Monday, March 9, 2009

It's a Secular World - and growing as religion declines in U.S.

It is one of the facts of life that religion at all levels has declined.

There are a whole bunch of stats on this in this article.

More Americans say they have no religion
Fifteen percent of respondents said they had no religion, an increase from 14.2 percent in 2001 and 8.2 percent in 1990, according to the American Religious Identification Survey.

Northern New England surpassed the Pacific Northwest as the least religious region, with Vermont reporting the highest share of those claiming no religion, at 34 percent. Still, the study found that the numbers of Americans with no religion rose in every state.

"No other religious bloc has kept such a pace in every state," the study's authors said.

At least the drift always are not calling themselves atheists. I don't dislike atheists. Atheists have a tendency in my opinion to be anti-religion. They are usually reacting in one or two generations going back and against a mean nasty dose of or encounter with organized religion.

I find that most Jehovah Witnesses I have met are a large part ex-Catholics who do not like that name brand, had a bad direct experience with the name brand or they have transferred bad or unusual family dysfunctional feelings toward the RCs. Just an observation and certainly not scientific. I think of this sect as a social club that has the right mindset but not the guts to be atheists. They seem like half-assed Chrsitans who feel more comfortable under an umbrella of "religious" settings but are uncertain how to use the thing.

There is a great joke of the legendary borsht belt comedian Henny Youngman -
"became an atheist - two, three - had to give it up - three four - no holidays"

While we are listing this stuff, I am an anti-religionist. In principal I am against large organized religion. That doesn't mean much as organized religion loses ground by the stats in the article.

I am a religionist in that I think we need a minimum of theist based philosophy or morals as an alternative to haphazard secular or cultural trends that decide or cause a flavor of the month morality for every day casual use.

I believe that the RC's obsession against abortion is not totally moral. I agree that the numbers of abortions is not a good thing. Nor do I think it a good thing - that bringing an unwanted child into the world, doomed almost from the start without the support and guidance of dutiful parents as a social experiment bound to go wrong.

I believes that RC's abortion rhetoric is to cover up its commoditization of human sexuality, a topic that "celibates" are totally inadequate to explain through lack of self understanding or experience in the subject. Abortion is only one of all birth control methods considered a mortal sin in that sect.

I believe that Religion in America has been on a steady decline since WWII. That cars and highways and suburbs have broken up the traditional needs for social contact in cities and religion has always done well in the traditional Greco-Roman city setting.

Part of that city setting made religion over the centuries part of the social fabric. In many cases for the young, old or in between, religious organizations in the community had been primary as a second family setting. That as the state has taken over a lot of these social functions, churches decline.

The trend in Mega churches has formed around the hub of suburbs and malls. I am an old dog, don't want to learn new tricks. And more than that, despite the fact that I live in a semi-burb of New York City, I have a fear of crowds - as in Mega churches. I am curious to see how, where this trend goes or evolves in our fluid like changing society.

I wish any good, honest and tolerate Christian enterprise good luck.

These stats of course have been accumulated in the recent greedy past where less than good, decent or Christian standards have been advocated in a glitzy 24/7 gimmick get rich quick at any cost world filled with electronic gizmos.

I would not let the stats get you down. All beliefs are local. And all faith in action is local as well.

The key I think to a better future for the Christian faith in America is to use the model of the shopping mall where one large department store or Home Depot type store is called an anchor store. It is many times that an abandoned anchor store kills the life of the mall. It is here where many mega churches have taken root in a real sense.

In a more abstract sense, I believe that the anchor of a good church complex should be a school. It is this that has slipped away first in most of the abandoned and sold off churches I have seen. Education on a K-8 may be an expensive proposition to start up but a K-4 or K-6 school would go a hell of distance in protecting our future moral and cultural Christian values in an increasingly secular and non-moral society. Investment in education is an investment in the future life of the congregation. Investment in Christian education has it's dividend in a moral America.

Education money spent on a church scale level would go 2-3 times further than the money wasted on public schools and the strange secular, scientific, amoral standards of learning being perpetuated and unchallenged coming out of the so-called federal department of education.

So it goes.


Dave said...

Time for a Second Reformation! Mainline churches are in retreat and either go excessively one direction or the other to keep the pews filled. Fundamentalism or liberalism are the choices..sounds like a republican or democrat type situation. We need a third party and it has to be an interfaith approach! We can still be Christians and tolerate and listen to alternative views and beliefs! The Bible isn't the only choice for a classical literature book club. It's all in the interpretation. One people!

Mr. Gehrke said...
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