15th February 2012

“It is no longer possible to proclaim, as the Gallup Poll announced fifty years ago: 'Nearly all Americans believe in God.'”

Ronald Aronson

13 Responses to “15th February 2012”

  1. R J Says:

    oh, brother .

  2. jhm Says:

    I disagree; it is entirely possible to proclaim this, and I’ve heard variations of it as recently as this year. The point is that someone who believes in unsubstantiated proclamations that have no basis in reality is hardly likely to feel constrained from defending his beliefs by making proclamations of his own which do have.

  3. Sinjin Smythe Says:

    Gallup has done several articles of the last several decades where they shared their polling data and attempted to draw some conclusions (See http://www.gallup.com/poll/103459/questions-answers-about-americans-religion.aspx for example)

    Note: 61% (of those polled said religion is) losing its influence, with the rest volunteering that it was staying the same or not giving an answer.

    The priest has made an observation that “While many profess to be on the team, fewer and fewer show up for practice”.

    There have also been several studies about the depth of devotion among the self proclaimed faithful where a category has been identified as “Nones”: These are the people that don’t identify atheist or agnostic, but simply don’t acknowledge religion. Some attend church, but most just ignore religion. (http://www.usatoday.com/news/religion/2009-03-09-aris-survey-nones_N.htm)

    Clearly religion has slipped in its influence on the last 50 years significantly and continues its decline at an ever increasing rate. It also isn’t just the clergy scandals and murderous fundamentalists that are driving people away from faith. It is also the faith itself: People have been amassing a enormous list of biblical contradictions that just don’t make sense. It turns oput that the bible/torah/koran is faith’s worst enemy.

    From the bibles acceptance of slavery, to its misguided promotion of paternalism, its guidance to kill the men, women, and children of the non-believers and the whole avalanche of immature egocentric ramblings, the bible is being revealed for the nonsensical garbage that it actually is.

    As more and more people are enlighted academically fewer can reconcile a life of faith. That it at the heart of the mad panic among religious organizations to redefine themselves for a more modern audience.

    Realistically the wave of people walking away from religion has already washed over wholesale chunks of Northern Europe and Scandanavia and is spreading like wildfire both westward and to the far east.

    Only among the least educated populations on the planet do you presently find growth in religiosity and that is growing a stigma among the faithful who are beginning to view religiosity as common among the stupid. It is interesting to note that religiosity is most common in the most poorly educated states in the US.

    Just look at the laughable attempt to ride the wave of popularity that Tim Tebow tried to incite. That floundered amid snide remarks, jokes, and a widely held concensus that this is just another dumb athlete acting like a fool.

    As the world’s population matures socially there is a coming convergence that will negate religion to the ash heap along side the Egyptian amulet, the Voodoo doll, the shrunken head, the incense, the phallic hats and the fancy robes, the totem pole, the cross (very similar to the totem pole), and the variety of ornaments left over from mankind’s childhood.

  4. Capt'Z Says:

    Thanks for the read, Sinjin. The polling data suggests support for religion is looking a bit squidgy and the number of non-religious is somewhat higher than I’d thought. Good news. I’m in the sampling trade so I’d be curious to know how well stratified that sample was and if the results were weighted by the relevant demographic factors. I bet you’d see very different pictures if you cut across the data by age, gender, geography political affiliation. I’d love to see one of these where they get proportional responses by state. I bet we’d see more cracks in the “christian nation” dike.

  5. Jeff Says:

    Bang on, Mr. Smythe. Too bad we’re a bit too soon to see it happen. Just as the poor will always be with us, so too will the weak minded. I’ll borrow from the West Wing – EDUCATION IS THE SILVER BULLET!! While social maturity is going to lead to greater levels of education around the world, the churches, asrams and masques will always have a following. On the other hand, they will be increasingly ignored when it comes to social policy.

  6. Sinjin Smythe Says:

    Cap’n George Gallup’s struggles with faith and polling are an interesting subject unto itself. The cracks in the dike are many and need to be better understood by more people for sure. This alone has been having an increasing effect upon the dedication of the faithful for many years.

    Thanx Jeff! Education is the silver bullet for sure. As we develop socially and incorporate more education into our shared experience, the world’s religions are mitigated. Hence the rise in fundamentalist violence. If they can burn the books and schools, blow up the hospitals and police stations, they can regain control, so we must endeavor to press onward.

    I’d be for free and open Internet and liken it to the highway system which aided in increasing the standard of living for the masses with the improvements to commerce earlier in the last century.

    More information to the people!

  7. Jeff Says:

    Here in the Good ‘Ole US of A, it’s why the right wants to kill the public school system – it isn’t producing the good little mind clones that fill the pews and the coffers, as well as the drones to fill the factories, retailers, fast food joints, all at minimum wages that buy 1/2 of what they used to, without asking “Why?”

    Education is the silver bullet indeed – so we better make sure the gun is loaded!

  8. Xhim Says:

    Aronson is definitely correct. The question is: was it really that different in the 50’s? Old codger that I am, I remember in HS discussing divergent viewpoints and regularly hearing “I’m no atheist, but….” Now people no longer feel compelled to begin with that disclaimer.

    That’s not entirely good news for you guys, however. I recently ran across someone using the high incidence of incarceration in the US as compared to Japan as evidence that, since the US is “the most religious country in the world” this proves that religion is bad for you. But if the incarceration rate has increased as religion has decreased that argument loses force. The above-mentioned writer also admitted that, altho he called Japan one of the most atheistic counties, most Japanese are still “on the books” as belonging to some religion, even the they patently do not practice it. And that is precisely the situation in the US.

    Also, the”silver bullet:” I agree, education is where it’s at. But that’s a 2-edged sword. In HS & college i regularly heard “Aaah, you just believe everything you learned in Sunday School.” This was not entirely incorrect. But now both believers and non-believers seem to accept unquestioningly what they hear from proper “authorities” and few people learn to, well, think.

    Interesting side-note on education: I spent most of my adult life in Germany, definitely a post Christian society. Church attendance hovers at about 3-4%. But those who are active in church are largely educated professional people. Mine happened to be the exceptional blue-collar church. Regularly pastors would ask us how we managed to attract so many working people. I, on the other hand, would have been happy to trade for a few doctors and lawyers!!

    BTW, had a great time in Taiwan. Do you know they worship idols there?

  9. Sinjin Smythe Says:

    There you go again Xhim,

    “That’s not entirely good news for you guys, however. I recently ran across someone using the high incidence of incarceration in the US…if the incarceration rate has increased as religion has decreased that argument loses force.”

    Wait a minute why? There are still an overwheming majority of religious people in this country, even given the decline. There is no linear relationship between religious and nonreligious criminals. Nearly all convicted criminals are religious. I’d fully expect that majority to exist until long after religion became a minority issue in the free society, and then to see a gradual decline in prison populations as the incarcerated past away. Ahteist typically don’t commit crimes, or at least it is the rarest thing.

    “The above-mentioned writer also admitted that, altho he called Japan one of the most atheistic counties, most Japanese are still “on the books” as belonging to some religion, even the they patently do not practice it. And that is precisely the situation in the US.”

    And the point being? I mean you site no source for what you say, you never do, but accepting what you say is true.

    “Also, the”silver bullet:” I agree, education is where it’s at. But that’s a 2-edged sword. In HS & college i regularly heard “Aaah, you just believe everything you learned in Sunday School.” This was not entirely incorrect. But now both believers and non-believers seem to accept unquestioningly what they hear from proper “authorities” and few people learn to, well, think.”

    So we are to give some sort of credence to simpletons like Ken Ham and his Creationist nonsense?

    Xhim you are odd!

  10. Xhim Says:

    Sinjin, most people i talk to don’t critically examine the commercials they watch if they’re entertaining.

  11. Sinjin Smythe Says:

    Xhim,

    Please don’t make the mistake of thinking that I believe you and most people you talk to are even capable of critical examination.

    Your secret is safe with me!

  12. reetBob Says:

    Sinjin, play nice.

    Xhim is clearly capable of critical examination.

  13. R J Says:

    hey XHIM !!!!

    welcome back !! hope you had good trip !!