GOD ONLINE: Exploring media spirituality

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Geography of faith

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Florida: Land of oranges and Baptists. Right? Only partly. Coastal Florida is predominantly Catholic, although the interior and the extreme north are Baptist.

That’s one of several surprising facts you can nail down with a massive study, done every decade by the Glenmary Research Center of Cincinnati. The full study for 2000 is $110, too pricey for most of us. But Glenmary’s Web site offers some great freebies.

The most eye-catching are eight color-coded maps, posted from the 24 in the book. The Florida surprise is there. Another one: Minnesota is more religious, percentage-wise, than Ohio.

While you’re on the site, poke around a little for other useful tools. One is the link to the Web site of the Church of the Nazarene, which lists the 15 largest religious groups in every metropolitan area — from Abilene, Texas, to Yuma, Ariz.

The data have some limitations. Some church groups, like the Southern Baptists, seem overcounted; some, like Catholics, seem undercounted. But the lists can still help churches, schools, even businesses pitching to religious groups.

This site may not inspire you to buy Glenmary’s full $110 package. But it might tempt you to start saving for the new edition, due out in less than two years.

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Written by Jim Davis

August 22, 2008 at 4:02 am

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