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Survey finds surprising results on religion, politics

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  • coltakashi Richland, WA
    July 31, 2013 10:41 a.m.

    As much as anything, this poll reflects the poor education people receive in our public schools about economics and the impact of government on the economy. Many don't understand that the minimum wage was not created as a social welfare program, but as the opposite: to REDUCE the number of jobs and make it harder for unskilled minority men (especially blacks) to compete with skilled, often unionized whites. By making it more costly to hire unskilled teenagers and other trainees, there are fewer jobs for them. The unemployment rate for black young men is extremely high, partly because of that and other government distortions.of the labor market that increase the cost of giving someone a job. Unrestricted illegal immigration is another way that government's.intentional failure to enforce rational policies distorts the labor market. And financial aid is constructed to punish people who work.

  • zoar63 Mesa, AZ
    July 29, 2013 11:49 a.m.

    One thing has always puzzled me and that is the portrayal of Nephites having all things in common after Jesus' visit, i.e. practicing as good a definition of socialism as I could come up with, and Mormons' complete dedication to its contemporary antithesis - capitalism. In fact if one is not a Republican conservative one does not "fit" in the Mormon community. Explain anyone?

    This is a voluntary order, no one is forced to participate and it is not administered by a secular government. And if Mormons wanted to practice what the Nephites were doing do you honestly think the government would allow it? The Government would accuse Mormons of usurping their authority.

  • Larceny Rural Hall, USA, NC
    July 29, 2013 11:42 a.m.

    Religion often gives us the reason to have such morals, as well as incentives and rewards for sustaining and gaining said values. It is simple fact that without that positive feedback, there is far less incentive for those without a strong structured code of Relgious values and parental/guiding figures who follow those to adapt a high standard of moral behavior.

    I contend that ethics, which are much more common among non religious groups, are very different than morals, and are often opportunistically thrown to the wind.

  • zoar63 Mesa, AZ
    July 29, 2013 11:22 a.m.

    @Gandalf

    "I believe that it is simply not necessary to believe in God in order to be moral and have good values."

    I agree with you. Read D&C 93 you will see where these morals come from. It is not exclusive to religious people at all Everyone that is born has them. It is when we choose darkness over light that we lose them.

  • amazondoc mid-state, TN
    July 25, 2013 8:17 a.m.

    @donn --

    "There are only two options."

    Nope. You're presenting a false dichotomy. In reality, there's at least THREE possibilities.

    1. man was created from an impersonal beginning and his moral system is a product of his culture
    2. man had a personal beginning and was given laws to follow and an internal sense of right and wrong
    3. God is bigger than you, and you don't actually understand his mysterious ways as well as you think you do.

    God may easily be working THROUGH both evolution and free will. Don't try to limit God based on your limited human capacity for understanding.

    "...philosophical need to account for why man is both cruel and wonderful at the same time. This can only be explained in terms of the biblical account of 'The Fall'."

    Nonsense. Both cruelty and "wonderfulness" (altruism, empathy, etc.) are well explained by evolutionary and sociodynamic theories.

    "There must be an absolute if there are to be morals"

    Nonsense.

    Even the Ten Commandments are relative.

    "Thou Shalt Not Kill" -- unless you believe in the death penalty.
    "Thou Shalt Not Create Graven Images" -- unless you're a religious artist.
    You get the picture.

  • donn layton, UT
    July 24, 2013 3:51 p.m.

    RE: Contrarius, The moral necessity of Gods existence centers on man as a personal being and a being who distinguishes between right and wrong. There are only two options. Either man was created from an impersonal beginning and his moral system is a product of his culture, or man had a personal beginning and was given laws to follow and an internal sense of right and wrong. The moral necessity of God is founded on the philosophical need to account for why man is both cruel and wonderful at the same time. This can only be explained in terms of the biblical account of ”The Fall”.

    "If there is no absolute moral standard, then one cannot say in a final sense that anything is right or wrong. By absolute we mean that which always applies, that which provides a final or ultimate standard. There must be an absolute if there are to be morals, and there must be an absolute if there are to be real values. If there is no absolute beyond man's ideas, then there is no final appeal to judge between individuals and groups whose moral judgements conflict.

    Last 4post limit

  • Contrariuser mid-state, TN
    July 24, 2013 8:49 a.m.

    @donn --

    "Why do human ware clothes? Because The Fall was universal."

    Even if you accept Genesis as true, that still doesn't make modesty into a fundamental moral value. It simply means that modesty is one result of shame -- with **shame** being the moral value, and modesty merely being a consequence of it.

    And, yes, we can see that the evolution of shame helped ancient societies to survive. That's how morals evolved in general, as I mentioned earlier.

    From the paper "Evolution of Shame as an Adaptation to Social Punishment and its Contribution to Social Cohesiveness":

    "Sociodynamics show that shame is evolutionarily stable in a context of individual selection....The adaptive advantage of shame is based on the fact that it increases flexibility to the shameful individual, allowing it to act selfish if the probabilities of being punished are low and achieving a reduction in the costs of social punishment when frequent punishment is likely. The results show that shame, together with pro-social punishment and social cooperation, produce a fluctuating dynamics of social cooperation, achieving long periods where the populations stabilizes pro-social behavior...."

    We don't need religion in order to develop shame.

  • donn layton, UT
    July 23, 2013 7:13 p.m.

    RE: Contrarius, Do you really believe that Mesopotamians, or Egyptians, or ancient Chinese had no morals just because the Bible hadn't been invented yet? True,

    You mis-understand my point. Why do human ware clothes? Because The Fall was universal. "shame, a sense of degradation and pollution; (2) dread of the displeasure of God, or a sense of(Noetic) guilt, These effects were unavoidable. They prove the loss not only of innocence but of original righteousness.

    Humans conspired and plotted to kill the creator of the universe(Jesus). Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me, King David.

    God’s other creations do what they were created to do and they are not concerned about morals and do not have laws about nudity.
    Morality can be defined by rules, For instance is it moral or ethical to exceed the 4 post rule from DN?

  • Contrarius mid-state, TN
    July 23, 2013 3:03 p.m.

    @donn --

    "Wrong"

    The book of Genesis didn't even exist when early societies were developing their moral systems. Do you really believe that Mesopotamians, or Egyptians, or ancient Chinese had no morals just because the Bible hadn't been invented yet?

    There are many books and papers that could really help in your education. A few of them include:

    The Science of Good and Evil by Michael Shermer
    Evolving God by Barbara King
    The Moral Animal by Robert Wright
    The Evolution of Morality by Richard Joyce

    And if you just want a very brief overview, wikipedia has a page on the evolution of morality as well. Look it up.

    "God 'made them male and female.' "

    So what? There was no reproductive technology back then.

    You know that old saying, "If God had meant for us to fly he'd have given us wings?". Well, guess what -- we gave ourselves wings (airplanes), and we also gave ourselves reproductive technologies that folks in the Bible didn't know anything about. That doesn't mean airplanes are evil, and it doesn't mean that gay couples are evil -- it simply means that we have made a lot of progress since those days.

  • RedShirtMIT Cambridge, MA
    July 23, 2013 1:21 p.m.

    To "Tyler D" how is it a matter of faith to believe in God, yet not believe in Zeus?

    If you understood faith, it would make more sense. I will do what I can to better explain it to you.

    My faith in God tell me that there is only 1 God. Because of that faith, that precludes the existance of Zeus or astrology or other non-God related beliefs. Your definition of faith is slightly off. Faith is defined as "faith is the substance [assurance] of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen". Can you see a feeling?

    You should read the General Confrence talks on Faith, and more than just the first couple of hits that you got off the web site. You have not researched it, you just looked it up so that you could have some measure of intellectual honesty in your reply. Now you need to research it and understand it. Right now I might as well describe the taste of salt to you.

  • donn layton, UT
    July 23, 2013 1:19 p.m.

    RE: Contrarius, Do you really believe that[Modesty]clothing is a fundamental moral value? Morals evolve in human societies because they help those societies to survive -- not because religion invented them. Wrong,

    Genesis 3:7, After Adam sinned, both their eyes were opened and they saw themselves as their had made them to be, naked and ashamed. The had succumbed to temptation, and instead of being elevated to the status of a god, they had been plunged down into the depths of destruction. What a awful realization it must have been. What emptiness and depths of shame they must have felt.
    They immediately sought to cover their nakedness and sewed fig leaves together into an apron. There was no way to hide or undo their sin. The leaves sewn together were a poor and useless substitute for the purity they had before they sinned.

    Jesus .“at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his Wife[not significant other],….” (Mk 10:6-9). 1Timothy 2:13, For Adam was formed first,then Eve.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    July 23, 2013 11:43 a.m.

    @Redshirt1701 – “Because of my faith in God, I do not believe in Zeus or astrology or the Quran. So yes, it is a matter of faith.”

    Now you’re getting it… somewhat.

    You believe in one God (of Abraham) over another (Zeus) and I assume some sacred texts (Bible, BoM) over others like the Quran. Of course all this is a matter of faith…

    But how is NOT believing in any of the gods/books still a matter of faith? That would seem to violate the logical law of non-contradiction.

    Again, are you a non-astrologer because you have “faith” in non-astrology? That statement doesn’t even make logical sense.

    And if the LDS website is unclear on this fundamental definition (i.e., belief without proof), not sure going there will be any more illuminating.

    @Contrarius

    Great comments! Keeping speaking the truth…

    Reached comment limit...

  • Contrarius mid-state, TN
    July 23, 2013 9:55 a.m.

    @donn --

    "God distinguishes father and mother from all other persons on earth"

    Ummm....so what?

    At the time the Bible was written, they didn't have any of the reproductive technologies that we have today -- no artificial insemination, no surrogacy, not even much in the way of adoption. Naturally, therefore, the Bible speaks of fathers and mothers -- there wasn't any other option back then.

    Similarly, the Bible never speaks of airplanes, simply because they had not yet been invented. That doesn't make airplanes evil.

    "What about modesty, Do your animal ware clothes?"

    Do you really believe that clothing is a fundamental moral value? Are Eskimos intrinsically more moral than Hawaiians?

    As I said before -- the fundamentals of morality evolved long before anyone ever invented religions. Morals evolve in human societies because they help those societies to survive -- not because religion invented them.

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    July 23, 2013 8:37 a.m.

    To "Tyler D" now you are confusing things. Because of my faith in God, I do not believe in Zeus or astrology or the Quran. So yes, it is a matter of faith.

    Now, as for physical things that can be proven with evidence, that is different. Faith in the rotation of the earth, gravity, and so forth is not faith because those are proven laws that cannot change, therefore faith is not necessary. (Even God has laws he has to obey)

    Go to the LDS web site, and search the articles on Faith. There is a lot you can learn from the people there.

  • donn layton, UT
    July 22, 2013 7:33 p.m.

    RE: Contrarius, The Ten Commandments have affected hundreds of countries and thousands of cultures; the moral values adhered to by almost everyone came from religion, the non-religious did not just dream this up on their own." True,

    Paul on the 5th commandment,Honor your Father and Mother”[not significant Other],which is the first commandment with a promise. God distinguishes father and mother from all other persons on earth, chooses them and sets them next to Himself, occupying the highest place in our lives next to God.(Ephesians 6:2,3)

    @the fundamentals of morality -- things like empathy, altruism, family affiliation, parental protectiveness, and so on *-- originated in non-human animals.

    *What about modesty, Do your animal ware clothes?

  • Contrarius mid-state, TN
    July 22, 2013 4:24 p.m.

    @Tyler D --

    "That’s not quite true unless someone is a gnostic atheist (i.e., they claim to “know” that God does not exist)."

    That's the big problem I have with people who call themselves atheists. They can't "know" the non-existence of God any more than the religious can "know" his existence.

    "Most atheists I know are agnostic atheists – for them they simply see little evidence for God...."

    Here's Richard Dawkins' formulation:

    1. Strong theist. 100 per cent probability of God.
    2. De facto theist. Very high probability but short of 100 per cent.
    3. Leaning towards theism. Higher than 50 per cent but not very high.
    4. Completely impartial. Exactly 50 per cent.
    5. Leaning towards Agnosticism. Lower than 50 per cent but not very low.
    6. De facto atheist. Very low probability, but short of zero. "I don't know for certain but I think God is very improbable...."
    7. Strong atheist. "I know there is no God..."

    Personally, I'd only call #7 actual atheists -- 5 and 6 are both agnostics, to me. In any case, only #7 can accurately be said to be denying God on "faith".

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    July 22, 2013 2:12 p.m.

    @Redshirt1701 – “so again, it is by faith that athiests declare that there is no God.”

    You’re a bit confused on this point…

    If I tell you I don’t believe in Zeus, is that a matter of faith? What if I tell you I don’t believe the Quran is the “perfect word of God?” Faith?

    Or what about this - I assume you are not an astrologer, yes? Is the fact that you are a non-astrologer a matter of faith?

    Or what if I tell you that there is a china teapot orbiting the sun, and you respond “well, unless you can show me evidence I don’t believe you.” Is your response a matter of faith?

    You are confusing not believing something due to lack of evidence vs. not believing on faith.

    Now if you want to expand the definition of faith so broadly that you have “faith” that the sun will rise tomorrow, or you have “faith” that dropped objects fall to the ground (and you equate that with faith in a deity), I would suggest your expansion to that definition renders the word all but meaningless.

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    July 22, 2013 1:45 p.m.

    To "Tyler D" so again, it is by faith that athiests declare that there is no God.

    The way they justify their unbelief is the same way that I can justify that there is a God.

    Your last comment shows that you don't understand LDS theology much at all. No matter how you personally live your life, you will not be carted off to an eternal chamber. You will go to a place where you will be most comfortable. You may not be in a position to continue to grow and learn, but any torture you endure would be of your own making. Imagine knowing that you once lived with God, and are now cut off from his prescence forever. The key is knowing that it isn't just how kindly you live your life, but also include obedience to God's commandments and ordinances.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    July 22, 2013 1:05 p.m.

    @Redshirt1701 – “Athiests use faith in their unbelief of a God.”

    That’s not quite true unless someone is a gnostic atheist (i.e., they claim to “know” that God does not exist).

    Most atheists I know are agnostic atheists – for them they simply see little evidence for God, and for many, lots of evidence that at least the God of Abraham does not exist (or if he does he sure is moody).

    Personally, if the 2nd coming were to occur today and Christ manifested all his glorious powers, my agnosticism would vanish just as quickly - although by my reading of Christian theology, I would still be carted off to the eternal torture chamber, no matter how good a life I have tried to live, because I had the misfortune of being born (or educated) to have an incredulous mind that values reason and evidence.

    Perhaps LDS theology is different in that regard… not sure.

  • GZE SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    July 22, 2013 12:57 p.m.

    Dumprake says: Delve deeper, and charity, caring, murder, honesty, honoring parents, the sanctity of life--all came from Christianity or its predecessor (the law of Moses).

    So you believe that before the time of Moses, these values did not exist? You believe that modern day Hindus do not honor their parents? Modern day Buddhists sanction murder? Pagans do not believe in the sanctity of life? Atheists do not give to charity and believe murder is moral?

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    July 22, 2013 12:17 p.m.

    To "Lightbearer" religion does not mean a belief in a higher being. It is a set of beliefs held to by faith. Athiests use faith in their unbelief of a God.

    To "The Economist" there are some other scriptures that I am reminded of:

    D&C 75:28"And again, verily I say unto you, that every man who is obliged to provide for his own family, let him provide, and he shall in nowise lose his crown; and let him labor in the church."

    D&C 134:2 "We believe that no government can exist in peace, except such laws are framed and held inviolate as will secure to each individual the free exercise of conscience, the right and control of property, and the protection of life."

    D&C 56:17 "Wo unto you poor men, whose hearts are not broken, whose spirits are not contrite, and whose bellies are not satisfied, and whose hands are not stayed from laying hold upon other men’s goods, whose eyes are full of greediness, and who will not labor with your own hands!"

  • The Economist Newport, PA
    July 22, 2013 11:28 a.m.

    As a Mormon, I'm reminded of Joseph's Smith's official comment in D&C 49:20 that can easily be applied to Capitalism, "But it is not given that one man should possess that which is above another, wherefore the world lieth in sin."

  • Contrarius mid-state, TN
    July 22, 2013 10:24 a.m.

    @dumprake --

    "But all these values originated from religion. If the non-religious have adopted them and practice them, then good for them, but the values came from religion. The Ten Commandments have affected hundreds of countries and thousands of cultures; the moral values adhered to by almost everyone came from religion, the non-religious did not just dream this up on their own. "

    Actually, the fundamentals of morality -- things like empathy, altruism, family affiliation, parental protectiveness, and so on -- originated in non-human animals, especially in "higher" animals like the primates. That was looooooooong before any religions existed.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    July 22, 2013 6:42 a.m.

    @samhill;

    Personally, I couldn't care less is there is or isn't a god; but I get all bent out of shape when you try to force me to live by your god's will.

    @Brave Sir Robin;

    Could it be that people don't believe hard work leads to success because, no matter how hard they're working, they keep seeing all the rewards flowing to those at the very top?

    @FanofTHEgame;

    My "rain" collecting system is filled by the runoff from the roof. I don't need any religion or organization to gather it for me.

    @timpClimber;

    And I have witnessed religious people who are the most uncharitable, cruel and layabout people I've ever known. Not all, by any stretch, but certainly enough to disprove your hypothesis.

    @dumprake;

    These values originated with religion? Prove it. Religion isn't necessary to know that we should work together for the common good and that it benefits us all to treat one another well. Religion simply isn't necessary.

  • the truth Holladay, UT
    July 21, 2013 4:18 p.m.

    @Marxist

    In common by state force or in common by individual choice?

    One is socialism an ideology of men, and other is not.

  • PTM ,
    July 21, 2013 4:03 p.m.

    @the truth,

    Nice try. Here is a little something about the Crusades from Wikipedia. I am not an expert on the Crusades and it appears neither are you.

    'Crusades were religious conflicts in the High Middle Ages through to the end of the Late Middle Ages conducted by Catholic Europe against Muslims, pagans, heretics, and peoples under the ban of excommunication. The geographic spread included the Near East, Al-Andalus, Ifriqiya, Egypt and Eastern Europe. They are most popularly associated with campaigns in the Holy Land to establish control of religious sites but also cover other campaigns for different religious, economic, and political reasons such as the Albigensian Crusade, the Aragonese Crusade, the Reconquista and the Northern Crusades.'

    Feel free to furhter investigate, for example, the Albigensian Crusade.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    July 21, 2013 2:32 p.m.

    ‘Survey finds surprising results on religion, politics’

    =========

    After reading the article,
    I didn't find anything "Surprising" at all.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    July 21, 2013 1:54 p.m.

    One thing has always puzzled me and that is the portrayal of Nephites having all things in common after Jesus' visit, i.e. practicing as good a definition of socialism as I could come up with, and Mormons' complete dedication to its contemporary antithesis - capitalism. In fact if one is not a Republican conservative one does not "fit" in the Mormon community. Explain anyone?

  • l.cee Ridgefield, WA
    July 21, 2013 11:31 a.m.

    If the survey had been given to a Mormon, what group would he/she be put in--Evangelical, protestant, other?

  • NeilT Clearfield, UT
    July 21, 2013 11:17 a.m.

    The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. Consider CEO compensation compared to stagnating middle class wages. Free market capitalism can only work when people are moral and charitable. One of the seven deadly sins, business without humanity. True story. A man walked Into bank to deposit a large insurance settlement. When the bank saw how large the check was he was conned into putting the money into risky investments and lost most of it. PBS has an excellent documentary entitled money, power, and Wall Street. Worth watching.

  • ThornBirds St.George, Utah
    July 21, 2013 10:46 a.m.

    Wondering if citizens/school administrators/parents/ state governments/federal governments were aware that high school teachers were inquiring of their students as to their religion?
    We had a large family, and I was never aware that this sort of thing was occurring.

  • xert Santa Monica, CA
    July 21, 2013 9:45 a.m.

    I agree with BraveSirRobin-that the scariest part of this survey lies in the fact that people no longer believe that with hard work, one can be successful in any long term way. The result of this is an apathy towards becoming anything that the self can look in the mirror. Cheating can be justified and everything becomes relative. If you thought that delaying self gratification was a burden for the children of the sixties and seventies--we have set the table (and the example) for our children to be much worse in that regard. The main problem with all of this is that we will have immense hurdles to face in the coming decades. Hurdles which may become life and death struggles for us as a nation. Those are the times which call for the muscle of the nation to believe strongly in itself and in it's own ability to succeed without shortcuts and without cheating.

    The bright spot--as President Obama said two days ago, are those same young people. As he said--"they're better than we are." God grant that he means in action as well as thought.

  • the truth Holladay, UT
    July 21, 2013 9:29 a.m.

    @PTM

    You show you have no understanding of the crusades which were an attempt to protect the holy lands for use of all pilgrims. They were not about killing people in name of God.

    You can cherry pick a few acts over thousands of years, while ignoring the many many acts by of men that've killed over hundred million in just the last century alone in name men and their political ideologies and not religion.

    If religion were created by men, were not there acts done by men for power and wealth, and not for God?

    History is replete with examples men using whatever they need to stir others up to certain actions,

    the left is notorious for using class, race, homosexuality, gender, to stir others up, such as the French, Bolshevik revolutions, ww2, cuba, china, etc.

    the democrats now are using the women, minorities, homosexuals, the college aged, by using class warfare, race, sexual politics to gain power.

    what religion is climate change based on?

    Men are no different now than they were 100 years or thousands years ago.

    it's not "man-created religions" (which is just a tool according to Marx) but bad men.

  • KanataHal Ottawa, 00
    July 21, 2013 8:15 a.m.

    Can a survey of 2,000 tell what a nation of 400 million is up to? If the statistical tools they use are so perfect, why not just pick 2,000 people out of the entire population and let them vote in the next president?

  • JediToby Tooele, UT
    July 21, 2013 7:33 a.m.

    @Lightbearer,

    A broader definition of religion is "way of life" and that certainly extends to atheism (also veganism and OCD). The narrower "belief in a supernatural being" serves to exclude not only atheists, but also various nature worship in its many forms. Given that in America we don't have large organized groups of nature worshippers (campers, beachgoers, and tanners aside), I suspect the distinction serves to set apart the atheists from everyone else and as I see it, this gives them a sense of superiority over the others that is not necessarily deserved.

  • PTM ,
    July 20, 2013 10:00 p.m.

    All religious texts have been written by humans, most of those being men. You may choose to believe they document the life of a deity and/or were inspired by the word of a god or gods. Jesus was a man, but you may choose to believe he was the son of god. Religions are the creation of man, inspired by the belief in a deity, but none the less created by man. All the acts of goodness were first performed by men and women, then codified in written form, religious or otherwise. People do, then describe; people think then write, from cave paintings to the Bible to Ulysses. Some people think god has always existed, some people ask if something must come from something then who is god's god? A belief in deity doesn't mean that those who don't share that belief are therefore more prone to be less kind, are less decent human beings. Plenty of cruel, murderous acts have been perpetuated in the name of religion, mostly in the name of religious cleansing. The Crusades and the English assault on Irish Catholics in the 17th Century come to mind.

  • dumprake Washington, UT
    July 20, 2013 8:36 p.m.

    But all these values originated from religion. If the non-religious have adopted them and practice them, then good for them, but the values came from religion. The Ten Commandments have affected hundreds of countries and thousands of cultures; the moral values adhered to by almost everyone came from religion, the non-religious did not just dream this up on their own. This survey only judges the surface of these questions. Delve deeper, and charity, caring, murder, honesty, honoring parents, the sanctity of life--all came from Christianity or its predecessor (the law of Moses).

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    July 20, 2013 8:19 p.m.

    @the truth - "Atheism is a belief system just like any other"

    It is?

    Can you tell what the belief system is of a non-astrologer or a non-alchemist?

  • timpClimber Provo, UT
    July 20, 2013 4:50 p.m.

    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.

  • the truth Holladay, UT
    July 20, 2013 3:45 p.m.

    @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".

  • FanofTHEgame Mapleton, UT
    July 20, 2013 3:14 p.m.

    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.

  • christoph Brigham City, UT
    July 20, 2013 2:35 p.m.

    "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.

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    July 20, 2013 1:26 p.m.

    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!

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    July 20, 2013 1:24 p.m.

    "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.

  • Lightbearer Brigham City, UT
    July 20, 2013 1:10 p.m.

    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.

  • metamoracoug metamora, IL
    July 20, 2013 11:32 a.m.

    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.

  • Brave Sir Robin San Diego, CA
    July 20, 2013 10:55 a.m.

    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.

  • minion BOISE, ID
    July 20, 2013 10:47 a.m.

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

  • Lightbearer Brigham City, UT
    July 20, 2013 10:22 a.m.

    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?

  • samhill Salt Lake City, UT
    July 20, 2013 9:55 a.m.

    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.

  • minion BOISE, ID
    July 20, 2013 9:35 a.m.

    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.

  • gmlewis Houston, TX
    July 20, 2013 9:09 a.m.

    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.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    July 20, 2013 8:56 a.m.

    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.

  • 10CC Bountiful, UT
    July 20, 2013 8:52 a.m.

    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".

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    July 20, 2013 8:41 a.m.

    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.

  • sjc layton, UT
    July 20, 2013 8:02 a.m.

    "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.

  • george of the jungle goshen, UT
    July 20, 2013 5:48 a.m.

    Religion is a wonderful thing when taken in moderation.

  • Gandalf Salt Lake City, UT
    July 20, 2013 12:17 a.m.

    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.