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Pew Report Highlights Rise of Hinduism in U.S.
United States. One in 10 Asian Americans identify themselves as Hindus, concluded the results of a report on Asian Americans and their religious affiliations, released July 19 by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.
Hindus and Buddhists counted together represent two percent of the overall population, the same share as Jews.
Ninety percent of Hindu Americans believe there is more than one way to interpret the tenets of their faith, and the majority celebrate both Hindu holidays like Diwali as well as Christmas, noted the report, titled: “Asian Americans: A Mosaic of Faiths.” The report lacked much novel information, and re-stated largely-held beliefs about Indian Americans and their religious practices.
Most Asian American Buddhists and Hindus maintain traditional religious beliefs and practices. Two-thirds of Buddhists surveyed believe in ancestral spirits, while three-quarters of Hindus keep a shrine in their home, concluded the report, adding however that 30 percent of the Hindus surveyed and 20 percent of Buddhists report having attended religious services of another faith, outside of special occasions such as weddings or funerals.
U.S. Buddhists and Hindus tend to be inclusive in their understanding of faith. Most Buddhists and Hindus, for instance, reject the notion that their religion is the one true faith and say instead that many religions can lead to eternal life, or in the case of Buddhists, to enlightenment, noted the survey.
The 182-page report focused on the four major religious groups of Asian Americans: Christians, Buddhists, Hindus and the religiously unaffiliated. Muslims compromise an additional four percent of Asian Americans, but their numbers in the survey were too small to include in the analysis, said an introduction to the report.
Some Current Hindu News from USA.
A pie chart of Indian American faiths included with the report showed that 51 percent of Indian Americans identify as Hindus, 10 percent are Muslim, five percent are Sikhs and two percent are Jain.
Eighteen percent of Indian Americans identify as Christian, though only about three percent of India’s total population is estimated to be Christian. The higher percentages of Indian American Christians may reflect immigration patterns or switching of religions.
Ten percent of Indian Americans are unaffiliated with any religion, according to the pie chart, which did not include a slice for other affiliations, such as Parsis or Jews, whose combined numbers represent less than one percent of the Indian American population.
About one-third of Hindu Americans say that religion is important in their lives, in sharp contrast to the overall U.S. population where religion plays a large role in the lives of 58 percent of those surveyed.
The report also notes that Asian Americans tend to pray less than the overall population, but adds that Asians regard prayer differently than other groups.
“The ritual recitation of mantras in both Buddhism and Hinduism is not the same as prayer to a personal God in the Christian tradition, and this difference may help explain why a smaller number of Asian American Buddhists and Hindus than Asian American Christians report that they pray daily. And although attendance at religious services is higher among U.S. Asian Christians than among U.S. Asian Buddhists and Hindus, many of the Buddhists and Hindus – about 78 percent – report that they maintain religious shrines in their homes.
Nearly three-quarters of Hindu Americans see yoga not just as exercise but also as a spiritual practice. More than half of U.S. Hindus said they believe in reincarnation and moksha, defined in the survey as “the ultimate state transcending pain and desire in which individual consciousness ends.”
Also, about half also believe in astrology defined in the survey as the belief “that the position of the stars and planets can affect people’s lives,” but fewer believe in spiritual energy in physical things or in ancestral spirits.
Interestingly, 24 percent of Hindus say they meditate daily, while only 17 percent of Buddhists – with whom the practice is more commonly affiliated – say they regularly meditate.
“As their numbers rise, Asian Americans are contributing to the diversity of the U.S. religious landscape. From less than one percent of the total U.S. population — including children — in 1965, Asian Americans have increased to 5.8 percent or 18.2 million children and adults in 2011, according to the U.S. Census,” said the Pew researchers in an overview of the report.
“In the process, they have been largely responsible for the growth of non-Abrahamic faiths in the United States, particularly Buddhism and Hinduism,” noted the report, which can be viewed in its entirety at pewforum.org.
ॐ HINDU NEWS ॐ dated 14-09-2012 is published now.Check it here.