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Comments about ‘Survey: Many Americans believe rise in number of non-religious is bad’

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Published: Friday, July 5 2013 10:55 p.m. MDT

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Epinephrine
Grand Forks, ND

I have never met a non-religious person who has stated that a rise in their numbers is a bad thing. Very surprising. Just look at this website and the Trib's comment boards to see what the non-religious think of religion in general.

snowyphile
Jemez Springs, NM

A non-scientific survey suggests that going to church does not improve behavior.

George Derringer
Marblehead, MA

It looks like the colors for "bad thing" and "doesn't matter" aere reversed in the color bar chart labeled "Religious Tradition." The blue section should be ?bad thing" and the green section should represent those who answered "doesn't matter."

windsor
City, Ut

Loved the part about atheists "getting over themselves"and getting over "jeering at religion".

Can tell you when the atheist in my life decided to do those two things, it made all the difference.

ChuckGG
Gaithersburg, MD

Not at all surprising findings. Churches filled a social function now replaced with any number of other social vehicles. This is a far cry from my parents' day where Sunday church was the one time to get away from the farm, meet, socialize, and get the news. Today's youth have the same need but it is met elsewhere. Also, the whole "hocus pocus" of religion is far less believable by educated and aware young people. It is not surprising the atheist groups have the social aspects of church without the traditional trappings of church which seem dated. The old technique of churches keeping people in fear of others, uneducated, unworldly, and cloistered no longer works. How do you keep an Amish kid on the farm after he's seen the world on the internet? I doubt you do. Churches need to become relevant today or they will become relics of the past.

10CC
Bountiful, UT

Of course most of America thinks the rise in the number of non-religious is a bad thing. When I was religious I thought the same thing.

My assumption was that unless you believed in heaven and "heck", there was no reason to have morals or treat others nicely. Do whatever you want, because it doesn't matter. The more pleasure you can get, good for you. Others? That's their problem.

So, it was a surprise to meet actual atheists, and to find out they're caring, quite moral, and are often generous with helping others. My religious bias was wrong.

I'm not an atheist, but I'm not religious. My charitable donations go to charities, not churches. Is this the reason I'm feared? I'd like to think not, but I don't know.

I know in the case of my former religion, there's a sense that if it's not growing, at a substantial pace, then things are wrong, or maybe an unstated fear that the message we were taught isn't true. I was told Jesus would return, certainly by the year 2000.

I'm sure Jesus' return date is not predicted, anymore.

Edd_Doerr
Silver Spring, MD

It seems not to have occurred to many people that the excesses of fundamentalist political activists, clerical child abusers, churchy opponents of women's rights, and those who are working to divert public funds to church-run private schools lead many to shun religion in general. -- Edd Doerr (arlinc.org)

Twin Lights
Louisville, KY

One point I find odd in the rise of atheism is the belief expressed by some that the religious do not believe in logic or science.

From the article: "The secular can learn that just because we value critical thinking and the scientific method, that doesn't mean we suddenly become disembodied and we can no longer benefit from our emotional lives."

I know many I consider to be quite religious who engage in critical thinking and both understand and apply the scientific method with regularity.

Science and logic are not just the province of atheists. Men and women of many religious backgrounds are part of the scientific community and have always been.

The concept that science and logic somehow "belong" to the non-religious is simply irrational.

Hutterite
American Fork, UT

Maybe they see the increase in the amount of non religious as 'bad' because it causes them to re evaluate whether their own claims to some sort of supernatural knowledge have any validity, or they're just claiming it does. An increase in the non religious continues to prove that people have an innate sense of morality which does not require a code imposed by a religion and I suppose the religious could see that as 'bad' because it exposes the weakness and fabrication of those who claim to have some sort of divine insight.

BCA
Murrieta, CA

In my 60 years, I have sat in enough Sunday School classes where Christians jeer not only at those with no religion but those of other religions. In fact, Dr Gee just lost a job at Ohio State doing that exact thing. The only difference is that when atheists do in, they don't add,"But I really love them.", which is supposed to somehow make it okay.

skeptic
Phoenix, AZ

Religion is fading in public influence because it has evolved into giant nonprofit international corporation churches that are more about politics, commerce and personal gain than they are to altruistic religious principals. Organized religion has become a toxin to public health.

atl134
Salt Lake City, UT

Can you imagine how fast this would be considered evidence of bigotry if non-religious were replaced in the title with any religion?

Charles.Reese
FULTON, MO

If nearly 50 percent believe that non-religion is bad then perhaps they should read The Book of Mormon. I love that book and know it to be true. Perhaps the lesson to be learned from studying The Book of Mormon would be the pride cycle and what happened when the people or great majority of those individuals turned a way from God.

What happened? They suffered for it greatly. And this is a sign/prelude of things to come or going on at this very moment. We don't have laws against individuals that don't want to believe in God for they are free to choose for themselves. Sound familiar?

But because those individuals feel the way they do, it should put more pressure on people who do believe in God to set an example and do their best as they know what is right.

All will be well when the time is right for the return of our Lord and Master. The time is not yet, but soon it will be. Hang in there in the fight for what is right and just.

ThornBirds
St.George, Utah

Following this past week's Deseret News article detailing the LDS Church's pew/bench fiasco, which garnered over 130 powerful and emotional comments........
Those who do not embrace organized religion, again, breathed a sigh of relief.

george of the jungle
goshen, UT

If you believe in gravity the holds us to the ground. How can you not believe that God holds us together.

ParkCityAggie
Park City, Ut

The numbers are not surprising and probably mostly reflect those the in the somewhat religious to very religious category. Its been my experience that those who consider themselves somewhat or very religious tend to believe that those who are not religious are either ignorant, arrogant, uncouth, or all three. Yet Atheists would likely point out some fairly recent studies that show they are more likely to have read and understand the Bible more so than your average person. They would also point out that although Atheists and non-believers make up nearly 18% of the US population, that they only represent about 1% of those incarcerated in prison. I think that 39% is mostly made up of people who are religious in name only, likely identifying themselves a s Christian even though they probably never attend a church service. Thus they don't get worked up about there being a rise of those who consider themselves less religious or non-religious. Or perhaps they are just not dogmatic about their Christianity or religious faith? It would be interesting in to delve into a bit more.

10CC
Bountiful, UT

Of course most of America thinks the rise in the number of non-religious is a bad thing. When I was religious I thought the same thing.

My assumption was that unless you believed in heaven and "heck", there was no reason to have morals or treat others nicely. Do whatever you want, because it doesn't matter. The more pleasure you can get, good for you. Others? That's their problem.

So, it was a surprise to meet actual atheists, and to find out they're caring, quite moral, and are often generous with helping others. My religious bias was wrong.

I'm not an atheist, but I'm not religious. My charitable donations go to charities, not churches. Is this the reason I'm feared? I'd like to think not, but I don't know.

I know in the case of my former religion, there's a sense that if it's not growing, at a substantial pace, then things are wrong, or maybe an unstated fear that the message we were taught isn't true.

Mr.Glass
Salt Lake City, UT

The rise in the number of non-religious people is a good thing. Those who believe otherwise have been indoctrinated by religion. Indeed, children are indoctrinated to believe that people are incapable of living moral lives without believing in a supernatural being and creator of the universe. Monotheists are taught to believe that the Bible is the supreme book to consult for moral living, despite the abundant evidence from the Bible showing that God as the main character tells his people to commit genocide, kill others for disobeying the sabbath and for believing in different Gods, and kill disobedient sons. Thankfully, most Christians and Jews ignore those parts or absurdly explain them away.

I think non-believers who meet like the religious is a great idea. What people truly need and benefit from is meeting together as a community and discuss moral excellence. Moral philosophy grounded in reason and common sense makes more sense than religious dogma grounded in unquestioning obedience.

Don't believe what the religious say about the non-religious. You don't need to believe in a supernatural being or miracles to live a good, nor do you need superstition.

10CC
Bountiful, UT

Twin Lights:

I agree with your basic view that religion and science are not mutually exclusive, but certainly throughout history science has been at odds with religion, and scientific insights have absolutely resulted in evolution of theology.

We're seeing this before our eyes, right now. The LDS church's view on homosexuality has come a loooong way, and now LDS are comparatively "progressive" on the topic, at least compared to the Southern Baptists, on the issue of the Boy Scouts.

This is a good thing, but there is a limit to how quickly religions can adjust their ideology.

The Civil War helped American Christianity pivot on the issue of whether slavery is sanctioned by the Bible or not. How quickly might the LDS church further evolve on the issue of homosexuality?

I don't know, but changing fundamental understandings of how gender relates to the theological message is a more thorny issue than just making the priesthood available to all worthy males. My hunch is there would need to be a revelation on giving females the priesthood before homosexuality can be fully accepted.

But, we move forward. And that's good.

Mister J
Salt Lake City, UT

re: ChuckGG

"This is a far cry from my parents' day where Sunday church was the one time to get away from the farm, meet, socialize, and get the news. Today's youth have the same need but it is met elsewhere. Also, the whole "hocus pocus" of religion is far less believable by educated and aware young people"

Spot on.

What the Title and survey means to me is there are people who don't trust Organized Religion.

I know since abandoning O R and going w/ a chimera or Deism, Gnosticism, & Taoism that I have a better attitude about myself and the world.

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