Religious practice is declining. Here's why that's bad news for disaster recovery

Return To Article
Add a comment
  • CMTM , 00
    Jan. 11, 2019 8:09 a.m.

    RE: RanchHand … using "scripture" to prove that there is a god handing out "scripture".

    Fulfilled prophecy, “scripture” is not circular reasoning. (Amos 3:7) “He would do nothing without first revealing it to His servants, the prophets.” From the Old Covenant to the New, God provides picture after picture of ‘His plan for mankind ‘and one of the prophetic pictures is outlined in the Jewish feasts of Lev 23.

    The 7 feasts of Israel were spread over 7 months of the Jewish calendar, at set times appointed by God. . But for both Jews and non-Jews who have placed their faith in Jesus, the Jewish Messiah, these special days demonstrate the work of redemption(From Adams fall) through God’s Son.

    The first 4 of the7 feasts occur during the springtime (Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits, and Festival of Weeks( shavout), and they all have already been fulfilled by Christ in the N. T.
    Passover (Lev 23:5) – Pointed to the Messiah(Jesus) as our Passover lamb (1 Cor 5:7) whose blood would be shed for our sins. Jesus was crucified on the day of preparation for the Passover at the same hour that the lambs were being slaughtered for the Passover meal that evening (John 19:14).

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    Jan. 10, 2019 3:35 p.m.

    @CMTM;


    That's circular log; using "scripture" to prove that there is a god handing out "scripture". It's a logical fallacy.


    @Mike Richards;


    My degree is in Computer Science. The thing about your analogy is that one can prove that/how transistors work. You can measure the amount of current going in and coming out. You can determine the state, whether it is on/off, open/closed, 1/0. It's all testable and provable.

    Unlike your wishes about a supernatural being or a soul. You can't prove that there is a god nor a soul, you can't test it or determine it's state. You can't know if there is something before a person is born, or if there is something after they die (input/output). All you can determine is 1) Life, 2) death. Therefore your analogy is faulty.

    Religion can't be "properly taught with proper authority" because that "authority" is supposedly given from a fictional being. Religion "properly used" does quite a bit, admittedly, but that still doesn't prove god. Sadly, the vast majority of religious leaders (even yours) don't use religion "properly".

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, UT
    Jan. 9, 2019 12:07 p.m.

    Ranch,

    I'm in the computer process control business. I use transistors and transistor logic to create control computers that automate industry. No matter how carefully I try to explain computer logic and the operational principles behind transistors, there are always those who look at a transistor, see only piece of plastic and then try to argue with me that because they can only see a piece of plastic, that a transistor is nothing but a piece of plastic. In their desire to be ignorant of what a transistor can do, if properly used, they limit themselves to a world where only those things that they believe in exist. Meanwhile, knowing what a transistor is and how it works, I can use a tiny amount of power to control an enormous amount of power.

    Those who reject God because God has not forced himself on them may tell us that God does not exist. Those of us who accept God, know that being ignorant of God, God's love for us, and God's creative power does not equate to God not existing.

    Religion, properly taught with proper authority, teaches us how to know God. Religion, properly used, aids in disaster relief.

  • CMTM , 00
    Jan. 9, 2019 11:45 a.m.

    R: Ranch, ..” there is, in fact, a "spirit" and a "god".

    The LORD=(Jehovah) "God"= (Elohim) formed the man from the soil of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. (Gen 2:7 NET)

    For you are dust, And to dust you shall return.”(Gen 3:19) and the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the "Spirit" returns to God who gave it.(Ecc 12:7)

    Man is a unique combination of earthly, natural material and life-giving power from God Himself. Such a mode of creation highlights the importance and value of human life.

    RE” Neither are required for our bodies to function as-is”. Wrong,
    “ For in him we live and move and have our being(Acts 17:28) Creation is dependent on God for its very existence.

    God who gives life to the dead and Calls into being things that were not.’(Romans 4:17 NIV)

    (Jesus)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 (gÉenna)= hell.(Mt 10:28)

  • Ranch Here, UT
    Jan. 9, 2019 10:08 a.m.

    No, Mike. YOU need to prove that there is, in fact, a "spirit" and a "god". Neither are required for our bodies to function as-is.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, UT
    Jan. 9, 2019 8:13 a.m.

    Ranch,

    I'm afraid that you have things backwards. You and I have bodies with spirits that make the body alive. Until you can prove that the spirit, on its own, can liven the body without the divine spark, then your lack of evidence to the contrary proves that God exists. The law of entropy debunks any "proof" of a Godless creation. Things, on their own, wind down.

    The spirit inside each of us, if listened to, longs to communicate with God. It knows where it originated. The spirit knows where it wants to spend eternity. Religion, administered by proper authority has answers. Religion, using Christlike charity, compels those who have not squashed their spirits, to give relief, to succor the sick, to clothe the naked, to feed the hungry. The decline in religion is expected when people turn inward instead of outward. When the most important being in creation is self, entropy takes over and the spirits of men die, never to return to that God who gave them life.

  • BrianB Greencastle, IN
    Jan. 8, 2019 3:07 p.m.

    The challenge in the article has less to do with religious beliefs of individuals than with the organization of individuals into groups. Individual belief or nonbelief is ineffective in marshalling efficient action to alleviate pain and suffering that arises from disaster.

    In disaster, it must be possible to marshal organized groups of people for maximum quick relief. Gathering loose individuals is difficult.

    Traditionally, Americans have gathered to churches, synagogues and mosques. Those are still the most organized large groups of people who assemble for a long period of time. If those groups disappear, who will pick up the slack?

    Putting together such a group and keeping it active is not easy or inexpensive. Any nonreligious group who wants to try will need funds for a place to meet and have activities. If it is the government, it will take an increase in taxes.

    It's unfortunate that, despite this really important role of churches, synagogues and mosques in America, some people try to destroy their place in our nation. It is also sad that some churches, synagogues and mosques, in opposition to that gathering purpose, are so divisive against unbelievers.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    Jan. 8, 2019 9:43 a.m.

    @Mike R;

    Unless you can prove your god exists, then all your "eternal" blather is just that: blather.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, UT
    Jan. 8, 2019 4:49 a.m.

    Which disaster relief should people focus on? Should they be more concerned with the body or with the soul? Religion, properly understood and properly used, administers disaster relief to both body and soul. Natural disasters are occassional events where community can and should assist. Personal moral disasters are part of each day. Decisions are made daily that have eternal consequences. Making wrong decisions by listening to people who encourage selecting the wrong option has far greater impact on our eternal journey than being without food or shelter for a short time.

    If we accept and understand John 17:3 (And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.), then we accept and understand the importance of having Christ as our leader. Rejecting Christ's role means that we're on our own. Good luck with that.

  • 212degrees , 00
    Jan. 7, 2019 4:15 p.m.

    @the greater truth "And yet you failed name even one."

    Well, I know that Bill Gates is one of the most philanthropic people on the entire planet and an agnostic.

  • 212degrees , 00
    Jan. 7, 2019 4:01 p.m.

    I agree with Sam Harris' take on religion for the most part. The worst part about religion is 'dogma' (defined as "principle or set of principles laid down by an authority as incontrovertibly true based on faith not on facts."), where adherents are not willing to rationally discuss through. This causes all sorts of religious adherents to act immorally, when they otherwise would not have.

    If you remove all 'dogma' from religion and just had mutually defined humanist morality, it could potentially be a source for good, and might attract back some of the largest growing group in the US which is those that are unaffiliated with any religion.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    Jan. 7, 2019 10:32 a.m.

    Perhaps faith based groups should examine why people are leaving organized religions. Hint: discriminating against others, playing politics, etc. These things turn people away from your organizations.

    @Chris B:

    You sure "walk" the walk. Christ told you to treat others as you'd like to be treated. Fail. Suffer ALL the little children to come unto Christ. Fail again. Help the poor and needy. Fail. No, the "religious right" has become a political PAC, nothing more.

  • the greater truth Bountiful, UT
    Jan. 6, 2019 5:27 p.m.

    @The Atheist

    "Many of the wealthiest philanthropists in the world have been atheists. Many of the greatest scientific advances in human history, that have saved countless lives and improved living conditions, have been by atheists."

    And yet you failed name even one.

    Also, many of the wealthiest philanthropists in the world have been religious. Many of the greatest scientific advances in human history, that have saved countless lives and improved living conditions, have been by the religious.

    As a non-believer, you seem to be seeing what you want to see.

  • illuminated Kansas City, MO
    Jan. 6, 2019 1:18 p.m.

    People aren't going to church anymore because most have turned into watered down, politically correct, social clubs. They are too fearful to teach the hard truths from the scriptures.

    I don't need to go to church to hear social justice. I can watch a modern Disney movie for that.

  • G-Day-M8 Where is Waldo, UT
    Jan. 6, 2019 12:30 p.m.

    10CC - Bountiful, UT
    Jan. 5, 2019 9:13 a.m.
    Recovering from disaster has always been a "blended" effort. (How many churches own bulldozers?)

    How many bulldozers are owned by religious people? I know thousands of tons of equipment and thousands of hours of labor that are provided (donated) to help anyone in need by religious people. I'm sure there is the same from non-religious too.

  • The Atheist Provo, UT
    Jan. 6, 2019 6:13 a.m.

    UtahBlueDevil,
    "But the problem is ...... atheist are just as tribal."

    As a general rule, atheists are not joiners, and being atheist is not a major identifying factor. As such, atheists are rarely "tribal".

    "And its hard to find the greater good the atheist have achieved as well. Where are the atheist based charities, hospitals, orphanages.... etc?"

    Many of the wealthiest philanthropists in the world have been atheists. Many of the greatest scientific advances in human history, that have saved countless lives and improved living conditions, have been by atheists.

    As a believer, you seem to be seeing what you want to see.

    "You see them here daily telling everyone how much better and smarter they are."

    I have never seen an atheist post a comment telling anyone they are better than them. That's a uniquely religious thing. Atheists tend to simply point out the truth.

    "rather than just letting people believe as their consciences dictate."

    The wicked taketh the truth to be hard.

  • WallE Walla Walla, WA
    Jan. 6, 2019 12:31 a.m.

    I've responded to disasters with the Church, Red Cross and with the Government. Each has it's place.

    Church & Red Cross offered more personal help. The Church was the least organized. Lots of help but few brought tools and many didn't even have gloves. But lots of heart.

    The Red Cross was moderately organized with lists of people that needed help but no feedback. We went to the houses on a list but found that their needs had already been met so we kept going until we hit a house that needed help.

    The Government provided help on a massive scale. Katrina overwhelmed the system and was a learning experience, but my other deployments supporting FEMA were very organized to the point we arrived once before the storm hit. We did things the community couldn't, like energize community shelters with emergency generators.

    It was frustrating to leave my world behind without notice and hear the local conservative talk radio criticize the federal response for entertainment.

    For those who think local control is better, the States always control the priorities for asset deployment. All our missions always originated from the State Emergency Operations Centers.

  • UtahBlueDevil Alpine, UT
    Jan. 5, 2019 10:06 p.m.

    @The Atheist - I get where you are coming from.... one of the worst side effects of organized religion is the "tribalism" that seems to grow freely there. When you have churches bashing each other when in reality they believe in 90 plus percent the same stuff.... you've got problems. And that is why many youth today are forgoing organized religions as being too political - and are focusing on spirituality instead.

    But the problem is ...... atheist are just as tribal. And its hard to find the greater good the atheist have achieved as well. Where are the atheist based charities, hospitals, orphanages.... etc? Cuba? Rather most atheist are focused on telling other people they are doing it wrong, and are just as tribal as the groups the claim to be better than. You see them here daily telling everyone how much better and smarter they are.... rather than just letting people believe as their consciences dictate.

    Tribalism.... its a human condition that ruins a lot of good things.

  • Sophie 62 Spring City, UT
    Jan. 5, 2019 10:01 p.m.

    People in churches may give more in an organized way than unaffiliated people. But that doesn't mean they give more to disaster relief. Tithing donations are not necessarily used the same way as humanitarian donations.
    Even though my church sometimes does things or initiates policies I really dislike, I make most of my humanitarian donations through them because they have lower overhead and better organization. I like the Red Cross, but they apply donations to a much smaller percentage of real assistance than my church does. Their CEOs and other officers are paid way too much, in my opinion.
    I've heard that the Salvation Army is one of the best in terms of actual help applied to the people who need it, with relatively much smaller salaries to top people. I don't have a problem with people being paid, but keep it reasonable.
    Maybe part of the problem of people being alienated from their churches has to do with the political identity of that church. Supposedly, churches are meant to be neutral. But more and more they lean to the right. The far right in many cases. If a person doesn't agree with that perspective, they may leave for another church, or no church.

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    Jan. 5, 2019 8:33 p.m.

    Why do churches pat themselves on the back? If the really did as much as they claim then government wouldn't need to provide welfare. Churches help a bit but not as much as they want to believe.

  • CMTM , 00
    Jan. 5, 2019 5:34 p.m.

    RE: The Atheist, Organized religion, a few Examples :

    @The Catholic Church is "the largest [non-governmental] provider of health care services in the world." How large? "It has around 18,000 clinics . . . and 5,500 hospitals, with 65 percent of them located in developing countries." By one estimate, the Catholic Church "manages 26 percent of the world's health care facilities." Wikipedia This doesn't even take into account hospitals run by other Christian bodies such as Baptists, Methodists, and especially Seventh-Day Adventists.

    @The Salvation Army exists to meet human need wherever, whenever, and however we can. We serve in 130 countries around the globe.

    @Firefighters For Christ International . "Freely you have received, freely give" Matthew 10:8b

  • reriding Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 5, 2019 3:30 p.m.

    Chris B tries to shame liberals for not giving, but liberals give to causes that emphasize equality or protection from harm, while conservatives give to causes whose emphasis is on purity and loyalty to the community. All give, in different ways and for different reasons.

  • The Atheist Provo, UT
    Jan. 5, 2019 12:44 p.m.

    "For all it's flaws, organized religion is the greatest stabilizing force in the world."

    For all it's falsity, tribalism, and corruption, organized religion is the greatest DE-stabilizing force in the world.

    Fixed it for you...

  • Dmorgan Herriman, UT
    Jan. 5, 2019 11:29 a.m.

    Local social groups that share a common interest are valuable in providing quick aid when disasters occur. Churches are one of many such groups. As religious participation declines, will other social groups arise and replace religious groups? Possibly over time. Our social culture is evolving.

    I find the premise lacking that religion provides meaning following disaster. How do you find meaning in the arbitrary and capricious nature of disaster that its “God’s will”? Why is my neighbor is spared (blessed) while I have lost all? Personal righteousness is questioned. God seems to be violating a principle of discipline by not providing a reason prior to administering it.

    What I see from religion is no meaning assigned following disaster, but a resignation that the meaning is a manifestation of god’s mysterious ways, or those who have a special “god sense” will try to explain what the meaning is in vague, incomprehensible language. The religious will feign comfort, while inwardly their soul continues to roil with uncertainty about the nature of their reality. The only real comfort, is that others are similarly suffering and may be able to empathize with their own.

  • Zzzptm Dallas, TX
    Jan. 5, 2019 11:25 a.m.

    It's not that atheists are less generous or less compassionate in general. It's that they don't provide community centers the way religious groups do. There are some, but not as frequent or as widely distributed as faith communities. Given that the community centers in areas near disaster-stricken areas are often quick to mobilize and have long-term presences, this is where we see a major impact on disaster relief and recovery when those community centers dwindle or disappear.

  • Chicosal , 00
    Jan. 5, 2019 10:15 a.m.

    Would it be helpful for human beings to stop dividing into groups of conservatives and liberals? Could we possibly realize that we are ALL made in the image and likeness of our creator? After all, if we as so called "religious" folks (religion being defined as re-binding with the soul), believe that "our group" is better and holier than the other group, we are not re-binding with much of anything but our own self-centeredness. Just love.

  • 10CC Bountiful, UT
    Jan. 5, 2019 9:13 a.m.

    Recovering from disaster has always been a "blended" effort. (How many churches own bulldozers?)

    From a religious person's standpoint, there should be zero motivation for an Atheist to help someone without expecting compensation... but I see it all the time.

    I wouldn't worry so much about lower levels of religion impacting disaster relief. If anything, fewer people going to church might cause more people to address the source of increasing weather disaster intensity.

  • kclady53 Baton Rouge, LA
    Jan. 5, 2019 8:16 a.m.

    This article nailed it. Having lived in southeast Louisiana over forty years, I have seen MANY natural disasters, the worst being Katrina and the Baton Rouge flood of 2016. There were lots of good people that helped – some had no affiliation with religion, but it was the churches that organized, fed, and led the relief efforts before the government ever set boots on the ground. And imagine this – the different religions actually worked together for the good of all. There was no squabbling over politics or beliefs. So, we need to beware – sometimes you don’t realize how much you need something until it’s not there.

  • hardware Erda, Ut
    Jan. 5, 2019 8:11 a.m.

    Real Maverick you forget David was not perfect and Ezra T Benson also said one will come forth not of our faith who would lead us. Trump has been up against the Gaddianton robbers and has triumphed against every obstacle. Nobody else could withstand these hateful people without the Lord's help. Think about that.

  • Uteofferouus Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 5, 2019 7:42 a.m.

    Like so many left leaning folks, Fullypresent uses exaggeration and half truths in a weak effort to persuade. What about all the many non-millionaire pastors or church leaders who serve without compensation? But don't let facts about the good religion does in the world stand in the way of venting personal frustrations and ill will.

  • unrepentant progressive Bozeman, MT
    Jan. 5, 2019 6:31 a.m.

    And atheists are not out there helping people as well? Sweeping generalizations are rarely true.

  • Nichol Draper West Jordan, UT
    Jan. 5, 2019 6:14 a.m.

    Wow an article about declining religious participation and already two comments out of three blame election of Trump on religious voters. Can you read? The article is about declining religious participation, that means fewer religious people. I voted for Trump, but not because of the great religious or morals of this country, but because the USA now lacks religious and moral values. Obviously Mitt Romney can't win in this country, so Trump isn't a religious choice -- he is the non-religious choice.

  • kclady53 Baton Rouge, LA
    Jan. 5, 2019 5:59 a.m.

    This article nailed it. Having lived in southeast Louisiana over forty years, I have seen MANY natural disasters, the worst being Katrina and the Baton Rouge flood of 2016. There were lots of good people that helped – some had no affiliation with religion, but it was the churches that organized, fed, and led the relief efforts before the government ever set boots on the ground. And imagine this – the different religions actually worked together for the good of all. There was no squabbling over politics or beliefs. So, we need to beware – sometimes you don’t realize how much you need something until it’s not there.

  • The Atheist Provo, UT
    Jan. 5, 2019 5:58 a.m.

    Children who believe in Santa are also more likely to help around the house.

    But that doesn't make Santa real.

    Many organized crime families donate generously to charities.

    But that doesn't make their filthy lucre legal.

  • george of the jungle goshen, UT
    Jan. 5, 2019 5:43 a.m.

    Blessaid is he pure in heart for they shall see God. You matter, that's the Spirit of things.
    I think that the big name brands might be declining but the nondenominational churches are increasing. More people are going to the Great I Am (God), their power, Jesus. Ya have to find " It" all by yourself.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Jan. 5, 2019 2:47 a.m.

    Declining religious practice inhibits the growth of religion via disaster recovery efforts.

    It's the same idea.

  • sgallen Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 5, 2019 1:31 a.m.

    The need for a God is hard-wired into humans. I wonder if something constructive will take the place of traditional churches?

  • OldMain Saratoga Springs, UT
    Jan. 5, 2019 1:05 a.m.

    I'm afraid natural disasters are going to pale in comparison to the moral disaster that is coming as more reject religion. For all it's flaws, organized religion is the greatest stabilizing force in the world.

  • Chris B Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 4, 2019 10:55 p.m.

    The New York Times did a study a few years ago that confirmed what many of us knew - that religious conservatives gave more money away, both as a percentage of income and total dollars, than religious liberals, non religious liberals, and non religious conservatives.

    This was true even after excluding money to churches and the arts, which some argue aren’t helping the needy.

    As in most things, the religious right walks where the left talks

  • The Real Maverick Spanish Fork, UT
    Jan. 4, 2019 10:44 p.m.

    No small wonder why. Read the latest interview that Evangelical Jerry Farwell Jr. had with the wash post. That, combined with evangelical’s ever enduring loyalty to Donald Trump, and I say good riddance. The Book of Mormon warned us about moral relativism. Those who draw near to him with lips but by their actions distance themselves. It’s obvious that Christianity in America needs a restoration. It needs to be more focused on the actual teachings of Christ and not the ambitions of rich and powerful people who want to continue to divide Americans to maintain control over them. Religion shouldn’t be used as a political coalition to beat down minority groups you don’t like.

  • Fullypresent Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 4, 2019 10:40 p.m.

    They are needed but the far, hard core right who are generally Christians that brought us the Trump mess the past two years, the terrible scandals in the Catholic Church, and the millionaire pastors taking advantage of so many people have turned many off to religions.