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Posted by on Apr 5, 2014 in Religion | 3 comments

Is The United States Religiously Diverse?

Via OTB, U.S. doesn’t rank high in religious diversity

PF_14.02I think this survey has a fatal flaw.  I think grouping all so called Christian religions in the United States is a false equivalency.  An evangelical Christian church and a main stream Christian church are not the same religion.  A Pentecostal church and the Lutheran church are not the same religion.  It also does not take into account social issues.  It has been my observation that many in the United States attend attend church for social rather than religious reasons.  It is part of being part of society.  As an atheist I have been guilty of this at times of emotional stress.  As someone who has lived in Europe I know that 63% of the French may be socially Christian but not religiously Christian.

Grouping all so called Christian religions together is not unlike grouping all Abrahamic  (Jewish, Christian an Muslim) religions together.  Some religious scholars think we are all actually Zoroastrians, the first monotheistic religion.

So does the United States rank high on religious diversity?    I would say yes but we are not nearly a religious as many think.

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  • The_Ohioan

    I think that all Christian religions believe Jesus is the promised Messiah. They might differ on various beliefs about Jesus and his teachings but they all believe the above. Jews believe the Messiah has yet to come, and Muslims believe Jesus is just another great prophet as Muhammad was. Those are the differences in classifying the religion, as I understand it.

    No doubt the social aspect of gathering with people of like beliefs is an important reason for physically attending meetings, just like Republican and Democratic members find meeting with their members more comfortable than meeting with other groups. They would all call themselves Americans (and would be considered Americans by others) even though the differences are obvious to all.

    I can see that an atheist would assume there is not much more than social activity involved in most churches, but for those of us that consider ourselves Christians, there are requirements that we must accept while interacting with each other and with the outer world.

    I am distressed that you would feel guilty about reaching out for help and that you were not consoled. I hope you will continue to reach out – as you say, there are all kinds of people who consider themselves Christians. Some of them will surely be helpful if they understand your need.

  • JSpencer

    I think you’re right Ron. The actual diversity among people who view themselves as “Christian” is probably greater than is reflected in the chart. I for example consider myself an atheist more or less, and yet there are times when I do something akin to praying. Being secular and being spiritual are not mutually exclusive, contrary to a stereotype many seem to have.

  • sheknows

    LOL…I would call us “low” and Iran “non-existent” actually. The same goes for tolerance, with 78% being intolerant.

    Our unaffiliated seems rather low to me really. I think a lot of people would describe themselves as “christian”, but were not asked if they were practicing.

    Having last visited your church when you were being baptized or married doesn’t qualify to me. I would define unaffiliated as someone who is either atheist, agnostic, or no longer interested. 🙂

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