A majority of Americans believe they have a sure answer to society's problems. You'll never believe what it is.


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  • AerilusMaximus Berryville, VA
    July 15, 2014 7:43 a.m.

    @ A Quaker

    "I surmise from your location that you may be young, or at least younger than me. As you make your way through life, you will learn that a great many pithy sayings are not quite as true as you wish they were."

    It is interesting how you suggest that because of age that automatically = more wisdom and knowledge. I will agree that with age you can often find more wisdom and knowledge but it isn't guaranteed.

    I personally interact with people all the time that are twice my age and yet often make very unwise decisions.

    "Fools learn from experience. I prefer to learn from the experience of others." - Otto von Bismarck

    I have seen with my own eyes plenty of people a lot older than me not apply what is written in the quote preceding this sentence.

    "There is much about God's Love that you've yet to understand.

    As for predicting marital success, if you're claiming omniscience, you should know that's blasphemy."

    I find it also interesting how you make assumptions about a person and then suggesting how it is wrong "blasphemy" to believe you can make assumptions about something else.

  • A Quaker Brooklyn, NY
    July 14, 2014 4:18 p.m.

    @greatbam22: I surmise from your location that you may be young, or at least younger than me. As you make your way through life, you will learn that a great many pithy sayings are not quite as true as you wish they were. This is no less true with people claiming religious piety. You will meet hypocrites and worse. You will also meet kindly people, perhaps angels in your time of need, who hew to no creed other than human kindness. Read a little more of the New Testament, on your own, without a study guide. There is much about God's Love that you've yet to understand.

    As for predicting marital success, if you're claiming omniscience, you should know that's blasphemy. At most, you might guess at probabilities based on analyzing parameters. But marriage is a little like horse racing. In any given event, the odds-on favorite can break a leg and lose more than the race, or the prohibitive long shot can surprise everyone and win. Arguing about money? That's more a symptom than a cause. Much has already gone wrong before that ever happens.

  • greatbam22 andrews afb, MD
    July 14, 2014 3:39 p.m.

    I find it interesting how some people speculate about how the world was 1,000's of years ago when many people don't even have a clue what is going on today.

    I also find it interesting how others basically discard / degrade "Pops" thoughtful, non argumentative comments.

    Oft times I hear the same people comment and complain about non-thoughtful comments which I think is somewhat warranted.

  • greatbam22 andrews afb, MD
    July 14, 2014 3:28 p.m.

    @ Quaker

    "Unless you're some magical sorceress with a first-rate crystal ball, there's just no surefire predicting."

    I don't believe this is accurate. A good portion of how you predict is based upon information. If two people deeply in debt get married and have little to no money experience you can bet with a pretty good probability how long they are going to be married for. Money fights and money problems are the #1 cause of divorce.

    "Arguing about money is the top predictor of divorce, according to Sonya Britt, a Kansas State University researcher."

    This quote is from a study of 4,500 couples from an article in 2013.

    You might believe that you can't predict just because someone may have told you that but there are practically always ways to predict all you need to know is the information.

    A lot of children continue to follow in their parents footsteps. So that could definitely help you figure out probabilities as well.

    Things such as:

    Wife's Parents: Married or Divorced
    Husbands Parents: Married or Divorced

    I would go on but I think you can catch my drift.

  • greatbam22 andrews afb, MD
    July 14, 2014 3:07 p.m.

    @ Quaker

    "An avowed belief in a higher power does not necessarily make anyone a better person."

    I guess you never heard the quote "God makes good make great and great men better.".

    "More important is how we treat each other. As a believer myself, I am stuck with the conclusion that God may love ethical atheists most of all, His most perfect creations."

    Hmmm...and here I thought the first and great commandment was to love God.

    "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind."

    Loving God > (greater than / more important than) Loving your neighbor.

    So why would God love Atheists when they don't even acknowledge and readily dispute his existence? Doesn't compute.

  • greatbam22 andrews afb, MD
    July 14, 2014 2:54 p.m.

    @ Ranchhand
    "Funny, IMO, religion is the CAUSE of all our problems today."

    Really? I don't recall Religion developing the nutrient deficient foods we have today.

    Correct me if I am wrong but I think we have science to thank for foods that can stay on the shelves for days on end.

    I am not a Science hater or anything but to blame all the problems of the world on one cause is just silly.

  • A Quaker Brooklyn, NY
    July 14, 2014 9:50 a.m.

    @Pops: The reason that Pi equals 3.14159265358979323846264etc... is because it expresses the fixed ratio between every circle's circumference and its diameter.

    Marriage is not as simple as a circle, even if that's our favorite shape for the ring. Not everyone gets married at the same age, in the same church, with the same ceremony, or for the same reasons. As such, there is no fixed ratio between a marriage and its participants. Nor the length of the marriage and any measurable metric of the couple. Pairings to all outward appearances "made in heaven" sometimes end in divorce within a few years. And the most unlikely couples sometimes surprise us all, and themselves, with a golden anniversary. Unless you're some magical sorceress with a first-rate crystal ball, there's just no surefire predicting.

    "Equal marriage" changes nothing about marriage. It only opens it up to new participants who probably shouldn't have ever been excluded in the first place. A circle is a circle no matter what size it is. There's no contradiction there.

  • intervention slc, UT
    July 13, 2014 10:34 p.m.

    Again this is were religion loses its moral authority, when you insist on misrepresenting the facts you lose credibility. The shift is not the result of doing what feels good but rather based on the overwhelming evidence that has resulted from almost three decades of research that clearly shows no rational bases for denying these rights.

    July 13, 2014 9:38 p.m.

    Sorry, but you all missed the point. Gay marriage introduces a contradiction into the social framework. It has nothing to do with crime rates or abortion rates or whether society is peaceful.

    Here's an example. Suppose we were to change the value of Pi from 3.14159... to the integer 3. Our intentions are good: it will make learning geometry and trigonometry much easier. The unintended consequences, however, would be catastrophic because of the contradictions it would introduce into the system of mathematics. Some problems could be anticipated, such as the fact that the formula for the area of a circle would no longer work. Others, however, could not be anticipated. How would it affect Maxwell's Equations? What would continue to work and what would break? Would we ever again be able to trust that any complex mathematical analysis means anything?

    That's the kind of fiddling with the system I'm talking about. People are moving ahead with gay marriage because it feels right, but they haven't apparently considered the philosophical ramifications for our entire system of law and government.

  • intervention slc, UT
    July 13, 2014 4:53 p.m.

    @ pops

    "We as a society are currently teetering on a precipice," this is precisely the type of comments that other posters are talking about when they talk about the dangers of religious dogma. The facts based in the research shoe quite the opposite is true, crime rates are lower then they have been in man decades, abortion rates are down etc etc.... they facts are we have progressively moved to a more just and peaceful society. It is true that our legal system is based in millennia of philosophy and knowledge, its basis however predates Christianity and actually has its roots in ancient greece. Even if your claims of our system were based in some reality, it would mean little since as tolstoy has pointed out Christianity has its origins in the minds or men. Gay marriage is also a good example of how religions can become a hindrance to society at times. In this case the facts once again do not support continuing to limit gay peoples access to marriage or adoption. This is a case were religion has struggled to keep pace with the reality.

  • J.D. Aurora, CO
    July 13, 2014 2:58 p.m.

    I think the morale values found within many religions are certainly helpful. On the other hand when those religious leaders hide or misrepresent facts from its membership it causes more social problems than it helps.

  • ExTBird Springville, US-UT
    July 13, 2014 1:18 p.m.

    The doom and gloom that comes from the religious side of these debate is always a fun read. Gay marriage is inevitable folks. It might take Utah a while to stop being so backwards, but eventually what is currently just debate will become law. When that inevitably happens I wonder what the excuses will be when society doesn't come crashing down around us? When their lives go on completely unchanged I wonder what the "this doesn't end well" crowd will be championing next.

    Also the "society is teetering on a precipice" is just more misinformed propaganda. You don't have any actual proof that society is degrading or about to fall. Religious anecdotes mean absolutely nothing. You guys are welcome to huddle together in church on Sundays talking about the evils of the world, but that doesn't scare anyone else but you. The rest of us will just keep marching along with the rest of the world as life continues to get better. Religion has held us all back long enough I think.

    July 13, 2014 7:54 a.m.

    @Tolstoy - I understand what you're saying (and appreciate the difficulty of typing on a phone), but I disagree that the Judeo-Christian tradition came from the hearts and minds of men. In many ways, it directly contradicted the hearts and minds of the men and women to whom it was first introduced.

    We as a society are currently teetering on a precipice precisely because the atheist moral compass has undergone rapid changes in the past few years (although it has been building to this for decades - still but a moment in the context of what is happening).

    For a legal system to work, it must have a high degree of consistency both within itself and within society at large. Our legal system is based on centuries of thought, debate, and millennia of values and moral principles within the Judeo-Christian tradition. Gay "marriage" is a wedge driven into the heart of both, as it introduces an intractable contradiction. How will it play out? There are many possibilities, but most of them - perhaps all of them - do not end well.

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    July 13, 2014 6:22 a.m.

    @ Pops

    Re: the basis for morality, research is beginning to strongly suggest that there is a genetic component to it, presumably because it enhances survival.

    In any case I would echo what Tolstoy noted: moral principles pre-date Judeo-Christian religions.

  • Tolstoy salt lake, UT
    July 13, 2014 12:24 a.m.

    Sorry I should not try to type on my phone but I think you get the idea.

  • Tolstoy salt lake, UT
    July 12, 2014 10:15 p.m.

    I think that it is nice that I your book that is what religion means to you. I don't think Kali is saying that reigions cannot have a positive effect but rather that it can just as easily be used to justify rather damaging laws and behaviors.
    As for your two questions as one of those atheist equating a moral compass whether it comes from Christianity or the
    many philosophical and religious teachings that predate Christianity, some by "millenias," all comes from the same place the minds and hearts of men, therefore giving it more weight based on mystical beliefs seems foolish. As with all human thoughts Christianity"s views or morality have and continue to change with a changing world.

    July 12, 2014 4:44 p.m.

    @Kalindra - The merits of a system are to be judged by what it has produced, not in how it has been abused.

    In my book "practicing religion" consists of being honest, being considerate of others, doing to others as I would be done to by them, not taking the property of others, not trying get stuff for nothing, donating time and money for those less fortunate, trying each day to be a better person, and raising a family and teaching them likewise, among (many) other things. Yes, it also includes worship services, but worship services mean nothing if I make no attempt to behave appropriately.

    I don't buy the "my religion or nothing" mindset. I appreciate the many religions that support the Judeo-Christian tradition and I'm grateful for their influence on society.

    And yes, atheists are perfectly capable of finding and living by good principles. But two questions ought to be asked: where did those principles originate? If they have been known in the Judeo-Christian tradition for millennia, how can they be said to have spontaneously originated in the mind of an atheist? And what is to prevent the moral compass of an atheist from changing?

  • Kalindra Salt Lake City, Utah
    July 12, 2014 11:54 a.m.


    udeo-Christian tradition have a mixed record just like any other religion. It has been used to justify many evils in our country alone., for example slavery, segregation, treating women and children as property, to prevent inner racial marriage etc.

    July 12, 2014 7:13 a.m.

    The Judeo-Christian tradition has a positive track record. Why shouldn't Americans believe that religion has solutions to society's problems? That's a rational position. What other tradition has produced equivalent results?

  • Tolstoy salt lake, UT
    July 11, 2014 11:26 p.m.

    It seems as of late those that claim the loudest to be the most religious are always the first to twist and destrote history and the facts to support their claims.

  • The Wraith Kaysville, UT
    July 11, 2014 2:53 p.m.


    I simply could not agree more. In fact I have always been worried about people who say we do need a god in order for us to be a moral people. Do people who say this really need to be told it is wrong to kill? What would they be doing if their god wasn't there to tell them this? Are they admitting that they want to kill, that killing appeals to them, that without someone else telling them not to that they would just go off on killing sprees? I do not need a god to tell me not to kill or rob or hurt people. I was able to figure out that these things weren't nice all on my own.

    So when anyone says that without god we couldn't have morality I get a little worried about them. What they are basically saying is that if the fear of god wasn't put into them they would murder, rape, rob, and do all sorts of awful things to people. Clearly they would think these things are okay without god telling them they aren't. Scary, scary people.

  • ExTBird Springville, US-UT
    July 11, 2014 1:50 p.m.

    "Religion doesn't create morality"

    Ding ding ding! It isn't the existence of religion that stops me from robbing my neighbor, or hurting people that disagree with me. I don't do those things because I can have a strong moral compass without believing in some higher power. I can be a hard working, good man and still believe that God is a myth. I try to be a good person because I want to be and not because I think I'm being graded from the cosmos.

  • Eagle78 Salt Lake City, UT
    July 11, 2014 1:08 p.m.

    RedWings you should seriously consider picking up a book that isn't total fiction. You get more information about the world around you from real life sources than you ever will from the Bible/BoM. It is 100% false to claim that our society is degrading. Go look up some actual facts about crime rates,violence statistics, rape statistics, etc. Then look at the USA actively working to change laws that discriminate against people.

    Our society has never been less violent, less bigoted, then it is right now. By all accounts that actually matter we are better off today than we were even 20 years ago. Stating otherwise is just propaganda nonsense. The world doesn't need more religion. It could use a lot less. Laws of man govern man just fine. We don't need to be scared of the man in the clouds to know that hurting other people is wrong. Religion does not create morality. It simply tries to redefine it for its own purposes.

  • The Wraith Kaysville, UT
    July 11, 2014 10:56 a.m.

    RedWings please inform us when in our history society was less violent, intolerant, immoral, and unethical than it is now. I want the actual decades too. During what decade was America a better place than it is right now?

    Also I am very interested in your version of world and Roman history. Are you saying that America is being invaded by barbaric tribes, that we have over extended our world empire to the point that our military can no longer occupy and control it all, are the Huns about to destroy our political and societal stability? Because it doesn't seem like any of those things are happening to America.

  • A Quaker Brooklyn, NY
    July 11, 2014 10:42 a.m.

    Here's the problem with looking to religion as a cure to societal ills: WHOSE religion?

    a) Mine? "Great!"

    b) Yours? "No way. Mine is much better!"

    This is the nature of religious conflict. Unless we can simply accept each others' good will and not try to impose our will or religious ideas on each other, we will never have peace in this world.

    While I strongly believe in the Testimonies of my own religion, I fully acknowledge that the practice of religion is totally unnecessary. Some of the most moral, ethical, considerate people I have met consider themselves atheists. An avowed belief in a higher power does not necessarily make anyone a better person. More important is how we treat each other. As a believer myself, I am stuck with the conclusion that God may love ethical atheists most of all, His most perfect creations. They follow His command to love their neighbors and act with ethical consideration entirely on their own volition, neither expecting any reward for it nor pestering Him for favors.

    July 11, 2014 8:49 a.m.

    Interesting to see that as society becomes more violent, intolerant, immoral, and unethical that the percentage who believe religion can help society is diminishing. We see a decaying society but are not looking to the right source for answers.

    One need only look at the historial facts surrounding the fall of the Roman Empire to see where we are headed...

  • Bob A. Bohey Marlborough, MA
    July 11, 2014 8:38 a.m.

    According to PEW research ~83% of American adults identify themselves as religious, yet only 57% of those people think that religion has the answers to all of the problems faced in the world. Interesting.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    July 11, 2014 7:10 a.m.

    Funny, IMO, religion is the CAUSE of all our problems today.

  • Michael Hunt Murray, UT
    July 11, 2014 7:01 a.m.

    Just like beer for some, religion is both the cause and solution to all of life's problems.