American Grace: how religion divides and unites us is a book written by Robert D. Putnam, a Harvard professor of sociology and public policy, and David E. Campbell, a political science professor at Notre Dame. The book was published on 21st February 2012 by Simon & Schuster Publisher.
The authors explained the uniqueness of America among nations, its profound religious practice, diverse religion, and extreme understanding among the citizens. They further noted that American religion is a difficult problem.
Putnam and Campbell stated that recently, “America’s religious landscape has experienced a number of seismic and unpleasant or disappointing surprises” (Campbell and Putnam 1). American Grace is a convincing, and interesting assessment of what brought about these religious changes and the impact of religion in modern American society.
Although there is increasing division between spiritual conservatives and liberal individuals not devoted to religion today, simultaneously personal interfaith relationships are intensifying. From the authors’ findings, interfaith union has grown, and religious sameness has become deeply rooted in America.
Most of the citizens socialize with people from different religious discipline or faith and with people without religion. The authors show how this more impenetrable network of personal relationships creates more smashing religious permissiveness, in spite of the supposed culture wars.
The findings in the book were derived from two of the broadest studies ever carried out on religion characteristic state in America. The book is an essential finding about American religious experience, necessary for assessing the present American culture.
In analyzing the authors finding, the one of the greatest aspects researched on was interfaith marriages. The authors noted most Americans are marrying out of their own faith and this is an illustration of tolerance and respect towards other people’s faith. Though, respect of other people’s religion is a fundamental tool in the society because it unites people together and enables them to live in a peaceful environment. The authors clarified that diversity of religion is highly appreciated in America.
According to the authors findings, the difficult problem that mostly links with the level of religious belief are to do with the morality in respect to sexual relations, and above all thoughts towards sex before marriage (the strongest relationship) and sexual attraction to/or sexual relationship with persons of the same sex (the succeeding correlation). Deliberate termination of pregnancy, shockingly, is less powerfully linked with level of religious faith than these earlier stated issues.
In actual fact, if an individual considers sex before marriage and homosexuality as a sin they are wrong, and these stances follows the level of exaggerated or affected faithfulness and religious fanaticism very plainly. There are facts, though, that sexual attraction to or relations with persons of the same sex are becoming more tolerable among religious youth in America, while termination of pregnancy is believed to be more challenging.
Furthermore, likely unexpected is the notable changeability of Americans religious experience—people recurrently change religions, interfaith unifications and friendship are widespread. This appears to be imperative in addressing imagined descriptions of a society moving over with religious pressure.
In describing how the authors reached their conclusions, their most essential findings are communicated in commendably comprehensible expressive style, and statistical tools are stated in an easy to comprehend approach. Pertinent figures of speech are used to increase understanding. Specifically distinguished from others is the carefulness with which the authors stated their findings.
The authors, in an explicit manner stated that the statistical relation data presented in the book is not enough to back up factual assertion of causation. On the other hand, the authors did not recede from giving provisional theories about causation, and opposing explanations of the data are repeatedly researched. This rational integrity contributed to the authors’ considerable standing, which is also precise.
In addition, from the book it was observed that the authors used different principles to arrive at a conclusion, the authors propose that the continuous interfaith relationship of religious characteristic state in America, the increase in the rate of spiritual enlightenment causing a person to lead a new life, interfaith matrimonies, and friendly relationships would create bigger acceptance of other faiths groups than may be predictable in such a religious country (America).
In particular, the authors noted that most America religious persons believe that people of other religious belief—even those not believing in Christ—will be able to go to heaven.
Even more remarkably, only few numbers of Americans think that discriminate one religion from the other. Their research is basically factual since it included researches done by other personalities plus their own statistical findings. Some of these sources used include, the pew religious landscape survey, the Gallup and the general social survey.
They have distinctively dealt with the four popular religious traditions namely evangelical Protestants, main line Protestants, the Catholics and non religion group. The authors were able to make their conclusion on religious matters on basis of how often people attend church and how often they practice religious beliefs associated with their specific religion. The authors made their conclusions as well by examining the role played by religion in terms of race, gender, social class, denomination and ethnicity.
According to Putnam and Campbell, the significance of this sociological approach to American religion is that joined, morally severe, and profane social interconnected system could have an equally influential effect on America religion.
Ethical extended social group and churches believing that doctrine reason is the right basis for regulating behavior could possibly advance the civic observances the authors consider hallowed. Besides, this form of religious acceptance, through which high levels of commitment and network are raised by superior interreligious mingling, is what the authors referred to as the America’s “grace.”
Another significance of this sociological approach to American religion that might make the world respond is the fact that, affected piety and religious zeal is connected to greater public engagement. The authors stated that people who regularly worships or attend church are in mostly better neighbors. They have good chance of being civically disposed to take action or effectuate change in the society; they also stand a better chance taking part in politics.
In conclusion, the authors noted that politics is a significant element in American religion. They further explained how religion helps Americans and sociologists in analyzing the future of the county’s political system. Despite the significances, the book is a remarkable study of the position of religious life in modern America. It is a comprehensive outline of American religion, belief and how Americans belief affects other aspects of livelihood including social life, political life, and moral behavior.
Campbell, David, and Putnam Robert. American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2012. Print.