Texas Faith: The future of religion in America

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Interfaith friendships are on rise, and so are interfaith marriages. In an informal survey, nearly 35% of Muslims and Hindus marry outsides their faiths. The Pew religious landscape pegs it at 31% for the Jewish community, and the General Social Survey points it to 25 percent for the whole nation. Hence, affiliations with universal places of worship to accommodate their special needs are on rise – continued http://theghousediary.blogspot.com/2013/01/texas-faith-future-of-religion-in.html


TEXAS FAITH: The future of religion in America
Published by Dallas Morning News on 12/31/12

Texas Faith is a weekly column at Dallas Morning News moderated by Bill McKenzie and Wayne Slater. At least ten panelists contribute each week including Mike Ghouse,

For all the responses, please visit – http://religionblog.dallasnews.com/2012/12/texas-faith-the-future-of-religion-in-america.html/


Frank Newport, Gallup’s editor-in-chief, has written a new book, God is Alive and Well: The Future of Religion in America. One of his main conclusions deals with the communal aspect of religion. Here’s what the public opinion analyst writes about the data his organization has collected:


“The religion of tomorrow may increasingly emphasize informal aspects of community and less hierarchy. Growth will come to branded churches to the extent that they emulate nondenominational approaches and highlight community, togetherness, and social fabric ties. Religious leaders will recognize that the social lives of today’s potential parishioners are more and more involved with ad hoc groupings, informal networking, and interaction with those who share affinities. Americans will increasingly recognize that the social and community aspects of religion are very valuable.”


Here, then, is the question for discussion:


How do you see the future for religion in America, especially the communal aspect? If Newport is right, how do you see your tradition adapting to the religion of tomorrow?


MIKE GHOUSE, President, Foundation for Pluralism, Dallas


Frank Newport has captured the essence of tomorrow’s communal aspect of America very well. Indeed, there is a parallel experience at Facebook, the center of our new universe, where we function in a similar pattern in a different social setting.


The message of Pluralism and inclusiveness in both religion and politics has delivered over 10,000 Facebook friends to me, and the number is still growing with subscribers. While at the same time, Facebook has made it easier for one to create his or her own group to cater to fulfill his or her narrow interests as well, thus there is an explosive growth and formation of innumerable ad hoc groups.


I see the awakening of liberties in each individual to run from exclusive theological teachings and move towards inclusive non-denominational churches.


There is rarely a school, workplace, playground or social settings in urban areas where one is not exposed, and is not connected with people of different faiths and cultures. Indeed, it is comfortable to be a part of a congregation where such values are embraced to fulfill of our communal needs. Indeed, we are built to live in harmony with others and are drawn towards inclusiveness.


Interfaith friendships are on rise, and so are interfaith marriages. In an informal survey, nearly 35% of Muslims and Hindus marry outsides their faiths. The Pew religious landscape pegs it at 31% for the Jewish community, and the General Social Survey points it to 25 percent for the whole nation.


Religion is a part of 85% of Americans. Nearly a 1/3rd of all Americans are marrying outside their faith. Hence, affiliations with universal places of worship to accommodate their special needs are on rise.


There is also the pleasure principle at work, where we are drawn toward our comfort zone for our individual needs. Ad hoc groupings are also increasing to share affinities within religion, social networking, music, politics, cuisines, hobbies, humor, poetry, gun control etc. And Facebook has become instrumental in the formation of smaller self-interest groups.


The shift is toward connecting a piece of an individual with a similar piece of the other. instead of the whole that may come with pain from conflict.


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Mike Ghouse is a
speaker, thinker and a writer on pluralism, politics, peace, Islam, Israel, India, interfaith, and cohesion at work place and standing up for others as an activist. He is committed to building a Cohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day at www.TheGhousediary.com. Mike has a presence on national and local TV, Radio and Print Media. He is a frequent guest on Sean Hannity show on Fox TV, and a commentator on national radio networks, he contributes weekly to the Texas Faith Column at Dallas Morning News, fortnightly at Huffington post, and several other periodicals across the world. His personal site www.MikeGhouse.net indexes everything you want to know about him.
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