How Religious Is Your State?

The Pew Forum has come out with a new study showing the relative levels of religious activity based on four measurements: “the importance of religion in people’s lives, frequency of attendance at worship services, frequency of prayer and absolute certainty of belief in God.”

Not surprisingly, the ten most religious states are in the South, the heart of the Bible belt. I salute them. Also, not surprisingly, about half of the dozen least religious are the heavily “Catholic” states of Massachusetts, New York, Vermont, California, and Connecticut. Sad. Very sad.


  1. Tony de New York

    Indeed is sad but but it makes sense when u read in the new york times:"Just days before the bill passed, the Catholic Health Association, which represents hundreds of Catholic hospitals across the country, said in a statement that it was “encouraged” and “increasingly confident” that such a compromise “can achieve the objective of no federal funding for abortion.” An umbrella group for nuns followed its lead. The same day, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops called the proposed compromise “morally unacceptable.”

  2. R.C.

    Hmm. Why the collapse of faith?Bad catechesis, for starters. Failure by Catholic institutions of learning and formation to actually be Catholic instead of Modernist. By contrast, the Baptists and whatnot in the Bible Belt, having never been concerned to win the approval of academia by becoming Modernist, have been busy being Evangelical and winning souls to Christ…if not to full participation in His Body.What else?It seems to me that the divided Body of Christ has different functions in different (severed) members.The Eastern Orthodox churches seem to have taken with them the beauties of ancient liturgy and of mysticism.The Evangelicals seem to have taken with them the ability to evangelize, the instinct for lay missionary zeal, in a winsome way.The Pentecostals have taken with them the Charismatic revival.I don't know that the theologically-liberal mainline Protestants took anything much of value, but that may explain why they're dwindling to nothing. (I suppose the lesson is: If you're going to seek your fortune in a far land, ask your dad for your inheritance before you go and, as you go, try to keep some of it, instead of rejecting the whole thing for spite and leaving empty-handed, or selling the whole birthright for a mess of modernist pottage and winding up penniless, cleaning pigsties for pagans.)Anyhow, don't misunderstand me when I say these groups "took" X or Y. It is not that there is no evangelism in the Catholic Church, "new" or otherwise. It is not that there are no mystics and no beautiful liturgies to be found anywhere. It is not that there has not been a Charismatic movement in the Church in recent years….continued…

  3. R.C.

    …continuing…Those things exist in the Catholic Church. But don't those things look a bit…anemic in comparison to what they ought to be? A bit limited, a bit isolated, a bit circumscribed?One gets the sense that the thrill of the Charismatic movement in Latin America, or the advent of EWTN and revival of Catholic Apologetics in the U.S., is not so much that these things are boldly sweeping the globe with unstoppable vigor, energizing every lukewarm believer back to repentance and robust faith…but rather that, after being entirely absent for so long, the reappearance of these signs of life is exciting because they're so much better than nothing!To me it feels like the Body of Christ has lost its right hand, so He has to write all his letters with his left. He can still do it, but there are limitations. Meanwhile the right hand is off on its own, severed, twitching, making flamboyant gestures, somehow even writing letters through sheer muscle-memory, albeit in distorted-looking script.Or, well, our separated brethren have some communion with the Church, so perhaps picturing them as entirely severed is the wrong analogy. Perhaps the better analogy is that they are still connected, but not accepting nerve-signals from the Head, which normally should be arriving by means of the nervous-system, which is the Magisterium or the ordained clergy.So these muscles are clenching randomly — seizing up — or not responding to nerve signals — paralysis — or responding and functioning in a limited way — impairment. So, again, what Jesus would have done with limb X (whether evangelism or mysticism or liturgy or charisms or something else) has to be done with limb Y instead. It's not the limb originally created for the job, but it'll respond more reliably.Evangelizing our separated brethren is therefore quite as important as evangelizing the neo-pagans. Quite apart from the scandal of squabbling Christians and the need for disciplinary action by one group of believers to be upheld by the others, the Body of Christ was designed to be One.Would that all those CCM songwriters would be writing fully Catholic songs and that all those Evangelical campus ministers would be drawing the unsaved towards the Eucharist. That athletes join the Fellowship of Catholic Athletes and that the Campus Crusade for Christ would receive rather happier papal approval than previous Crusades. Let every Jesus Freak wear a Miraculous Medal, and let Billy Graham teach a stadium-full of repentant souls how to pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet. Then let the choir sing an anthem of praise by co-written by Chris Tomlin and John Michael Talbot, as the faithful lift their hands, rapt in praise, with closed eyes which periodically open to behold statues and stained glass depicting the saints of old, on either side of a gilded iconostasis and plumes of rising incense.Now that'd be an occasion for loud, loud hosannas. Loud enough to wake the dead.Even the dead in "Massachusetts, New York, Vermont, California, and Connecticut."

  4. Henry

    I think the problem is a lack of education. I feel very uncertain that the Catholic Church is actually the true church because I can't seems to find answers to my questions.My grandmother and her other 13 siblings all went to Catholic school. My dad and his three brothers went to Catholic school. I didn't. My annulled wife, who God specifically told me to marry, didn't. My three kids did go to Catholic school. No one seems to know much of anything.My family would get mad at me when I would ask them questions because they were ignorant and didn't know how to deal with the questions. The best they could do was say go ask a priest. They didn't know that they ARE a priest Biblically and that was one of the reasons Jesus came. I've asked the priests. I've asked bishops. I don't get good answers. I get opinions, feelings, and tradition (the emergency explanation for everything unbiblical). Some have told me they never had to read the Bible from cover to cover. I'm very frustrated. Jesus asked Peter if he loved him three times before he asended. Peter said 'you know that I love you' each time. Jesus said 'then feed my sheep'. He wasn't just talking about eating his body and drinking his blood. He was talking about reading the scriptures to his people. The ultra-lite reading and the misinterpreted Homilies (even the weak can tell) are a major concern of mine. No one seems to know the truth. No one seems to have reasonable answers to questions like where did annulment come from? How can you evangelize when you don't know what your talking about and you don't feel confident that the "experts" of the church know either?Henry Vanden BrookA Starving Sheep at 50 years old.

  5. opey124

    We came in number 1 in all three categories.Finally, number 1 in something worth sharing.

  6. Linus

    Every generation must make the Faith its own. It begins with personal, authentic convrsion and true and honest reconciliation. No generation can live on the laurels of the past. To aid in this journey I would like to recommend Advent of the Heart by Alfred Delp, priest and martyr, executed by the Third Reich on Feb 2, 1945. It is available through Ignatius Books or perhaps at your library. I got mine through the Interlibrary Loan system. If you aren't moved by this prophet I would be surprised. This was a Man, he stood up to the evil of his day through personal conversion. Unfortunately only one other work of his is available in English. One hopes the Jesuits will soon make more available. If you can read German well you can read all his works. His cause is now under way I understand. Read the voice of this modern prophet.

  7. Tap

    We are fewer but those that really stay in the faith are stronger. Many are called but few are chosen.Merry Christmas!

  8. Rick

    Why are the Catholics the least religious? One can check the head because that is why rots first at least in fishes. If there negligence there then you can see the faux Catholic groups and liberal nuns raising hell.

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