The Continuing Persistence of Intense Religion in the United States Rejoinder


In their comment on our article about the persistence of intense religion in the United States, David Voas and Mark Chaves (2018) claimed that “the intensely religious segment of the American population is shrinking.” In this response, we show that intense religion has persisted from the 1970s to the present, with a temporary uptick during the exceptional Reagan years. Voas and Chaves concluded otherwise because their analytical strategy was not sufficiently sensitive to nonlinear patterns. In addition to demonstrating the continuing persistence of intense religion, we also discuss criteria for measuring intense religion over time and the importance of avoiding unfounded assumptions in age–period–cohort analysis. We conclude that aspects of the classic secularization thesis championed by Voas, Chaves, and others are not supported by the data, and we suggest that scholars should look for better ways of thinking about religious change.

In Sociological Science
Sean Bock
Sean Bock
PhD Candidate in Sociology

I am interested in Quantitative Research, Natural Language Processing, Survey Research, and Data Visualization