Religion in the United States of America

Religion in the United States of America

Although the USA may seem 'wild' compared to other countries, what with it being synonymous with partying, Hollywood, and more – religion plays an important part in the American culture. It is not just written on their bills as “In God We Trust” but actually practised as well. With 83% of the US population claiming to adhere to a particular religion, 58% of people praying every week, and 40% of people attending a weekly religious service – it is actually an astounding proportion of people for a developed nation.

The above statistics were published in a 2007 study on the importance of religion to Americans. There are many faiths which have flourished in the USA which due to many immigrants calling the USA home. Other than multiculturalism, it has a firm influence in the foundation of the USA. The First Amendment allows freedom of religion. In the early colonial era, German and English settlers influenced America as they searched for religious without being discriminated against. The original 13 Colonies of the USA were established by some religious groups. For example, the Massachusetts Bay colony were established by Congregationalists (also known as English Puritans), British Quakers settled in Pennsylvania, English Catholics settled in Maryland, and English Anglicans settled in Virginia. This influence has continued today in American politics, culture, and social life.

The religious make up of the USA is most 76% Christian (52% Protestant, 25% Catholic). Non-Christian religions make up 5.5% collectively. However, another 15% of adults are not affiliated with any religion but 5.2% of these people actually refused to reply. In the Bible Belt, 86% of adults are affiliated with a religion, while 59% of those who live in the “Unchurched belt” in the west are religious.

Other non-major world religions are also practised in the USA. These include Taoism, Shino, Jain, Caodaism, Wicca, Thelema, Kemetism, Heathenism, Hellenism, Paganacht, Theodism, Asatru, Nova Roma, Odinism, Zoroastrianism, Druidry, Jediism, and New Age-forms of spirituality.

The 2nd largest Baha'i community is thought to be in the USA as it was first established by Syrian immigrant, Ibrahim Kheiralla, in 1894. However, he left this group and then founded another movement. Other sects and major denominations practised in the United States include the Polish National Catholic Church, Disciples of Christ (also known as Churches of Christ), Pentecostalism, Adventistism, The Nation of Islam, the Church of Jesus Christ and Latter Day Saints, Jehovah's Witnesses, Scientology, Christian Science, Reconstructionist Judaism, and the Native American Church.

There are also Native American forms of religion as well. These traditional religions are quite diverse as many tribes were isolated for thousands of years throughout North America, which allowed for different practices and beliefs between different tribes. These religions have a supernatural theme where there is taboo or a universal force involved with spirits, visions, birth, puberty, death, shamans, and ceremonies. It is marked by a strong emphasis on daily life and personal spirituality that is integrated within their culture. These Native American religions include the Longhouse Religion that is practised by the Iroquois, Waashat Religion which was originally practised by Columbia Plateau Indians, the Dreamer Religion by Wanapam Indians, the Indian Shaker Church, the Drum Religion which is practised by the Sioux and those from the Great Lakes, Earth Lodge Religion in western USA, Ghost Dances, Dream Dances, Bole-Maru, Feather, and Poyote. Many of these religions are influenced by Christianity, and some Native Americans have moved 100% towards Christianity altogether.