Religion shaped colonial society in a number of significant ways. This varied from colony to colony, so it is important to look at different regions in turn.
Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Hampshire were largely settled by the Puritans. These were Christian fundamentalists who settled in New England so as to...
practice their faith free from the influence of the Anglican Church. Heavily influenced by the teachings of John Calvin, they set up theocratic societies during the seventeenth century. Religion and society were one and the same in Puritan New England. Church attendance was compulsory. It was illegal to work on Sunday. Spiritual leaders were also political leaders. This led to an insular society that was often suspicious and unwelcoming to outsiders and outright hostile to dissenters.
Rhode Island was founded on the notion of religious liberty. Roger Williams had refused to follow the tenets of the Puritans in Massachusetts and founded the Colony of Rhode Island in response. Rhode Island was welcoming to people of various religious beliefs. Consequently, it saw some of the earliest populations of Jews, Quakers, and Catholics in the Thirteen Colonies leading to an open and diverse society.
The Middle Colonies were also more welcoming to various religious practices. New York granted citizenship to Christians of any sect. Pennsylvania became a refuge to Quakers. Maryland was established as a safe haven for Catholics. This religious diversity brought overall diversity to this region. Europeans from various parts of their continent settled there creating a dynamic society made up of people of various backgrounds.
Virginia closely associated itself with the Church of England from the very start. In fact, early colonial law required that all Virginians attend services at an Anglican Church. This caused a large amount of resentment among the non-Anglicans in the colony and led to societal divisions.
In fact, throughout the Southern Colonies, membership in the Anglican Church was a prerequisite for political office. At times this caused ill feelings and hostility because it disenfranchised the many non-Anglican colonists in the region. That being said, many of the Southern Colonies still tolerated most Christian sects.