At the Black, White, and Gray blog at Patheos, Bradley Wright presents charts based on 2004 General Social Survey data concerning the frequency with which particular groups say they experience the presence of God.  The 2004 version of the G.S.S. included questions based on the sixteen point Daily Spiritual Experience Scale developed by Lynn G. Underwood.  Wright’s charts compare the responses of different groups to questions from the scale.

Wright’s last chart compares people classified by how frequently they claim to attend church or other religious services.  He calls attention to the fact that people who attend church more frequently tend to claim more frequent spiritual experiences.  The charts do not have precise data (only graphic bars), but it looks to me as though people who attend at least weekly have a rating of around 4.9 on a scale of 1 – 6, while people who attend once per year are at around 3.8 (from the posting it is not clear what this actually represents, other than a proportional rating).

I would use the data to call a attention to a quite different point — that there is not that much difference between church attenders and non-attenders (maybe 20 -25%).  Many people who do not attend church on a regular basis have frequent spiritual experiences and are not necessarily irrelligous.  Based on earlier work by the Center for Faith and Enterprise for its Missing Church Project, it appears that the large majority of non-attenders consider religion important in their lives and have spiritual strivings; for example, GSS data indicate that 57% or so of non-attenders say they pray at least once per week.  Sometimes people talk as though the determining factor for church attendance and non-attendance is whether one is religious or not; I believe it is more often a question of whether the person sees a connection between the church and their existing religious or spiritual strivings.

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