Monday, May 13, 2013

Changing of The Mazeways or Loss of Religiosity?

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...When I was a kid Sunday morning made Dallas look like a ghost town. On days when I had an occasion not to go to chruch but to drive somewhere, such as traveling, or in high school when I stopped going to chruch (much to the consternation of my parents) the town seemed abandoned on Sunday morning. Everyone  was in chruch. Now you can't tell it is Sunday. People are out doing all the stuff they do on Saturday. Parks are full, playing Frisbee with dogs, playing football, going for walks, sitting at side walk cafes, having dates, "Saturday, in the park, could have been the forth of  July." There's essentially no difference between Sunday and Saturday until noon when the chruch people get out, then it's only discernible at family style cafeterias and supermarkets. Does this trend really mark a loss in religiosity?
....Recently there has been a spate of claims that atheism is increasing. These are backed by pseudo-scientific polling efforts. I've studied many of these claims for my other blog, Atheist Watch, and determined that they all bogus, especially those that pertain to the U.S. I have not found good counter data for world rate of atheist in population, but I do have reasons to doubt the only major measurement of that statistic in several years, done by an offshoot of Gallup polling, Win-Gallup International (which not affiliated with the famous Gallup organization). That can all be seen on my recent article on AW. So while I don't find claims of increasing rate of atheism in America, or even in world population disturbing what I do find disturbing is the loss of religiosity statistic.[1] Usually these polls rarely distinguish bewteen growth of "no religion" and actual atheism. What this means in practical terms is that large increases in "atheism" are base upon increase in a group that says it has "no religious affiliation." When that group is examined more closely half of them say they believe in God. Even of those who say they don't believe in God half are "I don't know" and half are "I am an actual atheist." If the none group is 14% half believe in God that's 7% that don't. half of those are "i don't know" only 3 and 1/2 % are actual atheists if we could "I am an atheist" as the definition.[2]
....In all of this figuring about "no religious affiliation" we also have statistics on "declining religiosity." That group is what concerns me. It means that even among those who say they do believe in God even many of those many not actually have relationships with God. The whole point of belief in God is to have a relationship with God. By relationship  is mean primarily a prayer life. I base my views about the importance of "relationship" with God on the models set forth in various texts concerning mystical experience. From a traditional standpoint we have the  teaching of great Christian mystics such as St. John of the Cross, and Meister Eckhart, or St. Teresa of Avila.[3] If we listen to those guys we get strait forward advice about how important it is to have a prayer life, we also get a lot of advice about aestheticism that most of us have no intention of following. Perhaps that's ok but if we examine the hard data (from empirical studies on the effects of having religious experience--such as corroborating studies on the "M scale" by Ralph Hood We find that there are universal experiences that certain people in all cultures and all times have, and these experience traditionally labeled "mystical." the M Scale validates the work of W.T. Stace who based his finding on the writings of the great mystics around the world. What Hood's studies prove is that people are actually out there experiencing that which they term "the divine" in ways that stack up to Stace's theory.[4] All of that means that the mystics of the world got it right for the most part. Therefore, there is a relationship with something that is to be had. That "something" is experienced as a sense of all pervasive love and culminates in undifferentiated unity, that is seems to provide a deep penetrating insight into the meaning of life and the nature of reality to clarify everything. Moreover, it's wrapped up in a unity that blurs the distinction between the diversity of all things. In other words, it's all about "God." Studies that look at the effects of having these experiences show that they have profound life transforming effects upon those who experience them, more so than for those who don't.
....Since there is some kind of relationship to be had with "the infinite" then it behooves us to understand weather or not the depth of religiosity is really being lost, or is it just changing to the extent that the guide markers for religiosity are being obscured by new behaviors? Surveys show a loss of religiosity. Decline of religiosity is probalby the same thing as the growth of unaffiliated. What is the cause? 1 in 5 adults in America have no religious affiliation.

relaxed attitudes of 60s and 70s means that x ers were raised with no strong attachment to chruch. This still doesn't mean they don't believe in God. My personal personal is that young people are being confused and turned off by politics, the way the right wing tries to monopolize belief in the bible and in Jesus.[5]

The Highest ranked cetners of religiosity are Africa and Latin America in that order.

CCBI News‹‹ Back

16-08-2012 by Munyaradzi Makoni (ENInews via CNUA) Africa has topped the list of most devout regions of the world, with 89 percent calling themselves religious, according to a worldwide poll called "The Global Index of Religiosity and Atheism." In Ghana, 96 percent of respondents said they were religious, followed by Nigeria at 93 percent and Kenya at 88 percent. There was no change in the Ghana figure since 2005, the last time the poll was conducted. Nigeria and Kenya were both down 1 percent. Conducted by WIN-Gallup International, the poll is based on interviews with 50,000 people from 57 countries and five continents. Participants were asked, "Irrespective of whether you attend a place of worship or not, would you say you are a religious person, not a religious person, or a convinced atheist?" Worldwide, the number of self-proclaimed atheists rose to 7 percent from 4 percent in 2005. In other African countries, 75 percent of respondents in South Sudan said they were religious and 6 percent atheists. The number of religious South Africans has dropped to 64 percent from 83 percent in 2005.
In terms of religiosity, Latin America was second to Africa, with 84 percent of respondents saying they are religious. In South Asia, the figure was 83 percent and in the Arab world, 77 percent. In the U.S., the number of Americans who say they are "religious" dropped to 60 percent from 73 percent. The number of Americans who say they are atheists rose to 5 percent from 1 percent. [6]

The problem is I've seen the data on the rise of the "none" badly misrepresented. I've seen it used to indicate a rise in atheism when i reality it means a rise in "no religious affiliation" but among people who believe in God. What really seems to be going on, at least in America, is a changing of the Maze ways. It's a change in the ques that give people conventional references to reality. In other words behavior is different and people can't figure it out. That term "mazeway" comes form a Anthropologist named Anthony F.C.Wallace who a theory about how people takes their ques from society and learn how to act and what opinions to hold. When the maze ways change, when people's non verbal and verbal ques no longer stack up with expectations they become uncertain and start being afraid and doing things that dont' make sense.[7] An example is like long hair in the 60's. Boys suddenly stopped getting hair cuts, which was a right of passage for a male on the edge of puberty, suddenly they want to "look like girls." the older generation began spinning notions of end times and expecting nuclear war sermons began to be preached on moral decline. That was especially scary becuase it was accompanied by drug use, psychedelic shirts, bell bottoms, Iron Butterfly on the radio and other alarming indications of 60s pop culture. Not to say that the problems of American youth didn't become a lot more serious. That seems like such an innocent time time becuase things were a lot more simple and the doom and gloom senerios so off base.
....A cogent questoin at this point might be "how are these polls measuring religiosity? First, how is it defined:

Numerous studies have explored the different components of human religiosity (Brink, 1993; Hill & Hood 1999). What most have found is that there are multiple dimensions (they often employ factor analysis). For instance, Cornwall, Albrecht, Cunningham and Pitcher (1986) identify six dimensions of religiosity based on the understanding that there are at least three components to religious behavior: knowing (cognition in the mind), feeling (affect to the spirit), and doing (behavior of the body). For each of these components of religiosity there were two cross classifications resulting in the six dimensions[citation needed]:
  • Cognition
    • traditional orthodoxy
    • particularistic orthodoxy
  • Affect
    • Palpable
    • Tangible
  • Behavior
    • religious behavior
    • religious participation
Other researchers have found different dimensions, ranging generally from four to twelve components. What most measures of religiosity find is that there is at least some distinction between religious doctrine, religious practice, and spirituality.
For example[original research?], one can accept the truthfulness of the Bible (belief dimension), but never attend a church or even belong to an organized religion (practice dimension). Another example is an individual who does not hold orthodox Christian doctrines (belief dimension), but does attend a charismatic worship service (practice dimension) in order to develop his/her sense of oneness with the divine (spirituality dimension).[8]

....I don't go to chruch but I consider myself "religious" if we can use that term. The problem is there are devout believers who don't like the term "religious." for some Pentecostals, for example, that term implies a dead formal ceremony and legalistic attitude rather than a living relationship. Gallup finds that seven out of ten Americans are very or moderately religious. Protestantism is shrinking, however, as "unbranded" religion grows.[9] It's the change in the label that shifts the maze ways and causes a since of confusion. We find it hard to label as "religious" those who say they have no particular religious label. That doesn't' mean that they wont be labeled in another way that says "religious" in the future. It's all a matter of figuring out the new set of Maze ways. In Newport's article 40% are very religious, 29% moderately, while 31% "non religious" but that i not to say they don't believe in God. We know the 2009 pew study (above) that half the nons believe in God. The other half don't necessarily call themselves atheists. There even room for exploration in the "I don't know column. For example if that group says significant "I believe in a higher power I just don't call it God," do they qualify as atheist or as "would be God believers?" Apart form the expression of anger on message boards is the term "atheist" even meaningful at this point?

Broadly speaking, the United States remains a largely Christian nation, although one in which an increasing percentage of adults say that they don't have a formal religious identity. More than three-fourths (77%) of American adults in 2012 identify with a Christian religion, including Protestantism, Catholicism, other Christian religions, and Mormonism. Among only those Americans who have a religious identity, 94% are Christians, with the rest spread across several other religious categories.
Gallup's traditional religious identity question asks respondents about their religious preference, providing these response categories: Protestant, Roman Catholic, Mormon, Jewish, Muslim, another religion, or no religion. Those who say "another religion" are then asked: "Would that be a Christian religion, or is it not a Christian religion?" Most say their "other" religion is a Christian religion.[10]
 I have seen atheists use statistics to try and indicate that religion is declining in America. They show protestantism has declined from 69% in 1948 to 56% in 2008. While "none" increased in that era from 4% in 48 to 13% in 2008[11] belief in God did not decrease at all."Separate Gallup questioning earlier this year shows that 92% of Americans say they believe in God. This suggests that the lack of a religious identity is not in and of itself a sign of the total absence of religiosity."[12] 
....What is not reflect in any of the data is how to measure the hearts of those who are listed as "non" but say they believe in God. Traditional behavioral ques that mark one as religoius have changed. No longer is going to chruch and being a member of an institution the major means of understanding religiosity. That's not proof that there's no religion there. It's probably a mistake from a devotional stand point it's up to those who care to spread God's love to people. That's the real bottom line is how we treat people and that's going to speak the loudest to the unbeliever.

[1]Metacrock, "Is Atheism Increasing in World Population?" Atheist Watch. blog:
[2]"Major Religions of the World Ranks by Numbers of Adherents",
see also Pew study of 2009 Nons On the rise" Pew Research Center 2009
 where the same idea applies, "non" is rising to 20% while athist is still at 3%.
[3] the classic text on Christian mysticism is Mysticism by Evyln Underhill
[4] Metacrock, "The M Scale and Universal Nature of Mystical Experience." Atheist Watch, 10/5/12
[5]Pew Research Center, "Nones on the rise." Pew 2009 study:
[6]CCBI news "
Africa is most devout region of the world: Poll results, Posted On : Aug. 16, 2012
[7]Ilias Sabbir, "Theory of Revitalization Movement by Anthony

see also Herbert Balamer (editor) Modern Christian Revivals (Anthology). University of Illinois, 1993, 209 on line copy:,+sociologist+who+used+concept+of+%22the+Maze+ways%22&source=bl&ots=8M6iiLVTwJ&sig=yJUvqGgmKaDvDP459SDiMqyGnyM&hl=en&sa=X&ei=XPmQUZKwAcqirgH-k4HoBQ&sqi=2&ved=0CC8Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=Wallace%2C%20sociologist%20who%20used%20concept%20of%20%22the%20Maze%20ways%22&f=false
[8]"religiosity." Wikipedia,
[9] Frank Newport "Seven out of Ten Americans are very or moderately religious" Gallup Politics
[11]Frank Newport "over Time Fewer Americans Identify as Christians,"
[12]Frank Newport, "Christianity remains Dominant religion in America," Gallup, December 23, 2011.

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