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Religion used to be a very important component in an Americans life Protestantism was as American as Mom and apple pie Families would don their Sunday best and go to church early on Sunday mornings However this situation has changed quite a bit After reviewing the 1994 statistics I gathered from the Micase system and comparing them to the statistics received in class I discovered a trend away from traditional religious beliefs and practices and one toward atheism or alternative religious beliefs After a resurgence in the 1970s and early 1980s the Roman Catholic church began experiencing a slow yet steady decline in membership As membership in the more orthodox Roman Catholic church decreased membership in Protestant churches increased In recent years the Catholic Church has become politically active and more vociferous concerning its views on moral issues such as war abortion and euthanasia It is my feeling that many Catholics are searching for sects that will allow them to retain their faith in Christ without a central body ie the Vatican speaking on behalf of them on issues that they are capable of rationalizing for themselves Among Catholics and Protestants there is a trend toward less rigid attendance of religious services If we examine the figures from Stark and Glocks 1968 survey 54 of Americans surveyed at the time attended church more often than once a month This figure shrank to 407 in the 1994 survey Though the Catholic church insists on weekly attendance of church weekly attendance dropped from 52 in 1978 to 49 in 1986 Then attendance plummeted with only 283 of Catholics surveyed in 1994 claiming to have attended church in the last seven days Even among those who remain with the traditional Christian sects attendance is diminishing Christianity used to be an integral part of most family and community customs and traditions in America It seems that as Americans lives become more complex less time is available for formal religious
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