Karen R. “-But I think I also believe in eternal life in a way. It came to
me when I learned that matter - which is what we are - is neither created nor
destroyed. It just changes forms. So the matter that currently forms
"me" will always exist, as does the matter of the loved ones I've
lost. I will always, always be a part of the universe and so will they. I find
this a warm, welcoming, beautiful place to be”. VS,Do not be
afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of
the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell= (gÉenna.(Mt 10:28)Gehenna is a small valley in Jerusalem. In the Hebrew Bible, Gehenna was
initially where some of the kings of Judah sacrificed their children by fire. In
rabbinic literature and Christian and Islamic scripture, Gehenna is a
destination of the wicked.
@ Thid Barker"If there is no God, then death is
eternal-forever!"I think the evidence strongly suggests this to
be the case regardless of what one happens to believe.But I think I
also believe in eternal life in a way. It came to me when I learned that matter
- which is what we are - is neither created nor destroyed. It just changes
forms. So the matter that currently forms "me" will always exist, as
does the matter of the loved ones I've lost. I will always, always be a
part of the universe and so will they. I find this a warm, welcoming, beautiful
place to be. No gods or god-belief required.@ let's roll"The article reports that studies show that religious people report
having a greater level of meaning in their life."I once
suggested that atheists experience greater meaning in their lives because they
believe this is their one and only life. The comment was quickly shot down as
specious. Rightly so, I've decided in retrospect. Reporting or claiming
"greater meaning than you have" doesn't amount to more than that: a
report or a claim.
The article reports that studies show that religious people report having a
greater level of meaning in their life.Not one of the comments
mentions that fact. I wonder if the comments would have been
different had the headline been, Religious People Report Greater Level of
Meaning in Their Lives.
@Twin Lights"I can see family being high on the list, but career and
money?Wow."Career makes sense. It's not the
same question but I imagine an ice-breaker for middle aged people, and I feel
like a lot would default to "Hi I'm (name). I'm a(n)
I think you have it backwards. For most people their religious Faith conquers
their fears of death, of an unanswered questions, and gives meaning to our
Quoting others and having an opinion is what these pages are suppose to be
about. Which ever one of you down there who refuses to actually do their job
should just send all my post up for additional review instead of not reading
them and denying them outright. " Among the many answers are
these: secularism cannot answer the questions of the soul, cannot satisfy need
for meaning in our lives and will never sustain us in the times of crisis.
Secularism would have each of us figuratively whistling nervously past every
grave yard."What evidence do you have that a 'soul'
exists? Start there before you lecture me about 'answers' to its
'questions'. The rest of your post was all about your
personal fear and made it seem that your being afraid gives you permission to
invent things for which you have no evidence. I prefer that the things I
'know' to actually be true. We are all going to die.
Dealing with that reality is more beneficial than pretending that you arent
because you 'worship' one of the thousands of gods humans have
The cultural continuum goes from, "Not ashamed of the gospel," and
"Do not cast your pearls before swine."Good is called evil
so often in our society that we refuse to feed the pigs. The unseen is strong,
but don't expect the polls and the press to see it. There is no point in
proclaiming.By the way, did you notice how nice our shoes look? Not
a speck of dust on them.
There is Religion and then their is religion for profit. I prefer personnel
religion, not corporate religion,
Martin Luther King Jr. was a clergyman.Fred Rogers was a
clergyman.Charles Schulz was a Sunday School teacher.But
unfortunately, clergy today include the likes of that "pastor" who just
bought his wife a $200,000 Lamborghini.
The Atheist: Not nonsense at all. It has been said that if you are an atheist,
God is not your enemy, death is! Death waits smiling patiently for each one of
us and death doesn't debate nor compromise! If there is no God, then death
is eternal-forever! Jesus taught, " And this is life eternal, that they
might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent."
Either that is true or it isn't true! If it is true, what does having
religious faith produce versus atheism? If it isn't true, then graveyards
are eternal, nothing has meaning and nothing mattered because everything died,
Man’s invented religion is just too synthetic and commercial for most
thinkers. While natural nature and the science of its understanding better
synchronize with reality and man’s existence.
"Secularism would have each of us figuratively whistling nervously past
every grave yard."Nonsense.Trite, petty memes that
denigrate non-believers is all religion seems able to muster these days. And that is why religion is fading as a source of meaning.
"Why doesn't religion rank higher among sources of meaning?"As Gertude Stein said so famously, "There's no there
"Why doesn't religion rank higher among sources of meaning?"My guess is religion appears more man made and fallible, with numerous,
various conflicting beliefs, while other sources of meaning, whether it be
family, pets, nature, or personal, lifelong aspirations, feel more like they are
divine in nature!
I can see family being high on the list, but career and money?Wow.
Why do we need religious faith? Among the many answers are these: secularism
cannot answer the questions of the soul, cannot satisfy need for meaning in our
lives and will never sustain us in the times of crisis. Secularism would have
each of us figuratively whistling nervously past every grave yard.
The evangelical far right has taken Christian faith and behavior to a new
hypocritical low. Also, too many churches are about big business over helping
people to develop their spirituality and faith.
@ J. Smith - you say more education leads to less faith. That is true in some
faiths, but among the largest churches in the US, including the Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter-Day Saints, the opposite is true. Pew did a study on this in
2017 and had very interesting findings.
Religion is often more a source of guilt than enlightenment. And guilt is not a
The D-News article from 4 days ago about Christians being less enthusiastic
about having a more religiously diverse Congress explains a lot.80%
of evangelicals voted for a President who is not religious, and openly said
he'd never actually thought about asking for forgiveness, for anything.This explains why religion is so far down the list, even for those who
are religious. When push comes to shove, it's just not that important.
Zealot religious advocates tend to create division over that of the value of God
and can be demanding on peoples lives. The building of the personal relationship
with god and issues of family and friends and community are the three major
players. as for me the working community some times called careers is still a
part of community. These things are traditionalist back many generations. and
pecking orders occur over many generations and area's of change occur where
one finds there current system not working for them. which causes advocates of
importance to people. And for me Jesus Christ is in all perfect just righteous
judgment in mercy, justice, and vengeance and in all things forever and ever.
To "Thomas Jefferson" but they did kill all of those people in the name
of atheism. Atheism is the state religion of Communism. They couldn't have
anybody going against their explicitly controlled religion.If the
leaders of communism are the Gods of Communism, doesn't that equate to
atheism?Look at the numbers killed during the crusades and compare
them to Communist China and Russia. There were very few killed during the
crusades in comparison to Communism.To "Dmorgan" please
complete your thought. I have no idea what fallacy you think I don't
understand. Telling only the middle portion of a story does not make it so
anybody can understand the story. Explain what you mean, if you can.
There is probably some "nuance" to the ideas surrounding
"meaning" and "religion". Religion is just really a
framework from which one understands and prioritizes the "Meaning". So,
of course family provides a higher level of meaning than religion. If you think
about it deeply "religion" has no intrinsic value other than to help
recognize the things that actually do have intrinsic value. "Love thy
neighbor.." not "Love thy religion."
The more that organized religions go into moneymaking and meddling in politics,
the less satisfied I am.I want to help people. If my religion is
nothing more than an enforcer of rules and collector of dues, I am not
@ RedShirtUofURepetition of a fallacy will never make the claim
true. I could offer a basic reading list to assist in learning what
atheism is, and is not. But, like some minds, I assume the books would remain
closed.This quote by Alisha Zarmeen comes closest to explaining your
assertion: “Any society ridden with superstition, religious
indoctrination, lack of education, and nationalism is always going to be a
violent society.”Finally, a quote by Aldous Huxley,
“Most ignorance is vincible ignorance. We don’t know because we
don’t want to know.”
"Why doesn't religion rank higher among sources of meaning?"Because of "Great Expectations". Expecting a poll of under 4,500
people to accurately represent America is still idiotic. Look no further than
our last election to see how well these polls represent.
Pretty simple question. The level of "meaning" that someone may receive
and enjoy from believing in a favorite "God" (there are many to choose
from, and ALL are Equal in America) is up to them, and if it makes them a better
Person, that's really good. No mystery there. I don't have a
personal Favorite myself, but, if "Belief" in anything, including a
favorite "God" makes one happy and more aware of what being Human
requires for the betterment of all, that is excellent. But, as we know, even
among those who do "Believe", some among them will treat others
disrespectfully who may believe differently, or not at all. That is Religious
History. I like it when my fellow Humans can enjoy a Religious experience and
learn more about being Human and sharing it, especially by personal actions.
What would really have some Religious "Meaning" to me, would be if ALL
of the "Gods" got together for a Meetup and figured out how to control
some of their mentally weak followers who use THEIR name to harm others.
Cleanup Time Gods. Thanks.
Freedom of religion has become the buzz word of those who wish to use their
supposed religious freedoms to attack the secular and civil rights of other
citizens. Be that marriage rights, civil rights, suicide
prevention, denying rights by race, or even claiming that certain political
leaders are "chosen by God". Sometimes people claiming religious
freedom cross the line of seperation of Church and State that the framers of the
Constitution put in place by claiming "religious freedom". It has been interesting to see how many people who were regulated by their
religious beliefs leave religion as it didn't fit with their truth, or the
lives of their friends and family.Religon does have it's place.
And that place is a personal choice. Not a forceful choice that regulates others
who don't believe in that particular faith.
Life is shortThere is no answerDon't waste time searching
This is the most thoughtful thread I have read in years. Religion tends to
ignite a lot of controversy especially now that it is so enmeshed in politics.
Thank you all for your keen insights and acceptance of other people's view
on this hot topic....
@ Stacey23"One word - Parenting. If your kids aren't practicing
it's highly likely that you didn't drag them to service every Sunday
and teach them to say grace before anything goes in their mouths. Talking early
and often with God will make religion more central to their lives. "My parents are very religious people who always did all that. And yet I
dont believe in religion at all. Your hypothesis fails spectacularly. @reds 5th username"By including God into your life, if you are
humble, you will have access to guidance in your life to make all sorts of
things better."There is nothing so 'humble' as thinking you
have a personal relationship with the creator of the universe, that you were
born into the 'one true' religion, and that you get personal guidance
from mentally talking to said creator. The humility just oozes out. "look at the atheist regimes in Russia and China. In China the atheist
government killed at least 42.8 million people."I have explained
this to you before but here goes on last try. Those regimes didnt
kill anyone 'in the name of atheism'. They killed people as a form of
control. The leaders were the gods. Not true for the crusades etc.
"I think religion helps shepherd people towards one another, and then those
relationships stand out as most meaningful to them," As long as
they believe the same as you do. Otherwise it forces them apart.@bob"There are many things I would not have done had it not
been for my religious experiences. These things include marriage, family, career
and education. I fear society in general suffers due to a lack of religious
involvement."You dont think you would have had a wife, family,
education or career without your involvement in religion? What a weird thing to
say. "I fear society in general suffers due to a lack of
religious involvement."And I strongly believe society suffers
due to religious involvement. "Without religion, where do people
get the knowledge that makes up their moral values?"Moral values
do NOT come from religion. Religion co-opts social values and takes credit
for them. Two of the ten 'commandments' are laws.The bible
tells us we can have slaves. Society decided slavery was wrong. The bible
tells us to 'stone our unruly children to death'. Do you?Everyone on the planet (including republicans) are more moral than the bible.
To "Open Minded Mormon" we get it, you hate trump.Now, name
the politician that actually acts like Jesus would?There are reasons
why politics and religion are such polarizing topics. The question for you is
can you follow the Prophet when what he says contradicts your political beliefs?
...because they're no better at providing 'meaning' to your life
"Why doesn't religion rank higher among sources of meaning?"Simply put, the emperor has no clothes. Or to put it another way, you
can't squeeze blood out of a turnip.
Polls and studies attempting to define the eternal. What a rich farce. But, I
suppose it sells ad space in a perverse way.Oxygen is a rather
important part of my life, yet it never makes the list.So is my
relationship with God."I believe in Christianity as I believe
that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see
everything else."- C. S. Lewis
Boberino"I fear society in general suffers due to a lack of
religious involvement. Part of the blame must go to the government and the court
decisions that have, in my opinion, wrongly decided cases involving separation
of church and state. "Hollywood is partly to blame as
well."Boberino, that's why we have separation of church and
state and secular law instead of religious laws. You may have religious beliefs
that work for you and are a total anathema to others.You also had to
blame "Hollywood." Just don't watch movie or TV and you'll be
fine.Religion has been the cause of some of the greatest sufferings
of mankind. The crusades, Spanish Inquisition, slaughter of native Americans,
Salem witch burnings, hangings, and pressings, lynchings and beatings of black
people and beheadings by other religions are the result of religion.I've never understood "god fearing" people. Why do they worship
something they fear?Religious people are either doing something for
their god, or their god will forgive them.
The more and more organized religions embrace Donald Trump, the less and
less I feel a need to embrace organized Religion.Donald Trump is the
polar opposite of everything taught by the God I believe in.
A very good article and thread. As a person who believes in God, but has tried
to develop my own moral compass over the decades, I can honestly say that it has
been from looking closely at religion that I have learned that it's best to
not exclude others, to not be self-absorbed in a defensive way, to not carry
around guilt, to not smile and claim to love everyone while I actively look for
ways to combat them, to not employ a used car salesman--ly attempt to get others
to think the way that I do, to not make money the center of my life and finally,
to not only NOT harm the ones we are supposed to protect, but to actually
protect them. Organized religion has taught me these lessons. But
not in the way it's supposed to.
“Meaning” is entirely subjective. Something is meaningful based on
the value one assigns to it. The study implies that, even the meaning that the
non-religious assign is somehow unconsciously influenced by a religious bias.
This is understandable when the survey is one of many conducted by those who
have a religious, mainly Christian bias, in an attempt to justify the value of
Christian theology in a country where that influence is waning. This is
consistent with Christian thought wherein they teach that humanity is ill, and
they alone have the cure, and usually, at a cost. The tone of the
article fosters the arrogant attitude, validated by many commenters, that
religious belief is good and the only path to meaning, and the false equivalence
of non-religious belief and atheism. Seldom do I find among believers anyone who
can adequately define “atheist”. Religious belief is not
a pre-requisite to a meaningful life. It’s not a pre-requisite for moral
one. It’s arrogant to believe otherwise. As Illustrated by the quote,
“You don’t need religion to have morals. If you can’t
determine right from wrong, then you lack empathy and common sense, not
Religion in developed countries is declining—but why so fast? In the
coming years, it is estimated that 9 countries will be comprised entirely of
non-believers.We have seen a significant decline in religious belief
in most developed countries. For example, the U.K. took just 10 years to make a
full u-turn from being a country comprised mostly of religious believers to a
country predominantly made up of non-believers.Even in the USA, a
country known for being very religious, we see this decline in religious
practice. From 1990-2008, the percentage of Christians in the population fell
from 86.2% to 76%.As our societies change and develop, so too must
our understanding of them. So why is it that our developed countries are seeing
such a dramatic fall in religious adherence?The 6 Reasons Why
Religion Is Dying:1. People are opting out2. More education leads to
less faith3. Journalism exposing religious fraud4. Religion is seen
as counterproductive to development5. Religion incites wars6. Free
thought and logic inhibit blind faith
It was once the case that New Religious Movements were considered to be a
symptom of social problems. Now the tide has turned, and much of the world has
now come to consider religion in general to be the cause of social malaise.
Some such as William James defend religion by saying that it is merely human
behavior that causes problems, however, despite the sure progress of humankind
towards peace, stability and education religions in particular are have been
"notoriously slow" to make progress on gender equality and racism, and
sectarianism and a "them-and-us" approach to society means religion is
associated strongly with violent strife and war. The world has seen terrible
results of monotheism as embodied by Christianity and Islam in particular.
To "ConservativeCommonTater" just look at the atheist regimes in Russia
and China. In China the atheist government killed at least 42.8 million people.
In Russia the atheist government killed at least 28 million people. Then there
are the lesser atheistic regimes that killed a few million at a time.However, when you look at deaths attributed to religion, you only get a tiny
fraction of the number of deaths when compared to atheism.
My religion is the number one defining influence on my life. All other parts of
my life, from the way I interact with and view my family to the way I work, are
shaped by my religious identity.
RedShirtUofU - Andoria, UT"To "explorer686" that is a
sad thing you write. By including God into your life, if you are humble, you
will have access to guidance in your life to make all sorts of things
better.""To "Alden" if you look at history, you see
that a lot more damage and suffering has been in the name of Atheism than
religion."Some people need a god or religion to be
"humble" and need the guidance of man to tell them what they believe god
is commanding.For others, being humble, polite, caring respectful,
etc., etc., it is a part of who we are. We do not need someone telling us how to
live our lives to be good people. Most of the atheists or agnostics I've
known have a more true sense of what is right or wrong.As for your
comment that atheism has killed more people than religion, I'd disagree. I
can cite the slaughter of millions by religious people. In any case, it sounds
like the childhood refrain that "mom, they did it too" to excuse the
millions and millions of people killed in the name of god or religion.
@ BoberinoI think it has less to do with Hollywood and more to do
with the actions of various churches.
I think that as many religions become more involved in conservative politics
they lose the ability to inspire.
The greatest joys in my life have been experiences with family and friends.
Put some joy into services and maybe more people will show up.
Comments such as this suggest that without religion one can not conduct a
productive, meaningful life: "There are many things I would not have done
had it not been for my religious experiences. These things include marriage,
family, career and education."I would not dispute that this is a
sincerely held belief for this particular person. However, the comment seeks to
generalize from his/her experience to a universal value for each and every
person. This is just faulty logic.I know that those without belief,
or who eschew established religion, are just a familially faithful, productive
and educated as any ordinary religious adherent. I know this because it is
proven time and again through research. It is not a belief, it is a fact.Good people do good things without a good dose of organized religion.
Lots of them, maybe more so in the future given the trajectory of increasingly
political machinations within the hierarchy of established religion.
@Stacey23:I'm a bit skeptical of your blaming parenting for
people being less involved in religion. Many, possibly most, of us, were
parented by deeply religious people, and as children we completely accepted
their religious beliefs and practices. But our parents also taught us to ask
questions and think for ourselves, and oftentimes, that meant that as we grew
up, we were less convinced that organized religion was the answer.For example, I'm still profoundly influenced by Jesus' teachings,
but I don't see much evidence that the majority of practicing Christians
focus on those teachings. Help the poor, visit the sick and the imprisoned?
Does this sound like your average conservative Christian? The Bible is full of
inconsistencies and it's obvious that people pick and choose the texts that
favor their own biases. And finally, the concept of the afterlife seems more
like wishful thinking than anything based on the facts as we know them.In short, for many of us, it was realities of life, and not our parents, that
shaped our views on whether religion is essential.
To "explorer686" that is a sad thing you write. By including God into
your life, if you are humble, you will have access to guidance in your life to
make all sorts of things better.To "Alden" if you look at
history, you see that a lot more damage and suffering has been in the name of
Atheism than religion.To "kolob1" the poor and needy will
never be given a free ride. There is always something they can do. As the LDS
church teaches, able bodied people receiving assistance should do some sort of
work for what they get. If they are not able bodied, they should still show
gratitude to those providing for them and should increase their faith in God.
Religion would rank higher in importance if God spoke at the pulpit more
Spirituality is what has meaning. Religion is a business. If participating in a
organized religion helps you achieve spirituality that's all good for you.
It's the same as a gym membership helps some people achieve fitness. Does
everyone HAVE to have a membership in a gym in order to achieve fitness? Of
course not. Does everyone HAVE to participate in a organized religion in order
to have or develop spirituality in life? Of course not!! What matters is knowing
what is best for you and living those choices with respect and integrity toward
Why doesn't religion rank higher with people today? One word - Parenting.
If your kids aren't practicing it's highly likely that you didn't
drag them to service every Sunday and teach them to say grace before anything
goes in their mouths. Talking early and often with God will make religion more
central to their lives. Without that of course children of
yesteryear (my generation) won't bother to go to service, say grace,
commune with God, nor care if they're walking the straight and narrow.
Religion has always been associated with money. Most religious programs are
laced with requests for money. Our tax code gives religion a free ride. When
will the poor and the needy be given a free ride? We tax their ( poor and needy)
food, their purchases, their work and now their souls. Isn't it about time
we spare them the earthly encumberances so that they can enjoy the beauty of the
WORD without the obscenity of the reminder that they are, sick and needy?In life our society is all about the cash. It won't be so in the
In my experience, religion is more a source of suffering rather than an antidote
for it. When this is realized it is quickly disregarded for the better. Today,
there exists more and better information than ever to lead people to this same
Religion has been an overall negative in my life, and it wouldn't surprise
me in the least to find that many people - even religious people - feel the same
“These church steeples, these symbols of religious faith, everywhere,
pointing upward, conquering despair, lifting human hopes. These lofty spires
challenge doubt and give troubled hearts consolation. Religion is our link
between our highest aspirations and our past failures. As long as man seeks
answers to the questions of the soul, as long a mankind suffers, there will be
steeples! To the surprise and disappointment of some, religious faith
endures." Will Durant,
It has been my experience over the past 60 years that "religion" is
truly the root of all evil......
I like uplifting stories such as this
"What explains religion's place on these lists?...Religion exerts a
more subtle influence on our daily lives than other sources of meaning, said
Clay Routledge..."Or maybe the findings reflect exactly the way
it is: A lot of people say they believe, but live as if they don't. And
that's okay because there is great meaning and satisfaction in family,
career, friends, etc. Religion can serve as a vehicle for these things, but it
isn't the source and it isn't required.Where religion
often does have a place? In conclusions like the one that Mr. Routledge drew.
Religion teaches people how to make something out of nothing.
Religion is filled with half truths and hypocrisy. When I compare religion to
daily existence, I am more concerned with survival of my family and myself. When
I think of spirituality, I think of something that has very little to no value
in my every day tasks. Of course we all would like to believe we will see our
loved ones again after death but any critical thinker knows we have absolutely
zero evidence of existence after death. Ergo to compare a belief/faith in non
factual wishful thinking, compared to daily existence, it is simple to conclude
what would rate higher in levels of importance.
Let's not sugar coat it. Today religion means less to many people. As life
gets more comfortable, God is not needed. This will get interesting.
The title of this article asks a great question. As I reflect on my life, I can
say that without religion my life would be very different. There are many
things I would not have done had it not been for my religious experiences.
These things include marriage, family, career and education. I fear society in
general suffers due to a lack of religious involvement. Part of the blame must
go to the government and the court decisions that have, in my opinion, wrongly
decided cases involving separation of church and state. Hollywood is partly to
blame as well. Without religion, where do people get the knowledge that makes
up their moral values? It is no wonder we have the social problems we do.
I think a lot of religions are viewed as nothing more than the big businesses
that they have become. It's hard to derive any deep meaning from a big,
ever expanding business.
One reason: more and more contemporary religions (present company not excepted)
focus on politics instead of humanity.