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Megachurch pastor Eddie Long as passed away according to a statement released to the Atlanta Journal Constitution and news outlets in Atlanta.

Bishop Long served as the Senior Pastor of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Atlanta. The church says that Long had been suffering from “an aggressive form of cancer.” Long was 63 years old.

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The major research and polling organization Gallup is conducting “ongoing research” about the role of religions in Americans’ lives. Last week, the group published some interesting data about the American religious scene in 2016 based on 173,229 interviews they conducted from January 2 to December 19.

Probably the most notable finding is that the vast majority of Americans still identify as Christians, even if that number is shrinking. According to their report, 74 percent of Americans identify with Christianity or a Christian-based religion. Another five percent identify with a non-Christian religion.

The remaining percentage (around 21), either don't identify with a religion or just didn't responding to the survey question—which closely matches Pew Research’s widely publicized findings about “nones.” By comparison, the Gallup report shows that since 2008 the "nones" have increased by six percent. Compare that to way back in the late 1940s and 1950s, when more than 90 percent of American adults identified as Christian, either Protestant or Roman Catholic.

This is where things get interesting.

It’s true that almost 80 percent of Americans say their part of a religion, but Gallup found only 64 percent of those say religion is “important in [their] daily lives.” And only a slight majority (53 percent) think religions is “very important.”

What’s more, only about 36 percent (over the last three years) of respondents have attended a church service in the past seven days.

More of Gallup’s data is available here. Discuss

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The New Yorker has released a short documentary film (it’s about 13-minutes-long) that looks at the story of Rob Bell and the fallout following the release of his controversial book Love Wins.

The film looks at Bells’ ministry roots, the rise of his church and the controversy that unfolded following the release of the book that questioned conventional beliefs about heaven and hell.

No matter what you personally think of his theology, the film is a fascinating--and extremely emotional--look at Bell’s life, legacy and influence.

You can watch the film "Hell-Raiser" here. Discuss

10 Unexpected Benefits of Real Community

Your group of friends might be enriching your life even more than you think. Read More