Chaves Reflection 2/4

The past weeks reading focused on the decline of religious participation, the decline in confident belief in God, and the decrease in belief of the Bible’s truth. Chaves presented a multitude of interesting statistics to support his statements, but the most interesting conclusion he drew from data was that there was not found to be an increase in belief in life after death among regular attendees of religious service. I find that interesting because I would have assumed that ongoing attendance would strengthen or at least create such a belief due to prolonged exposure to that message. That fact makes me wonder if the group responding to the survey that indicated regular religious service attendance only attends out of habit, or some other factor? Is attendance at religious services more of a social event than a religious one? It is a curious question. Another concept Chaves discussed as being a significant force in decreased population religiosity was generational turnover. Chaves found a significant impact of frequency of childhood religious service attendance on adulthood attendance, meaning as fewer parents take their children to church when those children grow up they are less likely to attend religious services or take their children to them leading to an overall decline. Chaves pointed out the connection between family structure and religious involvement in a way I had never considered, that the decline in traditional two-parent families has greatly impacted religious service attendance. It makes sense in a variety of ways, for example a single, working parent likely does not have the time or desire to spend what is potentially one of their days off in a multi-hour religious service. I really enjoyed this section of reading because it represented generally known information with significant data as well as new insights to why the trends are what they are, which I greatly appreciated.