History of Religion in the USA

History of Religion in the USA

Religion has played a very important role in American history. Europeans first began settling in America with the goal of finding religious freedom, hoping to escape oppression from the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of England.

The first Anglican church in America was founded in 1607, and the first Protestant Episcopal parish was established shortly after. Pilgrims began emigrating to America in 1620, settling in Plymouth. Many Congregational churches were founded in Plymouth during this time.

A few years after the first Pilgrims arrived, the Puritans began traveling to America. Their goal was to reform or purify the Church of England. They settled in Massachusetts and saw huge growth in their numbers throughout the 17th century. However, they had rigid religious laws and often carried out civil punishments for religious crimes. This was one of the major causes of the witch hunts that began in 1688 and the witch trials that began in 1692.

America also saw a growing Lutheran population during this time. Lutherans came from Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, and Norway, and they mainly settled on the East Coast and in the Midwest. They worshipped in their native languages, but the churches eventually began to merge and dissolve the language barriers. In 1988, three of the largest Lutheran bodies formed the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Quakers started arriving in Massachusetts in 1656 but were arrested by the Puritan authorities. In 1681, William Penn, a Quaker, became the sole proprietor of the territory of Pennsylvania. He established the colony for Quakers the next year.

The First Great Awakening in America occurred throughout the 1730s and 1740s. It brought a wave of religious enthusiasm that affected Protestants in America. During this time, individuals’ relationships with God became much more personal, and there was more focus on guilt, forgiveness, and redemption.

During the Second Great Awakening in the early 1800s, many people became more focused on converting those who didn’t belong to a church. Evangelicalism became an important aspect of religion in America during this time, and the Methodist and Baptist churches grew quickly.

The Third Great Awakening, which occurred in the late 1800s and early 1900s, brought more enthusiasm for social activism. Many religious enthusiasts believed that the Second Coming of Christ would occur after they reformed the whole world.

Many other denominations formed in America throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, including Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and the Church of Christ, Scientist. Today, there are hundreds of religions and denominations in the United States.





The New Life Coaching Trend 2017

What is Life Coaching?

Life coaching is an occupation that provides individuals with mentoring and motivational tactics to help them achieve particular goals. Life coaches are not therapists or counselors and should not be dealing with people who have severe depression or other psychological problems.

life coaching trend

What is a life coach?

What do life coaches do?

• Help develop organizational skills
• Mentor
• Work on self-discipline through motivation
• Work on socialization skills

Who hires life coaches?

• Business executives
• Women in transition
• Those going through a major life change such as a move, divorce, or career change
• Those with relationship concerns
• Those who need encouragement to improve their health through lifestyle changes

Are you ready to hire a life coach?

To make the most of your relationship and sessions with a life coach you should be prepared and have the proper mindset. If you are unsure, ask yourself the following questions:

• Are you ready to work on personal development?
• Is your commitment to yourself and others out of balance?
• Are you willing to get rid of negative mind chatter and change your way of thinking?
• Are you willing to learn and accept new ideas?

What to expect:

If you sign up with a life coach make sure you know what services are included. Most companies or individuals will offer a 15 to 30-minute session for free. After that, you can expect a 60 to 90-minute session weekly either in person, through Skype or on the phone depending on your location and what technology is available. The sessions are usually backed up with email support. Rates can vary from $100 to $300 an hour.

Accreditation and programs:

Since the occupation of life coach does not deal with those needing help with mental or physical illness, governmental agencies have not felt the need to regulate the industry. There are many self–appointed accrediting agencies worldwide. Whether you are interested in securing a life coach or becoming one, these agencies are a good place to start:

ICC- International Coaching Counsel
• ICF- International Coaching Federation
• IGC- International Guild of Coaches
• ECI- European Coaching Institute

Top Podcasts in 2017

The past year has proven to be a revitalization for the medium of podcasting as celebrities, personalities, and companies from across the globe began to experiment with the platform. Following the hit podcast “Serial”, a host of new shows began to emerge. Pair these with the already established acts and you had dozens of great shows at your disposal. Here are just a few favorites from 2017 that captivated or hooked millions of listeners.


It would be a disservice to not include the most popular podcast of 2017 on this list. From the creators of This American Life, another top podcast, host Sarah Koenig tells an entire true story over the course of a single season. The first season of the show told the story of Hae Min Lee, a Baltimore high school senior who disappeared and Adnan Syed, the main suspect in her disappearance. Digging into this mystery hooked millions of listeners and retained them even as the show has entered it’s second season.

“Stuff You Should Know”

From the crew at HowStuffWorks.com, this level of audio insight is usually left only to the professionals. Fortunately, we have professionals, as Josh Clark and Chuck Bryant team up to educate the masses on how many things work, while also giving you those useful bits of trivia knowledge that go over well at parties and family gatherings.

“The Adam Carolla Show”

From his start on the radio call-in show turned MTV hit Loveline to the hit show that propelled Jimmy Kimmel to stardom, The Man Show, Adam Carolla has been the host of this daily comedy and news podcast since 2009. In 2011, Guinness named The Adam Carolla Show the record holder for the most downloaded podcast. Check out for yourself what makes Adam and his usual lineup of co-hosts and guests such an entertaining and engaging show to listen to.


Promoting itself as “a show about curiosity”, Radiolab is a science and philosophical podcast that delves deep into broad and challenging subjects while framing them in an accessible way. Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich bring you the Peabody Award winning show that began as a New York radio program in 2002 but has since grown into one of the most popular podcasts out there. Radiolab may not release new episodes as often as other shows, but there’s quite a backlog to explore of deep, interesting discussion.

“Stuff You Missed in History Class”

Also from the HowStuffWorks.com crew, Tracy V. Wilson and Holly Frey host this informative and entertaining look at historical fact, fiction, and everything in between. Not only does this show touch on some of the finer points of history that often get lost in the pomp and circumstance of larger events, but it also finds those genuinely missing pieces of history that may have been overlooked for some time.

This is just a small sampling of some of the great podcasts that found footing or continued their meteoric rise in popularity over the past year. With what we’ve seen out of 2017, it’s exciting to wonder what sort of interesting content and innovative production we’ll see out of 2016.

Runner up and staff favorite: The Dr. Drew Podcast!

Who is Darrel Ray?

Born August 24, 1950, Darrel Wayne Ray is a psychologist, author, speaker and activist for atheism. Ray founded Recovering from Religion in 2009, a self-help organization developed to help individuals leaving religious indoctrination.

Ray was raised in Wichita, Kansas by missionary parents. There, he was a child in the fundamentalist Christian faith, later joining the Quaker church at the age of 29 and transitioning to Presbyterian not long thereafter. By the mid-1980s, Ray started identifying as an atheist. He later started living within polyamorous relationships and is a father and grandfather.

In 1972, he graduated from Friends University in Wichita. That Bachelors of Science in Sociology and Anthropology was followed by a masters degree from Scarritt College for Christian Workers in 1974, with a focus on church and community. His psychology Doctor of Education was earned in 1978 at Peabody college of Vanderbilt University.

In his work life, Ray has focused heavily on organizational culture and clinical psychology. He has co-authored two books about team building, founded a corporate coaching program called Teaming Up and served as the director of The Institute for Performance Culture.

Ray’s two books about religion and secularism examine control of human thoughts and behaviors, particularly sexuality, through religion. Those two books, The God Virus: How Religion Affects Our Lives and Culture and Sex and God: How Religion Distorts Sexuality use cultural and historical perspectives to explore the subject matter. He also has a podcast about atheism and sexuality called Secular Sexuality, which he has hosted since August 2014.

As part of his organization Recovering from Religion, Ray serves as a board director and works to help people through science and secular-based therapies. That is the focus of the group’s program entitled The Secular Therapy Project.

Darrel Ray is sometimes interviewed as an expert in secular psychology on television news programs. This is the case for the ABC news program Nightline, where Ray vocalized opinion against exorcisms and provided scientific expertise and personal views about mental illnesses sometimes appearing like possession.

As a researcher, Ray has worked with other experts and authors on various projects exploring human behavior and sexuality. In 1982, he worked on a study of male juvenile offenders in the criminal justice system. That study focused on the effects of population density on the subjects.

Another study of May 2011 explored changes in sexuality as related to departure from secular religion. Over 14,500 subjects completed surveys and provided details toward study conclusions. That work, entitled Sex and Secularism: What Happens When You Leave Religion?, indicated that sexuality is not vastly different in behavioral style after departure from religious following. But the study did reflect that less guilt was experienced after subjects became non-religious and sex improved in the absence of structured religion. This study was widely criticized for its recruitment of biased participants from a pool of readers of one science-based blog.

Five Famous American Atheists

The United States is one of the most religious countries in the world, with over 80% of respondents in a recent national survey saying that they believe in God. However, there were also a significant number of Americans, about 12%, who identified as atheists. Here are five of the most prominent modern Americans who openly proclaimed that they did not believe in God.

Thomas Edison

Probably the most famous inventor of all time, Thomas Edison was a philosophical skeptic who was critical of religious belief. The creator of the incandescent light bulb once bluntly observed, “All religion is bunk.” Edison was especially critical of the religious education of children by churches, which he considered to be equivalent to teaching them that superstition is fact. He also spoke openly against the teaching of religion in the public schools.

Pat Tillman

Pat Tilman is a true American hero whose decision to give up a lucrative career with the National Football League in order to join the Army and fight in the Iraq War earned him wide admiration. After Tillman was killed in action in 2004, an important detail about him surfaced – he was an atheist. Interestingly, few biographical articles about Tillman mention that he openly stated on numerous occasions that he did not believe in God.

Langston Hughes

Considered one of the best poets of the literary movement known as The Harlem Renaissance, Langston Hughes was a strong critic of religion in general and Christianity in particular. He believed that most religious people were hypocrites and that religion itself was a force for social oppression, especially of black people. Politically, Hughes was a communist, an ideology he admired in part because of its commitment to atheism, denounced by Karl Marx as “the opiate of the people.”

Ayn Rand

At the other end of the political spectrum from Hughes is Ayn Rand, the best selling novelist and philosopher who is considered a hero to many on the political right. What many conservatives may not know about Rand is that she was a confirmed atheist, believing that religious belief could not hold up in the face of logic and reason. She dismissed religion as a primitive form of philosophy that had no place in the modern world.

Carl Sagan

In much the same way as Rand, the famous American astronomer and astrophysicist Carl Sagan rejected religion because it wasn’t based upon logic and reason. His scientific outlook on life compelled him to believe that religion was incompatible with the scientific method. However, he also said that a scientist is obligated to keep an open mind on every and any subject, so he stopped short of claiming that he was absolutely certain that God was not real, saying, “We would have to know a great deal more about the universe than we do now to be sure that no God exists.” Since he considered the issue unsettled, Sagan believed the most sensible course of action was for everyone to think for themselves, basing one’s opinions solely upon logic, reason and the facts of experience.

So even in a mostly religious country like the United States, there have been numerous prominent atheists. Ironically, their atheism has not been widely recognized, even by those who claim to be admirers of their life’s work.