The United States has always been a fertile ground for the development of new religious movements. In the United States border was enough space for the establishment of a new church or community. For example, the ancestors of the Amish, a group of Protestant, strictly carrying out all the prescriptions of religion, who live in rural areas and despise modern life, came to America from Germany in the 18th century, fleeing from persecution.
In the 18th and 19th centuries in America, there have been many religious communities and carried out experiments on the implementation of certain social utopias - new forms of social life. Most of them were not destined to last long. While some thrived for a time, and some communities continue to exist to this day. So Americans living in the 20th century and want to be tempted to leave the company and "start living commune", followed by the old American tradition.
Small sects and 'cults' really have in common. Often they think the whole society is hopelessly rotten. Typical of a ban on the consumption of alcoholic beverages, tobacco and caffeine. Sometimes the basic tenets of the group or its doctrine are unusual predictions of the future - predicting doomsday, or the birth of a new era. Often, the founder of the group becomes a person with great charisma, dynamic, claiming that it is available, and the revelation that she had a special relationship with God. Some teams did not manage to get a large number of followers. The number of members of other groups are reduced or even cease to exist when the founder dies or his prediction come true. At the same time, the number of other religious groups grow, they thrive and eventually acquire the status of solid and "respectable" faiths.
Some groups, such as the Amish of Pennsylvania, just want to be left alone and given to live in their rural communities. But do not let them send their children to school so that they do not "spoil" the modern society there?
Other religious groups prefer modern medicine, faith healing, or oppose certain treatments. How should society do if a member of Jehovah's Witnesses refuse blood transfusions yourself or your child?
The courts of the United States often have to solve such problems. Usually they are resolved in accordance with the principle laid down by the Supreme Court, which at one time held that the Mormons, a large and wealthy Christian sect that settled in Utah, may have only one wife. The person in America can believe in everything that he wants, but he has no right to do whatever he wants, even if his actions are based on his beliefs. Issues of this nature usually do not cause major disputes, because they do not reflect the fundamental differences that exist in American society. Mormons, for example, continues to thrive and is one of the fastest growing religious groups in the United States.
However, other issues reflect the conflicts that persist in American life. So many Catholics were shocked when the Supreme Court in 1973 legalized abortion. Protested against this decision, many Protestants, Evangelicals and Orthodox Jews. At the same time, liberal Protestant and Jewish clergy sided with the unbelievers, and insisted that the right to an abortion belongs to the fundamental human rights in a pluralistic and diverse in terms of religion, society.
In the life of today's American public religious prejudices are relatively rare. Often held interfaith meetings and discussions. The creation of the new harmonious relations between members of three faiths made Vatican II Catholic Church, held in 1962. This council has made changes to many church rules, including the onerous restrictions on inter-religious marriages. Catholics are now much freer to participate in a mixed church services than was the case before the council.
The number of followers of other world religions and their influence in America continues to grow. In the U.S. there are more than two million Muslims. Some of them are immigrants or children of immigrants, while others - Americans born in the United States, including a large community of Americans, Blacks, who converted to Islam.
Buddhism also spread across the country. The recent wave of immigration from Asia has led to an increase in the number of Buddhists in America, to several hundred thousand people, although the exact figure can not call anybody. In recent years, young Americans began to show great interest in these and other religions and philosophical teachings of the East. Catholic monk and writer Thomas Merton (1915-1968) in the last years of his life was deeply interested in Buddhism.
American pastors as dissimilar as their flock. Among them are beginning to appear more and more women. The Protestant Episcopal Church has now begun to ordain women to the priesthood, even though all the priests of the Catholic Church is still a man. Two women are now ruling bishops, or bishops of United Methodist Church. In communities of Jewish reformers, women also can be rabbis. The monks, contemplate, for example, Trappist, spend their lives in prayer and work in the spirit of monastic traditions of the Middle Ages. Catholic nuns teach and manage large hospitals. Chaplains of all faiths visit patients in hospitals and nursing homes.
It is assumed that pastors should be actively involved in worldly affairs of their communities. Often they have special psychological training and advice to those who have personal problems. They preach to the faithful in the chapels with whitewashed walls and a huge city councils, in modern synagogues and even in churches, where to participate in the service of people enter the machines. The television audience of some evangelical preachers are up to several million.
How did the Americans, representing so many different religions can live together under the same laws, and to strive for common goals? Most Americans are actually proud of their country's religious diversity and view it as a natural result of religious freedom. On solemn occasions they emphasize the ideas shared by the majority of believers - faith in God and the need to maintain a good and respectable life.
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The United States has always been a fertile ground for the development of new religious movements. In the United States border was enough space for the establishment of a new church or community. For example, the ancestors of the Amish, a group of Protestant, strictly carrying out all the prescriptions of religion...