Americans are very religious people, but there’s a big difference in
religion here and in the rest of the world. Generally, the most
religious countries are the poorest countries with the US being a
dramatic exception. Americans are religious and rich at the same time…
and that’s a rare coincidence.
Now you can examine this from any number of angles…are poorer, less
educated people more susceptible to religion…and if so why? Is it
because they lack the education and resources to examine the great
unanswered questions about life, death and the hereafter... or is it
because they’re more likely to embrace a spiritual promise of a life
(or afterlife) better than the one they now live? Are they in a Muslim
country where there’s social (and sometimes physical) pressure brought
to bear on those who question the narrow tenants of their faith (and
the frequently even more narrow interpretation preached by local
religious leaders, since many followers especially in the Middle East
are illiterate and unable to make their own interpretations).
If any of that is true, how do you explain the faith of Americans?
Most Europeans are secular, they are both frightened of Muslim
fundamentalists in their own countries and amused by the overt
expressions of (generally protestant) faith expressed by Americans,
especially in the Presidential race. Why in the year 2007 did three
Republican presidential candidates raise their hands when asked how
many did not believe in evolution?
For me, someone who is fascinated by Religion (all religion), the
biggest question of all is this.. in this country where we have the
time and resources to examine our faith why do we so seldom do it? Why
do most of us just assume the religion of our parents with no
comparative study of the world’s other great religions? Did God give
us a powerful reasoning mind and expect us not to examine what most
Americans say is a very important and often the most important part of
I find it amusing when people express a certainty in their faith, but
have only a superficial knowledge of the tenants of their own religion
and no idea what those of other faiths believe.
Which is the greater sin…to lazily follow the religion you inherited
and will pass on to your children in an unexamined fashion, or to
study, question and dissect your religion and the religions of others,
even at the risk of shifting your faith or losing it completely?