The influence of religion on American Value
In most countries, religious people had declined obviously with the society developing and science knowledge enlarging. America is a highly developed country in civilization, culture, science and technology. But the rate of religious people in America is far higher than other western countries. In this article, we try to outline some general American values influenced by religious tradition, religious history and today’s religion. To some extent, it is helpful to know of
America and American society better.
Diversity religion in America
Although the overwhelming majority of Americans are Christians, all religions make important contributions to the American culture. In American, About 87 percent of Americans are Christians, 2 percent are Jewish, and the other 4 percent belong to other religious faiths such as Moslem, Buddhist, or Hindu. Of the 87 percent who are Christian, 59 percent are Protestant, 27 percent Catholic, and 1 percent Eastern Orthodox.
The fundamental American belief in individual freedom and the right of individuals to practice their own religion is at the center of religious experience in the United States.
The influence of Christianity
As the most part of American religion, Christianity has great influence on the American values. The influence of Christianity on America starts from the very beginning of the founding of the country, it deeply permeates Americans way of thinking, moral standard and different aspects of the political, economic and cultural institutions of the society. In this article we would analyze the influence of Christianity on American contemporary politics in political system and foreign policies, ideology and political practice.
Christianity has some elements that similar or complementary with capitalist system. It was said by Marx from Das Kapital that Christianity is the most suitable to serve in a commodity production system. Marx Weber points out that in any country of different religions, you can see the statistics of their career status with the least effort that without exception you will find this kind of situation: leaders of industrial and commercial circles, Capital owners, Senior technical workers of modern enterprise and especially those administrative staff with Higher technical trainings and business trainings are all protestants. The more powerful of the capitalism is, the clearer of the situation is. The Christianity encourages people to work hard to accumulate goodness for eternity, to suppress sensual passion and to remain religious piety. At the same time, the spirit of capitalism believes that people have the responsibility to accumulate their capitals, which is also the final destination. So that people treat the activities of capitals additions as the actions to fulfill their responsibilities, and they treat making money as goals, a kind of professional duty and virtue and ability. Benjamin Franklin quotes from bible to explain why to earn money from others, which is also the words his father with the belief of Calvinism always says to him:”have you see the industrious and thrifty people when they undertake their business, they must stand before the God( Proverbs chapter 22, Verse 24).” From this we can see the
similarity between the two and the Christianity boosts the capitalism.
Protestantism and Volunteerism and Humanitarianism
Another important values associated with American Protestantism is the value of volunteerism and humanitarianism. It includes the idea of improving oneself by helping others. Individuals, in other words, make themselves into better persons by contributing some of their time or money to charitable, educational, or religious causes that are designed to help others. The motive for humanitarianism and volunteerism is strong: Many Americans believe that they must devote part of their time and wealth to religious or humanitarian causes in order to be acceptable in the eyes of God and in the eyes of other Americans.
Most Americans think that human nature was meant to be one of sharing and caring and that gives real meaning to life. The will endeavor to put the poor, the needy and the distressed in direct contact with the generous individuals and afford them not only an opportunity to exercise their generosity.
In the history, some of the extremely wealthy Americans have made generous contributions to help others. In the early 1900s, for example, Andrew Carnegie, a famous American businessman, gave away more than 300 million dollars to help support schools and universities and to build public libraries in thousands of communities. John D. Rockefeller, another famous businessman, in explaining why he gave a large sum from his private fortune to establish a university, said: "The good Lord gave me my money, so how could I withhold it from the University of Chicago?" All in all, for Protestantism has strongly influence in shaping the volunteerism and humanitarianism values, many Americans have much enthusiastic in philanthropy. They are glad to help others indeed and often spend holidays being a community volunteers.
Traditional American values material wealth and hard work
We can say that the hard work can lead to material wealth. Of course, the hard work is not the leading point to material wealth. Self confidence is also a vital point. For example, Li Jiacheng, the president of the Changjiang Industry have a strong power of controlling himself. He has a regular time table that control the thing he must do. He never violate it. Of course, his success cannot set apart from his hard work. His diligence and patience help him making such a business kingdom.
The religion and patriotism of The United States of America
The United States of America many churches have a strange landscape: the minister preached the podium with a flag.
In daily life, America has many ceremony, the most classic is that primary and middle school students take an oath of allegiance. In most public schools and many private schools, students from primary school to high school, every day as the start of the day, to salute the flag, and read the "pledge of allegiance". Even in the kindergarten, four or five year- old- children like an adult, standing by the desk, placed his right hand on his chest, and a the monitor led recite the pledge of Allegiance: I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands. Nation under God, unified and indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. It is no exaggeration to say, Americans from the president, down to the civilians, all has been reading the pledge of allegiance to grow up. The pledge of allegiance in Americans, is their belief which they will never forget.
American religion is certainly one major factor to American development. Americans are strongly affected by those beliefs in their everyday lives although their ideals are only partly carried out in real life. The religion provided the space and conditions that helped to strengthen the American ideals were enlarged and made workable. Therefore, if we can understand what these basic traditional American values are and how they have influenced almost every facet of life in the U.S, it will be easier to understand what Americans are thinking and feeling.
American Religion and Politics of 20th Century
The Influences of Christianity on American Contemporary Politics
The American Religious Heritage