American Grace

American Grace

How Religion Divides and Unites Us

Book - 2010
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In a book that takes it's findings from two high-profile national surveys on religion, as well as research conducted by congregations across the United States, the authors examine the profound impact that religion has had on American life and how religious attitudes have changed in recent decades. Co-written by the author of Bowling Alone. 150,000 first printing.

Blackwell Publishing
American Grace is a major achievement, a groundbreaking examination of religion in America.

Unique among nations, America is deeply religious, religiously diverse, and remarkably tolerant. But in recent decades the nation’s religious landscape has been reshaped.

America has experienced three seismic shocks, say Robert Putnam and David Campbell. In the 1960s, religious observance plummeted. Then in the 1970s and 1980s, a conservative reaction produced the rise of evangelicalism and the Religious Right. Since the 1990s, however, young people, turned off by that linkage between faith and conservative politics, have abandoned organized religion. The result has been a growing polarization—the ranks of religious conservatives and secular liberals have swelled, leaving a dwindling group of religious moderates in between. At the same time, personal interfaith ties are strengthening. Interfaith marriage has increased while religious identities have become more fluid. Putnam and Campbell show how this denser web of personal ties brings surprising interfaith tolerance, notwithstanding the so-called culture wars.

American Grace is based on two of the most comprehensive surveys ever conducted on religion and public life in America. It includes a dozen in-depth profiles of diverse congregations across the country, which illuminate how the trends described by Putnam and Campbell affect the lives of real Americans.

Nearly every chapter of American Grace contains a surprise about American religious life. Among them:

• Between one-third and one-half of all American marriages are interfaith;

• Roughly one-third of Americans have switched religions at some point in their lives;

• Young people are more opposed to abortion than their parents but more accepting of gay marriage;

• Even fervently religious Americans believe that people of other faiths can go to heaven;

• Religious Americans are better neighbors than secular Americans: more generous with their time and treasure even for secular causes—but the explanation has less to do with faith than with their communities of faith;

• Jews are the most broadly popular religious group in America today.


American Grace
promises to be the most important book in decades about American religious life and an essential book for understanding our nation today.

Baker
& Taylor

"In a book that takes it's findings from two high-profile national surveys on religion, as well as research conducted by congregations across the United States, the authors examine the profound impact that religion has had on American life and how religious attitudes have changed in recent decades. Co-written by the author of Bowling Alone. 150,000 first printing. "
Draws on two national surveys on religion, as well as research conducted by congregations across the United States, to examine the profound impact that religion has had on American life and how religious attitudes have changed in recent decades.

Publisher: New York : Simon & Schuster, c2010.
ISBN: 9781416566717
1416566716
Characteristics: p. cm.
Additional Contributors: Campbell, David E. 1971-

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readingthewater
Jun 04, 2014

If you like both Religions and social data, this book will fascinate you. Packed tight with charts, interesting facts and thoughts to ponder, its also a good reminder of how Americans as a whole are unique in the global religious landscape. And guess what? The "nones" are not atheists. They are simply anti-religion likely because they grew up in a religiously divisive time. Another area for the church to ponder.

e
eswahl
Mar 04, 2011

One of the most lucid and comprehensive analyses of religion from the 1950s to present. Fascinating and very readable. I liked the alternation of statistical information and vignettes.

gwsuperfan Nov 20, 2010

Although parts of this book were extremely dense with both data from surveys and analysis of that data, American Grace was a fascinating read. Religion and politics seem more intertwined now that at almost any previous point in American history, and the authors do a thorough job of looking at how they got that way, and both how political attitudes are likely to affect religion, and how religion affects political attitudes.

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