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Here’s the latest Gallup poll on honesty and integrity in professions: You there you have it… pastors do slightly better than Psychiatrists and Chiropractors, but worse than professors and police officers. Are you surprised? And be honest.  From the pastors you know, where do they fit on the integrity/honestly scale.  I’ve seen a few here and there that would be more down around ‘car salesman’ and ‘member of congress’ than ‘nurse’ or ‘pharmacist’. Leave your comment below… Todd
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Trends
Three in 10 Americans interpret the Bible literally, saying it is the actual word of God. That is similar to what Gallup has measured over the last two decades, but down from the 1970s and 1980s. A 49% plurality of Americans say the Bible is the inspired word of God but that it should not be taken literally, consistently the most common view in Gallup’s nearly 40-year history of this question. Another 17% consider the Bible an ancient book of stories recorded by man. via In U.S., 3 in 10 Say They Take the Bible Literally. Do these numbers surprise you? Todd
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Trends
According to the Houston Chronicle and a new Gallop poll:  Christians and people from other religious traditions have grown more tolerant of gays and lesbians. The percentage of Catholics calling gay relations “morally acceptable” has increased by more than a third in the past five years, up to 62 percent. More Americans also favor legalizing gay marriage. More from the article: Although America’s stance on homosexuality remains a contentious social issue, nearly split nationwide, gays and lesbians are moving towards equality in some of the country’s mainline Protestant denominations. The Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles recently ordained the church’s first openly gay female bishop. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America decided last year to allow non-celibate gay and lesbian clergy to serve. Despite some dissenters, the ELCA has continued to seek the full inclusion of homosexual church leaders and members. In the survey, fewer people cited homosexuality as a personal choice rather than a factor of genetics and environment (from 41 percent in 2008 to 34 percent in 2010). As I’ve said many times before… I really think the gay/lesbian issue will be one of the biggest areas of controversy and change in the church in the next decade.  How is your church engaging/reaching/reacting to gays and lesbians?  Do you feel you need to?  How will your church hold it’s theological views on homosexuality and yet minister in a world that is increasingly looking at homosexuality as a norm? You can read more here… Todd
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Trends
A Pew Research Center survey showed Americans switch religions often. Here are just a few famous people known to convert their beliefs more than once. According to the survey:  Americans change religious affiliation early and often. In total, about half of American adults have changed religious affiliation at least once during their lives. Most people who change their religion leave their childhood faith before age 24, and many of those who change religion do so more than once. These are among the key findings of a new survey conducted by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life. The survey documents the fluidity of religious affiliation in the U.S. and describes in detail the patterns and reasons for change. The reasons people give for changing their religion – or leaving religion altogether – differ widely depending on the origin and destination of the convert. The group that has grown the most in recent years due to religious change is the unaffiliated population. Two-thirds of former Catholics who have become unaffiliated and half of former Protestants who have become unaffiliated say they left their childhood faith because they stopped believing in its teachings, and roughly four-in-ten say they became unaffiliated because they do not believe in God or the teachings of most religions.1 Additionally, many people who left a religion to become unaffiliated say they did so in part because they think of religious people as hypocritical or judgmental, because religious organizations focus too much on rules or because religious leaders are too focused on power and money. Far fewer say they became unaffiliated because they believe that modern science proves that religion is just superstition. Catholicism has suffered the greatest net loss in the process of religious change. Many people who leave the Catholic Church do so for religious reasons; two-thirds of former Catholics who have become unaffiliated say they left the Catholic faith because they stopped believing in its teachings, as do half of former Catholics who are now Protestant. Fewer than three-in-ten former Catholics, however, say the clergy sexual abuse scandal factored into their decision to leave Catholicism. Read more here… Also for a slideshow of some more infamous people who have changed their religion repeatedly, check this out… Todd
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