According to recent research, many people don’t go to church as often as they say they do. Check out NPR’s analysis of a recent Pew Research Center study. According to the study, 79 percent of Americans claim affiliation with an organized faith group. However, walking step-by-step through someone’s week with the “Time Diary Method” tends to get different results.
From NPR science correspondent Shankar Vedantam:
So, rather than tell people you're asking about their church attendance, what you do is you march people through their week and have them describe to you exactly what they're doing at any given moment. So you say: What were you doing at four o'clock in the morning on Sunday? And most people will say: I was asleep. And then you ask them: What did you do next? Who were you with? Where did you go?
And when you march people through the week in this manner, it turns out only about 24 percent of Americans actually report attending religious services in the past week. And Brenner told me there's two things that's very interesting about this. What this suggests is that in actual religious practice, Americans might not be that different from people in Western Europe when it comes to what they do, but they might be very different for people in Western Europe when it comes to reporting what they do.
Read the full story.