Michael Hamar

Atheism Continues Upswing in America

Filed By Michael Hamar | September 25, 2011 4:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Politics
Tags: Christianists, LGBT atheists, morality, religion as an evil

Even as the Republican Party races to turn itself into a completely religious based party, the trend in the larger American public is away from religion. True, there are many reasons for the trend, but I continue to believe that no small part of the movement away from religion traces back to the Christianists who are making Christianity into something truly foul and ugly where hatred of others is the principal hallmark. Indeed, I increasingly find myself not wanting to even acknowledge myself as a "Christian" because of the negative connotation that the word has come to have associated with it. From comments of readers who identify as Christian (not to mention author Anne Rice's widely covered pronouncement some months back), I know that I am not alone in this feeling.

I can only hope that the trend either causes a "reformation" on the part of decent Christians not defined by hatred who will retake the Christian brand or ultimately the death of Christianism. Here are excerpts from a Washington Post story that looks at the growing flight from religion (emphasis mine):

As the survey results come in, as the irreligious best-sellers sell, and as the scientific analysis gets published, it is increasingly clear that Western atheism has evolved into a forward-looking movement that has the wind at its back, is behind the success of the best run societies yet seen in human history, and is challenging religion as the better basis of morality. Even in the U.S., a religious anomaly in the Western world, atheists are making major gains while Christianity withers, already having lost the mainstream culture to secularism. The least religious regions of the nation are enjoying superior societal conditions.

Religious conservatives commonly contend that only a transcendent supernatural intelligent designer can provide the absolute and perfect morality and the wisdom necessary to run successful societies - it's become the de facto position of the GOP.

The science-based evidence leaves no doubt that, although very human in its flaws, democratic atheism is proving superior to faith-based mythical doctrines in practical societal and moral terms.

The still-common claim that nine out of ten Americans still believe in God is an outright falsehood. When asked if they believe in God or not, about 90 percent say yes, but when asked about whether or not they believe in God or a higher power or universal spirit, the actual God-believing theists drop to eight in ten. Two Harris polls also show that a fifth of Americans are atheistic to a greater or lesser degree.

Bible literalism is in strong decline, and the religious right, always a minority, is showing signs of distress as an internal report by the Southern Baptists bemoans that "evangelistically, the denomination is on a path of slow but discernible deterioration." That's because the churches are losing the digitally connected, traditional organization-averse youth; today's twentysomethings are twice as irreligious as was the same cohort in the 90s.

The future of American faith is grim as the nation undergoes the secularization process that has already pretty much wrecked the churches in the rest of the West.

I agree with the conclusion that the loss of religion in public policy - at least the Christianist version that applauds executions, cheers at allowing the uninsured to die, and boos gay military service members - can only be a positive good. Yes, there are those who will disagree with me - including other Projectors - but my response to them is that rather than debating with me, they need to stop yielding the media field to the Christianists.

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The sooner belief in the various aspects of the psychopathic, sociopathic, hate mongering, genocidal judeo-christian-islamic-satanist vengeful sky fairly, are declared the mental disorders they clearly are, the better.

All psychiatrists who support the inclusion of transsexualism as a mental disorder are clearly mentally disturbed.

Yet those same psychiatrists do not see belief in a fantasy being from a fairy tale, as indictive of a mental disorder.

What is your definition of a mental disorder? I am not Christian nor do I belong to any other organized religion.

But I have no idea how did the Universe began. I am a physicist, I know the (several conflicting) theories that say perhaps the concept of beginning has no meaning: I can deduce the equations, but that is nothing. The concept itself is impossible to understand to human beings. Unless, perhaps, human beings who use some advanced methods of meditation... Who knows? That is my point, what do I know to dare to classify other people's beliefs about existential matters as a mental disorder?

Clearly, some things some people believe are untrue: a literal belief in everything the bible says is silly, when we can trace many of its stories to other sources. But to label an entire group of people with many diverse beliefs as mentally ill seems insulting. There are many different types of Christians, etc.

Are you a psychiatrist or psychologist? Do you have a degree in psychology?
Or are you basing your ideas on the bulls--- you learned from the TeeVee: that all christians believe the bible literally.
Dear, when you've progressed beyond Boob Tube University, get back to us.

I am personally tired of the Right Wing Christionist taking the media headlines and at times (quite often) do go toe to toe with them on my personal blog (although I don't really have much of an audience) I think the main this is that the positions of the non extreme right-wing Christian's dose not make the news because it is not nearly as sensationalist and crazy, thus entertaining. After all news and "media" are no longer about fairly reporting the facts where you find moderate and reasoned debate about facts instead it's a televised screaming battle between the extreme wing members of any view presented as experts where any reasonable person simply gets drowned out.

If there are christian denominations that are not of the hate mongering brand, and individual christians who embrace their religion for reasons other than to demonstrate their superiority over the rest of us, it really doesn't matter, because these denominations and these "good" people long ago gave up the field to the Family Research Council and its ilk. They allowed the term "christian" to be irrevocably identified with hatred, bigotry, xenophobia and, most of all, fear. In essence, by failing to vigorously oppose the co-opting of their prophet by religious hucksters, they have been complicit in the demise of organized religion in this country. Those of us looking for spiritual fulfillment have long since move on to more fruitful sources.

Many so-called "good Christians" stand by while others commit crimes in the name of Christianity. They are not so good. But some others do vigorously oppose the co-opting of Christianity. Some people are inspired to be activists because they perceive "love" as the central message of Christianity, and Jesus Christ as the ultimate minority member. For instance, Quakers in the UK have been demanding to conduct same-sex marriages, and that the Gov. recognises those marriages.

Are they effective enough? Unfortunately not (so far), but they have every right to fight for what they believe. Why would they surrender their religion to their opponents? It is not so trivial for some people to abandon the label "christian". It can be associated with belonging to a community and culture. To some people, there is no spiritual development if you do it alone without your community.

There are many Christians who fight the right-wing takeover of Christianity, who are very vocal. Who fight from inside to change things. The think is that they again are not the ones the make the press and the media as they are not the ones making headline selling demonstrative sencationality statements. The news in this country has degraded to the point that to be be interviewed as an expert or a leading voice on one side of a topic or another has nothing to do with you actually representing the views of those your framed as representing, nor actually having a reasoned stance it has to do with how loudly you can unapologetically scream what ever dramatic drivel can come out of your mouth. Their is a reason reasonable and mainstream people that actually are representative of ether side of arguments don't make the media they are to nuanced and polite to create drama that infotainment consist of any more.

I just don't get it.

The religious right constantly decries "moral relativism" and even wants the Ten Commandments posted in every courthouse in America. And yet they are the biggest war hawks and the biggest death penalty proponents of any group in the nation.

I don't see any breast-beating abortion clinic protesters angrily filling up prison yards come execution time, or marching on the Pentagon in candlelight vigils. I see no Christian conservative legislators proposing bills to end the war or to end capital punishment.

How do they justify their own supposed moral relativism?

The Bible is full of murderous stories. "Thou shall not kill", but kill means something else, they would tell you.

Even though I gave my life to Christian faith--I'm a retired Presbyterian minister--I must point out that religion and Jesus were at loggerheads his entire ministry. One can't read Luke--indeed all of the gospels--without seeing the context for most of Jesus' teaching was a running battle with religion. He constantly poked fun at Pharisees and the impetus for his execution came from the religious establishment of his day.

I'm a happy atheist.
I was raised a catholic and I rejected religion, not because of catholicism's very real and very nasty homophobia.

I just stopped believing in 'god' and stopped believing that the bible was anything other than an inflential work of fiction.

And I don't like the arrogance of even moderate christians who still believe that human beings are made by 'god' in his image.

Why are humans more important than broccoli in the grander scheme of things.

"Why are humans more important than broccoli in the grander scheme of things?"

Sorry, that has to be my favorite line ever. I hope you don't mind me taking it and using it.

The word isn't christianist. That's meaningless, and offensive to liberal christians. The word you want is fundamentalist.
And fyi: liberal christians do fight the fundamentlists. They just have to do outside of the MSM. See the books of Bishop Spong and others. But they are fighting a loosing battle. Why? Because the fundamentlist 'values' of cruelty and selfishness are very useful to commerical interests, and to their divide and conquer strategy. So only fundamentalists are featured on the TeeVee. Occassionally a poser like Barry Lynde will be on, making weak arguments that don't really challenge the fundys at all. That's just to give the illusion of balance.
Another point. The media owners are largely atheist, as anyone who knows anything about the American ruling class could tell you.
So it's not that all atheists are good and all 'christianists' bad, as the simpletons will tell you. It's that today's media strategy is to divide liberal atheists from liberal christians. And the dumber atheists have swallowed it hook, line, and sinker.

One big reason theologically liberal Christians are losing the war is that the fundies have their own media organizations, including television and radio stations, so they don't have to wait around for the MSM to quote them. Beyond that, I don't see theologically liberal Christians making ANY effort to reach the public to tell them that Christianity is any different than what the Christian Right says it is. They seem to want to avoid a public fight. They need to understand what the LGBT community has long since learned in regard to the Religious Right: they have no choice but to fight. The Religious Right is making war against them, too.

My God.To be an atheist ......there is no where to go intellectually.Everything is meaningless.All there is is death.

Wow!!!! If that isn't a smug condenscing view of atheism. If any thing we have a higher calling than religious people because we choose to lead a good life without the threat of eternal damnation or the reward of a heavenly existence.

Actually, there's life, which is arguably becomes more important, precious, and sacred, rather than some temporary shell that you shrug off when the promise of greener pastures is every present.

Everything is meaningless if there is no 'god'???

Well actually I try to live a meaningful life where I work hard, enjoy my friends and family and try to treat people with kindness.

And when I die my body will rot and nourish the earth.

Atheism only seems meaningless if you are dissatisfied with the fact that your lifespan is finite and if you don't achieve your dreams or goals while on this earth then you won't achieve them in an afterlife.

As I posted as my status on Facebook once. I am not an atheist because I am gay and I am not gay because I am an atheist. But the hatred that was projected towards me from religion gave me the reason to closely look at my religious beliefs and why I had then. Then I started to look at all the arguments and realized that religion was just a part of superstitions that I believed just because it was what I was taught to believe by my parents and society. In a way I am grateful for the hateful rhetoric because it allowed me to step back look very closely why I believed what I did and allowed me to shed them.

Organized religion has a long history of violence, genocide, oppression and is the real enemy of democracy. One doesn't need an organized religion to believe we are all part of the universal truth. We are all products of the universal laws, not something dictated by a mystical entity. There is no evil beyond our own individual thoughts and without evil you can't judge others. Once you dispel evil, you dispel the christianists and dominionists, for without evil they have no purpose.