Why do Americans persist in loving church?

  • Thread starter N_Quire
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  • #1
N_Quire

Main Question or Discussion Point

Why do so many Americans persist in going to church while some many Europeans cannot be bothered with it. Western Europe and America have a similar standard of living, are equally committed to freedom and democracy and science.

Why then is church attendance so high in America? About 50% of Americans regularly attend church (at least once a week) whereas the figure for Sweden is 3%. Church is almost irrelevant in many European countries.

Perhaps it is no longer about God for many American churchgoers but a desire for community.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
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Originally posted by N_Quire
Perhaps it is no longer about God for many American churchgoers but a desire for community.
Could be? ...
 
  • #3
Kerrie
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
827
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i think what N Quire stated about community is correct...church is more of a social outlet...
 
  • #4
Zero
I think a large chunk of it has to do with general American(and human?) behaviour. We like to support the winning team. We want to be part of groups that are 'beter' than other groups. We like to go with trends as well. The same way Americans act towards sports teams, the same way we like to check movie grosses to see if other people like the same movies, is the way most Americans seem to treat church.
 
  • #5
85
1
I've so got to move to Europe. It's sounding nicer all the time.
 
  • #6
kyleb
i've lived there and it is nice; but i always been an American Citizen and i don't plan on changing that. we all have our own sets of problems, but if we turn our backs on them they will only fester and come back to haunt us latter. i find it is best to deal with things up front; however, if you do really feel you need a break from the American life i must say Europe is a good place to find it.
 
  • #7
megashawn
Science Advisor
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I'm trying to remember a line from an Offspring song. It may not be exact.

"I'm not a trendy jerk, do what I want, do what I feel like. I'm not a trendy jerk, don't give a **** if its good enough for you, cause I'm alive"

See, I personally believe the problem with america is they all listen to this depressing country music (specially in the bible belt) and have never had an open enough mind to listen to something like, offspring, or other great bands with awesome messages. I mean, I think music is alot more important than ppl give it credit for. Don't believe me? Try listening to some Garth Brooks or something, and see if doesn't feel like making you, well, lets leave it at that.

N'Quire, the only thing I can say is that as the younger generations start gainging power, perhaps things will get better. I know the town I live in is run by a board of elders, whom will not hear out the opinions of a person under 30, and do things such as outlawing alcohol sales in the entire county, except for one town.

But ya, for the most part they just go to church to be "trendy", and accepted by there family/neighbors.
 
  • #8
BoulderHead
See, I personally believe the problem with america is they all listen to this depressing country music
...It's OK, to be little bitty...
 
  • #9
46
0
I also think that some Americans go to church as a social outlet, but others definetly go for Jesus. Its not just in the south, there are JC freaks everywhere! Even in Southern California!!! The horror!!
But seriously, I think Americans are percieved as Church goers, because we are socially controlled by a strong conservative govt. In my opinion, Christianity keeps people in line, especially women and ethnic minorites, keeps them from questioning authority, and basically keeps the status quo.
 
  • #10
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Originally posted by N_Quire
Why do so many Americans persist in going to church while some many Europeans cannot be bothered with it. Western Europe and America have a similar standard of living, are equally committed to freedom and democracy and science.

Why then is church attendance so high in America? About 50% of Americans regularly attend church (at least once a week) whereas the figure for Sweden is 3%. Church is almost irrelevant in many European countries.

Perhaps it is no longer about God for many American churchgoers but a desire for community.
Studies have shown that religion flourishes among the more capitalistic nations. The more capitalistic, the more it flourishes. In china today, it is the growing trend and when asked, many will quite frankly say that if the government and society cannot instill values in their children they feel no other choice than to turn to religion. Notably, the catholic church and other more fundamentalist faiths thrive in extremely capitalist societies where the difference between rich and poor is most pronounced.

This can be traced back to Saint Augustine who integrated the fundamentalist logic of Aristotle into the early christian faith. Aristotle's logic was black and white, true or false, good and evil, and never the twain shall meet. This dialectical vision changed the world forever and formed the basis of not only the popular religions in the world, but modern science as well. Small wonder then that after generations of secular communism the chinese are once again turning back towards religion and the most advanced nation in the world also has a largely fundamentalist religious population.

In a more sinister perspective, the early christians drove out their nonfundamentalist competition such as the Gnostic Christians, who are only now beginning to make some sort of comeback. Nazi Germany shocked the world not only because of what they did, but because they were the most advanced nation in the world at the time they did this. The rest of us are not surprised at all, black and white views always lead extreme actions.
 
  • #11
Alexander
I blame the difference (Europe vs US) on 2 main reasons.

1) Education. In Europe education about nature (math, physics, chemistry, astronomy, biology, geology, etc) is traditionally strong. In US it is weakier both in high school and in universities, where sciences are well diluted by humanities, by variety of junky subjects with questionable value, and by abundance of such 101-201 science classes which are practically carbon copies of high school classes rather than teaching of higher grounds.

2) More freedom of enterprise in US than in Europe to almost jungle-like environment. Profits and revenues justifiy everything - whether it is an astrology book, a tarot reading 900 line, an elaborate pyramid scheme, a telemarketing of declining shares, or a recruiting booklet of a mormon missionary (tighting and various contributions are multibillion dollar revenues in US, by the way). As Marx said - there is no crime a capitalist would not commit for 200% profits - and here governments in Europe stand on consumer side much stronger than in US.
 

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