24 8

Why did USA become so incredibly entrenced in religion and EU escaped? We used to say we shipped all our serious (trying to think of a not rude word here)...erm fundamentalist... (phew) out to America. I don't know though. I mean UK had witch trials. When I lived in Arizona it wasn't uncommon for strangers to come up to me and tell me jesus loves me. Here that would be at best considered weird and at worst get you thumped. What happened? I mean USA has some of the brightest minds. It almost feels a bit like a lack of confidence. It was living in USA made me declare atheism. Before that it was so rare for me to meet a religious person that I never bothered. I would be really interested in your views.

Amisja 8 Apr 19

Post a comment Reply Add Photo

Enjoy being online again!

Welcome to the community of good people who base their values on evidence and appreciate civil discourse - the social network you will enjoy.

Create your free account


Feel free to reply to any comment by clicking the "Reply" button.


Religion is big business in America, and America is about big business.



Exactly. The “religious leaders” live in luxury. Flying around in private jets and living in mansions. Accomplished con men all of them.


Do you remember this answer from school....." The original settlers came to America seeking religious freedom."
In the early days all the religious nuts from Europe came to the USA and now we have to deal with their brain-washed decendants.


The UK sent their criminals to Australia and their religious nuts to America. I think Australia came out ahead.

I,m not so sure ... Look at all them spiders , snakes , jellyfish etc !


We did it all with god on our side. And you wonder why some like me. Likes that fact that my great grandparents are from Ireland, and I don't care to say I'm a US american, I don't even much care to say I served for this country. The good thing is there are a lot of people waking up and fighting for a change, to make this country a better place. I am happy to be one of them.


You should read Alan Heimert's book, THE AMERICAN MIND FROM THE GREAT AWAKENING TO THE aMERICAN rEVOLUTION. Heimert postulated that it was the religious emotionalism that was released in the wave of religious revivals which swept up and down the North American colonies that was transformed and transferred to the political sphere to become THE most important ause of the American Revolution, and laid out a strong base of evidence. I went back to original sources on both politics and religion of the time and came out convinced that Heimert was correct.

In fact, evangelical Calvinism, since that time, has been a a mjor force in American culture. That is the primary reason that American culture is more religious than the European.

I sort of understand that but why did we lose it particularly? Some of the Scandavian countries are considered to be virtually entirely non-religious. When those pointy black hatted types left Germany, Holland and UK they left some behind. Why did their influence in EU decline and it appears to be getting stronger and stronger in USA. It just seems so bi-polar; especially considering the access to first class education, that religions have persisted. In virtually every country in history, education, especially it appears education of girls and women has preceded a decrease in religious fundamentalism. Look at India, just teetering on a new era of women's rights and universal education. I am just fascinated by this.


Seperation of church and state !!! 😉


Also see John Locke


I wonder if slavery had much to do with it. I mean the bible belt and the former slave economies seem to have a significant overlap. For the slave, religion offers the hope of deferred reward in return for obedience and for the slave owners the outsourcing of their moral values to an abstract authority that accepted ownership of people. I'm very fond of a quote from Steve Weisberg. I usually apply it on general terms but in it's original context relatated specifically to religion and slavery.

"Where religion did make a difference, it was more in support of slavery than in opposition to it. Arguments from scripture were used in Parliament to defend the slave trade. Frederick Douglass told in his Narrative how his condition as a slave became worse when his master underwent a religious conversion that allowed him to justify slavery as the punishment of the children of Ham. Mark Twain described his mother as a genuinely good person, whose soft heart pitied even Satan, but who had no doubt about the legitimacy of slavery, because in years of living in antebellum Missouri she had never heard any sermon opposing slavery, but only countless sermons preaching that slavery was God's will. With or without religion, good people can behave well and bad people can do evil; but for good people to do evil--that takes religion. "


That is really interesting


I have been asking myself the same question for a couple of years. It makes no sense. With all the developments and progress made by the USA one would assume it would be the first to outgrow fairy tales.


Your point is excellent that atheism would be of no importance if there weren't such strident, controling, authoritarian theism in the US. In much of the rest of the West, atheism or agnosticism or some vague non-creedal religiosity is not considered unusual and are tolerated right along with actual religion.

We will know that religion has become a marginal edge case and lost its power over our minds when the term "atheist" becomes as irrelevant as "aphilatelist" (one who does not collect stamps) or ahairist (one who does not have hair).


Mabey it was because the founders used it to justify genocide and slavery which is how this country was created. There seems to be an almost violent clinging to it in order to say we are the greatest nation. We seem to be very intent on being the best and most moral. Questioning this is not acceptable. If you scratch the surface about how we came to be and succede is quite gruesome.

MsAl Level 7 Apr 19, 2018

The conflation of god, guns, unbridled capitalism, and patriotism (and the conflation of godlessness with communism), began in the 1950s and reached a sort of maturity in the 1980s. Eisenhower decided in the early 50s to push the notion that personal piety = good citizenship. Whether he personally intended it or not, it was in theory religion-neutral but became a sort of nudge-wink endorsement of white anglo saxon protestantism (WASP) values. Then you had Billy Graham sucking up to presidents, and later, the Moral Majority, the Pat Robertson presidential campaign, and the like. And today it has gifted us with Trumpism. In fact someone posted a video the other day here that credibly suggests that Trumpism has become a kind of religious cult with Trump as its divine figure. Pat Robertson claimed to have been caught up in a vision to heaven and saw Trump seated at the right hand of god. This is potent symbolism: the right hand of god is where Jesus used to sit. This makes Trump's base, effectively, a very dangerous religious cult.

So while I don't think it was the direct intent of the founders that we base anything on religious nuttery (after all, the founding fathers were mostly deists, the ideological equivalent of modern liberal Christians only even more liberal, to the point almost of Unitarian / Universalist thinking), I suppose you could go further back than Eisenhower and point to things like the ethos of the rugged individualist and American exceptionalism, which are arguably handed down from our puritanical forebears.

@mordant I enjoy the fact that Trump has brought out the true colors of the religious right wing. It makes me smile when people like Mike Pence have to squirm defend all his immoral antics or when priests have to give him pass on adultery and porn stars and such.

@MsAl Agreed, but increasingly they don't squirm, because they have abandoned whatever half-assed moral compass they once had.


I' not sure the U.S. is entrenched in religion. Recent studies say church attendance is way down, certainy Catholic schools and churches are closing at a fairly rapid rate, and the church itself admits it does not attract enough new preists. There are so many Protestant denominations it is difficult to measure attendance. Perhaps the religious are merey the most vocal.


Don’t forget, the UK shipped all their undesirables/religious extremists to America first, lol.


I live in Australia. If somene fronted me in the street and told me that Jesus loves me, I would regard that person as mentally impaired. From the outside looking in, the USA seems to be completely lost in religion, gun culture and Kardashians.


For any one bright mind we have, we have ten incredibly dull ones. Unfortunately, the most important person in a revolution is not the leader, but the very first follower.
It just went the wrong way for us.


The inquisition might just have turned the euros off of dogma

Actually that is a good point


Billy Graham


The EU has a different experience and background and any that America has. The EU has struggled through two world wars that happened in their yard. Nothing like that has ever happened in the US. The United States is naturally protected by oceans and has never been invaded the way Europe has. The only exception to this was the migration of Europeans to the US in the 1600s that led to the annihilation of the Native Americans that were here before. That reality that their government and their society is as fragile as it is has shaped their thinking to realize what the perpetrators all wars, social conflict, and social manipulation look like. Religion though it preaches peace has been historically the cause of more and bloodier Wars than any other force in Earth's history. In the US there's actually a movement towards religious State Control that is shaping much of our current politics and is the largest threat to our democracy.

Yes I think that might contribute something to it


It was founded by zealots too religious for England, so I'm not sure where you think we went away from that, we've always been in that shadow.

^^This. Hofstadter's Anti-Intellectualism in American Life kind of covers this, from a different angle.

@stinkeye_a Yup. Just look at the Post-War era, and then Post-Vietnam when we decided education leads to unrest.

This is kind of the crux of it. The zealots did remain, we actually do still have a few left. They are a really a marginalised minority of a marginalised minority but then still exist. What is it about EU that makes it a hostile place for people of strict religious faith and USA embraced it?


Yep, Europe got rid of their religious nuts long ago and the rest just mellowed out over time. They essentially booted out their version of the westboro Baptist Church types because that was generally accepted. Of course, those clowns came to America and set up shop. The Puritans were bad, but even we mellowed out over the decades and we became more progressive than many European countries (think 1920s). It wasn't until the Cold War where a marketing campaign to make the USSR look evil and godless really ruined it for us because the believers got emboldened and took it too far again. E pluribus unum was replaced by in god we trust because it looked good to have a diet on our side against the commies. This messed us up because we became rabid about winning and the supremacy of our way, which was viewed as flawless...major flaw in that assumption. We are mellowing out again, thankfully.

You really think we are mellowing?

Yep because the fastest growing affiliation is none. That may not be evident in your area, bit it's rapid, particularly in the urban centers.

@dokala it may be the fastest growing but still a very small percentage of the populace in general. I hope you are correct! 🙂


Unfortunately In the US these days not believing in a God makes you less than others.. It's sad but true.


Probably dates back to Ronnie Raygun. That quarter-wit's antics put the fear of Christ into most people...The sound check when he made the hilarious comment; "Let's bomb Russia" springs to mind...


The GOP historically has promoted big business/corporations and the war-money-making machines and reduced taxes for only the wealthiest, while opposing programs that benefit the average American like Medicare, Social Security, healthcare for all, etc etc etc, and religion is big business with all the tax free dollars and land/building acquistiions under the Bush Adminstration. In addition to that, the GOP uses religion as a ploy to manipulate voters, and at the same time, a steadily growing faction of GOPers have been champing at the bit to take over our government and turn it into a evangelical type “christian” theocracy beginning with the “Christian Coalition” which began organizing candidates in the 90s (actually earlier than this) to take over first local school boards, municipalities, then state government positions. This is no conspiracy theory. It has been well documented. They stopped calling their candidates members of the Christian Coalition in the 90s when they saw it wasn’t getting them the votes/elected and began blending into the republican party otherwise unlabeled espousing “family values” and bringing god to the public square. During the mid 90s, their stated goals and campaigns were discussed on the History Channel documentaries as well as on programs like the hate-filled 700 Club, and during televised meetings of the Second Baptist Convention so as stated, it’s not just a conspiracy theory you can dismiss, and as you now can see they have permeated not just school boards and state politics, but our federal government as well. This is funded heavily via tax-exempt dollars and “donations” which flow via a space satellite which they finally got approved to launch under Colin Powell’s son’s tenure during BushBaby’s years, and which currently broadcasts their religion (and solicits donations) to over half the world. And of course, the LGBT issue of legal marriage really brought the religious zealots out of the woodwork. Also, tragedies like 9/11 seem to galvanize the religionaughts.


I read an academic paper meant to inform policy about deradicalising fundamentalist beliefs. Of course it was focussed on Islam but included concerns regarding people from West Africa entrenched in beliefs about witch craft etc, in addition to focussing on potential risks from so called, pro-life groups etc. Basically the UK and Western EU are focussed on 'defundamentalising' (is that even a word) all religious groups. It struck me that this wouldn't even be constitutional (if I understand correctly). We have happily made laws restricting religious freedom throughout history (especially if they were going to ban mince pies!)Just recently a town in UK has banned pro-life protests...well done I say. Maybe people need to be given the excuse to not think religiously?

Yes, the fundies here in the US always seem to hate hearing that I have just as much a right to be free of religion as they have to exercise it!


Not a real historian, but I think it has to do with the number of religious wars fought in Europe. The Balkans are still the Balkans, Europe has faced it's demons, whether Ireland, Britain, France, Germany, Spain ... I get the sense there is some anti-semitism (please, someon correct me on anything I have wrong) and new immigrants. I don't get the anti-semitism, but the immigration fear probably is more economic than anything.

Write Comment
You can include a link to this post in your posts and comments by including the text q:61504
Agnostic does not evaluate or guarantee the accuracy of any content. Read full disclaimer.