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Thread: EAC: We're doing a good job!

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    EAC: We're doing a good job!

    https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/ar...ion-us/598843/

    According to this article, we're growing and doing a better job at keeping our adherents! Next stop we conquer the world!

    I note with interest that he attributes the rise of atheism to the backlash of the Christian Right take over of the Republican Party. Our founders warned that mixing politics with religion would be bad for both and they were right.

    SLD

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    Some of us can recall a time in america when the term "conservative" meant something quite different than what that term indicates these days.

    When you say "radical right" today, I think of these moneymaking ventures by fellows like Pat Robertson and others who are trying to take the Republican Party away from the Republican Party, and make a religious organization out of it. If that ever happens, kiss politics goodbye.

    [Barry Goldwater]

    Can any of us refute the wisdom of Madison and the other framers? Can anyone look at the carnage in Iran, the bloodshed in Northern Ireland or the bombs bursting in Lebanon and yet question the dangers of injecting religious issues into the affairs of state?

    [Barry Goldwater]

    The religious factions will go on imposing their will on others unless the decent people connected to them recognize that religion has no place in public policy. They must learn to make their views known without trying to make their views the only alternatives. The great decisions of Government cannot be dictated by the concerns of religious factions. This was true in the days of Madison, and it is just as true today.

    We have succeeded for 205 years in keeping the affairs of state separate from the uncompromising idealism of religious groups and we mustn't stop now. To retreat from that separation would violate the principles of conservatism and the values upon which the framers built this democratic republic.

    [Barry Goldwater]

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    Administrator lpetrich's Avatar
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    Titled link: How America Lost Its Religion - The Atlantic - “Not religious” has become a specific American identity—one that distinguishes secular, liberal whites from the conservative, evangelical right.
    According to Christian Smith, a sociology and religion professor at the University of Notre Dame, America’s nonreligious lurch has mostly been the result of three historical events: the association of the Republican Party with the Christian right, the end of the Cold War, and 9/11.
    The Religious Right had no challenge with whatever might be called a Religious Left. No "The Bible tells us how to go to heaven, not how the heavens go!" about creationism or "God has given us sovereignty over our bodies, and no one can take it away from us!" about abortion.

    The 9/11 attacks were the most prominent of Islamist attacks -- and Islamists were fighting for their religion.

    The article also pointed to distrust of such established institutions as banks and Congress and the police, saying that "the church" is going along with them. Also capitalism making one's personal affairs more precarious and the Internet making alternatives much more readily available. Clark Adams of Internet Infidels pointed out the "degraying of freethought" in the mid 2000's. Also people marrying later and getting divorced more.
    The rise of the nones shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, the religious identity that seems to be doing the best job at both retaining old members and attracting new ones is the newfangled American religion of Nothing Much at All.
    Exodus: Why Americans are Leaving Religion—and Why They’re Unlikely to Come Back
    One important reason why the unaffiliated are experiencing rising retention rates is because younger Americans raised in nonreligious homes are less apt to join a religious tradition or denomination than young adults in previous eras. About three-quarters (74%) of Americans under the age of 50 who were raised nonreligious have maintained their lack of religious identity in adulthood. In contrast, only about half (49%) of Americans age 50 or older who were raised unaffiliated still identify that way.

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    Fair dinkum thinkum bilby's Avatar
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    People who grow up without Christianity rarely become Christians as adults. Those who do are overwhelmingly people who had Christianity as their community background, if not as their home background.

    Essentially, if the basic principles of Christianity are not encountered as an infant, the probability that a person will choose that religion as an adult is tiny.

    We can see this by looking at converts to Christianity in nations where another religion is dominant. Such converts are like hen's teeth.

    The same is true of religions other than Christianity, of course. Essentially there's a local religion that people raised in secular homes fall into for societal reasons; And all other religions barely get a look-in.

    There are a handful of well known examples of people who convert to a different religion than that of their society (Sinead O'Connor springs to mind); But these events are well known because they are so rare and unusual, not because they are common.

    If there were a religion which held some core of truth to its tenets, one would expect that adults learning of that religion for the first time might convert in large numbers; But we never see this, except in the extreme case where the incoming religion has violence and cultural domination to back it up.

    It's a vanishingly rare thing for an educated adult to decide to convert to a religion that they encounter for the first time as an adult. It's even rarer for this to occur where the individual in question started from a non religious position.

    Once a developed society has a certain proportion of 'nones', religiosity collapses very rapidly indeed, as we saw in Europe in the second half of the twentieth century, and are seeing in North America today.

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    Administrator lpetrich's Avatar
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    Exodus: Why Americans are Leaving Religion—and Why They’re Unlikely to Come Back
    mong the reasons Americans identified as important motivations in leaving their childhood religion are: they stopped believing in the religion’s teachings (60%), their family was never that religious when they were growing up (32%), and their experience of negative religious teachings about or treatment of gay and lesbian people (29%).

    Fewer than one in five Americans who left their childhood religion point to the clergy sexual-abuse scandal (19%), a traumatic event in their life (18%), or their congregation becoming too focused on politics (16%) as an important reason for disaffiliating.

    Among those who left their childhood religion, women are twice as likely as men to say negative religious teachings about or treatment of gay and lesbian individuals was a major reason they chose to leave their religion (40% vs. 20%, respectively). Women are also about twice as likely as men to cite the clergy sexual-abuse scandal as an important reason they left their childhood faith (26% vs. 13%, respectively).

    Young adults (age 18 to 29) who left their childhood religion are about three times more likely than seniors (age 65 and older) to say negative religious teachings about and treatment of the gay and lesbian community was a primary reason for leaving their childhood faith (39% vs 12%, respectively). Young adults are also more likely than seniors to say being raised in a family that was not that religious was a major reason they no longer affiliate with a religion (36% vs. 23%, respectively).

    Notably, those who were raised Catholic are more likely than those raised in any other religion to cite negative religious treatment of gay and lesbian people (39% vs. 29%, respectively) and the clergy sexual-abuse scandal (32% vs. 19%, respectively) as primary reasons they left the Church.

    Most Americans who have left a religious tradition do not identify a particular negative experience or incident as the catalyst. Relatively few Americans who are now unaffiliated report their last experience in a church or house of worship was negative. In fact, more than two-thirds (68%) of unaffiliated Americans say their last time attending a religious service, not including a wedding or funeral service, was primarily positive. Only one in five (20%) unaffiliated Americans say their last visit to a religious congregation was mostly negative.
    So women are more turned off than men about homophobia and pedophile Catholic priests. Though about the latter scandal, the Church hierarchy has greatly added to it with its coverups. That does not look good for the Church as a moral voice.

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    Administrator lpetrich's Avatar
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    Another reason is divorce. "... the survey finds Americans who were raised by divorced parents are more likely than children whose parents were married during most of their formative years to be religiously unaffiliated (35% vs. 23% respectively)."

    Also religiously mixed households. "Americans raised in mixed religious households—where parents identified with different religious traditions—are more likely to identify as unaffiliated than those raised in households where parents shared the same faith (31% vs. 22%, respectively)."

    Causing problems?
    About two-thirds (66%) of unaffiliated Americans agree “religion causes more problems in society than it solves.” In contrast, a majority of white evangelical Protestants (78%), black Protestants (74%), white mainline Protestants (72%), and Catholics (66%) disagree. Members of non-Christian religions are closely divided on this question (48% agree, 49% disagree).
    Providing a moral foundation?
    Approximately two-thirds (66%) of unaffiliated Americans believe it is not important for children to be brought up in a religion so they can learn good values. Overwhelming numbers of religious Americans, including white evangelical Protestants (92%), black Protestants (86%), Catholics (81%), white mainline Protestants (78%), and members of non-Christian religions (59%) believe religion is important in instilling good values in children.
    Only 7% of unaffiliated people have been searching for a religious community that might be suitable for them.
    More than seven in ten (72%) unaffiliated Americans say that in their day-to-day life, they do not spend much time thinking about God or religion. By contrast, a majority (54%) of Americans, including majorities of black Protestants (81%), white evangelical Protestants (80%), Catholics (54%), and white mainline Protestants (52%), disagree. Members of non-Christian religions are roughly divided on this question (51% agree, 49% disagree).
    I suspect that most people here don't spend much time on that subject. I don't.

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    The nature of God?
    A majority of unaffiliated Americans say God is either a person with whom people can have a relationship (22%) or an impersonal force (37%). Only one-third (33%) of religiously unaffiliated Americans say they do not believe in God. Strong majorities of Americans who belong to the major Christian religious traditions hold a personal conception of God. Compared to Christians, Americans who identify with a non-Christian tradition are significantly less likely to hold a personal conception of God (33%) and are more likely to say God is an impersonal force in the universe (49%).
    Impersonal force - sort of like the Star Wars Force. Non-Xians about God: 40% personal, 60% impersonal. Unaffiliated about God: 37% personal, 63% impersonal.

    They tend to be more doubtful about the existence of that sort of being, and less likely to think that belief in a god is necessary to make one moral.

    Three subgroups:
    • Rejectionists - 58%
    • Apatheists - 22%
    • Unattached believers - 18%

    "More than one-third of Apatheists (38%) and Rejectionists (35%) are under the age of 30, compared to fewer than one-quarter (24%) of Unattached Believers."

    Breaking down by race and ethnicity, whites have the most rejectionists and fewest unattached believers, while blacks have the other way around. Hispanics and mixed-race have the same proportions in all.
    Unattached Believers also stand out because they are significantly more likely than Rejectionists or Apatheists to live in the South (53% vs. 29% and 28%, respectively).

    The gender ratio also varies considerably between the groups as well. Six in ten (60%) Apatheists and a majority (56%) of Rejectionists are men. In contrast, nearly six in ten (58%) Unattached Believers are women.
    Turning to education, rejectionists were the most likely to have a college degree, and unattached believers the most likely to have a high school degree or less. Some college was about the same, and apatheists were in the middle.
    Conceptions of God vary widely between the unaffiliated subgroups. Unattached Believers are far more likely than Apatheists or Rejectionists to hold a personal view of God (54% vs. 21% and 13%, respectively). Nearly half (47%) of Rejectionists say they do not believe in God, while fewer than one-quarter (22%) of Apatheists and just six percent of Unattached Believers say the same.
    It's interesting that those who are detached from Xianity, and likely also Judaism and Islam, are likely to believe in an impersonal sort of "God", if they think that there is any such thing at all.

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    Administrator lpetrich's Avatar
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    Rejectionists are the least likely to believe that one needs some religion to be moral and that one should raise one's children in some religion. Apatheists tend to believe a little more than one needs religion to be moral and much more that one needs to raise one's children in some religion. Unattached believers are high in both.
    The survey finds little evidence of a separate mode of “spirituality” distinct from “religiosity,” either among religious or religiously unaffiliated Americans.
    Not much of being "spiritual but not religious".

    Though religiously unaffiliated Americans are growing, they are not voting as much as the rest of the population - typically only 60% of the overall rate.
    The political preferences of religiously unaffiliated Americans depart notably from those of most other religious groups. A plurality (48%) of religiously unaffiliated Americans are politically independent. One-third of the unaffiliated (33%) are Democrats and only 12% identify as Republican. Although the religiously unaffiliated are more likely to identify as independent than Democratic, they are about twice as likely to be politically liberal (41%) as they are to be conservative (21%). Three in ten (30%) are politically moderate.
    Then the 2016 election. The unaffiliated were not following it as closely as (say) evangelical Protestants were.

    However, they were the least likely to think that a president must have strong religious beliefs, even less than believers in non-Xian religions. So it was:
    • White evangelical Protestants, black Protestants
    • Hispanic Catholics
    • White Catholics, white mainline Protestants
    • Non-Xians
    • Unaffiliated

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    Administrator lpetrich's Avatar
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    Back to that Atlantic article:
    Although it would be wrong to call Democrats a secular party (older black voters are highly religious and dependably vote Democratic), the left today has a higher share of religiously unaffiliated voters than anytime in modern history. At the same time, the average religiosity of white Christian Republicans has gone up, according to Robert P. Jones, the CEO of the polling firm PRRI and the author of The End of White Christian America. Evangelicals feel so embattled that they’ve turned to a deeply immoral and authoritarian champion to protect them—even if it means rendering unto an American Caesar whatever the hell he wants. American politics is at risk of becoming a war of religiosity versus secularism by proxy, where both sides see the other as a catastrophic political force that must be destroyed at all costs.
    As if that is not already happening. Even if Democrats start bragging about how they are only following God's orders and how they hate everything and everybody but God, the Right would still hate them.

    The author then gets into the supposed problems of lack of religion.
    Making friends as an adult without a weekly congregation is hard. Establishing a weekend routine to soothe Sunday-afternoon nerves is hard. Reconciling the overwhelming sense of life’s importance with the universe’s ostensible indifference to human suffering is hard.

    Although belief in God is no panacea for these problems, religion is more than a theism. It is a bundle: a theory of the world, a community, a social identity, a means of finding peace and purpose, and a weekly routine. Those, like me, who have largely rejected this package deal, often find themselves shopping à la carte for meaning, community, and routine to fill a faith-shaped void. Their politics is a religion. Their work is a religion. Their spin class is a church. And not looking at their phone for several consecutive hours is a Sabbath.

    American nones may well build successful secular systems of belief, purpose, and community. But imagine what a devout believer might think: Millions of Americans have abandoned religion, only to re-create it everywhere they look.
    I suggest looking at Europe for experience with a post-religion society.

    Steve Bruce notes in "God is Dead: Secularization in the West" that by religiosity, one finds: remote areas: low, typical rural areas: high, urban areas: low. This is even though it's typically easier to find a religious organization that fits than in a rural area. But there are many more social outlets in urban areas than in rural areas, and in very remote areas, they could be too distant from heavily populated areas to have any houses of worship.

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    Sapere aude Politesse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SLD View Post
    https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/ar...ion-us/598843/

    According to this article, we're growing and doing a better job at keeping our adherents! Next stop we conquer the world!

    I note with interest that he attributes the rise of atheism to the backlash of the Christian Right take over of the Republican Party. Our founders warned that mixing politics with religion would be bad for both and they were right.

    SLD
    Indeed. Fanatic atheism is not the reason I am a committed secularist; religious hierarchies are poison to civil governance and vice versa.

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