Survey says: Religion matters!

Sometimes, surveys confirm for us what we already know.

And it also reaffirms our decisions on why we do what we do.

We’ll come back to that subject in a moment.

Right now, welcome to TGI’s new faith page.

We’ll be writing about the many faiths of Kauai.

We’ll be writing about churches and their special events.

We’ll be writing about what people believe and why.

And we’ll write about leaders and followers of the many denominations on this island.

We believe a faith page is something our readers will find relevant. We won’t be trying to promote a particular belief, faith or religion. We aren’t here to argue who’s right and who’s wrong. We do want to share the stories of people and their religions and the role it plays in their lives.

Back to those surveys.

SMS Research & Marketing Services Inc. based in Honolulu conducted a survey between April 1, 2012 and December 30, 2012. The sample size was 4,500 interviews with adult residents of Hawaii. The survey found, no big surprise, that religion is important to local residents.

Here is what SMS had to say:

Nearly everyone in Hawaii — 96 percent — is willing to identify with one religion or another. Most of us tend to consider ourselves Christians of some type. Catholics make up the largest single religious group among our survey respondents, with 32 percent. Protestants made up about 25 percent, with very few naming a specific Protestant church.

Very few called themselves Evangelicals (2 percent) and about the same percentage said they identified with Native Hawaiian beliefs and traditions.

“What was most surprising was that only 6 percent of Hawaii adults said they did not identify with any particular religion,” according to SMS.

SMS asked this question: “How important is religion in your life?”

Fifty-seven percent of adults questioned said it was either “very important” or “somewhat important.” Twenty percent said religion was ‘unimportant or ‘very unimportant’ — a three to one ratio.

“So, three-fifths of us think religion is an important part of our lives. The other 40 percent of us may claim a religion as our own, but don’t think it makes much difference in our everyday lives,” SMS reported.

SMS found that nearly 40 percent of us never go to church or temple. Thirty percent of us go to church less than once a week and 30 percent attend church services once a week or more.

“That may be inconsistent with the tenet that calls upon Judeo-Christians ‘keep holy the Sabbath,’” SMS said.

Other research by SMS in Hawaii suggests that “religion makes a difference primarily among those who attend some sort of services at least once a week.”

The SMS Syndicated Survey was the result of 1,451 telephone interviews. The sample margin of error is plus or minus 2.6 percent.

For the survey, SMS used the top six religious preferences found in the United States as reported by the U.S. Census. “Native Hawaiian beliefs and traditions” was also included as an option because this was a Hawaii-specific survey.

Key survey findings, in our view, are these: Nearly everyone identifies themselves with a religion, more than half of the adults on Hawaii say religion is important, nearly half never go to church or temple, and 30 percent said they attend church once a week or more. What — and why — people believe about God, about afterlife, about church, affects how they live and the choices they make. We can say with certainty, and the survey reveals, that faith matters.

Perhaps ironically, happyscience-kauai.org put it best: “Faith is the hardest thing to possess in this world, and yet it is faith that is the most important thing for human beings.”

If you have any suggestions for our faith page, any ideas for a story, know about any events coming up, please give us a call, 245-0457.

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