1. State Church’s aren’t hard to leave when it becomes legal.

    And for all the trash talk of Godless Europe most of the data shows they remain as spiritual as Americans.

  2. Yes, when I really want to know about religion I go to a sociologist.

  3. Yes, American Religion is exceptional. Of all the countries in a position to know better, American Religion elected Donald Trump to lead itself. It elected a man who neither knows nor cares about anything in the Bible, who thinks that loving the neighbors is chump behavior, who meets virtually all subjects and situations with pugnaciousness, who now calls himself a nationalist, who insults everyone who does not worship him personally, and who tells his followers (and everyone else) thousands of exaggerations and falsehoods as President of the United States. So yeah, our religious community that celebrates this stuff is “exceptional”. It is exceptionally ruinous of Christianity.

  4. I have been a Christian most of my life, but only recently have I been digging deeper into who Jesus Christ was/is. That is, according to the Gospel accounts, how did He live His life? How did He treat people He met? In short, yes, He prayed regularly, getting up early, while it was still dark to go off by Himself to pray. Yes, He attended synagogue regularly. And of course He knew the Scriptures (well enough to defeat Satan when he quoted Scripture to tempt Jesus in the desert). Keep in mind too that Jesus never had any money. He was poor all His life. He never thought of performing a miracle (or doing anything else) for self-gain.

    More interesting to me was that He (almost?) never tried to convert or cure someone who wasn’t obviously asking for Him to help in some way. He was particularly kind and gentle to the poor, the needy, the outcast, the sick (lepers, lame, blind). And He was particularly harsh on people who were secure in their religion, but trampled on or walked past the poor, needy and outcast.

    It is my conclusion that when He says “go make disciples of all nations”, what He means is best illustrated in 1 Peter 3:15: “But in your hearts, revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect…” I fear that is a very different way of “evangelizing” than is commonly practiced.

  5. The reason for the drop is generational, is correct, but, no one understands what generation they are in, according to the scripture. These generations are not the common father to son and grandson generations. There are seven times spoken of in the scripture, Jesus’ life on earth is the fourth time, or the fourth generation; the fifth time has or is ending. The sixth generation is mans’ last time on earth. Buildings with steeples are no longer relative to religiosity.

  6. Travel in Europe and it becomes clear how different it is in its religious sensibilities from America. This country is still so new — culturally, politically and, yes, in terms of religion — that comparisons become almost meaningless. Ancient cultural Christianity is steeped into the fiber of Europe — in both good and bad ways — while in the U.S. our perpetual struggle with religious pluralism and puritanicalism has rendered us religiously schizoid.

    One look at the differences in church architecture tells you all you need to know. In Europe there’s ancient, awe-inspiring, hand-hewn beauty built over centuries, but that beauty came at a high price in terms of human sacrifice and suffering. Here we have utilitarian blandness built by the lowest bidder, but built freely and willingly. Take your pick which is better.

  7. A sociologist would be a much better source of truth than one of the evangelical/calvinist/fundie charlatans.

  8. All roads lead to politics for FriendlyGoat, and all politics lead to “I hate Trump”.

    Not much reading material there.

  9. And why do you say that? What makes a sociologist uniquely unqualified to offer insight on religion? Do you even know what sociology is?

  10. Religion in America is rather unique in that there are few countries which really handle religious freedom with any vigor. Where it is hardwired within the very civil laws that religious belief must be respected (within sane limits) and that it must be separate from the apparatus of state.

    Although religiosity tends to decline with successive generations, it is not a hard and fast rule. Fundamentalism is typically a reaction to declining religiosity and secular culture. It has a tendency to flare up in times of societal stress.

    America is also fairly well known for forming new iterations of faiths and new sects. Being a hothouse atmosphere for belief and one of the few truly open marketplaces for it.

  11. That, of course, seals the deal you intolerant, self-important, snotty-mouthed, none-too-bright git.

  12. Obviously, you have no real argument to back up your distaste for sociologists, since you resort to deflection and name-calling, instead answering simple questions. How very dull. Be well, Marky.

  13. It used to be that religion and politics were taboo, not to be discussed among polite conversation. Now, it seems, with Facebook (as a generic term for on-line animosity playgrounds – see Connelly / NoMoreBadTown for an example) and lawn signs and 24-hour news channels, everyone has to have an opinion and it is now acceptable not only to ask / demand someone else’s position on a topic, but to denigrate that position if it is different from ours.

    From a Christian stand-point, it is hard to argue that being exclusionary with immigrants, cutting off access to medical care for the poor, and arming dictators around the world would fit anything that Jesus taught (or Moses, for that matter). We say “you can’t come in here” and then sell weapons to their oppressors, telling them “go make your country great again.” That seems a recipe for disaster.
    It is illegal to teach the Bible in schools. People are too busy to bring their children to church, but not too busy to bring them to football practice. Which do you think will have more life lessons for your children? We rely on iphones as pacifiers now instead of parenting. And make sure everyone has access to as many guns as possible. Education without values, to attempt to quote CS Lewis, makes a smarter demon.

    Most of the people in my church (Episcopal) do not know the Bible. My sense is, that is common for the “mainline” churches. My biggest concern for the Church (the Body of Christ) is that even those of us who do know the Bible are not doing what Jesus taught. I know I have not been.

    Ezekiel 16:49 says “Behold, this was the sin of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had arrogance, abundant food, and careless ease, but she did not help the poor and the needy.” Does that sound like America to you? Sounds a bit too much like me for my comfort.

  14. What would have more life lessons for your children? It would be to teach them about all the world religions and let them read passages from all the various sacred texts. Just reading from the Bible isn’t what they need.

    It would be to teach them about different cultures and traditions so they can learn to respect people that are different from them.

    It would be to teach about science honestly, no Creationism BS! Sames goes with History, school boards have tried to distort history to present a biased view of American Exceptionalism.

    It would be to teach them about health care–good nutrition, age appropriate sex education, about mental health issues, about drug, alcohol and marijuana usage and what they do to the body and about sports and fitness, about bullying…….

    It would be to teach them about morals and ethics, different views of what is right and what is wrong, basic civility, so they can develop a sound sense of values and ethical responsibility.

    Many of these things should be taught by parents BUT since they don’t schools need to pick up and do what parents don’t.

  15. 1) I recently gave up on Mark Connelly and blocked him from my view, advising him in advance that I had done so. As a result, I can see NoMoreBadTown replying to him, but I do not know or want to know what Connelly said. He can be in the faces of all other readers here, but he cannot be in mine anymore, by my choice.

    2) I agree with you about Facebook and other social media being a net negative for our society—–if that is a fair distillation of what you are saying. I am not on ANY of it in my own name and never will be. Life is too short to poison one’s self, addict one’s self, and fool one’s self. It is too short to fight with other people for real, or to insulate in cliques to the point of imbecility.

    3) Susan Humphreys has sent a good reply about imparting values to children. Most of what we need to teach kids is not in the Bible. Most of what we do need to teach kids about the Bible is 1) Loving or trying to love others in tangible ways is the whole point—-or—–there is no point. 2) Not everything in the Bible is true at all.

    4) My religious philosophy: More Jesus, Less Church. The latter is impeding the former these days in most places.

  16. The creation of school curricula itself is problematic.

    No textbook teaches the issues that arise in inter-faith marriages.

    What to do about the concepts of Satan/Shaitan? Idolatry/but-parasti?

    Etc. etc.

  17. With regard to FriendlyGoat’s good comment below, on Nov,. 5 Wash Post foreign affairs correspondent Rick Noack reported on a poll showing the percentages by which Europeans favor separation of church and state: Sweden, 80; Finland, 77; Denmark, 76; Czech Republic, 75; Spain, 75; Belgium, 72; Slovakia, 72; Poland, 70; Croatia, 69; Estonia, 68; France, 68; Netherlands, 68; Hungary, 67; Greece, 62. And the US, where church-state separation is written into the Bill of Rights and 3/4 of the state constitutions? On Nov 6 Arizonans voted 65 to 35 to defeat a conservative proposal to divert public funds to church-run and other private schools through vouchers. That was the 30th state referendum since 1966 from coast to coast in which such plans were defeated by an average of 2 to 1. Last may Irish voters voted in favor of abortion by precisely 2 to 1. Which reminded me of the 1992 Maryland referendum in which voters approved of abortion (Roe v Wade) by 62% to 38%.. (After the AZ vote, a right-wing non-profit once headed by Betsy DeVos, Trunp’s Education Secretary, announced that it would start campaigning to have the legislature reverse the vote. We the People/Voters have a lot of work to do. — Edd Doerr

  18. Some things young folk will have to figure out for themselves.

    What is most needed I think is to teach them to be curious, to teach them to ask questions (rather than trying to keep them from asking questions), to teach them to love to learn (education is a great pleasure NOT a punishment or pain in the posterior)!

    I think they also need to learn self-discipline, self-control, self-motivation, self-respect. AND I think this comes from giving them a variety of experiences where they can test and develop their own particular skills and interests. Too many schools only offer sports programs, kids need art and music, and chess clubs, and drama programs. They need volunteer experience–helping others, helping the environment.

  19. Not to mention, the Irish and Australian votes on marriage equality we’re nearly 2 to 1, as was the Irish vote on blasphemy laws. Why, you’d almost think that the destruction of the wall between church and state is a wetdream of the Hyper dominionists

  20. It sounds like the story of Sodom that a certain class of so-called Christian is not really very interested in, preferring to concentrate on there particular and peculiar version of the “naughty bits “.

  21. Religion in Europe is far more than going to Church. Through the centuries Europe built the trappings of Christianity so that any European in most old European cities is surrounded by Christian symbols, practices, ceremonies and festivals. European Christianity is alive in so many ways.

  22. American exceptionalism: the art of being slightly different from others.. Here are some examples:

    * The metric system. Virtually the whole world uses the metric system in daily life – except Americans.
    * Gun laws. Other countries have controls on guns: Americans have the Second Amendment (and the resulting massacres).
    * A National universal health scheme: Other countries have it – many Americans regard it with suspicion.
    * The death penalty: most advanced countries abolished the death penalty – except America.
    * Male circumcision is more common in America than other comparable countries.
    * Life expectancy in America is lower than many other comparable countries.
    * Religion: America has somewhat more religion than other advanced countries.

    However, America is the same as other comparable countries in having such things as increasing secularisation, an active women’s movement, increasing tolerance and acceptance of gays, same sex marriage, comparatively easy divorce, a free press, religious freedom and a whole lot of other rights.

  23. Not sure that the Bible commands America to have a wide-open southern border in which US immigration laws — or even the rule of law itself — no longer applies. And for sure, the Caravan Gang ain’t gonna wait for anybody’s Bible-based immigration decisions, nor the secular-law-based US immigration-officials’ decisions.

    So, while America does have its problems (and they are indeed serious), I think President Trump has taken a correct approach to the southern border situation. Or at least he’s doing the best he can for now.

  24. I don’t like Facebook either. My best guess is that it is currently being run by Aliens and Cryptids. Why bother with armed giant Motherships, when you can simply enslave and abuse all the humans with Facebook? Saves time and (alien) money.

    But having said that, Facebook is a part of the Social Media America we live in. C’est la ve.

    PS: According to Matt. 16:18, Jesus says the church specifically belongs to Him. Visit one soon?

  25. You been watching too many Night Gallery reruns! You better git yourself back in the church-house before all that late-night spooky-tooth mess gets into your brain!!

  26. 1) I’m glad we agree that Facebook is unnecessary, especially for those of us who are older and not obligated by youth pressures or careers to be on it. (Ditto Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, Linked-In, Classmates, and the others—-IMHO). Some people have to do one or more of these for business reasons. That’s different, I guess. For me, to just be widely connected in these ways to a bunch of real people for social reasons is a thing that carries more risk than purpose.

    2) As for church, in my life I have at times been in attendance with or affiliated with Methodists, Baptists, Bible Church, Mennonites, two kinds of Lutherans, Assemblies of God, Church of the Nazarene and one medium-sized independent megachurch. Seriously, we have been in or around a lot of it spanning about 40 years. I could not pick just one of those anyway and learned a long time ago to not try either seriously differentiating them or committing to one over others. Most people “are” whatever denomination they claim to “be” as a matter of what they were born into or coincidentally fell into.

  27. Yep. But of course you mean “Mark Bob Jose Jack Arnzen Carioca Connelly”, among his many names here. He’s a dull, but slippery, little fellow.

  28. I’m from England, but am also half-American, with a mother born in Tennessee and some seriously evangelical, albeit aged, relatives on her side of the family.
    My own theory on the survival of religion in the US is that it’s about Geography: dogmatic religion has survived the secularising tendency of the last 100 years by re-locating to “the wilderness”. Mormonism is a striking example, which began on the Eastern Seaboard of the US but then executed more than one such exodus on its way to Utah,where it could flourish in isolation from secularising influences. In Europe it’s pretty well impossible for the religious to put a significant distance between themselves and those who do not share their point of view. People brought up in religious communities need only travel short distances to encounter different world views, hence the lack of religious commitment in Europe.
    The U.S. has had to wait for information technology to overcome the effect of geographical distance. Now members of rellgious communities have access to non-religious points of view merely with a few mouse clicks, and the floodgates have opened.
    Of course religious leaders are attempting to use the internet to evangelise at a national and international level, but their attempt to assert their exclusive access to truth seems doomed in the face of a cacophony of rival viewpoints.

  29. Christianity started out with no real political power, and was a tiny group inside the Roman Empire. Christianity’s concern was primarily with a spiritual kingdom. When that religion eventually gained ascendancy in that empire, Christian people that did not start out having military power found themselves in control of a huge military and managing both the ideals of a spiritual kingdom and the pragmatics of an earthly one. The discussion how to do this continues from that time to the present hour.

  30. The first time the word love mentioned, it was the love of the Father for His Son, “And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah” (Genesis 22:2) [Isaac is a picture of Christ.]

    The second time the word love mentioned, it was the love of a man for his bride or the Christ for His church “and he loved her: and Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.” (Genesis 24 last verse) [Rebecca is a picture of the church]

    The third and fourth times the word love mentioned, “And Isaac loved Esau, ….: but Rebekah loved Jacob.” (Genesis 25:28) [God so loves the world ….. but the church loves Jacob….. with the raiment of Esau. ]

    No outward religious holiness is acceptable in the upper court. They are all dirty used napkins. That is why Jesus came to wash us with His own blood.

  31. Would that be the Jesus who was taken (Matthew 4:8) up onto an exceedingly high mountain by Satan and shown all the kingdoms of the world, possible because the earth was flat?

  32. So you know the Buybull? Did you know Jesus specifically claimed in Matthew 15:24, “I was sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, and to them alone.” Did you know Numbers 23:19 states, “God is not a man…neither son of man…” and Deuteronomy 21:21-23 states anyone hung on a cross is accursed of God? Or maybe you could just explain how two gods (Father and Jesus) sitting on two heavenly thrones is monotheism.

  33. Matthew 16:18 was never spoken by Jesus (Want proof?) and is just more of the fiction written to deify the mortal Jesus who believed he was a prophet (Mark 6:3).

  34. You are steeped in religious mythology aren’t you? Here’s an easy one. Since Jesus’ father is the Holy Ghost (Matthew 1:17) shouldn’t christianity’s Trinity collapse into a Binity of Father/Holy Ghost and Jesus?

  35. Deut 21:23 “that thy land is not defiled” Jesus is the Promised Land, therefore, it was necessary that Jesus was taken down from the cross before nightfall. With all your confusion of monotheism, you will never understand the Quarternion.

  36. God is energy.
    Man created the almighty to satisfy the spiritual need of human. The almighty assumes a variety of names, god is one of them.
    As energy permeates the universe, god is omnipresence, all the time.
    Like energy, god is not see-able, not hear-able, not touchable, but perhaps feel-able.
    One can tap the endless energy from god, especially in time of need when god does not come to one direct. One has to make a good effort to take care of oneself first with one’s own energy. God will give one the necessary energy eventually. That is faith.
    (Extended from TanBoobTee’s book, Man Science & Religion, 2004)

  37. I guess that it is beyond your narrow, outsider sociological comprehension to understand how “Christians” could vote for a “bad man”? Since in your perception and logic Christians are all about “love”, Trump who doesn’t preach love or loving policies must not be a Christian and thus how could Christians vote for him? But many Christians believe in original sin as an inescapable condition and that the world is “fallen”. Thus, they can vote for Trump because they have come to peace with Trump’s “bad behavior” more than outside observers who may believe in some utopia of love and equality (such as, say, Karl Marx).

    Moreover, it is not automatic that bad men make bad presidents. In fact if your ever read Niccolo Machiavelli (not the evil-depicted Machiavelli of liberal novels, movies and fake academics) you would understand that a leader of a nation sometimes has to do evil to do good. Truman had to drop a-bombs on Japan. Churchill had to not alert the City of Coventry, England when the Nazis were going to bomb it because to do so would have been to tip that the Brits had broken the Nazi military codes. Reagan had to invoke “plausible deniability” to get US hostages released by Iran in trade for weapons and drugs. Lincoln had to end slavery by war. Machiavelli said doing “evil” for good should only be in situations where there is a national emergency (war, corruption, insurrections, invasions by immigration), but in all other situations conventional Judeo-Christian morality should prevail. So the last personality trait the voters should want in a leader is someone who is weak and wants only to love others (Jimmy Carter) and doesn’t understand that one must sometimes “be cruel to be kind”. Evangelical Christians understand this; those who search for liberal (or libertarian) utopias don’t understand it. Andrew Jackson was a murderer. Vice President Aaron Burr shot Alexander Hamilton. Ulysses Grant was a highly intelligent drunk. Grover Cleveland fathered a child out of wedlock. But we should judge them by the consequences of their actions and policies the same as a parent who had to use tough love to deal with a delinquent child.

    Christians believe “by their fruits you shall know them”. So Christians should not look to those who espouse “love, love” to be a leader of a nation but on what the consequences of their actions are likely to be. Christian scripture puts it this way: “Not every one that saith unto me, ‘Lord, Lord’, shall. enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven”.

    Those who come from “soft America” (teaching, media, social work) don’t understand Trump; those who come from “hard America” (business, football, military) tend to understand Trump better. As Machiavelli understood, Christianity is about sacrifice, about being a leader who is willing to lose their soul for the sake of others and their country (Moses, Romulus, Bonhoeffer, Lincoln).

  38. “It is illegal to teach the Bible in schools.”

    As well it should be if it is a public school. If you want to eschew secular public education for your kids and indoctrinate them with xyz religion, then YOU pay for it and send them to a private religious school. I don’t want my kids indoctrinated with your religion.

  39. “My own theory on the survival of religion in the US is that it’s about Geography: dogmatic religion has survived the secularising tendency of the last 100 years by re-locating to ‘the wilderness’.”

    No, not unless you’re using “the wilderness” metaphorically. The ‘deep South,’ which Tennessee is part of, is overwhelmingly religious and conservative, especially in the rural areas. The only people who relocated “to the wilderness” were the Mormons, who moved to Utah after pissing off the locals in New York and Missouri with his various fraud schemes. There is, however, an urban-rural divide that is nationwide. More progressively minded young people tend to move to the big cities to find jobs.

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