An Unsecular America

Before taking this class, I believed America was a pretty religious country but perhaps was becoming more secular because of modernization and education. However the articles I read this week articulated that the traditional model of secularization theory does not match up with the real data collected. The traditional model states that industrialization, urbanization, and rationalization came to dominate society, while religious loses it’s importance. However through Finke’s research, he ultimately argues that this model is false when looking at the US because the US is exceptional when it comes to its relationship with religion. His research and evidence show that religious organizations and commitment of individuals remain vital. The most rapidly growing denominations hold a firm belief in the literal interpretation of the Bible. The lack of religious regulation in the US have kept the country religious since the beginning. Because there is a separation of religion and state, sectarian movements formed quickly because there was no fear from the State. In fact religious leaders believed that sectarian groups benefited those with less privilege and the working class or “uneducated”. As a result, it has created a testing ground for religious innovation, have appealed to a large segments of the population, and held a special appeal to the working classes. So for those who believe the US is becoming less religious, guess again because the country remains religious for the most part, however beliefs and personal faiths have just shifted. Many people are not saying they are “spiritual” rather than religious.