Thursday, December 09, 2010

American Grace 11: How Does a Religiously Divided Nation Get Along So Well?

The puzzle that Putnam and Campbell are trying to explain: how a country with high religious diversity and high religious devotion has such low religious conflict?

The answer is that we are not really very divided by religion. The secular tenth are the outliers on most measures. The moderately religious and the very religious are alike in most things.

On feeling thermometer measures - how warm (positive) toward Group X do you feel? - the results are a little unexpected:
Mainline Protestants, Catholics, and Jews are all liked by others at above average rates;
Evangelical Protestants and Nones a bit below average;
Mormons, Buddhists, and Muslims (in that order) are least liked.

In the end, ideology generates more animosity than religion does.


Benjamin said...

It's interesting that two of the groups that were on the receiving end of nativist antagonism 100 years ago - Catholics and Jews - are now among the most-liked groups.

I wonder to what extent that "liking" is correlated with familiarity with the group or individual members of the group. Perhaps people have the lowest evaluations of Muslims, Mormons, etc. simply because they know the least about them?

Scott said...

Buddhists are among the least liked? Any reason given for that?
Austin, TX