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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The Scientist
Provo, UT

Twin Lights wrote:

"But my experience is that as societies lose religion, they slowly lose the moral foundation. It doesn't happen overnight but it does eventually happen."

So, you must be several centuries old, and have "experienced" a large enough number of societies rise and fall (due, in your humble opinion, to loss of religion)?

Do tell...

Louisville, KY


In my work, we have folks who verify and challenge other’s work product. Allowing folks to monitor only sometimes works well. We are often unwilling to challenge our assumptions. Most of us reassess as we serve folks and serve with others. We crib their ideas and listen to their advice.

Could we ponder it all on our own and learn it without anyone else? Maybe. But that is not what I see. I think the solo route often can lead to being satisfied with where we are rather than looking forward. And, we can learn not just from the strong but from the most vulnerable we serve. They have powerful truths to teach.

I certainly understand the solo route. It is my preference as well. But in retrospect, I just don’t find it has been as demanding as my interactions with others.

It’s not about others confirming my beliefs (I am generally okay there and that is, for me, very private). It’s about my realizing that I have another gear to engage and to advance more than I had thought possible. To learn and to grow.


Louisville, KY

A/The Scientist

I agree that many atheists have good hearts. I thought I left that door pretty open in one of my prior posts.

I think the concept that the religious do what they do out of fear or to put credits on the spiritual tab is overblown. Certainly some do. But those I see most motivated to serve (and who serve relentlessly) do so neither out of fear or the keeping of some heavenly account. But rather out of love. Love for the Lord they serve. Love for the people they serve and for those they serve with.

Thanks for the support, but no I am not that old (some would beg to differ). I am looking just from my childhood in the 50s & 60s to now. But then you appear to admit that it does in fact happen.

Note I did not say that societies rise and fall this way (much longer timeframe). Rather that the loss of religion comes first and then the slipping of morals.

I assume my opinion is as humble as yours. Peace.

The Scientist
Provo, UT

Semi-Strong wrote:

"I thought I left that door pretty open in one of my prior posts."

Most believers I have met do NOT leave that door open. I witness it every week in LDS meetings with my LDS wife.

"...those I see most motivated to serve...do so...out of love. Love for the Lord they serve. Love for the people they serve and for those they serve with."

"Love for the Lord" is not genuine love for people per se; rather, it renders genuine love for others derivative and condescending: a dutiful and obedient response to the command "love one another" (typically coupled with a disregard for "love your enemies").

"But then you appear to admit that it does in fact happen."

No, I do not admit that societies fall due to loss of religion. Nor do I think a sincere look at history would find support for such a religio-centric claim. The alleged "slipping of morals" to which you refer is merely a slipping from the pseudo-"morals" imposed by religion.

"...without anyone else?...I certainly understand the solo route..."

Whoever said atheism/secularism is a "solo route"?

Mesa, AZ


"The Mormons say that Indians are lost Jews. DNA says something else and very convincingly."

They are looking in the wrong DNA pool. The Book of Mormon say’s Lehi was descended from Manasseh . Joseph had two sons Ephraim and Manasseh. Joseph’s wife was Egyptian. Joseph’s descendants carried in their genes Egyptian and Hebrew DNA. There is really no such thing as Jewish DNA since the Jews were just one of twelve tribes. Lehi fled Jerusalem as commanded by the Lord and afterwards inhabitants of Jerusalem were destroyed by Babylon. The survivors were taken captive back to Babylon where no doubt they mingled their DNA with their Babylonian captors.

If Asian DNA resembles native American DNA then the scientists should consult the OLD Testament and should go back and try and find DNA that originated in ancient Egypt. Africa would be a good starting place. It would be interesting to research Asian history to see if Egyptians were trading with Asians and also intermarrying with them.

Native Americans not showing the presence of Jewish DNA really does not prove anything.

Ref Gen 46:20, Alma 10:3


I suppose there are both atheists who believe in the morality of Judaeo-Christianity and mainstream world religions, and those who attend churches habitually without living the morality. Many believe in a god that is permissive or one who forgives without real repentance. I prefer the former if anything but my favorite people of all are those who live a moral and pure religion without hypocrisy.

However anyone who lives a moral life I would be glad to call a friend. If all our politicians were such people what a difference that would make! If they all supported life, liberty and property there would be no wars except defensive wars and no one would speak blithely about "collateral damage" in a conflict. Republicans and Democrats would not so readily embark on 'yet another conflict'; there would be no more legal abortions of convenience. There would be no stealing by political bodies under the guise of benevolence, and we would be free to make our own decisions unless we decide to take away the life, liberty or property of another by force.

Louisville, KY

A/The Scientist

Maybe the folks you know don’t leave the door open, but I think most out here understand this point.

If love for the Lord becomes "derivative and condescending" when we serve others for that reason (at least initially) then is it so for every act we do as a favor to a loved one? Even if, in the process, we learn to love those whom we serve?

If acts of service that are, at least at first, inspired by religious duty are suspect, then do we disregard the acts of Gandhi, Desmond Tutu, Mother Teresa, etc.?

The morals "imposed" by religion are "pseudo-morals"? Like the ten commandments?

As to "the solo route". That was in direct answer to my ongoing conversation with Brahamabull.

sandy, ut


The DNA evidence doesn't add up. You can argue it all you want, but the experts have said it isn't possible. they are experts in DNA, not you. Not me either. You have to follow the evidence, and if you don't you are making a wrong conclusion.



When I typed "I prefer the former" it referred back to the first sentence in my opinion; that is to say I prefer a moral atheist to a hypocritical church attendee. Added to that I typed that I like most of all, however, the religious individual who cleaves to, and lives, a religious code of the highest and noblest standards.

Santa Monica, CA

Another way to look at this is 51% of America is okay with a rise in non-religiousity. And the more the Bible thumpers thump, the less that young people want to be around them. Expect the numbers of those who refuse to claim a religion to rise. Unfortunately, the good Christian people of this nation have allowed the Fred Phelp's--the Rush Limbaughs--the Glen Becks, the Jerry Fallwells, the Jimmy Swaggarts and the Pat Robertsons of the world to hold hold our Fathers message hostage and frame it in their own terms. Too many angry, white old men (and women) have allowed (and encouraged) this. Now they are dying off and the vast majority of young America doesn't seem to want to take up their sometimes red hot cross. I believe in God and I consider myself a moral and spiritual person, but I totally understand the mindset of an atheist, an agnostic, or a person who's simply had enough of religion in all it's forms. I expect that if God were to look down on this mess that mankind has made of religion in his name, he/she'd understand too.

Kate Hutch
Kenmore, WA

A person can be moral, kind, conscientious and honest without being religious. It is all in the teaching. In fact, those who are good stewards of the earth that Our Creator has provided to us, I would argue, are MORE moral than those who would pollute our environment creating unhealthy living conditions for the human race and all The Creator's creatures.

As ChuckGG states so well, going to church Sunday and everything else involved in church social life fulfills a need for socializing, as well as consistency and tradition, in making people feel safe. Meeting together helps people become familiar with one another and that is how trust develops. It's unfortunate that so many religious leaders use their perceived positions of power to do the most un-Christian things imaginable and live in mansions and drive expensive cars, which is SO not what Jesus was about.

Kate Hutch
Kenmore, WA

That part of the bible that tells us the *love of money is the root of ALL evil* is not taken seriously. In fact, many religious people act as if making money IS a Christian goal and if you are not good at it, you are a bad person, as if being poor is the same as being immoral. Jesus did not seem to think so, but Mitt Romney does. And then they rail against homosexuality as if THAT was the root of all evil, even though that is not a choice a person makes freely. They either are homosexual or they are not. It is not moral or immoral. It just is.
And last I looked, 48% if the people who think lack of religion is a bad thing is still less than half, so this article is miscontrued. It does not even qualify as 'most' people, since it is less than half.

Kate Hutch
Kenmore, WA

Jeff...your criteria are that once a large group agree upon something, it is deemed moral. So....the Nazis were a large group of people who deemed themselves the moral compass of their time. The crusades saw thousands killed in the name of religion. Moral people? You say you 'reject' someone else's claim of morality because they are not members of a large religious group. How about those priests who molested children. Moral people?
Who is more moral? The man who goes to church and then comes home and beats his wife or the man who treats his family with kindness and compassion, but is an atheist?

Here is a quote to ponder:

"With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.
Steven Weinberg, quoted in The New York Times, April 20, 1999
US physicist (1933 - )

Mesa, AZ


"The DNA evidence doesn't add up. You can argue it all you want, but the experts have said it isn't possible. they are experts in DNA, not you. Not me either. You have to follow the evidence, and if you don't you are making a wrong conclusion."

If a person depends on the learning of men they will never find the truth

O the vainness, and the frailties, and the foolishness of men! When they are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves,(2 Ne 9:28)

Freeland, WA

My personal problem with religion is all my life it's been "we'll love you if....". How about the fact that I'm your daughter, sister, aunt, cousin? The rejection I've had has left a very bad taste in my mouth.

Wally West

re: Jeff 7/7

"Simply: Individuals cannot take upon themselves the right to define morality."

Really? but religions can?

Religions are nothing more than political party based on the belief & opinion of 1 guy.

Just an Observer
Salt Lake City, UT

For what it's worth--I recognize it likely won't change anyone's mind:

I am LDS. To be brief, I was once much further away from being an example of living the religion than I might be now. But part of what has inspired me to do try harder is the examples of a few LDS acquaintances that live their religion with exactness. With uniformity, they are the finest people I have met while interacting with people from (and in) a number of nations and societies. I have yet to meet anyone outside of the church that measures up to these acquaintances, and the vast majority of LDS frankly do not either--myself included, to this point. And, while I am not there yet, I can see that consistent effort to adhere to church teachings has made me a significantly better spouse/parent/person over time. For myself, that simply would not have happened if I had let go and chosen my own path. The validity of the LDS Church, to me, is in the lives of those who live its principles the best. And thus, I recognize the obligation I have to do so as well.

What I Would Tell A Friend
Salt Lake City, UT

Your family may not get the "love your neighbor as yourself" idea. Or, they might; I don't know. I have noticed that God does the same thing to me when I don't do as he commands. In God's case, it isn't actually saying He doesn't love me, but rather that I need to think about the choices I'm making. The love is supposed to go both ways. I need to consider how God, or my family, sees things as well. And let's say, because I love my daughter, that I teach her not to do specific things which I know will be to her detriment, but she chooses to do them anyway. How am I supposed to feel? I have actually had such situations lately with my teenage daughter, so I know where I'm coming from. I'm not perfect, and I acknowledge that while trying my best. But if for some reason she openly rejects my counsel, it will be difficult to deal with her as though nothing has changed, if for no other reason than that I have feelings as well, which she has chosen to ignore.

Lightening Lad
Austin , TX

I doubt that those taking the study fully understood the questions. Why would any members of the most outwardly zealous religious group actually vote that it's a good thing for more and more people rejecting religion altogether? If we have a problem with the many different groups within America it's because so many wish to impose their rules on those outside their own faith with Islamics and Evangelicals the most obvious. Shouldn't our goal be to reject divisive religion while trying to incorporate spirituality to a greater degree in all of our lives. If we follow the teachings of Christ, his actually words, we will treat each other better, we will assist the poor and unfortunate and be greater examples for good, becoming as a result more spiritual beings. Having millions of various groups sure they are right and having God's authority to force feed their rules to others causes us to splinter, argue, and refuse to respect other traditions. I have never experienced as much negativity and meanness as when I have heard some describe the beliefs of churches other than the one they are part of. Can't we just get along?

LA Mormon
West Valley, UT

The problem with religion is the mission of most religious organizations has fundamentally changed. Churches including the LDS church used to provide a huge number of benefits for society. When I was growing up the LDS church ran a network of hospitals. The Catholic church did as well. In fact the growth of health care and hospital care in the US was largely the result of churches wanting to take care of people's needs. It seems now that modern Christian churches are more concerned about being corporations rather than followers of Christ. Churches now are nothing more than mouth pieces for political issues. It seems that many church meetings are nothing more than a gathering of the Republican party at least where I live. If churches number one goal is to get involved in political issues like Prop 8 in California then they can do without me.

Churches must work to make society better, not drive people apart. All churches should support social equality and social justice, instead many churches have chosen to promote hatred and discrimination both in their words and deeds. Churches serve no purpose when they do that and Americans are right to distance themselves from them.

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