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Comments about ‘Survey finds surprising results on religion, politics’

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Published: Saturday, July 20 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Gandalf
Salt Lake City, UT

I'm active LDS and have been consistently for over 40 years. But the older I've gotten and the more I've seen the more I believe that it is simply not necessary to believe in God in order to be moral and have good values. Helpful? Yes, I think so. Definitely not necessary. Some of the very best people I've been blessed to know are atheist or agnostic.

george of the jungle
goshen, UT

Religion is a wonderful thing when taken in moderation.

sjc
layton, UT

"the trend is moving “toward a rejection of the necessity of the belief in God in order to have good character and the right values.”

I guess there is finally hope that the country is getting smarter.

Hutterite
American Fork, UT

One of the big reasons we don't have more economic mobility is that we don't have any health care mobility. If health care were detached from employers, it would be better for them, and employees could seek employment based on the job, not the insurance. That sounds far more in line with so called 'christian' values than our current everyone for themselves approach.

10CC
Bountiful, UT

Many of the non-religious view religion as being a charade, in part because of the dichotomy between what Jesus taught and the amoral/immoral actions of religious people in interacting in our competitive economy.

"It's nothing personal, I have to lay you off to better compete. Best of luck to you going forward. I'd be happy to write you a recommendation letter, but not next week as I'm taking my family to Hawaii on vacation".

UtahBlueDevil
Durham, NC

I think one of the issues we have had is this interfaith war that has been going on. Mormons are better than baptist... catholics versus protestants.... in the wake of these battles are people who realize that the differences between most of these is minute, and have been turned off to religion because of it. They are seen as political power structures, rather than places to find spiritual meaning.

We as Mormons are very much guilty of this. We tend to breed a culture of superiority... a culture where you are either all good or all bad. The faith itself doesn't teach any of this... but as a people, we hold to our own exceptionalism.

The truth is that most religions, even non-Christian, believe in many of the same tenants of faith. If we got the political power side out of faith, we could achieve so much more. Church leaders have been reaching across faiths to promote causes, if we could just get the rank to acknowledge we are all imperfect, far fewer would be turned off to faith.

Non denominational spirituality is a growing segment simply because people are turned off by organized competitive religions.

gmlewis
Houston, TX

I agree with those who think that instability in the family is the greatest threat we face today. However, I absolutely do not agree with the premise that economic inequality is any way indicative that there is no God. I've suffered from poverty conditions in the past, and my testimony of Jesus Christ only grew faster. I believe in divine miracles in all aspects of life, and those I've experienced came after the trial of my faith. The greatest of these will undoubtedly occur after I die. One of life's purposes is to try our faith, and this can still be accomplished under porverty conditions. Most of the time, escape from poverty (and vices) requires direct intervention from God. I trust Him to act through love in response to faith and prayers, and in His own time.

minion
BOISE, ID

Agnostics are hopelessly undecided, but atheism is very trendy right now. If you don’t have it, you’re not cool, like when you didn’t have a hula hoop, bell bottom pants or a tattoo. If you proselytize atheism, as the trendsetters do these days, then atheism IS your religion.

samhill
Salt Lake City, UT

Is there a God/s or isn't there.

If there is, what is our relationship to him/her/it?

Is it even possible to know, with certainty, the answers to questions like these?

If not, what about "faith"?

Is such knowledge even necessary?

If so, necessary for what?

My take on stuff like this is to note that no good scientist would **ever** claim certainty or absolute "knowledge" about **anything**. To state something is "known", scientifically, is so oxymoronic as to be completely antithetical to the fundamentals of scientific doctrine. The most any legitimate scientist can do is observe that scientifically acceptable evidence is or is not logically consistent with some hypothesis/theory. Consequently, I've always considered scientists, of which I consider myself one, to be some of the most "faithful" among us.

Similarly, to assert that something does **not** exist due to a lack of evidence, as is the tacit if not explicit claim of atheism, is not only completely non-scientific, it is logically impossible (asserting a positive based on a negative). Agnosticism, basically stating that one does not "know", is the most any logically consistent naysayer of God or religion can be.

Lightbearer
Brigham City, UT

Re: "If you proselytize atheism ... then atheism IS your religion."

According to the American Heritage Dictionary, atheism is "disbelief in or denial of the existence of God or gods."

Remind me, then, which gods do atheists believe in? Which objects do atheists hold to be sacred? What ritual acts do atheists perform that are centered on sacred objects? Which moral code do atheists believe was handed down from gods? What kind of religious feelings do atheists have which are connected with the belief in gods? Which gods do atheists pray to?

And if atheism is a religion, what isn't a religion?

minion
BOISE, ID

Lightbearer, the American Heritage Dictionary also defines religion as “A cause, principle, or activity pursued with zeal or conscientious devotion.”

Brave Sir Robin
San Diego, CA

The scariest part of this survey is that people no longer believe that hard work leads to success. That's a dangerous sentiment for this country...once people think they won't be rewarded for their hard work, they stop trying. Once everybody stops trying, we're the Soviet Union.

metamoracoug
metamora, IL

Brave Sir Robin: It is not often that I agree with you, but today marks one of those rare occasions. The term applied to what you describe is hopelessness. There is no point in trying because one's efforts won't make a difference. Why get an education if one will be rewarded with a temporary or part-time job? Etc. . . This is an accurate description of the current state in Russian as well as what we as Americans are becoming.

Lightbearer
Brigham City, UT

Re: "... the American Heritage Dictionary also defines religion as 'A cause, principle, or activity pursued with zeal or conscientious devotion.'"

And in that sense, anything can be a religion: "Money is her religion," "Stamp collecting is his religion," "Quilting is their religion."

If members of a political party go out to recruit new members ("proselytize"), then you could also say that the political party is their religion.

But when it comes to the AHD's primary definition of religion ("belief in and reverence for a supernatural power,"), atheism, unlike Christianity, doesn't fit the bill. Atheists don't believe in or revere supernatural powers (gods), and they have no practices or rituals based on such beliefs.

UtahBlueDevil
Durham, NC

"The term applied to what you describe is hopelessness."

I think these are terms. I grew up white - middle class - ldd - in a homogenous ward and school. I never doubted I could get ahead.... that my destiny was not in my own hands.

Then I moved to the south, and over time ended up with a blended family. I was embraced into communities I only superficially knew before. Hopelessness was something I was rapidly introduced to. For many generations of ethnic families, getting an education was irrelevant as despite the highest degree one could achieve, social norms prevent most from achieve anything much more than mediocracy. That is why faith, religion, is so important in these communities, because it is one source of hope and love regardless.

The good news, is through many venues, the realm of possible, what one can achieve are being expanded, and there is much more hope than before in some of these communities. Each generation expands on what the last has gained. I just hope that dependence on "faith" isn't lost at the same time.

Mountanman
Hayden, ID

Its not surprising that Democrats are least likely demographic to believe that disintegration of families are responsible for our economic and social problems. What is the largest demographic living in poverty in America? Answer: Single mothers! According to the FBI nearly 70% of all crime in America is perpetrated by young men with no father in the home. This is proof that Democrats do not have the ability to govern or control our economy since they don't even understand the problem and in fact are creating them!

christoph
Brigham City, UT

"You have a right not to believe in the next life, but you would be a fool to be happy about that." I forget which philosopher said this quote. No confusion---day or night, right or wrong, we live or die, we are happy or unhappy. Time is passing. Life has meaning or not. To Mr. Dionne of the Post, it may have been possible to be atheist and married with children and good--- 50 years ago, yet that number is either diminishing or extinct by now in the 21st century. Most atheists in their 20's want to legalize all drugs. Rich, educated people (whether conservative or liberal) have fewer children and that is hurting our economy. Sorry liberals, it is traditional marriage and child bearing that blesses society mostnd mo (and morals and scripture that support accordingly) Biden is not a good catholic, neither is Schumer of New York a good Jew, nor is Clinton of Arkansas a good baptist, nor Reid of Nevada a good Mormon, nor are Messrs. Obama or Cheney or Portman good Protestants--if they put Constitution and law degree over the Bible and the prophets.

FanofTHEgame
Mapleton, UT

I always think of moral goodness like rain. When it rains, you can walk outside, look up, open your mouth and drink. Its not effective, but it could work. As you drink your thirst is abated and you feel good and can do good (more charitable, kinder, gentler, etc.). If you have a system for gathering the rain, you will not only get more water to quench thirst, but be able to store water, goodness, charitable capacity, etc. The better the system, the more rain you can collect.

I find the Mormon faith as having the most beneficial rain water gathering solution. This should not negate that other systems and I support their efforts. Even those without "a faith" recognize the need to gather the rain water because droughts are frequent in life. We've all experienced times when we need our faith to get us through those droughts. When my faith wanes, I know that I am running "dry." That my efforts to gather rain have been less effective than necessary. It is in those moments, that I realize I must be align myself more effectively to my religion. It has always been that way for me.

the truth
Holladay, UT

@Lightbearer

Atheism is a belief system just like any other,

including there own fantastic creation story which requires faith in the musings and supposings and storytelling by their "prophets" and "religious leaders",

They give them titles and certifications to give them credibility and weight, they worship the philosophies of men, often called scientists or philosophers, many worship "Gaia" or mother earth, or any thing "physical". though they often embrace far eastern spiritualism,

They dogmatically demand and mandate their beliefs are the official beliefs of state. They must be taught to all, and any who disagree and teach anything else are considered heretics.

They have murdered millions and imprisoned even more to advance and impose their ideologies.

They are a religion like any other, if not worse.

They have no divine higher law or God to temper how they treat others.

Their own personal beliefs in the goodness of men does not stop their tyrannical rulers like stalin, mao, hitler, guevvera, castro, or likes of Obama and his ilk.

nor has any great society ever been built on their atheistic beliefs, just misery and death as they force others to live their view of "good".

timpClimber
Provo, UT

As a 20 year veteran public high school teacher I have observed over and over that students with strong religious belief, from many faiths were more honest, worked harder and were kinder to other students. Most of all they thought about the consequences of their actions would have on their families. Non religious students rarely had a set of ethical standards to replace those taught by religion. In my humble opinion, when non religion replaces religion as the source of values our state and nation will suffer many woes because of it.

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