It wasn't until I began attending college in the Midwest that I realized, Catholicism is not the most prominent branch of Christianity in the United States. In fact, earlier while I was showering I realized that there area I grew up in had a very high number of Catholics, and it probably wasn't indicative of the rest of the country - the statistics that Protestant was the most common religion popped into my head.
I have wondered why not many people I have met identified as Catholic. A quick look at some statistics gives me my answer. Turns out, Protestantism - particularly Baptist - is the most common religion where I am attending school (approx 25% are Baptist, with about 15% Catholic compared to 8% Baptist and 40% Catholic where I grew up). Protestant, of course, is a group of denominations - Lutheran, Baptist, and Pentecostal being the major ones.
I remember my first roommate describing her church to me, and it absolutely boggled my mind. No Lent? I know I'm not particularly religious, and I've never stepped foot in a church for mass, but I do know what goes on, and I do participate in Lent. Her descriptions of their practices sounded very strange and cult-like to me. Maybe it was the insanely small town (300 people! oh. my. god.) I don't know what denomination she is (neither does she, which I find odd. You don't know what type of religion you practice?), but I believe her church was called something like Assembly of God.
Using my creepy Google skills - Pentecostal - which, sadly may be reinforcing my idea that her church was cult-like (not that all Pentecostal churches are, but I prefer to stay away from individuals who speak in tongues during church services).
To my surprise, other denominations don't do the same things as Catholics. Excuse my ignorance. Naturally, I began to wonder what the differences are within all of these religions.
These handy dandy charts explain all! A bit of a read, but if you are at all interested in the differences of the most popular denominations a good read.
Catholic vs. Protestantism - an easy to read, side-by-side comparison
It does seem odd to me that some individuals do not believe in the use of the rosary, praying to saints, or transubstantiation. Perhaps because I grew up around it it just seems right. Along the way some sort of "Catholic-ness" soaked into my godless brain. At an rate, I plan to attend many different denomination church services. Near my home town there are Catholic, Baptist, Quaker, Anglican, Lutheran, Methodist, Episcopal, Unitarian, Adventist, Presbyterian, and assorted other types of churches. I will, of course, relay my experiences in each church here.