Irrespective of social standing, religious activities help to develop, sustain, and reinforce religious-based explanations that all participants—well-educated or not, rich or poor—use to comprehend the world and their place in it. Effects of Religious Practice on Society. I averaged the items to create the belief in divine control index (α = .83). In separate analyses (not shown), I replaced the SES measure with education (or income) and tested all models. “Knowing people well in a different religion, it’s difficult to believe somebody who believes differently than you is a bad person if it’s a cousin or spouse or child or best friend. Yet, surprisingly little is known about the content of those beliefs and the ways those beliefs are differentially distributed across social strata. This is one way that a religion can affect the social values of an individual. Participants in the WSH survey were asked the extent to which they agree or disagree with the following five statements: “You decide what to do without relying on God,” “When good or bad things happen, you see it is part of God's plan for you” (reverse-coded), “God has decided what your life shall be” (reverse-coded), “You depend on God for help and guidance” (reverse-coded), and “There is no sense planning a lot—my fate is in God's hands” (reverse-coded) (Schieman et al. Instead, the results suggest more similarities between low and high SES individuals, but only when these groups share similarly high levels of religious involvement. These data indicate that the BRS is a somewhat better-educated sample than WSH. Recent evidence confirms that stratification-based differences in religious affiliation persist (Pyle 2006; Smith and Faris 2005). Religious stratification is However, it is also plausible that the hypothesized negative association between SES and these beliefs are contingent upon religious involvement. Moreover, it predicts that SES-based differences in beliefs about divine involvement and control should be largest among those who participate less frequently and profess a weaker subjective religiosity. The inclusion of religious involvement in model 2, however, influences each of these patterns. Using information from the most recent Bureau of the Census Current Population Survey, the data are weighted using information about gender, race, region, age, and education. Putnam, who was Campbell’s doctoral adviser at Harvard, also is the author of the widely acclaimed 2000 book Bowling Alone, about the collapse and revival of community in America. The overall response rate is roughly 24 percent; that is, 1,721 individuals of the total number that Gallop attempted to contact (7,041) participated. For these analyses, I deleted cases with missing values on focal measures which yielded a sample of 1,709 individuals. For example, among those who pray several times a day, the predicted sense of divine control score is 4.40 for the high school/$20,000 income group compared with 4.36 for the graduate degree/$120,000 income group. Despite the increasing popularity of these recent polemics about religion, there is strong evidence that the vast majority of Americans maintain the belief in a personal God (Froese and Bader 2007), and these beliefs remain influential in many aspects of American social and political life (Wills 2007). Considerable research has emerged over the past five decades that demonstrates the benefits of religious practice for society. One possibility is that the negative association between SES and beliefs is attenuated by higher levels of religious involvement. That is, individuals with lower levels of SES should tend to report the highest levels of belief in divine involvement and control. Participants were recruited through nationwide random digit dialing methods. For this reason, I decided to report all analyses with the SES index. In the BRS and WSH surveys, I coded education as “less than high school degree” (0), “high school graduate or GED” (1), some college but no degree earned (2), Associate's Degree (2-year) (3), college graduate (BA or BS) (4), and post graduate—advanced degree (MA, Ph.D.) (5). These ideas imply that even when low SES individuals exhibit lower levels of religious involvement they will often retain a higher level of “cognitive religiosity.” By extension, it is plausible that low SES individuals will maintain high levels of belief in divine control and involvement apart from other aspects of the religious role. List-assisted RDD is widely accepted now by most social survey research organizations as a cost-effective alternative to the pure RDD methods originally developed by Waksberg (1978). More explicit measurement of deprivation–compensation processes is needed. However, even though they are more secular, they are more likely than their parents to oppose abortion. 1992; Spilka et al. A separate plot of the predicted values for attendance (model 3) yields patterns similar to those shown in figure 1. Of the total number of individuals who were contacted and determined as eligible for the study (2,544), 71 percent agreed to participate and completed the full interview (1,800).2 The age range is 18–94 with a mean of 44 years, 59 percent are women, and 72 percent are white. Specifically, the size of the gender difference is reduced from .345 (p < .001) in model 1 to .110 (p < .05). © The Author 2010. For the present analyses, I deleted cases with missing values on focal measures which yielded a sample of 1,558 cases. These imputed values are based on the following variables: sex, age, race, region, education, marital status, employment status, weekly work hours, and job sector. It is plausible that these processes occur irrespective of social standing, although the ways that they potentially differ in their influence on precepts and practices across social strata is unclear. Adjustments for religious involvement reduce each of these contrasts; the Catholic–Protestant contrast, in particular, is no longer significant. The Baylor Religion Survey was funded through a generous grant (ID# 11284) from the John M. Templeton Foundation. Model 2 adds the religious involvement measures in order to assess the net SES effects on belief in divine involvement. It is well established that belief in God is pervasive and influential in contemporary American society—but what do people believe about the nature of God's presence in everyday life? Likewise, theoretical views about deprivation–compensation are potentially relevant (Wilson 1982). A familiar refrain about religion is that it provides the faithful with knowledge, meaning, control, and security. While this may have implications for beliefs about divine control, it is unclear whether or not these distinctions influence the focal associations being investigated. Recent research blends these distinctions by including beliefs and practices on both sides of the “causal equation” (Froese and Bader 2007) and by documenting that the frequency of attendance and Biblical literalism are associated positively with the frequency of praying (Baker 2008). First, among those who never attend religious services, the predicted score on the divine involvement index is 4.15 for individuals with a high school degree and household income in the $10,000–$20,000 range; in contrast, the predicted divine involvement score is 3.44 for individuals with a graduate degree and income in the $100,000–$150,000 range. 500 Grace Hall Search for other works by this author on: Secularization, Higher Education, and Religiosity, A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, American Piety 2005: Content and Methods of the Baylor Religion Survey, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, An Investigation of the Sociological Patterns of Prayer Frequency and Content, Poverty and Prayer: Spiritual Narratives of Elderly African-American Women, Socio-Economic Status and Ten Dimensions of Religious Commitment, Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon, Religious Involvement and Subjective Well-Being, Religious Involvement, Stress, and Mental Health: Findings from the 1995 Detroit Area Study, God in America: Why Theology Is Not Simply the Concern of Philosophers, The Major Dimensions of Church Membership, A Causal Model of Belief-Orthodoxy: Proposal and Empirical Test, The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason, Determinants of Commitment and Participation in Suburban Protestant Churches, God Is not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, Magical Moments: An Intellectualist Approach to the Neo-Pentecostal Faith Ministries, Religiosity and Self-Esteem among Older Adults, Church-based Social Support and Health in Old Age: Exploring Variations by Race, Religious Meaning and Subjective Well-Being in Late Life, God-Mediated Control and Psychological Well-Being in Late Life, Social Involvement in Religious Institutions and God-mediated Control Beliefs: A Longitudinal Investigation. In the 2005 Baylor Religion Survey, 44 percent of Americans “agreed” or “strongly agreed” with the statement that “God is a He.” Only 28 percent of those surveyed “disagreed or strongly disagreed with the statement that “God is a He.” Approximately 29 percent reported that they were “undecided” about God's gender. The concept of a personal relationship with God identifies the ways that many people maintain a bond with the divine that parallels social relations with other people (Glock and Stark 1965; Pollner 1989).

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