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I'm not a religious man. On the contrary, I hate religion. I think it does much more harm than it does good. Religion is made by man, governed by man, and judged by man. It's a set of codified rules set forth by old dudes, nothing more, nothing less.

If I belong to any religion, it's a simple religion which has one tenet. Don't be a dick. Everything takes care of itself after that.

Anyway, I see this as a good thing. Less religion, hopefully more spirituality.

 

https://time.com/5951008/american-church-decline-religion-poll/?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=editorial&utm_term=u.s._religion&linkId=114879151&utm_source=reddit.com

Poll: Fewer Than Half of American Adults Now Belong to a House of Worship

 
MARCH 29, 2021 8:19 PM EDT

For the first time in over 80 years of surveys on the subject, new Gallup data analysis released March 29 found that just 47% of American adults said they belonged to a church, synagogue or mosque in 2020—the first time that fewer than half of respondents reported membership at such houses of worship.

Gallup has documented a decline for decades, with particularly steep drops apparent in recent years. When the analytics company first asked about church, synagogue or mosque membership in 1937, 73% of respondents said they belonged to one. (Gallup’s question does not explicitly include other faith centers, such as Buddhist, Sikh or Hindu temples or meeting houses.)

That percentage stayed around the same until the turn of the century; in 1999, 70% of U.S. adults still said they belonged to one of the three. But, based on annual aggregated data from two surveys Gallup asks each year, by the mid-2000s it had dropped to around 60% and by 2018 it was 50%.

us-church-membership-gallup.jpg?w=800&qu
GALLUP

“A big part of this story is generational differences,” says Mark Chaves, a sociologist of religion at Duke Divinity School and the author of American Religion: Contemporary Trends, explaining that studies have found that “each generation is a little less religious than the generation before.”

“It’s not like today’s young people are particularly unreligious,” he continues; Gallup’s latest findings are that 66% of adults born before 1946 say they belong to a church, while 58% of Baby Boomers, 50% of Generation X and just 36% of millennials said they belong to one. “Their parents were less religious than their grandparents… it’s a longer term generational replacement that’s driving these longer term trends.”

Gallup found that the decline in membership is “primarily a function of the increasing number of Americans who express no religious preference.” Between 1998 and 2000, an average of 8% of Americans say they did not identify with any religion, per the company’s biannual surveys of U.S. religious attitudes and practices, according to a three-year aggregate of Gallup’s survey data. Just twenty years later, between 2018 and 2020, that figure had risen to 21%.

But Gallup has also seen a decline in house of worship attendance among Americans who do identify with having a religious preference. Between 1998 and 2000, an average of 73% of Americans who identified as religious said they belonged to a church, synagogue or mosque. Between 2018 and 2020, an average of just 60% of religious Americans said the same.

Read more: ‘It’s Like a Lifeline.’ How Religious Leaders Are Helping People Stay Connected in a Time of Isolation

Many places of worship across the U.S. have been closed for over a year as the country contended—and continues to contend—with the COVID-19 pandemic. But Chaves says he thinks it’s “too early to tell” if the pandemic has played a role in the decline in house of worship participation. Jennifer Herdt, a professor of Christian ethics at Yale Divinity School, adds that she’s heard stories of the pandemic bringing some people back towards worship, either because of the ease of a virtual service or the need for a support system and a sense of community.

Herdt adds that while the decline in particular religious affiliations could be viewed in some ways as younger people turning away from institutions, it could also suggest a greater openness towards other faiths and world views—and a curiosity towards others’ beliefs.

“I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing, even from the perspective of a religious person,” she continues. “That openness is what many of the world’s religions teach: that we should be caring and loving of all others regardless of their religious commitments.”

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22 minutes ago, crash_davis said:

Herdt adds that while the decline in particular religious affiliations could be viewed in some ways as younger people turning away from institutions, it could also suggest a greater openness towards other faiths and world views—and a curiosity towards others’ beliefs.

image.png.6094c21cb765bcb894686b34a002c67a.png

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Posted (edited)

Gen X here. Im not sure if there is a God or not (although as I get older Im starting to come around on the idea) but Im quite sure He doesnt care where you are when you talk to him. Or maybe He does. What the fuck do I know. I was raised Catholic so Im set no matter what. Havent been to church since 1995. St Ignatius on Oltorf I want to say. Before that St Thomas shout out in Amarillo. Both locations!

Edited by UTGrad98
Amarillo love
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Posted (edited)
9 minutes ago, workswithseed said:

 

This as opposed to some old dude deciding for people what the Truth is? It's all choose your own adventure. Just because people meet regularly on Sundays and sing songs doesn't make it any more valid or true-er. On the contrary, it's a bit cringey.

Edited by crash_davis
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41 minutes ago, Message Board User said:

Unfortunately politics has taken the place of religion for a lot of people.  Or put another way, politics is their new religion.

Definitely doesn't help that evangelical churches were preaching MAGA from the pulpit and faced no consequences from the greater community. Plus the generally anti-LGBT stance that evangelical christianity writ large has turns many people off of church all together

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4 minutes ago, Captainant said:

Definitely doesn't help that evangelical churches were preaching MAGA from the pulpit and faced no consequences from the greater community. Plus the generally anti-LGBT stance that evangelical christianity writ large has turns many people off of church all together

I think this is a big part of it.  The last 10 years or so, and the last 4 very much so, religion in the US has really debased itself.  I like my religion and I grew up more religious than most, but it has gotten harder and harder the further religion gets divorced from 'being good.'

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7 minutes ago, Deej said:

I never understood why you needed a middleman to have a relationship with whatever supreme being you happen to follow. 

Probably for the same reason you have professors instead of just required reading to consider yourself college "educated" - as most modern universities are modeled after the medieval religious structures centuries back.  

To get yer' learnin' on!

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Posted (edited)
12 minutes ago, crash_davis said:

please regale us with stories why your god is the one true god.

Because we have the HOLY HAND GRENADE...GOD DAMMIT!  Wait....

 

giphy-downsized-large.gif

Edited by BabaYaga
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Posted (edited)

Speaking as an aging GenX agnostic who leans very heavily toward atheism, I don't necessarily see a decrease in attendance as a good thing. Strictly from a secular standpoint, the notion of a community of brothers and sisters coming together once a week to affirm their strong social ties and values as a sort of reset before beginning a new week seems like a good idea. It sounds healthy and what a community maybe ought to do.

But that's not necessarily how it's always used for all in intents and purposes. Having grown up in a Southern Baptist church, services aren't always geared toward celebrating what brings the congregation together but instead serves to define a perceived outside threat. I don't know if that's always been the case, but the fixation on what others do and/or believe seems like it took an unhealthy turn at some point as American society became more complex and exposure to other groups through media and physical contact increased.

For my part, I'd prefer to be apart of something that is a celebration of community spirit and seek commonality rather than to focus on divisions and differences. I once tried going to a Unitarian group but was turned off by that congregation's attempt to replicate a standard church service. Maybe I'd been away too long and had too many bad memories, or maybe I was looking in the wrong place. I mean, I'd like still like to get "spiritual" without having to believe in a god - Western Buddhism seems the most appealing from that respect.

I don't though, because the theory sounds great but the reality of belonging to such a group still kind of creeps me out and feel uncomfortable.

Edited by bolverk
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Posted (edited)
3 minutes ago, BabaYaga said:

Yet here we are.....on Surly Horns.....

Difference being not all are Longhorns and we certainly don't all agree on shit, so we sometimes rarely have healthy constructive debates. We also like to engage in immature shenanigans.

ETA: I never found any of that to be the case inside a church.

Edited by bolverk
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1 minute ago, bolverk said:

Difference being not all are Longhorns and we certainly don't all agree on shit, so we sometimes rarely have healthy constructive debates. We also like to engage in immature shenanigans.

So for many, it creeps them out....and makes them feel uncomfortable...;)

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Not a fan of organized religion. But I do believe there are places we go when we die. FWIW:

"The Kingdom of God is inside/within you (and all about you), not in buildings/mansions of wood and stone. (When I am gone) Split a piece of wood and I am there, lift the/a stone and you will find me."

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1 hour ago, crash_davis said:

This as opposed to some old dude deciding for people what the Truth is? It's all choose your own adventure. Just because people meet regularly on Sundays and sing songs doesn't make it any more valid or true-er. On the contrary, it's a bit cringey.

Next time I'll run jokes on spirituality by you first. 

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29 minutes ago, bolverk said:

Speaking as an aging GenX agnostic who leans very heavily toward atheism, I don't necessarily see a decrease in attendance as a good thing. Strictly from a secular standpoint, the notion of a community of brothers and sisters coming together once a week to affirm their strong social ties and values as a sort of reset before beginning a new week seems like a good idea. It sounds healthy and what a community maybe ought to do.

But that's not necessarily how it's always used for all in intents and purposes. Having grown up in a Southern Baptist church, services aren't always geared toward celebrating what brings the congregation together but instead serves to define a perceived outside threat. I don't know if that's always been the case, but the fixation on what others do and/or believe seems like it took an unhealthy turn at some point as American society became more complex and exposure to other groups through media and physical contact increased.

For my part, I'd prefer to be apart of something that is a celebration of community spirit and seek commonality rather than to focus on divisions and differences. I once tried going to a Unitarian group but was turned off by that congregation's attempt to replicate a standard church service. Maybe I'd been away too long and had too many bad memories, or maybe I was looking in the wrong place. I mean, I'd like still like to get "spiritual" without having to believe in a god - Western Buddhism seems the most appealing from that respect.

I don't though, because the theory sounds great but the reality of belonging to such a group still kind of creeps me out and feel uncomfortable.

Really resonate with this... I think the loss that exists in the "spiritual, not religious" option is that its focus on the individual can miss a lot of opportunities for connection, support, growth, encouragement, service, etc.

I've always held that a powerful example of "church" is Alcoholics Anonymous, in that it's a group of people gathering together to acknowledge that they can't do it alone. Too often, as folks here have noted, we either forget that communal element or it becomes corrupted (when the inclusive "us" that's built on our common Imago Dei and turns to an exclusive "us" that's defined by having a "them"). 

Groups can be just as screwed up as individuals (sometimes moreso), but it seems that only being self-referential regarding spirituality is missing something.

$.02

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I think that community is good and it's good practice to spend an hour or so a week sitting quietly, even better if you do it while someone is talking about how to be a better person and you're sitting there and thinking about being a better person. I grew up in a church, I think the teachings of Jesus Christ are a great foundation for being a good human being, I have a need to believe in some form of higher power, and maybe I occasionally wrestle with if I actually believe in any sort of Judeo-Christian God or if I just have chosen that one as my higher power. Either way, we're having a kid and just moved to a new community in a new state and we're talking about going to church and doing stuff like that. I suspect that we will have to search for a bit to find one where the people have a moral compass that points the same direction as ours. Not really a huge deal, looking back historically it's certainly not been the case that Christians writ large (at least as a social force in our country) have loved their neighbors as themselves. I guess maybe the difference is that the default for us would be to not go.

I do think that the problem of lack of community is a big thing, and churches have long been where you can get that community. Maybe a difference is that once upon a time, you would pick your church and, while maybe the Baptists would be slightly different than the Methodists, not really and either one would be a large subset of people. Part of the reason I don't want to build "our" community out of finding people to.... play board games with or work at the animal shelter with or go to AA meetings with is I'm looking for a broad community. And maybe my fear is that churches aren't as much that anymore. Hopefully I'm wrong, I suspect I am, but I suspect they are more so than they used to be.

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51 minutes ago, bolverk said:

Speaking as an aging GenX agnostic who leans very heavily toward atheism, I don't necessarily see a decrease in attendance as a good thing. Strictly from a secular standpoint, the notion of a community of brothers and sisters coming together once a week to affirm their strong social ties and values as a sort of reset before beginning a new week seems like a good idea. It sounds healthy and what a community maybe ought to do.

But that's not necessarily how it's always used for all in intents and purposes. Having grown up in a Southern Baptist church, services aren't always geared toward celebrating what brings the congregation together but instead serves to define a perceived outside threat. I don't know if that's always been the case, but the fixation on what others do and/or believe seems like it took an unhealthy turn at some point as American society became more complex and exposure to other groups through media and physical contact increased.

For my part, I'd prefer to be apart of something that is a celebration of community spirit and seek commonality rather than to focus on divisions and differences. I once tried going to a Unitarian group but was turned off by that congregation's attempt to replicate a standard church service. Maybe I'd been away too long and had too many bad memories, or maybe I was looking in the wrong place. I mean, I'd like still like to get "spiritual" without having to believe in a god - Western Buddhism seems the most appealing from that respect.

I don't though, because the theory sounds great but the reality of belonging to such a group still kind of creeps me out and feel uncomfortable.

A few years ago I realized I missed church a little bit around Christmas, not because of any religious message, but the pageantry and feel of the services. I started attending a Unitarian Universalist church and still go every now and then. It has many of the positive aspects of the church "community" you describe but without any strict dogma. They draw positive lessons from the Bible, but also from Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, etc., and they even have a "humanist hour" on Sundays geared towards atheists and agnostics. I'm still not 100% comfortable with it as a church in general, but is about the only church I can tolerate even a little bit these days.

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I absolutely believe in God. That terrifies me. 
 

There's a passage that I got memorized, seems appropiate for this situation: Ezekiel 25,17. "The path of the righteous man is beset of all sides by the iniquities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil me. Blessed is he who, in the name of the charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother's keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know my name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon thee.

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1 hour ago, OneOfTheOutOfFocusGuys said:

I think this is a big part of it.  The last 10 years or so, and the last 4 very much so, religion in the US has really debased itself.  I like my religion and I grew up more religious than most, but it has gotten harder and harder the further religion gets divorced from 'being good.'

Once a large segment of religion embraced a political party this decline was inevitable. I don’t think it’s a good thing either but religious leaders made their choices and those choices have consequences.

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1 minute ago, Judge Roybeanbag said:

Their mistake was worshipping anything at an altar in the first place. Do that shit at home between you and your god.  

This ignores the fundamental communal and community aspect of christianity. 

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7 minutes ago, JimmyJames said:

Once a large segment of religion embraced a political party this decline was inevitable. I don’t think it’s a good thing either but religious leaders made their choices and those choices have consequences.

I think that you overstate the representation of certain segments of christianity. Perhaps not in terms of political influence, or cultural influence (with regional variation), but definitely in terms of head count. 

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i actually read that

Quote

“I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing, even from the perspective of a religious person,” she continues. “That openness is what many of the world’s religions teach: that we should be caring and loving of all others regardless of their religious commitments.”

and goddamn snortlethrottled my fucking coffee out me nose here at teh end. 

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I’m not sure how COVID might have impacted the most recent numbers. But previously, a deeper dive into data suggested that the number of active Christians has basically held steady. It’s the nominal ones that have declined-basically, there’s no longer any real societal pressure to claim you’re a Christian when you don’t really believe it.

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My minister once explained the existence of Jesus as though God had an aquarium. Only He couldn’t figure out how to talk to all the fish without scaring them so he became a fish. At the time I thought that was a cool explanation. I’ve now seen the “Finding Nemo” aquarium scene. 
 

Jesus is awesome. It’s people I don’t get.  If you believe, the last thing you should be doing is bs in his name. Or lying stealing cheating etc 

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6 minutes ago, Nicole44 said:

My minister once explained the existence of Jesus as though God had an aquarium. Only He couldn’t figure out how to talk to all the fish without scaring them so he became a fish. At the time I thought that was a cool explanation. I’ve now seen the “Finding Nemo” aquarium scene. 
 

Jesus is awesome. It’s people I don’t get.  If you believe, the last thing you should be doing is bs in his name. Or lying stealing cheating etc 

Well...if you're talking about God before Jesus came along, you're talking about the God of the Old Testament. Those fish had a good reason to be scared, because that guy was an angry, jealous, and vengeful asshole who had no qualms with committing mass genocide and torturing souls with whales just to make a point.

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13 minutes ago, Judge Roybeanbag said:

I was thinking about that whole don’t go proselytizing on the streetcorner passage.  That must be fake.

I don't think that one has to do with the other at all. That must be fake though. 

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36 minutes ago, Nicole44 said:

I absolutely believe in God. That terrifies me. 
 

There's a passage that I got memorized, seems appropiate for this situation: Ezekiel 25,17. "The path of the righteous man is beset of all sides by the iniquities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil me. Blessed is he who, in the name of the charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother's keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know my name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon thee.

You a fan of a Big Kahuna Burger too?

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Posted (edited)
3 minutes ago, bolverk said:

Well...if you're talking about God before Jesus came along, you're talking about the God of the Old Testament. Those fish had a good reason to be scared, because that guy was an angry, jealous, and vengeful asshole who had no qualms with committing mass genocide and torturing souls with whales just to make a point.

But whales are very resilient creatures.  And apparently a nice abode for days to a few days to prefigure soteriology. 

Edited by Anastasis
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