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Pew: Jews likelier than Catholics, Protestants to worship only in person

Many U.S. adults are very happy with online prayer, according to a new survey.

A Jewish man holds a Torah in synagogue. Credit: Cottonbro Studio/Pexels.
A Jewish man holds a Torah in synagogue. Credit: Cottonbro Studio/Pexels.

Jews are likelier than Catholics and Protestants both to attend religious services in-person only and to attend no services (neither online nor in-person), according to a new Pew Research Center survey.

Of 11,377 respondents surveyed in mid- to late-November last year, 26% of Jews attended in-person services only—compared to 24% of Catholics and 21% of protestants—and 55% of Jews attended no services, compared to 53% of Catholics and 36% of Protestants.

Overall, Pew found that many U.S. adults use technology for religious purposes. Some 30% search for information about religion online; 21% read the Bible or other scripture on websites or apps; 15% listen to religion podcasts; and 14% use websites or apps for praying assistance or reminders.

And 67% of those who watch virtual services or those on television report being “extremely or very satisfied,” according to the survey, with 68% and 54%, respectively, expressing significant satisfaction with online sermons and worship music.

“At the same time, Americans tend to give higher marks to worshiping together in person. While majorities express satisfaction with virtual services, even bigger shares of physical attenders say they feel extremely or very satisfied with the sermons (74%) and music (69%) at the services they attend in person,” according to Pew.

While 10% of adults—and 15% of Protestants and 9% of Catholics—only participate in online worship, only 6% of Jews only participate in prayer online. (Orthodox Jews, a growing minority of all Jews, do not use technologies necessary for online streaming on holidays and Shabbat.)

The survey also examined tendencies of different groups to limit or block seeing religious posts from others on social media. Jews (20%) were likelier to do so than Catholics (12%) and Protestants (13%), but less likely than atheists (36%). Those who are Republicans or who lean Republican were less likely (12%) than were those who are Democrat or lean Democrat (22%).

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