American Grace – Faith of the Americans

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  • Posted By : Sam George
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I just finished a scholarly book on Reglion in American Society. It is called American Grace: How Religion Divides and United Us, written by Robert Putnam and David Cambell, both sociologists teaching at Harvard University & Notre Dam respectively.

This is a fascinating read. It is 550 page long with lots of data and graph. A very substantial research conducted over many years have gone behind it. It requires some focused attentive reading to grasp the ideas the authors are presenting. Many amazing facts about contemporary American soceity, some shocking! It is a must read for anyone who is interested to learn about faith convictions of Americans.

America is still a deeply religious society… it was founded on strong religious foundations and religion continues to play a crucial role in matters of her household and electing the next President. It is the most religiously diverse soceity in the world (see Pluarlism Project for details) and inspite of being religiously diverse, America reamins remarkably tolerant. This book brings out how religious landscape have changed in recent decades.

Here are couple of findings from the book:

One third to one half of all marriages in America are interfaith marriages. Never realized it was that high. Of course, it includes evangelicals marrying lutherans, catholic marrying protestant, pentecostals marrying mainline. And not just Christians marrying Hindus or muslims marrying sikhs. Approval of religous intermarriage has risen significantly in recent decades. Younger generaons are more open to interfaith marriages than previous generations of Americans. It is difficult to stay married to someone if you do not  respect that person. These marriages are producing a powerful respect for other religions, and causes faith switching.

Another surprising finding is that one-third of all Americans have switched religions in their lifetime. I would never have  dreamed the number was so large. What does that mean? Faith is no more inherited and has become a matter of choice ofthe individual. Just because I was raised in one cultural and religious setting does not mean I need to remain there for rest of life. That means every generation need to presented, persuaded with the claims of their faith!

More later. Leave your comments.

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