Archive

Archive for the ‘religion and spirituality’ Category

Backgrounder — Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (Updated August 8, 2014)

August 22, 2014 Comments off

Backgrounder — Islamic State in Iraq and Syria
Source: Council on Foreign Relations

Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), a predominantly Sunni jihadist group, seeks to sow civil unrest in Iraq and the Levant with the aim of establishing a caliphate—a single, transnational Islamic state based on sharia. The group emerged in the ashes of the U.S.-led invasion to oust Saddam Hussein as al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), and the insurgency that followed provided it with fertile ground to wage a guerrilla war against coalition forces and their domestic allies.

After a U.S. counterterrorism campaign and Sunni efforts to maintain local security in what was known as the Tribal Awakening, AQI violence diminished from its peak in 2006–2007. But since the withdrawal of U.S. forces in late 2011, the group has increased attacks on mainly Shiite targets in what is seen as an attempt to reignite conflict between Iraq’s Sunni minority and the Shiite-dominated government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Burgeoning violence in 2013 left nearly eight thousand civilians dead, making it Iraq’s bloodiest year since 2008, according to the United Nations. Meanwhile, in 2012 the group adopted its new moniker, ISIS (sometimes translated as Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL) as an expression of its broadened ambitions as its fighters have crossed into neighboring Syria to challenge both the Assad regime and secular and Islamist opposition groups there. By June 2014, the group’s fighters had routed the Iraqi military in the major cities of Fallujah and Mosul and established territorial control and administrative structures on both sides of the Iraqi-Syrian border.

About these ads

The Rules of Implicit Evaluation by Race, Religion, and Age

August 20, 2014 Comments off

The Rules of Implicit Evaluation by Race, Religion, and Age
Source: Psychological Science

The social world is stratified. Social hierarchies are known but often disavowed as anachronisms or unjust. Nonetheless, hierarchies may persist in social memory. In three studies (total N > 200,000), we found evidence of social hierarchies in implicit evaluation by race, religion, and age. Participants implicitly evaluated their own racial group most positively and the remaining racial groups in accordance with the following hierarchy: Whites > Asians > Blacks > Hispanics. Similarly, participants implicitly evaluated their own religion most positively and the remaining religions in accordance with the following hierarchy: Christianity > Judaism > Hinduism or Buddhism > Islam. In a final study, participants of all ages implicitly evaluated age groups following this rule: children > young adults > middle-age adults > older adults. These results suggest that the rules of social evaluation are pervasively embedded in culture and mind.

The Islamic Caliphate and Australia

August 15, 2014 Comments off

The Islamic Caliphate and Australia
Source: Parliamentary Library of Australia

In June 2014, the Islamic State (IS) declared an Islamic Caliphate spanning the area from Syria’s Aleppo governorate in the west, to Iraq’s province of Diyala in the east. The area under IS control now covers up to one third of Iraq, including the city of Mosul, which previously had a strong Christian community, but who have now mostly been forced to flee. The IS was formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS), and previously operated as a front organisation for Al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) until Al-Qaeda broke ties with the group early this year. Although the group has been proscribed by Australia since 2005, it was only listed under the name Islamic State on 12 July 2014. Iraq’s national army and police force put up little resistance to the insurgents, and are reported to have abandoned their weapons and fled. However, Iraqi-Kurdistan in the far north-east tip of the country remains intact, and its military, the peshmerger, have secured Kirkuk, an oil rich city that the Kurds have previously laid claim to, but which is not recognised as part of Iraqi-Kurdistan.

Iraq: Understanding the ISIS Offensive Against the Kurds

August 12, 2014 Comments off

Iraq: Understanding the ISIS Offensive Against the Kurds
Source: Brookings Institution

Caveat: As I have noted in previous assessments, it is always difficult to assess the dynamics of an ongoing conflict. It is probably the case that even the U.S. government, with its vast array of intelligence collection systems, has an imperfect grasp of the situation in Iraq. Outside military analysts without access to that information must accept an even greater degree of uncertainty. Consequently, what follows should be seen as little more than informed speculation based on limited and potentially unreliable evidence.

Conflict in Syria and Iraq: Implications for Religious Minorities – CRS Insights

August 6, 2014 Comments off

Conflict in Syria and Iraq: Implications for Religious Minorities – CRS Insights
Source: Congressional Research Service (via U.S. State Department Foreign Press Center)

Conflict in Syria and Iraq is causing particular suffering for religious minorities in the countries’ diverse societies, leading some Members of Congress to call for increased action by the U.S. government.

Notes from the Field: Outbreak of Pertussis in a School and Religious Community Averse to Health Care and Vaccinations — Columbia County, Florida, 2013

August 3, 2014 Comments off

Notes from the Field: Outbreak of Pertussis in a School and Religious Community Averse to Health Care and Vaccinations — Columbia County, Florida, 2013
Source: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (CDC)

On August 30, 2013, the Florida Department of Health in Columbia County was notified of a Bordetella pertussis laboratory-positive unimmunized child attending a local charter school (316 students from pre-K through 8th grade) in a large religious community averse to health care and vaccinations. Kindergarten immunization records showed that only five (15%) of 34 students were fully immunized with pertussis-antigen–containing vaccines. In seventh grade, only one (5%) of 22 students was fully immunized with pertussis-antigen–containing vaccines. Of the children who were not fully immunized in these two grades, 84% had religious exemptions (1).

Interviews confirmed that a sibling of the patient had symptoms consistent with pertussis. By September 3, two additional children from the same school were confirmed by polymerase chain reaction to have pertussis. On September 12, the Florida Department of Health in Columbia County declared a communicable disease emergency; children with cough illness were excluded from school, and reentry required an evaluation by a health care provider. After this declaration, 38 additional students were excluded. Prophylaxis or treatment with antibiotics following current guidelines were provided to patients and household contacts (2). The local health department offered to provide these services free of charge to persons without health care coverage. Pertussis vaccine administered at the health department was available; however, fewer than five persons from the community used this opportunity for vaccination.

International Religious Freedom Report for 2013

July 28, 2014 Comments off

International Religious Freedom Report for 2013
Source: U.S. Department of State

In 2013, the world witnessed the largest displacement of religious communities in recent memory. In almost every corner of the globe, millions of Christians, Muslims, Hindus, and others representing a range of faiths were forced from their homes on account of their religious beliefs. Out of fear or by force, entire neighborhoods are emptying of residents. Communities are disappearing from their traditional and historic homes and dispersing across the geographic map. In conflict zones, in particular, this mass displacement has become a pernicious norm.

In Syria, as in much of the Middle East, the Christian presence is becoming a shadow of its former self. After three years of civil war, hundreds of thousands fled the country desperate to escape the ongoing violence perpetrated by the government and extremist groups alike. In the city of Homs the number of Christians dwindled to as few as 1,000 from approximately 160,000 prior to the conflict. Elsewhere, in the Central African Republic, widespread lawlessness and an upsurge in sectarian violence between Christians and Muslims reportedly resulted in at least 700 deaths in Bangui in December alone and the displacement of more than one million people throughout the country during the year.

Anti-Muslim violence in Meikhtila, Burma, led to up to 100 deaths and an estimated 12,000 displaced residents from the area in early 2013. This event showed that mob violence against Muslims was no longer confined to western Rakhine State, where over 140,000 persons have also been displaced since 2012. Although the government’s overall human rights record continued to improve, organized anti-Muslim hate speech, harassment, and discrimination against Muslims continued, exploited by those seeking to divide and pit Buddhist and Muslim communities against one another, often for political gain.

All around the world, individuals were subjected to discrimination, violence and abuse, perpetrated and sanctioned violence for simply exercising their faith, identifying with a certain religion, or choosing not to believe in a higher deity at all.

New CFR InfoGuide Explores Islam’s Sunni-Shia Divide

July 17, 2014 Comments off

New CFR InfoGuide Explores Islam’s Sunni-Shia Divide
Source: Council on Foreign Relations

As sectarian tensions convulse Syria and Iraq, the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) has released a new interactive guide examining the roots and consequences of the divide between Sunni and Shia Muslims.

Sunni-Shia conflicts have fed a Syrian civil war that threatens to transform the map of the Middle East, spurred violence that is fracturing Iraq, and widened fissures in a number of tense Gulf states. Growing clashes between these two largest Islamic denominations have also sparked a revival of transnational jihadi networks that poses dangers beyond the region.

The guide includes expert insight into the extremist groups behind today’s sectarian violence and related flashpoints that threaten international security.

How Americans Feel About Religious Groups

July 16, 2014 Comments off

How Americans Feel About Religious Groups
Source: Pew Research Religion & Public Life Project

Jews, Catholics and evangelical Christians are viewed warmly by the American public. When asked to rate each group on a “feeling thermometer” ranging from 0 to 100 – where 0 reflects the coldest, most negative possible rating and 100 the warmest, most positive rating – all three groups receive an average rating of 60 or higher (63 for Jews, 62 for Catholics and 61 for evangelical Christians). And 44% of the public rates all three groups in the warmest part of the scale (67 or higher).

Buddhists, Hindus and Mormons receive neutral ratings on average, ranging from 48 for Mormons to 53 for Buddhists. The public views atheists and Muslims more coldly; atheists receive an average rating of 41, and Muslims an average rating of 40. Fully 41% of the public rates Muslims in the coldest part of the thermometer (33 or below), and 40% rate atheists in the coldest part.

Young First-Time Mothers Less Likely to be Married, Census Bureau Reports

July 8, 2014 Comments off

Young First-Time Mothers Less Likely to be Married, Census Bureau Reports
Source: U.S. Census Bureau

The percentage of young first-time mothers who are married is dropping, according to Fertility of Women in the United States: 2012, a report released today by the U.S. Census Bureau.

In the early 1990s, at least half of all first births to mothers younger than age 23 occurred in marriage. Since 2005, more young mothers were cohabiting (38 percent) than were married (24 percent) at the time of their first birth. However, the majority of all women continue to have their first child within marriage.

Fertility of Women in the United States: 2012 uses data from the 2012 American Community Survey and the 2012 Current Population Survey. The report examines women’s marital status at the time of their first births, the completed fertility of women up to age 50 and the fertility patterns of young women. Fertility patterns are shown by race, ethnicity, age, citizenship and employment status, as well as state of residence.

CRS — Prayer and Religious Expression in Public Institutions: A Constitutional Analysis

July 7, 2014 Comments off

Prayer and Religious Expression in Public Institutions: A Constitutional Analysis (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution prohibits the government from providing official support or endorsement of religion and from interfering with individuals’ exercise of religion. Balancing the constitutional protections under the Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses, as these provisions are known, often leads to questions regarding the extent to which religious activities may occur within public institutions or at public events. On one hand, permitting prayer at publicly sponsored activities arguably may suggest official support for religion. On the other hand, restricting religious expression by individuals at such activities may appear to interfere with their ability to exercise their religious beliefs freely.

As a general rule, publicly sponsored prayer is prohibited under the First Amendment with few exceptions. Legal challenges to prayer in public fora have arisen most frequently in the context of prayer in schools. The U.S. Supreme Court generally has struck down school prayer policies adopted by public schools, even if the content of the prayer is neutral and participation among students is voluntary. This prohibition has been extended to extracurricular and other school-related activities as well, but does not apply to all religious activity in public schools. Rather, the First Amendment prohibits any school-sponsored religious activity, but protects students’ ability to pray voluntarily at their own initiative.

Although official prayers by public institutions are generally unconstitutional, there are a few notable exceptions. The Supreme Court has recognized that legislative prayer—invocations made to open legislative sessions—are generally permissible because of the role such prayers have played in the history and tradition of American government. Although the Court acknowledged the constitutionality of legislative prayer, for decades, lower courts generally have had to interpret the parameters of the exemption, including how speakers may be selected and what the content of such prayers may be. The Court issued a decision in Town of Greece, New York v. Galloway in 2014 clarifying that legislative prayers need not be nonsectarian to pass constitutional muster. Furthermore, courts have acknowledged other exemptions, upholding the constitutionality of the military chaplaincy and the use of religious references in official proceedings and on coins and currency.

For man and country: atheist chaplains in the U.S. Army

July 2, 2014 Comments off

For man and country: atheist chaplains in the U.S. Army (PDF)
Source: U.S. Army Command and General Staff College

Non-theistic Humanists want equal representation in the U.S. Army claiming that no atheist or Humanist chaplains exist to meet the needs of the non-theistic population. Some Humanists consider Humanism a religion and believe the Army needs Humanist chaplains and Distinctive Faith Group Leaders (DFGL) to support this demographic. Other Humanists consider their beliefs non-religious and reject any identification with religion. This thesis examined the purpose and history of the U.S. Army Chaplaincy, the background and history of Humanism, and presented arguments both supporting and opposing atheist chaplains. The researcher interviewed Humanist leaders and U.S. Army chaplains to discover the needs of the non-theistic population and if the Army should appoint Humanist chaplains or DFGLs to meet those needs. The research revealed a gap in designated support for this demographic. The researcher concluded that this group does not have any religious requirements and therefore does not fall under the purview of the Chaplaincy. However, the researcher concluded that a non-religious leader should be available to represent the non-religious and non-theistic Army population.

Supreme Court — Contraception– Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.

July 1, 2014 Comments off

Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. (PDF)
Source: Supreme Court of the United States

The Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA) prohibits the “Government [from] substantially burden[ing] a person’s exercise of religion even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability” unless the Government “demonstrates that application of the burden to the person—(1) is in furtherance of a compelling govern – mental interest; and (2) is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.” 42 U. S. C. §§2000bb–1(a), (b). As amended by the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 (RLUIPA), RFRA covers “any exercise of religion, whether or not compelled by, or central to, a system of religious be – lief.” §2000cc–5(7)(A).

At issue here are regulations promulgated by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) und er the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA), which, as relevant here, requires specified employers’ group health plans to furnish “preventive care and screenings” for women without “a ny cost sharing requirements,” 42 U. S. C. §300gg–13(a)(4). Congress did not specify what types of preventive care must be covered; it authorized the Health Resources and Services Administration, a component of HHS, to decide. Ibid . Nonexempt employers are generally required to provide coverage for the 20 contraceptive methods approv ed by the Food and Drug Administration, including the 4 that may have the effect of preventing an already fertilized egg from developing any further by inhibiting its attachment to the uterus. Religious employers, such as churches, are exempt from this contraceptive ma ndate. HHS has also effectively exempted religious nonprofit organi zations with religious objections to providing coverage for contraceptive services. Under this accom – modation, the insurance issuer must exclude contraceptive coverage from the employer’s plan and provide plan partic ipants with separate payments for contraceptive services without imposing any cost – sharing requirements on the employer, its insurance plan, or its em – ployee beneficiaries.

In these cases, the owners of th ree closely held for-profit corporations have sincere Christian beliefs th at life begins at conception and that it would violate their religion to facilitate access to contraceptive drugs or devices that operate after th at point. In separate actions, they sued HHS and other federal officials and agencies (collectively HHS) under RFRA and the Free Exerci se Clause, seeking to enjoin application of the contraceptive mandate insofar as it requires them to provide health coverage for the four objectionable contraceptives. In No. 13–356, the District Court denied the Hahns and their compa – ny—Conestoga Wood Specialties—a preliminary injunction. Affirm – ing, the Third Circuit held that a for-profit corporation could not “engage in religious exercise” under RFRA or the First Amendment, and that the mandate imposed no requ irements on the Hahns in their personal capacity. In No. 13–354, the Greens, their children, and their companies—Hobby Lobby Stores and Mardel—were also denied a preliminary injunction, but the Tent h Circuit reversed. It held that the Greens’ businesses are “persons ” under RFRA, and that the corporations had established a likelih ood of success on their RFRA claim because the contraceptive mandate substantially burd ened their exercise of religion and HHS had not demonstrated a compelling interest in enforcing the mandate against them; in the alternative, the court held that HHS had not proved that the mandate was the “least restrictive means” of furthering a compelling governmental interest.

Held : As applied to closely held corp orations, the HHS regulations im – posing the contraceptive mandate violate RFRA. Pp. 16–49.

Understanding Political Islam

June 30, 2014 Comments off

Understanding Political Islam
Source: Cato Institution

The tragic events in Iraq, where the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) is currently mounting an offensive against the government of the Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, certainly appears to be consistent with Blair’s concern—namely that “the battles of this century … could easily be fought around the questions of cultural or religious difference.” But to what extent do Blair’s claims reflect the experience of political transitions throughout the Middle East and North Africa (MENA)?

The rise of political Islam into prominence poses important questions both for people in the MENA region and for policymakers in the West. Since 9/11, the thrust of Western foreign and security policy toward the MENA region has aimed at containing radical forms of Islam. In practice, that often meant cozying up to authoritarian regimes, as long as they were secular, since these were seen as superior to their theocratic alternatives. When the Egyptian military brought down President Mohamed Morsi in early July 2013, there was a sense of relief among many in Washington.

What Countries Criminalize Religious Conversion? Our New Report Examines this Question

June 30, 2014 Comments off

What Countries Criminalize Religious Conversion? Our New Report Examines this Question
Source: Law Library of Congress

A recent case in Sudan in which Meriam Yehya Ibrahim, a citizen who was at the time expecting her second child, was convicted of apostasy (renunciation of a religious faith) and adultery and sentenced to 100 lashes and death by hanging has led to condemnation around the world. Her conviction was due to her leaving Islam, marrying a Christian man, and refusing to recant. Amnesty International, which called Ibrahim’s sentence abhorrent, together with over 600,000 of its supporters, called for her immediate release. A group of United Nations human rights experts condemned the sentence, noting that the trial violated due process principles. The U.S. State Department called the death sentence deeply disturbing. A resolution condemning the sentence was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives and a similar resolution was adopted in the U.S. Senate. Although, in what appears to be a response to the mounting pressure from the international community, the Sudanese government initially said that Ibrahim would be released, it quickly retracted the statement and Ibrahim’s case continues to unfold before an appeals court.

Sudan, which officially announced the introduction of an Islamic legal system in 1983, has executed at least one (access by subscription) person for apostasy since that time. Of course, Sudan is not the only country to criminalize apostasy. We recently completed a survey of twenty-three countries in Africa, the Middle East, South Asia and Southeast Asia that looked at the prevalence of apostasy being a capital offense (or as a lesser offense) and the frequency of its application.

We found that, in addition to Sudan, apostasy is a capital offense in Afghanistan, Brunei, Mauritania, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. However, our research indicated that, by and large, an apostasy charge or conviction can be vacated if the person denounces his or her new faith and returns to Islam.

The moral code in Islam and organ donation in Western countries: reinterpreting religious scriptures to meet utilitarian medical objectives

June 16, 2014 Comments off

The moral code in Islam and organ donation in Western countries: reinterpreting religious scriptures to meet utilitarian medical objectives
Source: Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine

End-of-life organ donation is controversial in Islam. The controversy stems from: (1) scientifically flawed medical criteria of death determination; (2) invasive perimortem procedures for preserving transplantable organs; and (3) incomplete disclosure of information to consenting donors and families. Data from a survey of Muslims residing in Western countries have shown that the interpretation of religious scriptures and advice of faith leaders were major barriers to willingness for organ donation. Transplant advocates have proposed corrective interventions: (1) reinterpreting religious scriptures, (2) reeducating faith leaders, and (3) utilizing media campaigns to overcome religious barriers in Muslim communities. This proposal disregards the intensifying scientific, legal, and ethical controversies in Western societies about the medical criteria of death determination in donors. It would also violate the dignity and inviolability of human life which are pertinent values incorporated in the Islamic moral code. Reinterpreting religious scriptures to serve the utilitarian objectives of a controversial end-of-life practice, perceived to be socially desirable, transgresses the Islamic moral code. It may also have deleterious practical consequences, as donors can suffer harm before death. The negative normative consequences of utilitarian secular moral reasoning reset the Islamic moral code upholding the sanctity and dignity of human life.

Backgrounder — Islamic State in Iraq and Greater Syria

June 13, 2014 Comments off

Backgrounder — Islamic State in Iraq and Greater Syria
Source: Council on Foreign Relations

Islamic State in Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS), a predominantly Sunni jihadist group, seeks to sow civil unrest in Iraq and the Levant with the aim of establishing a caliphate—a single, transnational Islamic state based on sharia. The group emerged in the ashes of the U.S.-led invasion to oust Saddam Hussein as al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), and the insurgency that followed provided it with fertile ground to wage a guerrilla war against coalition forces and their domestic allies.

After a U.S. counterterrorism campaign and Sunni efforts to maintain local security in what was known as the Tribal Awakening, AQI violence diminished from its peak in 2006–2007. But since the withdrawal of U.S. forces in late 2011, the group has increased attacks on mainly Shiite targets in what is seen as an attempt to reignite conflict between Iraq’s Sunni minority and the Shiite-dominated government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Burgeoning violence in 2013 left nearly eight thousand civilians dead, making it Iraq’s bloodiest year since 2008, according to the United Nations. Meanwhile, in 2012 the group adopted its new moniker, ISIS (sometimes translated as Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL) as an expression of its broadened ambitions as its fighters have crossed into neighboring Syria to challenge both the Assad regime and secular and Islamist opposition groups there. By June 2014, the group’s fighters had routed the Iraqi military in the major cities of Fallujah and Mosul and established territorial control and administrative structures on both sides of the Iraqi-Syrian border.

Hearing: The State of Religious Liberty in the United States

June 11, 2014 Comments off

Hearing: The State of Religious Liberty in the United States
Source: U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee
Archived webcast and PDFs of witness statements:

  • Mr. Mathew D. Staver

Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel
Dean of Liberty University School of Law

  • Ms. Kim Colby

Senior Counsel
Christian Legal Society

  • The Rev. Barry Lynn

Executive Director
Americans United for the Separation of Church and State

  • Mr. Gregory S. Baylor

Senior Counsel
Alliance Defending Freedom

Foreign Fighters in Syria

June 9, 2014 Comments off

Foreign Fighters in Syria
Source: The Soufan Group

Over 12,000 fighters from at least 81 countries have joined the civil war in Syria, and the numbers continue to grow. Around 2,500 are from Western countries, including most members of the European Union, the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. There are also several hundred from Russia. But the great majority are from the Arab World. Most are fighting with rebel groups, and increasingly with the most extreme among them; but many are also fighting with the Government, or with ethnic or faith communities that are trying to protect themselves from both sides. A lot are young, often teenagers, and a fair percentage of those arriving from non-Muslim majority countries are converts to Islam. These and others who share their faith commonly express their motivation as a religious obligation to protect fellow Muslims from attack. This sense of duty is captured by their loose use of the word ‘jihad’.

There is considerable international concern at what these young men – and some women – will do once they leave Syria, and although almost all appear (from interviews and the evidence of social media) to go without a thought of what next, the experience of being in a war zone and exposed to the radicalizing influences of sectarianism and other forms of extremism are bound to have an impact on their ability and willingness to resume their former lives.

The policy response so far has often focused more on prevention and punishment than on dissuasion or reintegration, but as the number of returnees increases, and the resources required to monitor their activities are stretched to breaking point, it will be important to examine more closely why an individual went, what happened to him while there, and why he came back. This paper attempts to provide some general context for answering those questions, and offers suggestions for policy development.

Three in Four in U.S. Still See the Bible as Word of God; But 21%, near the 40-year high, consider it fables and history

June 7, 2014 Comments off

Three in Four in U.S. Still See the Bible as Word of God; But 21%, near the 40-year high, consider it fables and history
Source: Gallup

Twenty-eight percent of Americans believe the Bible is the actual word of God and that it should be taken literally. This is somewhat below the 38% to 40% seen in the late 1970s, and near the all-time low of 27% reached in 2001 and 2009. But about half of Americans continue to say the Bible is the inspired word of God, not to be taken literally — meaning a combined 75% believe the Bible is in some way connected to God. About one in five Americans view the Bible in purely secular terms — as ancient fables, legends, history, and precepts written by man — which is up from 13% in 1976.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 897 other followers