"The army revivals probably made a more lasting effect on Christianity in the South than in the North.
At the close of the war, the North's religious aspirations for America rose to a peak. The very success the Union enjoyed encouraged northerners to new labors: converting immigrants entering their cities, alleviating oppressive social conditions through a Social Gospel, and bringing the gospel to 'benighted heathen' overseas.
At this time, however, traditional doctrines seemed to be under attack. Liberal Theologians were thought to be cutting away at Christian orthodoxy and rejecting the idea of a changeless faith. Amid the materialism and secularism of the Gilded Age, many ordinary Christians in the North fitfully sought reassurance that their beliefs were still true.
In the South, on the other hand, little seemed to be left except for religion. For many years after Appomattox, southern Christians spoke of the spiritual benefits they had gained through adversity. Temporal prosperity made men and women arrogant and seduced them into believing they did not need God. The South's hardship, on the other hand, taught forbearance and Christian humility."
Dr. Gardiner H. Shattuck, Jr., teaches church history in the School for Ministries of the Episcopal Diocese of Rhode Island. He is author of A Shield and Hiding Place: The Religious Life of the Civil War Armies (Mercer University Press, 1987).