US History Of Religion


The US history of religion was highly driven by the quest for religious freedom. Some of the people who wanted religious freedom were the Europeans who migrated into America in the 17th century. Prior to the arrival of Europeans in America, American native people did not know about Christianity. They worshiped spirits that they believed were found in animals and inanimate objects. Examples of Native Americans are the tribes of Sioux and Algonquians among others. In observing their spiritual beliefs, these tribes performed rituals such as dances, which included Sundance and Ghost dances.

During the colonial times in the US, evangelism was rampant. Europeans with different religious beliefs spread their ‘Good News’ to the Americans in various ways. One of those ways was through books that were spread by the Puritans in the 1630’s. Another group that was quite successful in evangelism during these times was the Methodists. They had very lively ways of spreading their message, which included singing. As a result of this liveliness, the Methodists enjoyed quite some success.

In the 19th century, evangelism had evolved and it was spread through radio broadcasts, televangelism, and tent revivals. All these strategies were aimed at converting Native Americans to join the new Christian denominations. Currently, there are many denominations in America. Following is a look at two of these denominations and how they got into the United States of America.

The Puritans are credited for more than just brining modern religion into the US. They were the first to start free schooling and the first American College, Harvard College. By the year 1700, this group had grown in more than five times from less than 20 thousand members to more than 100 thousand members. One of this groups’ belief was purity. As a result of this belief, they actually expelled some of their members such as Roger Williams for fear of his being evil.

Another religious denomination in the US is the Lutherans. The first members of this denomination in America came from the Scandinavian countries and Germany and they first arrived in the US in the year 1619. Even though there were different Lutheran groups, they started to merge as the Americanization process started. By the year 1988 three different Lutheran mergers merged into Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. This merger now prides itself of more than 50% of all the American Lutherans.

Finally, colonialism might have had its evils but it also had its good side. The good side includes the introduction of religion and academic institutions.

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