A Look At Religion In Phoenix


Arizona is not Bible minded

How Important Is Religion In Phoenix?

I recently read an interesting article regarding the most and least Bible-minded cities in the United States. The Bible is the oldest and best-selling book in history, and many parts of the country have embraced it while others have not.

Before You Read

While you read this article, keep in mind that the writer is a follower of the Christian Faith. I am not trying to sway you toward or away from religion. Christian Faith is an important part of our family, but I do not intend to preach to you or convince you of anything. The information in this article is from outside sources, and really confirms what I have come to believe about religion in the Phoenix area.

 

If you are secular, Atheist or anti-religion, I would suggest you do not read this article. If you do read on, keep an open mind and be respectful of other’s points of view. I realize religion is a touchy subject for some, but I have provided fair warning to those who tend to become upset over these types of things. Before you choose to comment, please keep in mind all comments are moderated.

 

Many visitors to this website are those who are thinking about moving to Phoenix and trying to learn more about the area. It appears there is not much information on the religious environment out there, so hopefully this will provide potential Phoenix residents with an idea of the culture.

 

The Most and Least Bible-Minded Cities

 

I came across this NPR article that highlights a study performed by The American Bible Society. I say the term “study” loosely, as it is my understanding is that it was a phone survey made all over the country regarding the importance of the Bible to the participants. And, of course, The American Bible Society is a group who supports the Bible and expanding its readership. Although the study was not “scientific” and was conducted by a religious organization, the results fell right about where you would think they would.

 

An interesting result of the study was the correlation of population size and Bible friendliness. All but three cities with over 1 million households were considered less Bible-friendly. The three that had over 1 million households and considered to be Bible friendly were Charlotte, Nashville and Dallas. Without further ado, here are the results.

 

Most Bible-Minded Cities/2013

  1. Chattanooga, Tenn.
  2. Birmingham, Ala.
  3. Roanoke/Lynchburg, Va.
  4. Springfield, Mo.
  5. Shreveport, La.
  6. Charlotte, N.C.
  7. Greenville/Spartanburg, S.C./Asheville, N.C.
  8. Little Rock, Ark.
  9. Jackson, Miss.
  10. Knoxville, Tenn.

Least Bible-Minded Cities/2013

  1. Providence, R.I./New Bedford, Mass.
  2. Albany, N.Y.
  3. Boston
  4. San Francisco
  5. Cedar Rapids, Iowa
  6. Buffalo, N.Y.
  7. Hartford/New Haven, Conn.
  8. Phoenix
  9. Burlington, Vt.
  10. Portland, Maine

 

For more information, refer to the American Bible Society website, where you can view a map of the data.

 

Religion In Phoenix

 

For being Bible-minded, Phoenix falls close to the bottom in between New Haven, Connecticut and Burlington, Vermont. I find that very interesting because Arizona is a very politically conservative state while Connecticut and Vermont are known to be liberal. I also find it very disturbing to learn that Las Vegas (aka “Sin City”) is MORE Bible-friendly than Phoenix.

 

I became curious about the religion demographics in Phoenix, and I came across Sperling’s Best Places. Sperling’s is an excellent website for those looking to moving to new communities. According to Sperling’s, the average in the United States of those who consider themselves religious is 48.78%. Taking a look at Arizona, only 37.23% consider themselves religious.

 

Of those Arizonans who consider themselves religious, 14.81% are Catholic, 6.18% are LDS (Mormon), 3.37% Baptist, .39% Episcopalian, 2.52% Pentecostal, 1.52% Lutheran, 1.09% Methodist, .64% Presbyterian, 5.44% “Other Christian”, .32% Jewish, .82% Eastern and .13% Islam.

 

Religion In American Culture

 

It seems religion will spotlighted in 2014-15 by Hollywood (of all places). A movie about Jesus Christ, called “Son of God” is coming out in February 2014. Also releasing in 2014 is the movie “Noah” and “Heaven Is For Real“. Also in the works is “Exodus” and “Mary, Mother of Christ“. For people of Faith, these are very anticipated movies.

In Closing

 

During the time I’ve lived in the Phoenix area, I have felt like a minority as a Christian. The most popular Christian churches are primarily the “big box” non-denominational churches, and the more traditional churches are more of the niches.

 

I do find the above data somewhat misleading because there is a ubiquitous Mormon population in Arizona. Just from driving around, it appears Arizona is more than 6.8% Mormon. I say that because there is a LDS church every 1-2 miles, while some are in view of each other. Mormons seem to be very secretive, which leads me to believe many did not participate in the studies on religious demographics. So, perhaps the data is skewed. Now, Mormons are the friendliest people you will ever meet and I have nothing against them or their beliefs.

 

I am originally from one of the parts of the country considered more Bible-friendly. I think that might be another one of the reasons I feel so out of place in Phoenix. So, if you’re considering a move to Phoenix and you’re reading this from a Bible-friendly city, you should really visit and spend some time before deciding to plant some roots in the desert floor.

 

On the other hand, if religion is not important to you then Phoenix can work for you. Besides, Las Vegas is more “Bible-thumping” than Phoenix!

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11 thoughts on “A Look At Religion In Phoenix

  1. daveom71 says:

    Very, very surprised by these results. Most Republicans that I know there and I used to be one of them were very religious and often Evangelical. That is compared to where I live now, in a metropolitan area with more than twice the population of Phoenix metro yet impossible to find a Bible friendly church. Now, my definition of that may be different than others, and I wonder if it was some Christian homes that actually voted Phoenix as a non-Bible friendly place. After all, one of the biggest party schools (despite how they advertise it) and 30 plus strip clubs and prominent nightlife like Old Town Scottsdale would seem to make it Sodom and Gomorrah to some bible thumpers. Now I am a Christian and used to attend church and knew many Evangelical types out there in P-town and find it safe to say, you can’t go far in Phoenix without being proselytized. Chicago is the exact opposite. I’m not saying Chicago doesn’t have a few very visible and active churches, for example Willow Creek is still very popular, what I’m saying is that Christianity and in particular, Evangelical and Mormon beliefs are intertwined in the Phoenix area culture and will never go away. Whether or not that is a good thing in my eyes, I decline to comment. Let’s just say that I’m among many who had very negative experiences at church and I only go now to socialize with people, NOT to get involved which is what they ALL try and do at Phoenix area churches. Mormons are way more secretive yet work everywhere, and are often your manager or supervisor which again I won’t comment about.

  2. True Christianity and faith are difficult to measure. Polls today seem to suggest that while Americans are generally more religious than Europeans, the true number of saved believers who live among merely professing Christians is known only to God. Rather than worry how your state or city polls with respect to religious fervency, it is best to first examine ourselves in light of God’s word, and ensure that we believe and understand John3, that a true born again Christian knows he or she needs grace and the redemption found in Christ alone. How our community stands in the polls is inconsequential. We are to live out our faith in Christ, speak of Him in this fallen world, guard our hearts, and remember we may be a remnant, not a majority. We are to live our faith, pray regularly, and consider ourselves followers of Jesus and part of His kingdom.

  3. B says:

    I am not surprised by the poll. One of most shocking things about this region, compared to many other portions of the country I’ve seen, is just how little regard many individuals here have for their fellow man. This week, I witnessed one driver, in a fit of road rage, try and run another car off the road in a residential neighborhood. I witnessed an elderly lady screaming at the top of her lungs at a car ahead of her in an attempt to get the driver to move-even though doing so would have resulted in certain collision. Many people here just do not care. They seem self absorbed, without foundation. Businesses here do not care about customer service and seem to have forgotten the “do right” rule. I have never before dealt with so many corrupt vendors just out to make a quick buck, seemingly without any qualms about ripping people off.
    This place seems to me, to be a “dog eat dog” wasteland with alternating landscapes of concrete and stale brown air. It’s every man for himself down here. Arizona is desperation.

    • T C says:

      I will, as an Arizonan, tell you that this is false to the 80th power. Where I live, everybody, and I mean EVERYBODY, is nice and polite. The EXACT opposite of what you’re saying, and I live in the “most dangerous suburb” in Arizona. What they give is polls, but are they really true? As a Mexican, I can say this without being racist: there are many many Mexicans in Arizona, and they’re all catholic. They all believe in God and Jesus. You can’t believe these statistics, they’re biased. This is a direct quote: “It seems religion will spotlighted.” That is grammatically incorrect, which is just ONE example. Whoever made this doesn’t know what they’re talking about and need to visit other parts of Az, as opposed to spending a small time in Phoenix, then bash on all of the state. This simply mocks God, and religion, in the first place. You must turn the other cheek, which this person did not do. Also, which I’m not 100% sure about so forgive me if I’m wrong, but I think judgement of others is a sin if they’re equal to you, or something along the lines of that.

      • David says:

        I was born in Mexico, across the border from Sierra Vista AZ, in that area. My grandpa worked for the mine in Bisbee I don’t recall how long ago. Back then, they recruited workers in Mexican border towns and gave them a permit or something, anyway, he became a citizen and that’s where I come from. I became a US citizen 21 years ago and I’ve seen everything that has happened to this state, specially in the PHX area.
        AZ used to be a place where you were given a chance to show your worthiness, in a respectful environment, the word prejudice is pre judging. Arizona became full of illegal immigrants and all sort of drug criminals, this in one hand. On the other hand, all the ignorant haters from all over the US came to the aid of their brothers in need to get rid of the unwelcomed invaders. And this same dance has been going on for years, as a result, we have a state full of illegality and human scum, of any race. As far as the good people, we can only watch how our streets are turning back into the wild wild west, with people wearing weapons inside the store, dropping their kids at school, every where, and I am not against guns, but this right to carry is way to intimidating and ridiculous, and I don’t like being intimidated by another man that feels superior because of his weapon, so I carry one too, and god help us all when this hell breaks loose. We have a Sheriff that the only thing he enforces is his image, in persuit of a higher office, at the expense of human rights. We have an overwhelmed border patrol at the border, not because of the lack of resources, but because the lack of intelligence. Looks like they choose the dumbest individuals to be Border Patrol agents. They say they work with their hands tight, meaning if they loosen their hands they would kill everyone? I don’t know. But that is the reality of this land, once a happy respectful place, now the hole of a bunch of wild man and bandidos. At work you can feel how the brotherhood is being pushed on you for being Mexican, no promotions, no raise, be grateful that you have a job. I am sure there is something underground thing goin on in here. Can’t way to move out of this State, all I want is peace of mind for me and my family, but since I don’t seat at the back of the bus, I don’t think I will find it here, not anymore. Some guys say to me its not your problem if you don’t mess with anyone, yeah right, racial profiling and discrimination against hispanics is the latest trend. In addition to the heat, and everything else, AZ is a no, no.

    • Sooutta Here says:

      Well said. The culture here is insidious; I think it takes a while to fully realize what you’ve stepped in.

    • daveom71 says:

      I agree with everything you say 100% and will add that the culture there sets up good, moral and trustworthy people for failure. Except for where I live now, nowhere that I know of is the “nice guy” met with so much derision and mockery just for being who he is. Women also seem to get away with murder there socially and treat single men like absolute crap.

      As for TC’s comments – what happens in a tiny corner of AZ is irrelevant to this discussion. I’m happy for you but your reality doesn’t apply to the vast majority of people who live & work in the state. Sadly, the worst among the worst people I met in AZ were ALMOST ALWAYS natively born Arizonans!

      David, you sound like a great guy and confirmed for me, one of the groups who despises the illegal 3rd world horde coming in from Mexico the most is Americanized and legal citizens originally from Mexico (as well as other latin countries).

  4. Minerva says:

    Well, no wonder the people are so rude here! It all makes sense now. This is a agnostic, Conservative state. The worst of both worlds. No wonder why this place is unbearable.
    For David, I really feel your pain. This right to work state will work you to death. I have Mexican friends who are so sick of the illegals here. They get treated like subpar scum by the illegal coworkers for being too American.
    There is a movie called Escape from Hell. It is a Christian Movie. Its about a man investigating NDE’s and people’s trips to heaven. The man is so convinced about the experience, that he commits suicide to experience heaven. The moment he arrives in heaven, the charades dissolves into a torment Hell. His only escape was his friend who resuscitates him back to life. This is how this blog is to us. We heard about how wonderful Arizona was, that we committed financial suicide to move here. Now we are trapped. This blog is like the friend who is trying to resuscitate the victim back to life. Once back to life, we realize this is Hell and we begin to make plans to move asap.

  5. ReallyReadytoMove says:

    An ironic opposing view and not trying to offend or upset anyone. I was raised in the bible belt. My mom was raised southern Baptist, my dad was raised Catholic, and they decided to attend Methodist. So I was juggled between the three types of services. And then, I married a Nazarene and attended a couple different Nazarene and Baptist churches during 15 yrs of marriage. (Nazarene was very similar to southern Baptist and Methodist).

    I am not a Christian. I left Christianity after researching and studying into ancient Hebrew (religion, language, and translations). I consider myself a Torah observant gentile in no affiliation with any organized religion.. I live in Gilbert (suburbs of Phoenix), and I feel like Christianity is shoved down my throat more so here than even in the bible belt. There is a church or two about every quarter mile in Gilbert. I have church goers regularly knocking on my door to spread their faith. Within walking distance from my home, there are available Methodist, church of Christ, Catholic, Baptist, LDS, non denominational, etc. churches.

    Maybe the surveys/polls didn’t include the suburbs, because I feel very out place not being a Christian here.

    • daveom71 says:

      Just by chance I re-checked this blog and read your post. I agree and you have again confirmed, the Phoenix metropolitan culture in particular is rife with guilt-ridden Bible types who are often pressured into recruitment yet rarely give any sort of social & moral support to newbies other than telling you how to run your life. In that respect they fail totally in that they hand you a list of “don’t”s and expect you to find a way to overcome temptations which in Phoenix is many. I digress, but the point is that religious recruitment is (politically) protected there in the same fashion that it’s often shunned and discouraged where I live now (Chicago metro area).

      I’ll go further to say this image of Arizona in general being some safe haven for the “white man” to thrive and get what he wants especially in monetary gain is completely false and at best, misleading. Nowhere have I met the most radicalized & fanaticized socially-inclined liberals than in the dreaded “CenPho” area and unfortunately in my last 2-3 years living there I became involved with these people exclusively (outside of work). What’s even funnier is seeing how their social goals for Phoenix proper were shot down, one by one and even though I’ve only visited twice since moving a few years ago, as far as I know they got completely marginalized. I’ll go even further still and say almost every group there gets marginalized except for the establishment which is white, Mormon and/or wealthy beyond their means and likely so due to circumstances outside of what living in Phoenix could provide. That would take a few more pages to explain or recount but safe to say that weather is NOT the reason most people who relocate there last an average of 3 years, if my numbers are still up to date, and summarily leave or go back to from whence they came. Chicago is a very crappy place to live & work, but that’s an entirely different subject (and different set of reasons).

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