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The Word ‘Religion’ Has Fallen From Grace With Many Americans

The Word ‘Religion’ Has Fallen From Grace With Many Americans July 24, 2013
Religion is in trouble in the United States. The word, that is.
Sociologists say that we are increasingly divided over religion’s place in public life but that when it comes to language, Americans are moving in one direction: toward a new vernacular.
We’re no longer “religious.” We’re “holy.” We’re “faithful.” We’re “spiritual.” We talk about what “the gospel compels us to do” or “gospel living.” Or “sabbatical living” and “God-oriented behavior.”
This is true across the ideological range, but for different reasons.
On one side of the spectrum are people such as prominent liberal scholar Diana Butler Bass, author of last year’s “Christianity After Religion,” who says the word “religion” is laden with negative, hurtful and political baggage. The 20 percent of Americans who now call themselves unaffiliated with any religious group see religion as much too focused on rules.
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