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Religion In American Life Essay

740 words - 3 pages

Religion used to be a very important component in an American's life.Protestantism was as American as Mom and apple pie. Families would don their"Sunday best" and go to church early on Sunday mornings. However, thissituation has changed quite a bit. After reviewing the 1994 statistics Igathered from the Micase system and comparing them to the statistics received inclass, I discovered a trend away from traditional religious beliefs andpractices, and one toward atheism or alternative religious beliefs. After aresurgence in the 1970's and early 1980's, the Roman Catholic church beganexperiencing a slow, yet steady, decline in membership. As membership in themore orthodox Roman Catholic church decreased, membership in Protestant churchesincreased. In recent years, the Catholic Church has become politically activeand more vociferous concerning its views on moral issues such as war, abortion,and euthanasia. It is my feeling that many Catholics are searching for sectsthat will allow them to retain their faith in Christ without a central body(i.e., the Vatican) speaking on behalf of them on issues that they are capableof rationalizing for themselves. Among Catholics and Protestants, there is atrend toward less rigid attendance of religious services. If we examine thefigures from Stark and Glock's 1968 survey, 54% of Americans surveyed at thetime attended church more often than once a month. This figure shrank to 40.7%in the 1994 survey. Though the Catholic church insists on weekly attendance ofchurch, weekly attendance dropped from 52% in 1978 to 49% in 1986. Then,attendance plummeted, with only 28.3% of Catholics surveyed in 1994 claiming tohave attended church in the last seven days. Even among those who remain withthe traditional Christian sects, attendance is diminishing. Christianity used tobe an integral part of most family and community customs and traditions inAmerica. It seems that as Americans' lives become more complex, less time isavailable for formal religious commitments. Also, one may theorize that theexponential growth of technology and education has rendered traditionalreligious teachings, such as creationism, obsolete and people are leaving theChristian churches because their teachings do not agree with their personalbeliefs. However, not everyone is leaving the Catholic church for Protestantdenominations. In the last thirty years, the number of people claiming to haveno religious...

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