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Religion in America

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RELIGION IN AMERICA
WEEK 5: FINAL PAPER

INTRODUCTION

Within this article I will discuss the effects of religion in America based on an etic (outsider’s) perspective, and I will identify the different religions present in America as well as the backgrounds of these groups. The effects of religion in America range from religiously influenced political decisions, to social ethics and dilemmas, and even racial discrimination.
PART I

There are many different religious groups in America, the most prominent being Christianity- which was the first religion to spread like wildfire soon after colonization. Christianity is defined as an “Abrahamic monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ as presented in the New Testament and sacred tradition” (1) and makes up approximately 78% of the religious preference of United States citizens according to the 2007 study conducted by the Pew Forum. (2) Other religious groups in America are Jews (1.7%), Buddhists (0.7%) and Muslims (0.6%) and 16.1% of Americans declared themselves to have no religion. (3)
Christianity is comprised of three main branches, Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, and protestant. Roman Catholicism was first developed in Western Europe and is lead by the pope. Their beliefs are “the doctrines of Transubstantiation and Purgatory, and distinctive practices include devotion to the saints and Mary and use of the rosary (Christian Denominations).” The Catholic Church was founded by Jesus Christ in the 1st century. (4)
Religious diversity in America heavily influences political debates, social status, and even racial discrimination amongst citizens. Christianity especially causes debates regarding homosexuality, abortion, and drug use in America. After September 11, 2001 discrimination against Muslims and Islamic/Mediterranean Americans began because of the “terrorist attack”…...

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