Category: Freedom of Religion

What religion are you? 

A look at your own beliefs may surprise you

I’ve always considered myself in the broad category of being non-religious. I was raised in what one would call a fairweather Christian family-only visiting church for weddings, deaths, Easter or when visiting the much more Christian grandparents on a Sunday. Throughout my formative years, I sought elightenment through newly discovered religions, meditation, and even the mind-enhancing effects of substances like beer. My journey educated me to the philisophical ways of many religions, but none appealed to me. I have come to believe in my own ways, my own ideas about the world, my own supreme being, if one exists.

When I found a web site that determines what religion best fits my own personal philosophy of the world, I was intrigued. How could it hurt? My own personal belief system wouldn’t send me to hell for questioning the all-powerful Oz. Would it? It was worth a try. So I went towww.speakout.com/ActivismTools/selectors/religion/ and took their quiz.

Expecting to be told I was a devout agnostic, I was surprised to discover my beliefs had something else in store for me. Religions and beliefs I had little experience with.

The site recommended I become (in order of importance) a Theravada Buddhist, Unitarian Universalist, Neo-Pagan, Humanist, Mahayana Buddhist, Liberal Quaker, New Age practitioner, Taoist, Atheist/Agnostic or an Orthodox Quaker. One it didn’t recommend that I think I’ll continue being a follower of is a beer in one hand and a fishing pole in the other.

-Bingo Barnes

The World’s top 10 Religions

Christianity33%

Islam20%

Non-religious15%

Hinduism13%

Buddhism6%

Athiests4%

Chinese Folk Religions4%

New Asian Religions2%

Tribal, Animism2%

Source: U.S. Center for World Mission

The top 10 religions in the U.S.

Christianity76.5%

Nonreligious/Secular13.2%

Judaism1.3%

Islam.05%

Buddhism.05%

Agnostic.05%

Atheist.04%

Hinduism.04%

Unitarian Universalist.03%

Wiccan/Pagan/Druid.01%

Spiritualist<.01%

American Religious Identification Survey, 2001 study.

Top 10 Christian

denominations in U.S.

Catholic24.5%

Baptist16.3%

Methodist/Wesleyan6.8%

Lutheran4.6%

Presbyterian2.7%

Pentecostal/Charismatic2.1%

Episcopalian/Anglican1.7%

Latter-day Saints/Mormon1.3%

Churches of Christ1.2%

Congregational/

United Church of Christ0.7%

American Religious Identification Survey, 2001 study.

Idaho’s Religious Makeup

Protestant39%

(Methodist6%)

(Lutheran4%)

(Baptists4%)

LDS30%

Non-Religious*13%

Roman Catholic12%

Other Christian2%

Other Religions1%

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Freedom of Religion 

If it seems there is a confluence of religious celebrations this time of year, that’s because there is. Spring is the season of rebirth and many religions have ceremonies, rituals and holidays associated with it. Christians celebrate a series of days surrounding the death of Jesus and his subsequent resurrection. Jews celebrate Passover, an eight-day celebration honoring their exodus from Egypt. Pagans and Wiccans celebrate the spring equinox and the rebirth of nature.

While 85 percent of North Americans claim to practice Christianity, the religion represents only 34 percent of the world’s population. The First Amendment of the United States Constitution protects every American’s right to worship the diety of their choice, even if that choice is no diety at all. Yet we still are witness to prejudice and discrimination toward those who hold different beliefs than our own. In an effort to bring awareness of some of the diversity even in our own homogenous Christian community, we bring you a look into a variety of different area religions. While the following religions represent some of those present in our community, they do not represent all. We have not written about pagans, Wicca, Eckankar, Zoroastarianism, Scientology, Baha’i, Confucianism, Islam, Jainism, Taoism, Shamanism, Shinto, native or tribal religions, or Sikhs although all may have practitioners residing in Southern Idaho. Our hope is that by becoming more aware of the practices and problems of those living among us, you will embrace tolerance for our neighbors.