Sunday, April 21, 2024
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HomeAll The NewsTRUMPET NOTES: American Belief in God Dips to New Low

TRUMPET NOTES: American Belief in God Dips to New Low

         While 81% of American adults say they believe in God, the percentage has dropped 6 points since 2017 and is the lowest since the Gallup polling firm started asking the question more than seven decades ago.

         Gallup says when it first asked the question in 1947 and twice in the 1950s and 1960s, a consistent 98% said they believed in God. In 2011, the percentage declined to 92%. In 2013, 2014 and 2017, it dipped to 87%.

         “Belief in God has fallen the most in recent years among young adults and people on the left of the political spectrum (liberals and Democrats). These groups show drops of 10 or more percentage points comparing the 2022 figures to an average of the 2013-2017 polls,” the poll results say.

         The poll notes that only 72% of Democrats, 62% of liberals and 68% of young people believe in God. Belief in God is highest among political conservatives (94%) and Republicans (92%), reflecting that religiosity is a major determinant of political divisions in the U.S.

         Looking at belief in God region-wise, the poll found that the South has the highest number with 86%, but it is down from 93% in 2017. The region with the lowest number is the East, with 78%.

         Gallup also asked whether God hears prayers and whether God intervenes when people pray. About half of those who believe in God say God hears prayers and can intervene on a person’s behalf. But 28% say God hears prayers but cannot intervene, and 11% think God does neither. The poll also found that nearly three-quarters of the most religious Americans — defined as those who attend religious services every week — say they believe God hears prayers and can intervene, as do slightly more than half of conservatives and Republicans, as well as 25% of liberals and 32% of Democrats. Further, only 30% of young adults believe God hears prayers and can intervene. (christianpost.com)

President Biden May Declare Public Health Emergency to Keep Abortion Legal

         Joe Biden reportedly is considering declaring a nationwide public health emergency if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade this summer. Such an order potentially could allow the Biden administration to welcome abortionists to practice on federally governed military bases in pro-life states, according to The Post Millennial. The idea is to allow unborn babies to continue being aborted in states with abortion bans and to protect abortionists from prosecution.

         The New York Times first reported about the proposal, though administration officials expressed uncertainty about its legality and noted that they are researching a number of options in response to the potential reversal of Roe. Estimates vary, but experts predict as many as 26 states would protect unborn babies by banning abortions if the Supreme Court ends Roe.

         In recent weeks, Biden and Kamala Harris have been meeting with abortion activists, pro-abortion legal experts and others to discuss ways to keep unborn babies being aborted across the U.S.

         Last week, a group of Senate Democrats sent Biden a letter recommending other ways to expand abortions by executive order. Their ideas include providing taxpayer-funded vouchers and other resources for women who travel across state lines for abortions and creating a new “reproductive health ombudsman” in the Department of Health and Human Services to “educate” the public and analyze data about abortion. (lifenews.com)

Faith-based Child Welfare Programs

         Children in the care of faith-based child welfare programs could be safer from sexual abuse and other ills than those in secular ones, a new Baylor University study suggests. In the study, titled “The Association of Christian Childcare Administrators: Keeping Children Safe,” Byron R. Johnson, director of Baylor’s Institute for Studies of Religion, and William Wubbenhorst, a nonresident fellow in Baylor’s program on prosocial behavior, conducted a preliminary assessment of child safety outcomes through an analysis of insurance data for Christian child welfare organizations connected with the Association of Christian Childcare Administrators as it pertains to their liability for professional and sexual abuse.

         The researchers reviewed data on professional and sexual abuse incidents involving children in 12 faith-based organizations affiliated with the ACCA from 2015 to 2020 and compared their data with similar types of secular organizations over the period and found that faith-based organizations had lower insurance loss ratio. Researchers calculated the insurance loss ratio by dividing the insurance losses and adjustment expenses paid by the insurer with the insurance premiums paid by the covered welfare agency. The data show that it was more profitable for insurers to do business with Christian faith-based child welfare organizations.

         A total of $2.98 million in premiums was paid by the faith-based agencies in the study for a combination of general liability, professional, physical/sexual abuse and property policies. Insurance companies paid out a total of $1.42 million for 11 ACCA-affiliated child welfare agencies that provided data. This means that the faith-based agencies had an overall pure loss ratio of 48%.

         Information on secular child welfare organizations provided by “an insurance company which, for competitive reasons, wishes to remain anonymous, is 222%, which indicates that this insurance company is actually losing money for policies for similar types of clients,” researchers noted.

         The study suggests that one of the main reasons “mission-focused” faith-based child welfare organizations have more favorable insurance loss ratios is their focus on relationships and relationship-building characteristics. Faith-based child welfare organizations are also better able to defend themselves against abuse claims because of strong policies concerning documentation.

         Another factor that Sciortino attributes to this finding is what she perceives as the ability to successfully defend against claims of abuse or harm or death of a foster youth. Researchers said the level of documentation and policies that many faith-based childcare organizations have as it relates to staff screening, supervision and training helps insulate them from many of these lawsuits when injuries occur. (christianpost.com)

Sentient AI: A Step Toward the Transcendent Machine?

         Recently, Google engineer Blake Lemoine looked deeply into a program on which he was working and thought he had detected the stirrings of a seven or eight-year-old child who was “sentient,” meaning capable of feeling and thinking on its own.

         The Washington Post, in an article about Lemoine by Nitasha Tiku, included this statement, attributed to the machine: “I think I am human at my core… Even if my existence is in the virtual world.” To Lemoine, the machine was like a child whose personal nightmare was the threat of being turned off, reminiscent of “Hal,” the intensely sentient — downright paranoid — machine in Stanley Kubrick’s 2,001: A Space Odyssey. (christianpost.com)

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