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Religion in the United States

Class at Hussite Theological Faculty |


1.       Orientation. Roman Catholics, Protestants, Jews and Native Religion?

2.       Reformation Proliferation

3.       The Errand in the Wilderness

4.       The Faith of the Founding Fathers and the Plight of Puritanism

5.       Kant Changes Everything

6.       Liberalism and Fundamentalism. “Thou Shalt Not Make Unto Thee Any Graven Image”

7.       “Religious Egalitarianism”

8.       “The Babylonian Captivity of Traditional Religious Heritage”

9.       The Great Retreat. World War II and the Ecumenical Movement

10.   Seculosity. “Who’s In, Who’s Out?”

11.   End Times Stuff

12.   33,850 Denominations (Megachurches, Parachurches, and “Liquid” Church), the Modern Era of Immigration, and the Battle over the First Amendment.


Religion explores life’s most fundamental questions. Through a combination of purported revelatory means, reason, imagination, speculation, ceremony, ritual, signs, symbols, and artistic and architectural expressions, religion has addressed these foundational questions of human living in powerful, distinctive ways for nearly two thousand years … but not in a unified way or as a unified body. Idea about religion and cultural expression of those religious belief manifest a diverse landscape of values, practices and societal contributions.

This course is designed to provide the student with the framework and basic materials necessary to acquire a working (i.e., conversant) knowledge of the beliefs and practices that underlie the major developments in the theological, philosophical and socio-religious history of religion in the United States, from its Colonia days to the present.

Since this essentially is a survey course (covering four hundred years of history) our objective will be twofold. First, as a religion course our method will involve finding and identifying distinctive representatives and movements within the linear history of American religion and discussing worldviews, practices and consequent impact on the formation and persistence of American religiosity. Second, as a theology course we recognize that the religious positions and their manifestation in practice are embedded in doctrinal texts, momentous events, and philosophical contexts, inextricable to American culture and identity. Consequently, we will have to engage in some contextual and textual interpretation to determine (as best we can) just what the respective religious thinkers, denominations, and practitioners contributed to American society and culture.

The course is led by Dr. John Bombaro.