By comparison, 25% say they rely a lot on the advice of professional experts, and just 15% rely heavily on advice from religious leaders.
Conversely, it may be harder for those who do not regularly engage in particular activities (such as helping the poor) to describe those activities as essential to their faith.
Nevertheless, the survey data suggest that Christians are more likely to live healthy lives, work on behalf of the poor and behave in environmentally conscious ways if they consider these things essential to what it means to be a Christian.
This new report also draws on the national telephone survey but is based primarily on a supplemental survey among 3,278 participants in the Pew Research Center’s American Trends Panel, a nationally representative group of randomly selected U. In addition, roughly seven-in-ten Christians say being grateful for what they have (71%), forgiving those who have wronged them (69%) and always being honest (67%) are essential to being Christian.
Far fewer say that attending religious services (35%), dressing modestly (26%), working to protect the environment (22%) or resting on the Sabbath (18%) are essential to what being Christian means to them, personally.
For example, nine-in-ten people who are categorized as highly religious (91%) say religion is very important in their lives, and nearly all the rest (7%) say religion is at least somewhat important to them.
By contrast, only three-in-ten people who are classified as not highly religious (31%) say religion is very important in their lives, and most of the rest (38%) say religion is “not too” or “not at all” important to them.Simply put, those who those actions on a regular basis.For example, among Christians who say that working to help the poor is essential to what being Christian means to them, about six-in-ten say they donated time, money or goods to help the poor in the past week.A new Pew Research Center study of the ways religion influences the daily lives of Americans finds that people who are highly religious are more engaged with their extended families, more likely to volunteer, more involved in their communities and generally happier with the way things are going in their lives.For example, nearly half of highly religious Americans – defined as those who say they pray every day and attend religious services each week – gather with extended family at least once or twice a month. adult population as a whole but also within a variety of religious traditions (such as between Catholics who are highly religious and those who are less religious), and they persist even when controlling for other factors, including age, income, education, geographic region of residence, marital status and parental status.For comparisons of highly religious people with those who are less religious In this report, “highly religious” respondents are defined as those who say they pray daily and attend religious services at least once a week. As this report highlights, these standard measures of traditional religious practice do not capture the full breadth of what it means to be religious; many respondents also say attributes such as gratitude, forgiveness and honesty are essential to what being religious means to them, personally.Nevertheless, these two indicators (prayer and religious attendance) are closely related to a variety of other measures of religious commitment.As might be expected, the religious makeup of the highly religious and less religious also are quite distinct.Fully half of highly religious American adults (49%) identify with evangelical Protestant denominations, compared with about one-in-five (19%) of those who are not highly religious.Nearly all people who are highly religious say believing in God is essential to their religious identity (96%), compared with only 57% of people who are not highly religious.Similarly, fully seven-in-ten people who are highly religious say reading the Bible or other religious materials is essential to their religious identity; only 18% of those who are not highly religious say this is vital to their religious identity or to what being a moral person means to them.