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Why so many Baptists in the USA?

  1. Aug 21, 2003 #1
    Why so many Baptists in the USA?

    I could go ask on beliefnet.com, but they would probably think I'm trolling. So I'll ask here.


    Baptists are the second largest denominational group in the USA. The largest is the Catholics, and I think I understand their story. Baptists in the USA number over 32,000,000. And if you disregard babies and young children as members, which is the way Baptist churches count, then the difference with Catholics gets much smaller. And no other denominational groups are even close in size.

    The founders of the US government were mostly a mix of Congregationalists, Unitarians and Anglicans. Other denominations, such as Presbyterians and Lutherans, emigrated from Europe later in large numbers. Methodists almost completely dominated missionary activity in the USA during the nineteenth century. Nevertheless, Baptists rule numerically, especially in the deep South states.

    One partial answer:

    The African-American history with Christianity in the USA.

    But that can only be a partial answer.

    What is there about Baptist teachings, worship, society, etc. that gave them such a boost?
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 21, 2003 #2
    Because the largest concentration of religious people is in the bible belt.

    And the largest concentration of black people is in the bible belt.

    And the largest concentration of baptists are black.

    Make sense? That was easy enough!
  4. Aug 21, 2003 #3
    because they sing and dance in church
  5. Aug 22, 2003 #4
    Simple, all too simple. One might as well answer "Because that is where most of the Baptist preachers are." Baptists undoubtedly contribute to the frequencies that characterize the so-called "bible belt". But that does not address why so many there are specifically Baptist and not something else.

    from http://www.adherents.com/largecom/com_bap.html

    Top 10 Largest National Baptist Populations, 1998

    Country Number of Baptists (Baptist World Alliance) Percent

    USA 33,175,526 12.11%
    India 1,544,203 0.16
    Brazil 1,102,000 0.66
    Nigeria 1,040,667 0.98
    Zaire (Democratic Republic of Congo) 720,159 1.47
    Korea 650,000 2.78
    Myanmar 555,063 1.25
    Rwanda 310,756 4.71
    Philippines 212,643 0.29
    Kenya 210,000 0.72

    (EDIT insert another table)

    Largest Denominational Families in the U.S., 2001

    Denominational Family #-of-Adults 2001-%-of-U.S.-pop. 2001-%-weekly-church-attendance 2001 %-of-U.S.-pop.-in-attendance-at-this-denom.

    Catholic 50,873,000 24.5% 48% 11.74%
    Baptist 33,830,000 16.3% 50% 8.13%
    Methodist 14,150,000 6.8% 49% 3.33%
    Lutheran 9,580,000 4.6% 43% 1.98%
    Pentecostal/Charismatic/Foursquare 4,407,000 2.1% 66% 1.40%
    Presbyterian 5,596,000 2.7% 49% 1.32%
    Mormon/Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 2,697,000 1.3% 71% 0.92%
    Non-denominational Christians 2,489,000 1.2% 61% 0.73%
    Church of Christ 2,593,000 1.2% 58% 0.72%
    Episcopal/Anglican 3,451,000 1.7% 30% 0.50%
    Assemblies of God 1,106,000 0.5% 69% 0.37%
    Congregational/United Church of Christ 1,378,000 0.7% * 30% 0.20%
    Seventh-Day Adventist 724,000 0.3% 47% 0.16%

    {EDIT end of insert}


    I don't think most Baptists are much into holy dancing. That is more the line of Pentecostals, a distinct (and smaller) group.
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2003
  6. Aug 22, 2003 #5
    1. I think you are looking for a more complex answer than the truth provides. Baptist is a denomination created here in the U.S. And all the reasons I described to you are the truth. Nothing more.

    2. Secondly, of course Baptists dance. No offense but do you know what Baptists are, or live anywhere down here in the dirrrty south?

    Baptists don't even pray in Church at all, they sing, that's it.
  7. Aug 22, 2003 #6
    I did forget to except members of Black Baptist Churches in my statement. Also, there are many kinds of particular and peculiar Baptists, of whose carryings-on I have little knowledge. As for the rest, I frequently see on TV-

    1. Folks dressed up, toting big moroccan leather bound Holy Bibles with multiple ribbons for fast flipping during the sermon

    2. Pastors in power suits and ties, with sculpted coifs

    3. Ardent songs from the praise book, and yes, prayer led from the pulpit

    4. Nobody dancing
  8. Aug 22, 2003 #7
    I don't think in all my life I've met a non-black person who was a Baptist.

    To me Baptist = Black Religious person.

    I guess outside of the black baptists maybe they do not, as they say "dance for the lord"....
  9. Aug 22, 2003 #8
    Sense, yes, accurate, no.

    The vast majority of people in the South are Baptist, yet the majority of people in the South are not black.

    I would guess you've never been to the South.
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2003
  10. Aug 22, 2003 #9
    Rada - If you read my post above you'd see that I have live here in the south for 23 years.

    I am well aware of who is and who isn't Baptist in Alabama, Georgia, Florida, and the carolinas.

    Whites are rarely baptists in comparison to the black baptists. It's just statistics man!
  11. Aug 22, 2003 #10

    You and I are probably of very different backgrounds. My last adventure into a Baptist-like domain was to see Rev. Billy Graham in a sawdust-floor carnival tent quite a long time ago. That was before the really massive crusades and TV. There is a neighborhood Baptist temple nearby, and I often see the people coming and going to church. They look pretty much as I described.

    Is it possible that I am missing a breakdown by self-identified-race-or-ethic-background. I look at the figures for Southern Baptist Convention, which is the largest component of the Baptist group. But I haven't a clue what proportion are African-American. Also, the SBC is not confined to the southern states. Usually when some controversy appears on the news, it is the SBC leadership that is shown, and they look pretty much like samples from the population distribution of US citizens.



    What is Mu?

    I dunno. Somethin' to do with whether a dog has Buddha-nature, so I heard.
  12. Aug 22, 2003 #11
    Virtually everyone I know and have known (>90%) are/were baptist. I've lived in the south my whole life. I'm not baptist. While it's true, that if you pick a black person at random, they will likely be baptist, more so than picking a random white person, but that's the other side of the coin. Just look at the number of baptist churches, in white neighborhoods. They outnumber all the other churches combined, and are much larger to boot.

    I hadn't met a non-baptist black person (that I knew of) until I met my wife.

    Now most whites aren't as likely to make it known they are baptist, compared to blacks (in my experience), but that's not the same as hard statistics.
  13. Aug 22, 2003 #12


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    Uhh...the Baptist denomination originated in holland and/or england sometime around the 17th century. It was basicly born out of the reformation movement.(calvin and Knox) The reformation gave birth to the seperatist movement (among others) this then gave birth to the early baptist.
  14. Aug 22, 2003 #13


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    Also, for a person who knows so much about the south, you've never heard of the Southern Babtists? There bigotry and racism is probably 95% of the reason I can't stand christian based religions.
  15. Aug 22, 2003 #14
  16. Aug 27, 2003 #15

    No offense, but you've made some of the most bizarre claims I've ever witnessed. I have an entire family who will debunk you in one shout of "Hallelujah!"

    I live in the south (have my entire life - Florida to be exact.) My entire family on my fathers side is Baptist. And that's a family of 10 brothers and sisters. Let's not forget all of the children they've had including grandchildren, great grandchildren, my grandparents for quite a few generations, and all of their married partners. For the record, they all hail from Georgia. My estimate for about six degrees of separation from each family member is that, in total, there are at least 1000 people I could likely account for being white baptists. This doesn't even begin to account for all of their friends or acquaintances. On my mothers side, those who are religious (which is the majority, and she also comes from a large family) are also baptist. They also have lots of children and husbands/wives/other.

    But it doesn't end there, no no. At my job almost everyone is Baptist. There is one atheist (me) and two catholics (of Italian and Hispanic origin.) My workplace is predominantly white. I won't even begin to estimate how many people as a result of their having their own extended families are also baptist, but I would humbly claim that it is quite a lot.

    So while I don't disagree that a majority of of black people are baptist, it is utterly ridiculous to assert that it is a "black religion". I have yet to meet a white Christian who _isn't_ baptist.

    p.s. I've lived in the south 23 years too. Where on earth do you live to make these kinds of claims?
  17. Aug 29, 2003 #16
    Just so you won't have to go thru life not knowing of any white baptist, I figured I'd throw this out for you:

    Jimmy & Rosaline Carter
  18. Aug 29, 2003 #17


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    Saying that all or the majority of blacks are baptists doesn't mean that all baptists are black. I have relatives who are baptist and they aren't black. I have been to southern baptist and regular baptist services and everyone there (hundreds) are as white as they get. And they both pray in church and they don't jump around and say 'praise the lord, halleluja!' Although every now and then someone in the southern baptist church would mumble out an 'amen'. You seem to be living in your own little world or at least seem to believe that anything outside of your world is irrelevant (as proven in other posts). Just because you haven't seen it doesn't mean it isn't so. You don't seem like a very religous person but you just as well be since your non-flexible attitude is comparable to the non-flexible attitude of the stereotypical of a religous fanatic. Sorry I singled you out. You aren't the only one here guilty of it. Just making a point. BTW, I'm lutheran, and I don't remember the last time I was in church.
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