As people move away from religion, what is there to move to?
Although an Atheist, I have a great admiration for the social decorum, morality (quantified) and family structure that the religious (Judeo/Christian) belief system brought to the western world. I believe that it is questionable that America would have survived without that social influence. I also feel that, as this mindset fades, so, too, will the strength of America give way to a totalitarian society, as that, it would seem is where are are going.
CJ.... I could not agree with you more. As Christianity is shoved to the side in this country, so are our morals.
I believe the demise of religion in America is (greatly exaggerated). Even today no openly atheist could get elected president of the United States.
For years, the Gallup Research Organization has come up with a consistent figure — 40 percent of all Americans, or roughly 118 million people, who said they attended worship on the previous weekend.
There are over 217 denominations. Total church membership reported in the 2012 Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches is 145,691,446 members, down (1.15 percent) over 2011. It's not uncommon for people to quit on a religion and then return to it late on in life. Less than a two percentage point change is not a major trend of change.
There are also lots of people who believe in God but not organized religion. Nevertheless I believe what makes a lot of folks believe there has been radical changes are the things that are reported in the media and the push for more freedoms in one's personal lifestyle choices.
However if one were to get into their car and drive across the country they'd find thousands of small towns, villages, farms, and neighborhoods that look like time forgot. Even in my own little town they run movies in the park during the summer, it's not uncommon to see the American flag displayed year round on someone's house. People are getting ready for fall festivals and making trips to the pumpkin patch. Mind you we're less than one hour outside of Chicago!
The news (AKA) (the blues) is not going to spend much time on ordinary towns and citizens because it doesn't generate high ratings/viewership. I suspect what most people see on the news is not taking place outside of their front door or even in their own town and yet they'll come to believe "the world" has gone to hell in a hen basket!
According to The National Center for Charitable Statistics there are more than 1.5 Million non-profit charities. Individuals gave $228.93 billion in 2012, an increase of 3.9 percent from 2011.
Most people are law abiding citizens trying to take care of their families the best way they know how. Extremes get the coverage.
For example only 1.7 percent of American adults identify themselves as gay or lesbian. The way things have been reported in the media one would think the number is 30 to 40%!
Repeatedly exposing ourselves to negativity or things one may not agree with mentally distorts our own personal reality.
As a nation we're far from moving away from the thread of religion in our lives.
There was a recent study done, stating that over 80% of Americans believe in God and/or are religiously affiliated.
gm--In 1990 8% of US had no religious affiliation. In 2010 that rose to 18%.
Religion is a matter of personal belief. The followers are either born with it or as convinced that they want to follow it.
So if people move away from Religion it is obvious that they will follow their beliefs. Common set of beliefs will form a community. If the community manages to convinces a major section of population then it will be the new religion.
So finally it is our belief that will form the basis of where we move to. To be honest how many believers follow their own religion to its last word. Not All.
So with time lot will change either measures will be taken to retain the earlier one or if majority prevails a new religion will take over the earlier ones.
I've never been particularly religious, although I'm a baptized Catholic. I don't really see the point of organized religions. However, I do see the point of seeking to be a better person, more loving and giving, kinder and more helpful to others. I do think there's good to be found in contemplating the mysteries of the universe, and what our purpose might be within them.
I think what replaces religion is the individual exploration of one's own spiritual beliefs.
Lisa--The purpose for your life should be what you decide it should be. There are no mysteries.
What if one has no spiritual beliefs, but rather an understanding of what is?
I'm not qualified to guide someone else to their own path, CJ. I have enough trouble reading the road map on my own! Maybe taking what is, and aspiring to make it better for others?
Lisa--You are unqualified to guide, but qualified to inspire. Is this not a contradiction in terms? If one is to inspire, is he not guiding?
CJ, I make my living as an artist. It's my business to inspire people, and to find inspiration where I can.
The positive influences of religion that you mention are not unique to it. Social decorum, morality and family structure are all capable and prosperous with atheism. If they weren't, then every atheist would be a criminal. Religion is a vessel. It can be used to spread good things and it can be used to spread bad things. Atheism is not an equivalent of religion because it neither threatens with punishment nor promises reward. A country run without religion couldn't be farther from totalitarian because, by nature, atheists don't rally behind extremist causes. They're governed by logic and evidence, which will produce a system of governing based on the same principles.
M.T.--Would you like to explain the Atheism of Joe Stalin and the totalitarianism of Communism. Atheists are no less the pack animal than the theist and will follow the alpha male--the history is there. Secular omnipotence.
Stalin didn't rise to power BECAUSE he was an atheist. And had he gone to the atheist community in search of soldiers, he would have found very little. We are a pack species, but religion shelters extremists under the guise of morality.
Hello CJ. I struggled with this question yesterday writing several responses way too long to post. One regard I came upon with a Judeo/Christian mindset is the order of authority while considering the covenants. The order of authority of least I was taught is individual, family, business, communal, governmental, and then God.
If one considers traditional is foundational with historical significance then we may see that structure with the founding fathers. However a difference occurs for our constitution to remain legitimate. With the preamble is "The blessings of Liberty" sought. With religion it is "Freedom of" with importance, which does not deny nor support.
Knowing those one may see (IMHO) the order of authority being near the same until . . . one reaches governmental. It is there a departure occurs. The next level of the Judeo/Christian mindset is God. For the base of the Constitution it is "We the People", thus the power of the vote for ultimate authority.
The USA did something very unique. They built into the governmental process the ability for a revolution to occur and repetitively. That is with the terms of office and their rotation for instance. Power can be transcended every two years by the vote to a different ruling class. That has the same impact as a revolution. And, with a giggle + giggle that is what we most definitely experience with the strength of our two party system in place today. It is a product of the lineage of authority - "We the People".
However regarding and IMHO the totalitarian society we experience today is a result of that ultimate authority - the voters. We historically either supported change while surrendering not rights, but to regulation seeking protection. Those ruling forces are on the books so to speak - laws. And, the in power ruling class has opportunity of usage.
Change most usually can only occur through the voters or 'We the people' and the powers we vested upon ruling class both in present and historically. It is through who we elected and with or without oddity who leads the next revolution seeking the future. Even with Supreme Court Justices we discover the opportunity of appointment is essentially of 'We the People'.
'We the People' place our trust and faith in our leaders. So did our ancestors who voted. They elected the ruling classes of the past. That is the source of current laws providing power. Quite possibly the old Biblical adage "The sins of our fathers" is what we experience today.
tsmog--Enjoyed your profile-nice to see a positive focus. I do not disagree on the structure. What of the social manifestations that are carry overs from European Christianity, as customs of family, bonds and loyalties,a sense of decorum.
Not enough space here. Popped into head first is technology/diversity/world perspective. Those traditions mentioned are no longer isolated geographically. The local news is trumped by international news & football of course Diversity & tec
Finding and cultivating a real relationship with God is a good start. Many people are stuck with veiwing God from the concept of how they veiwed their own father. So we see God as conditional. You may be one of the many who have suffered at the hands of religion- the manmade crap. Who wants to be a part of organized ignorance and judgement?
You can begin with seeking out understanding for yourself. Pick up the bible and read it with the intent on allowing God to come in and share. Essentially, nothing is new under the sun. What is happening now has happened before. I believe it will come down to dying for a personal stance. Choosing to believe at all costs, because the costs are much greater, otherwise.
Religion is the corrupted form of spirituality. It is Truth filtered and diluted by the self-concern of Ego. Christ wanted not religion. Neither did Gautama Siddhartha or Lao Tzu.
Ego is the only problem of the world. I used to think that we need to get rid of ego summarily. In the last few months, I've come to understand a more potent line of approach -- grow and strengthen ego while simultaneously converting each of its desires to one of perfect altruism. This is the approach used by those who wrote the Bible and their followers -- the Kabbalists. Most Jews and Christians don't understand the language and code used.
To most who are trapped in logic and physical commensurability, this approach may seem absurd. It requires a leap of faith that they are not willing to take.
The greatest benefit we've received from religion has been the watered down version of humility. Some have used this very well and it has allowed civilization to grow and to prosper. The purest humility, though, involves no self-concern whatsoever. It also involves perfect responsibility for the actions of others, wishing for them everything they desire. This is what True love is all about. It is also what makes turning the other cheek effortless, for with 100% responsibility, one can never be a victim.
Yes, America is moving toward totalitarianism. It may seem illogical to wish for the Wall Street psychopaths everything they desire. If we do this and hold onto any self-concern, we suffer greatly. If we offload self-concern and hold this viewpoint, then all kinds of miracles happen. This is tikkun olam -- the healing of the world that the Kabbalists (the ones who wrote the Bible in code) talked about.
Religion as a construct of ego-filtered spirituality will decline, but secularism can never scratch the itch that ego can never touch. And more people are feeling this "itch" -- this "point in the heart" that the spiritual among us talk about.
Does seem that way, Bro, doesn't it? Heading down the way of the totalitarian society, as you state. Thankfully, not quite, though. The inner forces will win, as Love is a Higher Law. Since you can see the adversity and commotion, rest assured that others are seeing this always and will do enough to heal the spirit at the Mother's choicest hour.
I empathise and feel with some sadness, for current trends. Still, no one is truly moving away from Love, just temporarily lost or forgotten, you choose.
The way of peace is to move towards the Light and the way of pain and suffering is to move towards the shadows. When it is dark enough, that is to say unbearably painful, we will once more remember the way that we are meant to ride in the quest for happiness. This is religion. God's peace to you, Bro.
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