Thursday, February 14, 2013

Holy goosefeathers --- I'm "very religious"

Source: Wikimedia Commons

The Gallup organization released its annual ranking of these 50 United States in regard to religiosity on Wednesday, producing few surprises.

New England remains the least religious region of the nation with the Pacific Northwest close behind; the South, the most religious; and Iowa, 22nd most religious state, squarely in the middle.

Gallup classifies 41 percent of Iowans as "very religious," compared to 19 percent in Vermont --- the least religious state --- and 58 percent in Mississippi --- the most religious. The national "very religious" average is 40 percent.

Thirty-two percent of Iowans identify as nonreligious, according to Gallup, one percentage point above the national average; and 27 percent as moderately religious, two percent below the national average.

What did surprise me was the discovery that, according to Gallup at least, I am "very religious" based upon the polling organization's criteria --- religion identified as an important part of daily life and attendance at religious services every week, or almost every week.

So I'm guessing the Gallup data can be a little misleading. 

What about those of us, for example, who have found it useful to monitor Christians based upon the very real possibility they're going to pick up their pitchforks and come after us? That certainly makes religion an important part of daily life.

Or who find the gloriously corrupt decadence of the all-male Roman Catholic hierarchy and the cosmic absurdity of protestant sectarianism endlessly fascinating? Or who admire the ethical teachings of Jesus and the middle-way approach outlined by the Buddha and sometimes toy with the idea of following one or the other --- but without "belief"?

And then there's that disconcerting love of the form --- just can't stop rolling out of bed on Sunday mornings and going to church.

Maybe, like blue eyes and sexual orientation, religion's genetic. Heaven knows, it's all I can think of. Some get the blue or the gay gene, others get the religious gene --- and some get both. And like Canada geese headed for open ponds and harvested cornfields in the fall, we instinctively head for church.

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