Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for April 1st, 2021

The decline in religious affiliation and its impact

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Eric Levitz has a very interesting column in New York, which begins (and charts are omitted):

For the first time on record, a majority of U.S. adults do not belong to a church, synagogue, or mosque.

Since 1939, Gallup has been surveying Americans on their religious affiliations. From that year until the turn of the millennium, church membership in the U.S. never dipped below 68 percent. But over the past two decades, that figure has steadily declined — and now, the emerging churchless majority has arrived.


This is not a story about the rise of “remote worship.” Declining church membership has been driven primarily by rising godlessness. On the eve of the 21st century, 8 percent of Americans identified with no religion in Gallup’s polling. Today, that figure is 21 percent.

Pew Research believes the ranks of the “nones” are even larger. In its polling, 26 percent of the U.S. public prostrates itself before no deity.

In assigning culpability for this trend, one could assemble a long list of plausible co-conspirators. The ascendance of the Evangelical right likely damaged Christianity’s brand with social liberals by associating the faith with theocratic politics, while pedophilic priests and their enablers surely drove no small number of American Catholics from the pews. In Gallup’s polling, the decline in church membership has been especially steep among self-identified Catholics, falling 18 points since 2000, compared to 9 points among Protestants.

But in all likelihood, these contingent developments only expedited America’s atheistic drift. Secularization is a secular trend. In both Gallup and Pew’s data, the main engine of ascendant faithlessness is generational churn. Two-thirds of Americans born before 1946 belong to a religious institution, according to Gallup. That drops to 58 percent among baby boomers, 50 percent among Generation X, and 36 percent among millennials (the pollster’s limited data from zoomers indicates that they are roughly as irreligious as their cooler, wiser immediate predecessors).

Pew shows a similar pattern on the question of religious identification: Each new generation is less religious than the last, while the drop-off between Gen X and millennials is especially sharp:

To be sure, one might attribute American millennials’ disaffection with religion to the fact that the Christian right (and/or Catholic church sex abuse scandal) loomed especially large during their formative years. But declining religiosity is not limited to the United States. Rates of religious-service attendance are falling in nearly every Western country. And the United Kingdom — whose Conservative Party endorsed same-sex marriage before Barack Obama did — has witnessed a remarkably similar trend to the U.S. in religious identification, with the percentage of Britons who subscribe to no religion rising 12 points since 2000.

Given that religious identification has been declining continuously with each new generation, across a diverse array of national contexts, the fundamental cause of the phenomenon is likely structural (as opposed to contingent). I can’t tell you with much authority what this macrohistorical cause is. But I’m inclined to think that industrial development inherently undermines tradition and cultivates individualism, qualities that render it an adversary of faith-based, communitarian institutions. It also seems to me that late capitalism has robbed the church of its monopoly on a wide range of social functions: The welfare state provides social insurance; the universities, metaphysics; Marvel movies, community-binding myths (what are MCU Reddit forums but Bible studies persevering?). [Emphasis added – LG, and I’ll add that it strikes me that capitalism has gone too far toward individualism, and we need to develop some communitarian institutions that are not faith-based — perhaps an appeal to the importance to health of social relationships and contacts that are not moderated by money.]

Regardless, my point in emphasizing the deep-seated, structural nature of declining religiosity is simple: It suggests that this trend will not be drastically reversed, absent some kind of social cataclysm.

And that poses a major challenge to the Republican Party.

America’s loss of faith may have won Biden the presidency.

Everyone knows that . . .

Continue reading. There’s much more, and it’s thoughtfully written and offers many interesting insights.

I’ll add that Stephen Covey, interestingly enough, viewed “independence” merely as the prerequisite for the highest level of being, “interdependence.” See this post.

Later in the article:

Whatever its impact on the GOP, the implications of creeping secularism are more dire for social conservatives. The Republican Party can ultimately retain political power by bringing its policy commitments into slightly closer alignment with public opinion. That is not an option for the Christian right’s true believers. As a result, the movement is becoming forthrightly anti-democratic. On the one hand, the moral minority hopes to impose its will on the nation by judicial fiat. On the other, it aims to disenfranchise the heathen majority.

Written by LeisureGuy

1 April 2021 at 4:27 pm

Induction burner update and upgrade

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I grow increasingly suspicious of Wirecutter’s recommendations. They support the site through affiliate links, near as I can tell, and thus have a conflict of interest built in. Their top rated induction burner was the Duxtop 9100MC 1800-watt induction burner, which turns out to have only a 4″ coil, so the enter of your pot or pan is heated by the burner and from there heat must be conducted to the full cooking surface. This works fairly well for small pans and for larger pans with a core that conducts heat efficiently (e.g., All-Clad Copper Core or All-Clad d3  Stainless, which has an aluminum core), but it doesn’t work so well with cast-iron and in particular with 12″ cast-iron skillets.

After reading the Cook’s Illustrated review (CI is supported by subscription fees, so less likely to have overt conflicts of interest), I have ordered a Max Burton 6450 1800-watt Digital Induction cooktop, which has a 6.3″ coil. At the link they explain the drawbacks (beyond price) of a 9″-coil model . (Note to click “Read more” at the link.)

The ideal would be a Bosch 800 Series 30 in. 4.6 cu. ft. Slide-In Induction Range with Self-Cleaning Convection Oven in Stainless Steel, but that’s not going to happen.

Written by LeisureGuy

1 April 2021 at 3:08 pm

Explore the Louvre’s Entire Collection of 480,000 Artworks in a New Digital Database

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Colossal notes:

The Louvre just launched a new online database compiling more than 480,000 artworks from its collections and those at the Musée National Eugène-Delacroix and The Tuileries Garden. Spanning Egyptian antiquities and medieval sculpture to Renaissance and modern decorative arts, the free digital catalog includes works on long-term loan and is complete with an interactive map to pursue each room of the French institution. Some pieces are grouped into albums, including one collating 2020’s acquisitions and another dedicated to the National Museums Recovery, a collection of works gathered after World War II that’s being held by the Louvre until they’re claimed by their rightful beneficiaries. Dive into the entire archive, which is updated daily, on the museum’s site.

Do click that Colossal link above — the page has several images from the Louvre collection.

Written by LeisureGuy

1 April 2021 at 10:57 am

Posted in Art, Daily life, Technology

Savannah Sunrise and the Gillette Heritage

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The brush is acting so much better. I’ll use it again tomorrow and then declare it broken in and put it back in rotation. The problem was simple: I just had not used the brush enough.

This morning it did a wonderful job with Savannah Sunrise, whose fragrance particularly appeals to me: Orange Blossom, Peach, Gardenia, Jasmine, and Honeysuckle. The lather was applied to stubble prepped with Grooming Dept pre-shave, and it struck me that this pre-shave brings out the best in the Edwin Jagger head (which is the head design of the Gillette Heritage razor shone). It made the razor glide easily, smoothly, and comfortably and left a BBS result.

A splash of Savannah Sunrise aftershave, and April begins — photo below is from my walk yesterday:

Written by LeisureGuy

1 April 2021 at 9:10 am

Posted in Daily life, Shaving

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