Is Religion Out of Date?

29% of Americans say religion ‘out of date’

Gallup poll of Americans’ attitudes towards religion released on Christmas Eve found significant recent increases in those responding either that they have no religious preference, that religion is not very important in their lives, or that they believe religion “is largely old-fashioned or out of date.”

Only 78% of Americans now identify as Christian, while 22% describe their religious preference as either “other” or “none.”

Most of these changes have occurred since 2000 and represent the first significant shift since a sharp decline in religious adherence during the 1970s. Over the last nine years, the number with no religious preference has grown from a level of around 8% to 13%. The number for whom religion is not very important has climbed from just over 10% to 19%. And the number who believe religion is out of date and has no answers for today’s problems has jumped from slightly more than 20% to 29%.

These changes do not appear to have affected the majority of Americans who still consider religion “very important” in their own lives. That figure remains at 56% — roughly the same as for the last 35 years — while 57% still say religion has answers to most of the world’s problems.

The biggest difference is that in the late 1990s, up to 68% of Americans though religion had answers to the world’s problems — even though only about 60% said religion was personally very important to them. It seems as though over the last ten years a significant number may have gone from believing that religion is a positive factor in the world, even if they’re not particularly religious themselves, to seeing religion in a far more skeptical or even negative light.

Of interest is those claiming ‘No Religion’ make up the third largest group in the United States.

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Worst Year In Fortune 500 History – 2008

“Everything that happens in business in the United States shows up in one way or another in the 500,” said Carol Loomis, Fortune’s senior editor-at-large. “It’s a mirror to the economy.” Since 1955, more than 2,000 companies have earned a spot on the list, but in 55 years only three have achieved the number one slot: General Motors, ExxonMobil and Wal-Mart.

2008 was the worst year in the history of the Fortune 500 for America’s largest companies. How bad was the profit decrease? From $645 billion in profits in 2007, profits dropped this year to just $98.9 billion – an 84.7 percent decline!

Records were broken: Eleven of the top 25 largest corporate losses in list history took place last year.

The biggest loser of them all was of course insurance giant AIG. The company posted a $99.3 billion loss. But it’s still on the list (I guess it really is “too big to fail”!). AIG is still at the half way point for the Fortune 500. It’s ranked at number 245, thought it’s down from number 13 last year. Thirty-eight companies disappeared from the list altogether. Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers of course, but it was also “last call” for Saint Louis based brewer Anheuser Busch.

Who was the big winner in 2008? Oil of course! ExxonMobil which was boosted by higher gas prices, trucked past Wal-Mart to arrive at the coveted number one spot.


Car Companies Standardize Plug for Electric Vehicles

Plug In CarIn what can only be considered an “it’s about f’ing time” momement leading automotive and energy companies have reached an agreement for a standardized plug for electric cars. Some of the automakers include in that agreement are Volkswagen, BMW, Ford, General Motors, Fiat, Toyota and Mitsubishi.

The three-point, 400-volt plug, which will allow electric cars to be recharged anywhere in a matter of minutes, will be unveiled Monday at the world’s biggest industrial technology fair in Hanover, northern Germany.

No time frame for the introduction of the plug was mentioned, saying that talks between the companies were ongoing.

Energy firms signed up to the accord include Eon, Vattenfall, EDF, Npower, Endesa and Enel.

Berlin hopes that one million electric cars will be on the road by 2020. RWE and Daimler launched a pilot project in Berlin in September.