Drawing on two recent surveys, Nick Spencer compares the increasingly prevalent perception of organized religion as a “negative influence on the world” with data showing religion to be a potent force for good on the local level:

Ask people what they think about the NHS the answer tends to be pretty sceptical—it’s in dreadful condition, long waiting-lists, dirty hospitals, low morale, etc, etc. Ask them about their experience of their GP or their local A&E or their last meeting with a consultant and it tends to be positive—overwhelmingly so, in fact.

Perhaps it’s the same with our spiritual health providers. Institutionally, we think they are creaking and dysfunctional. But locally the story is different. “Organised religion, institutional religion, that’s a terrible thing and we’re better off without it. But that [insert religious group here] down the road that organises the [insert social welfare service here], they’re different.”

Read Spencer’s article here.