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The Pew religion poll has many interesting items related to religion, politics and public life, but the item that strikes me as most remarkable (though it is probably not a new phenomenon) is the percentage of Protestants and Catholics that does not believe in the Second Coming: 17% of all Protestants and 30% of all Catholics don’t buy it. One wonders what they think is going to happen. One also wonders what it is they think they’re doing as Christians if they have no hope of the general resurrection. Of course, the Protestant numbers are hugely affected by the mainline churches (only 60% of mainline Protestants believe in the Second Coming), while the white evangelical (95%) and black Protestant (92%) numbers are a lot closer to what I would expect them to be. Silly me, I would expect the numbers to be somewhere around 99%. Part of this is undoubtedly related to how the people in question view the authority of Scripture with “literalists” being more likely to believe it than others, but I would guess that another part of it must be the neglect of regularly confessing a creed that contains the promise of Christ’s return or, if such a creed is regularly recited, there is no sense that making that public confession is anything other than a rote or perfunctory obligation that has no meaning. It would have been interesting if the researchers had asked whether the people being interviewed routinely confessed a creed and what creed it was that they confessed. There should probably be some significant correlation between knowing and reciting a creed and believing in what the creed says
Today Doug Bandow discusses the depredations of SLORC, the meeting of cultures in northern Thailand and the delights of “highly seasoned dog.” Says our man in Thailand: “It tastes a bit like pork.”