File Size: 5465 KB
Print Length: 368 pages
Publisher: Rutgers University Press; Revised edition (March 3, 2005)
Publication Date: March 3, 2005
Typically the statistics, when evaluated objectively rather than through the typical "falling away from God" paranoia, show faith based activity in the US ALL has actually been increasing since Colonial times. Info doesn't lie. While cathedral membership was higher on paper during the Impérialiste period, this is only because Colonies and individual cities were managed directly through local churches. These chapels collected taxes from all citizens. Therefore churches showed high "membership" rates since almost all citizens were listed on their comes. Anyone who paid fees or fees for residency were counted as "members. " Other, less objective researchers have missed this point, and claimed high membership meant a high level of religious fervor during the early Colonial period. This really wasn't the case. Remember, only 35 of the 105 Mayflower colonists were Puritans. Others were merchants, fishermen, trappers, and others who were simply planing a trip to America. Many histories don't note this.
Why are Americans constantly bombarded by the idea that the US is becoming "less Christian" than it was before? Primarily it's because certain sects have lost members while others gained them. Some sects that have been dominant in early The usa barely exist today.
One more force is also at work here. Religious leaders love to portray the cathedral as "oppressed" by bad secular forces. They'd instead appeal to followers' emotions and fears than acknowledge that American churches are doing rather well. Doing this wouldn't give church leaders the opportunity to paint an "us vs. them" struggle, or to insist that Christianity is under assault.
Fincke & Stark have done a great service by conducting their statistical analysis of the reality of this situation. Although church leaders will wail and gnash their tooth at the authors' results, rational people may begin to understand how the American general public has been manipulated. That's a positive thing., If someone thinks that religion, in order to attract new believers, should be in harmony with this world, woe betides him, he appears to be wrong. The creators explain that for more than two centuries, in America, the religious denominations with better scores in rates of growth were those which were organized sect-like, i. e., maintained distance with the world by imposing heavy demands on his group (but also granting them great rewards). On the other side, those which tried and compromised, in order to ease tensions and differences using their society (i. e., those church-like) have been steadily declining. Difference pays, assimilation and agreement causes bankruptcy.
Why? Go through the book and you may find out, and although perhaps you will be fairly shocked to see faith explained by often using economic terminology, do not worry, the book is not irreverent. Besides, it is not a difficult read (only 300 pages) though it is not a light read either (content: 5 starts; pleasure: 4 to 3).
P. T. For more information, I might also suggest reading the reviews of the first edition of this work ("The Churching of The usa, 1776-1990").
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