Americans - Religion

Religion

Main article: Religion in the United States
Religion in the United States
Religion Percent
Protestant 51.3%
Roman Catholic 23.9%
other Christian 3.3%
Jewish 1.7%
other non-Christian religions 2.9%
No religion 16.1%
Agnostic 2.4%
Atheist 1.6%
Pew Research Center, 2008

Religion in the United States has a high adherence level, compared to other developed countries, and diversity in beliefs. The First Amendment to the country's Constitution prevents the Federal government from making any "law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." The U.S. Supreme Court has interpreted this as preventing the government from having any authority in religion. A majority of Americans report that religion plays a "very important" role in their lives, a proportion unusual among developed nations, although similar to the other nations of the Americas. Many faiths have flourished in the United States, including both later imports spanning the country's multicultural immigrant heritage, as well as those founded within the country; these have led the United States to become the most religiously diverse country in the world.

The majority of Americans (76%) identify themselves as Christians, mostly within Protestant and Catholic denominations, accounting for 51% and 25% of the population respectively. Non-Christian religions (including Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism), collectively make up about 4% to 5% of the adult population. Another 15% of the adult population identifies as having no religious belief or no religious affiliation. According to the American Religious Identification Survey, religious belief varies considerably across the country: 59% of Americans living in Western states (the "Unchurched Belt") report a belief in God, yet in the South (the "Bible Belt") the figure is as high as 86%.

Several of the original Thirteen Colonies were established by settlers who wished to practice their own religion without discrimination: the Massachusetts Bay Colony was established by English Puritans, Pennsylvania by Irish and English Quakers, Maryland by English and Irish Catholics, and Virginia by English Anglicans. Although some individual states retained established religious confessions well into the nineteenth century, the United States was the first nation to have no official state-endorsed religion. Modeling the provisions concerning religion within the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, the framers of the Constitution rejected any religious test for office, and the First Amendment specifically denied the federal government any power to enact any law respecting either an establishment of religion or prohibiting its free exercise, thus protecting any religious organization, institution, or denomination from government interference. The decision was mainly influenced by European Rationalist and Protestant ideals, but was also a consequence of the pragmatic concerns of minority religious groups and small states that did not want to be under the power or influence of a national religion that did not represent them.

  • First Baptist Church in America in Providence, Rhode Island

  • The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. is the largest Catholic church in the United States.

  • The Salt Lake Temple in Salt Lake City, Utah is the largest temple of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

  • Touro Synagogue, built in 1759 in Newport, Rhode Island; America's oldest surviving synagogue

Read more about this topic:  Americans

Other articles related to "religion, religions":

Hindu - Definition
... in an Indian Supreme Court ruling When we think of the Hindu religion, unlike other religions in the world, the Hindu religion does not claim any one prophet it does not ... Thus some scholars argue that the Hinduism is not a religion per se but rather a reification of a diverse set of traditions and practices by scholars who constituted a unified system and arbitrarily labeled ... between "Hindus" and followers of other religions during the periodic census undertaken by the colonial British government in India ...
Young Hegelians - History
... as a distinct group, and it was their attitude to religion that distinguished the left and right from then onwards (August Cieszkowski is a possible exception to this rule) ... the influence of his relatively enlightened minister of religion, health and education Altenstein, allowed pretty much anything to be said about religion so long as there was practical obedience to his enforced ... at first found it easier to direct their critical energies towards religion than politics ...
Saarland - Religion
... Religion in Saarland - 2007 religion percent Roman Catholics   64.1% Protestants   19.5% Other or none   22.0% The Saarlanders are the most religious population ...
Religion - Criticism
... Main article Criticism of religion Religious criticism has a long history, going back at least as far as the 5th century BCE ... During the Middle Ages, potential critics of religion were persecuted and largely forced to remain silent ... like David Hume and Voltaire criticized religion ...
Middle East - Demographics - Religions
... Main article Religion in the Middle East The Middle East is very diverse when it comes to religions, many of which originated there ... Islam in its many forms is by far the largest religion in the Middle East, but other faiths that originated there, such as Judaism and Christianity, are also well represented ... There are also important minority religions like Bahá'í, Yazdânism, Zoroastrianism, Mandeanism, Druze, Yarsan, Yazidism and Shabakism, and in ...

Famous quotes containing the word religion:

    All the sweetness of religion is conveyed to children by the hands of storytellers and image-makers. Without their fictions the truths of religion would for the multitude be neither intelligible nor even apprehensible; and the prophets would prophesy and the philosophers celebrate in vain. And nothing stands between the people and the fictions except the silly falsehood that the fictions are literal truths, and that there is nothing in religion but fiction.
    George Bernard Shaw (1856–1950)

    Christianity as an organized religion has not always had a harmonious relationship with the family. Unlike Judaism, it kept almost no rituals that took place in private homes. The esteem that monasticism and priestly celibacy enjoyed implied a denigration of marriage and parenthood.
    Beatrice Gottlieb, U.S. historian. The Family in the Western World from the Black Death to the Industrial Age, ch. 12, Oxford University Press (1993)