"We Pretend We Are Christians"

A Freakonomics reader in Texas fakes her religion for the sake of her kids.

The "God Beat" Takes a Beating

The economic downturn has obviously hurt newspapers a great deal, but it's hard to say which areas of coverage have been depleted the most. I have talked to people in many realms - international reporting, business, sports, entertainment - who claim their domain has been particularly hard hit. (Here's a map from Paper Cuts that shows 2009 newspaper layoffs.)

The Greatest Question Ever Asked?

We've been doing a lot of media interviews for SuperFreakonomics, and once in a while you get asked a really interesting question.

But I don't think this one will ever be topped. It comes from a journalist in India.

Problems With Tithing

Contributions are down, and an unusually large number of religious-based schools have closed.

My initial thought was that those religious organizations that encourage tithing would have fewer problems; but a bit more reflection might suggest the opposite. If every member of a religious group always tithed, the income elasticity of demand for religion would be +1.

The U.S. With Less God

A Trinity College survey predicts a quarter of Americans will identify as nonreligious in 20 years (as opposed to the 15 percent who do so now). Dan Gilgoff, in his U.S. News column, predicts what that might to do American politics.

How To Measure Rosh Hashanah Services

My wife and I were speculating on how long last Friday's Rosh Hashanah service would last. We both figured on two hours, but my wife said, "Services always last longer than you expect."

Biblical Property Rights

Deuteronomy 23:25-26 reflects the limits on altruism:

When thou comest into thy neighbor's standing corn, then thou mayest pluck ears with thy hand; but thou shalt not move a sickle unto thy neighbor's standing corn.

The Benefits of Religion

A new study by Angus Deaton uses an expansive dataset to analyze the determinants and benefits of religiosity around the world.

Camp Fires and Skepticism

Camp Quest is like a regular summer camp -- campers canoe and swim -- except that one of the main activities is trying to prove unicorns do not exist in order to win a ?10 note signed by Richard Dawkins.

Leap Months and Kings

The Hebrew calendar is lunar, so that a leap-month has to be inserted every once in a while to keep the seasons and holidays at appropriate times. But when to insert the month, and what group should decide?