Columns Mark Silk: Spiritual Politics Opinion

Why more and more Americans think religion is irrelevant

For taking the temperature of religion in America, Gallup’s regular surveys are always worth a look, because many of the same questions have been asked for over half a century. The latest iteration was released just before Christmas.

It will not surprise you to learn that over the long term the temperature has gone down, but the story is not one of slow and steady decline.

Thus in 1952, on the eve of the so-called Eisenhower revival, 75 percent of Americans said that religion was “very important” in their lives and 20 percent said it was “fairly important.” Now the numbers are 51 percent and 21 percent. But the the bulk of the shift had taken place by the late 1970s, with little change since then.

The most bouncing around comes in response to the question about whether the influence of religion on life in the U.S. is rising or declining. In line with a declension narrative that can be traced back to Puritan times, more Americans have usually opted for decline than the opposite, but there are notable exceptions.

The election of Jimmy Carter in 1976, hailed by Newsweek as the Year of the Evangelical, pushed up the number of those who said religion was on the rise to the level of the decliners, and during the “morning again in America” Reagan years, the risers outstripped them. Decline won the day during the presidencies of Bush I and Clinton, with the exception of the year of the latter’s impeachment, which tells you where the populace thought the impulse to impeach was coming from.

In the year after 9/11, more Americans than ever before—71 percent—thought religion was on the rise, but the decliners quickly reasserted themselves as it became clear that the attacks had inspired no major return to the pews. In 2006, the risers were briefly back on top, but that did not reflect a positive assessment of religion’s influence. In the midterms, voters kicked the GOP out of power in both houses of Congress.

Since Barack Obama became president in 2009, a yawning gap has opened up that as of this month is at its widest in Gallup history, with 78 saying religion is in decline and just 19 percent saying it is on the rise. Evidently, Americans do not see the rise of evangelical power in the White House as evidence of religion’s increasing influence on life in the U.S.

Finally there’s the question about whether religion can answer “all or most of today’s problems,” versus whether it is “old-fashioned and out of date.”

Back in 1957, 87 percent opted for “can answer”; seven percent, for “out of date.” Today, that 80-point gap has shrunk to a mere seven points, 46 percent versus 39 percent. Half the shrinkage had taken place by the mid-70s and during the Obama years, there was a significant additional dip.

But what’s most intriguing is a sharp two-thirds drop in the past year and half, from 21 points (55-34) to seven. What is it about the Trump era that has led a smaller percentage of Americans than ever to think that religion can answer today’s problems and a larger percentage than ever to think that it is old-fashioned and out of date?

My surmise is that this has something to do with the aforementioned rise of evangelical power in the White House. That power, from its hostility to LGBT people to its lack of concern for the poor and the sick and the migrant to its rejection of climate change, hardly seems like an answer to today’s problems. Old-fashioned and out-of-date, it seems more like evidence of religion in decline.

About the author

Mark Silk

Mark Silk is Professor of Religion in Public Life at Trinity College and director of the college's Leonard E. Greenberg Center for the Study of Religion in Public Life. He is a Contributing Editor of the Religion News Service

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  • If the loudest self appointed spokesmen for Christianity weren’t such insufferably horrible human beings, then maybe more people would want to associate with it.

  • America’s true religion isn’t Christianity but rather market capitalism and its belief that money, the measure of all things, can buy happiness. That would partially explain why America would elect someone like Donald Trump, a charlatan who pays mere lip service to Christianity while worshipping at the altar of money and the attendant power he thinks it will bring. The Bible calls that worshipping a false idol.

    Maybe if organized religion could come to terms with that and find a better way to voice an alternative message rather than buying into it like Joel Osteen and his so-called “prosperity gospel” it might actually find a new audience. As it is, and as this article states, it’s mostly known for being a sanctimonious scold, and many people, young ones especially, are just tired of that.

  • The rise of power-hungry, fascistic fundagelicals may have something to do with it, but there’s a lot more going on in addition. There is, for example, the Roman Catholic “priestly pedophilia” scandal, which hasn’t really gone away, and ramped up considerably this summer with the release of a redacted version of the Pennsylvania grand jury report into a number of dioceses. 

    The reality is that the world of religion is in a downward spiral of credibility. It’s not just fundagelicals lining up behind a man who’s certainly not one of them and has never lived a lifestyle they’d have approved of, or bishops protecting abusive priests from being prosecuted. Those things are just symptoms of a much larger problem, and arguably, it’s what led to both of those things. Rather than making its adherents better people, religions grant their followers the ability to rationalize and justify all their worst behaviors and impulses. 

    Fundagelicals rationalize supporting a thrice-divorced womanizer and self-confessed sexual assailant, because he’s given them the Supreme Court nominees they’ve long wanted (and that, they hope, will get Roe v Wade overturned). Catholic hierarchs rationalize shuffling abusers around and sending them through the revolving door of “treatment programs” in the name of sparing their precious Church any whiff of scandal (a mission, I should point out, which ultimately failed and even blew up in their faces). 

    These people, and more, do all they do in the name of their faith — because they think their faith justifies it. It doesn’t matter that all this exposes them as hypocrites who don’t actually live out the morals or ethics they profess. Oh no! That’s irrelevant, you see … because God. Or something like that. I guess. 

    At any rate, religion continually and repeatedly exposes itself as morally and intellectually bankrupt. And there’s no end in sight to it — especially if religions’ defenders respond to this comment as I expect they will, with their usual sanctimonious fury at my insolence for having pointed it out. That’ll simply further confirm their moral and intellectual bankruptcy. 

    But they don’t know or understand that. More’s the pity. 

  • Maybe the reason for the decline in respect for/membership in religion is that people are finally starting to see how much nonsense most religions contain, and how the leaders and teachings of those religions thumb their noses at the ordinary members and good logic.

    Most believers–certainly not all–are fine folks, whereas so many religions–i.e., the official teachings, the hierarchy–accept (or are based on, or have a history of) lots of very bad stuff–the Mormon church, the Catholic church, Islam, and many others.

    I’d have much more respect for religions and denoms if they practiced what they preached. An excellent example is the way a large majority of evangelicals love Trump, but conveniently overlook what Psalms 26:4 says about liars and hypocrites. Similarly with the lovely way the Catholic church has dealt with abusive priests, covering up, making excuses, and generally having extreme contempt for the sheeple.

    Perhaps an even better reason people are abandoning religion is the way believers so often ignore the teachings of their own church about respecting others, turning the other cheek, and so on. For example, a gay deacon (I think he is a deacon, something like that) of a Catholic church in (I think) Illinois has been attacked, had his tires slashed, etc.

    Although I’m an agnostic/atheist of many decades’ standing, I find that most of the teachings of Jesus make good sense. Not surprisingly, those same teachings–no adultery, no killing, no thieving, etc–are found in virtually all major religions.

  • Since I am catholic, I can only speak of my own faith. I have lost all respect for the catholic church and therefore do not want anything to do with them. I hold on to my faith, as taught to me by the catholic church, and nothing will break that faith. I firmly believe that the catholic hierarchy is corrupt from the bottom up and the top down. Whatever they put forth as being of the faith is scrutinized by me based on my faith and brought to God in prayer. I do not believe that the hierarchy reflects in their actions/inaction anything remotely related to Jesus. This has not come about lightly either, but has been the culmination of all that has been revealed knowing full well what has not been revealed is even worse.

    Leadership, clergy, vowed members, have all lost their way and no longer embody Christ-like behavior, attitudes, beliefs. So why should I belong to something that goes against my faith? Why should I continue to associate with a group that claims to live a christian life when in fact they do not. This is not to mean that people need to be perfect. I understand that vowed members, clergy, leadership are allowed to falter just as anyone. However, it is the magnitude to which they falter, their unwillingness to atone and accept responsibility, and instead use what ever “power” they possess to deflect, rather than rectify. What does God ask of me? Am I to follow liars, and defilers because at one point in time they vowed themselves to God but have through actions rejected those vows? Am I to listen to those who have spent years studying theology, and yet teach/disseminate outrageous interpretations? What we have in the catholic church is a bunch of people who have studied, and done all the tasks necessary to be considered learned in the faith but do not have true spirit of the faith as they are book smart but lack wisdom and understanding. I would not go to a priest or anyone in the church for any advice or direction, but instead bring my concerns straight to God. I will act according to my faith and sacrifice accordingly as I wait for God to direct me further. Unless this church has a great awakening, hears that voice that is crying out in the wilderness to return to God/Jesus, I will find my own way in this life.

  • Unsurprisingly, atheists, secularists and scoffers who loathe the notion that religious belief has substance and value are delighted that people seem to have “lost faith.” Never mind that asking people bogus questions (“can religion solve all or most problems/”) gives you useless data. Never mind that public figures that undermine traditional beliefs (e.g., Obama) impact attitudes. Never mind that religion is judged inadequate in that it doesn’t mimic the shibboleths and belief systems that secularists create and then sanctify as worthy of worship. All that matters to the God haters is dancing on what they imagine is the grave of faith.

    “The Lord looks down from heaven on the children of man, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. They have all turned aside, together they have become corrupt…) Ps.14

  • “Never mind that public figures that undermine traditional beliefs (e.g., Obama) impact attitudes.” Do you mean the former president who was an actual, verifiable member of a church? Or our Two Corinthians guy? I think they call this projection.

    “Never mind that religion is judged inadequate in that it doesn’t mimic the shibboleths and belief systems that secularists create and then sanctify as worthy of worship.” So you mean the stuff the hyper-religionists and dominionists create. I think they call this projection.

  • Well, thanks to Howard Kay, Elagabalus, Yoikes, and PsiCop for what they wrote. It saves me the trouble.

    I will add this, but it’s nothing I haven’t said before. It has become increasingly apparent to anyone paying the slightest bit of attention, that what a good deal of conservative religion has become obsessed with is power, money, and dominion, from the sociological and political end of things, and revenge, from the purely psychological. It doesn’t matter whether it is conservative Christianity, conservative (Orthodox, not big-C Conservative) Judaism, conservative Islam, or conservative Hinduism, though how it gets expressed, and how effectively, does vary from faith to faith, and polity to polity. The flash point for many of these movements, as always, seems to be the place of gay people in society, because nothing seems to get some people so excited as that, as well as the place of women. It also crosses into broadly-defined “nationalist” concerns, as has been the case in India and Indonesia. But it’s also about whose version of which religion wins, and abortion, sex education, and birth control, because power, money, and dominion are all to be had there as well. And nothing says power so much as having state control over the most intimate aspects of people’s lives.

    Sexual issues are not the only thing, of course. But they sure seem to garner the most attention. On These Very Pages, an article about homosexuality usually brings out the most commenters, and the most virulence. Abortion comes right afterwards.

    With the power of the internet, so much has been democratized, so many more people are better informed, so many more people can see what other people are thinking and doing. Old ways of thinking, of doing, of influencing, of conducting business— all of this has changed, and changed drastically. The failure of many industries to recognize and adapt to this has proved the downfall of those industries. This includes my own— photography— as well as graphic design, sales, retail, taxis, movie theaters, travel and newspapers, to name just a few. In many cases, it may not even be possible to adapt. Again, my own industry is a good example.

    And all of this includes religion. If religion is no longer answering the needs of people— and in the case of the RCC in particular, is acting antithetically to those needs— people WILL leave, as Yoikes has testified. Religion is simply creating problems, problems which it cannot address, and will not address. And it is no longer providing answers for many people, and when it does, the answers are frequently wrong.

    It’s simply not a surprise that the two trends in Mark’s graph are converging, and very.ikely, are going to cross.

  • No end in sight for YOU, PsiCop! I done been way too easy on you in 2018, and now you’re all full of Sassy Gas!!

    So it’s time for me to switch to old-school Mwahahaha Mode, and REALLY turn up the heat for 2019!! That’s what ALL you Cat-5 Skeptizoids need!

    Us ecclesiastical Dick Dastardly types gonna cook up plenty of nasty casserole around here, and I’ve been working on NEW RECIPES!!

    Therefore, Bon Appetito for the New Year!!

  • People like yourself have done a great deal to cheapen religion and make it insignificant. Defining ones faith based on whom one chooses to hate, entangling religion with partisan politics, using it as excuses for malicious behavior, and the self interested hypocrisy.

    Added to that the arrogance of pretending your views represent the entirety of religious belief. Plenty of people believe just not the way you like. Plenty more see the petty, arrogant, dishonest and frankly pedestrian way religion is used by those like yourself and just choose to opt out.

  • A factor having little to do with actual belief is the rise of interfaith marriages. Petty attitudes towards such couples tends to turn people off from one or both faiths of a couple.

  • Flinging insult esther than address the accusations hurled. How very petty. Essentially verifying what Psicop was saying.

  • Why should I continue to associate with a group that claims to live a christian life when in fact they do not?

    Are you including yourself in the word “they?” Since you begin this by saying “I am catholic” I have to presume that you are. If that’s the case then I should think you might want to use your God-given gifts to help reform the institution in which you claim membership. If I were you I’d start by reclaiming the power of the laity, who after all hold the ultimate power – the power of the purse. Perhaps it’s time the laity get serious for a change and start wielding it.

  • Thank you for living down to all my expectations of Christianists like yourself, and for confirming … via your obvious immaturity, among other things … the moral and intellectual bankruptcy of religion! By all means, please keep proving me correct! I’m enjoying it.

  • Actually, **I** am the one enjoying it. You openly telegraphed the response you hoped to receive from Christians (please review your “I expect they will” paragraph.) So why complain when Little Ole Me decides to make you happy? I’m just a Customer-Service guy, you know.

    Anyway, Is religion dying? If so, is it MY religion dropping dead in the graveyard, or is it YOURS? (Spuddie’s religion is already dead in the water — atheism is nothing but Catfish Chow — so we don’t have to worry about him. I’ll throw him a lifeline later, when he’s ready to come up for air.)

    So let’s be honest. Not one of these pollsters Silk mentioned, took the time to dial up God and get HIS responses to their poll questions. So I ain’t into stressing-out about my religion’s future. But YOUR religion, well, it does look like the catfish will have another banquet soon, yes?

  • 40 years ago, I was taught that the customer is always right. I merely offered PsiCop what she clearly wanted to see from Christians. But, as you can see, I like to have a little fun doing so.

  • Umm, he ain’t sending any compliments to YOUR current religion. The key phrase “as I wait for God to direct me further” puts you and him on very different (and opposing) paths.

  • It’s funny, all of the “smart people” that write on these pages and elsewhere want to link the decline of religion/faith to evangelicals, politics and Donald Trump.
    How lazy.
    Maybe we should look back a bit further to the time of the baby boomers – the greatest theives of modern history. The “me” generation that changed the church, social norms and society in general.
    Their rebellion against tradition and implementation of modernism has transformed the world; not always for the better.
    They removed God from society one piece at a time over the course of 50 years: no God in school. No God in public buildings. No God in Christmas. No God anywhere. They have successfully sanitized the world of God; or any reference to him- to the point that a believer is embarrassed or afraid to mention him.
    Hollywood and the media on a daily basis brainwash society that sex and violence are to be revered; and anything of God or faith is abnormal.
    Of course religion is failing. The path of least resistance is to follow in the steps of the selfish baby boomers and do what you want to do when you want to do it. It’s hard to follow Gods ways. It’s easy to follow the way of the flesh. Those who take the easy way are weak in mind and spirit. Then, they cast off God because they can’t live with their conscience. Better to believe that God doesn’t exist and do what you want to do; then to believe that he does and choose him over oneself.

  • Of course they took a dip during the “obama years”. No one president that I know of has pushed immorality to the rate he did and then he blamed his children for the change of opinion.

  • Nor would I expect him to. But then, my alleged religion is a product of your fancies, not mine.

    I complimented him for one reason. Of the many more conservative Christians posting here, he is one of the very few that is as outraged as an humanist or atheist at the shenanigans of the Catholic Church regarding this centuries-old problem. That speaks well for him.

    Your acquiescence, however…

  • Sure. It’s all the fault of those people over there, not the good and the godly true believers who, if only they had the power they used to have over the lives of others and society, would elect man who stands in opposition to everything they claim to believe to lead the country.

  • You can look back a lot farther than that. All of the church’s history has been a cycle of wax and wane.

    America today has nothing on pre-Great Awakening England, for instance:

    When luxury, effeminacy, and venality are arrived at such a shocking pitch in England, when both electors and elected are become one mass of corruption; when the nation is oppressed to death with debts and taxes, owing to their own extravagance and want of wisdom, what would be your condition under such an absolute subjection to parliament?… Corruption, like a cancer…eats faster and faster every hour. The revenue creates pensioners, and the pensioners urge for more revenue. The people grow less steady, spirited, and virtuous, the seekers more numerous and more corrupt, and every day increases the circles of their dependents and expectants, until virtue, integrity, public spirit, simplicity, and frugality become the objects of ridicule and scorn, and vanity, luxury, foppery, selfishness, meanness, and downright venality swallowing up the whole society. — John Adams

    And yet all of this was ultimately followed by the rise of Methodism and other evangelical sects, the faith-driven abolition of the slave trade and finally slavery itself, and the social reforms of the more morally-conscious and family-centered Victorian era.

    The prognosticating and virtue-signalling of the irreligious left today is quite funny when viewed against the backdrop of history.

  • You need to put your glasses on and reread what I wrote. It has nothing to do with trump. You should be happy; you’re winning.

  • You should use YOUR glasses. I didn’t mention trump, that dime store anti-Christ, at all.

  • …. Would elect [a] man who stands in opposition to everything they claim to believe….

    Who are you talking about then?

  • But since you did, I will point out something to you.

    Jerry Falwell Jr, In an interview with the Washington Post:

    Q: Is there anything President Trump could do that would endanger that support from you or other evangelical leaders?

    A: No.

    Q: That’s the shortest answer we’ve had so far.

    My thoughts:

    I believe you, Junior. There is nothing Jabba the Trump can do that would cause you to abandon him. And that says a great deal about you, none of it good.

  • This article is a strawman argument saying since religion is not an answer for building a communist/Marxist state it is irrelevant. Religion is about eternal life. Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world”.

  • When 99% of the time religion makes the news it is for horrible reasons it makes sense people wouldn’t like it.

  • Re: “You openly telegraphed the response you hoped to receive from Christians (please review your “I expect they will” paragraph ).” 

    I don’t need to read it. I know what I typed. The question is, did YOU read it? If I had, in fact, “telegraphed the response I hoped to receive,” then why were you stupid enough to respond in the exact way you say I’d “telegraphed”? 

    BTW I wasn’t stating the response I “hoped” to get. I predicted the response I “would” get. Thank you for having offered one that made my prediction come true! 

    Re: “If so, is it MY religion dropping dead in the graveyard, or is it YOURS?” 

    I don’t have a religion. I adhere to no metaphysics whatsoever. 

    Re: “So let’s be honest.” 

    You? “Honest”? That’ll be the day … 

    Re: “Not one of these pollsters Silk mentioned, took the time to dial up God and get HIS responses to their poll questions.” 

    Why would they do that? They’re trying to figure out what humans are up to, not your deity. Whatever s/he/it has to say would be irrelevant. What’s more, how would they (as you put it) “dial up God”? What’s his phone number? 

    Re: “So I ain’t into stressing-out about my religion’s future.” 

    Of course you aren’t! You’re blissfully oblivious to the credibility problems that plague militant Christianism. 

    Re: “But YOUR religion …” 

    I will repeat, and emphasize: I don’t have a “religion.” What part of that do you not understand? 

  • Many people talk about this “power of the laity”. How, exactly, is the laity to wield its power in the Catholic church?

  • Not only is religion not the answer to problems, it is increasingly becoming the cause of them! John Lennon was certainly on the right track with “Imagine”.

  • You and I were both banned from Charisma News I was banned for being honest. You were banned for being super duper devout.

    Apparently you’re not supposed to say the quiet stuff out loud.

  • The version of God who exists in the minds of the people who currently claim to speak for him would be appalled by who is doing the speaking.

    I’m pretty sure the creator of the universe can do better than Franklin Graham and Jerry Falwell Jr.

  • It isn’t that religion could not answer many of the questions and provide a ground for looking at what is good and right in how we act. The problem is fundamentalist thinking – the idea that all the answers are already there in one “holy book” or another, written centuries ago in times when cultures were vastly different from the culture we now live in. We want to apply 1st century thinking and knowledge to 20th century life – and it doesn’t work.

    An example: I don’t think Jesus would recognize the Christianity that now claims His name.

    God is still out there waiting to be found. We just stopped looking for new ways of seeing Him present in the world and want Him to only appear as She was once understood to appear.

  • Hmm. Banned for being “super duper devout”? That almost sounds like a compliment, I would think.

    Anyway, maybe you and I only got **temporarily** deleted or banned. (CN has been having some good dust-ups just like RNS.) So try posting again, see if CN will accept your posts now. Worked for me. Don’t give up.

    As you know, there ARE some hot-headed CN posters on all sides, that will try to flag you or me if they hate your words or mine. But it’s only a minor problem. CN uses the Disqus system just like RNS does, and Disqus is pretty fair-minded. So try again, find a new thread, adjust your wording a little (just in case), and jump on in. .

  • “If religion does not coincide with and reinforce our experience of life, it is useless and doomed to die. It is only in life that we can experience God, which is the reason and purpose of religion.” Br. Tom Draney Cfc.

    Br. Tom passed away Dec. 28, 2018. He was 90 years old. His obituary can be found at https://obits.lohud.com/obituaries/lohud/obituary.aspx?n=thomas-draney-cfc&pid=191128606&fhid=30105.

    You can read more of Fr. Tom’s wisdom at his blog “Reclaiming the Eucharist as A Meal.” http://www.reclaimingeucharistasmeal.com

  • “…. to help reform the institution….”
    But that’s been done – Luther.
    Catholics shouldn’t re-invent the wheel.
    There are many Protestant and Lutheran Churches that will satisfy one’s spiritual and social needs.

  • Still going with the whataboutism to avoid discussion of current issues. Anything to avoid discussing the fecklessness of “Values voters” throwing their lot in with a person who lacks all the values they claim to profess and demand from political figures.

    Your complaint about the prior generation is nothing more than a bigoted rant about the notion of our country being religiously heterogeneous. Bemoaning the institutional sectarian bias of the past towards Protestant domination of public culture.

    “Removing God in …” really means, ignore or attack all faiths and beliefs other than your version of Protestant Christianity and belittle those who follow them in an official manner. Complaining about religious freedom and the removal of official signs of bias and discrimination.

    Secular government is not a matter of “selfishness”, its a matter of expression of religious freedom. Avoiding the appearance of discrimination and bias on the basis of belief. Respect for all faiths by showing favoritism to none.

  • As seen in Europe, the surest way to bring about the collapse of a church and any authority it possesses to congregants is by entangling it with the apparatus of the state.

    State Established churches in Europe are at an all time low for relevance with the public. Centuries of politically coerced participation have soured the public on the notion of those churches as moral and spiritual authorities.

    A similar thing is happening in the US with Conservative Christianity. As it sought to entangle its beliefs with specific partisan political agendas, it has undermined respect as speakers of a “higher calling”. Any pretense of moral authority is completely wiped out as “sincere religious belief” is used as a pretext for attacking others, consolidating personal power/wealth and discrimination.

    Nobody has to give a crap about what “Values voters” have to say about morality and sin of others when they are so “flexible” about their own conduct.

  • Current issues:
    Homosexual priests.
    Pedophile priests.
    Modernism.
    Hierarchy that supports two out of the three and wants to fundamentally change the RCC.

  • Obama? A church member? Maybe his name appeared on roll of a church but considering he almost never attended church after becoming president, his claim to being Church goer is ludicrous.

  • Only one of those is an actual issue: Pedophile priests.

    The rest is simply deflection, scapegoating and fiction. You want to shift blame and support personal bigotry rather than deal with the real issue directly.

  • Most religion is irrelevant because most of it is fake, just like most news. The true gospel of Jesus Christ, on the other hand, is just as true, relevant and cogent as it ever was.

  • It isn’t just Americans, it is humanity fulfilling the scripture. Every human is an actor in the six act play written by God. The world is in the last act and the play is right on script. Don’t be fooled by the science deniers; the scientists understand the ending of this planet. In other words, they believe the scripture.

  • Nope. Homosexual priests and homosexuals in the hierarchy are in the process of changing the doctrine of the church to remove the stigma of sin to suit their needs.
    It’s the way of the left – if you can’t or don’t want to adhere to Gods ways, change the rules.

  • The only thing I disagree with is the comment that “the old ways of doing, of influencing, of conducting business–all of this has changed.”

    Unfortunately people are still and will forever be influenced by the same old things–fear, greed, jealousy, vindictiveness, desire to have control over others–from what I call Meism (as in it is all about ME not WE). What has changed is that Religion is no longer up to the challenge of dealing with these issues–if they ever were, in the olden days. I am not sure that secularism is up to the challenge of dealing with these issues.

  • Religion has always been irrelevant in America when it is limited to the boundaries of the Church and the version of Christianity America inherited is stripped of the magnificence of the Catholic church. European Christianity developed through the centuries by the various European cultures putting their best and most intense expression of these cultures into the Christian faith. Protestantism simply stripped all of that, leaving very little that is “relevant”.

  • No, it is America. In Russia Christianity is going through a reawakening. Across Asia Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism are surging forth. The world is dynamically religious.

  • Church establishment harms the church but not for those reasons. It’s the same process that causes just about every enterprise to go to pot once the state takes it over — the leaders become not pastors/teachers/evangelists but bureaucrats snoozing at their desks and drawing a guaranteed government paycheck, with all the drive that bureaucrats are famous for. The disestablishment of the state churches in America during the early 1800s was one of the primary factors that led to the Second Great Awakening.

    “Values voters” are another thing entirely, something that the founders hoped might help keep government virtuous and free. Yet toward the end of their lives they were already beginning to see that the natural human tendency toward partisanship and factionalism and the prioritizing of party interests over common interests, resulting in ever bigger and more invasive government by dishonest and avaricious career politicians, would be a perpetual plague upon republicanism. We’re seeing a particularly bad cycle of it now.

    Yet we’ve seen far worse times than this, both politically and spiritually. Through it all the Body of Christ flourishes, is pruned, and flourishes yet again. The haters look on from the sidelines but never understand what is going on and are always disappointed that the demise of the Church that they have craved ever since the 1st century never comes.

    You can go back now to writing reams about what all you don’t give a crap about. And while you’re doing that…the boss could use some coffee…

  • “It’s the same process that causes just about every enterprise to go to pot once the state takes it over”

    LMAO, Libertarian nonsense. The State doesn’t do anything right, so that is why its wrong. Um, not even close.

    The whole idea of restricting freedom and coerced religiosity is not a substantial factor at all. Just lazy bureaucrats. The Founders were pretty unambiguous that the separation of church and state preserved authority of both. Roger Williams and the Anabaptists turned such ideas into an integral part of their religious doctrine.

    Your diatribe about “Values Voters” is rather ironic from you.

    “more invasive government by dishonest and avaricious career politicians, would be a perpetual plague upon republicanism. We’re seeing a particularly bad cycle of it now”

    Pretty much all your political positions involve government intruding on the lives of people in service of your religious beliefs. Quite an ironic statement from you.

    I can think of no bigger grifts right now than conservative social platforms. Getting people to vote against their own economic interests by making vague promises to further those ends. Notice how quickly a Republican President and Congress got a rather pernicious tax plan passed but didn’t make the slightest movement in support of social conservative goals.

    I would love not to have to give a crap about your beliefs. But you keep trying to force everyone to follow them.

  • There are things that properly and necessarily fall to the federal government. National defense, for one. Foreign policy, obviously. Setting immigration and naturalization policy. Those things enumerated to the feds by a little historical curiosity called the CONSTITUTION.
    Certainly NOT micromanaging everyday life to the tune of debt, tyranny and enrichment of career politicians.

    The founders did indeed believe in non-establishment, but their idea of it is nothing remotely like yours.

    “I can think of no bigger grifts right now than conservative social platforms.” Oh, I am of course well aware of your inability to “think bigger.”

    “Getting people to vote against their own economic interests by making vague promises to further those ends.” Kindly refrain from telling others what their “economic interests” are. We can determine that quite well without any assistance from movie-watchers/coffee-makers.

    “I would love not to have to give a crap about your beliefs. But you keep trying to force everyone to follow them.” Then I suppose you can retire “nobody has to care.” Which leaves you about five out of your former half-dozen canned responses that you rely on.

  • “The founders did indeed believe in non-establishment, but their idea of it is nothing remotely like yours.”

    Their ideas about what constituted religious diversity is nothing remotely to what we have today. What passed for ecumenical inclusiveness back then is pretty much sectarian and exclusionary today.

    The idea that one laments the lack of domination of a given faith/sect in our culture and government’s actions (as Parker12 did) is antithetical to the ideals of the Founders and their legacy. Essentially mourning what has become discriminatory and hostile to the notion of religious freedom.

    All you can add to my prior statements is cheap insults.

    “We can determine that quite well without any assistance from movie-watchers/coffee-makers.”

    Evidently not.

    Since your crowd are the people most likely to vote for politicians and measures which benefit the uppermost wealthy and undermine the working and middle class. One need to look no further than the fiscal messes caused by 40 years of “supply side economics” in practice.

  • I see the power to change being wielded by the purse, pocketbook, checkbook, and wallet.

    No money until 1) the willingness to change is documented and verified, and 2) the laity is given a significant and permanent role in its implementation, with AUTHORITATIVE decision making powers on sermons, facility management, budget, scheduling, personnel, clergy assignments, etc.

  • Contrarian but Christian here. Of course religion can’t answer ‘all or most of today’s problems’—or any. That’s the business of philosophy, my day job. The purpose of religion is to provide contact with the supernatural, ceremonies including rites of passage and, for those of us who like that kind of thing, theology to play with. Educated people in this ‘world come of age’ are quite reasonably turned off by the arrogance of clergy who imagine that they can engage in ‘prophetic witness’ or have wisdom to teach. We aren’t that dumb—not as dumb as they imagine we are. The whole business of churches is to maintain church buildings as sacred spaces and organize liturgies and other ceremonies.

  • I was born and raised a Catholic. I read the report on the Pennsylvania abuse. I cannot be a member of a church who valued the reputation of their priests over the sanctity of small children’s bodies. This was known about in every level of the church and ignored. The end.

    As for other branches of Christianity, I have zero interest in joining the hate. And, frankly, that is the face it seems most Christians want to put forward. Hatred towards homosexuals, towards women, towards people in other religions. The hypocrisy is mind-boggling. It is not rocket science why this is happening.

  • Let’s start with that last paragraph . There is NOT ONE poster here who can say, “I am intelligent and interested enough to initiate, agree with, or disagree with RNS religion arguments & topics in this forum every week, but somehow I am magically, totally void of any religious belief in any direction at all.”

    Nope. Besides, you alreadytold me you weren’t an atheist, so at MINIMUM you’ve adopted — and put your core faith in —

  • I think that sounds good in theory, but it doesn’t seem to be working. I know many who have stopped giving, but I have seen no indication that this has made any difference to the hierarchy.

  • That is your story and you are sticking to it. Never mind centuries of acting above civil authority and rule of law.

    Just blame it all on gay priests.

    Make flat out libelous connections between homosexuality and sexual predators. Never let facts about pedophiles sway you one bit! Its always about deflection, scapegoating and finger pointing.

    There is not an honest bone in your body.

    Its also telling how you define your religious views by essentially upholding your personal bigotry. Also telling how you define religious belief by partisan political views. Believers must share your politics or they aren’t genuine. Can you be more reductive and frankly low rent in your expression of belief?

    Of course it turns away people who are not as petty, dishonest and hateful as yourself. People who look at religion as something other than socially sanctioned obnoxious behavior towards others.

  • Alexandra. Agreed — works only if an overwhelmingly majority of those in the pews participate, and then stick with that decision for the long haul. No institution can survive without a source of money. Rents, mortgages, salary, maintenance, utilities, insurance, etc require it. The RCC is a religion only if it survives as a business; cash flow is necessary to stay in business.

    And I accept that the RCC business side plays the long-game — delay, pacify, throw some bone out occasionally — all in an attempt to outlast the opposition.

    The pragmatist in me expects them to win. The RCC is not going to change.

  • The doctrine may not have changed, but the definition sure has. Usury used to mean lending money for interest, no matter what the amount. The RCC considered it sinful which is why they left the job of banking to Jews and others whom the church assumed were damned anyway. Interestingly when you read Dante’s Inferno you discover that those who lent money for interest in life are damned to the same section of Hell as blasphemers and gay people.

    But that was long ago. Now the RCC only condemns lending money for interest rates it deems excessive. Heck, the Vatican has its own bank now.

    What prompted this change? Simple, credit and the lending of interest went mainstream, and the rules of the church followed suit. It wasn’t that shadowy cabal called “the left” whom you seem to be so scared of: it was simple practicality.

  • Re: “There is NOT ONE poster here who can say ‘… somehow I am magically, totally void of any religious belief in any direction at all.'” 

    Yes there is. I can! You can deny it all you like, but you’d be wrong. 

    Re: “Nope. Won’t sell in this mall.” 

    I don’t give a crap what you think. I’m just telling you how things are. Whether or not you’re mature enough to accept it is another matter — and is not my concern. I should, however, point out that your kvetching and moaning about that statement — and calling me a liar — is precisely the kind of infantile antic I’ve come to expect from militant religionists like yourself. 

    So please, continue confirming everything I’ve ever said about religionists! 

    Re: “Besides, you already told me you weren’t an atheist, so at MINIMUM you’ve adopted — and put your core faith in — the religion of **agnosticism.**” 

    Agnosticism is not a religion. It simply isn’t, no matter how vehemently you contend otherwise, and stamp your feet and rail and fume at me over it. Obviously you need some help understanding what agnosticism is, so go check out my Agnosticism FAQ

    I’m going to predict two possibilities: 1) You won’t read that page at all; or 2) You’ll read it, but say it’s all wrong and just continue petulantly claiming I’m a religious believer like yourself. Again, if you do either of these things, you’ll have confirmed me correct — and for the umpteenth time. 

    Oh, and you can call both my predictions, above, “telegraphing,” but if you do, it’d behoove you not to do things that actually make them come true. Just a suggestion. 

    Re: “Thine Object of Worship.” 

    I don’t “worship” anyone or anything. At all. Period. 

    Re: “For the same reason(s), your magical self-claim of ‘I have no metaphysics’ is destroyed. We ALL have metaphysics.” 

    Maybe YOU do. I don’t. And you can’t prove I do! 

  • Cardinal Vigano explained the cover- ups and homosexual network in his letter to Pope Francis this past year. You know, the letter that caused your hero McCarrick to resign. You know, the letter that gave courage to a few other US bishops to confirm the same.
    I guess a smart athiest like yourself would know better than Vigano.

  • Riiiight, explained it. A goofy conspiracy theory that fits in to your bigotry and avoids anything resembling facts. One which does not criticize literally centuries of the same bad behavior and scapegoats an outside unpopular minority.

    It’s not the first time such drivel has been referenced nor will it be the last. As for McCarrick, he belongs in prison. As well as his enablers in the Church. People more concerned with the reputation of it than justice. Like you. Pedophiles can feel safe with you running cover for them.

    A smart atheist like me is far more honest than Vigano.

  • yeah, that’s it. Anything that is contrary to spuddies homoagenda is a conspiracy theory.
    Pfffffft….
    Wrong again.
    You should be happy that these guys exist and are trying to topple the church.

  • Yeah. You know, there was so much optimism after Vatican 2. Even while Paul VI was pope, despite his retrenchment and Humanae Vitae, there was still hope. And the Karol Woytyla became pope and started turning the clock back. And ever since then, it’s been a constant drumbeat to fortify clericalism, retract any possibility for true lay participation, and a regression to the Kingdom of the Rules of the Past. I find it sad. But, I guess that powerful men like to keep power in their own hands…..

  • “Their ideas about what constituted religious diversity is nothing remotely to what we have today. What passed for ecumenical inclusiveness back then is pretty much sectarian and exclusionary today.” If you feel that the First Amendment needs updating, by all means start working on a new amendment to that effect and see if you can get the states on board with it. Otherwise, what the people put in place remains the supreme law of the land.

    Your last comment is laughably naive. What matters is not who votes for the politician but who PAYS him. Every politician in Washington, Pub or Dem, is in some wealthy pocket.

  • “If you feel that the First Amendment needs updating, ”

    Hardly. I just don’t treat the Constitution like a religious text as read by a fundamentalist. No sane person does. Our legal system would never function in such a way. (Constitutional Originalism is a fiction not even followed by its own self-styled proponents) It is a text whose interpretations and applications are defined by the current conditions.

    Its telling how you treat legal text the same way as your religious text. The only way to read it allegedly is one which serves your personal interests only. No other interpretation is possible. Just like Christians like yourself consider your views the entirety of religious belief, you consider them the entirety of ways in which religious freedom must be expressed. (Yet really just showing contempt for its underlying concepts).

    The concept of religious freedom has grown in this nation from just referencing various Christian sects as a sign of inclusion to referencing all faiths and sects. That simply reflects changing demographics from the 18th Century.

    As for my last comment, I would say you are woefully uninformed. The entire point of social conservatism you support appears to be a way to divert your attention with empty appeals to bigotry and dreams of controlling others. All done to get you to vote against your own economic interests. Promise to ban abortion, attack separation of church and state and enact segregation of gays and do nothing substantial. But actually deliver on diverting public resources from the working and middle class to the wealthy. Proof is in the economic disasters created in many “Red States” caused by generous tax breaks to the wealthy and austerity for everyone else.

  • Of course it couldn’t be because the Excessive (Democratic) Party, largely godless, is on the ascendant… and “evangelicals” are seemingly helpless to prevent it.

  • That song is about MANY things, including a world without religion, without hatred, without nationalism, where people just get along.

  • Lennon stated: “‘Imagine’, which says: ‘Imagine that there was no more religion, no more country, no more politics,’ is virtually the Communist Manifesto”

  • “Hardly. I just don’t treat the Constitution like a religious text as read by a fundamentalist.” You’re not supposed to. It isn’t a religious text but a legal text. And there are well-established principles for constitutional construction, as explained by Thomas Jefferson:

    “On every question of construction let us carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit of the debates, and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or invented against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed.”

    Because to do otherwise, of course, is to remove the legislative powers of our duly chosen representatives that we fought a revolution to secure.

    “The concept of religious freedom has grown in this nation from just referencing various Christian sects as a sign of inclusion to referencing all faiths and sects.” YOUR concept has changed, perhaps, and that of many others — for all that’s worth. But the 1st Amendment as enacted by the people, and never changed, remains. Since the early 20th century the SCOTUS has created such an illogical mess of religious freedom jurisprudence that their heads are literally spinning. They are ripe for a return to the original 1st Amendment just like they are slowly returning to the original Commerce Clause.

    But like I said, feel free to get a new Amendment going. You libs are so hilariously scared of the amendment process, as well as all legislative process, because for all your empty talk about what “no sane person” thinks or whatnot, you don’t really believe you can sell your ideas to the people. And on that particular point you’re right.

    And kindly refrain from telling others what their “economic interests” are. You libs have been doing that since the Clinton administration and have become bad joke in the process — as well as by calling other people’s money that hasn’t been grabbed by the government “public resources.” LOL!

    It would be funny if you could get out from under your rock enough to hear how you sound.

  • The guy who pays the politician wants those illegals too. A peon class that will do the jobs Americans supposedly “don’t want to do” for chump change.

    So funny to see libs who still think the uppermost wealthy are going to champion them against the uppermost wealthy.

  • That doesn’t mean it is a bad thing. Many communist principles have a lot going for them – all property is owned by the community with everyone to get a fair share. As with many things, there was a huge gap between theory and practice, and that is not how it happened, but that doesn’t make the theory wrong.

  • It helps when you make a fact free accusation which just happens to fit your personal prejudices.

    As far as I can tell the only “homosexual agenda” is to be treated like human beings and not attacked by bible thumping bigots.

    You cheapen the Catholic Church by defining its existence on sharing your petty bigotry. The only person here attacking its credibility is you. Reducing it to a hate group and nothing else.

    In your effort to defend its reputation you topple any pretense of moral and ethical authority. Resorting to bald faced lying and bigoted attacks as you do, demeans a church.

  • Vigano knows.
    You don’t.
    Vigano wants to preserve the sanctity of the church.
    You don’t.
    I’ll side with vigano and the bishops that want to cleanse the church.

  • “Vigano knows. ”

    Evidently not.

    Even the National Catholic Register is calling him a bigoted loon. This is a guy who is lashing out against his employers about his career being stalled.
    https://www.ncronline.org/news/accountability/distinctly-catholic/vigan-s-third-screed-unintentionally-reveals-his-true

    Further commentary about Vigano
    https://www.newwaysministry.org/2018/08/26/new-ways-ministry-responds-to-archbishop-viganos-accusations-against-gay-clergy-and-pope-francis/

    Vigano’s method of argument exhibits classic conspiracy theory tactics: invent an enemy, which is invisible, which is infiltrating from the inside, but which can’t be proved or disproved. The suggestion creates fear and suspicion, but worse, it characterizes the selected group as evil, manipulative, and duplicitous.

    Conspiracy theories pop up when one side of a discussion (in this case, Catholics who do not want change) feels as if they are losing the argument. It is simply a way to discredit the other side and to try to offer an alternative explanation of why the argument is being lost–instead of just relying on logic and rational discourse. It is a tactic used from ancient times to contemporary politics.

    Unlike yourself, I am not willing to lie and make bigoted attacks to defend a church. The Catholic Church is not being helped by your form of defense. You are doing more to cheapen its authority than I am.

    Of course your entire dishonest bigoted POV depends on pretending I am trying to topple the church. I have never made such arguments in my life. But it appears you are trying to destroy it in order to save it. How ironic.

  • Of course you cite NCR. You would do just as well to cite the Huffington Post.
    Of course any disagreement with your belief system is the result of a bigoted agitator. And what better way to discredit someone than to call them a bigot or imply they are a conspirator.
    It’s the playbook of the left.
    We’ve grown tired of it and the shock value has worn off.
    Vigano and other insiders will begin to reveal the truth. This is very good news for the church.

  • “And what better way to discredit someone than to call them a bigot or imply they are a conspirator.” Increasingly, it’s an effective way to bore people to sleep.

  • The NCR is a venerable and fairly reliable news source when it comes to reporting on the Vatican. I cited it because it is a largely CONSERVATIVE source. One known for doing a decent job of fact checking. (Something most sources you cite do not do)

    It helps when I am entirely correct that my disagreement is the result of a bigoted agitator. A person with a known and clear professional grudge against the Vatican’s leadership.

    It helps even more when I don’t have a habit of lying, using rumor or debunked claims in service of my beliefs, as you often do.

    You are complaining about the label of bigot being employed but not doing a thing to show it is incorrect. Typical “Playing the Bigot Card” foolishness. You are showing me you are a snowflake about the label, but clearly it is an honest assessment of your views. You can’t be discredited by it, you had no credibility from the outset. You were engaging in fanciful irrational thinking.

    Your playbook involves making personal attacks on a speaker when facts do not support your argument. Nothing you are saying refutes the sources I just cited or the analysis of the arguments employed.

    You are dragging the church further through the mud with your dishonest bigoted deflection here. You are supporting child molesters and the hierarchy which shields them from justice. Looking for cheap disposable scapegoats rather than address the issues involved.

    This is not the first time you have defended institutional child abuse, it will not be the last.

  • Yep. The way of the left. When you disagree with someone, call them a bigot, racist , homophobe, etc. it’s just a way to disarm your adversary- whether true or not.
    The shock value of this has wore off.

  • Yep. And they still don’t get that no one’s paying attention anymore.

    They’re as befuddled as a dog whose favorite bone just disappeared.

  • It has been disastrous in every country that adopted it. It ignores human nature. It’s unworkable so it should be discarded.

  • The promoters of christianity is now the fringes, the loudest, the most published, the most severe. Trump’s attacks on gays in the courts and law, his defunding of women’s healthcare, his blocking of Muslims from the country, his blocking of catholics at the southern border, his attacks on everyone around him. His crazy talk. Has only served to embarrass christians from their own religion. Who wants to be the same religion as roy moore and other outspoken christians who want all gays in prison or to imprison women who get abortions.

    Who wants to be in the religion where 1000’s of priests/pastors are still sexually assaulting children and not being punished? Who wants to circle the drain with a religion that is on the decline because it forgot the principles on which is was built, inclusion, kindness, praying in private.

  • i don’t link trump to the decline in religion, but i do link him to the decline in civility, honesty, and ethics

  • Just read an article on the erosion of social capital and the rise of neoliberalism and the impact that is having on how younger people view the American economy and society. See this tension here between comments made on the Rev Bill Barber and others who believe social justice is part of following the Gospel. And again it is whose version wins – while most easily represented in attitudes towards women and gays – it really includes at its worst, anyone who doesn’t fit the tribe. And unfortunately some of what is cultural baggage or worse also sneaks in and poses as true belief. Or as I read elsewhere, a conflict between faith based on beliefs that are propositional in nature (talking Christian) rather than a relational/transformational understanding (practicing).

  • This is exactly what I have been saying for some years. It’s all about the bigotry that hides behind religious believes, and calls itself righteousness. Jim Crowe was exactly one of those things they did that, as the evangelicals of those days claimed that it was all about what God wanted. From ancient times, right up to Now, they are doing that with gay people and women. It’s not really about who’s version wins, though there is that, but about what it is always about: power, money, dominion, and in its most recent interation, revenge.

  • Never have claimed Tump is a Christian, anymore than I have agreed Obama was one. Hang in there.

  • So let me get this straight. Since religion supposedly has no answers were to go to the lgbt crowd for answers? We’re to consult the lgbt propaganda that tells us that a man who puts on a skirt is now a girl?

  • I absolutely do not “worship” myself. If you have compelling, objective, verifiable evidence that I do, I invite you to produce it. Otherwise … your statement is a lie, and that would make you a liar for your Jesus. 

  • I am no deity. I’ve never said I am one. You lie when you say I think I am one. 

    Are you proud of lying for your Jesus? Did he ask you to lie about me, for him? If so, what does he get out of you lying about me? 

  • Reality. Not that I need a “source” to tell me stuff. There’s a lot I can determine on my own. I mean, I can look at the sky and see it’s blue. I can look at a clock and see the time. I can drop a pen on the floor and see gravity in action. 

    Are you so ignorant and blind that you need a “source” to tell you all these things that you could learn on your own? If so, you must be pretty stupid. 

  • How do you know that gravity is the same throughout the universe at all times? How do you know the difference between good and evil?

  • Re: “How do you know that gravity is the same throughout the universe at all times?” 

    I don’t, personally. But scientists have figured that out.  There’s no need for a deity to explain it. Human beings are perfectly capable of working it out on their own, without needing him/her/it to to tell them all about it. 

    Re: “How do you know the difference between good and evil?” 

    That’s easy! You could even work that out for yourself. All you need is to know the definitions of “good” and “evil,” then see how they differ: 

    Evil (Merriam-Webster’s): https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/evil
    Evil (Cambridge Dict.): https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/evil
    Evil (Dictionary.Com): https://www.dictionary.com/browse/evil

    Good (Merriam-Webster’s): https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/good
    Good (Cambridge Dict.): https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/good
    Good (Dictionary.Com): https://www.dictionary.com/browse/good

    Really, it’s not rocket science. I certainly don’t need your vile, maniacal, furious, almighty sky-tyrant telling me what “good” and “evil” are. I’m not as dumb as you or the rest of your militant religionist brethren and sistren. 

    Besides, you are aware — I assume! — that your deity claims to have invented “evil.” Don’t you? Crack open the Bible you long ago slammed shut, and read it for yourself! You’ll find it in Isaiah 45:7

  • Re: “Unsurprisingly, atheists, secularists and scoffers who loathe the notion that religious belief has substance and value are delighted that people seem to have ‘lost faith.'” 

    For me — cold-hearted, insolent, godless agnostic heathen that I am — “delight” doesn’t play into it. What’s happened is that religions have, finally, begun reaping what they’ve sown for so long. They’ve finally started losing credibility based on their own proclivities and behaviors. 

    It doesn’t matter to me if people “lose faith” or not. It’s not my problem … it’s religiosity’s problem. 

    If religions don’t like losing people, they have a solution staring them right in the face, which is to reform themselves so they recover their credibility. This will, necessarily, altering their ways and (likely) their teachings. It will also necessarily require their leaders to take responsibility for themselves and their organization(s). It will require all the members of a religion to admit that, yes indeed, they’ve said and done things that have brought disrepute on themselves and their faith, and that cannot continue. 

    There is absolutely nothing in the universe preventing any religion from doing any of this — other than the simple, juvenile impulse known as “pride.” 

    If you don’t like what I just told you, well … too bad! The above principles are found within the pages of your own sacred scripture! Read on … if you dare: 

    He who sows iniquity will reap vanity, and the rod of his fury will perish. (Proverbs 22:8) 

    According to what I have seen, those who plow iniquity and those who sow trouble harvest it. (Job 4:8) 

    For they sow the wind and they reap the whirlwind. The standing grain has no heads; it yields no grain. Should it yield, strangers would swallow it up. (Hosea 8:7) 

    All of this should matter to you, because your scripture also warns: 

    Not everyone who says to Me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?” And then I will declare to them, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.” (Matthew 7:21-23) 

    But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. (James 1:22) 

  • Well I can’t stand either of those two but hey it’s not like they were commanding gays be killed like God did in the OT. God is far worse than the these too guys or Trump combined..

  • Of course it’s not your problem if you’re a “godless agnostic.” At least, not until you die.

  • Re: “At least, not until you die.” 

    Ooooooh, is that a threat? Of eternal perdition? If so … great! It makes me laugh every time one of you people is forced to stoop to leveling threats like that at me. 

    For the record, and to be clear, I’m not afraid of your almighty cosmic sky-tyrant. Not one bit. Any omnipotent creator-deity that feels the need to threaten his/her/its own creations into doing whatever it is s/he/it wants them to do, automatically is unworthy of compliance, and deserves only scorn and derision. No ethical or moral person has any business worshipping such an almighty terrorist … and anyone who does is, by definition, nearly as contemptible. 

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