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For the first time, “No Religion” is the most popular choice for Americans

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Tying Catholicsm and evangelicalism,:

“‘Religious nones’ as they are called by researchers, are a diverse group made up of atheists, agnostics, the spiritual, and those who are no specific organized religion in particular. A rejection of organized religion is the common thread they share,” CNN reports.

“It is the first time we have seen this. The same questions have been asked for 44 years,” political scientist and Baptist pastor Ryan Burge told CNN. Timothy Meads, “ICYMI: ‘No Religion’ Now As Popular As Catholicism, Evangelicalism” at Townhall

While there is certainly a decline in organized religion in the Western world, in North America the near-collapse of mainline Protestantism is the main driver of the current numbers.

Put another way, people who, forty years ago, would have cited the church their parents once attended as their “religion” now say “no religion.” That’s probably because, in current urban society, they no longer experience social penalties for being honest. It’s still a decline but to discuss it intelligently, we need to see clearly what it is a decline in.

Note; The survey involved only 2000 people but it probably does capture an important trend.

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See also: MIT prof was smarter than God

and

Swedish Mathematician Explains Why He Sees Design In Nature (And Became A Christian)

24 Replies to “For the first time, “No Religion” is the most popular choice for Americans

  1. 1
    Brother Brian says:

    While there is certainly a decline in organized religion in the Western world, in North America the near-collapse of mainline Protestantism is the main driver of the current numbers.

    I can’t speak for all of North America, but the Catholic Church has been selling off properties (ie, churches) at an alarming rate in your native Canada.

  2. 2
    kairosfocus says:

    Folks, the Christian faith, despite differences, is a recognisable entity. In a Christian consensus world, denominational differences differentiate. In one where we have worldviews and linked cultural agendas/identity conflict and a long term campaign to discredit Judaeo-Christian ethical theism and its legacy, conservative Catholics and Evangelicals are generally speaking allies or natural allies. However, we are reminded by the obvious strategies of aggressive influencers, that emotional affiliation and especially disaffection are pivotal issues. This is a time when the warning in Plato’s parable of the ship of state is central: jostling for power is not at all the same as sound governance, and a voyage of folly is ruinous. It is time to return to soundness. This involves, maybe first of all, rebalancing history so that the poison of deep polarisation compounded by radical agendas and further compounded by the self-referential incoherence, amorality and invited cynical nihilism of evolutionary materialism can be soundly addressed. If we do not do so, our civilisation is heading for a cliff’s edge and the slipperiness of the slope provides a ratchet that can lead us to the point where the cliff’s edge collapses underfoot. KF

  3. 3
    EricMH says:

    On the other hand, not many of the ‘nones’ are atheists. So, they are religious in some sense, but they don’t like mainstream religions. Also, if we lump mainstream religions, then they are still the majority.

    And, I would say this is not atypical if you go back far enough. What is today’s mainstream religion was yesterday’s persecuted religious minority that fled to America for religious freedom.

    So, it might be more correct to say America is returning to its roots.

  4. 4
    Axel says:

    I very much doubt if the same people realise how much they owe to Christiani culture and and its values, in terms of the values they, in fact, nevertheless, inherited in substantial measure. I know I didn’t … don’t laugh… thinking, rather that I, myself, was the source of whatever virtue I possessed, just as the materialists do. Although I was just a confused agnostic.

    As a child, I’d felt God’s love too closely, to not believe He existed, but like so many I blamed God for man’s ecclesial failings.

    Even now, I occasionally see priests blasphemously weaponising their celebration of the Mass to try to score a point over someone. On one occasion, even a whole sermon, which is supposed to be an extension of the Gospel.

  5. 5
    Brother Brian says:

    Axel, with the exception of the morals associated with how to behave with respect to God (eg, not taking his name in vain, not creating idols, etc) the other morals we generally agree on in society can be derived from basic reasoning. Maybe if you could provide examples of two or three morals that cannot be arrived at by reasoning we could continue this discussion.

  6. 6
    ET says:

    LoL! What reasoning? If it wasn’t for religion any and all reasoning would be to do as you like as long as you can defend yourself. If not then you face the consequences, if there are any.

  7. 7
    kairosfocus says:

    BB, nope. Unless ought is there in the roots of reality it cannot arise later. That is the point of the IS-OUGHT gap. KF

  8. 8
    Brother Brian says:

    KF, you are completely ignoring the fact that humans are goal oriented. The is-ought gap disappears when individual and societal goals are included in the equation.

  9. 9
    ET says:

    Brother Brian:

    you are completely ignoring the fact that humans are goal oriented.

    It was a goal oriented process that produced us. And there is a goal to our existence. A goal beyond the materialistic and being happy. I am sure that kairosfocus understands this all very well.

  10. 10
    EricMH says:

    Is there an established religion/philosophy/worldview other than Christianity that has as good a human rights record and has contributed as much to intellectual progress?

  11. 11
    Brother Brian says:

    Eric

    Is there an established religion/philosophy/worldview other than Christianity that has as good a human rights record and has contributed as much to intellectual progress?

    Judaism has done pretty well on these lines. And without the human rights abuses sanctioned and/or condoned by the various Christian churches throughout history.

  12. 12
    Brother Brian says:

    There were also these words written by a historic figure.

    Hence today I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord.

    All religions and world views have had human rights abuses perpetrated by people using their interpretation of their religion/world view as justification.

  13. 13
    ET says:

    Wow, how did I know- without even looking- that Brother Brian was here, posting away?

  14. 14
    ET says:

    And thanks Eric, for opening up that Pandora’s Box. Christianity is not the model I would call on as far as human rights go. It may be doing better now but its history is nothing to be proud of. And Islam was far ahead of Christianity as far as science goes, until the wrong people hijacked it to control the masses. The Hindus were pretty advanced, also.

    But anyway- touchy subject…

  15. 15
    EricMH says:

    I know lots of Nobel prize winners are Jewish. But modern science seems to have had its beginnings in Christian Europe, largely due to Christian presuppositions and motivations.
    Also, I think it’s important to distinguish between people who are claiming to act on behalf of Christianity for political purposes vs those who are acting consistent with Christian principles.
    It is still my impression that people in the latter category have been the primary drivers of progress in modern history, at least from reading Rodney Stark’s books.
    As for Islam, my surface understanding is most of the Islamic science is due to Persians and Christians in the areas that were conquered by Islam.

  16. 16
    Axel says:

    Re your #5, Brother Brian, thank you for the offer, but an extended argument with an atheist is not something I’d be interested in, as you manifestly argue from the most fundamentally false hypothesis. and are therefore BOUND to become more and more disoriented in your thinking, ironically, the more impeccable your logic.

    When Charlemagne conquered most of Europe at the edge of the sword, one of the first questions put to the Pope by a Bishop was : ‘How should the sale of a slave for human sacrifice be treated’, the reply he received was that it should be treated as murder. Human sacrifices were, I believe pretty common among pagan peoples up to the end of the Middle Ages. So you might well have been banjaxed to offer an appropriate reply, however ‘rational’ on the solely natural level.

    Logic has little to do with morality, indeed, the worldly intelligence that we normally speak of as simply ‘intelligence’ enjoys a rather limited symbiosis with morality, according to the scriptures of both the Old and the New Testaments – and if we are honest, our current experience and history. Has not the world always been preponderantly (mis)ruled by psychopaths and fairly extreme sociopaths ? Right up to the present day.

    In India, they used to practice ‘suttee’, and it is said that it still goes on in remoter parts. What are you going to say to its practitioners : ‘I think it’s wrong’ ? And if he says : ‘I think it’s good,’ what will you say then ? ‘Ah. the Golden Rule.’, what else ? To which he will reply : ‘Golden Rule my eye. That’s not what we use in India…. unless we think it’s appropriate.’ The Hindu scriptures don’t mention it ; even the very spiritual Hindu scriptures. (In fact, God always manages to look after his Anawim, whatever their religion).

    Divorce is something that, because of many direly abusive marriages, our reason encourages. And who can blame the victim. Neverthess, it should be generally discouraged and sanctioned, if only for the good of offspring – an established fact. Though there will always be argumentative, atheist-naysayers with mythical statistics they’ve conjured up from somewhere. Cleverly couched, to elicit a desired, but misleading response, they are freely acknowedged by US politcians to be a useful tool for election campaigns. ; which of course was why the French forbade them within a certain period leading up to elections. That was before the ‘spivvy’, neoliberal, senior Freemason, Macron, decided the law needed to be rescinded.

    Fornicaton is another Christian ‘no-no’, and with pornography, has led to massive problems in the West, particulary in the US, where it is a multibillion dollar industry – and today has given rise to a re-emergence of slavery, evidently, sexual slavery. That is without considering the freelance, sexual-assault crimes that a libertarian attitude to sex has given rise to ; pornography, in my view, likely to be behind the explosion of gang-rapes in India, today.

    And then there is the ultra-genocidal level of abortions in the decadent West, live babies killed in the womb, and now even fully formed and born : infanticide.

    80% of the cases of sexual abuse among clergy in the RC church in the US were by homosexuals with youths and young men, and a product of an ill-advised liberalisation of the church’s teachings on sex and a nascent, but seemingly hegemonic culture of clerical sodomy in some dioceses. So, I’m not saying that the Christian churches are perfect at all. But what the RC church does – and other denominations have their undoubted merits – is to teach the values that will help us to take advantage of the gift of God’s love for this life and the next, and maintain stable, loving families, and a more or less law-abiding society. Even the sadistic William the Conqueror recognised the value of Christianity, as an aid for ruling the country, and quickly set about building cathedrals, as has Putin, of course.

    It’s a big subject, incorporating the Ten Commandments in its purview, with its proscription against covetousness and so much else that has deleterious personal and social effects. You could tease out more answers yourself, Brian, if your basic hypothesis were not skew whiff.

  17. 17
    EricMH says:

    For those claiming Hitler is Christian, the Wikipedia article is pretty good:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_views_of_Adolf_Hitler#Hitler_on_Christianity_and_%22Positive_Christianity%22
    ‘Samuel Koehne, a Research Fellow at the Alfred Deakin Research Institute, working on the official Nazi views on religion, answers the question Was Hitler a Christian? thus: “Emphatically not, if we consider Christianity in its traditional or orthodox form: Jesus as the son of God, dying for the redemption of the sins of all humankind. It is nonsense to state that Hitler (or any of the Nazis) adhered to Christianity of this form.”‘

  18. 18
    Brother Brian says:

    Eric

    Also, I think it’s important to distinguish between people who are claiming to act on behalf of Christianity for political purposes vs those who are acting consistent with Christian principles.

    Why? I would argue that almost all are acting in a way they think is consistent with Christian principles. Who decides? You? Me? The Pope?

  19. 19
    Brother Brian says:

    Axel

    Re your #5, Brother Brian, thank you for the offer, but an extended argument with an atheist is not something I’d be interested in, as you manifestly argue from the most fundamentally false hypothesis. and are therefore BOUND to become more and more disoriented in your thinking, ironically, the more impeccable your logic.

    Well, it is nice to see that you can discuss issues without having an overbearing bias and prejudice. :).

  20. 20
    Brother Brian says:

    Eric

    For those claiming Hitler is Christian, the Wikipedia article is pretty good:..

    Who was claiming that Hitler was Christian.? I was just quoting what he wrote. And it was very clear what he thought.

  21. 21
    Trumper says:

    The concept of a moral society has been around for about a long as ‘laws’ governing society have been around. Laws though are more formalized, while morals seem more normalized behaviors. We all pretty much know the deal with ought and is….and we likely all agree that the descriptive moral behavior in one society might not line up neatly with that of another. However, I believe that we can and do share common moral basic groundings that are not naturalistic, or just descriptive but rather prescriptive…leading us back to that ought…. .

  22. 22
    kairosfocus says:

    BB, nope, being goal-directed and even being rational fall under being morally governed, they do not eliminate the IS-OUGHT challenge or its significance for the roots of reality. KF

  23. 23
    kairosfocus says:

    Trumper, the issue at root is that we are morally governed creatures as testified to by conscience. Such is antecedent to states and laws or tribes and customs. It goes down to the roots of reality, and comes back up as the laws of moral government that are applicable to a reasonable, responsible significantly free creature. For just one instance, our rational conduct is governed by known duties to truth, right reason, prudence, justice or fairness and more. Indeed, those who would persuade us otherwise, in arguing, base their arguments on the fact that we know we are so governed, thus revealing how inescapable such known law of our morally governed nature is. It also reveals either gaps in their reasoning or in the worst cases a knowing, demonically calculating deceit. Very few fall into the second class but unfortunately they may be in positions of power such as a Stalin or a Hitler. KF

    PS: Cynical deceit towards a nation that still had remnants of its Christian conscience, BTW, readily explains Hitler’s public rhetoric and privately expressed views. Also, the onward plans for the Christian faith that were revealed in recent years. Already, the Barmen Declaration exposed the spiritual counterfeit at work, by 1934. The White Rose movement’s statements of protest were very plain on the outright demonic, deceitful nature of the man and his movement.

  24. 24
    kairosfocus says:

    Axel, ironically, responsible rationality and argument are governed by our known duties to truth, right reason, prudence, fairness etc. These are undeniable, on pain of the absurdities of amorality and nihilism. Such moral government in the heart of rationality itself then leads us to the roots of reality. But in a sense you are quite right, if one makes a crooked yardstick his standard for the straight, upright and accurate, then he will perforce reject the genuinely so as they cannot ever match the crookedness standard. This is when the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness territory. In the deeply ingrained cases, even a plumb-line, self evident truth will be rejected. Deliverance, not reason is the answer in these cases, but that often requires being broken by falling over a cliff and hitting rock bottom like the prodigal wishing he could share in the pigs’ meal of carob pods. THEN, he came to his senses, awakening from demonic insanity that led him to waste his inheritance. And I fear this may be what we will have to go through again, this time with nukes and other horrors in play. Right now, the US looks to be in a mad rush to the cliff’s edge, with the UK, France and Germany not far behind. KF

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