In their recent Wall Street Journal op-ed, Byron R. Johnson and Jeff Levin, referring to a paper they recently published in the Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on Religion (IJRR), argue that religiosity is not declining in the US but rather, “Americans are becoming more religious, and religious institutions are thriving.”
This claim is incredible in the “not credible” sense.
The gist of the argument put forward by Johnson and Levin is that some individuals who report no religious affiliation retain some elements of religiosity, like attending religious services and praying. That is true, and something scholars have known for decades. In fact, in their IJRR paper, they cite a study I co-authored in 2009 as support for this claim.
Rather than recognize that religious affiliation (or lack thereof) is not a perfect predictor of other aspects of religiosity and leave it at that, the authors then deploy a preposterous non sequitur to arrive at one of their key points. Here is the direct quote from the IJRR paper:
If nones are not irreligious, then what are the studies on the “rise of the nones” actually capturing?
Contimnue reading @ Only Sky.