Is being a Christian essential if a person truly wants to be considered an American? The Pew Research Center posed that question in a recent survey, with 32 percent of Americans agreeing that Christianity is essential to national identity.
And the U.S. wasn’t the only place where that intriguing question was asked, with the highest proportion of Greek residents — 54 percent — seeing Christianity as being essential to national identity, and the lowest proportion — 7 percent — of Swedish residents feeling the same about the faith’s importance to identity in their own country.
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But let’s focus in on the U.S. a bit more, where the proportions become even more complex as you dig deeper into the numbers. While 32 percent said that Christianity is important to a person being considered “truly American,” an additional 31 percent said it is “not important at all” to national identity.
And, as Pew noted in a recent report, those who said faith is very important to their lives are much more likely — 51 percent of them, in fact — to see a tie between Christianity and national identity.
More specifically, though, there’s a divide among denominations and, thus, theological worldview.
“A majority (57 percent) of white evangelical Protestants say it is very important to be Christian to be a true American,” the Pew report read. “Just 29 percent of white mainline Protestants and 27 percent of Catholics agree.”
The text continued, “Only 9 percent of people who are unaffiliated with an organized religion said it is very important for a person to be Christian in order to be truly American.”
Those aren’t the only differences worth noting, though, as gender and age also played a role in determination just how connected Christianity is to national identity. In fact, women (36 percent) were more likely than men (27 percent) to feel that Christianity is important to national identity.
Likewise, 44 percent of Americans aged 50 and older agreed, with just 18 percent of those under 35 taking the same view.
You can read the entire report here to see where people stand in other countries as well.
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