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Faith

Growing number of 'nones' seen as bad, good and fixable

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  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Oct. 16, 2012 8:31 a.m.

    Nothing to 'fix' here. Religion is the group think that divides us and separates us from god. The motives of those who want to fix this are not altruistic.

  • Blue Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 16, 2012 8:32 a.m.

    I think it is natural to want to feel connected to something larger than yourself. Everyone needs to feel validated - that what they do matters in "the big picture."

    I think it's also natural to be uncomfortable with the idea that death is inevitable, and to find a belief in an afterlife comforting.

    But we're living in the information age, and the more information you have available to you, the easier it is to put the claims of organized religion to the test. Those claims generally fail.

    Moreover, the religions that have been the most media-savvy are usually also the most morally repellant. Jim & Tammy Baker, the "prosperity gospel" movement, and the odious "hurricanes are God's punishment because we tolerate gays" beliefs of Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson. And of course Fred Phelps - 'nuff said.

    You want to reverse the decline in organized religion? It would be easy - organized religion could start visibly caring about intellectual, historical and scientific honesy, respect and equal rights for all people, including those who don't share their religion, and a rejection of irrational fear and bigotry. Those would be a good place to start.

  • A Scientist Provo, UT
    Oct. 16, 2012 8:59 a.m.

    "Opinions on how to reverse the trend also vary."

    As if not being "religious" is a bad thing! It is not a bad thing at all. Religious people would be wise to take a deep, hard look at their assumptions about being "religious" or "spiritual" - what is so great about it? Nothing. In fact, there is a lot bad about it. Overall, Non-religious people are very good people and live very fulfilling lives of social contribution and accomplishment. And they are generally less inclined to try to patronizingly and condescendingly meddle in other people's lives trying to "save" them!

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    Oct. 16, 2012 10:06 a.m.

    In Medieval times, the Church was the source of preservation of knowledge of the past and of the natural world. Science bowed to the Bible as the basic reference point to truth. What we today call secularism was akin to heresy. Had Charles Darwin been born three centuries earlier, he might have been burned at the stake for being in league with the devil.

    The Protestant Reformation transformed the Church from within. Denominationalism was liberating producing spinoffs that endure to this day. Mormonism was a late bloomer when denominationalism was in decline. But in the 16th century, the Reformation made it seem like Christianity was coming apart at the seams. We see now that it gave Christianity a rebirth. I wouldn’t bet against its adaptability in an era of globalization.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    Oct. 16, 2012 11:07 a.m.

    Scientist, I am truly glad you have been able to find purpose in life through science. That is a wonderful thing.

    But much of the world is not as educated as you, and has no hope of being so. They have to use something else to understand why they are here, why does a particular medical treatment work sometimes, and not others, why some people survive the unsurvivable, and others seemingly suffer or die without any known reason. Not everyone is able to explain the origins of life, why if life is so adaptable, why we are a very lonely planet where over billions of years, this crazy cosmic accident happened only here... just once.

    It is a wonderful thing to have the knowledge of what makes people so different, and yet so much the same, and why evolution at the macro level seems have stopped, and extinction in on the rise - adaptability has stopped.

    Not all of of have this level of wisdom - and look to things higher than ourselves for some of these answers. I wish I could say I had all the answers, but I am glad I am not relying on science for all my answers.

  • Belching Cow Sandy, UT
    Oct. 16, 2012 11:25 a.m.

    @A Scientist
    "what is so great about it?"
    Well lets see, I can tell you what's great about mine. For starters it teaches me where I came from and who I am. Something that more people could use for sure. It also helps me live an incredibly happy and fulfilling life. Those are just the tip of the iceberg. Can't think of anything bad about it off the top of my head.

  • A Scientist Provo, UT
    Oct. 16, 2012 11:26 a.m.

    UtahBlueDevil wrote:

    "Scientist, I am truly glad you have been able to find purpose in life through science. That is a wonderful thing."

    I did not mention science in my comment at all. I never wrote anywhere that I "find purpose in life through science." Nor did I mention evolution.

    I repeat, religious people must take a serious, deep look at their prejudices and assumptions about being religious or non-religious. This comment only reinforces my point.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Oct. 16, 2012 11:42 a.m.

    I'm White,
    I'm Mormon,
    I'm from Utah,
    but I'm NOT a Republican.

    It's everything I can do some Sundays go in and attend.

    That little sign out front that reads "All are Welcome" - is only true when poeple don't put their Political Party ahead of their Religion.

  • A Scientist Provo, UT
    Oct. 16, 2012 11:46 a.m.

    Belching Cow wrote:

    "For starters it teaches me where I came from and who I am. Something that more people could use for sure. It also helps me live an incredibly happy and fulfilling life."

    Common sense and a little biology teaches us where we came from: our parents. We don't need fairy stories for that. And we earn and create our identities. It is dangerous to allow religious authorities to give you a concocted "identity" so they can control you. Just look at all the radical terrorists who also "know who they are".

    And while some claim that their religion helps them live an "incredibly happy and fulfilling life", I can just as easily assert that my life without religion is MORE incredibly happy and extra fulfilling! (Queue the cheerleaders: we've got the Spirit, yes we do. We've got the Spirit, how 'bout you!")

    Religion takes credit for many good things in human life for which it contributes little to nothing. Religion does not have the patent on happiness, nor fulfillment, or anything else!

  • non believer PARK CITY, UT
    Oct. 16, 2012 12:19 p.m.

    After my wife passed away in 2004, I went looking for answers because the saying "God must have needed her back in heaven" was one of the most insulting things I could have ever heard! God does not need good people back and then leave the scum of the earth here! What God or what religion would ever think this way? Once I started my personal search, the answers I discovered pushed me away from organized religion in full and even my spirituality began to fade. It was not until I came to the conclusion that religion and God are both man made stories with no factual evidence to support them. That I truly began my life the way it should have been lived from the start! Without the Bible, without God and without the guilt religion thrives upon! Unless God appears before me from the heavens, there is not a thing anyone could say to convince me that he even exist! I know I am not alone in demanding proof that will never exist! So until it does exist, leave me and the others alone!

  • Alex 1 Tucson, AZ
    Oct. 16, 2012 1:27 p.m.

    LDS Liberal:

    "That little sign out front that reads "All are Welcome" - is only true when poeple don't put their Political Party ahead of their Religion."

    Seeing as how you are the only one on this thread to bring up political parties in an article that has nothing to do with it, perhaps it is YOU that has a fixation on politics over religion. Just saying.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Oct. 16, 2012 1:34 p.m.

    A Scientist,

    Again, if you will please refrain from categorizing my beliefs (and those of countless others throughout the world) as fairy stories, I will try to show similar respect for your beliefs.

    As to whether we earn and create our identities? Not in my experience (at least not fully so). My children and grandchildren seem to come with much already coded in.

    To assume that religious authorities "give you a concocted 'identity' so they can control you" is a bit too much. My Bishop and Stake President have neither the time nor the interest in controlling me.

    Finally, religion does contribute a lot to life. Many of the great charitable forces have religious institutions at their base.

    non believer,

    I am sorry that folks were insensitive to your loss. We should be wary of assuming we know the mind of God for another person.

  • Belching Cow Sandy, UT
    Oct. 16, 2012 1:34 p.m.

    @A Scientist
    No we certainly don't need fairy stories to tell us where we came from that's why I don't believe in fairy stories. I have not had any religious authorities give a a concocted identity either. I tend to search out answers for myself. Common sense teaches us (or at least it should) that there is intelligent design to life on this earth. Life magically appearing in pond scum or something, now that would be a good fairy tale.

  • Alex 1 Tucson, AZ
    Oct. 16, 2012 1:36 p.m.

    non believer:

    "So until it does exist, leave me and the others alone!"

    What does leaving you alone consist of?

  • LValfre CHICAGO, IL
    Oct. 16, 2012 2:01 p.m.

    @Belching Cow

    "Common sense teaches us (or at least it should) that there is intelligent design to life on this earth."

    Now that's a stretch.

  • Mukkake Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 16, 2012 2:22 p.m.

    UtahBlueDevil:
    [and why evolution at the macro level seems have stopped]

    It might seem that way, but rest assured, it hasn't. It takes a really long time, so you probably won't notice it in your lifetime.

    [and extinction in on the rise]

    It takes millions of years for species to develop, but only a few decade or years for humans to hunt them to extinction or destroy their habitats.

    [adaptability has stopped.]

    Not at all. Some species are more delicate and can't adapt as quickly to the changes imperialism, industrialism, and commercialism have inflicted on the planet's ecosystems in the last few centuries, but pigeons, rats, cockroaches, and humans seem to be highly adaptive.

    Belching Cow:
    [Common sense teaches us (or at least it should) that there is intelligent design to life on this earth.]

    Good thing we have science to show us how worthless "common sense" can be. Otherwise we might still think that the sun moves around the Earth, as common sense held for so long.

    Nothing makes me want to laugh and vomit more than when people try to act clever about "doubting" the laws of Biological Evolution, Astronomy, and Geology..

  • Belching Cow Sandy, UT
    Oct. 16, 2012 3:40 p.m.

    @Mukkake
    "Nothing makes me want to laugh and vomit more than when people try to act clever about "doubting" the laws of Biological Evolution, Astronomy, and Geology.."

    Nothing makes me want to laugh and vomit more than when people accuse me of doubting the laws of Biological Evolution, Astronomy, and Geology. Your so clever Mukkake.

  • Counter Intelligence Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 16, 2012 4:30 p.m.

    I do not belong to any religious denomination
    But I do not spend my time bashing religion - while claiming to be tolerant

    Particularly silly are those who take offense at religious comments - when the comment was clearly meant to be soothing (guess you are not tolerant enough to accept sympathy in the spirit it was offered)

    AND those who subscribe to strict secular orthodoxy even more fanatically than the most rigid religious fundamentalist

    I do not belong to a religion - but I am more than happy to have someone pray for me, share in a blessing and respect varying religious beliefs - because history has proven that the excesses of the irreligous are as bad or worse than the most fanatically religious people - its a human problem. However conversely, religion can giver rise to a spirituality that secularism blinds itself to.

  • A Scientist Provo, UT
    Oct. 16, 2012 5:43 p.m.

    Twin Lights wrote:

    "A Scientist, Again, if you will please refrain from categorizing my beliefs (and those of countless others throughout the world) as fairy stories, I will try to show similar respect for your beliefs."

    If my beliefs are absurd, irrational, or foolish, please have at them! If beliefs deserve no "respect" (whatever that means), then they shall receive none from me.

    Try not to take it personally.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Oct. 16, 2012 7:45 p.m.

    A Scientist,

    I don't take it personally. But such a lack of respect demonstrates some less than desirable qualities.

    I have known many scientists and other top thinkers in both industry and academia who either are religious themselves or who can at least find a way to respect those with whom they disagree. They include MacArthur Fellows. Others (whom I do not know personally) include Nobel Prize winners.

    Perhaps you are smarter than they are. But I doubt it.

    Respect is a type of humility. And humility is the beginning of wisdom.

  • Rynn Las Vegas, NV
    Oct. 20, 2012 6:42 a.m.

    Why can't we just agree to disagree?
    Some people have religion in their lives and they are happy with it.
    Some people don't have religion in their lives and they are happy without it.

    Instead of trying to convince each other that it's better to have religion or convince each other that it's better to not have religion...just live and let live.

  • Joggle Big Island, HI
    Oct. 20, 2012 4:28 p.m.

    Good point Rynn--well said, but with that being said--my experience and observation tells me that religious believers tend to want to "spread the word" because their religion encourages it---like nobody knows! They tend to take any opportunity to do so. My experience is that non-believers will listen to religious ideas and concepts because most examine religious belief anyway in their search for knowledge, but often believers simply do not want the beliefs they are expressing challenged. Non-believers are made to feel they can't express their beliefs to these people. They turn a deaf ear! In fact, every human belief should be challenged. Religions should be challenged, because the truth can withstand questioning. Although science doesn't have all the answers religions often fall apart when questioned. The mortal enemy of faith is knowledge, a scientific fact that has been demonstrated by researchers at the University of British Columbia. The basis of any religion is that you must believe something someone else tells you is true, even though your mind tells you it is a lie or it makes no sense. As knowledge is gained---religious belief will have less and less room to grow.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Oct. 20, 2012 9:06 p.m.

    Joggle,

    Exactly. That is precisely why you do not see folks in the top echelons of the church with any advanced degrees, or from academia, or anyone who has ever studied medicine or the sciences . . .

    Come on. This science vs. religion thing is just ridiculous and benefits neither side.

    BTW, in the LDS church, activity is generally positively correlated with education.

  • Candide Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 21, 2012 10:16 a.m.

    Twin Lights:
    There is a difference between respecting an individual and respecting a belief. I respect you and believe that you have every right to believe what you want. However, the beliefs of all people should be questioned and not be considered something that is off limits for discussion. Galileo was jailed for questioning the religious belief that the Earth was the center of the universe. Some people believed that the Earth was flat. If you believe something that is demonstrably false I am going to let you know that there is evidence to the contrary. Putting out information that counters or questions your belief is not religious persecution. I am sorry, but if the emperor has no clothes I am going to point and laugh.

  • The Scientist Provo, UT
    Oct. 21, 2012 2:43 p.m.

    Rynn wrote:

    "Why can't we just agree to disagree? ...Instead of trying to convince each other that it's better to have religion or convince each other that it's better to not have religion...just live and let live."

    That would be nice.

    But "live and let live" is actually a secular philosophy, not found in the Christian religion.

    Mark 16:15-16:

    "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned."

    If Christians take their religion seriously, they are commanded to NOT leave us alone, and then we are dehumanized and condemned if we don't believe.

    Christianity preaches that we - the nonbelievers - will be completely destroyed: wiped off the face of the earth (exterminated) in the end of times!

    As you can imagine, that bothers us a little.

    So choose: either "live and let live" OR Christianity, but you cannot live both.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Oct. 21, 2012 9:49 p.m.

    Candide,

    I think you are splitting hairs. How can you respect an individual and not have any respect for his or her beliefs? Not to say you acknowledge their beliefs as true, but simply demonstrating simple respect?

    I am pretty sure neither you nor I are emperors, And how does pointing and laughing ever figure into respect?

    Sorry, but I think what you are saying is much like those who say they will forgive but not forget. They are doing neither.

    And I don't think you can factually demonstrate that God is a false concept.

  • Mormoncowboy Provo, Ut
    Oct. 25, 2012 10:16 a.m.

    There is fundamental misunderstanding of terms here. What is "science" that it can answer or not answer questions? When people try and split hairs over scientific epistemology vs religious epistemology, I wonder how much they actually understand science. At it's core "science" is a method, and necessarilly the sum our conclusions or laws from that method. That method is simply "observation". Sure there is more to it than that, but we can widdle the "more" part down to method's of observation that increase the rigor and objectivity of observation. In other words, when some suggest that there are spiritual realities that cannot be assessed by science, I have to ask why? To me it is a concession from the spiritual believer that they hold to a world-view based on thing's they cannot or have not observed.