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Why Are People Attending Church Regularly in the Us but only So Little in Europe

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A survey, compiled by „The Pew Global Attitudes Project", showed that the more wealth a country gains, the less religious its citizens become. But taking a closer look one will see that there are two exceptions, namely Ireland and the USA. The graph given in the book fortifies the statements from the survey and shows that whereas Germany, Denmark, the UK, Canada, France and Italy have a relatively low percentage of their population attending church at least once a week, Ireland and the US have quite high percentages of 40 - 65 %. Now one may wonder: "Why is it that there are so many people attending church regularly in the US but only so little in Europe?" An answer to this question may be found in the summary of the following arguments.

In comparison to most European countries, religion in the US plays an important role to the American society. This attitude even goes back to the historical founding of what today is called the United States. The early settlers, mostly religious people from Europe that were persecuted in their homeland, originally came to the US as they sought for the freedom to practice religion according to their own preferences. Arriving in America the settlers did not have to worship according to any laws but their own and therefore this freedom became the highest value in the former colonies. When the US finally gained independence from Great Britain in 1766 this way of thinking became even more important. Realizing the many religious traditions they wanted to make sure that everyone will always obtain the right to worship according to one's own conscience or not at all, if this is one's choice. Therefore they consolidated the principle of religious freedom in the Constitution. Even today traces of the religious movement can be found in the Pledge of Allegiance: "I Pledge Allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all." European countries, though one will find many religious wars and in relation many victims of religious intolerance, never had this kind of experience and hence cannot possess a similar relation between their foundation and religion.

Considering that, it is now surprise that whereas state and church in European countries like Germany are working together, there is a strict separation between the American state and its various churches. Americans do not relate church with money matters. If they pay for church services they do not do so because they are forced to but because they want to. It is a vastly different story in Germany. Being part of either the Catholic or the Protestant church you are forced to pay "church taxes" depending on the amount of your income. This demand arouses the impression in many citizens that church is not a matter of believe but a matter of money.

Generally Europeans do not always relate believe or



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