Religions of America

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Religions of America: Ferment and Faith in An Age of Crisis, edited by Leo Rosten.

The edition copywritten in 1975 is presented in two parts:

  • Part I: Religious Beliefs and Credos
    • The editor provided representatives from the 16 largest denominations in the United States who are joined by agnostics, scientists, and the "Unchurched"
  • Part II: Almanac
    • Statistics, public opinion polls, basic documents, sociological résumés, and psychological analyses of the role, conflicts, influence and trends which characterize US religion along with material from the editor himself.

The book has been released in various editions since the 1950s; first copyright is 1952. The reader is able to learn directly from key leaders of various religious groups what is and is not a part of their faith. The questions cover a broad-spectrum of faith and include such touchstone issues as the religions views on abortion, divorce, ecumenism, homosexuality, ordination of women as ministers, and views of race.

Part I: Religious Beliefs and Credos

"I cheerfully admit to bluntness in my queries: about God, the Bible, sin, salvation, heaven, hell, divorce, the status of women, and the status of black people, birth control, abortion, homosexuality, life after death, new 'charismatic' movements, the defection of priests and nuns, attitudes toward other faiths, and so on." Leo Rosten

The following are the denominations or belief systems covered, the person responding as a representative of the faith, and some questions asked:

  • What Is a Baptist? by William B. Lipphard and Frank A. Sharp
    • Why don't Baptists baptize infants?
    • How do Baptists propagate their faith?
  • What Is a Catholic? by Donald W. Hendricks
    • What was the Second Vatican Council?
    • What is the real meaning of Mass?
  • What Is a Christian Scientist? by J. Buroughs Stokes
    • What is the basic premise of Christian Science?
    • What is a Christian Science Practitioner?
  • Who Are the Disciples of Christ (Christian Church)? by James E. Craig and Robert L. Friedly
    • Is the Church related to the "Churches of Christ"?
    • Do you believe in the "priesthood of the laity"?
  • What Is an Episcopalian? by W. Norman Pittenger
    • What is the Episcopalian attitude toward Roman Catholicism?
    • What are the basic beliefs of Episcopalianism?
  • What Is a Greek Orthodox? by Arthur Douropulos
    • Is the Greek Orthodox Church the same as the Eastern Orthodox Church?
    • What are the sacraments or "mysteria" recognized by the Orthodox Church?
  • What Is a Jehovah's Witnesses? by Milton G. Henschel
    • Where did the name come from?
    • What will become of the billions of people who have lived on the earth?
  • What Is a Jew? by Morris N. Kertzer
    • Exactly what is a Rabbi and what does he do?
    • What are the "kosher" laws?
  • What Is a Lutheran? by G. Elson Ruff and Albert P. Stauderman
    • Do Lutherans worship any sins?
    • How do Lutheran sacraments differ from Roman Catholic sacraments?
  • What Is a Methodist? by Ralph W. Sockman and Paul A. Washburn
    • How do Methodists regard the Bible?
    • Do Methodists believe in heaven and hell?
  • What Is a Mormon? by Richard L. Evans
  • What Is a Presbyterian? by John S. Bonnell
    • What is the basis of the Presbyterian Creed?
    • Do Presbyterians employ the confessional?
  • What Is a Quaker? by Richmond P. Miller and R.W. Tucker
    • What does "Quaker" mean?
    • Do Quakers have a formal creed?
  • What Is a Seventh-Day Adventist? by Arthur S. Maxwell
    • What do Adventists believe about Christ's return?
    • What makes Adventists think Christ is coming soon?
  • The "Unchurched" Americans": What Do They Believe? by Edward L. Ericson
  • What Is a Unitarian Universalist? by Karl M. Chworowsky and Christopher Gist Raible
    • How do Unitarian Universalists regard the Bible?
    • How do Unitarian Universalists view the virgin birth? the resurrection?
  • What Is the United Church of Christ? by The Church Office of Communication
    • What sacraments does the United Church of Christ recognize?
    • Who is the head of the United Church of Christ?
  • What Is an Agnostic? by Bertrand Russell
    • Are agnostics atheists?
    • Does an agnostic believe in a hereafter, in heaven or hell?
  • The Religion of a Scientist by Warren Weaver
    • No questions asked, an essay by Warren Weaver

Part II: Almanac

Note: Since book was published in 1975 the data contained would be reflective of dates prior to publication.

  • Abortion
  • "Activism": The Growth or Decline of Religious Groups Related to their Social Activism in the 1960s and 1970s
  • Affirmations of Religious Identity: Catholics, Jews, Protestants, Agnostics
  • Belief in God
  • Belief in Heaven, Hell, the Devil, Life after Death
  • The Bible
  • Bible Reading in the United States
  • Birth Control
  • Black Americans and the Churches
  • Catholics: Facts, Opinions, Trends, Ferment, and Schisms
  • Church Attendance in the United States
  • Church Membership: Seventy-Nine Denominations
  • The Clergy
  • Denominations and Their "Family" Groups
  • Divorce and Religion
  • Ecumenism: History, Hopes and Disappointments
  • Education in Religious Schools in the United States
  • Family Size and Planning: Polls and Statistics
  • Federal Aid to Education
  • Holy Days and Religious Observances: AlL Faiths
  • Homosexuality: The Churches and Psychiatry
  • Humanists: Manifesto II
  • Influence of Religion: Opinion Polls
  • Intermarriage-Statistics, Opinions, and Conversion Data: Catholics, Protestants, and Jews
  • Jews
  • Lutherans: Recent Crises
  • Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements
  • Politics and Religious Affiliation
  • Prayer in Public School
  • Prejudice and Religion
  • Religion in U.S. History
  • Youth and Religion


  • Religions of America: Ferment and Faith in Age of Crisis, edited by Leo Rosten (© 1975, Simon and Schuster)