Mormons are among those most likely to keep their childhood faith as adults. In an age of American religion where people often depart from the religion of their upbringing and where switching between religions is becoming more common, the study indicates that individuals raised as Latter-day Saints are among those most likely to keep their faith Mormons are unusually giving.
Study data, meanwhile, indicate that collectively Mormons are among the most charitable of Americans with their means and time, both in religious and nonreligious causes Mormons are relatively friendly to other religious groups. The study also reports that Mormons are among those most friendly toward those of other faiths. Relatively speaking, the United States has not been the scene of deep religious conflicts; it is and has been a place of remarkable religious tolerance and pluralism.
Indeed, American religious and nonreligious groups have various feelings about one another. While data suggest that Mormons are among those viewed least positively by many American religious groups, they themselves hold relatively positive views toward members of other faiths, including those outside of Christianity While this belief is general among American believers, it is, according to the study, strongest among Latter-day Saints. Download Media Close.
To give a meaning to meaninglessness is the endless quest of religion. Bloom thinks religion in America is more Gnostic than Christian.
It is the dubious achievement of the darker versions of the American Religion that they have democratized Gnosticism. We are a very religiously mad culture, furiously searching for the spirit, but each of us is subject and object of one quest, which must be for the original self, a spark or breath in us that we are convinced goes back to before the creation.
According to Bloom, the American Religion began on August 6, , when 25, frontier-people of many denominations showed up at Cane Ridge, Kentucky for a huge revival meeting. Many went non-linear.
The belief that: 1 What is best and oldest in us antecedes the Creation. Having mastered this knowledge, he teaches it to whom he will. Bloom considers Mormon founder and prophet Joseph Smith by far the greatest religious genius America has ever produced. Because he invented discovered? Joseph Smith believed that man is lighted by the same spark God is, and that the mission of men is in fact eventually to become gods, each to rule his own extended family on his own planet.
For this to happen, the Mormons Latter-day Saints had to create a new Mormon community, Zion, which, when Christ returns to earth, will fuse with the New Jerusalem prophesied in the Book of Revelation. Only Mormons will belong to this community, but no problem: Smith saw Mormonism literally taking over the world through persistent proselytizing: final success would mean a completely Mormon world by the time of the Second Coming, which would make the transition, as they say these days, seamless.
They are organized, they are wealthy, and they are indefatigable. Or do they? To go from Smith to Mary Baker Eddy is to go from the sublime to the ridiculous. Eddy believed based on visions that the human being is pure spirit that lives forever and that death, the body and the senses are simply illusions. Unfortunately, he died. Then she slipped on the ice and fell—and had a vision.
And wrote the almost unreadable Science and Health. And acquired a following which, though small, persists to this day. M —an evil version of hypnosis-from-a-distance. She surrounded herself with disciples, a sort of human shield, who generated positive vibes to fend off the insidious M. Paranoia is not uncommon among those who claim absolute authority.
Prophet William Miller predicted that Christ would return to earth and take up the faithful on October 22, Known as the Great Disappointment, this non-event split up the Millerites, many of whom drifted away altogether, but some of whom splintered off into new sects.
One of the latter was Ellen Harmon White. She founded the Seventh-day Adventists after a young colleague, during a vision, was informed that Miller had merely misconstrued what would happen on October Christ was not to come down to earth, but to move into another chamber of heaven and commence a Great Investigation during which, preparing for their defense before a draconian God in the Last Judgment, he would examine in detail the sin ledger of every human being.
God being a tough hombre, there was absolutely no guarantee that anyone, Adventist or not, would be among the chosen. So the Adventists promoted good deeds and the avoidance of sin. And because of their discipline and organization, they started advancing into the middle class, and gradually emphasized sin less and health more. Why health? Because Ellen Harmon White had been obsessed with it.
The American Religion: The Emergence of the Post-Christian Nation (; second edition ) is a book by literary critic Harold Bloom, in which the author . Main article: Native American religion. Native American religions historically exhibited much diversity, and are often.
Why obsessed? Because as a nine-year-old she had been smashed in the face with a rock and permanently disfigured. So ironically, a religion that believes in a draconian God and a very short time left for man on this wicked earth, espouses health and promotes education and medicine as though its people would be around for a many a day.
And of course no smoking, no drinking, no cosmetics, etc. The best hope for avoiding extinction?
Recruit minorities. This is another sect that started up after the Great Disappointment of However, the Witnesses are unlike any other major American sect in that they are authoritarian to the point of fascism.
And to the point of sado-masochism. The Witnesses believe in an Old Testament Jehovah who basically needs people to tell him what a hotshot God he is—he wants slaves not men, and indeed the Witnesses call themselves his slaves. Those who remain loyal to this tyrant will be saved in the End Time; everyone else will bite the dust.
According to Bloom the Witnesses are extremely anti-intellectual, the little doctrine they have is confused and inconsistent, and they keep changing the date of the End Time—first it was , then , then , then , then Another problem: only the Elect i. But the Witnesses grew well beyond that number. What to do? Not to worry. The President of the Watchtower Society invented a new category of potentially saved called the Jonadabs: a sort of second-class slave behind the Elect who had already used up the open slots. Pentecostalism started in Topeka in , as an offshoot of the Holiness sect, but it really got going in Los Angeles as one of many religious reactions to the San Francisco earthquake of The Pentecostals are not organized; they consist of local churches with varying practices and interpretations of the Bible, as influenced by local preachers.
What the Pentecostal churches have in common is their reverence for the Holy Spirit; their services aim at luring the Spirit into possessing during trance the participants and lifting them into ineffable ecstasy. The Pentecostals live for their ecstatic states, which swell them with a spiritual power far more potent than the mere material power and success that most other Americans worship and in which most Pentecostals are sadly deficient. Bloom seems completely confounded by New Ageism, which he calls California Orphism —to him it seems vapid, sentimental and essentially meaningless.
And the New Age books, all written in the same bland boring style and offering the same platitudes—are unreadable. He hypothesizes that the Black Baptists have had a profound but unacknowledged influence not only on the other Baptists but also on the American Religion in general. These two features came to characterize, in greater or lesser degree, the other American Religions. The Southern Baptists, having no founder or charismatic leader, tended to identify with the Confederacy and its generals; when the Rebs lost the Civil War, the Southern Baptists took it very hard.
Southern Baptist beliefs were not stated coherently until the publication of E. Before that, the Southern Baptists were all over the map, and seemed united mainly by their hatred of the Catholic Church. Considering religion a personal matter, they believe in no creed and no church authority. Thus the Fundamentalists have sneaked both creed and authority into a formerly creedless and democratic religion. Bloom points out that many of the Fundamentalists are semi-literate at best, few actually read the Bible including many of the pastors and lack the skills to understand it if they did, and that for them the Good Book is not a document to be read and understood but a holy icon to be mindlessly worshipped.
For years the Moderates dominated the Southern Baptist Convention, but the hardline Fundamentalists took over in , helping fuel the troglodytic fanaticism of recent years. Bloom is an original, strange and sometimes over-enthusiastic thinker—but always stimulating.