Saturday, October 9, 2010

Strange Maps

Map of Religion

This map interested me the most because it shows that religion has been fairly important in determining the characteristics of particular areas and regions of the U.S.
Through additional research, I found a chart (Pew Research Center) that shows, the wealthier a country is, generally the less important religion is to that country. The poorer and less developed nations such as Indonesia and Pakistan consider religion to have a more important bearing on their lives, whereas Australia and Britain “don’t need religion.” There is however, one exception: The United States. The USA does not follow this pattern and that is what was interesting to me and I wondered why?

The United States has been a mix of many nationalities. Irish, German, Italian, English, Hispanic (Mexican, Caribbean, Puerto Rica). Ethnic origin and religion are linked.

I thought I’d take a closer look at a few of the denominations shown on the map. The first one is the Lutherans. The Lutherans originated in Germany and Scandinavian countries and followed the teachings of Martin Luther. They spread throughout the rest of the world and took with them their beliefs and faith. The Lutheran religion came to America and settled in Minnesota, North and South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa and Wisconsin. The Lutherans were tough hardy people and their presence in these states reflects their background of farming, hard work and being able to cope with harsh weather and conditions. 

The second denomination I have chosen to do is Catholic. Catholicism comprises 22% of the population and has 68 million members. America has the fourth largest Catholic population in the world. During the early days of the European colonization of the Americans, the Catholic religion arrived. They are most strongly represented in Florida, Georgia, Texas, New Mexico, California. The majority of the Catholic population who emigrated from Europe were French, Italian and Irish. These still have strong distinct communities in the U.S. (French-Cajun, Louisiana; Italian – New York; Irish – Boston).

Baptists represent the most practised religion of the 8 major denominations with large numbers in the southern states: Oklahoma, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee. In the seventeenth century, many Baptists emigrated from England where the mainstream Church of England mistreated them for their dissenting religious views. Baptists are concentrated around the southern states (both originally confederate/Dixie and many black communities who were originally slaves.) 


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