New Research Shows Fewer Americans Identify as Christian

According to a recent Pew Research survey of 35,000 people age 18 and older, Americans’ religious affiliations are notably shifting. While America is still home to more Christians than any other country, fewer people say they are Christian than they did 7 years ago. The survey also notes changes in ethnic diversity among Christians: 

Less Than Half of Young Americans Say They Are “A Religious Person”

Less than half of today’s young Americans say they are “a religious person.” That’s according to the 2014 Gallup International End of Year Survey. For people under the age of 35, the idea of religion or at least the label seems to be less important now than for the older population.

Possible reasons? It could be that higher levels of internet exploration during formative years are leading young people to question the beliefs of their elders. It could also be that young people are leaving behind perceived negativity with the word “religious”, preferring to be labeled with words like “spiritual” instead.

Should Businesses Be Required to Serve Same-Sex Couples? Americans Weigh In.

Last month Indiana Governor Mike Pence signed a religious freedom law allowing businesses to refuse services to same-sex couples on religious grounds. While supporters say the law protects religious liberty for everyone, critics were quick to point out that the law would easily allow businesses to discriminate, with many people recalling “separate but equal” laws that were used to disenfranchise blacks from everyday rights until the 1960s.

Should Religion Guide a Presidential Candidate’s Policy? Americans are Saying “No”

Oh my goodness, we’re talking about politics and religion in the same place. It’s like an awkward dinner with the extended family… When CNN and ORC International conducted a new poll asking Americans what would make the perfect presidential candidate, they found that when it came to religion in politics, Americans are leaning towards less of it.

16th Century ‘Prayer Nuts’ Hide Miniature Carvings

If you were wealthy and devout in 16th century Europe, one of the ultimate possessions was a prayer nut. These tiny wooden spheres were intricately carved boxes filled with religious scenes like the Crucifixion. Worn around the neck attached to a rosary or on the owners belt, it has been theorized that the outer carvings were inserted with aromatic plants and oils to add to the experience of owning one.

Grave Connects Two Lovers and Their Differing Beliefs

Love across Cemetary Roermond 2

In the kitsch little town of Roermond in the Netherlands lays the grave of two lovers still holding onto their love in spirit, 130 years later. Traditionally, people in this southern part of Holland would be buried in their family plots corresponding to the religion they followed. These two lovers, Colonel J.W.C. van Gorcum and Jonkvrouwe J.C.P.H. van Aefferden, were both Christians, yet one was catholic and one was protestant. After being married for forty two years, the Colonel died in 1880 and was buried in the protestant plot of the town. A wall separated the catholic and protestant burial grounds.

5 of the World’s Most Inaccessible Monasteries

Here are some far out places of faith which house followers of many different creeds. Whether it is Orthodox Christianity, Buddhism or Islam, these monasteries were built to be protected from the powers that be – ones that may not agree with their words and lifestyle. They were built on mountains, rocks or cliff sides, overlooking beautiful vistas where one could chant into infinity and be “away from the world.”

The Transparent Church: Read Between The Lines

In a recent and revealing project, Belgian architecture collaborative Gijs Van Vaarenbergh has created a sculptural, visually transparent church made of horizontal layers of steel. The slightly smaller than life-sized piece, created using 30 tons of plate steel separated by metal blocks, is titled “Reading Between the Lines” and is not intended as an actual church but rather a place of reflection and introspection: “because the church does not fulfill its classical function, it can be read as a heritage related reflection on the present vacancy of churches in the area (and their potential artistic reuse).”

Word: The Bible Summarized by Design

Jim Lepage had been reading his bible on and off for most of his life… the problem was, he didn’t always want to read it. Looking for motivation to encourage his spiritual practice, he decided to combine something he loved, design, with the challenge of reading the text more often. He set down a goal to create one image a week based on what he found entertaining and meaningful in each of the bibles many books… and so far he’s kept the creativity flowing. For anyone familiar with the ancient stories, his simple images go a long way to summarize the general story of each book. See more of his project ‘Word’ at jimlepage.com

Choose Your World View: A Flowchart

If you’ve ever wondered just how to classify your world view or religion, this flow chart could help. Like a philosophical choose your own adventure (with eternity potentially at stake) this chart starts with the simple question – “Do you believe in God?”

While the graphic isn’t entirely unbiased and some of the conclusions have a decidedly Christian slant (it was created by FEVA Ministries, a Christian organization dedicated to visual arts), it does provide an interesting look at many of the decisions that lead to our view of the life beyond this one. Any philosophy majors care to weigh in?