American grace: how religion divides and unites us by Robert D. Putnam

By Robert D. Putnam

American Grace is an incredible success, a groundbreaking exam of faith in the United States. targeted between countries, the US is deeply non secular, religiously varied, and remarkably tolerant. yet in contemporary a long time the nation’s spiritual panorama has been reshaped. the United States has skilled 3 seismic shocks, say Robert Putnam and David Campbell. within the Nineteen Sixties, non secular observance plummeted. Then within the Nineteen Seventies and Nineteen Eighties, a conservative response produced the increase of evangelicalism and the non secular correct. because the Nineties, notwithstanding, teenagers, grew to become off via that linkage among religion and conservative politics, have deserted geared up faith. the outcome has been a turning out to be polarization—the ranks of non secular conservatives and secular liberals have swelled, leaving a dwindling team of spiritual moderates in among. even as, own interfaith ties are strengthening. Interfaith marriage has elevated whereas spiritual identities became extra fluid. Putnam and Campbell convey how this denser net of private ties brings superb interfaith tolerance, though the so-called tradition wars. American Grace relies on of the main entire surveys ever carried out on faith and public lifestyles in the USA. It encompasses a dozen in-depth profiles of numerous congregations around the nation, which remove darkness from how the tendencies defined by way of Putnam and Campbell impact the lives of actual american citizens. approximately each bankruptcy of yank Grace incorporates a shock approximately American spiritual lifestyles. 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; • youngsters 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 alternative faiths can visit heaven; • spiritual americans are greater buddies than secular americans: 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 greatly well known non secular workforce in the USA this present day. American Grace delivers to be crucial e-book in a long time approximately American non secular lifestyles and a vital publication for realizing our state this day.

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The vast majority of Americans also believe in God, but Americans are less sure about life beyond the grave. Ever an optimistic people, Americans are more likely to envision heaven than hell. In fact, more Americans are certain about heaven than are certain about life after death. When we probe further, we find that Americans believe in a God who is loving and not very judgmental. Sixty-two percent say they 舠very often舡 feel God舗s love in their life, while only 39 percent say that they feel God舗s judgment this frequently.

America peacefully combines a high degree of religious devotion with tremendous religious diversity舒including growing ranks of the nonreligious. Americans have a high degree of tolerance for those of (most) other religions, including those without any religion in their lives. Religion舗s role in America thus poses a puzzle. How can religious pluralism coexist with religious polarization? The answer lies in the fact that, in America, religion is highly fluid. The conditions producing that fluidity are a signal feature of the nation舗s constitutional infrastructure.

As described by political scientists Kenneth Wald and Allison Calhoun-Brown: Stressing Jesus舗s role as a prophet of social justice, the mainline tradition sanctifies altruism and regards selfishness as the cardinal sin. 18 By the 1950s, when our story opens, mainline Protestant denominations舒Methodist, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Episcopalian, Congregationalist, and a few others舒represented the dominant religious tradition in America, but as we shall see, that dominance would change dramatically in the ensuing half century.

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