you call the difference 41% higher or 29% lower, clearly it’s not making babies.

The political implications are startling. Religious people who consider themselves politically conservative or very conservative have 78% more children than secular liberals. What this means is that based on current trends, a state that is currently 55-45 in favor of liberals (like California) will be 54-46 in favor of conservatives by 2020, based solely on who’s having babies.

Well now at least we know what it takes to be successful in politics.

No comments: