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General Discussions => Religion / Philosophy Talk => Topic started by: Quetzalcoatl on October 02, 2019, 02:17:56 PM

Title: "Three Decades Ago, America Lost Its Religion. Why?"
Post by: Quetzalcoatl on October 02, 2019, 02:17:56 PM
Quote
Three Decades Ago, America Lost Its Religion. Why? (https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/09/atheism-fastest-growing-religion-us/598843/)

“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.
Title: Re: "Three Decades Ago, America Lost Its Religion. Why?"
Post by: daniel1948 on October 02, 2019, 04:25:43 PM
Quote
Three Decades Ago, America Lost Its Religion. Why? (https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/09/atheism-fastest-growing-religion-us/598843/)

“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.
Title: Re: "Three Decades Ago, America Lost Its Religion. Why?"
Post by: Noisy Rhysling 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.
Title: Re: "Three Decades Ago, America Lost Its Religion. Why?"
Post by: Ah.hell 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. 
Title: Re: "Three Decades Ago, America Lost Its Religion. Why?"
Post by: Noisy Rhysling 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.
Title: Re: "Three Decades Ago, America Lost Its Religion. Why?"
Post by: 2397 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.
Title: Re: "Three Decades Ago, America Lost Its Religion. Why?"
Post by: John Albert 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.   
Title: Re: "Three Decades Ago, America Lost Its Religion. Why?"
Post by: Noisy Rhysling 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.
Title: Re: "Three Decades Ago, America Lost Its Religion. Why?"
Post by: John Albert 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.
Title: Re: "Three Decades Ago, America Lost Its Religion. Why?"
Post by: Noisy Rhysling 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.
Title: Re: "Three Decades Ago, America Lost Its Religion. Why?"
Post by: John Albert 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!
Title: Re: "Three Decades Ago, America Lost Its Religion. Why?"
Post by: Noisy Rhysling 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.
Title: Re: "Three Decades Ago, America Lost Its Religion. Why?"
Post by: mindme 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.
Title: Re: "Three Decades Ago, America Lost Its Religion. Why?"
Post by: Noisy Rhysling 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."
Title: Re: "Three Decades Ago, America Lost Its Religion. Why?"
Post by: John Albert 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.
Title: Re: "Three Decades Ago, America Lost Its Religion. Why?"
Post by: Shibboleth on October 07, 2019, 02:34:13 PM
Consider this, consider this. The hint of the century. Consider this The slip that brought me to my knees failed. What if all these fantasies come flailing around.


Now I've said too much.
Title: Re: "Three Decades Ago, America Lost Its Religion. Why?"
Post by: gebobs on October 09, 2019, 11:37:50 AM
Consider this, consider this. The hint of the century. Consider this The slip that brought me to my knees failed. What if all these fantasies come flailing around.


Now I've said too much.

Ah...Mike Stipe, my neighbor here in Athens. Lives a few doors down. Never see him. But I still call him Mike. Or Mickey. El Stiperino when I'm not into the whole brevity thing.
Title: Re: "Three Decades Ago, America Lost Its Religion. Why?"
Post by: seamas on October 09, 2019, 12:37:57 PM
I think there was always a little BS about the USA always being so tremendously religious and "god fearing".

The more you look at history, the more you see ebbs and flows and particular regional booms.
There were several "great awakening" style revivals, which merely point to there being a previous lull.

Title: Re: "Three Decades Ago, America Lost Its Religion. Why?"
Post by: Noisy Rhysling on October 09, 2019, 12:40:15 PM
I think there was always a little BS about the USA always being so tremendously religious and "god fearing".
The vast majority of Americans are no more religious than they need to be.
Title: Re: "Three Decades Ago, America Lost Its Religion. Why?"
Post by: John Albert on October 11, 2019, 09:49:03 AM
The vast majority of Americans are no more religious than they need to be.

What does that really mean, though?

However religious a person "needs to be" is largely a matter of opinion. By law, nobody in the USA needs to be religious at all.

The main problem with religion in America is that a minority of Americans are so religious that they're trying to make it necessary for all Americans to be religious.

Some more concrete information on the religiosity of Americans is provided by the Religious Landscape Study (RLS) (https://www.pewforum.org/religious-landscape-study/), a 2014 Pew Poll examining Americans' religious and spiritual beliefs.
Title: Re: "Three Decades Ago, America Lost Its Religion. Why?"
Post by: Noisy Rhysling on October 11, 2019, 11:35:07 AM
The vast majority of Americans are no more religious than they need to be.

What does that really mean, though?

It means that when nobody is looking they're every bit as religious as I am.
Title: Re: "Three Decades Ago, America Lost Its Religion. Why?"
Post by: Ah.hell on October 11, 2019, 12:36:33 PM
The vast majority of Americans are no more religious than they need to be.

What does that really mean, though?

It means that when nobody is looking they're every bit as religious as I am.
You are almost certainly wrong then.  Many folks are in fact actually religious.  Perhaps you are psychic and can read there minds, but I have no reason to doubt that some folks actually believe.
Title: Re: "Three Decades Ago, America Lost Its Religion. Why?"
Post by: Noisy Rhysling on October 11, 2019, 01:07:31 PM
The vast majority of Americans are no more religious than they need to be.

What does that really mean, though?

It means that when nobody is looking they're every bit as religious as I am.
You are almost certainly wrong then.  Many folks are in fact actually religious.  Perhaps you are psychic and can read there minds, but I have no reason to doubt that some folks actually believe.
And I have no reason to believe they believe. You're as psychic as I am in this case.
Title: Re: "Three Decades Ago, America Lost Its Religion. Why?"
Post by: John Albert on October 11, 2019, 05:43:34 PM
The vast majority of Americans are no more religious than they need to be.

What does that really mean, though?

It means that when nobody is looking they're every bit as religious as I am.

You are almost certainly wrong then.  Many folks are in fact actually religious.  Perhaps you are psychic and can read there minds, but I have no reason to doubt that some folks actually believe.

And I have no reason to believe they believe. You're as psychic as I am in this case.

So on no basis whatsoever, you're just assuming most Americans are lying about religion, and everyone's beliefs actually align with your own?

That's an extraordinary claim for which you have zero evidence.
Title: Re: "Three Decades Ago, America Lost Its Religion. Why?"
Post by: Noisy Rhysling on October 11, 2019, 07:03:08 PM
The vast majority of Americans are no more religious than they need to be.

What does that really mean, though?

It means that when nobody is looking they're every bit as religious as I am.

You are almost certainly wrong then.  Many folks are in fact actually religious.  Perhaps you are psychic and can read there minds, but I have no reason to doubt that some folks actually believe.

And I have no reason to believe they believe. You're as psychic as I am in this case.

So on no basis whatsoever, you're just assuming most Americans are lying about religion, and everyone's beliefs actually align with your own?

That's an extraordinary claim for which you have zero evidence.
As is your obverse claim.
Title: Re: "Three Decades Ago, America Lost Its Religion. Why?"
Post by: John Albert on October 12, 2019, 10:17:40 PM
There's plenty of evidence for my "obverse claim." Click the link in my above post and read the poll data.
Title: Re: "Three Decades Ago, America Lost Its Religion. Why?"
Post by: Quetzalcoatl on October 13, 2019, 11:21:43 AM
I'm not really sure if Noisy Rhysling actually believes what he seems to argue here. Yes, societal pressure might make people respond differently about their religiousity than what they actually believe. There are probably more non-believers in Iran than what official statistics would suggest. Conversely, the people of China is probably more religious than what official statistics suggest.

But there is also no doubt that humans are by nature magical thinkers, and religion being a subset of magical thinking, there is very good reason to believe that there are billions of honestly religiously believing people around the world.
Title: Re: "Three Decades Ago, America Lost Its Religion. Why?"
Post by: Noisy Rhysling on October 13, 2019, 12:59:08 PM
I'm not really sure if Noisy Rhysling actually believes what he seems to argue here.
Prove that.
Title: Re: "Three Decades Ago, America Lost Its Religion. Why?"
Post by: The Latinist on October 13, 2019, 03:03:56 PM
I'm not really sure if Noisy Rhysling actually believes what he seems to argue here.
Prove that.

Prove that he's not sure?
Title: Re: "Three Decades Ago, America Lost Its Religion. Why?"
Post by: Noisy Rhysling on October 13, 2019, 03:05:14 PM
I'm not really sure if Noisy Rhysling actually believes what he seems to argue here.
Prove that.

Prove that he's not sure?
Quibble.
Title: Re: "Three Decades Ago, America Lost Its Religion. Why?"
Post by: John Albert on October 14, 2019, 12:38:20 AM
There's no point in continuing this. It's like arguing with a solipsist.