1) From the early development of The United States of America, religion has remained the very foundation of its structure. Though the religious nature brought in the 17th century would eventually shift to different beliefs, the government was built with a spiritual recognition (“Religion and the…”). Despite this fact and the fact that the United States still engages in some religion based practices including the use of a bible when taking oath or the using the motto, “In God We Trust,” the U.S. Constitution gives the American people the freedom and the right to follow the religion of their choice (“First Amendment”). Having that said, it is important to fully understand the terms secular and secularization to recognize the direction American society is being driven. Simply defined, secular is a term to describe something such as an organization that has a non-religious or non-spiritual nature. It also suggests that a group is controlled by a government rather than a church (“Secular”). Becoming a secular society requires the process of secularization at which religion starts taking the “backseat” in a culture or society (“Secularization”).
There has been some attention on America’s transformation in becoming a more secular society. According to the Pew Research Center, there has been a shift in those who belong to a religion. In fact, there is a great division. Fewer belong to a religious group and those that do, are becoming more involved in their religion. There are three changes that are believed to have been causing this shift. These three changes can be identified as the following: Christians are losing the majority, Christians have lost religious privilege, and Christians are becoming more concretely identified.
Christian faith is no longer the “home-field” of America. Where many could assume a fellow American’s faith was in Christianity, it becomes less likely the case as years pass. In the past, people could share religious views and were only further influenced into Christianity. Now, people raised in non-religious homes are more open and susceptible to other ideas and focus.
Next, many Christian based traditions or practices are not being recognized as once before. Although this seems rather trivial, personal focus, gain, and advantage are increasing as Wednesday nights and Sundays are no longer isolated for religious practices. Stores began to open on the Lord’s day and personal events began to take place on Wednesday nights that were often reserved for prayer and worship.
Finally, the Christian faith is more defined. When mentioning the faith is more defined, I am suggesting that one no longer classifies as a Christian based off of what one said they believed, but now it has shifted to more of a measure of involvement. Those that do not belong to a church or choose to worship at home are less involved with those that are highly involved causing a greater margin between the two. As time and trend continue, secularization is likely to occur (Stetzer, 2015).
Now to move on to a topic that can be highly debatable and rather difficult to pinpoint a legit answer, is the likelihood that an atheist would ever be elected president. Honestly, it is hard to say what could happen 50 to 100 years or more from now. There are constant fluctuations on society given the trends of the economy. All aspects of the world are not on a steady incline or decline. Through my research, I saw a poll that suggested a slighter higher hesitation in the election of an atheist president. Truth is, more people are becoming agnostic or atheist. In 2007, a survey asking how likely one was to vote for an atheist, 61% of people said they were less likely to vote for an atheist. However, as the new poll has been issued in 2014, the percentage as dropped to 53% of people were less likely to vote for an atheist. It is safe to say that if the trend continues, it is a definite possibility (Lipka, 2014). However, I am confident it would not become likely in the near future.
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2)with no particular religious faith grew from 16 percent to nearly 23 percent. A concurrent survey indicated that the number of Christians dropped from 78 percent to less than 71 percent of the total US population. In 2015, according to Pew, 31 percent of “nones” were atheist or agnostic, indicating an increase from 25 percent in 2007. It is clearly evident from the increasing number of antireligious persons that secularism is expanding and growing in the United States (Press, 2015).
Another indicator of secular growth in the United States, is the increasingly organized structure that secularist have created to counter the bias against them, with a major focus of keeping religion out of public life using lawsuits and lobbying. On the Secular Coalition For America website, they even post a write congress section, which currently includes “Action Alert: Tell Congress to Uphold True Religious Freedom.” There is a great controversy in one of the primary pillars of the Founding Fathers, i.e. the First Amendment (“Take Action,” n.d.). Religious individuals tend to interpret that Amendment as freedom of religion meaning not to force the values of different beliefs into the political system. Secularists apparently believe that the First Amendment means freedom from religion. From many of the news stories that have been viewed and publish, there have been numerous cases of the ACLU threatening lawsuits for any affiliation with God in public rule, law, organizations, etc. In order to avoid lawsuits and the expense associated with those suits, local governments, school systems, etc. yield to the threat and delete any references to God and any associated Christian suggestion (Press, 2015
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