Protestant and Jews Religion Issue Essay

Religion is a very controversial subject in the contemporary world. However, although the issue is prevalent in America, it carried more weight in the 20th century than it does today. People always judged others, depending on their religious affiliation and church membership. Nonetheless, secularism was common in the mid-twentieth century. People had turned out to live in the framework of reality, and they had forgotten about religion.

The historians, educators, and journalists had all overlooked religion, and secularism had prevailed in American society. However, in the late 1940s and early 1950s, the distribution of . People began buying and distributing bibles that revealed the word of God. Those who never believed in the bible perceived it as a piece of literature.

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Interestingly, even the Christians who attended church sermons rarely read the bible. The entire scenario was a paradox as religious believers were practicing secularism. Although Christians were involved in major religious activities, their honesty, moral principles, and integrity were questionable (Cohen and Hill 738).

Herberg analyzes the contradictions and controversies of the American religion and American society concerning three religious groups, Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish. He wrote a book to interpret the paradox of religion, and address the issue of the immigrants who had to change their cultures to become Americans.

Since every American had to belong to one of the aforementioned religious groups, the immigrants had to transform into Catholics, Jewish, or Protestants. This paper will give a stringent analysis of Herbergs book, Protestant, Catholic, Jew. It will describe the initial and subsequent reception on the book to determine whether the Herbergs work is a classic or a periodic piece.

About the author
Will Herberg was an intellectual scholar and social philosopher who wrote the book Protestant, Catholic, Jew: An Essay in American Religious Sociology in 1955. The philosopher had an interesting early life. Since his birth in 1901, Herberg grew up in a secular Jewish family that was not serious about religion.

Herberg joined college, but he did not complete his course successfully. He was expelled from school twice, first in 1920 and secondly in 1929. The main reason for his expulsion was joining the Communist Party of the USA and becoming a loyal member. The disgusting scenarios did not dishearten Herberg, and after the second expulsion from college in 1929, he joined the Levestoneites organization to work as a newspaper editor.

Herberg worked as an editor for about 11 years, and he thought of turning away from Marxism. He became a religious conservative, and within no time, he founded the Judaism Quarterly. Herberg was very concerned about the American immigrants who had to adopt the American culture instantaneously. He made a critical analysis of the perception that religious movements and institutions had about the American religion. To relay his message, Herberg wrote the essay Judaism and Modern Man in 1950.

The controversial essay raised peoples eyebrows, and the Europeans and Americans became skeptical about their religious believes. Through his works, Herberg proved to be a competent writer who addressed controversial religious issues.

The untrained sociologist wrote his book, Protestant-Catholic-Jew in 1955, and his work triggered the Americans to rethink of their religion. In his book, Herberg described a cut flower to symbolize the contentious issue. According to Herberg, the modern European and American societies have no spiritual root as they had to be grafted onto Judeo-Christian roots to survive. The two societies were like cut flowers that cannot survive on their own (Healan 1130).

Initial reception of the book
Herberg deserved an honorary reward for having considered writing about a controversial subject that most historians had forgotten. Religion was very important in the twentieth century as it played a critical role in socialism. People receipted Herbergs work with much appreciation because of its originality. After that, researchers made it their obligation to find out the best selling books, the , and the subject that intellectuals emphasize in their speeches.

Indeed, everyone had forgotten about religion, and Herberg had founded the topic. Succeeding authors only criticized the book, but Herberg was the original religionist author. He recognized America as a nation of multiculturalism about religion. Herberg gave a clear insight of the contestation between assimilation and particularism.

The greatest achievement that obtained a positive reception was the rejection of particularism and emphasis on having a common ground. According to Herberg, there was a need for the Americans to commit themselves to a particular religious group that would give them an individual or group identity.

Will Herbergs book, Protestant-Catholic-Jew, was honored at the time of its publication, as it was a revelation to the Americans of the 1950s. America was a unified nation, but everyone belonged to a particular religion. Believers who were not Protestants were either Catholics or Jewish. The entire community embraced the book as it gave a clear insight of religious group identities using the triple melting pot derision.

The book enabled the Americans to have a clear understanding of why some religions never had a significant meaning. Indeed, a visible disparity between a Catholic and an Irish American existed, as the Irish Americans had no social significance.

On the other hand, Methodists were insignificant, but the Protestants were highly significant. Therefore, German Jews and Russians identified themselves as Jews, the Irish and the Italians found it worthwhile to be identified as Catholics, whereas, the German Lutherans, English Methodists, and the Swedish Lutherans pursued Protestantism (Hesser 159).

The entire nation embraced the book with much gratitude to the author. The three major religions comprised of the three melting pots that could not interrelate freely. Catholic believers could intermingle and intermarry with fellow Catholics. Similarly, the Protestants could intermarry outside their ethnic groups, but within their religious groups.

The entire book described the life of the Americans in the twentieth century. Most people receipted Will Herbergs book as it acted as a guide to understand every incidence that happened in other religions. The Catholics, for example, were able to know about the religious believers of the Protestants and the Jewish without necessarily changing their religion.

In his work, Herberg insisted that culture and ethnic lines may change, but religion will always remain the same. Regardless of the fact that the world is evolving at a considerably high speed, religious believes will always remain significant. Most Catholics will always marry their fellow Catholics, and that will also apply to the Jewish and the Protestants.

Therefore, Herberg claimed that it was always good for a person to have a strong believe in a particular religion. According to Herberg, it is almost impossible to change the faith of a strong believer, and indeed, almost all Americans were Protestants, Catholics, or Jewish in the twentieth century (Herberg 13).

Subsequent reception of the book
The triple melting pot conception was logical for quite some time in the twentieth century. The initial editors of the book found the entire work to be factual. However, in the subsequent generation, identification of people depending on their religious believes was practically impossible. There were no clear evidentiary grounds of being a member of any of the religious groups. This scenario motivated people to begin scrutinizing Herbergs work, and they identified some misconceptions.

Herbergs ideas were somewhat wrong, as the religious identities had softened since the 1920s. Indeed the immigration laws had played a great role in accommodating the immigrants. The number of people living in middle class had broadened considerably, and that scenario weakened the high-class people who mainly consisted of the Native Americans.

Further scrutiny of Herbergs work also revealed that he did not make a significant consideration of the racial divisions in America. In his entire work, Herberg considered racial divisions as unimportant, and this brought in an anomaly in his work. Moreover, researchers took a stringent analysis of the American population later on. Indeed, it was practically impossible to describe people according to their religion or spiritual experience. It is only possible to describe people depending on what they do in their daily errands.

According to Herberg, the Catholics, Protestants, and the Jewish believed in the bible. However, believers have very controversial believes. The Jewish believe in the Torah that comprises of a limited number of the books of the Old Testament.

They do not believe in the New Testament, and neither do they believe in Jesus. Similarly, the Protestants are perceived to have removed about seven books from the Old Testaments after their reformation because the books contradicted with their doctrine. Some Protestants claim that the Catholics worship Mary, the mother of Jesus, instead of worshiping Jesus.

The entire issue is controversial, and people find it difficult to identify themselves with a certain religion. In the subsequent century, the number of religious hypocrites rose significantly, and some people opted to become pagans. Such people would not want to be identified as Protestants, Catholics, or Jewish, and they preferred to be identified by what they did.

The issue of associating and intermarrying with people of the same religion became outdated almost immediately. Indeed, it was no longer difficult for people to change from one denomination to another for convenience purposes. Jewish women who wanted to marry Catholic men would simply transform into Catholic believers and vice versa. Moreover, after the , the Catholic Church had various humanitarian facilities, social facilities, educational facilities, and job opportunities for its followers.

The church had orphanages, bowling leagues, and professional associations to train people. The Catholic Church turned out to be a self-contained world that would sway people to become Catholic believers. Indeed, people would become members of the Catholic Church for convenience purposes and not because of their faith.

It is noteworthy that later on, the Muslims increased in number, and this group did not have any ties with the bible. Moreover, many smaller religious groups that did not believe in the bible emerged. Indeed, descendants of Herbergs time might have adhered to the three religions; however, the emergence of other religions made the of the Americans outdated; the period piece served in the twentieth century, and it is not applicable in the contemporary world.

The triple melting pot strategy was problematic in the diversifying world. The issue of trying to force the traditional religious believes to compete with the American way of life would cause controversies. On the other hand, obligating immigrants and traditionalists to blur their culture and adopt the American way of life was not righteous.

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