Americans: Undecided about God?

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  • Esquire Springville, UT
    Dec. 21, 2011 9:54 a.m.

    Religion is a matter of faith, and faith is a personal thing. It will never be proved nor disproved. People, please keep it in perspective, whether you believe or don't believe. I guess it proves "missionary" work is being done by every side.

  • Joggle Clearfield, UT
    Dec. 21, 2011 9:43 a.m.

    @StandAlone

    Atheist advertising doesn't even begin to compare to the continuous advertising religion does. Religion is constantly trying to convince people that a God actually exists through advertising and prothylizing and has been a dominant force in society much more than atheism has....yet it's alright for religion to advertise, but not atheism? Really? Religion isn't being rejected because atheists are working hard to convince people religion is hogwash. Religion is being rejected because people examine the logical, reasonable, probable, and physical reasons or evidence and come to the conclusion that it isn't true. Rather than the cliche of the angry, nihilistic atheist who works to destroy religion....they are life-affirming, courageous, highly intelligent and inquisitive. The trend toward nonbelief will likely continue and the sooner we recognize that religion is frequently and freely rejected by all sorts of people for a variety of well_thought_out reasons, the sooner our understanding of the human condition will improve. Religion can destroy "God" belief on its own without the help of atheists or atheist advertising. As knowledge progresses and rids society of supertitious myths based on religious dogma so will the decline of religion proceed. Atheism just helps the realization, but is_not_the_cause!

  • StandAlone South Jordan, UT
    Dec. 20, 2011 9:32 p.m.

    "Mr. Spring's comment is typical of those religionists who for some bazaar reason, think they can (and should) guilt, shame, intimidate, and browbeat others into belief and religious "joining"."

    If you want to talk about intimidating and browbeating others into a belief system, let's talk about the anti-Christmas, anti-God messages popping up everywhere, courtesy of atheist activists.

    I really enjoy this one at the Washington State Capitol building- "At this season of the Winter Solstice may reason prevail. There are no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven or hell. There is only our natural world. Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds."

    Or how about this one on 200 Washington D.C metro buses- "Why believe in God? Just be good for goodness sake"

    Not to mention the billboard that states- " Don't believe in God? You're not alone"

    We are now calling Christmas "Winter Solstice" and proclaiming there is no God.

    Religion is being rejected because atheists are hard at work trying to convince people they are alone in an uncaring universe. It's the epitome of deception.

  • Noodlekaboodle Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 20, 2011 4:07 p.m.

    @Windsor
    Why are atheists angry? Is it because we are more persecuted by "christians" than any christian group claiming to be persecuted is? Is it because what we believe is considered a curse word by any good christian and most "christians" have no problem expressing it to you how you are going to hell for not beliving in their truths? Or is it because of the irritating, ineffective guilt trips that we get for what we belive. Maybe it's because we are constantly accused of attacking religion when religious people when most atheists I know feel that you should do what makes you happy, including religion if that works for you? Na probably not any of that stuff.

  • Mizzica Orem, UT
    Dec. 20, 2011 9:00 a.m.

    1. Joseph Smith wasn't killed because of his beliefs. He was killed because he ordered the destruction of the printing office of a newspaper that was exposing his practice of polygamy.

    2. The building referred to in the BoM could just as easily been the mounds throughout Ohio and the surrounding region, which were a great focus of speculation at the time and many postulated as Hebraic in origin. The discovery of the Mayan ruins was coincidental and beneficial for shifting the focus to a less researched area.

    3. The witnesses are suspect because they a) were all friends and family of Joseph Smith, b) signed a prepared statement, c) told uncorroborated narratives after the event.

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    Dec. 20, 2011 8:59 a.m.

    Theism is an un-natural ficticious invention by man. Atheism is just the lack of theism. A better definition would be a free thinker. Man's invented theism has grown into the biggest world commercial business of religion and church influence, sales and profiteering. Man is indeed afraid of the dark.

  • als Atheist Provo, UT
    Dec. 20, 2011 8:35 a.m.

    The truth,

    They keep denying my responses.

    You are wrong.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Dec. 19, 2011 5:50 p.m.

    Religion is at core a personal affair and politics is at core a public affair. We need to get that concept. Especially here.

  • the truth Holladay, UT
    Dec. 19, 2011 4:28 p.m.

    RE: The Atheist

    Thomas Jefferson was neither an atheist nor a deist.

    Deist believe in a God that does not interfere in men's affairs,

    Jefferson and Founding Fathers did not believe that, they certainly belived that God was helping them.

    Jefferson even did a theological study on the pure doctrines of Christ, which some try to characterize differently.


    -
    -
    It is questionable whether Payne really was an atheist. His writing contain the mention of "providence", "providnece" in definition is strongly connected to the devine.

    Merriam-Webster:

    1a divine guidance or care

    1b God conceived as the power sustaining and guiding human destiny

    So I strongly doubt any of the founding fathers were atheist or deist.

    They all seem to be men of faith who belived in God actively involved himself in their affairs.

  • J Thompson SPRINGVILLE, UT
    Dec. 19, 2011 4:04 p.m.

    atl134 | 3:35

    You claim that there is insufficient evidence to support the fact that what Joseph Smith claimed to have happened actually did happen. You also claim that there is insufficient evidence to support the Book of Mormon.

    Have you ever read Hugh B. Brown's 1939 defense of the very points that Mike Richards made today? Hugh B. Brown was a former member of the First Presidency of the LDS Church and a highly regarded lawyer.

    That aside, how do you account for the fact that eleven men testified that they had either held the "golden plates" from which the Book of Mormon was translated, or had been in the presence of an angel who told them that the plates had been translated into the Book of Mormon? Even though several of those "witnesses" left the church NOT ONE of them ever denied his testimony of the authenticity of the Book of Mormon.

    No evidence of the Nephites? How would Joseph Smith, an uneducated farm boy living in rural New York State, know anything about the vast UNDISCOVERED ruins, including huge temples in Central and South America?

    The facts support Joseph Smith and his testimony of God.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 19, 2011 3:35 p.m.

    @J Thompson
    "Prove that Joseph Smith did not see God the Father and Jesus Christ. "

    You can't prove negatives, you can only establish that there is 'insufficient evidence to support the notion that...'.

    If I told you that I saw God the Father last night and ask you to prove that I didn't you'd have no way of doing that; but you could very easily say there is insufficient evidence to support the notion that I did.

    So for example...
    "Prove that Alma did not see the premortal Jesus Christ."

    I can't prove that, but in my opinion there is a severe lack of evidence that a Nephite civilization even existed, let alone the parts that this statement contains.

    "That's pretty strong evidence that they had experienced what they said that they had experienced. "

    Joseph Smith shot a few people before he was killed by that mob. He was going to die no matter what he said. And what if he recanted and somehow lived through that then his followers would kill him for lying to them.

  • Wally West SLC, UT
    Dec. 19, 2011 3:02 p.m.

    Re: John Charity Spring | 9:15 a.m. Dec. 18, 2011

    The Cult of Self ignores organized religion and preaches that the only goal in life should be immediate gratification without regard to the consequences.

    As opposed to the true believers mindset; It does not matter what we do on Mon through Sat as long we are there on Sunday going through the motions.

    @ Mike Richards | 11:43 a.m. Dec. 19, 2011

    - Joseph Smith, 1920, New York, USA
    Dont you mean 1820?

  • Baccus0902 Leesburg, VA
    Dec. 19, 2011 2:59 p.m.

    The article states: "We need a Steve Jobs of religion. Someone (or ones) who can invent not a new religion but, rather, a new way of being religious."

    For many years I thought Joseph Smith have done precisely that and he might have. Obviously millions of people believe that is the case and that is why the LDS church continues to grow.

    However, Muslims are also a fast growing group in The United States. Therefore, many people are finding that Mohammad is a new way for them.

    Many Jews are exploring Buddhism. Looking for a spirituality lacking in their tradition.

    I'm sure the fundamentalist will say this is a sign of the times before the end.

    However, I find that people who move away from religion not necessarily move away from God. Most I would venture say are choosing to leave "certainty and security" to be able to find for themselves the truth and communion with that creator and/ or the universe.

    These are bold and brave spirits who refuse to act against the dictate of their reasoning and conscience.

    One of my favorite aphorism is "The Glory of God is Intelligence". I'm sure God is there.

  • J Thompson SPRINGVILLE, UT
    Dec. 19, 2011 2:50 p.m.

    @ RanchHand,

    Mike Richards made his case using historical evidence. You used your opinion to refute him. I believe it is you who failed to prove your point. Prove that Joseph Smith did not see God the Father and Jesus Christ. Prove that Saul (Paul) did not see and hear the resurrected Jesus Christ. Prove that Alma did not see the premortal Jesus Christ. Prove that Mary Magdalene, the other Mary, and other disciples did not see the resurrected Christ. Prove that Peter, James and John did not see the transfiguration of Christ.

    Unless you can PROVE that all those people lied, then their accounts stand.

    By the way, Joseph Smith was murdered by a mob when he refused to recant his testimony. Peter was crucified upside down when he refused to recant. Paul was beheaded when he refused to recant. That's pretty strong evidence that they had experienced what they said that they had experienced. They knew that they would answer to God if they denied their testimony. They chose to be put to death rather than to deny those experiences.

    They were not undecided about God . . .

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    Dec. 19, 2011 12:29 p.m.

    @Mike Richards;

    - Joseph Smith, 1920, New York, USA (hearsay)

    - Saul of Tarsus, about 34 A.D., on the road to Damacus (hearsay)

    - Alma, about 100 B.C., the Americas (fiction)

    - Those Nephites gathered at the temple site, about 34 A.C., the Americas (more fiction)

    - Peter, James and John, about 32 A.D., on the mount of transfiguration (hearsay)

    - Mary Magdalene and the other Mary, and many others, about 33 A.D. after the crucifixion, Jerusalem (hearsay)

    ---
    You failed to prove your point.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 19, 2011 12:17 p.m.

    @Mike Richards
    Most of your examples are still from 2 thousand years ago. The lone exception, Joseph Smith's, is an account I don't believe personally, which also would eliminate Alma's and that of the Nephites because Joseph Smith's vision can't possibly be false without the other two being false too.

    I do believe in Christ though; I am a Christian after all. Just that it may not take much for someone to go through that list and not recognize any of those examples.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Dec. 19, 2011 11:43 a.m.

    Dennis | 7:57 a.m. Dec. 18, 2011

    You wrote: "If somebody would has seen the person "God" please let us know. He's been absent for about a billion years now."

    How many examples do you want? Here are just a few:

    - Joseph Smith, 1920, New York, USA

    - Saul of Tarsus, about 34 A.D., on the road to Damacus

    - Alma, about 100 B.C., the Americas

    - Those Nephites gathered at the temple site, about 34 A.C., the Americas

    - Peter, James and John, about 32 A.D., on the mount of transfiguration

    - Mary Magdalene and the other Mary, and many others, about 33 A.D. after the crucifixion, Jerusalem

    ----

    One example would have been sufficient. Many examples show that the "heavens are open" and that God has revealed himself to man throughout earth's history. You just have to be willing to look for those examples - with an eyes that are willing to see, ears that are willing to hear, and a heart that is willing to accept.

  • The Atheist Provo, UT
    Dec. 19, 2011 11:42 a.m.

    Hank Pyn,

    Paine was definitely an atheist, and those we call Deists today were advocates of a very broadly-defined (or undefined) "natural religion" that was indistinguishable from what today we call atheism. For what were then "politically correct" reasons in appealing to a believing citizenry, these brave nonbelievers employed the language of vague euphemism and obtuse allusion in many of their writings and the founding documents, but, like Albert Einstein over a century later, as a group, these men professed little if any belief in a personal god.

    But that still does not alter my point, which is demonstrated by most of these comments: religionists/believers continue to think they can and SHOULD try to belittle, shame, guilt, and berate people into "believing", despite the fact that professions so motivated are not genuine and are, in fact, precisely what Jesus condemned (to be seen of men).

  • Vanka Provo, UT
    Dec. 19, 2011 11:22 a.m.

    Windsor,

    Perhaps we come across as "angry" because we are treated as a hiss and a byword by the religious preachers of so-called "love" and "tolerance".

    Perhaps it does not sit well with us when, despite our numbers being as much as three times larger than Mormons or Jews, and our growth being five times faster than the fastest growing religions in America, yet the religious hegemony so dominates the citizenry that the last person Americans would vote for as USPresident is an atheist.

    Maybe we are a bit miffed because religions hypocritically preach love for all mankind, and give lip service to all people being "equal" as children of god, but we nonbelievers are shunned, ostracized, ignored, neglected, overlooked, and persecuted, including horrible mischaracterizations in official religious scriptures, such as Psalms 14:1 that unfairly calls us "fools" and "corrupt" and guilty of "abominable works" and that no atheists do good.

    Perhaps instead of further attacking nonbelievers and calling us "angry", self-proclaimed Christians should ask themselves why they tend to provoke us to wrath?

  • windsor City, Ut
    Dec. 19, 2011 10:39 a.m.

    I thought it was maybe just my experiences.

    But here's a New York times writer linking these two words: Angry Atheists.

    I have yet to meet a self described atheist who is expressing that persuasion and point of view--with anything other than anger.

    I posed this very question last evening to the Atheist with whom I live, and who is near and dear to my heart.

    Whats with the anger??

    Why can I hear opinions, view programs, hear reports, read articles--on a myriad of subjects with which I seriously and strongly disagree and totally oppose, and can do so without this vehement flash anger?

    Why do atheists (at least those I know) have such anger about believers, or belief??

    Even my resident Atheist had no answer. "I don't know. But I do get angry don't I?" Understatement of all time.

  • Hank Pym SLC, UT
    Dec. 19, 2011 10:36 a.m.

    @ The Atheist | 3:55 p.m. Dec. 18, 2011

    Agreed. If its not JCS's exemplifying the use of guilt, fear, & shame then its Mike R's overwhelming need to jump on his high horse and patronize those who do not comply w/ his philosophical interpretation of whatever topic he feels he he's an expert on.

    Religion is a group of people following another persons version of 'truth'

    Jefferson & Paine were Deists.

    FWIW; I believe in God... the rest is a bit fuzzy.

  • kibitzer Magna, UT
    Dec. 19, 2011 10:15 a.m.

    God knows we exist and most of us believe He does.

  • Ross Madison, AL
    Dec. 19, 2011 9:30 a.m.

    The Christmas Lights are popping up on homes and yards across America, reminding us once again that God and his Christ Jesus is the light of the world, when times get tough Americans strengthen each other by showing solidarity to our national values. It was for the grace of God that we became a nation, and lest we forget, Christmas is a time to remember what America is really all about in the end.

  • casual observer Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 19, 2011 9:09 a.m.

    If atheists were honest they would be agnostics. One cannot prove the absence of God. Faith or lack of faith in God is strictly personal, as it should be. When someone makes a statement about God they are expressing their own status, not mine. Religionists are no more offensive than anti-religionists. Spectatus proboscum! Mind your nose.

  • The Atheist Provo, UT
    Dec. 18, 2011 8:53 p.m.

    The truth,

    Sad the judgments and pronouncements "the left" make?

    I have been a conservative republican my entire life.

    When did the religious fanatics hijack my GOP?

    Where are my fellow atheists, Thomas Jefferson and Payne when we need them?

  • Ms.W South Jordan, UT
    Dec. 18, 2011 7:30 p.m.

    They won't be undecided on judgement day.

  • the truth Holladay, UT
    Dec. 18, 2011 6:00 p.m.

    It is sad and hilarious the pronoucements and judgements the secular left makes of the religious.

    And shows how little they understand religion and its belivers.

  • The Atheist Provo, UT
    Dec. 18, 2011 3:55 p.m.

    Mr. Spring's comment is typical of those religionists who for some bazaar reason, think they can (and should) guilt, shame, intimidate, and browbeat others into belief and religious "joining".

    Hate to break it to you, Mr. Springs, but that is precisely why religion is being rejected by the fastest growing group: nonbelievers!

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Dec. 18, 2011 3:49 p.m.

    Too many people focus on what they think their church teaches and too little on what Christ teaches. Often, the doctrine differs.

    If Christ were a scout leader, he would say, "Follow me, boys". Therein lies the problem. For too many people, the act of following means that they have to choose between what they want to do and what Christ would have them do. They make the easier choice. They choose to do what they want to do and hope that Christ doesn't mind them playing games with religion.

    Christ told us that straight is the gate and narrow the way, but many teach just the opposite. They teach us that all who profess Christ have found the true path to happiness.

    Oh, that it were that simple.

    We have religion in our lives to change us from what we now are into better people; people who act like Christ in all situations. If we resist that change, then we have simply redefined the word "religion" to mean something far less important than what Christ meant it to be.

    Thinking that something is true or false is irrelevant. Accepting his doctrine and LIVING his commandments is relevant.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 18, 2011 11:00 a.m.

    @John Charity Springs
    "If they are honest, they must admit that they claim organized religions are not true because they do not want to live by the religious tenets of revealed truth.
    "

    No, and I'll use myself as an example. I left the LDS church due to a lack of belief in several aspects of core doctrine so significant that it would be dishonest to keep my name attached to a covenant I don't believe in (since I don't believe in the Book of Mormon, nor that there are modern day prophets). I know your statement applies to very very few "nones" and here's the reason why. Even if the particular denomination they were part of has their religious tenets based on revealed truth... if they don't believe that it is based on truth... then they can't be leaving due to not wanting to live by the true tenets since that would require them to have the opposite belief as to whether or not the church tenets are true. In other words... if I thought the LDS tenets were true... I wouldn't have left but I don't so you can't say I'm leaving due to not wanting to practice truth.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 18, 2011 10:52 a.m.

    When people's circle of friends/family now includes more religions than ever before since the world is more interconnected, it makes one seriously consider "okay is this one denomination really the only one that'll be saved?". Eventually many like myself conclude that no denomination has sole authority on truth and if they end up somewhere it just ends up being wherever they feel most comfortable. I know I'm a Christian... but I don't believe in the trinity doctrine, I believe in eternal marriage, I don't believe in the Book of Mormon, I believe everyone will get to learn the whole truth before final judgment, I do not believe there are prophets today... add up all my beliefs and you get something that doesn't really fit into any denomination. So... I'll probably just make things easy whenever I get married and just take her religion (assuming she's part of a denomination... otherwise we might both be going around trying random ones out).

  • John Charity Spring Back Home in Davis County, UT
    Dec. 18, 2011 9:15 a.m.

    This letter is fully representative of what is unfortunately the fastest growing cult in modern society: the Cult of Self.

    Adherents to the Cult of Self claim that there is no truth, religious or otherwise. Indeed, they claim that it is up to every man to decide for himself what is true, and if he does not want to believe it is true because it may hamper his life style, he is free to ignore the truth. If they are honest, they must admit that they claim organized religions are not true because they do not want to live by the religious tenets of revealed truth.

    The Cult of Self ignores organized religion and preaches that the only goal in life should be immediate gratification without regard to the consequences. Because organized religions generally frown upon selfishness, addiction, and unrestrained sexuality, members of the Cult of Self claim that organized religion is untrue, or at least unnecessary. It will be a sad day for these folks when they realize that truth exists whether they recognize it or not. There are consequences for choices, and these consequences cannot be escaped by pretending that they dont exist.

  • Blue Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 18, 2011 8:52 a.m.

    "(T)he sad state of our national conversation about God..."

    Oh how I wish this were true. The reality is that we are _not_ having such a conversation. Having one, with clarity, evidence and honesty, would be enormously valuable to us.

    "We Nones may not believe in God, but we hope to one day."

    That wasn't included in the study. That's your personal hope, an unsupported generalization.

    "We need a Steve Jobs of religion. Someone (or ones) who can invent not a new religion but, rather, a new way of being religious."

    You're missing the point - people worldwide are increasingly finding that the very act of "being religious" makes it impossible to be honest with themselves and each other.

    The Information Age has made it possible to honestly and thoroughly investigate religion, and people are disturbed by what they learn.

    Religion's demand for control over peoples lives without objective supporting evidence, and in the face of objective, real-world evidence disproving the claims of religion, is fundamentally an act of dishonesty that a growing number of people cannot abide.

  • liberal larry salt lake City, utah
    Dec. 18, 2011 8:45 a.m.

    We really need religions to update their attitudes towards science. I know fundamentalist Christians who believe in "New Earth Creationism", which basically invalidates biology, physics, geology, and most other branches of science. Couple this with their alignment with conservative political beliefs and it takes a lot denial to become a believer.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    Dec. 18, 2011 8:24 a.m.

    The characterization of the camps as "True Believers" and "Angry Atheists" is a pretty broad generalization. What is it that makes atheists "angry"? I doubt that is the character of atheists, at least it doesn't describe those whom I know.

    The author also fails to go into depth, though it is briefly covered, about how theists are always judging and condemning others ("angry atheists" is rather a condemnation in itself). That is one of the most unappealing things about religionists in the end; their outright holier than thouness. They don't live the talk themselves. Not to mention their constant in-your-face attitude about how THEIR religion is the ONLY correct one and that of everyone else is evil.

    Organized religion has become a money tree for those who lead. That applies to all organized religions; they're far more focused on making money than taking care of souls.

  • Dennis Harwich, MA
    Dec. 18, 2011 7:57 a.m.

    If somebody would has seen the person "God" please let us know. He's been absent for about a billion years now.

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    Dec. 18, 2011 6:01 a.m.

    Conservative churches will be the death knell of religion if they are not careful. The teachings of Christ are not conservative principles, and they are definitely not intended to form the basis for political beliefs and practices. Listen carefully, Baptists, Mormons and Evangelicals.