"Parting with treasure easier said than done: Churchgoers give far less than they think" is the latest feature article from the Association of Religion Data Archives, which "strives to democratize access to the best data on religion." The site includes a browsable archive of religious survey data, a quick statistical roundup, international religious profiles, feature articles on topics like the rise of Mormons, Muslims and nondenominational churches in the USA ("nondenominational and independent churches may now be considered the third largest religious group in the country...Only the Catholic Church and the Southern Baptist Convention are larger"), links to sources like the 2010 U.S. Religious Census, a Religion Research Hub (with tutorials and helpful advice on best practices when theorizing, conceptualizing and measuring religious behavior) and lots more.
Larry Gonick is a veteran American cartoonist best known for his delightful comic-book guides to science and history, many of which have previews online. Chief among them is his long-running Cartoon History of the Universe (later The Cartoon History of the Modern World), a sprawling multi-volume opus documenting everything from the Big Bang to the Bush administration. Published over the course of three decades, it takes a truly global view -- its time-traveling Professor thoroughly explores not only familiar topics like Rome and World War II but the oft-neglected stories of Asia and Africa, blending caricature and myth with careful scholarship (cited by fun illustrated bibliographies) and tackling even the most obscure events with intelligence and wit. This savvy satire carried over to Gonick's Zinn-by-way-of-Pogo chronicle The Cartoon History of the United States, along with a bevy of Cartoon Guides to other topics, including Genetics, Computer Science, Chemistry, Physics, Statistics, The Environment, and (yes!) Sex. Gonick has also maintained a few sideprojects, such as a webcomic look at Chinese invention, assorted math comics (previously), the Muse magazine mainstay Kokopelli & Co. (featuring the shenanigans of his "New Muses"), and more. See also these lengthy interview snippets, linked previously. Want more? Amazon links to the complete oeuvre inside! [more inside]
Adherents.com is "a growing collection of over 43,870 adherent statistics and religious geography citations". In plain English, this amazing site contains all the data one could ever want on religion, from the basic (nationally predominant religions by country, largest religious groups in the United States, top 50 countries with the highest proportion of atheists) to the esoteric (a guide to religion in films, authors who have converted to a new religion, religious affiliation of U.S. presidents, famous adherents of various religions (e.g. famous Mennonites)). There's even religious information for geeks, including obsessive articles on the religion of George Lucas, the religious affiliation of comic book characters, and religious affiliation of famous fantasy and science fiction authors (related: Amish in science fiction and Mormonism in science fiction). One could spend days sifting through this site.
Odds are, God exists. So says Dr. Stephen Unwin, a risk assessor in Ohio who applied Bayes' Theory to the question and determined there's a 67% likelihood of ... you-have-to-buy-the-book-to-find-out. Ah, the Devil is in the retail -- er, I mean, the details. As a scientist and a Christian, I'm embarrassed by this junk. His book "includes a spreadsheet of the data used so that anyone can make the calculation themselves should they doubt its validity." I can hardly wait.
75% of Americans favor Government funding of faith-based organizations. However, when asked about specific faiths, that number drops dramatically to 38% for Buddhist Temples and 29% for the Nation of Islam. So what did they expect, their own religion should get funds, but no others?