America Keeps Its Faith

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America Keeps Its Faith

The United States is home to most of the world's leading multinational corporations and enjoys the highest per capita GDP of any larger nation. It also rates higher in terms of competitiveness than other large nations, and has remained the lone global
superpower for at least the past 20 years.

But, even more significantly, Americans report a higher level of happiness than the residents of any other large nation.

Why is this true? The United States' economic dominance has been driven by many factors, including unparalleled natural resources, the ability to attract the best and the brightest in almost every discipline, and the use of superior management practices. Meanwhile, its geo-political strength comes largely from a combination of favorable geography and its economic success.

However, new studies strongly support the notion that America's unique culture, which continues to rely upon traditional Christian and Jewish values, enables us to make the most of those other resources. In short, this distinctive heritage provides a unique competitive advantage because of its measurable contribution to various aspects of a productive society, including public health, the rule of law, and high levels of resilience.

It's particularly notable that a far higher percentage of Americans believe in God than do the citizens of other nations with large, sophisticated economies. According to a study by sociologists Michael Hout and Claude Fischer of the University of California at Berkeley, the percent of Americans who say they "believe in God" is 93 percent.1

By comparison, researchers Pippa Norris and Ronald Inglehart found much lower percentages of people who believe in God in the following European countries:2

  • 72 percent in Finland
  • 69 percent in Norway
  • 69 percent in Germany
  • 61 percent in Britain
  • 58 percent in the Netherlands
  • 58 percent in Belgium
  • 56 percent in France
  • 52 percent in Denmark
  • 46 percent in Sweden
  • 39 percent in the Czech Republic

The vast majority of American believers place their faith in the Judeo-Christian God, though significant minorities believe in others.

Even among those who don't regularly attend services, a very large proportion of these people treat their faith as an integral part of their lives. Scott Schieman, a sociology professor at the University of Toronto, reported the following research findings about Americans in the journal Sociology of
Religion
.3

  • 82 percent say they depend on God for help and guidance in making decisions...

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