Growth in secular attitudes leaves Americans room for belief in God

(PhysOrg.com) -- The nature of the American religious experience is changing as a rising number of people report having no formal religious affiliation, even though the number of Americans who say they pray is increasing, according to a new survey from the University of Chicago.

Those twin trends suggest a growing number of people are “spiritual but not religious,” the study author said. The report, “Religious Change Around the World,” found that in addition to an increased number of people who pray, a growing number believe in the afterlife. When asked how they view God, the most common responses were the traditional images of father and judge.

Sociologists of religion say the rise in people who are spiritual but religiously uncommitted is prompting churches to repackage their services into more contemporary offerings with fresh, livelier music and less of the usual liturgies.

“Americans’ attitudes toward religion are growing more complex,” said study author Tom W. Smith, Director of the General Social Survey at the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago. “While fewer people identify with a particular religion, belief in God remains high.

“When asked simply about belief in God, most people include a range of God images, from a personal God to believing in a ‘higher power’ or a ‘spirit or life force,’” he said. People who don’t believe in a personal God but in a higher power of some kind rose from 5 percent in 1964 to 9 to 10 percent in recent surveys, the study found.

The report is the latest product of the General Social Survey, the nation’s longest, most scientifically reliable source of information on American attitudes and behaviors. Supported by the National Science Foundation, the survey is widely used by social scientists for their research.

In the United States, belief in God has ebbed over time from about 99 percent in the 1950s to about 92 percent at present. Certitude about God also has diminished, but the vast majority of Americans still express a strong and close connection to God.

“People’s images of God are diverse, but they lean toward the traditional,” Smith said. The GSS has asked people for their images of God since 1984, and about half of the people have consistently referred to God as “father,” while others used terms like “master” or “judge” to describe their idea of God. The number reporting God as “mother” has stayed at about 3 percent.

Although belief in God remains strong, the survey found that 22 percent of people said they had never attended a religious service, compared with 9 percent in 1972. The trends toward reduced church attendance began in the mid-1980s, and by the mid-1990s, fewer people reported identifying with a particular religion. In the most recent survey, 16 percent of people reported “none” when asked about their religious preference, a figure that stood at 5 to 8 percent in surveys taken between 1972 and 1991.

Daily prayer rose from 52 percent in the 1989-90 survey to 59 percent in the most recent survey. Belief in the afterlife also went up modestly, from 69 percent in 1973 to 73 percent in most recent surveys.

“The number of people identifying as ‘spiritual, but not religious’ has been growing perhaps for three decades. This of course has implications for traditional religious institutions, which may feel pressure to revitalize or altogether repackage their spiritual offerings,” said Omar M. McRoberts, Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Chicago and Co-Chair of the Working Group on Spirituality, Political Engagement and Public Life at the Social Science Research Council.

“We should not assume, however, that ‘spiritual’ people are individualists who avoid participation in general,” McRoberts said. “Rather we should look carefully for new forms of spiritual sociability emerging in the religious field, and new ways of expressing spiritual values in the public realm.”

The study found religious participation to be strongest among older people. Future research will determine whether today’s younger generation becomes more religious as it ages or retains its secular orientation, Smith said.

Religious participation elsewhere in the world also represents a complex picture, an examination of worldwide surveys shows. In Muslim countries, belief in God remains strong, while in secular nations in Western Europe it has been declining.

Although Communists discouraged religious belief in Eastern Europe, belief in has rebounded in some countries in that region. That follows a pattern of resilience that researchers have found in many parts of the world.

“After decades of repression by anti-religionist, authoritarian regimes, in the face of national tragedies, and following serious self-inflicted harm from moral failures by religious leaders, religion has shown the ability to rebound,” he said.

Provided by University of Chicago (news : web)


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Oct 31, 2009
Why do you persist in referring to "God" as though there were only one specific thing that people either believe in or don't.

These people believe in A god. The rest of us don't believe in ANY gods.

Oct 31, 2009
I have a really hard time believing any surveys about religion.

Oct 31, 2009

People are insecure and don't believe they are good so by believing in a god the have an excuse as most religions tell them they are no good and something to believe in when they have no hope.

It's a coping mechanism that other people took advantage of to control them, get power and money/goods.

The next thing is people will do or believe almost anything to be part of the group.

How else can you explain everyone that believe in Jesus pay preachers, priests, churches money when that's why Jesus died, protesting that very thing and was as he knew, would get killed for it? Yet today every church almost is a bunch of moneychangers!

Those are the major reasons people do religion. Once you understand them god makes no sense.

As Archie Bunker said, religion, faith is when you believe in things no one in their right mind would believe in. And he was right!!

Oct 31, 2009
Our spiritual understanding expands as we grow intellectually. This causes a rift with religion, which by its nature is not supposed to change. Since spirituality, unlike religion, is an individual and an internal experience, we each reach slightly different interim conclusions. The ultimate spiritual truth is beyond any of our current enlightenments to grasp. It is my belief that we are each lead down unique spiritual paths that open our individual spiritual understanding, that is why we argue and disagree on how we package our religious "truths".
We are on the verge of a much broader revelation of spirituality. One that will focus on our love for our commonalities rather that our hatred for our apparent differences. People today, especially the young, are not satisfied with the ridge religious partitioning that divides us. More is being demanded in place of belief systems. More will be given to give substance to our individual internal faith, and we will all emerge the better for it

Nov 01, 2009
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Nov 01, 2009
an alarming increase in satanism is something that has no been talked about much. I think they have caused a lot of violence and a weakening of moral values among religious people and also among "spiritual" people and ethical humanists.They should be subjected to observation.
the whole Satanism problem should be studied.

Nov 01, 2009
People are understanding what prophets have said for ages: God expects a personal relationship with us, not a relationship mediated by a priest. That what is happening, people understand now more than they can search for God as a personal quest.

Though priests from many religions are still useful in many ways.

Nov 02, 2009
spiritual understanding expands as we grow intellectually
...
desperation expands as you grow older... you realize that your intellect is no protection against...death

I'm with Bitbull. If one is able and willing to marry their physical education (intellect) with a metaphysical education (life=severly limited perception of reality, of EVERYTHING), one may realize death is nothing to be protected from, or afraid of.

i.e. if one considers all of physical existence is just a continuum of energy condensed into varying states along it, one realizes death is just a transition of states along that continuum. From life (physicality,perception,self) to ... what? Are self and perception obliterated with physicality? Are they liberated from physicality? Is it a rejoining with the continuum, what good is that in absence of perception? Is it just just nothing? Certainly scary to one who can't conceive of anything beyond life. But what prospects to one who knows there is so much more beyond!

Nov 02, 2009
You go ahead man -and tell us of your experince- I doubt Bitbull will want to accompany you.

Not fearing is not the same thing as welcoming, or seeking out. But if death is something one is afraid of... well, fearing the inevitable isn't very healthy.

Nov 02, 2009
Anger and mistrust, driven by fundamentalist overzealotry on the one side, and closed minds pretending to be scientifically motivated on the other. But, the walls are coming down! Clearly, no one has any provable absolutes on either side, so lets clear the air with what we have always been able to observe that makes sense, and forms a basis of agreement.
The sciences demand measurable tests for our observations. While that is reasonable for the physical universe, much of our existence has its meaning and value in the unmeasurable part, i.e. beauty, love and life itself. Clearly life moves forward, evolves if you will. But the path is not a string of “happy accidents!” The amazing biochemistry that moves life forward, does not leave thumbs sticking out of our foreheads, but instead gives us eyes made with crystal clear lenses, stereoscopic vision, and the ability to see colors. Who is so bold as to claim the organismic originated these wonder into their DNA?

Nov 02, 2009
And obviously bullpit is a religionist. I can picture the stars in his eyes as he struggles with his poetry. "Underneath lies a genuine fear of people who know important things he doesn't and a selfish desire to trump them with his beautiful god"

Sorry, no fear here, but with a lifetime as an electrical engineer, my "selfish disire to trump" is pretty low. There IS beauty and love, and it does act as the underlying force that makes it all make sense! No religionist I! Just a 70 year old student of life.

"Accept that you can't be an authority on evolution just because you wanna be. Evolution is real and true and you will never understand why"
Evolution is simply the tool by which the Universe is shaped and unfolded. We are but a bit of virus on a speck of space dust, somewhere out near the edge of a galaxy that like uncountable others, is exploding through uncharted space! One needs to check their egos when it is all seen in context, don't you think?

Nov 03, 2009
When one is blinded by anger, objectivity is nearly impossible. The Universe is awash in beauty and order. It is a reflection of its Creator. Blind raging can cause us to miss the obvious. Using bellicose self importance of some religionist as a rational against anything beyond the physical, is myopic. Ultimately we are each responsible to find what is true, and continue to enlarge that truth as we grow in our individual ability to reach just beyond our present grasp.

Nov 03, 2009
I'm not the one filled with anger, and accusing others of being filled with fear...

Nov 03, 2009
We are all afraid and angry my friend. We feel trapped by that dark door at the end of the hall. Its not fair is it?

While we're getting all poetical...

Only the weak let the fear and anger define them however. Fear and anger are manifestations of your own negative energy, these drain you because you let them. And you are clearly drained. Hope and love are the other side of the coin (really it's just hope and fear, +/-, i'd say), of course, which we are all capable of, but it's much harder to draw the positive in, than it is to just let out with the negative. That's entropy for you, I guess.

And for the record I am anti-organized religion, I don't believe in any god/creator or the soul, I wouldn't even consider myself spiritual, though I could see how one might construe me as such.

Nov 03, 2009
We are all afraid and angry my friend. We feel trapped by that dark door at the end of the hall.


No, not "all" of us feel this way. Just those who have limited their allowable inputs to the physical realm.
Its not fair is it? Your beliefs are only the drug you take to forget that its there.


Well no, not that narrow view! But it does make one begin to search a little deeper. What you find when you search, is not some "drug" though. It is a nearly infinite expansion of possibilities! And, yes, it can leave one a bit euphoric I suppose.

The demands that religionists put on others, to reinforce that addiction, that LIE, for them, is the cause of much misery and strife. Its not real, it must end.

Nov 03, 2009
The demands that religionists put on others, to reinforce that addiction, that LIE, for them, is the cause of much misery and strife. Its not real, it must end.


Sorry, I missed answering this comment. Here we are a bit more in agreement. Demands of religionists really put me off some 50 years ago, and continues to this day. Truth has always been available to each of us. But, we are incapable in taking a very big "bite" of it, and are unable to digest most of it. So, What is offered is always tailored to the individual seeker. You simply cannot prepackage truth with any real depth. Only the desire to know more is universal. But is is never thrust upon us. It must be sought by each of us. When the honest desire to know is strong enough, then real growth begins.

Nov 03, 2009
Anger, bitterness and cynicism, yeah, I can see why you cling to your lonely loveless view of the Universe. You obviously have the key to what everyone else is searching for.

Good job...

Nov 04, 2009
So- people without god in their hearts are lonely, sad, bitter, etc?


While that a bit of an over statement, yes. Having the balance of spirituality gives "the peace that surpasses understanding". And, until it is experienced, it is simply "God candy" to folks like you.

I say only people who fall for that crap need it because they are lonely, sad, bitter, etc.


That often is the launch point. Pain is the great course corrector and primary teacher.

If reality doesn't do it, if you can't be accepted by the majority who are rational and reasonable, if the world makes no sense to you because you're intellectually or cognitively challenged, you're epiphanized and the pain goes away. Let go and let god.


You assume that my reality is in some way inferior to your reality. Denigrating my mental acuity is childish nonsense. My years of study have given me a continuity of understanding that cover pre-time/space to so far beyond it would make you head spin!

Nov 04, 2009
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Nov 04, 2009
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Nov 04, 2009
What amazes me about this typical fight (it is hardly a discussion or exchange of ideas when both sides ridicule and demean the other for their beliefs), is that the hard-science, anti-spiritual crowd like otto and marjon, refuse to believe that anyone can be both of a scientific mind and spiritual. Why is it hard to accept that there are evolved minds out there who understand the need for a cosmic truth as well as for advancement of science?

Have we all forgotten that classical scientists (and indeed, many of today) had as a goal to reconcile God with empirical science?

I am hardly one to say I have all or even any of the answers; however, I am intelligent enough to know that I have no way to prove or disprove God's existence, in the same manner I have no way to prove or disprove the universe just popped into existence for no reason or just always existed.

Give it a rest; neither side is willing to give ground to the other. Science will advance, as will spirituality.

Nov 04, 2009
To quote Albert Camus:

"I would rather live my life as if there is a God and die to find out there isn't, than to live my life as if there isn't and die to find out there is."

Personally, I have never understood how believing in one thing or another, in God or not in God, should in ANY way affect how one performs science. Science is a process, not a belief system.

To quote Albert Einstein:

"Science without religion is lame; religion without science is blind."

Nov 04, 2009
Dawkins convincingly explains why there should be no tolerance for accepting anything less than WHAT IS.


To accept WHAT IS would be to kill the advancement of science for all time. If we knew WHAT IS, why would we bother trying to discover anything? The fact that we haven't the slightest freaking clue WHAT IS (in the grand cosmic scheme of things, anyway), much less WHY IT IS; however, I will not argue your right or choice to contend faith-based belief systems against science-based. You are free to believe or disbelieve anything without affecting me, despite your tenuous belief that my and others' belief systems "do too much damage to be tolerated," and "are a threat to the world."

Intolerance is the only threat to the world I've seen in this thread. Additionally, speculating on what Dead Al might or might not have said/meant in a time in which he does not exist, is as fruitless as this debate.

Also to marjon, my apologies for misconstruing your intent/agreement.

Nov 04, 2009
Intellect is finite, and all we "know" relative. We have no provable absolutes. You give me a "fact", and if I ask "why?" enough times, the answer eventually is "I don't know". If we are ultimately limited to the electrical inputs from our 5 senses, then our chances of unraveling it all seem vanishingly unlikely. Unless, of course, those things which the sense miss, like the life force, and the binding/driving force of Love are taken into consideration. Mankind's limitation has always been where we decide to set the barriers of what is possible and what is not. Lowering these barriers is a little scary, but it is the only way we grow. It is time for the scientists to lower the barriers to those areas we call spiritual. Having come to grips with Quantum Physics, spirituality seems pretty straight forward! IMHO

Nov 04, 2009
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Nov 05, 2009
Why do atheists feel the need to ridicule those who believe?

Not all Atheists do that.

Then again some of us are Agnostics because we aren't into religious beliefs, not even Atheism.
If not for religion of the Jews and Christians for the past 4000 years, please provide any sound speculative rationale as to where society would be today.

Can't be done, that is it would be purely speculative and not very sound. However it is reasonable to assume that there more people alive. A LOT of people have died in religious wars.
Would pagen Greek or Roman civilizations have ended slavery and encouraged unalienable individual rights?

Why not? The Roman Empire was Christian for a long time. That didn't end the blood sports. They even got worse. The Bible gives clear support for people that want to us it to justify slavery. Heck Islamic countries, which wouldn't exist without Judaism and Christianity, were the last to make chattel slavery illegal.

Ethelred

Nov 05, 2009
Religiosity is not religion. That humans twist and distort whatever is available to justify whatever end, is damning evidence against those humans, not any religion or philosophy.
Again, true religion is the internal spiritual interface, not an external dogmatic doctrinaire driven organization.

Nov 05, 2009
You could not be more wrong! I was raised Lutheran, but became an agnostic with atheist leanings. Long story, but discovering God to be present in my very own being was truly an unfolding, and not delivered by any organization. Just for the record, I belong to no church organization, period. No money grabbing intermediary, just a very personal spiritual connection and a Friend who never fails me.

Nov 05, 2009
How many compared to wars of empire and politics?

You asked a question. I tried to point things out.
However the most deadly Civil War ever was the Chinese Civil War. Twenty million dead and due to religious insanity. Insane individual claimed to be Jesus. Several of them. Without Christianity they wouldn't have had the levers to get so many killed.
Do you condemn politics and nationalism as well for such reasons?

The condemnation was yours. I just pointed out the facts.
There would be a LOT more people alive if a-religious tyrants like Stalin and Mao had not murdered them.

Yes. So what? That wasn't your question. They would exist with or without Christianity. Hitler would not have. He was Christian. Stalin was most likely raised Christian. Both were products of a Christian nation.
Christians are not perfect, just forgiven.

Only if their god is real. And I don't care if Hitler, or the people responsible for the Thirty War are forgiven.

Ethelred

Nov 05, 2009
@bitbull
according to Rick Warren, fellowship- communing and sharing with like-minded people-
is an integral part of a spiritual existance. You may want to consider it. I stopped reading at the chapter on service- hell with that.

Okay,I'm confused. Would you like to explain who Rick Warren is? And what exactly was it you stopped reading?

Nov 05, 2009
Ah, now I remember. He had the best seller book on the purpose of like. Well, different strokes... It took me a lot of searching before I found the book that resonates with me.

Nov 06, 2009
In other words, atheists looking for a quick cheap-shot may claim Hitler was a Christian

It wasn't a cheap shot. You were the one that asked. I answered. YOU brought up Stalin and Mao which had NOTHING to do with the question you asked. So I mentioned Hitler. Just to point out that two could play that game.

And I am NOT an atheist and I already said that. However it is NOT a dirty word.
No matter how his madness is painted, he was still evil incarnate

Yes. And he was still Christian. If you don't want him mentioned don't go off on tangents that had nothing to do with your original question.

Dictators exist with or without Christianity. You asked what the world be like without it. It could be better place without Judaism and Christianity and therefor Islam as well. But we cannot know that. We CAN know that a LOT of people have been killed in wars due to those three religions.

Ethered

Nov 06, 2009
Christianity is a name bandied about by quite a few people, many of whom are totally clueless regarding what it is

You seem to be one of them.
Regardless of anyone calling themselves the younger brother of Jesus

The Bible does as well. Josephus also refers to "James the brother of Jesus". I don't think either mentioned him being younger. Or older.

By the way who mentioned James? You seem to brought that up out of thin air. I thought that post was aimed at me but I can't tell for sure, because I sure didn't bring up James. But it came right after the one that clearly was a reply to me and it didn't appear to be a reply to Otto.

I have this sneaking suspicion that it was aimed at me except that it had nothing to do with what I wrote. Except for the proximity issue I wouldn't have a clue who it was in reply to.

Ethelred

Nov 06, 2009
Every time I get into a on-line exchange with those who blame religion for all man's ill

Actually it wasn't here till AFTER you started accusing people.
they nearly all must resort to ridiculing believers as dopes and rubes

Perhaps if you were more polite and didn't launch preemptive strikes.
If only those rational non-believers were in charge, the world would be a much better place

Its a possibility but people, believers or not, are humans and SOME humans are willing to kill to get what they want. Being Christian doesn't stop it. Nor does not being Christian. But it WOULD stop religious wars.
Many of theses same people also advocate for socialism, a system of government that has demonstrably failed around the world

Almost ALL of Europe is a failure? Socialism does NOT equal Communism.
I wonder how many of you 'rational' non-believers voted for BHO

A lot I hope. Lots more Christians voted for him.

No, you don't know what Christianity is.

Ethelred

Nov 06, 2009
Otto:

No. There are TWO reference to Jesus in Josephus. One is exactly as I quoted if my memory serves me. The other, that may only be in SOME copies, is clearly bogus. If Josephus had written that one he would have been a Christian.

Allegedly the bogus versions came via Eusebius' copies, a man that advocated lying to support his religion. The other versions came from another source.

I just don't feel like checking up at the moment.

OK it was easy, a lot easier than when I first went looking for this stuff. Wikipedia makes this a lot easier than it used to be.

http://en.wikiped...on_Jesus

That reference in Josephus is the EARLIEST reference to Jesus in any non-Biblical writing. And Josephus was born after Jesus was supposed to have died. There is no record from the time of Jesus. However there was no record of Pontius Pilate either till sometime in the 1990s when a building dedication was found that mentioned him.

Ethelred

Nov 06, 2009
We can also now that millions MORE than a LOT have been killed in wars that had NOTHING to do with religion.
Which AGAIN is not relevant to the question you asked.

You seem to have great difficulty in understanding YOUR OWN questions.
Using war as an excuse to attack religion is weak
I didn't attack. I ONLY posted a fact. Again, the alleged attack is only in your mind.

You asked. I answered with facts. Not my fault that you consider facts an attack.
religious doctrines of Judaism and Christianity promote peace.
So why all the killing in the Bible at the behest of Jehovah? Oh and this from Jesus.

Matthew 10:34
Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword
Yes ever so peaceful.

You might want to try learning a bit more about your religion.

Ethelred

Nov 06, 2009
And communism and fascism ARE socialism, state control of private property
So is Sweden. Socialism covers a wide range of governments. There is no requirement that they be psychotic. There simply are things that private enterprise cannot do.

Hoover Dam for instance.

I notice that you ignored the success of Socialism in Europe.

By the way I am NOT a Socialist. I am simply pointing out your ignorance on this matter.
How is that hope and change working out for you?
Far better than things were going with Dumbass.
10+% unemployment is working out quite well for BHO, no?
Pretty much what was expected after Bush wrecked the economy.

You are aware that this has nothing to do with your question don't you? Its a sign that someone is loosing an argument when they bring in random off topic things in an attempt to divert attention.

Ethelred

Nov 06, 2009
The essence of the issue: religion is bad because people fight each other over religion.
If you want to reach that conclusion based on the facts I posted go ahead. I didn't say it not matter how many times you try to put it in my mouth.
And many who attack religion on this basis are very supportive of a coercive state.
Then perhaps you should stop attacking religion.

You clearly don't understand that I only responded, WITH FACTS and no opinions, to your question. Don't ask the question if you can't handle the answer.
So, how is Europe successful? Lower taxes? More liberty? Higher economic growth?
Sometimes, sometimes, YES at present.

Which is relevant to the discussion about religion in what way? Still trying diversions I see.

Ethelred

Nov 06, 2009
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Nov 06, 2009
Otto,
The only reason England and Spain went to war was for religion?


Yes. It was Spain that decided to go to war. The reasons stated by the King were religious.

However I personally wouldn't call it a religious war even if I can make a good presentation that it was. For Queen Elizabeth it was about money as much as it was about religion. But it was about religion to a large extent.

Napoleon tried to conquer Russia to convert them to Catholicism?


Seemed more like political suicide to me. Otto does tend to go over the top. He usually is going on about power conspiracies.

Ethelred

Nov 07, 2009
According to macchiavelli and others, after a time professional soldiers


Italian mercenaries seem to have been particularly nasty. Keep in mind that is what he was talking about, mercenaries.
Napoleon led his troops straight into the Russ winter to dispose of them.
That is as harsh as Russia's weather. I don't think that was the reason. He actually thought he was going to win.
Same reason Alexander led his back thru the Arabian desert.
Maybe. He was clearly torqued off. He was also even more arrogant than Napoleon. A very bad drunk as well. He was one of many men that the world would have been better off without. Like Napoleon or Julius Caesar.
My theories are unique, you must admit and disturbing because they make sense.
I don't see them as unique. I see them as seeing more planning than is there. Which is a popular way of thinking.
Anyway prayer is good if it makes you feel better.


Perhaps. Sometimes anyway. So does self-hypnosis.

Ethelred

Nov 07, 2009
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Nov 07, 2009
Otto those two posts were so unlike you. Was it pure sarcasm?

This is the first site I have run across that moderates this way.

nyway if prayer works for you WTF.


It doesn't. I know that you are aware that I am without religion of any sort. You have made similar claims.

And this site had nearly zero moderation till recently. It seemed to work extremely well.

Yes, I do know that is their site. They can wreck it way they want. And I can complain. They can delete the complaints. If they want they can ban me. It won't bother me much since banning me would be a sign that this site is not fit to post on.

Now when Ming threatened to ban me on Apolyton I apologized. And asked what the heck I did since I hadn't broken any rules. He said that no I hadn't but stop doing it anyway. Turned out that the guy I was arguing with had problems. I respect Ming. This I don't since there is literally no one to respect as long as they behave this way.

Ethelred

Nov 07, 2009
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Nov 07, 2009
the 3 legions in Juterbog forest


So why do we know about it?

Quintilius Varus where are my Eagles?

It doesn't sound to me like Augustus was covering up anything. Not there anyway. Varus screwed up and got 15,000 men killed.

JFK was shot by Oswald. Oswald MIGHT have had help.

If you want to discuss it:
http://www.physor...721.html

Otto, while I think you have a point, I also KNOW you get carried away. Most people in power have more ambition than brains.

Ethelred

Nov 07, 2009
So what are your facts in defense of socialism? (By a self-proclaimed non-socialist, no less.)
Successful nations. Like most of Europe as I pointed out.
Which is relevant to the discussion about religion in what way? Still trying diversions I see." (Ethelred)

Why did you quote that. You made no comment on it. YOU brought socialism into to the discussion so it was you that appeared to be trying to derail it.

Bringing up controversial irrelevancies is SOP for some. It is very popular on religion threads.
It is pertinent in that many people who attack religious coercion support state coercion, socialism.
That is both a generalization and still irrelevant to this discussion. Socialism is not the same as state coercion no matter how many times you repeat it.

Want me to start posting irrelevant comment about the Religious Right trying coerce schools into pushing their religious belief? I only bring it up as an example of what you are doing.

Ethelred

Nov 08, 2009
Ambition can be more dependable than sense of duty. 'Never trust an honest politician' -Heinlein.


Never trust Heinlein when makes idiotic remarks about politics. -Ethelred

I thought Blair was uniformly vilified- how is it he's up for EU pres?


Why not? He wasn't UNIFORMLY vilified and the present British admin is on its way out as well. Let me know if he WINS.

Ethelred


Nov 08, 2009
DPRK (North Korea) is a nation. Is it successful?

Is it European?

Diversions seem to be your only tactic. Therefor it is clear that you DO UNDERSTAND that the European DEMOCRATIC partially Socialist states are successful.

Thank you for this clear, though not explicit, admission of that.
The relevance of socialism to those to are attacking religion is those who attack religion coercion support state coercion
Which remains totally irrelevant to what I posted. Your continuing efforts to paint me as a fanatic so you can ignore the facts is pathetic. Especially since I did not attack.

So since all you can do is divert it is clear that YOU also think more people would be alive today if Christianity did not exist. Socialism exists in Christian countries. Indeed Christian Democrats are often Socialists. So you are deliberately bringing in nations that are neither Socialist or Democratic since their principle property is that they are DICTATORSHIPS.

Ethelred

Nov 08, 2009
WHAT IS THE DEFINITION OF A SUCCESSFUL NATION?
That would depend on your point of view. Are you going to pretend that the Democratic states in Europe are unsuccessful?
dictator controls the property of a state or if it a 'democratic' mob, individuals do not have control of private property, the state does
If the state controls it is because the State owns it. In which case it isn't private. Even the US has always had a lot of public property. Always.

And that is still just more of your diversion
I have said the exact opposite
No you didn't. Where did you SHOW that no one died in Religious Wars? You have only said there are other kinds of wars which I don't deny I simply note that does not make the millions of death from Religious Wars go away.
This is the SECOND time I have pointed out this error to you.
I didn't make an error. I pointed out that it wasn't relevant to the FACT that people died in Religious Wars.

It is just another diversion.

Ethelred

Nov 08, 2009
:-) Heinlein was pointing out both the inherent corruptability of democratic govts.
Heinlein also truly thought that the US would break up. Before now. Kind of like the many times various Christians have claimed that the Second Coming was imminent.

I like his books but his opinions on politics should be taken with a grain of salt. Or perhaps a salt mine.

'Democracy is one step above despotism'- plato?-


Is that like One Small Step For (a) Man One Giant Leap For Mankind?

Ethelred

Nov 09, 2009
@pcunix: an Atheist believes in 0 gods. Definitely 0.

A Christian believes in 1 God (or 3, depending on who you ask, except Unitarians are definitely 1).

An agnostic may or may not. "I used to be undecided, but now? I'm not so sure..."

What a Latter Day Saint believes is open to question.

Many of the Eastern religious styles believe in an abundant plenitude of gods.

It generally looks like a battle of numbers. (-:

Nov 09, 2009
@Ethelred: WRT the Second Coming, read the pope's June encyclical, then tell me he wasn't trained by Historicist interpreters of prophecy. Oculus tauri!

This despite Futuristic & Preteristic interpretations being invented by the pope's organisation.

Yes, we do live in a strange world, & it ain't gettin' any less strange.

Nov 09, 2009
Dealing With Evasions
YOU made up the definition. Define it. By your definition, North Korea is a successful nation.
I said no such thing. I simply pointed out that the European Democracies are successful.
Talk about evading.
You are the one that brought this stuff up. I just point out that it is evading the original question. Something you are still refusing to deal with.

I am going to leave out quoting the evasions because of space limitations.

Rules and regulations have been around for millenia. Are you demanding pure anarchy?

There have always been taxes in the US. Always. Even under the failed Articles of Confederation.

WE the people now own GM. Why shouldn't we fire the idiot. Because he asked for help? Which you seem to want avoid thinking about.

All the above were replies to your continuous evasion.

Are you ever planning deal with your original question in any other way.

Ethelred

Nov 09, 2009
Dealing With Semi Relevant Material
Those who attack religion do so with a claim religion has caused so many deaths
If you consider the truth to be an attack that is your problem. You sure don't appear to be willing to deal with it.
To put that in perspective, MILLIONS more people have been murdered in wars and pogroms by those who are not religious
I notice that you still haven't said how that brings the millions dead in Religious Wars back to life.
So when such individuals begin to condemn the tyranny of nation-states as well, their motivation for religious condemnation is not about saving human lives
You might want to read that again. Unless you intended to attack yourself.

You just refuse to get it.

You are the one that is doing all the condemning. I only posted a fact.

So perhaps you should look at just what got you mad at me for mentioning what religions did. Which is what you actually asked for.

Be careful what you wish for, you might get it.

Ethelred

Nov 09, 2009
I don't know how Heinlein got into the discussion,


Otto brought it up. He seems to think that Heinlein had great insight into government. I think Heinlein never noticed that humans behave similarly in business as they do in government.

And yes that is a nice quote. The question is did even he match that. If so then he picked them out because he did. Few need to program a computer. Less need to conn a ship. I don't need to pitch manure. I suppose I am capable of it. But I am also capable of finding a better way.

I think problem solving covers most of that. The rest is to look clever. Which is part of being a writer. Especially when you write for geeks like RAH did.

Who me a geek? Yeah.

Ethelred

Nov 10, 2009
Communists are still promoting their 'faith'. Where is the condemnation from the anti-religious?


I don't see anyone like that left on the thread.

OK Otto is still here.

Are you ever going to admit that you can't bring those killed in religious wars back to life by pointing out that other people have killed people as well?

What does 'successful; mean?


People living out their lives with out fear of starvation or government brutality or religious persecution with a reasonable chance to better themselves. I did ask you why you think they AREN'T successful. I note that you won't answer that.

Still evading.

am challenging that assertion and are you, Ethelred, defending it?


Can't you read what I write? I never defended it. Why do you even ask? Oh yes you think I attacked religion by stating clear facts.

Ethelred

Nov 10, 2009
For all these reasons, this is why the US first amendment disallows a state religion.


Oddly enough it doesn't. It stops a FEDERAL religion. At least one Supreme Court Justice thinks states can, under the US Constitution form a State Religion.

Had to look up his name. I can never remember it

Clarence Thomas

Ethelred

Nov 11, 2009
The Pope promoting SETI. Who would have thunk.


Times change. Sometimes even Popes think about reality. Then again that is NOT the Pope speaking. That would be like saying that what Taillard de Chardin said was the same as the Pope speaking.

I can agree with this.


Of course you do. But your wrong. Eight members of the Supreme Court disagree as do most Constitutional scholars. The key is that the Thomas not only thinks it was that way, he thinks it still is that way, despite the the 14th Amendment which ALL other members of the Supreme Court found to apply.

Ethelred

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