In contrast, Christianity is America’s largest religion by far. Divided into countless subsets, with the largest schism between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism, it revolves around the acceptance of Jesus Christ as one’s ultimate savior. This is because Christ, who was indisputably a Jewish social reformer from Nazareth, is perceived as the God of Abraham’s son. Christianity eventually enveloped the entire European continent due to aggressive evangelization tactics and political posturing. Colonialism, in turn, brought it to every continent across the globe, which is why it now is the planet’s most populous religion. In America, it has touched all conceivable aspects of society; from business strategies to medical care. There can truly be no underestimating its influence here.
In terms of worldwide adherence, Islam is at Christianity’s gate. Though it comprises only a small minority of Americans, it is growing steadily. Formed by Muhammad, an Arab prophet, in present day Saudi Arabia, it succeeds Christianity to become the youngest Abrahamic religion. Muslims are required to submit their lives to Allah, and this act is rewarded by passing on to a utopian setting after death. Five Pillars of conduct must be consistently obeyed: Faith, Prayer, Alms, Pilgrimage, and Fasting. Islam has reached a wide audience in a manner similar to Christianity; it has spread through a combination of missionary work and political control. In America, strategies for bringing the religion to prisoners and the downtrodden have proven stunningly successful. Only the future can tell exactly what influence it will have on society.
Despite having a small membership and relatively short existence, the Baha’i Faith is ripe with history. Launched in Iran in 1863, it has a monotheistic foundation and interestingly syncretic nature. Believing that humanity is essentially of a positive orientation, it focuses on delivering one’s soul to God through a regimen of prayer, self control, and social responsibility. The American Baha’i community is particularly strong in the Chicago metropolitan area, where its House of Worship for the whole of North America is located.
Another modern religion is the New Age Movement. Becoming immensely popular during the 1970s, it professes that humans can reach a higher form of consciousness through spiritual development and experience reincarnation after death. Evil is manifested not in an otherworldly demon, rather common ignorance. New Age’s focus on positive theology has endeared it to several million Americans, and it shows no signs of decreasing its appeal.