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Forums > Social Discussion > Religion Losing Ground in the U.S.

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Doc Lightning
GOLD Member since May 2001

Doc Lightning

HOP Mad Doctor
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA

Total posts: 13920
Posted:Originally Posted By: cnnAmerica is a less Christian nation than it was 20 years ago, and Christianity is not losing out to other religions, but primarily to a rejection of religion altogether, a survey published Monday found.

...

The survey also found that "born-again" or "evangelical" Christianity is on the rise, while the percentage who belong to "mainline" congregations such as the Episcopal or Lutheran churches has fallen.

One in three Americans consider themselves evangelical, and the number of people associated with mega-churches has skyrocketed from less than 200,000 in 1990 to more than 8 million in the latest survey. Video Watch CNN report on new study

The rise in evangelical Christianity is contributing to the rejection of religion altogether by some Americans, said Mark Silk of Trinity College.

"In the 1990s, it really sunk in on the American public generally that there was a long-lasting 'religious right' connected to a political party, and that turned a lot of people the other way," he said of the link between the Republican Party and groups such as the Moral Majority and Focus on the Family.

What do you think?

I think the drop in religion is good, but the rise in fundamentalism to be very alarming. How is this going to polarize society?


-Mike )'(
Certified Mad Doctor and HoP High Priest of Nutella

"A buckuht 'n a hooze!" -Valura

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Mr Majestik
SILVER Member since Mar 2004

Mr Majestik

coming to a country near you
Location: home of the tiney toothy bear

Total posts: 4693
Posted:i concur with your second sentence.

i would expect it will polarise society, but which side becomes the majority remains to be seen.


"but have you considered there is more to life than your eyelids?"

jointly owned by Fire_Spinning_Angel and Blu_Valley

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burningoftheclavey
SILVER Member since Jul 2005

burningoftheclavey

lurking like a ninja with no camouflage..
Location: over yonder

Total posts: 926
Posted:I read a really good article a while back about 'listening to your iGod', basically to take what you believe in out of the religions you want and paste them all together till you get your own religion..which is the way I do it. Perhaps there is more people in America following more than one religion, just not to the extent where they would call themselves strictly christian, buddhist, etc

Where are they getting the information from? do you guys have a census? Because unless they have asked the entire population of America and got feedback from the entire population the survey doesnt really mean anything..

What I would say is as long as these '8 million' people are not going round trying to change other peoples opinions let them get on with it. A morally thinking fundamentalist is a fair bit better than a gang raping murderer, no?


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MRC
SILVER Member since Jun 2008

MRC

Funky Blessings Daily


Total posts: 215
Posted:The way I see it, and the way I've been seeing talk about it, things are kind of getting worse. I know I've personally seen no indication decrease on a local level, and long term stuff seems to show that growing numbers are getting far more radical.

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Bek66


Bek66

Future Mrs Pogo
Location: The wrong place

Total posts: 4728
Posted:The problem with the fundis is that they WON'T leave other people alone to do their own thing. They try to push their ideas onto you and then if you don't agree, they tell you that you're gonna 'burn in hell.'

I just tell them, it's your hell, you burn in it!!!

Pagan and Proud!!!


"Absence is to love what wind is to fire...it extinguishes the small, enkindles the great."
--Comte Debussy-Rebutin

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MRC
SILVER Member since Jun 2008

MRC

Funky Blessings Daily


Total posts: 215
Posted:I've seldom experienced christian pushers. I've had VERY uncomfortable conversations with some pagans...One who was literally telling me I was only young would wise up to believing in a god.


EDITED_BY: MRC (1236882982)


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Seye
SILVER Member since Mar 2005

Seye

Geek
Location: Manchester, UK

Total posts: 1261
Posted:I guess that I can sum up my feelings on this by stating that two of my heroes are Charles Bradlaugh and Richard Dawkins.

The fact that the majority of people are moving away from religion is great. I'm guessing that it probably correlates to a higher awareness of world afairs and higher general levels of education. These three things tend to go hand in hand.

I started writing a longer reply but realised that I was just getting angry so I stopped. Religion in all its forms is bad as far as I'm concerned.

MRC - What country do you live in? I've experienced an enormous amount of christian pushers in the UK. There are people preaching hell and damnation in the streets of most major cities on most days.


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MRC
SILVER Member since Jun 2008

MRC

Funky Blessings Daily


Total posts: 215
Posted:I live in the united states, specifically Maryland. In Baltimore, the worst you can find are lots of beggar scum. I say scum because I have actually given money to a guy and saw the exact guy later with multiple bottles of booze.

In my hometown of Hagerstown, there's an anti-abortion protest guy and some groups who pay for billboards and other things on the subject. Occasionally someone will come to a door with a flyer for their church...no one says "Hey you! You need god in your life! DO IT NOW!" A few billboards and door knockers aren't exactly what I call heavy pushing.

In fact I see more subscription scams, restaurant fliers, tax service spam and other bullshit than I see anything religion based.


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Bek66


Bek66

Future Mrs Pogo
Location: The wrong place

Total posts: 4728
Posted:Originally Posted By: MRCI've seldom experienced christian pushers. I've has VERY uncomfortable conversations with some pagans...One who was literally telling me I was only young would wise up to believing in a god.



See, now that's just wrong...no one has the right to push their personal beliefs on others...I'll tell people that I'm pagan, but I don't try to make converts, nor critisise people for what they believe...in my opinion, any person that does that is not going by the tenets of their own religion...and I don't appreciate being told that my beliefs are stupid or not valid...any religion, if it makes you a better person and nurtures your spirit is valid...it's just the extremists that give them all a bad name.

EDITED_BY: Bek66 (1236864046)


"Absence is to love what wind is to fire...it extinguishes the small, enkindles the great."
--Comte Debussy-Rebutin

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MRC
SILVER Member since Jun 2008

MRC

Funky Blessings Daily


Total posts: 215
Posted:Now personally, I'm sort of anti-religious. I'm willing to have discussions but honestly, I doubt highly anyone is going to convert me. The issue is that everyone thinks they're right on the subject. Or most people anyway. It's simply how personal bias goes. I'd just like to see less integration. I'm not a big fan of media sources preaching me their moral guidelines.

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inactive
SILVER Member since May 2005

inactive

old hand


Total posts: 722
Posted:Originally Posted By: Bek66 Pagan and Proud!!!

YEAH! grin

Governments needed organised religions to justify wars once, now they don't, now they just use our depression and desperation, fear and propaganda, Money is the new god, war the new fashion and as most people in the western "civilised" world simply think "I have my roof, tv, car and food, f**k the rest" laziness and greed are our new WMDs, there's no need for big bombs when the rest of us don't stand up to prtoest...

Oh yeah, this was about religion... religion has always been a tool, mainstream religion is no longer the viable tool, why the rise in fundamentalism? there will always be an opposite to anything in existence, to christianity there is satanism, to shamanism there is sorcery, to peace there is war. The aganda feed to us about our percieved enemies is that they are religious fundamentalists (not jsut terrifed normal folk) and thus an opposing force must grow, whether it's useful or not, it simply must exist, when the imaginary foes are "defeated" then these new religious ideals will seem irrelevant and thus we will move onto a new state.

Sunird - forever blagging modern anthropolgy


To you who has been accessing my online accounts, changing my login details, locations and posting censored about me, realise, you are not worth revenge, you are not worth my attention, you are nothing, and that is all you ever will be.

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simta
BRONZE Member since Apr 2006

simta

compfuzzled
Location: hastings

Total posts: 1182
Posted:Originally Posted By: SeyeReligion in all its forms is bad as far as I'm concerned

damn right

the time has gone to say religion is ok if its not hurting anyone, it does and it will regardless of how evangelical (or not) your church is.

being a product of religious indoctrination is something that most people will NOT be able to shake off. even after your head knows better your heart is still skewered on irrational processes that you've been taught to respect/fear/love.

its such a wierd situation to have evangelical christian membership rising in the u.s at the same time more atheists feel comfortable enough to be open. if creationism can be legislated out of science lessons completely then the u.s still has a good chance of not becoming as mental as it could be.


"the geeks have got you" - Gayle

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Mother_Natures_Son
SILVER Member since Aug 2007

Mother_Natures_Son

Rampant whirler.
Location: Geelong, Victoria, Australia!

Total posts: 2418
Posted:The Vision of Christ that thou dost see
Is my Visions Greatest Enemy

-William Blake
(from The Everlasting Gospel, c. 1818)


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Seye
SILVER Member since Mar 2005

Seye

Geek
Location: Manchester, UK

Total posts: 1261
Posted:For me religion presents the same problems as 'alternative medicine'.

The issue is not the beliefs. It is believing in something which has no scientific, logical or rational foundation. Any such belief is dangerous.

If people are turning towards science and reason for answers instead of ancient belief structures then there is definitely still some hope for human society.


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burningoftheclavey
SILVER Member since Jul 2005

burningoftheclavey

lurking like a ninja with no camouflage..
Location: over yonder

Total posts: 926
Posted:Apologies for being offtopic here before i start..

Are you talking about 'alternative medicine' or complementary medicine? Because thats exactly what IS being researched at the moment and studied. I could show you the journals to prove it. And if you agree with a definition from the World Health Organisation that health is not merely the absence of disease but a physical, emotional, mental and spiritual wellness, and that stress is something that can bring about more serious disease, then stress reduction through massage, aromatherapy etc is 'complementary' to orthodox medicine. 'Alternative' medicine suggests that either alternative methods or orthodox medicine should be used, not both, which I dont agree with.
Not to mention remedial massage that aids in sports injuries. The problem is that all therapies are put in together, and research is being done on alot of different therapies but not all of it has a scientific answer. in terms of reiki..how can you measure pure energy?
/offtopic

EDITED_BY: burningoftheclavey (1237303504)
EDIT_REASON: rambling...


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fanged_angel
BRONZE Member since Jul 2007

fanged_angel

poiromaniac
Location: liverpool, uk

Total posts: 162
Posted:i think the problem all along is with organised religion, discordianism on the other hand is definitely worth checking out. who knows it might even convert MRC =D

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simta
BRONZE Member since Apr 2006

simta

compfuzzled
Location: hastings

Total posts: 1182
Posted:Originally Posted By: burningoftheclaveyin terms of reiki..how can you measure pure energy?
/offtopic




"the geeks have got you" - Gayle

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Chloe'
GOLD Member since Jan 2009

Chloe'

enthusiast
Location: SouthDakota, USA

Total posts: 324
Posted:I'm from South Dakota, USA and I've had people stop by my place repeatedly telling me to read the bible and other religious things. I dont have a religion and think all they are good for is starting arguements. A lot of people around here will ruin their friendships because they have different perspectives. They also have a tendency to bash other religions. I dont mind talking about-but when you say I'm wrong because of my opinion it does upset me. A belief is an opinion-thats how I see it-and therefore cant be wrong or right.

Listen to Your heartbeat and dance...

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Doc Lightning
GOLD Member since May 2001

Doc Lightning

HOP Mad Doctor
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA

Total posts: 13920
Posted:One of my issues with religion is how it's so societally accepted that you can't argue with it.

Case:
17yo unmarried mom comes in to the hospital and delivers a very premature baby. The baby is very sick, has undeveloped lungs, suffers two strokes in the first 3 days of life. Four months later, the baby, now a month past his due date, is still on a high-frequency oscillating ventilator (the highest level of support available), constantly coming close to death, and it is obvious to us that there is no way this baby will survive to go home.

For several months, this mother is counseled that there is no hope for this baby and that the baby is getting sicker and sicker, rather than better and better.

Mom refuses to withdraw support, citing religious beliefs. Nobody wants to argue with this. My argument is that if she's so religious, how come she got knocked up at age 17 out of wedlock?

The baby finally died after 10 months in the hospital and a hospital bill in the range of US$20M. The mother, an undocumented Mexican immigrant, was of course unable to pay, so the taxpayers footed the bill.

As soon as someone invokes God, they suddenly have license to behave completely irrationally and nobody can argue with them or risk being called a bigot and/or a demon.


-Mike )'(
Certified Mad Doctor and HoP High Priest of Nutella

"A buckuht 'n a hooze!" -Valura

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TinklePants
GOLD Member since Jul 2005

TinklePants

Clique Infiltrator, Cunning Linguist and Master Debator
Location: Edinburgh burgh burrrrrr

Total posts: 4217
Posted:Unfortunately, religion has been the cause of most wars on this planet. My religion is better than yours and that gives me the right to kill you. bullcrap.

When will people realise it doesn't matter which path you take to the divine, just that you have faith that it is there? Within yourself! And this is my personal, pagan point of view.

Me and The Sunbird dude were watching youtube vid of survival international's new album. Now one of the main missions of survival is to stop the westernisation of tribal cultures.

These peoples have survived for millenia on their own, are happy (when bulldozers don't rob them of their land) being left alone. One of the comments on this video was
"Be sure to take along some bibles! Give them stuff to read :)"

That kind of struck a chord with alot of youtubers....


actually, read the comments for yourself, you'll need to scroll back to page two or 3 of the comments though.



I came back with
"Yes let them be. That is one of the missions of survival. to stop westernisation of tribal culture.

They don't need to read, they don't need modernisation, they are surviving in the world the same way they have for generations. I'm sure tribal cultures have THEIR OWN stories to teach them morality, right and wrong. They don't need the bible. They will be happy left alone.

These people's survival actually depends on us, the western world, leaving them alone to live their own lives. "

It really annoyed me that the small minded poster said what she did (read it - its too much to quote lol)

And when me and sunbird and other posters made our point, she dug herself deeper and deeper. lol Some people really need to think before they comment at times lol

anyway...

Tribal culture have a much closer connection to spirituality as they have more unadulterated and purer customs imo. Giving them a holy book of any kind will not help them. They have their way, which is as valid as any.


Always use "so's your face" and "only on Tuesdays" in as many conversations possible

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Lev


Firedance Philosopher
Location: Vancouver BC Canada

Total posts: 79
Posted:This is bad news, all I see here is that the number of religious extremists are rising, it's like free radicals in the body of mother earth.

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MRC
SILVER Member since Jun 2008

MRC

Funky Blessings Daily


Total posts: 215
Posted:Religion is hardly the reason for any war. It's a scapegoat. ALL war essentially boils down to "hey, you have something I want...gimme" "No." "wanna fight it out?" "Sure!" We say this religious crap but really...Name a war that wasn't about stuff?

As for discordianism...Pastafarianism is more likely to gain my patronage, although I could always just worship pi...or the golden ratio...
On a serious level religion does only exist to fill a black hole of ignorance. It's a way of answering questions. I'd love to see all forms of it disappear. I don't think it serves any forward purpose in life that cannot be readily replaced by something devoid of it. However so long as no one is hurting anyone I'm not really one to make a big deal of it. Anyone who starts preaching atheism at the mention of belief is worse than what they claim intent on dismantling.


Also credit where it's due, jesus has no hand in saving lives it's the hard work of a lot of incredibly skilled medical professionals.


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simta
BRONZE Member since Apr 2006

simta

compfuzzled
Location: hastings

Total posts: 1182
Posted:Originally Posted By: MRCAnyone who starts preaching atheism at the mention of belief is worse than what they claim intent on dismantling

its a very emotive word you use there, by saying "preaching" atheism you are implying that the person doing it has "belief" in atheism rather than a lack of belief they are trying to convey to someone else.


"the geeks have got you" - Gayle

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MRC
SILVER Member since Jun 2008

MRC

Funky Blessings Daily


Total posts: 215
Posted:Originally Posted By: simtaOriginally Posted By: MRCAnyone who starts preaching atheism at the mention of belief is worse than what they claim intent on dismantling

its a very emotive word you use there, by saying "preaching" atheism you are implying that the person doing it has "belief" in atheism rather than a lack of belief they are trying to convey to someone else.

I agree.


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NathanielEverist
SILVER Member since Aug 2007

NathanielEverist

enthusiast
Location: Melbourne

Total posts: 315
Posted:Originally Posted By: MRCOriginally Posted By: simta[quote=MRC]Anyone who starts preaching atheism at the mention of belief is worse than what they claim intent on dismantling

its a very emotive word you use there, by saying "preaching" atheism you are implying that the person doing it has "belief" in atheism rather than a lack of belief they are trying to convey to someone else.

It is implied, and I agree that atheism is a belief. Atheism is a belief that god DOES NOT exist, not that he may or may not, they believe there is no god. And I agree that Atheism is only slightly more logical than belief in God, and being Atheist doesn't warrant the arrogance and intellectual egotism that often accompanies it.

Agnosticism, which is the belief (or maybe lack of) that we simply don't know. In fact, I might even say that Atheism is LESS logical than belief in God, as there is perhaps a possibility that God could be proved to exist, but I imagine it to be far more difficult to disprove his existence.

When considering your response, take note that I've distinguished belief in god from "religion", the two are seperate. My views on Religion are totally different.


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Mynci
BRONZE Member since Apr 2005

Mynci

Macaque of all trades
Location: wombling free...

Total posts: 8737
Posted:I just wrote quite a long post then lost it so I'm gonna try again.

My problem with religion / beief in a god (I see a difference too but only in that religion is church based whereas belief does not have to be) is this. people seem to think you have to make a decision either way and stick to it. This is wrong. people should have the stones to change their minds. Agnosticism annoys me, it's a cop out. believe or don't believe you can always change your mind. I see it as weak willed.
Atheists in my mind are VERY logical they have no proof so they don't believe. offer true proof and real scientists would change their mind and believe. belief for beliefs sake is no good thing. Humans ability to strive for answer is what drives us. Believing there is no god because there is no proof is the most logical thing in the world. believing there is no god when there is proof however would fit Nathaniels statement well. the problem with his statement is that science rarely PROVES anything, all it does is Disprove enough theories that those left are given more weight. we will never prove god exists, god would have to show themself. there is no proof of god so the scientific method states that for something to be so there needs to be evidence, religious belief is that believe and once your dead you will be proved right, which doesn't help the living.

Belief in a god / religion in my mind is a moral crutch for the mentally weak. You can live a life according to a religious teaching without belief in a god, every person should have the ability to make the correct moral judgement without thinking "what would Jesus/my god do" people should know what is right and wrong without fear of eternity burning in hell or other recriminations after death. If there truely was a God who judged why wait for people to die before judgiing them? he seemed to do a lot of judging before christ perhaps he's scared now.


A couple of balls short of a full cascade... or maybe a few cards short of a deck... we'll see how this all fans out.

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Mother_Natures_Son
SILVER Member since Aug 2007

Mother_Natures_Son

Rampant whirler.
Location: Geelong, Victoria, Australia!

Total posts: 2418
Posted:Originally Posted By: MynciAgnosticism annoys me, it's a cop out. believe or don't believe you can always change your mind. I see it as weak willed.


I have somewhat of an issue with this, being decidedly agnostic myself.

To explain I will start with this comment...
Originally Posted By: MynciAtheists in my mind are VERY logical they have no proof so they don't believe.

I disagree... There may well be rats living in my walls, but I have no proof of this until I crawl up into the roof and see... even if I hear scratching in the wall it could still be a possum.

You can't prove or disprove the existence of god and as such I have no solid belief either way.

My only beliefs are based on the principle of "if"

If there is a God, he probably doesn't care whether or not I worship him... if he is powerful enough to create me is he going to be weighed down by arrogance that requires me to worship him?

If there isn't then I have lived my life on earth in the most positive way I could and as such have no regrets... I have left my stamp on the earth relatively clean.

Why should I have to fit into a neat category? Is this not what is driving more people to become atheists or evangelists?


hug

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simta
BRONZE Member since Apr 2006

simta

compfuzzled
Location: hastings

Total posts: 1182
Posted:Originally Posted By: NathanielEverist Atheism is a belief that god DOES NOT exist

no it isn't. atheism is a position attained through lack of evidence presented for the existence of god.

a belief requires a "leap of faith". the ability to believe something even though there is no clear proof. atheism is simply stating there is no proof.


"the geeks have got you" - Gayle

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Mynci
BRONZE Member since Apr 2005

Mynci

Macaque of all trades
Location: wombling free...

Total posts: 8737
Posted:Originally Posted By: Mother_Natures_Son

I have somewhat of an issue with this, being decidedly agnostic myself.

To explain I will start with this comment...
Originally Posted By: MynciAtheists in my mind are VERY logical they have no proof so they don't believe.

I disagree... There may well be rats living in my walls, but I have no proof of this until I crawl up into the roof and see... even if I hear scratching in the wall it could still be a possum.

You can't prove or disprove the existence of god and as such I have no solid belief either way.

My only beliefs are based on the principle of "if"

If there is a God, he probably doesn't care whether or not I worship him... if he is powerful enough to create me is he going to be weighed down by arrogance that requires me to worship him?

If there isn't then I have lived my life on earth in the most positive way I could and as such have no regrets... I have left my stamp on the earth relatively clean.

Why should I have to fit into a neat category? Is this not what is driving more people to become atheists or evangelists?

see here is the difference - you hear scratching in the wall... there what you have is EVIDENCE of something, proof comes with seeing when you go up to the roof. If you don't hear scratching you don't believe you have rats in the wall. Therefore for your analogy to work you need to have heard god scratchinig in the wall to believe.

True you cannot prove gods existance either way, however there is no evidence of his existance, no "scratching in the wall" even the supposed words of god state nothing he has created that cannot be seen to have been formed a different way, therefore evidence of another way. the problem with gods are there is no starting point exept someones word. you can't see gravity but there is evidence of it.

The problem I have with agnosticism again is that in most other instances of life you have people who believe something or don't but religion has a term for people who don't know if they believe. It's not going to be proved / disproved so why sit on the fence? Atheist believe there is no God because there is no Evidence, no proof no founding for the belief there is other than peoples word. whereas everything religious people state as a proof of god can be disproved in some form. if evidence is found I would change my stance to believer. I have no problem with agnostics just agnosticism, it seems another name for atheism with no strength of belief or character. they have enough belief to not be atheist but not enough to stand up as religious, where does the maybe god does exist come from? only word of mouth.

I think people should be able to make decisions without religion effecting the outcome (docs post on religious beliefs in medicine) I find it awful that a person can be allowed to suffer / die when they could live based upon a religious belief.


A couple of balls short of a full cascade... or maybe a few cards short of a deck... we'll see how this all fans out.

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Mother_Natures_Son
SILVER Member since Aug 2007

Mother_Natures_Son

Rampant whirler.
Location: Geelong, Victoria, Australia!

Total posts: 2418
Posted:Well usually Atheism is taken to mean a belief that there is no deity...

Which is why we have Agnosticism to describe an in between...

But I think TECHNICALLY Atheism is actually having no belief in one god.

So you can be a deist and believe in several deities, as with the Greeks...

But in order to keep things more clear how about we use the dictionary definitions?

Originally Posted By: Dictionary.com
a-the-ism
noun
1. the doctrine or belief that there is no God.
2. disbelief in the existence of a supreme being or beings.

agnosticism

1. The doctrine that certainty about first principles or absolute truth is unattainable and that only perceptual phenomena are objects of exact knowledge.
2. The belief that there can be no proof either that God exists or that God does not exist.


And I think we can leave theism and deism in one category.


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Mother_Natures_Son
SILVER Member since Aug 2007

Mother_Natures_Son

Rampant whirler.
Location: Geelong, Victoria, Australia!

Total posts: 2418
Posted:Originally Posted By: Mynci

see here is the difference - you hear scratching in the wall... there what you have is EVIDENCE of something, proof comes with seeing when you go up to the roof. If you don't hear scratching you don't believe you have rats in the wall. Therefore for your analogy to work you need to have heard god scratchinig in the wall to believe.



The evidence is creation. Like it or not... something created the universe... you can say its god (A rat) or physics/science (a possum)

And by your argument if I am not going to be proven either way I should take a stance I don't necessarily believe in just so I am not sitting on the fence?

I am not going to take up on FAITH that there is no god just as much as I am not going to take up on faith that there is one!

There is no proof there is no god, so why should you believe that? Just to be the binary opposite of whatever else is out there? Sounds like conforming to the idealogy of the church to me... if you arent a child of God you are a child of Satan.


hug

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