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
- Chattanooga, Tenn.
- Birmingham, Ala.
- Roanoke/Lynchburg, Va.
- Springfield, Mo.
- Shreveport, La.
- Charlotte, N.C.
- Greenville/Spartanburg, S.C./Asheville, N.C.
- Little Rock, Ark.
- Jackson, Miss.
- Knoxville, Tenn.
Least Bible-Minded Cities/2013
- Providence, R.I./New Bedford, Mass.
- Albany, N.Y.
- San Francisco
- Cedar Rapids, Iowa
- Buffalo, N.Y.
- Hartford/New Haven, Conn.
- Burlington, Vt.
- 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.
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!