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By Robert D. Putnam

American Grace is a massive fulfillment, a groundbreaking exam of faith in the US. distinctive between international locations, the US is deeply spiritual, religiously diversified, and remarkably tolerant. yet in contemporary a long time the nation’s spiritual panorama has been reshaped. the US has skilled 3 seismic shocks, say Robert Putnam and David Campbell. within the Sixties, spiritual observance plummeted. Then within the Seventies and Eighties, a conservative response produced the increase of evangelicalism and the non secular correct. because the Nineties, in spite of the fact that, youth, grew to become off via that linkage among religion and conservative politics, have deserted geared up faith. the end result has been a growing to be polarization—the ranks of non secular conservatives and secular liberals have swelled, leaving a dwindling team of non secular moderates in among. whilst, own interfaith ties are strengthening. Interfaith marriage has elevated whereas non secular identities became extra fluid. Putnam and Campbell convey how this denser net of private ties brings wonderful interfaith tolerance, though the so-called tradition wars. American Grace relies on of the main complete surveys ever carried out on faith and public existence in the USA. It features a dozen in-depth profiles of numerous congregations around the state, which light up how the developments defined via Putnam and Campbell have an effect on the lives of actual american citizens. approximately each bankruptcy of yank Grace includes a shock approximately American non secular existence. between them: • among one-third and one-half of all American marriages are interfaith; • approximately one-third of usa citizens have switched religions sooner or later of their lives; • kids are extra against abortion than their mom and dad yet extra accepting of homosexual marriage; • Even fervently non secular american citizens think that individuals of different faiths can visit heaven; • spiritual americans are higher acquaintances than secular american citizens: extra beneficiant with their time and treasure even for secular causes—but the reason has much less to do with religion than with their groups of religion; • Jews are the main widely well known non secular team in the US at the present time. American Grace can provide to be an important e-book in a long time approximately American spiritual existence and a vital ebook for realizing our state at the present time.

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A majority of Americans, 56 percent to be precise, have at least one close friend in their religious congregation. The prevalence of friends made at one舗s place of worship serves to illustrate the social significance of America舗s congregations. Faith-based social networks tend to keep people from switching congregations, foster good citizenship舒generosity and civic engagement舒and strengthen the connections voters make between their religion and their politics (see Chapters 5, 11, 12, and 13). CONGREGATIONAL VIGNETTES It is because the congregation is the focal point of American religion that, in addition to our statistical data, we provide a series of vignettes about different congregations from across the United States.

While the split between evangelical and mainline Protestants centers on theology, Black Protestantism舒the third tradition within the Protestant family舒is instead defined by race. Black Protestantism is a legacy of racial segregation. As detailed in Chapter 9, the Black Church (the term used to refer to all historically African American congregations and denominations) has a long and distinctive history in the United States. Black Protestants generally blend an evangelical focus on personal piety with a strong dose of Social Gospel.

One can quibble over just how religion, and religiosity, should be gauged, but, by any standard, the United States (as a whole) is a religious nation. 5 Eighty-three percent of Americans report belonging to a religion; 40 percent report attending religious services nearly every week or more;6 59 percent pray at least weekly; a third report reading scripture with this same frequency. Many Americans also have firm religious beliefs. Eighty percent are absolutely sure that there is a God. Sixty percent are absolutely sure that there is a heaven, although fewer (52 percent) have this level of certainty about life after death.

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