The Practice of Religion in the Americas Before the Civil War
The Revolution split some denominations, notably the Church of England, whose ministers were bound by oath to support the King, and the Quakers, who were traditionally pacifists. Religious practice suffered in certain places because of the absence of ministers and the destruction of churches, but in other areas, religion flourished. The Revolution strengthened millennialist strains in American theology. At the beginning of the war some ministers were persuaded that, with God's help, America might become "the principal Seat of the glorious Kingdom which Christ shall erect upon Earth in the latter Days." Victory over the British was taken as a sign of God's partiality for America and stimulated an outpouring of millennialist expectations--the conviction that Christ would rule on earth for 1,000 years. This attitude combined with a groundswell of secular optimism about the future of America to create the buoyant mood of the new nation that became so evident after Jefferson assumed the presidency in 1801.
The process of shaping the behavior of youths in America should start from their early childhood. It should, therefore, be introduced in primary schools and kindergartens. Parents are advised to make sure that their children comprehend the importance of religion and its impact on their life. This is because research has shown that religious teenagers are unlikely to engage in behaviors that are health-compromising such as smoking, drugs and committing suicide in a bid to avoid stress and hopelessness. Religion helps in guiding them on how to avoid all these during their adolescence stage where there are a lot of temptations (Smith 17). Religion and health are believed to be related. The relationship between the two is accelerated by research programs conducted by researchers. It has been found out that religion can influence the outcomes of physical or mental health of individuals. African Americans from the rural south have strong faith in religion and are not easy to influence to change to nonreligious persons. In addition, it alters the religious affiliation such as joining other religious movements by changing the social ties of individuals. Emphasis should be on spreading the religious beliefs to all regions in America (Sherkat and Ellison 368).
Randall Miller, Harry S. Stout and Charles Reagan Wilson, eds., Religion and the American Civil War (1998) provides an excellent collection of essays illuminating many facets of the subject.
Ellison, Christopher and Levin Jeffry. “The religion-health connection: Evidence, theory, and future directions.” Health Education and Behavior, 25.1 (1998):700-720. Print.
Hout, Michael and Claude Fischer. “Why more Americans have no religious preference: Politics and generations”, American Sociological Review, 67.1 (2002): 165-190. Print.
Sherkat, Darren and Ellison Christopher. “Recent Developments and current Controversies in the Sociology of Religion.” Annual Review of Sociology, 25.1 (1999):363-394. Print.
Smith, Christian. “Theorizing Religious Effects among American Adolescents.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 42.1 (2003): 17–30. Print.
Woodhead, Linda. Religion and Personal Life: Debating Ethics and Faith with Leading Thinkers and Public Figures. London: Darton Longman & Todd Ltd, 2003. Print.