Are you a Sunday Stalwart? Diversely Devout? Relaxed Religious? Or Solidly Secular?
Those are some of the new categories being proposed by the Pew Research Centre in the U.S. to categorize believers in that country.
The new categories—or “typologies,” as Pew puts it—are based on answers people provided to a survey it conducted last December.
By using the new categories, Pew wants to better describe the way people believe and behave not only within faith groups, but across religions. People in the seven groups can be found in any faith tradition.
Of the seven categories, the Sunday Stalwarts are the most religious group. These are people who not only actively practice their faith, attend services weekly, and pray daily. Seventeen percent of Americans fall into this group.
God-and-Country Believers (12%) are less active in church groups or other religious organizations, but hold many traditional religious beliefs and tilt right on social and political issues.
The Diversely Devout (11%) are people who believe in traditional ideas about God, but also consult accept other spiritual practices like consulting psychics and believing in things like reincarnation and spiritual energy.
The Relaxed Religious (17%) believe in traditional ideas about God, and four-in-ten pray daily. But fewer of them attend religious services or read scripture regularly, and they almost unanimously say it is not necessary to believe in God to be a good or moral person.
Spiritually Awake people (15%) believe in God or some higher power, though many do not believe in the traditional ideas about God. Relatively few attend religious services on a weekly basis.
Religion Resisters (12%) believe in some higher power or spiritual force, and many consider themselves to be spiritual but not religious. However, many express strongly negative views of organized religion.
The Solidly Secular (17%) are the least religious of the seven groups. They are relatively affluent, highly educated adults, and mostly white and male. They tend to describe themselves as neither religious nor spiritual.
Pew notes that outside of the Sunday Stalwarts, relatively few Americans—even those who otherwise hold strong religious beliefs—frequently attend religious services or read their scriptures.
Instead of attending religious services, Pew observes that many Americans find fulfillment from different sources such as “their families, friends and careers, but also from being in the great outdoors, taking care of pets, listening to music and reading.”
Since this study is about Americans, it’s hard to know how well these new typologies would apply to Canada—the God-and-Country category, in particular, might not fit as well north of the border.
I also suspect that, in our much more secular Canadian society, there might be more people in the Religion Resisters and Solidly Secular categories in this country.
All the same, it would be interesting to see how people across different religions would share some of the same characteristics when it comes things like belief in God, attendance at services, reading scriptures, or praying.
What category are you in? You can find out for yourself by taking the quiz on the Pew website.