Cover

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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. i-vi

Contents

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pp. vii-viii

Figures

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pp. ix-x

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xi-xvi

This book began with a phone call from Peter Marsden asking me to write a religion chapter for a volume he was editing on social trends in the United States. That invitation led me to examine religious trends more systematically than I had before, and I learned that more...

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1: Introduction

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pp. 1-15

By world standards, the United States is a highly religious country. Almost all Americans say they believe in God, a majority say they pray, and more than a third say they attend religious services every week. Some skepticism is appropriate here. It is not always clear what people mean...

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2: Diversity

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pp. 16-32

The United States is more religiously diverse now than it was in 1972—a trend that began long ago. In one sense, the United States has been religiously diverse from its beginnings, when various kinds of Protestants settled different parts of the eastern seaboard and interacted regularly...

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3: Belief

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pp. 33-41

Many traditional religious beliefs are just as common among Americans today as they were in the 1970s. As many Americans believe in heaven (86 percent) and hell (73 percent) now as did several decades ago. As many say today as did several decades ago that God is personally concerned...

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4: Involvement

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pp. 42-54

There is more to religious involvement than participation in organized religion, and media reports sometimes make it appear that new and unconventional forms of religiosity are swamping more traditional practice. However, religious involvement in the United States still mainly...

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5: Congregations

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pp. 55-68

There are more than 300,000 religious congregations— churches, synagogues, mosques, and temples—in the United States. More than 60 percent of American adults have attended a service at a religious congregation within the past year, and about one-quarter attend services in any...

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6: Leaders

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pp. 69-80

It is more difficult to track change among religious leaders than among the population at large because we do not have an ongoing survey of American clergy. Nevertheless, I can document several important changes, including the declining attractiveness of religious leadership...

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7: Liberal Protestant Decline

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pp. 81-93

The decline of liberal Protestant denominations is one of the best known religious trends of the last several decades, but it often is misunderstood. Contrary to what many believe, this decline has not occurred because people have been leaving more liberal denominations in droves to join...

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8: Polarization

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pp. 94-114

Actively religious Americans are more politically and socially conservative than less religious Americans. Active churchgoers support more restrictions on legal abortion, endorse more traditional gender roles, and vote Republican more often than less religious people. These...

Notes

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pp. 115-136

Index

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pp. 137-139