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Religion in America: Putnam


Title: Religion in America: Putnam & Campbell Author: Adam Gomez Last modified by: Adam Gomez Created Date: 2/3/2012 12:43:40 AM Document presentation format – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Religion in America: Putnam

Religion in AmericaPutnam Campbell
  • The most importance fact about religion in
    America is that we are nowand have been since
    the Foundinga relatively pious and observant
  • (Sociology 156)

Strong Continuity
  • The most importance fact about religion in
    America is that we are nowand have been since
    the Foundinga relatively pious and observant
  • 1948 73 Americans believe in the afterlife
  • 2006 70
  • 1937 73 Americans belong to a church or
  • 1999 73
  • 35-40 report having a strong religious
    affiliation since 1974
  • American religions, compared to religions in
    many other countries, have shown a remarkable
    ability to adapt to changing circumstances.

Social Change
  • Social change embodied in generational change is
    slow and gradual, because at any given time the
    population includes people from many different
    generations, and thus society-wide figures
    represent a kind of moving average. (72)
  • Period effects that simultaneously affect people
    of all ages produce social change measurable over
    a few years
  • Large generational differences produce social
    change measurable over a few decades
  • Small generational differences produce social
    change measurable only over many decades
  • Pure life cycle effects produce no social change
    at all (74)

Social Change
  • In round numbers, each decade in an individuals
    life adds one more week of church attendance to
    his or her annual average. Conversely, people
    born in each successive decade have attended
    church about one week fewer per year than people
    born a decade earlier.
  • People born in the 1950s and now in their
    fifties, for example, attend church about one
    week fewer per year than people born in the 1940s
    when they were in their fifties.
  • If secularization is in fact occurring in
    America, at this rate it will take a couple of
    centuries to reduce American religious observance
    to current European levels. (75-76)
  • Generationally based declines in religious
    observance sped up in the 1960s, stabilized from
    the 1970s to the 1990s, and then accelerated
    again with the advent of the generation that
    reached adulthood in the 2000s (79)

  • Fig. 3.1

Backdrop the 1950s
  • Post-WWII, church attendance spikes, mostly
    mainline Protestants
  • 1950 31 attend church weekly, 1957 51 (all
    time high)
  • College-educated male veterans famiies
  • Shared values
  • Judeo-Christian label emerges at this time
  • No partisan divide
  • Social pressure, civic duty
  • 1957 69 say that religion is increasing its
    influence on American life

  • Fig. 3.5

The Shock of the Long Sixties
  • Long Sixties a lot of the things we call the
    Sixties took place in the 1970s
  • Massive onslaught against existing institutions
  • Government
  • Sex
  • 1970 80 of those who reached adulthood in the
    60s say premarital sex only sometimes or not
    at all wrong, 80 of elder generations
  • Subsequent generations more conservative on
    political, social, religious matter, but dont
    revert to tradition on sex
  • Our class 27 (21) say immoral, 73 (57) say not
  • Religion
  • Drugs
  • Question Authority
  • Emphasis on individual desires (91-94)

Christianity in the 60s
  • Vatican II 1962-1965
  • Latin Mass replaced by vernacular
  • Confession all but disappears
  • Papal recognition of other religions legitimacy
  • Change in attire
  • Increased role for the laity
  • Number of individuals identifying as Catholic,
    but attendance at Mass, especially among young,
    drops precipitously.
  • Catholics alone account for much of the decline
    in church attendance during the long 60s
  • Non-churchgoing mainline Protestants drop the
  • Attendance levels remain stable among those who
    still identify
  • Evangelicals begin to mobilize
  • Campus Crusade for Christ 109 employees in 1960,
    6,500 by mid-70s (96-97)

The Nones
  • Spiritual but not religious
  • Seekers
  • Personalism
  • Multiple truths
  • New religions
  • Unification Church, Transcendental Meditation,
    Church of Satan, Children of God, Hare Krishna
    movement, Jesus Freaks, increased interest in
    Buddhism, Wicca
  • Sheilaism
  • I believe in God. I am not a fanatic. I cant
    remember the last time that I went to church. My
    faith has carried me a long way. Its Sheilaism.
    Just my own little voice . . . My own Sheilaism
    . . . is just try to love yourself and be gentle
    with yourself. You know, I guess, take care of
    each other. (93)

  • Fig. 4.2

The First Aftershock
  • Just as in politics, many Americans of all ages
    were deeply troubled by the moral and religious
    developments of the Sixties.
  • For the next two decades, these
    peopleconservative in both religion and
    politicsswelled the ranks both of evangelical
    Protestant denominations and of the rapidly
    growing evangelical megachurches that disavowed
    denominations and termed themselves simply
    Christian. (103)
  • Notice institutional crisis penetrates even the
    conservative reaction. Does not strengthen the
    mainline denominations.

  • Fig. 4.4

The First Aftershock
  • The Sixties were an age of turmoil that many
    Americans found deeply repugnant to their
    fundamental moral and religious views.
  • In 2006, ¾ evangelicals agree that there are
    absolutely clear guidelines as to what is good
    and what is evil
  • The evangelical stance was perfectly suited to
    Americans deeply alienated from the culture of
    the Sixties. Some of these people had
    evangelical roots and thus were inclined (unlike
    their counterparts in other tradtions) to renew
    their religious involvement, while others were
    drawn into evangelical circles for the first
  • In 2006, after a quarter century of rising
    national prominence and power, more than 2/3 of
    evangelicals said that they felt their values
    were seriously or moderately threatened in
    America today, a sense of embattlement greater
    than any other major religious tradition.

The First Aftershock
  • The first aftershock was caused by many things,
    to be sure, but a central theme was concern over
    collapsing sexual morality. (117)
  • Religiosity and conservative politics became
    increasingly aligned, and abortion and gay rights
    became emblematic of the emergent culture wars.
  • To many religious Americans, this alignment of
    religion and politics represented a long-sought
    consummation, an appropriate retort to the
    excesses of the Sixties. Many other Americans
    were not so sure. (120)

(No Transcript)
The Second Aftershock
  • By 1990, according to one survey, many young
    Americans came to view religion . . . as
    judgmental, homophobic, hypocritical, and too
    political. (121)
  • Nones, which had steadily accounted for 5-7 of
    the population until 1990
  • Not necessarily atheist

  • Fig. 4.11

  • Fig 4.13

Who are the Nones?
  • Except for being disproportionately young, not
    much different from national population
  • More likely men, whites, and non-Southerners
  • Mostly not atheists or agnostics.
  • Disproportionately raised in nonreligious
    households (but 16 of Americans in 2007 were
    nones, but only 7 from nonreligious backgrounds)
  • Because the rise of the nones was so abrupt,
    unlikely due to historical process of
  • Heavily drawn from the center and left of the
    political spectrum
  • Change of opinion on homosexuality almost exactly
    simultaneous with rise of nones (128-127)

The Nones
  • While no strong claims made about causation, The
    dramatic contrast between a young generation
    increasingly liberal on certain moral and
    lifestyle issues (though still potentially open
    to religious feelings and ideals) and an older
    generation of religious leaders who seemed to
    them consumed by the political fight against gay
    marriage was one important source of the second
  • This group of young people came of age when
    religion was identified with the Religious
    Right and the fight against homosexuality and
    gay marriage, exactly the issues on which this
    group was most tolerant (130)

The Nones
  • The new nones reported that they became
    unaffiliated, at least in part, because they
    think of religious people as hypocritical,
    judgmental, or insincere.
  • Many also because they think that religious
    organizations focus too much on rules and not
    enough on spirituality.
  • Growing gap between evangelicals and the rest of
    America on sexual morality (131)

Fluidity Continuity
  • Though there has been much change, in important
    ways the landscape of American religion has
    remained remarkably stable through this turbulent
    half century.
  • What has changed in the decline in religious
    moderates, and numbers have shifted to a
    religious right and a secular left
  • But importantly History never ends. (132-133)
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