William M. Briggs

Statistician to the Stars!

On The Rise Of The “Nones”

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National Geographic had a desultory article on the “nones”1, which is what post-Christian pagans and atheists are being called. Title: “The World’s Newest Major Religion: No Religion.

Has nuggets like this: “A lack of religious affiliation has profound effects on how people think about death, how they teach their kids, and even how they vote.”

Who knew?

There’s also mistakes like this:

There have long been predictions that religion would fade from relevancy as the world modernizes, but all the recent surveys are finding that it’s happening startlingly fast. France will have a majority secular population soon. So will the Netherlands and New Zealand. The United Kingdom and Australia will soon lose Christian majorities. Religion is rapidly becoming less important than it’s ever been, even to people who live in countries where faith has affected everything from rulers to borders to architecture.

Darn right, architecture. Buildings are uglier than ever. They’re also winning more awards. Coincidence?

Anyway, religion hasn’t faded. In the West, Christianity has faded, but not religion. Every yoga-mat-carrying, climate-change-concern-chanting, science-solves-all-problem-believing person is religious, just not necessarily Christian. It’s not only the I’m-not-religious-I’m-spiritual; many men find in themselves worthy objects of devotion.

At least National Geographic realized that some areas of the world are becoming more Christian, like Africa and post-openly-Communist utopias, and more are becoming Islamic, like Europe. In fact, Islam was the only religion not to lose more than an insignificant fraction in any country, which is what the picture above shows.

What gets me are sentences like this: “And even in the secularizing West, the rash of ‘religious freedom bills’—which essentially decriminalize discrimination—are the latest front in a faith-tinged culture war in the United States that shows no signs of abetting anytime soon.”

Religions by definition must discriminate. Even the pagan, post-Christian religions which are found in the West discriminate, but in opposite directions from Christianity in matters sexual. The sentence indicates we’re dealing with a pagan or a post-Christian who is not self-aware.

That’s the real key. “Nones” who think they’re not religious. Take this: “Scientific advancement isn’t just making people question God, it’s also connecting those who question.” It’s a matter of false belief, and a kind of screwy faith, that science can define right and wrong, but just try convincing a scidolator of that. Nones are so used being immersed in a Christianity—frankly, few to none of the nones understand the debt owed to Christianity—that anything outside of it (and while still “in country”) appears to them as “not religion.”

National Geographic spends far too many de rigueur paragraphs fretting about Diversity. Which I’ll ignore. Except to mention that, as always, Diversity always leads to mandatory quotas.

There are a few theories about why people become atheists in large numbers. Some demographers attribute it to financial security..

Atheism is also tied to education, measured by academic achievement…

There’s some evidence that official state religions drive people away from faith entirely…

Isn’t another way to put this that atheists are prone to group behavior? Never mind. That last line about “official state religions” is a hoot, especially considering the rise of Islam. The real problem are the statistical models lurking behind these “findings.” Because it wasn’t or can’t be measured, “researchers” miss the biggest cause, which is not and cannot be “education”, but exhaustion of many Christians who find it easier to convert to one of the modern religions. Proof?

In the U.S., many state legislators are still using a narrow interpretation of Christian morals to deny services to gay people and appropriate restrooms to people who are transgender.

But the national backlash to religious legislation has become faster and fiercer than ever before

Same fundamental error of the writer not knowing he is religious, added to obligatory State worship which says only the State can solve cultural problems with laws (this is a symptom of late-stage democracies). The author misses the point that people fall away from Christianity because believing sexual license is harmless is much easier.

And they move towards Islam because Muslims are willing say a man dressing up as a woman is a man. Muslims are willing to fight about that and other matters cultural, too. Which is what many (not all) Christian leaders won’t do.

Remember how everybody joked that they ought to ask a Muslim bakery to bake a cake for a gay “wedding”? Ha ha, we said. But did anybody try? One guy did, with hilarious results.

You won’t see Outrage Mobs running around Dearborn anytime soon, or ever, though. Everybody knows the reason why.

——————————————————-

1I heard somebody recently call them “noons”. That is apropos of nothing.

47 Comments

  1. You may be an ambassador to England or France
    You may like to gamble, you might like to dance
    You may be the heavyweight champion of the world
    You may be a socialite with a long string of pearls.

    But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
    You’re gonna have to serve somebody,
    It may be the devil or it may be the Lord
    But you’re gonna have to serve somebody.

    – Bob Dylan – Slow Train Coming album (1979)
    http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/bobdylan/gottaservesomebody.html

  2. What the article correctly states is what Marx predicted a long time ago, namely, that religion is believed as long as people are frightened, stressed and vulnerable to the multitudes of ways of suffering. Once people get rid of many of the shackles of oppression that we are naturally embedded with by merely living in this cruel natural world – filled with diseases, disasters and pain – we would stop deluding ourselves with religion as a psychological soothing of our fears.

    Indeed it happened. Which means that the only way to perpetuate Christianity or Islam is to perpetuate the misery of human condition, something that ISIS seems to intuitively grasp in remarkable fashion. This somewhat points out towards the falsehood of religion itself, although it’s by no means a deduction.

    And it is true what you say regarding the fruits of our traditions. We should be able to respect our feats and our works, namely architecture and so on. But like we can look at the Parthenon and marvel at its long gone beauty, its proportions and the marvel of every detail, we do not need to respect the rites of Athena, and the human sacrifices that were enacted in such places. Again, you are conflating things here. Religion may have played a role in the way architects designed their master pieces in the medieval ages, but it doesn’t mean we have to accept it today because of that.

    IOW, I rather not build another amazing Parthenon if by that I avoid human sacrifices. This point completely nullifies your exasperation. Some things are lost, some others are gained. You might look at the glass and say it is half empty, but I look at the glass and realise that the glass is now a hundred times richer and pollution-free, despite being half-empty.

    And btw, regarding architecture, I don’t know what is happening in your neighborhood, but I can assure you that any random set of the most beautiful buildings that have ever been made in this world were probably made in the last 20 years. I should know, it’s my life.

  3. “And they move towards Islam because Muslims are willing say a man dressing up as a woman is a man. Muslims are willing to fight about that and other matters cultural, too. Which is what many (not all) Christian leaders won’t do.”

    Excellent observation!

    Working counter-terrorism operations around the world, in the decade after 9/11, I was side-by-side with locals, nearly all Muslims. They were working to eradicate the extremists from their own countries–and to find and eliminate al Qaeda, who had carried out the attacks on the US.

    But when I returned to the USA, a couple times a year, and engaged in Republican and “conservative” politics, it was clear that Normal-American social and cultural values, shared to a great extent by Islamic culture, were being subverted. And the subversion included an infiltration of the Republican conservative party by the “neo-conservatives,” whose faith was purely based on war forever against all Islamic countries to create chaos in the Middle East.

    The neo-cons’ foreign sponsor was and is the only beneficiary of this manipulated war-footing. But the most interesting political observation was to see Normal-American conservatives alienating and demonizing virtually the only religious group who shared their social values–family, modesty, hard work, children, normal-marriage, capitalism, education.

    And yet conservatives still are in thrall to the neocon confidence game–the National Review neocons’ conservativism means America fighting forever in the Middle East, while ceding all social and cultural issues. Christian churches are infiltrated by PC-Progressives and the moral and cultural underpinnings of our society are destroyed. A Christian doctor in Maryland describes his thriving abortion practice as his “ministry.” Yet, talk to an American Christian conservative, and you’ll likely hear only about the threat of “Sharia,” and “cultural jihad,” which the neocon influence operation has inserted into the conservative press for the last 10 years.

  4. “And even in the secularizing West, the rash of ‘religious freedom bills’—which essentially decriminalize discrimination—are the latest front in a faith-tinged culture war in the United States that shows no signs of abetting anytime soon.”

    What bunk! First they pass laws declaring something that has never been considered “discrimination” to BE “discirmination.” And then they demonize anyone who thinks and declares what the entire world has always thought and declared (not one culture, one race, one historical era — the ENTIRE WORLD, ALWAYS).

    Have you seen National Geographic’s new “Story of God” show? I just reviewed it for OSV and the review isn’t out yet, but it’s more of the same. Sort of Morgan Freeman wandering around the world looking at stuff and saying “wow, imagine that.” Strictly secular indifferentism. It’s all the same, don’t you know, and it doesn’t matter what you believe or if you believe anything. The first episode ends with Freeman saying that whatever you believe, even if we don’t believe in any religion but just try to make the world a better place, “we can all become eternal, like the stars” — although how that will happen isn’t exactly clear. He also says that we are immortal by being remembered for the good ways we impact others (the bad ways don’t count, I guess)… which means of course that NO ONE except maybe hte Egyptian pharoahs is immortal. Because who remembers anyone after a few decades? It’s silliness dressed up as profundity. Thanks, National Geographic.

  5. Excellent article. Among your many brilliant observations, this one stood out to me:

    “…we’re dealing with a pagan or a post-Christian who is not self-aware.”

    Indeed. A hive filled with altars, orthodoxy and Dogma Which Shall Not Be Questioned.

    “When a man stops believing in God he doesn’t believe in nothing, he believes in anything.” — Apocryphal quote ascribed to G.K. Chesterton

    Less religious? Balderdash. Anyway, when Islam takes over, the mullahs will put a stop to all the petty fights over bathrooms and wedding cakes.

  6. Luis Dias, I beg to disagree with your conclusions about religion. I think that is wishful thinking and if mankind as a whole becomes less religious we can all only hope you are right, as little as I think that is possible. However, I am very curious about your last assertion, having written about architecture for a number of years (although not recently). What would you consider the most beautiful buildings in the world? By sheer number of buildings being built in the past 100 years or so, some of them OUGHT to be very beautiful. I’d like to know, though, which particular recent buildings you think are among the most beautiful ever built. I don’t want to argue with you or anything, I’m genuinely curious.

  7. Many atheists constantly remind people that “no religion is NOT a religion” no matter what National Geographic reports.

    Perhaps National Geographic can report when Muslims impose their will—no, wait, that’s not allowed. The death of National Geographic will occur when the Muslims take over. Apparently, National Geographic lacks the sense to recognize this. And they only think they have seen “discrimination” by religion before. With the most radical Muslims, it’s “my way” or death. Those seem to be the ones taking over. (Visit Sweden for a taste of our future.)

    Carefully defining religion as “worship of one or more superior, unseen beings” can effectively remove worship of Gaia and science from the mix. It’s all in the definitions.

    People gravitate to religion because nothing else gives them purpose. Not everyone, of course, put that is much of the huge pull of Islam to Americans who are running off to join ISIS. American children have nothing in their lives—their parent doesn’t care about them, social media is hollow and often cruel, etc. Even “free” sex loses its appeal very quickly. So they join a group with purpose and a cause, and are willing to die for it. Adults may do so for the same reason—the hopelessness of their lives.

    The conspiracy theories always run rampant, don’t they….Sigh.

    Luis: Guess that explains why Islam is so popular. And why modern architecture lacks beauty.

    Gail Finke: Got rid of satellite years ago. Network TV is enough of a threat to my TV set, which lives in constant fear of a shoe thrown through it in prime time. (Explains why I have an analog TV with a converter box…) I like your final comments. Very clear and pointed.

  8. Luis,
    I’m going to tell you that you have made an error of attribution.
    You know the rest.

    Like all art architecture has moved from the aesthetics of beauty, symmetry,
    and intricacy towards the quick, the cheap and with respect to buildings, the utilitarian.
    Like you, my Brother studied as an architect but is now doing graphic design.
    He went into it thinking he was going to design buildings like the old ones.
    He took it up in part inspired by the monstrosity they put up in Epping.
    There was an overwhelming petition against it but the council built it anyway.
    He was chatting to his lecturer and complaining about why it’s so staggeringly awful. His lecturer smiled and said:
    “It’s one of mine.”
    He got away with it, Probably because he was right.

  9. Walter M. Miller Jr:

    “You heard him say it? ‘Pain’s the only evil I know about.’ You heard that?”
    The monk nodded solemnly.
    “And that society is the only thing that determines whether an act is wrong or not? That too?”
    “Yes.”
    “Dearest God, how did those two heresies get back into the world after all this time? Hell has limited imaginations down there. ‘The serpent deceived me, and I did eat.”

  10. Joy,

    Luis,
    I’m going to tell you that you have made an error of attribution.
    You know the rest.

    That error only applies when one is making sillogisms with propositions that follow logically from A to B. I made it clear that I wasn’t doing any such thing, and so I’ll attribute your complaint to “misreading”, because I’m generous like that. If I weren’t, I’d probably say some less forgiving things about your character.

    Regarding architecture, as I said, I have no idea what is going on in your backyards, I have only the rest of the world to watch. Architecture has always been, quite gracefully, very utilitarian. The difference is of course that in the middle ages only one or two owners had enough money to hire someone knowledgeable of the arts and enough money to buy the kind of stone that would make their buildings last for hundreds if not thousands of years. Even still, such buildings took dozens to hundreds of years to build. Were these kinds of projects done now, they would be belittled as a “waste of money” by conservatives, except if they were done by the church because hey, the church never wastes money that it got through the selling of indulgences (ahem, hello Vatican).

    But like I said, I can appreciate the Vatican without being pro-selling of indulgences, the nasty activity of selling the passage of heaven of your beloved deceased ones from the church itself to the masses that thought everything the priesthood said was absolutely true. I can appreciate the Parthenon without having a taste for the human sacrifice, and so on and so on.

    And likewise, I can appreciate the architecture that is done nowadays, without selling my soul to the nihilistic capitalistic forces that ensure buildings to be at certain densities and heights.

    Gail,

    By sheer number of buildings being built in the past 100 years or so, some of them OUGHT to be very beautiful. I’d like to know, though, which particular recent buildings you think are among the most beautiful ever built. I don’t want to argue with you or anything, I’m genuinely curious.

    That is indeed my reasoning, and you should add to the fact that practically everyone now has access to an architect, which is the totally opposite of what was the case in medieval ages, where only the church, the nobles and some few burgeois had access to such arts. Regarding your request, I’m a bit at a loss, for they are so many. I have stopped memorizing everything that I see every week. My Pinterest account is full with stuff (not particularly with amazing buildings, but interesting solutions). There’s a lot of ugliness to go around to be sure, but there is also a lot of beauty. Perhaps I’m lucky to have been born in a country with a great architectural tradition, that doesn’t eschew tradition nor modernity (since portuguese architecture was always minimalistic by itself), but given what I see in the internets every day, I’m willing to bet that’s hardly the case.

    A list is hard to compile. I haven’t had that particular interest since… well, ever. But let’s see if we can provide an useful one. Start with the Vals thermal spa in Switzerland, but you can go through much of Zumthor’s work, or Alvaro Siza’s, John Pawson, Baeza, and on and on and on. There’s incredible beauty out there, you just need eyes that fail to be cynical, good taste and a lot of curiosity.

  11. Sander van der Wal

    April 29, 2016 at 11:59 am

    Over here these people are called Ietsisten, which translates to Somethingists.

    And it is the Government, not the State, being the Bogeyman.

  12. When “nones” say they aren’t religious they mean they’re not members of ORGANIZED (and abusive) religion, nor worship the pretend Santa-Claus-God of Western religion.
    Some are Transcendentalists, and others simply believe in the religion of the “Golden Rule” which existed long, long, long before Christianity emerged on the spiritual scene.

  13. Luis Dias,
    Why do you claim that the Parthenon was used for human sacrifice? I can’t find any reference to such a use.

    Your use of the term “conservative” reminds me of a quote from Robert Conquest: “Everyone is conservative about what he knows best.” What do you know best Luis?

    Architecture: taking your first choice, Vals thermal spa in Switzerland, as your best example, I find it not so much ugly as depressing. It looks like a prison designed to sap the inmates will to live.

  14. Great description.

    Had to look it up. Here’s a link to a picture of the the prison building:

    http://homeli.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Therme-Vals-spa-by-Peter-Zumthor.jpg

  15. Shecky R: Abusive? Really? I shudder to think what you consider kind if you consider religion abusive.

    I have to throw in with Scotian and Kent: Vals thermal spa is definately depressing in its appearance. Gray and dingy.

  16. It does no good for the Religious Right to assign the word “religion” to the non-religious as an epithet. It makes you look terribly insecure and frustrated.

    Yes, there are lots of creeds and world-views and spiritualities out there. But what we’re seeing in the decline of religion in the developed world is not so much people moving to other “religions” but rather moving away from religion in general – and disavowing rigid ideologies in general (though the RR would again here hypocritically reverse the script). It is the Information Age that is causing this. In the developed world in particular the access to information is exponentially greater than ever before, and the more informed you are, the less likely you are to be religious. For instance, some on the Religious Right have claimed Obama is secretly a Muslim or at least secretly enamored by Islam. I’d bet my nose (the spare I keep in the freezer) the man is not religious at all and only tolerates or feigns religiosity of any kind. Say what you want about Obama, but he is informed.

    I understand why religious people feel the need to call other people religious. It makes them feel less ridiculous, more in common with others, etc. But it makes them look terribly insecure in their own faith.

    JMJ

  17. Briggs

    April 29, 2016 at 12:54 pm

    Kent,

    That looks like the Reeducation Facility where they’re sending the Colorado bakers who refused the gmarriage commission.

  18. JMJ: There is no evidence that the more informed you are, the less religious you are. It may be true (the word may makes that scientific, please note) that the more informed you are, the more likely you are to be enticed by bad behaviour and want to avoid the consequences thereof, including any in the afterlife. Many extremely intelligent people are also religious. Many stupid people are atheists. No correlation nor causality.

    I agree that Obama probably has no religion—he worships himself as a god.

    You do not understand in any way why some people feel the need to call other people religious, but claim to any way. It doesn’t change the reality thereof. You consistently ascribe embarrassment to religious people that does not exist—it is what YOU would feel, not what the religious person feels.

  19. No wonder Luis neglected to include a link to the architecture he considers “beautiful.”

    A bit deeper digging revealed the motto inscribed above the “Spa’s” door:

    http://tse3.mm.bing.net/th?id=OIP.M3190d61d8fb6696a52c4ba146d45f534o0&pid=15.1

    (Ok, /sarc off/)

  20. Luis,
    Thank you for resisting the urge to say something unforgiving things about my character. It wouldn’t be mutual if you did.
    Nimby? I isn’t my e point because I’m not only opining because I don’t want ugly buildings near me. There are ugly buildings everywhere and I try not to notice. When you’re surrounded by ugliness it becomes an effort not to be affected by it.

    Of course there are beautiful modern buildings and structures but they are, it seems to me, copying simple shapes. Their designs are just one shape which makes a statement. The Eden project or the new roof over the terrace of the British Museum; the other rather obvious examples aren’t beautiful they’re just impressive. Impressive is not necessarily beautiful.

    As for architecture being utilitarian because buildings are lived in and not just looked at well it goes without saying. I’m referring to how they look. a box can be throw away or a thing of beauty in itself even though it’s useful. I think the point is that if they are only serving a perfunctory purpose they become ‘a necessary evil’. Why not build a bridge that is beautiful to look at and not depressingly plain and boring? I mean other than that there’s no money to do better?

    Majority tastes prefer older properties, value is retained in period homes all over the world.
    People will forgo location to live in an older home or nearer other older properties.
    Multinational corporations build steel and glass because of funds and trend. Trend is not taste. Trend, I believe, is manufactured. Taste is often expressed self consciously when decided by committee.

    Period homes retain higher value. The ‘grand design’ often lets down the self builder at resale. Perhaps because the majority don’t share their world view and therefore their aesthetic taste.

  21. Sheri and he who must not be named,

    I don’t understand the use of the word “informed” dangling at the end of a sentence. Informed about what? You can be informed about the deplorable condition of the putting green on the fifteenth hole. You can be informed about the quality of the food at a local eatery. You can not be informed period. Maybe this is what makes it safe to claim that Obama is informed since you haven’t specified what he is informed about or who has informed him.

    “…that the more informed you are, the more likely you are to be enticed by bad behaviour and want to avoid the consequences thereof, including any in the afterlife.

    I suppose this is a typo but it brings to mind the discovery that I made recently, which is that many Catholic Priests preach that the vast majority of people, including Catholics, are damned to perdition and only about one in ten thousand are saved. This doesn’t sound like a message that is going to win many converts. I wonder what the Pope’s position is?

  22. I miss YOS/TOF. I’m informed a wasp, or an eliptical machine or a dummy (perhaps the weather) broke his humerus.

    Your religion is simply what you bind yourself to–it is very difficult to escape having a religion. Surely Shecky and the Jersey fellow have failed. I don’t want to meet the man who hasn’t.

  23. Scotian: I was using he who must not be named’s term, which was probably a mistake on my part. My use meant “possessing a large quantity of information about the world”, which may or may not be the same as the other writer.

    Not sure what wasn’t clear in my comment—If one is aware of many different behaviours, it increases the chances one will want to participate in some bad behaviours simply because some are going to appeal to them. If one adopts the atheist position, there are no consequences in the afterlife, so if one can avoid consequences in this life, why not engage in the behaviour? Assuming your statement about Catholic Priests is accurate, I too doubt it will win very many converts.

  24. While the religion of “none” bears many of the marks of religion with its dogmas, mores and eschatology, it would more accurately be described as an entirely ridiculous superstition since it is squarely based on irrational, absurd assumptions.

    The primary absurdity is that all things that exist cause themselves to exist… or, as illogical “philosophers'” snake oil remedies would have it; the cause is a result of the effect. An intricate, indecent perversion of the philosophical notion of “final cause”.

    Any addict of de Chardin’s diabolical egomania will assume that everything is “becoming” by a dialectical competition between the “new” and the “old”. The “new” spontaneously arises (creates itself) as an automatic “improvement” of whatever preceded it. The thing that did not exist is assumed to cause itself to exist.

    This is the main dogma of “none” and of Modernism, both secular and “theological”.

  25. swordfishtrombone

    April 29, 2016 at 6:40 pm

    @ Mr. Briggs: “people fall away from Christianity because believing sexual license is harmless is much easier.”

    No, they just don’t have to become Christians, so they don’t. Or, like me, they just decide the whole thing is basically silly.

    @ Mr. Briggs: “And they move towards Islam because Muslims are willing say a man dressing up as a woman is a man. Muslims are willing to fight about that and other matters cultural, too.”

    Muslims are willing to say a man wearing a burka is a man?! Actually, I think he might get away with it. Having said that, you’re right of course. People move towards Islam because of ‘matters cultural’ and also the threat of torture and death if they don’t.

  26. In the past when Christianity was an accepted dominant player in the public sphere, maybe the majority were weakly religious. Everyone did it. Perhaps there has been no real loss. A similar proportion still think, feel and independently recognise the place of faith in their life. And the same majority still just go along with whatever loud noise blows one way or another.

  27. swordfishtrombone
    “Or, like me, they just decide the whole thing is basically silly.”

    If you can toss around rational concepts and make that decision, then you’ve only identified lesser aspects subtended by the foundations of the religion. You haven’t idenified or addressed the real essence of it.

  28. The trouble for you “Nonists” is this beastly stuff called logic.

    The blardy stuff cannot be re-made to suit every fancy, although contemporary “philosophers” and “scientists” tangle themselves in verbal, conceptual gymnastics trying to accommodate philosophy (science and logic) to contemporary egomaniac presumptions.

    Fads and fashions are remade every day but good and true and logic are what essentials are and for.

    Logic and rationalisation are not equivalent.

  29. Ye Olde Statistician

    April 29, 2016 at 8:11 pm

    Which means that the only way to perpetuate Christianity or Islam is to perpetuate the misery of human condition….

    So that’s why the Christians started the first medical schools, why they pioneered anesthesia (soporific sponges), built the first hospitals and orphanages, pioneered New Farming technologies on their Cistercian model manors, invented ‘civilians’ and ‘rules of war.

    this is too hard to do with only my weak hand. see ya.

    ….it’s by no means a deduction.

  30. It is not just the turning away from Christianity as is discussed above, but the churches themselves have greatly changed. Who today would not feel disturbed by this sermon?

    http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1053&context=etas

    At least Edwards was forthright about his beliefs. No talk of logic here.

  31. swordfishtrombone: I find it fascinating that atheists cannot mention religion without ridiculing it. Must be a huge threat to you. Otherwise, I would think you would merely say it’s not a convincing idea.

    Scotian: Agreed. Churches are not the same today. (I’m pretty sure there are few hellfire and brimstone preachers left—only ones that preach God is more like Barney the Dinosaur.)

  32. swordfishtrombone

    April 30, 2016 at 4:08 am

    @ Gary in Erko

    “If you can toss around rational concepts and make that decision, then you’ve only identified lesser aspects subtended by the foundations of the religion. You haven’t idenified or addressed the real essence of it.”

    I don’t believe that God exists. I’m not sure which more ‘real essence’ there’s supposed to be to religion than that?

  33. swordfishtrombone

    April 30, 2016 at 4:37 am

    @ Sheri

    “I find it fascinating that atheists cannot mention religion without ridiculing it. Must be a huge threat to you. Otherwise, I would think you would merely say it’s not a convincing idea.”

    Using the word ‘silly’ is pretty mild ridicule, I’m not sure how that means that religion must be a ‘huge threat’ to me? Don’t worry, I can assure you I’m not threatened be religion, except muslim suicide bombers, obviously.

  34. You won’t see Outrage Mobs running around Dearborn anytime soon, or ever, though. Everybody knows the reason why.

    Her we go again, Mr. Briggs. Everybody knows the reason. Let’s see if we have the same answers. My answer is the probability that an Outrage Mob ruining around any town is very small, therefore the 1st sentence above. Well, let me add that it will depend on your definition of “Outrage Mobs running around.”

    I found this site http://www.safewise.com/blog/50-safest-cities-michigan/. Though not all crimes are committed by outrage mobs, but the information there might make you less biased.

    Anecdotes that your readers send you and that you see in news media are not good for making any general inferences. You, a statistician to the rats, knew this already. (It seems that your readers like to send you garages (my biased views, evidently), I wonder why. )

  35. swordfishtrombone: If I constantly saids only fools don’t believe in God, you wouldn’t be offended? Great, I’ll remember that. (And still believe you are threatened by religion—science says so. Or at least social science does and you’re a believer in science, aren’t you? As noted, if you were not threatened, you’d simply say it’s not a convincing idea. Any ridicule, even mild, indicates a threat when the person speaking initiates the insult.)

    Your answer to Gary in Erko is actually the answer to your own question, by the way.

  36. This post is partly about speculations as to why Christianity has faded in the West, regardless of whehter one wants to adopt the traditional definition of “religion” or not. Here are my three speculations. (1) It’s God’s or Gods’ will. (2) It’s too crowded in Heaven. (3) Gods’ of various religion are fighting at this moment.

    I’d love to be proven wrong. Please snap some pictures of Heaven and record your conversation with your God.

  37. “garages” hehehe, garbages! A missing letter “b” does matter. This reminds me of a talk on the topic of quality control. The letter “f” was missing in the word “shift” throughout the slides.

  38. swordfishtrombone

    April 30, 2016 at 11:05 am

    @ Sheri

    “If I constantly said only fools don’t believe in God, you wouldn’t be offended? Great, I’ll remember that.”

    No, I wouldn’t be offended at all, although I didn’t say that only fools believe in religion, I said religion is basically silly, which isn’t quite the same thing. I think religious believers are the same as normal people (atheists), they just happen to have grown up without any choice. If you’d been born in Iran to muslim parents, do you think you’d be a Christian? (Wait! Don’t tell me, that’s actually your life story. Big fat bottoms, I just *knew* that’d happen if I used that argument.)

    If you want to have it that I’m threatened by religion, then by all means have it your way. I’m threatened by religion. Muslim suicide bombers no thanks! If you mean threatened as in I think there’s something in it, then no.

  39. “I’d love to be proven wrong. Please snap some pictures of Heaven and record your conversation with your God.”
    Scientism runs rampant, doesn’t it? (That or complete ignorance of religion….)

    swordfishtrombone: Good, I will use the term henceforth.

    No, oh foolish one, that is not my story.

    Being born into a religious family in no way guarantees one will be religious and follow the same beliefs as one’s parents. Children from Christian homes become atheists, I’ve know people to adopt the religion of a spouse, and atheists have been known to become believers (Note Madalyn Murray O’Hair and her son, and some televangelists who’s children declared themselves atheists. Religion is not gotten through one’s parents.).

    I’m just relating the science of behavior. You can ignore the science if you like.

  40. The “nonists” continue to “deal with” the absurdity of their superstition by simply ignoring it… “if-I-don’t-acknowledge-it-it-doesn’t-exist”itis.

    The completely self-contradictory absurd proposal that everything that exists causes itself to exist just because it’s “better” than what didn’t exist before is your founding premise (you’ll never admit it but simply assume it).

    There is a bunch of nut-cases (some even calling themselves “Thomists”) trying to rationalise this nonsense. You should love them with passion.

  41. swordfishtrombone
    “they just happen to have grown up without any choice”

    That reminds me of a short tale in a Groucho Marx biography. While walking down the road with a friend who was a hunchback, as they passed a Synagogue, Groucho said, “I used to be a Jew”. The hunchback replied, “I know what you mean. I used to be a hunchback.”

    In one of your comments your absence of faith is a decision, in another it’s a belief, stated as disbelief. You can decide or believe, sorry, disbelieve, whichever makes you comfortable. Others recognise & identify what matters. It may sound similar to something they were told as children but it’s a genuine adult realisation.

  42. Gary in Erko
    April 30, 2016 at 7:00 pm
    swordfishtrombone
    “they just happen to have grown up without any choice”

    That reminds me of a short tale in a Groucho Marx biography. While walking down the road with a friend who was a hunchback, as they passed a Synagogue, Groucho said, “I used to be a Jew”. The hunchback replied, “I know what you mean. I used to be a hunchback.”

    In one of your comments your absence of faith is a decision, in another it’s a belief, stated as disbelief. You can decide or believe, sorry, disbelieve, whichever makes you comfortable. Others recognise & identify what matters. It may sound similar to something they were told as children but it’s a genuine adult realisation.

    “Absence of Faith” is a curious concept. It seems to imply the lack of some Kierkegaardian leap into some unknown/unknowable darkness.

    I think that’s utterly daft… the kind of “leap of faith” that’s required of Materialists, Modernists, Atheists, Agnostics (a peculiar absurdity that proclaims that the only thing you can know is that you can’t know anything).

    Christianity implies what everyone viscerally already knows; things don’t create themselves; evil is the repudiation of some proper good.

  43. swordfishtrombone

    May 1, 2016 at 11:32 am

    @ Sheri “Being born into a religious family in no way guarantees one will be religious and follow the same beliefs as one’s parents.”

    I *didn’t* say it guarantees it, it’s just far more likely that you’ll become a Catholic if your parents are Catholic than if they’re Muslims. Or vice-versa. The strongest predictor of what religion you’ll follow is what country you’re born in. It’s clearly just not the case that most people follow different religions to their parents, if they did, the middle east would be in much better shape. Or maybe not, come to think of it!

    I don’t think this is in any way controversial, it’s just a fact and the counter-examples you bring up are just exceptions that prove the rule.

  44. swordfishtrombone

    May 1, 2016 at 11:43 am

    @ Gary in Erko

    I’m sure that if I could work out what point you’re making, I’d either agree, disagree or partly agree and partly disagree with you. I hope you have a peaceful Sunday.

  45. swordfishtrombone: I’m not sure it’s valid to compare a religion that is also part of the government and law of the land, as Islam is, to one that is separate from the government as Catholicism is. I believe Islam is taught in schools in the Middle East, whereas virtually all aspects of religion in the US are basically banned in schools (at the Christian beliefs). That alone confounds the issue. Add to this social media and the stranglehold it has on the youth today, and parental input will more than likely decrease further. I think you actually admitted the country you were born in was the most important factor in what religion you follow or don’t, didn’t you?

    My counter-examples were not the exception:

    Pew Research, 2014, shows millenials (born 1990 to 1996) are the largest group of “nones”, at 36%. Their parents, probably in Gen X (1965 to 1980), show only 23% “nones”. That would seem to be a fairly significant decrease among the offspring.

    Another interesting study, much older, is: https://rsc.byu.edu/archived/religion-and-family-connection-social-science-perspectives/chapter-13-familial-influence

    I know there is a belief that parents pass their religion on to their children, but like many beliefs, it doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. There are many additional factors involved. Parents are one of many.

  46. swordfishtrombone

    May 2, 2016 at 4:12 pm

    @ Sheri

    We’re obviously not going to agree on this so we’ll have to just agree that I’m right, I mean agree to disagree. Have a peaceful evening.

  47. swordfishtrombone: Sure, we can agree I’m right—I mean agree to disagree. It’s all just fun with statistics anyway! 🙂

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