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Links of the Day:

– Fewer than half of the population in the Rochester metro area belong to a church or religious organization. According to the Association of Religion Data Archives, 44.1 percent of residents adhered to a particular religion in 2010. That compares to 50.8 percent in 2000.

Catholics saw a big decline in numbers, losing nearly 80,000 congregants , or 24 percent of its membership in the last decade. But they were not alone. The Episcopal church lost 40 percent of its members, nearly 5,000 people. Greek Orthodox, Evangelical Lutheran, Presbyterian and Methodist churches all saw big drops.

The area’s Muslim population nearly doubled since 2000 to 9,133.

The Buffalo News, in a report analyzing the data for its region, said adherence rates don’t tell the full story:

But it doesn’t mean that all of those people have lost religious faith, (researcher Dale E. Jones) said.

“In one sense, it’s going to be a big number because it’s a catchall,” he said.

Other national studies still show that most Americans profess to be Christians.

“If you go knock on doors, 80 to 85 percent of people will tell you they’re Christian,” Jones said, “but they’re not Christian enough to belong in the local congregations.”

– The Village of Webster is embroiled in a fight over whether to join the Monroe County Water Authority. The village has its own water system, but residents complain it has too many minerals.

– This is why throwing incentives at businesses threatening to move is not always good public policy.

– A Detroit sports journalist writes poignantly about his own battle with depression after the suicide of Junior Seau.

Should college football be banned?

8 Responses to Losing Our Religion?

  1. Of those people who identify as Christian, I wonder how many do because their family background at one point included going to church? I’ve known people who were out and out non-believers, whose parents were non-believers, but they identified as “Christian” because, well, grandma and grandpa, and Uncle Mark, and Aunt Jen and all those others go to church.

  2. May 6, 2012 at 3:16 pm johnvon responds:

    In re: College Sports. I wonder how much of an impact these programmes have on tuition costs and how it continues to escalate at an alarming rate.

  3. May 6, 2012 at 3:38 pm Sandy Wimett responds:

    I think it is very sad for all Religious groups. I know my family has found a home at Calvary in Henrietta and all faiths welcome. I am seeing so many go to non denominational Churches these days. We all need Faith and Religionin my eyes.

  4. As an officiant for numerous religious weddings, many couples have told me they consider themselves to be spiritual, but are not affiliated with an institutional church. This is not unique to the local community, whereby the national trend seems to be shifting away from organized religion. This can be for several reasons, whether it be a reluctance to follow rigid institutional rules, or the desire of couples to raise children and allow them to follow their own religious paths.

    It is quite common for me to preside at weddings involving a bride and groom of differing faiths; such couples are nevertheless drawn together by a common spirituality. It is quite a challenge, for example, for a couple to locate either a priest or rabbi who will preside at their wedding, unless one party agrees to convert to the faith tradition of the other.

    Speaking from a Roman Catholic perspective, many members were turned off by recent church scandals, which played into decreased parish numbers. As a married priest, who serves independently of the Rochester Diocese, I try to work with couples in an open and creative way, respecting the faith traditions and leanings of the brides, grooms and their respective family members.

    • Many consider themselves to be spiritual and not religious because they want to pick and choose what the believe in. It’s a way around the teachings of Christ. They’ll say they are spiritual, but they will support abortion. It’s too hard for some people to be Catholic, and adhere to the full teachings of the faith, so they become ‘spiritual’ and in essence establish their own religion customized to what makes them happy.

  5. May 6, 2012 at 6:33 pm Katherine Denison responds:

    The increasing extremism of all religions casts light on the preposterousness of accepting one mythology over another. Belief in the ‘reality’ of any one of them, seen in the harsh light of the terrorism, bullying and hatred they invoke, is obviously insane. People are distancing themselves from the heartlessness and inhumanity of systems that create an ostracized or hated ‘other’ of non-believers or impose a requisite morality on people who don’t share similar values. I was once quite tolerant of others’ faiths but find myself feeling increasingly feisty in defense of my right to no faith, to anti-faith, to being repelled by the insistence on faith. The internet allows me new, often hilarious alliances in my atheism and I feel increasingly outspoken in the face of ignorance, belligerence and violence in the name of religion. I support taxes on all churches, expect swift legal intervention for such idiocy as calling for child abuse when progeny show signs of homosexuality or torture for women who do not bend to male authority. I want swift legal recompense and justice for the sexual and physical abuse of children and for religiously-justified violence against women. Atheists and others who are anti-religion are beginning to rally in response to such appalling cruelties. It will be an interesting decade ahead.

  6. May 6, 2012 at 8:22 pm Edward Richards responds:

    Going to church costs money. People don’t have money. Money is what makes a church. So, I can see why churches are having such a hard time(with the economy).

    Bottom line, if it wasn’t for money being the “root of all evil”, we wouldn’t have anything to worry about. But life is full of worries. As well, money shouldn’t be the only thing we worry about. There are far more important things in this world. Like love.

    Which costs money.

  7. Pingback: We’re Not Super-Religious » The Rochesterian

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