Pew study: One in five American adults now have no religious affiliation

posted at 9:51 pm on October 9, 2012 by Allahpundit

It’s a steep climb to respectability, but at the rate we’re going, I think America might be ready for an atheist president within, oh, another hundred years or so.

Openly atheist president, I mean. You-know-who doesn’t count.

In the last five years alone, the unaffiliated have increased from just over 15% to just under 20% of all U.S. adults. Their ranks now include more than 13 million self-described atheists and agnostics (nearly 6% of the U.S. public), as well as nearly 33 million people who say they have no particular religious affiliation (14%)…

However, a new survey by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life, conducted jointly with the PBS television program Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly, finds that many of the country’s 46 million unaffiliated adults are religious or spiritual in some way. Two-thirds of them say they believe in God (68%). More than half say they often feel a deep connection with nature and the earth (58%), while more than a third classify themselves as “spiritual” but not “religious” (37%), and one-in-five (21%) say they pray every day. In addition, most religiously unaffiliated Americans think that churches and other religious institutions benefit society by strengthening community bonds and aiding the poor.

With few exceptions, though, the unaffiliated say they are not looking for a religion that would be right for them. Overwhelmingly, they think that religious organizations are too concerned with money and power, too focused on rules and too involved in politics.

Click the link and start scrolling, as there’s plenty of tasty data to digest. Most unaffiliateds aren’t atheists but neither are they “seekers,” as believers often assume about the nonreligious crowd: Fully 88% of those who say their faith is “nothing in particular” aren’t looking for a religion that’s right for them. This is interesting too:

Five years ago, 38 percent of people who rarely attended services copped to having no religious affiliation. Today it’s 11 points higher. That suggests a change not so much in behavior as in people’s willingness to identify as unaffiliated, which, I suspect, is one legacy of Hitchens, Dawkins, and the capital-A Atheism identity movement. The more publicly acceptable professions of disbelief become, the more comfortable marginal members of a church will be in calling themselves unaffiliated. I’ve seen that happen among people I know, although there seems to be a generational divide: Younger friends who never go to church drift into unaffiliated-ness whereas older ones who never go to church still consider themselves nominally members of the faith. There’s a generational divide in Pew’s data here too, with 34 percent(!) of 18-22 year olds calling themselves unaffiliated versus 15 percent or less of people born before 1964 calling themselves that. Although it seems that has less to do with comparative reluctance in openly identifying that way than it does with more fundamental disagreements over values:

The new Pew Research Center/Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly survey contains some data that can be seen as consistent with this hypothesis. The survey finds that the unaffiliated are concentrated among younger adults, political liberals and people who take liberal positions on same-sex marriage. In addition, two-thirds or more of the unaffiliated say that churches and other religious institutions are too concerned with money and power (70%) and too involved in politics (67%); these views are significantly more common among the unaffiliated than they are in the general public.

That’s the “political backlash” theory of declining religious affiliation; follow the last link for three more. As for the inevitable partisan split, behold:

Unaffiliateds are now the second-biggest religious demographic in the Democratic Party, ahead even of Catholics. Among the total electorate, they split 63/26 between Democrats and the GOP, although 75 percent of them broke for Obama in 2008. They’re significantly more likely to say they’re pro-choice and pro-gay marriage than the American public at large. That’s something to keep an eye on in the years ahead as the parties’ demographic bases evolve. Are we headed to a true “GOP is the religious party, Democrats are the secular party” dynamic? Even more so than now, I mean.


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Would also render him ineligible to teach history, since we have much more documentary evidence re: ancient writings on Jesus than we do on Aristotle. He would have to wipe out the whole of ancient history.
whatcat on October 9, 2012 at 11:24 PM

Lol where the hell did you hear that? You don’t even know how stupid you sound, do you?
Daikokuco on October 9, 2012 at 11:30 PM

One place for you to start:
Manuscript evidence for superior New Testament reliability

Aristotle lived approx 350 BC. However, the earliest copy of his writings that we have comes from A.D.1100, over 1,400 years after his death. It’s simply a matter of dated and documented history. If you can prove otherwise, be my guest.

whatcat on October 9, 2012 at 11:40 PM

There is a god or gods that COULD be, and likely are. What are “made” are the gods Zeus, Yahweh, Allah, Vishnu, etc… It is certainly NOT self evident that the god you imagine exists and “is”, but it’s certainly PLAUSIBLE that there is a god.

You don’t need a god to be good, and you don’t need a religion to know god, and you certainly don’t have to keep wasting your time and energy forwarding a religion founded in our species historical infancy.

If you are convinced that there must be a god – a source of love and life and joy and morality and hope – then keep looking. Yahweh is about the worst candidate for that job that there could possibly be.

Read the bible for more proof of that.

SauerKraut537 on October 9, 2012 at 11:37 PM

Infantile gibberish. Thanks for confessing. :)

tom daschle concerned on October 9, 2012 at 11:42 PM

There’s a real problem in Western Christianity today.
Cleombrotus on October 9, 2012 at 11:29 PM

I agree with your point about those who go to church to be “entertained”. That’s not what a church is for. For that, there’s old Bogie films. :)

whatcat on October 9, 2012 at 11:43 PM

Aristotle lived approx 350 BC. However, the earliest copy of his writings that we have comes from A.D.1100, over 1,400 years after his death. It’s simply a matter of dated and documented history. If you can prove otherwise, be my guest.

whatcat on October 9, 2012 at 11:40 PM

Like I said, you have no idea how damn stupid you sound, do you? And nice “source” on your Jeebus citations. How credible. ROFL.

Daikokuco on October 9, 2012 at 11:46 PM

Lol where the hell did you hear that? You don’t even know how stupid you sound, do you?

Daikokuco on October 9, 2012 at 11:30 PM

Doh. Demonstrating your command of illiteracy again, Dullcuckoo? Take a look at wikiquotes 2010+ on the topic “Christ myth theory”.

Axeman on October 9, 2012 at 11:51 PM

Aristotle lived approx 350 BC. However, the earliest copy of his writings that we have comes from A.D.1100, over 1,400 years after his death. It’s simply a matter of dated and documented history. If you can prove otherwise, be my guest.
whatcat on October 9, 2012 at 11:40 PM

Like I said, you have no idea how damn stupid you sound, do you?
Daikokuco on October 9, 2012 at 11:46 PM

As I said, you were welcome to offer evidence to the contrary. But you were totally unable to meet even that very basic challenge. You failed history – case closed. But thanks for playing anyway. Cheers!

whatcat on October 9, 2012 at 11:55 PM

whatcat on October 9, 2012 at 11:43 PM

Heh.

Well, part of the problem is that there’s no longer anything to compare the current model of Christian expression to. It’s like the old children’s game of telephone where you get 20 kids in a row and the first tells the second a secret who passes it down the line. By the time it reaches the 20 or 21st kid it bears no resemblance at all with what was originally said.

Cleombrotus on October 9, 2012 at 11:56 PM

Mythicism isn’t about treating historical sources in the same way across the board. It is entirely the purview of people with a vendetta against Christianity, although even in such circles there are plenty who do not find it persuasive. And it must be emphasized that it is taken no more seriously among mainstream historians than in Biblical studies.
James F. McGrath, “Mythicism vs. the Socratic Historians”, Exploring Our Matrix, 2010

Axeman on October 9, 2012 at 11:57 PM

i’m sorry for those that don’t even think that Jesus existed…that’s just not true

Virtually all modern scholars of antiquity agree that Jesus existed,[5][6][7][8] and biblical scholars and classical historians regard theories of his non-existence as effectively refuted.[9][10][11] Scholars generally agree that Jesus was a Galilean Jew who was born BC 7–2 and died AD 30–36.[12][13] Most scholars hold that Jesus lived in Galilee and Judea[14][15][16] and that he spoke Aramaic and may have also spoken Hebrew and Greek.[17][18][19][20][21]

from Wikipedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historicity_of_Jesus

r keller on October 9, 2012 at 11:58 PM

Heh.
Well, part of the problem is that there’s no longer anything to compare the current model of Christian expression to. It’s like the old children’s game of telephone where you get 20 kids in a row and the first tells the second a secret who passes it down the line. By the time it reaches the 20 or 21st kid it bears no resemblance at all with what was originally said.
Cleombrotus on October 9, 2012 at 11:56 PM

Also, I think the pop-cultural influence plays a big part. We are told all the time that we should be passively entertained.

whatcat on October 10, 2012 at 12:00 AM

Cleombrotus on October 9, 2012 at 11:56 PM

well, that’s not really true…the canonical gospels were write pretty early on…the oldest within one lifetime of the events…i think 70 or 80 a.d.

r keller on October 10, 2012 at 12:01 AM

Not hard to believe at all. I am from a semi-Protestant but un-religious family who does not attend or pay any attention to church. We believe in the Golden Rule and the Ten Commandments…….but we certainly don’t hold to the Bible. Going to Church has no, zero, zilch, meaning on doing right or wrong. The Church and morality are not the same thing. The Church and doing well by your fellow man are not the same thing. Civility and Faith are not the same thing. Clearly understand that.

I have no serious religious affiliation. I have Judeo-Christian values in general. I do not affiliate with any sect but rather the Judeo-Christian narrative in total.

JoeinTX on October 10, 2012 at 12:02 AM

here’s a cite for Mark being written in AD 70

r keller on October 10, 2012 at 12:05 AM

JoeinTX on October 10, 2012 at 12:02 AM

I’m puzzled how you square this:

I do not affiliate with any sect but rather the Judeo-Christian narrative in total.

With this:

but we certainly don’t hold to the Bible.

The Bible is the Judeo-Christian narrative, no?

whatcat on October 10, 2012 at 12:07 AM

Also, I think the pop-cultural influence plays a big part. We are told all the time that we should be passively entertained.
whatcat on October 10, 2012 at 12:00 AM

Oh, absolutely. The extent to which that affects believers and non-believers alike is incalculable but very real.

For a good treatise on this as it affects Christian and non-Christian thinking, read David Wells’s “No Place For Truth – whatever happened to evangelical theology” on particular Chapter 4, Self-Piety.

Cleombrotus on October 10, 2012 at 12:09 AM

r keller on October 10, 2012 at 12:01 AM

Not really sure what you’re referring to, r. Can you be more specific?

Cleombrotus on October 10, 2012 at 12:11 AM

So you were just making retard assumptions about atheists supposedly finding Jesus when the going got tough then, without any evidence whatsoever of your idiotic claim?

I was giving you the benefit of the doubt that you were speaking from experience. Instead you are just making claims about people you’ve never met and never known and their supposed weakness of conviction. That’s even worse, bub. Who the hell do you think you are?

Daikokuco on October 9, 2012 at 11:01 PM

If I were a priest or a prophet or a much better man than I am, I’d actually pray for you in the belief that redemption and salvation is for one and all. Sadly, I can’t be there where you and some like you and your ilk are concerned. So, in the name of your lord and savior, Satan, f**k off!

TXUS on October 10, 2012 at 12:12 AM

What does that even mean?

Knott Buyinit on October 10, 2012 at 12:14 AM

oh no! there’s no category for agnostic atheist independents? whatever will i do…

kastor on October 10, 2012 at 12:15 AM


Heaven is real, says neurosurgeon who claims to have visited the afterlife

Alexander says he first found himself floating above clouds before witnessing, “transparent, shimmering beings arced across the sky, leaving long, streamer like lines behind them.”

He claims to have been escorted by an unknown female companion and says he communicated with these beings through a method of correspondence that transcended language. Alexander says the messages he received from those beings loosely translated as:

“You are loved and cherished, dearly, forever.”

“You have nothing to fear.”

“There is nothing you can do wrong.”

From there, Alexander claims to have traveled to “an immense void, completely dark, infinite in size, yet also infinitely comforting.” He believes this void was the home of God.

SouthernGent on October 10, 2012 at 12:20 AM

I have no serious religious affiliation. I have Judeo-Christian values in general. I do not affiliate with any sect but rather the Judeo-Christian narrative in total.

JoeinTX
on October 10, 2012 at 12:02 AM

.
Church attendance is irrelevant, Joe’.

Accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior is NOT.

That’s my so-called “litmus test”.

listens2glenn on October 10, 2012 at 12:21 AM

Well, part of the problem is that there’s no longer anything to compare the current model of Christian expression to. It’s like the old children’s game of telephone where you get 20 kids in a row and the first tells the second a secret who passes it down the line. By the time it reaches the 20 or 21st kid it bears no resemblance at all with what was originally said.

Cleombrotus on October 9, 2012 at 11:56 PM

perhaps i was inferring something you didn’t intend. My point is only that the original texts were written shortly after the events. And therefore should have decent fidelity with the events (from a historical point of view)

that, in and of itself, does not confer truth to the transcendent claims…but the textual communications should hold.

I was just reading a review of the Norton books on the KJV of the bible. there were some translation errors but they were corrected 100 years ago.

it has been four hundred years since kjv has been published…and the norton books have lots of annotations etc.

all i’m saying is that we can know pretty well what the texts say…so it is not 20 questions type of thing. the texts were early, so..the only argument is the validity of the

i.e. were they 1. mistaken from the get go or 2. they fabricated the entire story for political etc. purposes.

Or, of course, 3..it is true

r keller on October 10, 2012 at 12:24 AM

Infantile gibberish. Thanks for confessing. :)

tom daschle concerned on October 9, 2012 at 11:42 PM

Talk about infantile! I’m not the one believing in adult fairy tales about this god that could be. :)~

SauerKraut537 on October 10, 2012 at 12:34 AM

r keller on October 10, 2012 at 12:24 AM

Oh, Now I see what you meant.

I should have been a little clearer. I mean in the interpretation and application of the meaning of the text, there are so few examples In their expression . It’s been so diluted by humanistic influences over the years that if a 1st century Christian were to be transported to our time, he’d weep.

Let’s just take, for example, the role of the minister. How is he chosen today? He, like any other professional, goes to an institute of higher learning, gets a degree, and then goes out looking for a job, preferably with benefits.
The congregation that hires him never knew him before the interview and yet they make him their spiritual leader.

Not Biblical.

And let’s not get into what’s being taught in seminaries these days. How that’s been corrupted by Modernism.

Cleombrotus on October 10, 2012 at 12:40 AM

r keller on October 10, 2012 at 12:24 AM

Yes, the Scriptures are accurate but so few really delve into and understand them. It is the rarest of things to go into a church and hear a sermon that isn’t Christianity 101, yet the writer of He Rees was already scolding them back then for staying babes instead of ALL becoming teachers.

Can you imagine that today? An expectation on the part of today’s minsters that all of you in the pews should be doing what I’m doing? Unthinkable today.

Cleombrotus on October 10, 2012 at 12:47 AM

He Rees should read Hebrews. Darned auto correct.

Cleombrotus on October 10, 2012 at 12:48 AM

SouthernGent on October 10, 2012 at 12:20 AM

Matt.24

[Matt 24:26] So, if they say to you, `Lo, he is in the wilderness,’ do not go out; if they say, `Lo, he is in the inner rooms , do not believe it.

Cleombrotus on October 10, 2012 at 12:57 AM

Why is this “Your Mamma loves me” person still permitted to post here? Disagreeing with theism and Christianity is fine, but he only wants to troll and be over the top disrespectful:

That’s a very good start! Now if the rest of you inbred bible thumping wackjob freaks would stop believing in fairy tales about magical sky friends and his gay zombie kid the world would such a better place.

Your Mamma loves me on October 9, 2012 at 10:18 PM

TigerPaw on October 10, 2012 at 1:33 AM

Afterlife exists says top brain surgeon
A prominent scientist who had previously dismissed the possibility of the afterlife says he has reconsidered his belief after experiencing an out of body experience which has convinced him that heaven exists.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/9597345/Afterlife-exists-says-top-brain-surgeon.html

I love things like this because I know how much it irritates atheists.

The Notorious G.O.P on October 10, 2012 at 1:35 AM

Let’s just take, for example, the role of the minister. How is he chosen today? …

Cleombrotus on October 10, 2012 at 12:40 AM

It’s interesting you should bring that up. I’ve been reading blogs by
Christians who came very close to leaving the faith (but did not), and some of them brought up a book or two for sale online about the history of clergy persons. I read summaries of the books content. It was interesting reading. I can’t remember the titles.

But one of the summaries had the author explaining that the rise of a leader (priest/ pastor) as we have them today was an invention after X number of hundred years, that the earliest Christians did not have a preachers in charge of a congregation standing in front of an audience, as is the norm now.

Other books touch on that in a round about way, that one reason (of several) why a lot of faithful Christians have stopped going to church is that they feel there is no role for them, because the entire church thing on Sunday is a big spectator sport, with no role for them. You sit and listen to one guy go on for an hour, but you aren’t given anything to do.

In other churches, that factor of being nothing but a spectator (combined with the “seeker friendly” format), has led to some churches making Sunday morning worship into a big entertainment show (people on stage dancing around, or playing electric guitars to entertain the crowd, it’s thought this stuff will attract new people, or unsaved people), which has caused some (the more mature Christians who want more out of a church) to leave.

TigerPaw on October 10, 2012 at 1:39 AM

The Notorious G.O.P on October 10, 2012 at 1:35 AM

There was a similar story in a recent issue of Christian magazine of Guideposts, but it was about a female doctor.

TigerPaw on October 10, 2012 at 1:40 AM

And let’s not get into what’s being taught in seminaries these days. How that’s been corrupted by Modernism.

Cleombrotus on October 10, 2012 at 12:40 AM

sorry for the long delay in responding…but yeah, agree

r keller on October 10, 2012 at 1:44 AM

So basically you are saying what drives people to embrace religion is the fact that they are cowardly pieces of crap that refuse to face the cold hard fact of reality. They are sad sacks that will go to any pathetic length to justify the existence of some absurd paradigm as long as it gives them comfort when they’ve suffered some trauma. Nice. You make a great spokesman for irreligiosity.

Daikokuco on October 9, 2012 at 10:26 PM

That was very rude.

I’ve had no choice but to face a few very “harsh realities of life” the last few years, including the death of someone very close to me, and I’ve struggled with my faith at times afterwards (due to that death and some other things), wondering if God is really there, or if He really exists (I still believe in God).

For you to spout off so disrespectfully towards any and all who believe in God, and to cheapen any pain we’ve gone through as you did, is disgusting and unfeeling. I don’t care how condescending you may have found the guy’s post you were replying to, you just insulted every believer in general.

And what’s it to you if some people do find belief in God a comfort when they’ve gone trough a trauma? It’s a better coping mechanism than turning to drugs, alcohol, or other things like that. It’s not harming you that I find comfort in turning to God, and trusting in Him.

TigerPaw on October 10, 2012 at 1:51 AM

There is no evidence that Jesus existed. Has nothing to do with being closer in time.

Dante on October 9, 2012 at 10:59 PM

Yes, there is evidence Jesus existed – only one fruit loop atheist guy I’m aware of (and maybe one or two others I’ve seen in the past 15 years) disputes that evidence.

Most other atheists agree Jesus did exist and are embarrassed by the ones who say He did not, because it’s like saying Napoleon Bonaparte did not exist.

Here is a link to a British radio talk show called “Unbelievable” (you can listen to it online) of an American Christian guy debating an atheist who says “Jesus never existed”
Unbelievable? 2 May 2009 “Did Jesus exist?” “Did Jesus Exist?” – Apologist JP Holding & Atheist Ken Humphreys debate

At least I hope that is the correct show. If it is not, just click around until you find it.

There’s another show similar (same radio show, on the same site):
Unbelievable? 18 August 2012 Did Jesus Exist? Bart Ehrman Q&A

TigerPaw on October 10, 2012 at 2:02 AM

Can you imagine that today? An expectation on the part of today’s minsters that all of you in the pews should be doing what I’m doing? Unthinkable today.

Cleombrotus on October 10, 2012 at 12:47 AM

But one of the summaries had the author explaining that the rise of a leader (priest/ pastor) as we have them today was an invention after X number of hundred years, that the earliest Christians did not have a preachers in charge of a congregation standing in front of an audience, as is the norm now.

Other books touch on that in a round about way, that one reason (of several) why a lot of faithful Christians have stopped going to church is that they feel there is no role for them, because the entire church thing on Sunday is a big spectator sport, with no role for them. You sit and listen to one guy go on for an hour, but you aren’t given anything to do.

TigerPaw on October 10, 2012 at 1:39 AM

In the context of the current campaign, since people sometimes ask what goes on in Mormon churches: the Latter-day Saints have no paid clergy on the local level (wards and stakes), all ministers (bishops and stake presidents) serve as volunteers and are “rotated out” after a certain length of time and replaced with other members of the congregation; all of the Sunday “sermons” (2 or 3 twenty-minute talks per service) are given by members of the congregation, including women, men, youth, and children; music leaders and organists are not paid; leaders and teachers in all of the auxiliaries (Sunday School, women’s Relief Society, children’s Primary, and the Youth programs) trade assignments around so that most people get a chance to serve in almost all of the organizations at some time; and members take turns cleaning their own buildings.
And Sunday meetings last for three hours –

AesopFan on October 10, 2012 at 2:09 AM

What I argue against are the poor representations of the god that could be, ie Yahweh, Allah, Adonai, insert mythological god here.

I wish people would grow up and get a better understanding of the god that could be and quit wasting their times sitting in pews listening to poorly thought out theological dogma/drivel.

SauerKraut537 on October 9, 2012 at 10:50 PM

So… you get to define who and what God is like, and how and when He communicates with his creation?

So you’re basically inventing a god of your own (idolatry), and one of your own liking who probably approves of all the stuff you approve of and one who disagrees with everything you disagree with.

I would agree that quite a bit of sermons today can probably be classified as “poorly thought out” etc, but that’ due more to pastors “dumbing down” Christian teaching so as to attract the “seekers,” but it’s this consistently watered-down, light-weight preaching (and other factors) that is causing many mature Christians to stop going to local churches (home churches have caught on).

You said,

As I’ve said before, gods impregnating virgins and angels whispering to prophets in caves is just infantile.

Why? I don’t see anything “infantile” about any of that.

As for the Virgin Mary – that was in part due to the fulfillment of prophecy.

How do you want God to talk to the prophet in the cave (I think that was Jeremiah?) Was God supposed to use a cell phone, a megaphone, or send Marcel Marceau back in time to mime a message to the prophet?

TigerPaw on October 10, 2012 at 2:17 AM

Gee just think if everybody started believing in the power of a clean brain. You know, just like the kind that doesn’t empirically appear to have done Duh-cuckoo or Sourpatch much good.

Just believe in the unlimited–but unexhibited–power of the antiseptic spotless brain. Always believe in the power of a clean mind. Forget that these guys are often out of their depths once non-cartoon history comes into a discussion. History is sloppy. Give them a good Andrew White Dickson narrative!

And believe in godless triumphalism.

I tell you the 20s and 30s were relatively apostate, and were reversed by the Back To Church movement at the end of WWII (which is the matrix for the new movement of “conservatism”, btw). No, you must believe that current trends with the new, young hipsters who know where things are at (but not history, evidently) are linear trajectories, with everybody’s brains getting cleaner and cleaner, forever, Amen.

Forget that anti-teleologically, a brain is whatever it does. That it’s only a “thinking mechanism” to the extent that it thinks. That Darwinistically, the only test is whether or not the variation survives. Unfortunately for the clean-brain cause, it seems that enough of us dirty-brains survive that they lack a case as to what a brain is supposed to do besides what it already does, if the host survives.

Alas, poor, clean-brains, I argue better in your milieu than you do. Awww.

Axeman on October 10, 2012 at 2:35 AM

Please! Affiliation is not a living faith. Sandra Fluke has a religious affiliation.

Don L on October 10, 2012 at 3:43 AM

TigerPaw on October 10, 2012 at 2:17 AM

Hint: relax a bit.

The one’s who believe in God the most are the very ones that attack Him and belittle Him the most. They know all too well that He exists, but the just reject following Him and therefore, must eliminate (through ridicule and insult) those that do, who by their faith, remind them of their folly and their future.

Notice, they don’t attack fictional myths like vampires as fraudulent, because they don’t exist and we all know that, but God–the way they choose to live doesn’t jive well with Him so….

Don L on October 10, 2012 at 3:50 AM

TigerPaw on October 10, 2012 at 1:39 AM

It’s net effect is to hold down those in the congregation who actually DO have the wisdom and leadership gifts. The church has been effectively neutered by the invention of the professionalized clergy. It is not from heaven, that’s for sure.

But, as it says in Jetemiah, “My people love to have it so, but what will you do when the end comes?”

Cleombrotus on October 10, 2012 at 4:34 AM

AesopFan on October 10, 2012 at 2:09 AM

Well, look, I’m not interested in starting an inter-denominational flame war but let’s not make the other mistake of thinking that if we somehow get the form right it won’t matter if our Theology is off.

Cleombrotus on October 10, 2012 at 4:39 AM

The congregation that hires him never knew him before the interview and yet they make him their spiritual leader.
Not Biblical.

That’s pretty much how the Apostle Paul got his gig in all the earliest Churches.

tommyboy on October 10, 2012 at 4:52 AM

There is no evidence that Jesus existed. Has nothing to do with being closer in time.
Dante on October 9, 2012 at 10:59 PM

There is more tangible evidence that Jesus lived than there is for the existance of Alexander the Great, Hannibal, Julius Caesar, Marc Antony or Cleopatra.

tommyboy on October 10, 2012 at 4:58 AM

I find it interesting that what is happening in the American Christian Church and event the sentiments expressed on this thread are exactly what Paul predicted would happen, exactly.

tommyboy on October 10, 2012 at 5:04 AM

They might be more open to self identify as such now, but I doubt the actual percentage has moved much in the past 50 years.

Besides, their reproduction rate is dismal.

Norwegian on October 9, 2012 at 10:16 PM

Considering how charming, pleasant, and emotionally mature the typical atheist is, Daikokuco being an excellent example of what I’m talking about, I cannot for the life of me understand why these happy, well-adjusted atheists aren’t spreading their joy around, and having more kids!

Anti-Control on October 10, 2012 at 5:23 AM

Atheism means never having to prove you’re not a hypocrit.

DethMetalCookieMonst on October 10, 2012 at 7:29 AM

Yeah, because they believe their future is in their own hands. Unlike your sorry “god-fearing” ass, who actually thinks there’s some dude out there listening to your self-serving personal requests to advance yourself and your “loved ones”. You have the exact same mentality as some welfare POS, except you are asking some fabricated entity for handouts instead of an actual government. Grow the eff up. Still, you’re better than the actual welfare seekers who beg the government for handouts, since you are just messing around in the realm of fantasy. Too bad so many of your Christian so-con leaders like Mike Huckabee want to use the force of government to achieve their “Christian” goals, though.

Daikokuco on October 9, 2012 at 10:22 PM

Wow. Big Anti-Depressents and Hot Topic must get a whole lot of business from you.

DethMetalCookieMonst on October 10, 2012 at 7:31 AM

I just hope that a good chunk of those “unaffilated” join atheistic conservatives like me so we can take back our party from the hijacking of the evangicals that Goldwater predicted.

Grindstone on October 10, 2012 at 7:35 AM

The congregation that hires him never knew him before the interview and yet they make him their spiritual leader.
Not Biblical.
That’s pretty much how the Apostle Paul got his gig in all the earliest Churches.
tommyboy on October 10, 2012 at 4:52 AM

You keep tellIng yourself that, Sherlock.

Before Paul came around in Asia Minor, there WEREN’T any churches.

Cleombrotus on October 10, 2012 at 7:45 AM

It’s perfectly predictable that a thread such as this would instantly be swarming with the most vile bigots that lurk here on Hot Gas, so I’m not going to bother trying to reason them out of positions they hold out of pure hate and malice, but I will note just how utterly ridiculous and ahistorical that statement is. Plenty of atheists and agnostics point to well-documented *evidence* that Jesus was a real man who lived in Jerusalem roughly 2000 years ago and all of that. They may not believe he was a divine being, but there’s actually a LOT more hard, historical and scientific evidence (thus not counting scriptural accounts and spiritual evidence) of the existence of Jesus than there is of many other figures whose place in history we take for granted.

CanofSand on October 9, 2012 at 11:06 PM

There is nothing hateful in saying there is no historical evidence (no evidence at all) that Jesus existed. Not one single piece of historical evidence.

Dante on October 10, 2012 at 7:57 AM

You keep tellIng yourself that, Sherlock.

No, the Bible tells me that.

Before Paul came around in Asia Minor, there WEREN’T any churches.

Cleombrotus on October 10, 2012 at 7:45 AM

Which affirms my original point, Einstein.

tommyboy on October 10, 2012 at 7:58 AM

One place for you to start:
Manuscript evidence for superior New Testament reliability

whatcat on October 9, 2012 at 11:40 PM

LOL.

No.

Dante on October 10, 2012 at 8:01 AM

i’m sorry for those that don’t even think that Jesus existed…that’s just not true

Virtually all modern scholars of antiquity agree that Jesus existed,[5][6][7][8] and biblical scholars and classical historians regard theories of his non-existence as effectively refuted.[9][10][11] Scholars generally agree that Jesus was a Galilean Jew who was born BC 7–2 and died AD 30–36.[12][13] Most scholars hold that Jesus lived in Galilee and Judea[14][15][16] and that he spoke Aramaic and may have also spoken Hebrew and Greek.[17][18][19][20][21]

from Wikipedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historicity_of_Jesus

r keller on October 9, 2012 at 11:58 PM

Where is the historical evidence?

Dante on October 10, 2012 at 8:03 AM

Where is the historical evidence?
Dante on October 10, 2012 at 8:03 AM

It’s the same historical evidence there is for any person from antiquity just tons and tons more of it.

tommyboy on October 10, 2012 at 8:05 AM

tommyboy on October 10, 2012 at 7:58 AM

No, I’m afraid it doesn’t. In order for a congregation to “hire” someone, it has to exist first. All the churches in Asia Minor, that is, the Gentile churches, we’re STARTED by Paul. They didn’t “hire” him.

Cleombrotus on October 10, 2012 at 8:07 AM

Dante on October 10, 2012 at 8:03 AM

Not going to get into this with you any further than this, Dante, but the time for questioning Jesus’s existence would have been in the 1st century, not 21 centuries later.

Ironically, most of the participants in the Jesus Seminar, from which this particular objection has its genesis are…guess what?….CLERGYMEN!!!

LOL.

Cleombrotus on October 10, 2012 at 8:13 AM

No, I’m afraid it doesn’t. In order for a congregation to “hire” someone, it has to exist first. All the churches in Asia Minor, that is, the Gentile churches, we’re STARTED by Paul. They didn’t “hire” him.
Cleombrotus on October 10, 2012 at 8:07 AM

The hired him by allowing him to organize them into a Church. They hired him by accepting the Gospel he preached and gathering to continuing listing to the truth. The hired him by accepting the Elders he appointed to continue the Church after he left. Duhhhhh. That’s not that hard to understand.

tommyboy on October 10, 2012 at 8:13 AM

Ironically, most of the participants in the Jesus Seminar, from which this particular objection has its genesis are…guess what?….CLERGYMEN!!!
Cleombrotus on October 10, 2012 at 8:13 AM

And we were specifically warned about this type of false “clergymen” by Jesus, Paul, Peter, John and Jude. We were told they are not regenerate and to avoid them at all costs. Bible right again.

tommyboy on October 10, 2012 at 8:15 AM

tommyboy on October 10, 2012 at 8:13 AM

I don’t think “hire” means what you think it means.

Cleombrotus on October 10, 2012 at 8:22 AM

tommyboy on October 10, 2012 at 8:15 AM

Yes, agreed.

It’s significant that, of all the things He warns about as indicators of His return, in Matt. 24, etc. the very first thing He states is a warning to not be deceived and then warns of that 4 times as many times as all other indicators.

If you had asked me 30 years ago why I believed He was returning soon, I would have pointed out that the Jews were back in Israel and particularly in Jerusalem. But today it’s the proliferation of false teachings, charlatans masquerading as teachers, and lukewarm commitment, in the churches.

Cleombrotus on October 10, 2012 at 8:27 AM

There is more tangible evidence that Jesus lived than there is for the existance of Alexander the Great, Hannibal, Julius Caesar, Marc Antony or Cleopatra.

tommyboy on October 10, 2012 at 4:58 AM

There is no tangible evidence for the existence of Jesus.

Dante on October 10, 2012 at 8:29 AM

It’s the same historical evidence there is for any person from antiquity just tons and tons more of it.

tommyboy on October 10, 2012 at 8:05 AM

No. Where is the historical evidence?

Dante on October 10, 2012 at 8:30 AM

I don’t think “hire” means what you think it means.
Cleombrotus on October 10, 2012 at 8:22 AM

It means to retain the services of someone, which is exactly what the first Churches did with regard to Paul. The fact he refused to accept a salary is immaterial as he specifically said he was entitled to be paid (“the worker is worth of his hire”) He but he chose not to. Interesting that Paul used the word hire for how he came to be leader of these churches. Try again.

tommyboy on October 10, 2012 at 8:32 AM

No. Where is the historical evidence?
Dante on October 10, 2012 at 8:30 AM

Eyewitness testimony. The only historical evidence we have for anyone from antiquity.

tommyboy on October 10, 2012 at 8:34 AM

tommyboy on October 10, 2012 at 8:32 AM

You can’t possibly be equating the way Paul acquired the headship of those churches with the way modern ministers acquire it today.

You can’t possibly.

Cleombrotus on October 10, 2012 at 8:43 AM

Eyewitness testimony. The only historical evidence we have for anyone from antiquity.

tommyboy on October 10, 2012 at 8:34 AM

There is no eyewitness testimony for the existence of Jesus.

Dante on October 10, 2012 at 8:50 AM

Eyewitness testimony. The only historical evidence we have for anyone from antiquity.

tommyboy on October 10, 2012 at 8:34 AM

Besides, eyewitness testimony is not the only evidence from antiquity. Government records, for example, would be historical evidence.

Dante on October 10, 2012 at 8:53 AM

One place for you to start:
Manuscript evidence for superior New Testament reliability
whatcat on October 9, 2012 at 11:40 PM

LOL.
No.
Dante on October 10, 2012 at 8:01 AM

As I said to another commenter who also had difficulty accepting the mountain of historical evidence, you’re most welcome to offer up evidence to the contrary.
Or, you can – as he did – write off all of ancient history. As I told that poor soul before he ran off:
Aristotle lived approx 350 BC. However, the earliest copy of his writings that we have comes from A.D.1100, over 1,400 years after his death. It’s simply a matter of dated and documented history.
Your evidence to the contrary should be interesting. Shooting messengers only lowers your grade. Good luck.

whatcat on October 10, 2012 at 8:54 AM

Dante on October 10, 2012 at 8:50 AM

Tommyboy, ignore this guy.

Please.

Cleombrotus on October 10, 2012 at 8:54 AM

You can’t possibly be equating the way Paul acquired the headship of those churches with the way modern ministers acquire it today.
You can’t possibly.
Cleombrotus on October 10, 2012 at 8:43 AM

Correct, I’m not. Glad to see you have at least some superficial ability to grasp the obvious. I am comparing it to the elements you criticized (” The congregation that hires him never knew him before the interview and yet they make him their spiritual leader.
Not Biblical.”)by showing those same elements were present even for the Churches Paul stated. But in Paul’s case it was more exteme because they had not only never heard of him before but had never even heard the Gospel he preached before, yet still retained him as their spiritual leader.

tommyboy on October 10, 2012 at 8:54 AM

tommyboy on October 10, 2012 at 8:54 AM

C’mon, my friend. Interview, brother, Interview as in applying for a job .

Today’s ministers answer ads in newspapers and online job placement references in order to secure their positions. The last church I attended with any regularity spent two years searching out candidates for the position.

The very notion of such a thing would have been foreign to their mindset in the 1st century.

Cleombrotus on October 10, 2012 at 9:00 AM

In the context of the current campaign, since people sometimes ask what goes on in Mormon churches:
AesopFan on October 10, 2012 at 2:09 AM

Interesting, thanks for the info – you’re LDS, I assume? In many ways, it’s somewhat how the “Plymouth Brethren” churches are set up and go about “business”. Except PBs are fundamentalist evangelical Christians and have no central national leadership.

whatcat on October 10, 2012 at 9:06 AM

Tommyboy, today’s ministers become their spiritual leaders IN ONE DAY, by signing a contract!

Cleombrotus on October 10, 2012 at 9:06 AM

Are we headed to a true “GOP is the religious party, Democrats are the secular party” dynamic?

The GOP is principled in their views regarding limited constitutional government, the 2nd Amendment, property rights and rule of law. This is unlikely to change and, in my view, it is their “firewall” against their epistemologically destabilizing and confusing approach toward other issues like gay marriage and abortion.

I think those who de-emphasize religion in their lives are more likely to identify with the GOP “firewall” positions because they are principled positions. The new non-religious were adherents to edicts and though edicts are not principles, they are similar in that both are absolutes. The new non-religious may abandon their affiliations but, they will not also give up their sense that absolutes exists. Therefore they will more likely identify with the GOP than a Democrat party which relies on moral relativism (i.e. no absolutes) to validate just about their entire political platform.

So I think it’s the Dems that will be, in a more fundamental sense, the religious party. Come to think of it, given that same fundamental understanding of religion, I think they are quite religious today, even.

beselfish on October 10, 2012 at 9:08 AM

But you’re missing the point, anyway. My citing the hiring of ministers was merely one example of how bad it is in the Western churches today. If that were the only problem I wouldn’t even have mentioned it.

Cleombrotus on October 10, 2012 at 9:09 AM

It means to retain the services of someone, which is exactly what the first Churches did with regard to Paul. The fact he refused to accept a salary is immaterial as he specifically said he was entitled to be paid (“the worker is worth of his hire”) He but he chose not to. Interesting that Paul used the word hire for how he came to be leader of these churches. Try again.
tommyboy on October 10, 2012 at 8:32 AM

Paul kept his “day job” – making tents. He received gifts, money and “in kind”, from all the churches to keep up his missionary work.

whatcat on October 10, 2012 at 9:15 AM

The new non-religious may abandon their affiliations but, they will not also give up their sense that absolutes exists. Therefore they will more likely identify with the GOP than a Democrat party which relies on moral relativism (i.e. no absolutes) to validate just about their entire political platform.

Interesting points.

So I think it’s the Dems that will be, in a more fundamental sense, the religious party. Come to think of it, given that same fundamental understanding of religion, I think they are quite religious today, even.
beselfish on October 10, 2012 at 9:08 AM

Yup – I’d say Liberalism is their religious belief.

whatcat on October 10, 2012 at 9:18 AM

selfish on October 10, 2012 at 9:08 AM

While I would like to agree with you, the extremely vocal religious elements, as well as the strong push for social conservativism, is what pushes many of these young “unafilliated” away.

Grindstone on October 10, 2012 at 9:21 AM

While I would like to agree with you, the extremely vocal religious elements, as well as the strong push for social conservativism, is what pushes many of these young “unafilliated” away.
Grindstone on October 10, 2012 at 9:21 AM

I believe you’re confusing cause and effect here, Grindstone.

Cleombrotus on October 10, 2012 at 9:26 AM

While I would like to agree with you, the extremely vocal religious elements, as well as the strong push for social conservativism, is what pushes many of these young “unafilliated” away.
Grindstone on October 10, 2012 at 9:21 AM

So you’re saying they hold liberal positions and are anti-religious bigots? Why then would they be part of the Conservative movement to even begin with?

whatcat on October 10, 2012 at 9:29 AM

I believe you’re confusing cause and effect here, Grindstone.

Cleombrotus on October 10, 2012 at 9:26 AM

Explain.

Grindstone on October 10, 2012 at 9:29 AM

I believe you’re confusing cause and effect here, Grindstone.
Cleombrotus on October 10, 2012 at 9:26 AM

Yup, my point.

whatcat on October 10, 2012 at 9:30 AM

I believe you’re confusing cause and effect here, Grindstone.
Cleombrotus on October 10, 2012 at 9:26 AM

Explain.
Grindstone on October 10, 2012 at 9:29 AM

Square pegs trying to fit in round holes, simply put.

whatcat on October 10, 2012 at 9:33 AM

So you’re saying they hold liberal positions and are anti-religious bigots? Why then would they be part of the Conservative movement to even begin with?

whatcat on October 10, 2012 at 9:29 AM

Because the original conservative movement was not a religious movement. That has occured only fairly recently, in the last 40-50 years.

Non-affiliated/atheistic does not equal anti-religious. Many are happy to ignore whatever religion someone wants to practice, so long as it is not legislated on the rest of us.

Wanting a small government and strict interpretation of the Constitution is not a liberal position.

Grindstone on October 10, 2012 at 9:35 AM

C’mon, my friend. Interview, brother, Interview as in applying for a job .

And what do think Paul went through when he was planting Churches? He was bombared with questions (which he answered) from potential congregants. In fact the Bereans, as part of their interview process, “studied the scriptures every day” to determine if Paul’s message was consistent with scripture. It’s the same equivilent. Further, the ways Churches select new Pastors are as varied as the litergies they use. I know my Church, the last time a Pastor was hired, interviewed literally hundreds of candidates. and once they had narrowed it down to a half dozen or so went to watch them preach more than once, reviewed every writing they had ever published, distributed CD roms of their sermons to the congregation and collected dozens of referrals and comments from former congregants and associates. The whole time they also stayed focused like a laser beam on the qualifications listed in 1 Timothy and Titus.

tommyboy on October 10, 2012 at 9:35 AM

Square pegs trying to fit in round holes, simply put.

whatcat on October 10, 2012 at 9:33 AM

So are you saying that wanting a small government, strict interpretation of the Constitution, fiscial responsibility are not conservative planks?

Grindstone on October 10, 2012 at 9:36 AM

Square pegs trying to fit in round holes, simply put.
whatcat on October 10, 2012 at 9:33 AM

So are you saying that wanting a small government, strict interpretation of the Constitution, fiscial responsibility are not conservative planks?
Grindstone on October 10, 2012 at 9:36 AM

No – what I’m saying is – that if I were pro-abortion and thought religion was for fools, then which party would I latch on to?
I believe that is the “confusing cause and effect” to which Cleombrotus was referring.

whatcat on October 10, 2012 at 9:52 AM

I look forward to Heaven, no liberals.

royzer on October 10, 2012 at 9:55 AM

tommyboy on October 10, 2012 at 9:35 AM

OK, Tommyboy. I’m finished with the topic.

Cleombrotus on October 10, 2012 at 9:55 AM

I believe you’re confusing cause and effect here, Grindstone.
Cleombrotus on October 10, 2012 at 9:26 AM
Explain.
Grindstone on October 10, 2012 at 9:29 AM

The effect is that they move away from the conservative positions but the cause is that their worldview or means of interpreting reality has been changed.

You make it seem as if the social/ political/ religious aspects of the conservative party is what is at fault. It’s a subtle sleight of hand that obscures the real issue and that is that young people have been systematically robbed of a transcendant view of reality and therefore THAT is the reason they no longer agree with the conservative viewpoint.

Cleombrotus on October 10, 2012 at 10:01 AM

Square pegs trying to fit in round holes, simply put.
whatcat on October 10, 2012 at 9:33 AM

.
So are you saying that wanting a small government, strict interpretation of the Constitution, fiscial responsibility are not conservative planks?
Grindstone on October 10, 2012 at 9:36 AM

.
False “choice”.

We aren’t limited to just one side or just the other side.

listens2glenn on October 10, 2012 at 10:03 AM

No – what I’m saying is – that if I were pro-abortion and thought religion was for fools, then which party would I latch on to?
I believe that is the “confusing cause and effect” to which Cleombrotus was referring.

whatcat on October 10, 2012 at 9:52 AM

If I were pro-choice and thought religion was for fools, but also thought that government isn’t a charity or a big brother, which party would I latch on to?

You make it seem as if the social/ political/ religious aspects of the conservative party is what is at fault. It’s a subtle sleight of hand that obscures the real issue and that is that young people have been systematically robbed of a transcendant view of reality and therefore THAT is the reason they no longer agree with the conservative viewpoint.

Cleombrotus on October 10, 2012 at 10:01 AM

And how are young people “systematically robbed of a transcendant view of reality”?

Grindstone on October 10, 2012 at 10:07 AM

The effect is that they move away from the conservative positions but the cause is that their worldview or means of interpreting reality has been changed.
Cleombrotus on October 10, 2012 at 10:01 AM

Dang, you used the big word I couldn’t think up this early in the day.
:D

I would just add if they started out from those perspectives (instead of “changed”), they took a wrong turn from the get-go and they signed on with the wrong party.

whatcat on October 10, 2012 at 10:11 AM

We aren’t limited to just one side or just the other side.

listens2glenn on October 10, 2012 at 10:03 AM

Then why the metaphorical answers, rather than directly answering the question?

Grindstone on October 10, 2012 at 10:12 AM

No – what I’m saying is – that if I were pro-abortion and thought religion was for fools, then which party would I latch on to?
I believe that is the “confusing cause and effect” to which Cleombrotus was referring.
whatcat on October 10, 2012 at 9:52 AM

If I were pro-choice and thought religion was for fools, but also thought that government isn’t a charity or a big brother, which party would I latch on to?
Grindstone on October 10, 2012 at 10:07 AM

I asked first.

whatcat on October 10, 2012 at 10:13 AM

So are you saying that wanting a small government, strict interpretation of the Constitution, fiscial responsibility are not conservative planks?

Grindstone on October 10, 2012 at 9:36 AM

.
False “choice”.

We aren’t limited to just one side or just the other side.

listens2glenn
on October 10, 2012 at 10:03 AM

.
Put a different way:

“Fiscal conservatism” (using your terms) is just as based on morality as so called “social conservatism.”

“Social conservatism” is just as mathematically logical as “fiscal conservatism.”

They aren’t even “different sides of the same coin”.
They are the SAME. Period.

listens2glenn on October 10, 2012 at 10:17 AM

And how are young people “systematically robbed of a transcendant view of reality”?

Grindstone on October 10, 2012 at 10:07 AM

It’s complicated and complex but the gist of it is that, today, the average person absorbs his or her philosophy from the cultural miasma they swim in – from the films, books, newspaper and magazine articles they read and, in the case of today’s young, increasingly from the academic environment they are obligated to attend.

Very few are disciplined, as they used to be, to think critically with a view of arriving at truth. Instead, with the ascendancy of a humanistic worldview infecting all aspects of the dominant culture, the young are unaware that their “philosophy” has been imposed ON them and they interpret reality from that perspective rather than one in which they’ve arrived at themselves through scrupulous and disciplined study.

Cleombrotus on October 10, 2012 at 10:25 AM

No – what I’m saying is – that if I were pro-abortion and thought religion was for fools, then which party would I latch on to?
I believe that is the “confusing cause and effect” to which Cleombrotus was referring.
whatcat on October 10, 2012 at 9:52 AM

If I were pro-choice and thought religion was for fools, but also thought that government isn’t a charity or a big brother, which party would I latch on to?
Grindstone on October 10, 2012 at 10:07 AM

I asked first.

whatcat on October 10, 2012 at 10:13 AM

Fair enough. If pro-choice and anti-religion were my only politics, I would tend to vote Democratic.

Now, my question?

Put a different way:

“Fiscal conservatism” (using your terms) is just as based on morality as so called “social conservatism.”

“Social conservatism” is just as mathematically logical as “fiscal conservatism.”

They aren’t even “different sides of the same coin”.
They are the SAME. Period.

listens2glenn on October 10, 2012 at 10:17 AM

I don’t see the connection between wanting a government that doesn’t run up massive amounts of debt and wanting a goverment that bans/dictates private behavior.

Grindstone on October 10, 2012 at 10:25 AM

whatcat on October 10, 2012 at 10:11 AM

Well, yes, you are technically correct in that they start out from this position. But they do this unwittingly, in most cases, due to the philosophical environment which has been changed.

Prior to the late 1960′s, all of our laws, customs, and mores were derived from a Biblical perspective. That began to officially change with the removal of Bible reading and prayers from the schools in 1962-63.

If the church had been unified back then, the result of those rings would have been for every achristian parent to remove their children from public schools. That they did not, just established it.

Cleombrotus on October 10, 2012 at 10:32 AM

It’s complicated and complex but the gist of it is that, today, the average person absorbs his or her philosophy from the cultural miasma they swim in – from the films, books, newspaper and magazine articles they read and, in the case of today’s young, increasingly from the academic environment they are obligated to attend.

Very few are disciplined, as they used to be, to think critically with a view of arriving at truth. Instead, with the ascendancy of a humanistic worldview infecting all aspects of the dominant culture, the young are unaware that their “philosophy” has been imposed ON them and they interpret reality from that perspective rather than one in which they’ve arrived at themselves through scrupulous and disciplined study.

Cleombrotus on October 10, 2012 at 10:25 AM

First off, I don’t see how a humanistic worldview can be a negative thing.
Second, what about those that do think critically and arrive at those views through scrupulous and disciplined study?
I understand your concerns over indoctrination in higher education. However, there are plenty who do reject political claims, of either side, through critical thinking. Also, not every young person is attending college, and therefore without such an avenue of “indoctrination”.

Grindstone on October 10, 2012 at 10:39 AM

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