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Posts Tagged ‘Pew Research Center

Is there a “right way” to pray?

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A picture of Pisgah Baptist Church in Four Oak...
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My first inclination is that “the right way” is what the right wingers are all about and Pew Research surveys continue to offer us metrics about the pervasiveness of belief in a personal God and the practice of prayer in the US. I’m sure if they did their survey in Canada that the numbers for BC, Alberta, Sask and Manitoba would look the same as those in the US.

But the NY Times has this way of “printing “news” that is fit to print” do they have a magazine essay about learning how to pray in Brooklyn NY. Here’s an excerpt from that essay:

But I am in a small minority, at least in the United States. According to a recent study by the Pew Forum, 75 percent of Americans report that they pray at least once a week. Interestingly, only 39 percent attend a worship service once a week or more frequently. Steven Waldman, the editor in chief of, says he thinks this gap means prayer in America is becoming detached from traditional denominations. “In a way, prayer has become its own religion in this society,” he told me. “People pick and choose. They want to be their own spiritual contractors.” This tendency toward do-it-yourself spirituality affects every denomination. According to Waldman, there is a widespread phenomenon of Protestants burying plastic St. Josephs to help them sell their homes. Some Orthodox Jewish rabbis recommend the Lord’s Prayer as a pathway to spirituality. Jesuit retreats routinely incorporate Hindu and Buddhist techniques of meditation. And for those who can’t find what they want among the traditional brands, there are personal trainers known as spiritual directors.

Let me be clear about my own beliefs. I think prayer is childish and but it could have a significant Placebo Effect and that could be good, even for me! But let’s face it all this God talk is indulging in wide spread fantasies about “underlying truths”. So I’m willing to consider the benefit of the Placebo Effect, but fantasy is 99% bunkum and cant!

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Can somebody explain for me why there is such a disconnect

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US Senator Barack Obama campaigning in New Ham...

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between polls in this final week of the campaign for the US presidency.

First of all there is Reuters/Zogby:

By John Whitesides, Political Correspondent

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Democrat Barack Obama has a 4-point national lead over Republican John McCain as they head into the final week of the presidential campaign, according to a Reuters/C-SPAN/Zogby poll released on Tuesday.

Obama leads McCain by 49 percent to 45 percent among likely voters in the three-day national tracking poll, a slight dip from his 5-point advantage on Monday. The telephone poll has a margin of error of 2.9 percentage points.

Then there is Pew Research:

Barack Obama leads John McCain by a 52% to 36% margin in Pew’s latest nationwide survey of 1,325 registered voters. This is the fourth consecutive survey that has found support for the Republican candidate edging down. In contrast, since early October weekly Pew surveys have shown about the same number of respondents saying they back Obama. When the sample is narrowed to those most likely to vote, Obama leads by 53% to 38%.

Then there is Nate Silver

Are they talking about the same political race?

So many things seem out of synch in this last week of the campaign! A bit like this interaction with Fox News yesterday.

Yes I want an Obama/Biden victory, but what will happen if he doesn’t win and falls short during this last week?

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