Comments about ‘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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Published: Friday, July 11 2014 5:30 a.m. MDT

Updated: Friday, July 11 2014 11:58 a.m. MDT

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Michael Hunt
Murray, UT

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

RanchHand
Huntsville, UT

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

Bob A. Bohey
Marlborough, MA

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.

RedWings
CLEARFIELD, UT

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...

A Quaker
Brooklyn, NY

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.

The Wraith
Kaysville, UT

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.

Eagle78
Salt Lake City, UT

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.

ExTBird
Springville, US-UT

"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.

The Wraith
Kaysville, UT

@ExTBird

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.

Tolstoy
salt lake, UT

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.

Pops
NORTH SALT LAKE, UT

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?

Kalindra
Salt Lake City, Utah

@pops

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.

Pops
NORTH SALT LAKE, UT

@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?

Tolstoy
salt lake, UT

@pops
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.

Tolstoy
salt lake, UT

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

Karen R.
Houston, TX

@ 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.

Pops
NORTH SALT LAKE, UT

@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.

ExTBird
Springville, US-UT

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.

J.D.
Aurora, CO

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.

intervention
slc, UT

@ 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.

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