America’s declining faith in pastors and churches

Religion holds powerful sway over people’s lives—but not always in ways we might expect. We typically imagine that the faithful check their brains at the church door and follow whatever dicta religious leaders offer. Maybe not. While religious belief represents the greatest influence on how people voted in our recent presidential election, the opinion of their pastors mattered far less to them, according to research by Barna. A third of adults said…

What the declining number of nuns in America says about our post-Christian Christianity

While the Vatican’s Synod on the Family has so far garnered most of the attention this week, two smaller stories caught my eye and might perhaps shed light on the larger cultural picture. The first concerns nuns in America. There are fewer of them—far fewer, in fact, if you’re comparing against the 1960s. In 1965 there were over 180,000. Today, according to a report from Georgetown University’s Center for Applied Research in…