Topics Beliefs & Practices

Other Beliefs & Practices

Religion informs a wide variety of beliefs, ranging from views on morality to ideas about life after death to faith in miracles and the supernatural. Religious practices such as speaking in tongues or reading Scripture also can be important components of religious experience.


Growth of the Nonreligious
 About half of Americans say the growing number of “people who are not religious” is bad for American society. But a similar share say either that this trend is good or that it does not make much difference, according to a new survey by the Pew Research Center.   
Applying God’s Law: Religious Courts and Mediation in the U.S.
Across the U.S., religious courts operate on a routine, everyday basis. How do some of the country's major Christian traditions and other religions - including Islam, Judaism, Buddhism and Hinduism - decide internal matters and apply their religious laws?
During Benedict’s Papacy, Religious Observance Among Catholics in Europe Remained Low but Stable
When Benedict XVI was elected pope in 2005, religious observance among Europeans had been in decline for decades, and he set out to stem the tide of secularization. How successful was he? Pew Research polls indicate that during his papacy, religious observance among Catholics in France, Germany, Spain and Italy remained low but fairly stable.
The Contraception Mandate and Religious Liberty
On Feb. 1, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released new rules for how the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act's contraception mandate applies to religious nonprofits, including houses of worship, schools and hospitals. Church-state law scholars Ira C. Lupu and Robert Tuttle explain the new rules and the legal arguments that religious groups might make.
Asian Americans: A Mosaic of Faiths
When it comes to religion, the Asian-American community is a study in contrasts, encompassing groups that run the gamut from highly religious to highly secular. A new survey report examines the Asian-American population from the angle of religious affiliation, highlighting the beliefs, practices and views of Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, the religiously unaffiliated and other faiths. 
Public Divided Over Birth Control Insurance Mandate
Americans who have heard about the federal rule that would require employers to provide birth control as part of their health care benefits are closely divided over whether religiously affiliated institutions should be given an exemption. Sharp divisions of opinion exist on the issue by religious affiliation, party and ideology.
U.S. Religious Knowledge Survey
The Pew Forum’s religious knowledge survey included 32 questions about various aspects of religion: the Bible, Christianity, Judaism, Mormonism, world religions, religion in public life, and atheism and agnosticism. The average respondent answered 16 of the 32 religious knowledge questions correctly.
In Brief: Christian Legal Society v. Martinez
On April 19, 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Christian Legal Society v. Martinez, a case that will determine whether a public institution can refuse to officially recognize a religiously based organization that prevents those who do not share its religious and moral values from becoming voting members.
Religion Among the Millennials
By some key measures, Americans ages 18 to 29 are considerably less religious than older Americans. Yet in other ways, Millennials remain fairly traditional in their religious beliefs and practices.
Little Support for Terrorism Among Muslim Americans
Recent events such as the Fort Hood shootings and the arrest of five Muslim American students in Pakistan have raised questions about the threat of homegrown terrorism in the U.S.  
Many Americans Mix Multiple Faiths
The religious beliefs and practices of Americans do not fit neatly into conventional categories. A new poll by the Pew Forum finds that large numbers of Americans engage in multiple religious practices, mixing elements of diverse traditions.
Sikh-Americans and Religious Liberty
With their distinctive appearance and religious practices, Sikh-Americans often find themselves at the center of workplace discrimination cases and other controversies involving their religious rights. To better understand religious liberty and accommodation issues involving Sikh-Americans, the Pew Forum turns to church-state scholar Robert W. Tuttle.
The "Zeal of the Convert": Is It the Real Deal?
A recent Pew Forum analysis finds that people who have switched faiths (or joined a faith after being raised unaffiliated with a religion) are indeed slightly more religious than those who have remained in their childhood faith.
Faith Healing and the Law
To explore the legal issues that courts must consider in cases involving parents' use of faith healing, the Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion & Public Life turns to church-state scholar Robert W. Tuttle.
A Portrait of Mormons in the U.S.
This report, based on data from the U.S. Religious Landscape Survey, explores Mormons' unique place in the American religious landscape and is divided into three parts: demographic characteristics, religious beliefs and practices, and social and political views.
A Religious Portrait of African-Americans
While the U.S. is generally considered a highly religious nation, African-Americans are markedly more religious on a variety of measures than the U.S. population as a whole, including level of affiliation with a religion, attendance at religious services, frequency of prayer and religion's importance in life.
African-Americans and Religion
A new analysis by the Pew Forum finds that African-Americans are markedly more religious on a variety of measures than the U.S. population as a whole.
Many Americans Say Other Faiths Can Lead to Eternal Life
A majority of all American Christians (52%) think that at least some non-Christian faiths can lead to eternal life. Indeed, among Christians who believe many religions can lead to eternal life, 80% name at least one non-Christian faith that can do so.
Being Good for Goodness' Sake?
A 2007 survey by the Pew Research Center's Global Attitudes Project found that a majority of Americans say it is necessary to believe in God in order to be moral and have good values.
The Importance of Pilgrimage to Muslim Americans
The Pew Research Center's 2007 Muslim American survey found that nearly two-thirds of U.S. Muslims say that taking a pilgrimage to Mecca is very important to them.
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