Spiritual Life

Am I free to practice my own religion while in the United States?

The Constitution of the United States guarantees all residents the right to worship as they please, and states that the government cannot establish a national religion or give support to any church or sect (religious group). As long as you don't break any laws, you may worship as you would normally, and you can usually find ethnic churches, synagogues, mosques, or temples for various religions in most large cities in the United States.

If the United States is a Christian nation, why is there so much crime, violence, and immorality?

The United States is not truly a "Christian nation." Although many citizens of the United States profess (say they believe in) Christianity, only some are sincere followers of Jesus Christ. Many Americans have turned away from the Christian principles on which this country was founded. Thus, there often is a difference between the morals and behavior of a typical American, and Christian beliefs about what is right and wrong.

Why are there so many kinds of Christian churches in the United States?

When the people of Europe originally came to the United States, they brought many different kinds of churches, called "denominations," and religions. For example, the Scottish brought the Presbyterian church; the Germans brought the Lutheran church; the Irish and Spanish brought the Catholic church; and so forth. Because the United States guarantees freedom of religion, these many different groups have grown.

Although all kinds of Christian churches exist, you will find that most Christians agree on most things, and often worship together with Christians from different denominations at special events or in small groups.

Are places of worship open to visitors?

You do not need to be a member to visit a church or synagogue. However, you may want to go with a friend who is a member of the church and who can explain the service to you. Campus organizations, such as Campus Crusade, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, Navigators, and International Students, Inc., have Bible study groups in which students are invited to participate. The informal nature of these groups may make them more comfortable and easier to understand than formal church services.

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