Friday, February 10, 2012

An Interfaith Journey Across the United States

Christopher P. Scheitle and Roger Finke took a trip across the 50 United States in an interfaith journey of self-discovery. The two talk about their travels and share some beautiful photos in the Huffington Post here. A belief that “underneath this veneer of homogeneity lies a rich and varied topography of American religion” led them to this journey.

On their journey they realize:

Immigration has understandably had a persistent role in shaping America’s religious geography. Catholics began arriving in large numbers by the middle of the 19th century and settled in Boston and other East Coast enclaves, while Chinese and Japanese immigrants began to shape the religious composition of San Francisco and other West Coast communities. Religious innovation and creativity has also played its part in America’s geography.

These changes continue into the present day. We have all experienced these changes in our daily lives but this journey made by two Americans and their reflections on this journey remind all of us the importance of not only accepting the different religions in our communities but to also experience them, and to learn about them.

These changes are continuing and we need to become not only more tolerant but more open minded and embracing. As the two point out in this piece these changes in American religious topography is continuing to change:

Hispanic immigrants, not to mention Asian, African and Middle-Eastern immigrants, are reshaping the religious landscape once again. Religious groups are also still innovating, establishing megachurches and so-called ‘parachurch’ nonprofit organizations.

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