Religion's Impact on our society

How it shaped who we are today. By Lily Herreid

What's the deal with religion?

An invisible force within everyone's head controls our actions, thoughts, and opinions, not quite mind control, but religion. Within the states, religion plays a big role, where you live, what you do, if you own slaves or not. Religion means a lot to the people living here, it always has. Whatever you do believe in, religion has played a large role in shaping the United States, even in the 1800s.

When we first came over to the new lands, many people were in search of religious freedom. They had been held back in their old homes and here it was promised to be free and safe for all. It still is for the most part, although there are a few questionable things. Freedom is promised to all the come over, and it is for the most part. Of course, unless you're Native American, African American, Jews, or one of the others on the list of those who do not count for the promised freedoms. Many religions were discriminated against despite what we were all told of freedom.

Right on the other side of this, if you were like one of the accepted religions you would grow stronger or even form you own religion. It was believed that a utopian society could be reached if everyone believed enough. The Quakers got just that. A group of calm people with many rules and guidelines such as: no marriage, no children, very simple lifestyle, and a heavily spiritual church service. They were able to use their religious freedom to achieve their goals. This further proves that religion could really shape our lives.

Another darker part of religion in the states was what it led people to do. People hide behind their religion in order to justify certain things. We can see large examples in this with slave owners. They hide behind bibles saying that this is okay to do to slaves because they are religious. Religion will justify these wrongdoings which led to the treating of other people to get worse and worse. Slaves suffer greatly because of this treatment and it all is okay to these owners, they see no fault. Religion led to the horrible treatment of slaves and others, yet also it helped lead to them all getting freed.

If you are a child in this time, there are accounts of them being confused. As children, unless raised very strictly they often don't see religion as adults do yet. Children may not know the difference between race or even Christianity and Judaism. All they know is that some children they can play with and others they cannot. That is not how children should be taught. They should be taught that everyone is equal and it's okay to be different, but because of religion they are not taught that way. Some religions teach that some are better than others, therefore creating divides in some societies.

Church is a large part in many people's lives. People who attend the same church are often like a family, so they help each other out. Women are struggling with the men in their family who are going out and spending all the money they earn on drinks. They come home drunk and it's not a pleasant situation. Churches, some who already associate alcohol with the devil, started to help out. They began the temperance movement which was a campaign to help put a stop to the drinking. The churches and religion helped spread these ideas along, once again shaping how people think.

Some people may argue that religion didn’t affect the people of united states. Jamestown, one of the most successful towns, was founded for economic reasons. People tried to keep the government and religion separate. There may be the argument that if it really shaped the states so much, then it would have been in the government. But that is what we came here to get away from. We saw that religion could help our daily lives but we should avoid getting it involved in our laws.

Religion made huge impacts in society and changed the way we think. Religious freedom decided the social classes and who did what. It helped make utopian societies and it gave people more choice in their lives. It provided protection for those who choose to do things others don't agree with, such as owning slaves. It also helped people stand by one another during the temperance movement. This silent, but not necessarily deadly, force is here to stay.