New on my religious "Must Read" list
This is a sociologist's report on extensive surveys about American religious beliefs and behavior conducted by Baylor University in recent years. Paraphrased interesting tidbits about American religion include:
Religions that demand the most from adherents also have tended to see the greatest growth across the last several decades.
Conservative religion seems to be the best antidote to beliefs in the paranormal - the more liberal your religious tradition (regardless of education), the more likely you are to believe in crystals, UFOs and Bigfoot.
If you adjust for a dropoff in Catholic Church attendance following Vatican II, Stark suggests that Americans frequency of Church attendance has neither significantly increased or decreased since the Revolutionary War.
Young people are not leaving behind religion at a greater frequency than in the past. They are, however, leaving behind mainline denominations at a greater frequency than in the past. (The Mormons and Evangelicals are indeed winning.)
I just read Peter Rollins "How (Not) to Speak of God" and this book. Both are essential!