Author Topic: "Three Decades Ago, America Lost Its Religion. Why?"  (Read 727 times)

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Offline Quetzalcoatl

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"Three Decades Ago, America Lost Its Religion. Why?"
« on: October 02, 2019, 02:17:56 PM »
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Three Decades Ago, America Lost Its Religion. Why?

“Not religious” has become a specific American identity—one that distinguishes secular, liberal whites from the conservative, evangelical right.

The idea of American exceptionalism has become so dubious that much of its modern usage is merely sarcastic. But when it comes to religion, Americans really are exceptional. No rich country prays nearly as much as the U.S, and no country that prays as much as the U.S. is nearly as rich.

...

Religion has lost its halo effect in the past three decades, not because science drove God from the public square, but rather because politics did. In the 21st century, “not religious” has become a specific American identity—one that distinguishes secular, liberal whites from the conservative, evangelical right.

I don't really know what to think about this. Sure, religion is an evil social influence, and its decline is a good thing. But if lots of these people rejected religion not because of skeptical thinking, but because of political tribalism, they would, I assume be easily taken in by various other irrational beliefs. Just like how it is in Europe, in which lots of people just weren't raised religiously, and otherwise don't really bother with religion, but are not critical thinkers, and buy into various stupid shit.
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Offline daniel1948

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Re: "Three Decades Ago, America Lost Its Religion. Why?"
« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2019, 04:25:43 PM »
Quote
Three Decades Ago, America Lost Its Religion. Why?

“Not religious” has become a specific American identity—one that distinguishes secular, liberal whites from the conservative, evangelical right.

The idea of American exceptionalism has become so dubious that much of its modern usage is merely sarcastic. But when it comes to religion, Americans really are exceptional. No rich country prays nearly as much as the U.S, and no country that prays as much as the U.S. is nearly as rich.

...

Religion has lost its halo effect in the past three decades, not because science drove God from the public square, but rather because politics did. In the 21st century, “not religious” has become a specific American identity—one that distinguishes secular, liberal whites from the conservative, evangelical right.

I don't really know what to think about this. Sure, religion is an evil social influence, and its decline is a good thing. But if lots of these people rejected religion not because of skeptical thinking, but because of political tribalism, they would, I assume be easily taken in by various other irrational beliefs. Just like how it is in Europe, in which lots of people just weren't raised religiously, and otherwise don't really bother with religion, but are not critical thinkers, and buy into various stupid shit.

And what you predict is what is happening: The rise of woo.
Daniel
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Offline Noisy Rhysling

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Re: "Three Decades Ago, America Lost Its Religion. Why?"
« Reply #2 on: October 02, 2019, 04:29:33 PM »
Americans, like everybody else, are generally only as religious as they have to be. These days they don't have to be very religious at all.
"Sunday's horoscope is note worthy because of its strange, sudden and wholly unpredictable and inexplicable occurrences, affecting all phases of life." Your Horoscope" L.A. Evening Herald Express, Sat, 12/06/41

Offline Ah.hell

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Re: "Three Decades Ago, America Lost Its Religion. Why?"
« Reply #3 on: October 02, 2019, 04:31:25 PM »
It does seem as though most folks just replace the woo of religion with other woo. 

I'd add caveat to what Noisy said, we are only as religious as we think it benefits us.  Strictly speaking, being religious was never required in the US, but from time to time and place to place it has clearly been an advantage.  Its not nearly as much of a clear an advantage anymore. 

Offline Noisy Rhysling

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Re: "Three Decades Ago, America Lost Its Religion. Why?"
« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2019, 07:13:31 PM »
It does seem as though most folks just replace the woo of religion with other woo. 

I'd add caveat to what Noisy said, we are only as religious as we think it benefits us.  Strictly speaking, being religious was never required in the US, but from time to time and place to place it has clearly been an advantage.  Its not nearly as much of a clear an advantage anymore.
In frontier days the family lived on a farm with little contact with anybody else. Wives perhaps felt this more than the rest of the family. So on Sunday they looked forward to going to church, not because of any religious drive but because they could socialize. They got to see new babies, and eye candidates for new family members. Pitch-in lunch after services extended the socializing time and made the church important in ways outside the sermons.
"Sunday's horoscope is note worthy because of its strange, sudden and wholly unpredictable and inexplicable occurrences, affecting all phases of life." Your Horoscope" L.A. Evening Herald Express, Sat, 12/06/41

Offline 2397

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Re: "Three Decades Ago, America Lost Its Religion. Why?"
« Reply #5 on: October 02, 2019, 07:37:29 PM »
Organized religion/woo seems to be the core of the problem. Someone will find a way to exploit the congregations. Would be nice if there could be more leaderless community events.

Although that'll happen at non-religious gatherings, too, where businesses claim ownership of people gathering at a given location and dictate what's allowed and what it'll cost them, even if the place was constructed using public funds.

Offline John Albert

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Re: "Three Decades Ago, America Lost Its Religion. Why?"
« Reply #6 on: October 03, 2019, 06:55:54 AM »
America hasn't lost its religion. Take a trip down to Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi, Alabama, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, Georgia, or the Carolinas, and canvass random people on the street. Folks will tell you all about their religion, in no uncertain terms. In rural America, Christianity is as strong as ever.

Atheists have always existed. The difference is, the 1960s-'70s counterculture influenced people with unconventional beliefs to come out and voice their opinions. For the first time in the electronic media age, American atheists had found their voice.

Nowadays the Internet enables people of all special interests to build communities of like-minded associates and supporters. Some have even achieved near celebrity status within those communities.   

Offline Noisy Rhysling

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Re: "Three Decades Ago, America Lost Its Religion. Why?"
« Reply #7 on: October 03, 2019, 09:31:56 AM »
America hasn't lost its religion. Take a trip down to Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi, Alabama, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, Georgia, or the Carolinas, and canvass random people on the street. Folks will tell you all about their religion, in no uncertain terms. In rural America, Christianity is as strong as ever.
Superficially, yes. Thousands of my relatives live in Missouri, Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, and they say what they're supposed to say.
"Sunday's horoscope is note worthy because of its strange, sudden and wholly unpredictable and inexplicable occurrences, affecting all phases of life." Your Horoscope" L.A. Evening Herald Express, Sat, 12/06/41

Offline John Albert

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Re: "Three Decades Ago, America Lost Its Religion. Why?"
« Reply #8 on: October 03, 2019, 05:42:40 PM »
America hasn't lost its religion. Take a trip down to Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi, Alabama, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, Georgia, or the Carolinas, and canvass random people on the street. Folks will tell you all about their religion, in no uncertain terms. In rural America, Christianity is as strong as ever.

Superficially, yes. Thousands of my relatives live in Missouri, Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, and they say what they're supposed to say.

I don't doubt that the majority are not just giving lip service, but truly believe. At least to the extent that their religious beliefs are the basis that informs their most important life decisions.

Offline Noisy Rhysling

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Re: "Three Decades Ago, America Lost Its Religion. Why?"
« Reply #9 on: October 03, 2019, 06:06:40 PM »
America hasn't lost its religion. Take a trip down to Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi, Alabama, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, Georgia, or the Carolinas, and canvass random people on the street. Folks will tell you all about their religion, in no uncertain terms. In rural America, Christianity is as strong as ever.

Superficially, yes. Thousands of my relatives live in Missouri, Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, and they say what they're supposed to say.

I don't doubt that the majority are not just giving lip service, but truly believe. At least to the extent that their religious beliefs are the basis that informs their most important life decisions.
My cousins do what pleases them and say that it's God's will. The hypocrisy is limitless.
"Sunday's horoscope is note worthy because of its strange, sudden and wholly unpredictable and inexplicable occurrences, affecting all phases of life." Your Horoscope" L.A. Evening Herald Express, Sat, 12/06/41

Offline John Albert

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Re: "Three Decades Ago, America Lost Its Religion. Why?"
« Reply #10 on: October 03, 2019, 11:15:47 PM »
But do they actually believe it? I wouldn't doubt they sincerely do.

Sure it looks hypocritical to outsiders like you and me, but it's very easy to keep faith in a moral system that lets you off the hook limitless times in exchange for doing nothing more than believing.

Think of it as an ideological investment in your own eternal innocence!

Offline Noisy Rhysling

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Re: "Three Decades Ago, America Lost Its Religion. Why?"
« Reply #11 on: October 04, 2019, 07:59:34 AM »
But do they actually believe it? I wouldn't doubt they sincerely do.

Sure it looks hypocritical to outsiders like you and me, but it's very easy to keep faith in a moral system that lets you off the hook limitless times in exchange for doing nothing more than believing.

Think of it as an ideological investment in your own eternal innocence!
They believe what is convenient, for the most part. There are True Believers in the mob, but they're fringers in a society of fringers.
"Sunday's horoscope is note worthy because of its strange, sudden and wholly unpredictable and inexplicable occurrences, affecting all phases of life." Your Horoscope" L.A. Evening Herald Express, Sat, 12/06/41

Offline mindme

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Re: "Three Decades Ago, America Lost Its Religion. Why?"
« Reply #12 on: October 04, 2019, 11:17:29 AM »
Americans, like everybody else, are generally only as religious as they have to be. These days they don't have to be very religious at all.

A great way to put it.
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Offline Noisy Rhysling

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Re: "Three Decades Ago, America Lost Its Religion. Why?"
« Reply #13 on: October 04, 2019, 12:19:25 PM »
Americans, like everybody else, are generally only as religious as they have to be. These days they don't have to be very religious at all.

A great way to put it.
"T'was ever thus."
"Sunday's horoscope is note worthy because of its strange, sudden and wholly unpredictable and inexplicable occurrences, affecting all phases of life." Your Horoscope" L.A. Evening Herald Express, Sat, 12/06/41

Offline John Albert

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Re: "Three Decades Ago, America Lost Its Religion. Why?"
« Reply #14 on: October 04, 2019, 06:55:08 PM »
I dunno man, if a lifetime of skepticism has taught me anything, it's not to underestimate the magnitude and absurdity of the bullshit that some people are willing to believe.

 

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