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Changing FaithThe Dynamics and Consequences of Americans' Shifting Religious Identities$
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Darren E. Sherkat

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780814741269

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814741269.001.0001

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Belonging and Believing

Belonging and Believing

(p.90) 3 Belonging and Believing
Changing Faith

Darren E. Sherkat

NYU Press

This chapter examines how religious identifications structure religious beliefs and religious belonging. It first considers several important features of religious belief and belonging and how religious beliefs are influenced by identifications with religious denominations and their contours and dynamics, and whether such influences are shifting across generations. It then explores how ethnicity channels both beliefs and commitments and reshapes the contours of American religion. It also addresses the popular notion which contends that Americans are increasingly “believers who don't belong.” More specifically, it discusses the phenomenon of believing without belonging, the tendency to belong while not believing, and the growing trend of not believing and not belonging. The chapter shows that religious identities play an important role in structuring religious belonging and religious beliefs and that religious beliefs and social influences on religious participation vary substantially across ethnic groups.

Keywords:   religious identification, religious beliefs, religious belonging, ethnicity, religion, religious denominations, religious participation, ethnic groups, religious identities

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