This I Believe about Religion in America

Rachael - East Lansing, Michigan
Entered on December 3, 2008

The United States was founded by people seeking religious freedom which has helped to create the diversity we see in religion today. Over time, America has become known as a melting pot because of its continued immigration from different cultures. A better model for this would be a salad bowl because although immigrants became part of American culture, many cultural pieces stayed intact within groups and were still visible; one of the primary pieces being religion. This has led to a country full of many different religions; Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, Native Americans, and more. I believe that religion in the United States is extremely diverse but even with its diversity, not all religions are widely accepted even though one day they could be.

Even though America is extremely diverse, religion has also created a lot of conflict. There are multiple forms of religion but it is predominantly a Christian country and this creates animosity and fear towards other, less common religions. All types of discrimination stem from this whether it is attacking the people who are members of non-Christian groups or their property.

Even though there is a lot of discrimination against less common religions, people are starting to become more accepting of them. I believe that a lot of the acceptance comes from the influx in globalization and communication. With the expansion of technology, it has made it easy for people of the world to communicate and gain access to educational information. Through this, many people have begun to learn more about other religions and have also been able to come into contact with someone of a different religion. By hearing from adherents, people are more likely to understand that religion and thus better equipped to accept or at least tolerate that religion. Diana Eck takes the stance in her book A New Religious America that interacting with others will lead to acceptance of other groups and decrease discrimination and hate. My personal experience in visiting other places of worship has also led me to a similar conclusion. By seeing someone’s place of worship it makes them seem more relatable, which removes some fear that you might associate with that religion.

Even though discrimination with religious groups occurs, the United States is still an extremely religiously diverse country. People are starting to become more accepting of other forms of religion due to this but at the same time this rapid growth in diversity has also led to problems. It has led to a decrease of understanding and acceptance of many religions which in turn has led to discrimination. This discrimination and hate will continue to exist as long as people do not adapt to the rapid increase in religions. As they begin to adapt to this increase, the discrimination and hate will most likely decrease. This all leads me to believe that religion in the United States is extremely diverse, even through the discrimination and that people can become more accepting of other religions.