Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Why is Religion Losing the Popularity Contest?

Humans have been deity obsessed since time immemorial and every believer is convinced that their god and/or religion is the one true god and that all others are frauds and Satanic. The script goes like this: believe as I believe or suffer the fires of hell and eternal damnation, or even worse, be murdered for your religious beliefs.  However, religion appears to be suffering a deficit of believers in the US.

None of the Above: Fastest Growing Religious Group in the United States Is “No Religion”
Reflecting a trend in other Western nations, Americans who describe themselves as without a religion continue to grow in number. They now represent one-fifth of all Americans and a huge one-third of adults under 30. It is an incredible disconnect with our politicians who continue in both parties to push faith-based politics. Some of these individuals may believe in the concept of a divine being but not associate with a particular religion. Perhaps sensing this trend toward agnostic and atheist views, U.S. politicians have increased their attacks on those who do not believe in an almighty being....
The rejection of an organized religion in no way implies that folks are rejecting God or flocking to atheism but it does indicate a growing revulsion toward organized religions.  Religions used to be organizations that did good deeds like feeding the hungry, tending to the sick, taking care of orphans and helping those in need.  The fundamental spirit of voluntary charity used to be the defining characteristic of America's mostly Christian religions.

Increasingly, organized religions are perceived as institutions of hate and intolerance as the theology battle intensifies.

In the Muslim world, social and religious intolerance is rampant and stories like this are quite common.

Taliban Goes To School and Shoots Young Girl Who Blogged About The Abuse of Women In Pakistan

Persecution of Christian Copts in Egypt on Rise as Muslim Brotherhood Consolidates Power

The Christian world, especially as manifested in the Republican Party, has a long history of deviating from the spiritual and focusing exclusively on the temporal by advocating so many off the wall bat shit crazy theories that Americans have become appalled at their ungodly behavior.

Outrage as Republican state rep says slavery was a 'blessing' and fellow candidate advocates deporting all Muslims 

When Missouri US senate candidate Todd Akin raised the issue of legitimate rape, he asserted that pregnancy resulting from rape is impossible and that women who end up pregnant as a result of rape were not raped but consensual participants in voluntary sex.  Then Akin struck again when he said that abortions are performed on women who are not even pregnant, here.

Long before Todd Akin brandished proof of his own despicable insanity, Americans were treated to the horrifying spectacle known as the Republican primary debates.  Americans were flabbergasted when they heard on national TV some of the most vile and insane rants ever to hit a political debate in a presidential election.

Who could ever forget the memorable cringe worthy moments from the Republican primary debates?

Newt Gingrich shouts 'kill them' on the debate stage and gets a standing ovation, here.  Ron Paul suggests invoking the Golden Rule and gets booed, here.

Rick Perry is cheered when he boasted that he was proud of his Texas execution record, here.

When a debate moderator raised the issue of just letting the uninsured die, the crowd went wild with loud cheers, here.

Gays in the military?  The Republican audience booed loudly, here.

What made me personally cringe is that I was once a Republican until I saw the Republican base for the bloodthirsty hate-filled psychopaths that they really are.  Is the Republican base the reincarnation of the Nazi Party?  It's a horrifying thought that may be closer to the truth than we care to admit.

So as we ponder why Americans are increasingly alienated from organized Christian religions, it's entirely understandable because America's Christians are increasingly alienated from core Christian principles. The use of politics and theology to ratchet up hatred is a most dangerous and destructive combination in its advocacy for a union of church and state.  America's founding fathers were very careful in framing critical issues in the context of natural rights while avoiding any religious dogma as a defining characteristic of the founding of America.  America's founders were well aware of the bloody civil and religious wars that tore Europe apart for a millennium and they were committed to avoiding the same theological barbarism.  

Perhaps at the root of the problem of the growing disconnect from organized religion lies a nasty truth, that religions are heavily prone to being agents of the state and tyrannical governance, as they have been throughout history, and religions have become far removed from their historical mission, namely saving souls, building the human conscious, helping folks and helping to build stronger and more productive human societies through the advocacy of peace, tolerance and charity.

I don't believe that folks are losing God or their goodness but rather that organized religions have definitely lost God and their goodness or whatever goodness they may have once possessed.  Maybe I've even dived straight into the cesspool of delusion to think that religions somehow ever represented a societal good.  Religions have been on the wrong side of every fight from human slavery, human liberty, peace, tolerance and all those lovely attributes that compels humans to strive for higher levels of  human and moral goodness.


  1. Every Western religious sect I know of is based on one central premise or meta-dogma: You are your brother's keeper. When actually practiced it always becomes: So keep you brother down as far as you can as long as you can because you own him; and he would do unto you as you do unto him if he got the chance. Salvation through degradation?

  2. But D. Frank, isn't taking care of the poor, hungry and sick supposed to be voluntary? In any event, I have a profound distrust of religions.


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