Tuesday, September 19, 2006

This seems to confirm our survey

In my Jesusland vs Secular States survey I used church members by denomination as a marker for fundamentalist beliefs. What I am trying to measure is how one's religion impacts on their daily living. Does being a "good Christian" make one more moral or less inclined to bad choices in life? So far the evidence is that fundamentalism goes hand in hand with other dysfunctional values.

One thing that some might argue is that my denominational marker is not particularly accurate regarding whether one is a fundamentalist. I think it fairly accurate but a bit crude and if I had the resources I'd use other sources. But I did come across one survey which seems to indicate that my denominational marker works fairly well after all. A Rasmussen national survey found that 54% of Americans "adults" believe the Bible is literally true. Amazing! But this is not 54% across the board. There clearly are regions of the country where this lunancy has reached epidemic proportions. Now only limited amounts of data are currently available to the public. But what they do discuss confirms my division fairly well.

The Rasmussen result mentions three states I identified as part of Jesusland and two states which I describe as being member of the Secular States of America. They report what percentage of residents of these states are daft enough to believe the Bible is literally true. For the Jesusland states they mention the results are: Alabama 75%, Arkansas 75% and Tennessee 68%. For the Secular States they mention two: Vermont 22% and Massachusetts 22%.

I think this survey would be an important one to use and if I expand my report I may use it. Again I should note that I used denominational membership as a marker. Obviously people who say they have no religion are secular. And people who belong to fundamentalist sects like the Baptists are not likely to be secular at all. Unfortunately there were many categories on the denomination list which were too vague to pin down. Some people belong to indepedent churches. Well those could be anything. So I excluded them from the list. I used as my main marker membership in fundamentalist denominations and those saying they had no religion. I then added the mainstream Protestant into the secular camp which is where most of them actually belong. So far the limited data made public by Rasmussen indicates this worked fairly well and that I did accurately identify the five states which I mention and which Rasmussen mentions.

Unfortunately Rasmussen doesn't allow one to buy one survey. You have to subscribe to a "season" and at $95 it is a bit rich for me for just the one survey I actually want. Damn.

By the way I criticized the humour maps of Jesusland put out by the Left because they actually mapped whether one voted Democrat or Republican and not whether one was a theocrat or a secularist. I argued that some states that voted for Bush were more Secular in nature and that Democrats should be able to win these states but that they needed to move to the center instead of being on extreme left. One such state was Montana. The Democratic candidate for US Senate is now leading there in the polls by 9 points.


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