Pouring gasoline on the fire

I deliberately placed this article last for fear that my readers would get caught up in the discussion, and fail to read the other articles. Much like a teenage boy ready to set gasoline on fire, I'm eagerly anticipating the flare up, but simultaneously hoping I don't get burned too badly.

I was very much surprised to find an article in the USA Today entitled Science and religion aren't friends The summary gloss says, "One relies on truth; the other relies on hope and obfuscation. Trying to equate the two, or giving religion undue authority, does the world no good." The reason I was surprised is because this blatantly atheist article was published in a country where 83% of the people are religious. (Pew report) As expected, some readers are already writing in to take umbrage with the thesis of the article.

I do NOT want this discussion to deteriorate in the typical donnybrook about whether or not God exists. This means I will not publish any comments that attempt to defend or detract from either argument. (You are welcome to indicate whether you are a believer or non-believer, but that is all.) What I DO want to know is whether or not you think the United States is becoming more atheist than it was before. I am looking for evidence (even anecdotal) of a trend in one direction or another. Please do not include whether you think that is a good thing or a bad thing. I'm sure that will be evident by the tone of your comments.

My goal is to instigate an interesting and intellectual discourse on the theological course of America. I will do my best to prevent this from spiraling out of control.

Country going atheist


I was very much surprised to find an article in the USA Today entitled Science and religion aren't friends The summary gloss says, "One relies on truth; the other relies on hope and obfuscation. Trying to equate the two, or giving religion undue authority, does the world no good."


MMMMM, I had to read that over and over again.  I purposely did not read the article to try to answer your question truthfully.  There are two answers to that question.  The easy answer is, it depends on where you live as to if you think the country is going more atheist or "religious."  I do think like minded people tend to "end up" in the same area.  Years ago when we moved out here we were estatic to see all the "John Coon" signs poping up, and recently the "Ron Paul" signs and bumper stickers. 

The long answer is the one I think you're trying to instigate.  :)  Again, I think it still depends on where you are or what stage of life you are in.  Being a nurse I see lot's of "conversions."  But if you are catholic and believe that the only way into heaven is by being catholic and you are surrounded by many Baptists, Protestants, and the vast christian religions than you might think the world is going to hell.  I supposed it all depends on your definition of "atheist."  I know some who call themselves atheists but are really agnostic.

However, the article you quote seems more about the creation/evolution debate.  For some reason, those that think soley that macroevolution is how we came to be, think that is the humble and right way to think.  I've heard them say that if the world believed in creation it would be full of hate.  If you read enough debates about this both sides end up looking like they are full of hate.  It does seem that the evolutionists are winning the popular opinion.  Not because it is the right one, but because they are the loudest and most dominating.  If you look closely at the theories they present, most are easily disproven.  Creation has not been given a fair chance so I can't really address it.  It's like the banking system, if I had a nickle for everytime I heard, "when the economy picks up..."  or "when the housing market starts to pick up again...."  The banks have dominated most of the world.  They are the loudest but are they right?  Just because you hear something for so long and so loudly doesn't make it truth. 

If you are a believer and the rest of the world isn't it doesn't matter...to you.  For the record, I think Jesus was a Libertarian.  :)

Have fun with this guys.

Science and Religion


actually, the two are much more alike that most of either would like to admit.  i say this based on the fact that both are bathed in hope and faith.
in religion, faith and hope are the foundations...but so it is in science, as well.  if not, there would be no striving for new theories, or cures, or evidences.  a thought becomes a theory and from that theory there is hope for the solution and faith that the solution will be proven factual...by means of man. science doesn't "rely on truth", it simply proves it to BE true.
in religion, hope and faith are are preceded by the belief that the solution already exists. 
science only reinforces religious beliefs when we learn the why's, how's, and what-for's of any given thing, much to the chagrin of most scientists.
it isn't whether or not they can co-exist, they do, in fact. hope and faith are just in different places of the spectrum, but the end result for both is the solution.
do i believe America is more atheistic?   from the statistic given, at least 83% of the people would say no.  more agnostic? yes.  but as is given to us in the story of Lot and his wife, he was asked to find one righteous man in the kingdom and it would be spared.  maybe this is where America today can take a great lesson:  are we going to rely on 'the other guy' to be 
'THE one'? 

Science vs Religion


I'm working on both sides of the isle.  I discourse with everyone from the far left to the far right.  Our band does material that pisses off both extremes so I can honestly say  "we get to see both sides".

The question is not religious or atheist - I have met very few real atheists.  The question is between religion and spirituality.  However, to most Christians I've met, it's the same thing and therein may be some of the problem.  Many Christians will not validate a belief system that does not include an anthropromorphic, omnipitent being and/or a savior.   To many I've met, to believe anything otherwise is the same as atheism.

Religion is organized with a heirarchy, rules, dogma, meeting houses, lessons, beliefs, stigmas, taboos et al.  This is based on obedience, adherence to order and throw in a little love for good measure.

Spirituality is you and a direct line to God/The One/The Universal/The Universe - whatever you want to call it.  No intermediaries or scripture books need apply.  This is based solely on love - you don't need anyone or anything as an intermediary between you and the universal.

What I'm seeing (speaking only for myself) is a movement AWAY from RELIGION and TOWARD a SPIRITUALITY.  This is mainly with the 20-35 crowd but there are some dynamite teens coming up that will rock our world.  Few in the boomer set are changing lanes but a good number of boomers I know here and in Australia hold spiritual beliefs but do not do religion or church.

They are not joining the groups (Glenn Beck, AFP, 9-12, FreedomWorks, JBS etc).  They are not joining the blogs.  They don't do demonstrations.  They ARE making YouTubes and talking to each other and gathering in potlucks and social events of their own making.

I belong to G Edward Griffin's "Freedom Force" - over half our 40 members (locally) are under 30.  Only a few of the members are even lightweight Christians.  All of them hold to some spiritual beliefs and ideas.  We go to NW VegFest (the vegetarian's Mecca) - the people there are spiritual (mind you, some of it's the Gaia Gang which just exchanged Jesus for The Earth) but most hold beliefs about what happens on the non-physical.  They are DEFINITELY NOT ATHEISTS.

The new spiritual paradigm is based in love, not power and control.  It also recognizes TOTAL personal responsibility eg, a God did not decide to make my baby blind or have a tree fall on my house and Jesus isn't coming to save us.  Whatever our life is, we had a hand in its making.  We are not innocent bystanders, we are the beneficiaries of all our past thoughts, words and deeds.

To most Christians, I am an atheist.  What do you think?

kindest regards
Renee










Spirituality & Religion


Quoted from Renee:

"Spirituality is you and a direct line to God/The One/The Universal/The Universe - whatever you want to call it.  No intermediaries or scripture books need apply.  This is based solely on love - you don't need anyone or anything as an intermediary between you and the universal.

What I'm seeing (speaking only for myself) is a movement AWAY from RELIGION and TOWARD a SPIRITUALITY.  This is mainly with the 20-35 crowd but there are some dynamite teens coming up that will rock our world.  Few in the boomer set are changing lanes but a good number of boomers I know here and in Australia hold spiritual beliefs but do not do religion or church."

--snip--

"The new spiritual paradigm is based in love, not power and control.  It also recognizes TOTAL personal responsibility eg, a God did not decide to make my baby blind or have a tree fall on my house and Jesus isn't coming to save us.  Whatever our life is, we had a hand in its making.  We are not innocent bystanders, we are the beneficiaries of all our past thoughts, words and deeds."

These two statements so beautifully and eloquently echo what I came here to say that they bear repeating.  I'm in complete agreement with Renee and this is what I have personally experienced and witnessed.

I am a 35 year old woman and was raised in a religious Christian home.  My SO is 36 and was also raised in a religious Christian home.  We have not turned our back on our faith as much as we have rejected the dogma, theism and lack of personal responsibility that exists in the religions we were indoctrinated into as children.  We do not believe in an omnipresent patriarchal monotheisitc God - but will not decry a greater force or being(s) exist in the Universe.

As Renee said, to most Christians that I know, I am also considered to be an atheist.  When I personally examine the way I live my life and conduct myself, I would say I'm more in line with the biblical teachings of love than most Christians I know.  Funny how that seems to work.

Peace,
Dana


Morality


Beverly Eakman has a book.  Cloning of the American Mind: Eradicating Morality Through Education Cloning is a solution-oriented book that explains how psychological profiles (passed off as academic testing) are used to measure students’ beliefs.   Courses are then implemented to correct their "wrong" beliefs.  Thus essentially eradicating morality through education.

I believe our schools which are used as government indoctine centers are helping to destroy any faith based beliefs.  Example.   Teaching Evolution vs. Teaching Creationism.   Also the removing of prayer from school, social events and work places.  Removing any references to God from our memorials and court houses.  Even by Obama.

I am not religious, but I have observed people being ridicule for their beliefs. I see TV glorify certain imoral lifestyles.   

So are we becoming athiest?  Look at your peers!  Are they going to church?

Atheist vs God-believers...what is the new trend


This is a subject I have been watching a great deal lately.

My carefully considered opinion is that the United States probably has about the same number of atheists as we always have, except that in recent years, atheists have spoken up louder and with more frequency. There does seem to be fewer Christians in the United States; however, the number of God-believers in general has risen, I believe.

Personally, I am a fundamentalist Christian with moderate behaviors (meaning...I don't handle snakes or picket funerals of fallen US soldiers). A couple of years ago, I gave myself permission to ask the universe some hard questions that had not been answered in my Christian teachings. Through my search and debates with many others of different faiths and non-faiths, I came to the realization that the answers ARE in the Bible...but often these areas are not covered through general church attendance and must be sought out specifically.

I definitely believe in God


Hi Michael!

Okay, I definitely believe in God - but I do think the country is being lead in the opposite direction -- propaganda as usual.  Isn't it one of those things the collectivists do?  Do away with religion?  Substitute the religion with the State?  My take anyway.  Good to hear from you.  I was wondering if you had come to California or not.  Hope all is well with you.  : )

Country becoming athiest?


Hi Michael.  Really enjoyed your latest newsletter.

I can only relate to my experience a few years ago while I was doing a jail ministry with women inmates over a course of about ten years.  Certainly I would not claim the participants were athiest, because they attended the sessions of their own free will and to learn (and get out of their cell block).  But, over the course of that ten years, it was more and more common to find out that there were those in attendance who had absolutely no church/Bible teaching background at all.  So they had no knowledge to even be able to make a choice whether to be a believer or not.  So while they were not professing athiests, they certainly weren't necessarily believers either.  But I can't help to feel a society of increasing numbers such as this will also increase the number of athiests.

Atheist USA? Trend


If I remember correctly from 1963 when the evolution indoctrination recieved federal funds so it could be taught in textbooks the morality of the US just fell along with the SAT scores and keeps falling.
[I promised I would prevent bias for/against either position, therefore I'm deleting a file reference offered for possible further study. Although offering the link strikes me as rather benign, I want to avoid future comments trying to get equal time with additional URL links.]

;)


Understandable, I don't mind if you delete this comment entirely, but consider this:
atheist say it is irrational or illogical to believe in a creator. OK if there is no creator than a brain is nothing else than random chemicals got together by chance so how do you know if something is logical, how can you trust your own thought process?
Or is it possible that someone knows everything, I doubt it, let's assume someone knows half of everything is it possible that God is in the other half you don't know about?
Or  the science argument ooh it's science....yep science is observeable and repeatable experiment is used to determine something. If there is no God how can you be so sure that the universal laws will stay the same, what if one morning the gas in the car just would not ignite or the contrary it ignites too violently....I have seen no atheist going to his/her car shaking that something bad ould happen because the laws of the Universe could change any time.

As I said I donét mind if you delete this I just wanted to give you one little piece from that file.

Take care

Adapting-


 Having retired in an insular area of rural WV, I am surrounded by Baptists (many of whom only on Sundays) so to temper my near life-long agnosticism, I became a 'minister' of the Universal Life Church which allows me to formulate my own beliefs and those are liberal to say the least.
Really, the only thing I have decided that is prohibited to 'my' congregation is hypocrisy.

Join us, we won't step too heavily on anything you truly believe-

To Be or Not to Be?


Most of the people with whom I have had discussions regarding this topic seem to be inclined to be non-attendees of a given church, but state that they believe in something divine, whether nature, "God", "Creator", or "Supreme Being". In other words, they are not generally atheists, but keep their beliefs held more privately than prior generations have done. This may be due to being led and influenced by our "indoctrination" in public schools during the past 50 years, and the resulting peer pressure from those who would claim the "Big Bang" was a success - although not being able to explain where the energy came from to "ignite it". So, I feel that the nation is probably a little less apt to be "publicly" religious, but religious to about the same degree on a more quiet and personal level.

Religion vs. science?


The article claiming that religion and science are incompatible or adversaries must be thinking of Organized Religion, it doesn't apply to all religion and certainly not to general spirituality. Metaphysical religions are very compatible with science. These include Christian Science, Religious Science, Unity, and many native, indigenous beliefs and Pagan religions. 
 
But the point I want to make is that creation and evolution, like religion and science, are 2 sides of the same coin, and neither is complete without the other. God is too big to fit into any religion, especially Organized Religion. Religion is man's attempt to understand God etc. so it's an artificial construct limited by man's understanding. A quiz on an internet web site for matching up singles has a quiz question which asks whether man was created by God or by evolving from other species. The missing option in my mind is the more complete answer, both, e.g. man was created by God, by evolving him from other species. An open, holistic mind sees that there is no conflict. 

[MJB: Once again I have deleted weblinks offering more information from the end of this comment. This is done in anticipation of others posting links for opposing views, followed by a discussion that spirals out of control.]

science & religion


Why would God, omnipotent & omnipresent creator & the breath of life, wish to evolve mankind rather than simply create, that which He can create, fully realized? 
Science is an artificial construct as well.  It declares the outcomes to which its funding directs and sanctions.  Science is the new priesthood.  

Atheist v. Deist


I think the real question should be: "Who or what group is the driving force behind destroying the old and bringing in the new?"  The USA Today article is one of many tools in the arsenal of the elite which are lobbed at the public in order to confuse and obfuscate the real dilemma and cause death by a thousand cuts. 

The purported author of the article regurgitates the same silliness that the media and foundations have been spewing for over 100 years.  He states, "For it is faith's certainty that it has a grasp on truth, combined with its inability to actually find it, that produces things such as the oppression of women and gays, opposition to stem cell research and euthenasia, attacks on science, denial of contraception for birth control and AIDS prevention, sexual repression, and of course all those wars, suicide bombings and religious persecutions." 

Therefore, the conclusion to which the reader is directed is that a person who adheres to a religious faith has been, at best, the victim of an orchestrated falsehood, or at worst is just downright gullible and/or stupid.   This conclusion is self-serving at best, and at worst, is a lie--since much of what science has offered as fact throughout the centuries has been proved incorrect at a later point in time.  Naturally many of those who believed the scientific "facts," as given to them, were long in their graves by the time those "facts" were disproved or fallen out of favor.

So, for me the proper question one should ask is: "Who do you trust?"  The answer for me is: "I trust myself."  Atheist or Deist; each is a belief system and behind each there is an agenda.  Watch the agenda and make up your own mind.  God speed to you.




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