"Would anyone notice if our church closed down tomorrow?" a preacher asked his congregation. Harvard University researcher Robert D. Putnam says yes, Christianity and other religions do make a difference in American society. Consider these findings:
- Faith communities in which people worship together are arguably the single most important repository of social capital in America . …As a rough rule of thumb, the evidence shows, nearly half of all associational memberships in America are church related, half of all personal philanthropy is religious in character, and half of all volunteering occurs in a religious context.
- Churchgoers are substantially more likely to be involved in secular organizations and to have deeper informal social connections.
- Regular worshipers and people who say that religion is very important to them are much more likely than other people to visit friends, to entertain at home, to attend club meetings, and to belong to sports groups; professional and academic societies; school service groups; youth groups; service clubs; hobby or garden clubs; literary, art, discussion, and study groups; farm organizations; political clubs; nationality groups; and other groups.