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In American Evangelicalism Christian Smith answers the question of what it means to have a strong religious faith Smith claims that strength is conceptualized and measured on the self-definition values and purpose of the group in question He categorizes religious strength into six distinct dimensions which are adherence to beliefs salience of faith robustness of faith group participation commitment to mission and retention and recruitment of members He states that any American Christian faith tradition is strong when its members 1 faithfully adhere to essential Christian religious beliefs 2 consider their faith a highly salient aspect of their lives 3 reflect great confidence and assurance in their religious beliefs 4 participate regularly in a variety of church activities and programs 5 are committed in both belief and action to accomplishing the mission of the church and 6 sustain high rates of membership retention by maintaining members association with the tradition over long periods of time Smith 21 Through his national survey and hundreds of personal interviews with distinct religious groups Evangelicals Fundamentalists Mainline Liberal and Other he is able to display the results of each groups sense of practices and beliefs which he combines to show strength of religious affiliation These results allowed him to come up with the subcultural identity theory of religious strength Basically his theory explains the reasons for the thriving of the evangelical group He believes their religious strength is based on their engagement in the direct struggle with pluralistic modernity and not on its protected isolation Although I agree with Smiths theory I wanted to simply test if any other factors would contribute to strength of or lack of affiliation to each respective religious group For my research I choose to control for ones educational level and location and test if both play on the six dimensions of religious faith By looking at ones educational level I cross examined it with ones affiliation with his or her respective religious group
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