Somebody Say Amen!

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During the celebrations of Passover and Easter, families join together to rejoice and to reflect on their faith. But for many, religious devotion continues long after the eggs are found and the matzoh balls eaten. Today, more than 60 percent of the population are affiliated with a church or similar institution,1 and 66 percent say they attend services regularly;2 even more say they believe in God (86 percent) or a higher power (8 percent).3 All those years in the pews just might delay your arrival at Heaven's gate: Regular churchgoers aged 65 to 74 are 46 percent less likely to die in that decade of life than those who do not attend regularly.4 Hellelujah!

Losing My Religion5

Percent of U.S. atheists or agnostics who are:

- Men 64%

- Under 35 51%

- White 71%

- College grads 34%

Percent of U.S. atheists or agnostics who:

- Own a bible 60%

- Read the bible 33%

- Pray to God weekly 19%

- Believe Satan is a living force 15%

Gone Gefilte Fishing6

Kosher foods are one of the fastest-growing segments of the food industry, rising 10 percent to 12 percent annually since 1991.

In 1999, there were...

- 55,000 kosher-certified products

- $4.5 billion in sales of kosher foods (40 percent of annual kosher sales are for Passover)

- 10 million kosher consumers

- 9,000 companies producing kosher foods

You Gotta Have Faith7

Worldwide membership in major religions:*

- Christianity 2 billion

- Islam 1.2 billion

- Hinduism 900 million

- Buddhism 350 million

- Primal Indigenous 190 million

- Sikhism 18 million

- Judaism 15 million

- Spiritism 14 million

- Tenrikyo 2.4 million

- Neo-paganism 1 million

- Scientology 750,000

- Rastafarianism 700,000

*not all religions listed.

Believe It...Or Not2

Call them the "un-churched."

44 percent of the nation has not attended church in the past six months, other than for special religious holidays, weddings, funerals, or the like.

Percent of people who are "un-churched"

- Female 39%

- Male 50%

- Whites 45%

- Nonwhites 37%

- Blacks 32%

- 18-to-29-years-old 49%

- 30-to-49-years-old 44%

- 50-to-64-years-old 42%

- 65-years+ 40%

- East 47%

- Midwest 41%

- South 39%

- West 52%

GOD.com5

- The Internet may be the ultimate nondenominational place of worship, with 10 percent of non-Christians and 14 percent of Christians seeking spiritual input on the Net.

- 4 percent of teens currently use the Internet for religious or spiritual experiences.

- Percent of teens who say that the Internet will substitute their current church-based religious experience in the next five years:

Blacks 31%

Whites 8%

Overall 16%

Sources:

1) Brookings Institution

2) The Gallup Poll, 1998

3) Gallup Organization

4) Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences, July 1999

5) Barna Research Group

6) Integrated Marketing & Communications, Inc.

7) Adherents.com

Indices of religious attendance for selected counties*

IN THE PEWS

- Saint Joseph, IN (175)

- Trinity, TX (136)

- Goodhue, MN (168)

- Falls Church City, VA (198)

- Santa Fe, NM (165)

*an index of 100 is the national average

ON THE COUCH

- Saint Mary's, MD (59)

- Trinity, CA (44)

- Gooding, ID (28)

- Churchill, NV (12)

- Santa Cruz, AZ (10)

Source: Easy Analytic Software, Inc.

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