Chaves' Book wins Religion Magazine Award

Duke Professor Mark Chaves' recent book on religious trends is lauded by Christianity Today

A Duke professor's 2011 book about religious trends in the United States has received an award from a national Christian magazine.

Christianity Today, whose readership is primarily Protestant evangelicals, has given Mark Chaves' book, "American Religion: Contemporary Trends," one of its 12 annual book awards. The book took top honors in the magazine's "Christianity and Culture" category. 

"Chaves explains commonly cited trends such as mainline decline and megachurch popularity, and offers new statistics that help Christians situate themselves in the larger religious marketplace," the magazine noted in its December 29 award announcement.

The magazine selected its 12 winners from a pool of 390 entrants.

Based on data from two national surveys, Chaves' book documents several important changes, including the fact that over a 35-year span, the percentage of Americans with great confidence in religious leaders dipped from 35 percent to 25 percent. That decline, Chaves has said, patterns a loss in confidence in leaders of all sorts.

"It's a book that tries to set the record straight about what's changing and what's not in religion," Chaves said. "It's nice to see a book that doesn't push any particular theological agenda be recognized by a premiere evangelical magazine."