|About the Book|
Over the last 25 years, there has been much talk of the presumed decline in religious participation in America. In addition, from the 1960s on, surveys that mark the influence of religion in American life have shown a mixed response. Many suggestMoreOver the last 25 years, there has been much talk of the presumed decline in religious participation in America. In addition, from the 1960s on, surveys that mark the influence of religion in American life have shown a mixed response. Many suggest that religion is losing influence in the culture as a whole- others indicate that while organized religion may be experiencing challenges, spirituality is on the upswing. At the same time, however, there have been signs that religious life in the U.S. is extraordinarily healthy. But religion in America has changed, to be sure, in a number of ways. And it has changed us and our culture in return. This timely set looks at the major forces that are changing the shape of religion in American life. With an influx of immigrants from Asia, Latin America, and other regions, the diversity of religion has grown to include Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, and other faiths. Latin American and African American communities have experienced changes in the ways they practice their faith and in turn influence American culture in general. Women have entered the clergy in record numbers, and the push for allowing women and gays to enter the clergy in religions that limit or prohibit their roles is on the increase. In addition, gay couples are leading the same-sex marriage movement, and other social issues such as abortion, stem-cell research, end of life care, etc., are still being debated. Interest over how people actually live out their religion or spirituality has mushroomed in recent decades, thanks in part to the information revolution and popular culture. What folks do when they gather together to worship, and where they come together, has changed dramatically with the advent of the Internet and the role of sports in American life. So much has changed, and faith in America has become more important than ever--as part of our culture, our way of life, and the way we relate to each other and the world around us. The essays found in these pages shed light on our understanding of these transformations and help us comprehend the enormous role of religion in our society and in our world.