Tuesday, April 27, 2010


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.


  1. My experience is similar, yet from the other side. I didn't realize just how different Catholic practices were until I read "Catholicism for Dummies" recently. It seems quite complicated to this outsider, but I'm sure it's "normal" to those who grow up with it.

    BTW, thanks for the links to religionfacts.com. That looks like an excellent resource.

  2. Even growing up around it, there are still some things I don't understand! I can't even imagine being (almost) completely new to Catholicism.

    no problem :)