Why is the U.S. so religious?

Discussion in 'Religion' started by Seattle, Jan 29, 2015.

  1. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    Most people don't really believe that and it's irrelevant anyway. Any nut can believe anything and then try (though any means) to "save" us all. No thanks.

    Just keep it private.
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2015
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  3. Bells Staff Member

    Does not mean they should be doing it on a national or state level. In that sense, it is private and should remain in the private sphere.
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  5. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

    How is that even possible? Isn't their vote informed by religion?
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  7. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    Religion didn't really get into politics it seems to me until after Newt Gingrich and his "Contract with America" and "family values".

    Many religious people didn't and still don't want to bring religion into politics as it can just as easily hurt and help them.
  8. Trooper Secular Sanity Valued Senior Member

    Maybe it’s because our children don’t have freedom of religion. Christianity depends upon the indoctrination of children.

    "Give me the child until he is seven and I will give you the man." —St. Francis Xavier
  9. Cris In search of Immortality Valued Senior Member

    I think the difference between the USA and other countries is a different stress of social trends and points of critical mass.

    Social trends operate by groups sharing a common idea that makes them feel included. This is a primal instinct that makes us social animals - leads to procreation and species survival, etc. Many may not initially share the idea but change so that they can become included.

    In the USA religious belief had a strong starting point around which groups were able to bond. The beliefs are maintained because there is no other opposing strong meme that can reach a critical mass to switch the social trend.

    In Europe and the UK, religious beliefs have a much longer history, and even though social bonds were formed around common religious beliefs, I suspect that those beliefs are becoming old, tiresome, and less relevant to modern life, and the critical mass is waning in favor of numerous other reasons to form social groups. In essence religious belief in Europe is losing its adhesive power.

    In the USA I detect that the same trend is occurring, but just a few years/decades behind Europe. Polls show some 20% of all Americans are unaffiliated to a religion, but that jumps to some 34% for the under 30 year olds. As the generations age out then those proportions seem likely to increase.

    We will know a social critical mass is achieved in the USA when politicians stop claiming their strong belief in God (currently seen as an essential vote winner), to simply avoiding the claim, as is the case in most of Europe (it is a vote loser to be seen as overtly religious). Note that I am sure most US politicians aren't truly particularly religious, and they will readily alter their views if votes are involved.

    Religious belief in the USA will flip quickly once we approach a critical mass in a similar way, stronger I suspect, that the LGBT movement has blossomed. As non belief becomes more common then more non-believers will come out and be prepared speak up. And that will be mainly because they will not feel isolated, but instead feel included in a recognized social group.

    As I said it all comes down to feeling included and people will be prepared to believe or say whatever is needed to feel part of a group and feel safe.
  10. kx000 Valued Senior Member

    Busted America! I would agree with this.
  11. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

    I usually agree with you, but I think you are quite mistaken here. Yes, there used to be unwritten agreement that religion wasn't a topic that came up in public among politicians, but that doesn't mean that one's religious views didn't enter the public sphere through our votes and indirect influence on public policy on every level of society.
  12. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    Of course, one's views (in totality) reflect and effect the way they vote. I may be wrong but it is my impression that there wasn't as much of a religious voting position as reflected by opinion from the pulpit.
  13. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

    Yes, there wasn't as much overt religious activism. But activism in all areas came to greater prominence since the 60s.
  14. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    I grew up in that period and in the religious South and I don't recall the current religious activism occurring to any great degree until the "family values" period.
  15. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

    There might have been a delay in their reaction, but I think it's all part of the same trend.
  16. Hapsburg Hellenistic polytheist Valued Senior Member

    Mayhaps, but the tumult of the late 1960s got the ball rolling. It didn't pick up serious speed until the very end of the 1970s and the 1980s, with the consternation in conservative circles over Roe v. Wade, and the rise of the Religious Right in the Reagan era. But its origins do lay in the backlash against the Counterculture and/or permissive society.
  17. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member

    Religion in the US is mixed with politics.
    That's how people can be anti abortion and pro death sentence, pro gun ownership and anti marijuana, pray for their own forgiveness but imprison others for life,
    all at the same time.
  18. Waiter_2001 Registered Senior Member

    *shrugs* Thank goodness for religion. *hugs*
  19. river

    Because American general populus are simple people with no desire to learn and are easily manipulated .
  20. yipeekiaye Registered Member

    I find this a fascinating question.

    I come from Ireland where the Catholic Church controlled most schools and had ridiculous power. They still control most schools but their power over people has diminished and few young people believe in the church any more despite the fact the church still controls most schools and most kids make their communion and confirmation ceremonies as a day out rather than the intended religious purpose.

    In the US it seems the wealthy are religious to hide their money orientated selfish behaviour and to belong to a powerful movement. The poorest need hope and seem to go to churches as they are largely not very educated and thus liable to lack logical thinking skills. Religion provides hope for the poor in a country where there doesn't appear to be a concept of Society for the poor and where money talks. Some poor people seem to go to church in the hope of improving their financial situation.

    In the Bible belt, once religion has taken a hold there comes peer pressure, group support, fitting in, going along with something without being mad about it. You also have largely uneducated, not very bright people who want to give themselves status, meaning and importance by proclaiming their religion and who wish to fit in with the status quo of religion in their area.

    I am not trying to be offensive to anyone but that's the way I see it from a distance.

    Educated people in the western world seem to be less likely to be religious so it is unusual to me that so many Americans are religious, I can only assume the quality of education has been poor in the past and people with religion hold power and influence and indirectly put pressure on people to conform.

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