Religion In American Life

Essay by MurleneJunior High, 8th gradeA+, April 2004

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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, this

situation has changed quite a bit. After reviewing the 1994 statistics I

gathered from the Micase system and comparing them to the statistics received in

class, I discovered a trend away from traditional religious beliefs and

practices, and one toward atheism or alternative religious beliefs. After a

resurgence in the 1970's and early 1980's, the Roman Catholic church began

experiencing a slow, yet steady, decline in membership. As membership in the

more orthodox Roman Catholic church decreased, membership in Protestant churches

increased. In recent years, the Catholic Church has become politically active

and more vociferous concerning its views on moral issues such as war, abortion,

and euthanasia. It is my feeling that many Catholics are searching for sects

that 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 capable

of rationalizing for themselves. Among Catholics and Protestants, there is a

trend toward less rigid attendance of religious services. If we examine the

figures from Stark and Glock's 1968 survey, 54% of Americans surveyed at the

time 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 of

church, weekly attendance dropped from 52% in 1978 to 49% in 1986. Then,

attendance plummeted, with only 28.3% of Catholics surveyed in 1994 claiming to

have attended church in the last seven days. Even among those who remain with

the traditional Christian sects, attendance is diminishing. Christianity used to

be an...