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God. We have a problem, or do we?


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Once I stopped believing in god/afterlife, my depression and suicidal thoughts began to subside somewhat. I realized this life is all we ever get, and I should cherish it and try to make the most of it, because it’s so short and fleeting. I’m lucky to be alive for the time I am, with no serious health issues so far. Many aren’t so lucky. I also felt it important to try and help others enjoy their short time on earth as well, and do what I could to make life easier for them. 

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3 minutes ago, GringoSalado said:

You got a mouse in your pocket? When other atheists, that are not you, have organized, I would say it has not been that great.

Fuck you and your groups. 
 

 

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Nicole44 said:

 

he saw my dad waiting for him. 

My mom’s passing two Saturdays ago holds a similar narrative, as does my father-in-law’s death nearly a decade ago. They both were church going, and the way they died seems like a tangible benefit to their doing so. A friend is a palliative nurse. She says church going folk often die more peaceably. Maybe she said non-church folk have difficult deaths more often than people who attend church.

My father said he went to church because it made him feel better. (He died in ‘95, the same week as Jerry Garcia and Mickey Mantle). Feeling better is a tangible benefit, too.

Then there’s perceived experience of the divine. IMO, that leads to feeling a community with humanity writ large, and also helped me to understand why Brother Burt Rivet used to say, “If there’s a hell, there’s nobody there.”

 

At any rate, we all realized Krishna was god, then we got drunk and realized we had always known Krishna was god, then we got drunker, and fell asleep. When we woke up the next day we had, yet again, forgotten.

Edited by Willfully Horn
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6 hours ago, DaysOff said:


Watching white people sing and clap while standing at a contemporary service is so embarrassing. But they don't know any better so I have to be embarrassed for them. It's too much to bear.

What about the eyes of Texas tho 

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8 hours ago, NWBuck said:

Not that this is unique to Christianity, but it seems that the current moment is yet another example of a faith/religion of based on sacrifice and selflessnes initially being co-opted by power and prestige and then discovering that they liked it. At some point it became addicted to the power and compromised foundationally to maintain it.

As true with Constantine and the (Holy) Roman Empire, so to with the Religious Right. In order to protect themselves (from persecution from Rome, from the "godlessness" of the cultural revolutions of the 60s and 70s), many literally sold their souls rather than trust that the message they preached was true.

When it came down to it, it was easier to trust in chariots and horses than in the name of the Lord their God.

And this, this is completely and totally a fair critique. I might not believe totally and completely it’s 100% accurate, but it’s got a lot of truth to it and is not palpably nonsense like the last critique I argued against. 

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10 minutes ago, Wulaw Horn said:

As a point of order it’d be nice when non religious people argue against religion if they did so either in good faith or with some modicum of knowledge and context. 
christianity was the most progressive force for change around at the time. The religion focused on the disadvantaged and spread like wildfire among women and slaves bc the message was so radical- we are all equal in Gods eyes. 
women and poor were about a million times closer to equality in the early church than anywhere else in that society, and as far as race goes we still haven’t caught up to what the church calls us to. 
I am perfectly willing to stipulate that I could well be wasting my time, money and life believing in something that’s not true bc I need that as a crutch to get through life. 
I won’t, however, nod my head and go along with pure unadulterated nonsense like this. No organization is divorced from its time and context. Was the first century church 21st century western world?  Of course not. But it was really really really radically progressive for its time. 

Don’t forget the “keep wealth and power” part, despite the texts in question being written when the church possessed neither.

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Just now, formermav43 said:

Don’t forget the “keep wealth and power” part, despite the texts in question being written when the church possessed neither.

Yeah- the texts were written at a time when the church was a hated splinter sect from the bigger religion in a backwards and insignificant subjugated land under the boot heel of the Romans. 
That just screams wealthy and powerful trying to lock in their privilege when writing the texts. 

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15 minutes ago, Wulaw Horn said:

As a point of order it’d be nice when non religious people argue against religion if they did so either in good faith or with some modicum of knowledge and context. 
christianity was the most progressive force for change around at the time. The religion focused on the disadvantaged and spread like wildfire among women and slaves bc the message was so radical- we are all equal in Gods eyes. 
women and poor were about a million times closer to equality in the early church than anywhere else in that society, and as far as race goes we still haven’t caught up to what the church calls us to. 
I am perfectly willing to stipulate that I could well be wasting my time, money and life believing in something that’s not true bc I need that as a crutch to get through life. 
I won’t, however, nod my head and go along with pure unadulterated nonsense like this. No organization is divorced from its time and context. Was the first century church 21st century western world?  Of course not. But it was really really really radically progressive for its time. 

so all the wives submit to your husband passages do not exist? or are they to be ignored? if they are to be ignored, then what's the criteria for arbitrarily choosing the good words of god to follow and praise versus the ones to pretend don't exist? 

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the bible is not alone. the koran has plenty of texts shitting on women. add in different sects of different religions which add extra more oomph to making sure women stay bitches to their husbands. the mormon church is great at this.

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Posted (edited)
23 minutes ago, crash_davis said:

so all the wives submit to your husband passages do not exist? or are they to be ignored? if they are to be ignored, then what's the criteria for arbitrarily choosing the good words of god to follow and praise versus the ones to pretend don't exist? 

Your engaging in nonsense right now. 
It’s possible you don’t know it’s nonsense- or- it’s possible that you are arguing in bad faith. I’m certainly not interested in going through this all day with you, but you said religious text, and that can’t be divorced from the context of the time it was written. 
At the time that passage was written (and you only quoted half of it by the way- again- I don’t know if you are arguing in bad faith or ignorance) women were basically treated like chattel and slaves for their husbands. They were bought and sold, forced into marriages they didn’t want to be in, considered little more than breeding stock in many places, and in general were not considered to be worthy of any respect and certainly not equality either in practice or under the law. 
the passage you quoted is essentially a two part exhortation from Paul:

1) man- love your wives as Christ loved the church- self sacrificing for her to the point of torture and death

2) women- submit to their husbands. That might sound odd to a 21st century American and I will certainly stipulate that there are mouth breathers and morons that pick and choose passages from the text that are divorced from the actual text, but I can promise you without the slightest doubt that the reason this thing spread like wild fire amongst women throughout the Jewish community in 33 CE is because it was such a radical change for the better in their lives. 
This is the last I’m going to say on this subject. You made a really poor argument. You could always try to walk away from it and say “my bad” or you could Double down in zealotry. You got this much of a response from me bc I’m going to assume you are arguing in good faith and contextual ignorance, but at either rate that’s about all I have to give on the subject today before I get up and go to work. 
TL/DR- there are all sorts of arguments against the church out there. There is no need to make any up out of whole cloth and divorced from context. This is a site for educated and enlightened people. We don’t have to all agree with anything but we should be able to talk to each other about historical events in a context that doesn’t completely ignore history. 
I’ve always prayed for and desires more certainty in my faith. I ha e the nagging fear that none of this is real and I’m wasting my life- or else there is a higher power and we are getting it all wrong. I’m not a zealot unable to listen to someone telling me I’m wrong. But that’s not what you are doing here my man- you’ve got the argument totally wrong. Like, factually so. 

Edited by Wulaw Horn
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12 minutes ago, crash_davis said:

so all the wives submit to your husband passages do not exist? or are they to be ignored? if they are to be ignored, then what's the criteria for arbitrarily choosing the good words of god to follow and praise versus the ones to pretend don't exist? 

I believe Wulaw’s point was that they should be read in their historical context. I’d add the literary context too.

Without getting into debates about how they should be interpreted, consider: 1) the passages you reference actually address women (as well as children, slaves, subjects of the Emperor, etc.). In fact, the household codes always address the “subordinate” member by society’s standards first-they are moral agents. They have a choice. That itself is radical in the first century. 2) more to the point, don’t stop reading there. See what the other party in these relationships is called to. It’s not to assert their dominance-quite the opposite.

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1 minute ago, formermav43 said:

I believe Wulaw’s point was that they should be read in their historical context. I’d add the literary context too.

Without getting into debates about how they should be interpreted, consider: 1) the passages you reference actually address women (as well as children, slaves, subjects of the Emperor, etc.). In fact, the household codes always address the “subordinate” member by society’s standards first-they are moral agents. They have a choice. That itself is radical in the first century. 2) more to the point, don’t stop reading there. See what the other party in these relationships is called to. It’s not to assert their dominance-quite the opposite.

Well said and much more succinctly than I did. It’s like you do this for a living and I’m a rube playing at it. 

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Just now, formermav43 said:

I believe Wulaw’s point was that they should be read in their historical context. I’d add the literary context too.

Without getting into debates about how they should be interpreted, consider: 1) the passages you reference actually address women (as well as children, slaves, subjects of the Emperor, etc.). In fact, the household codes always address the “subordinate” member by society’s standards first-they are moral agents. They have a choice. That itself is radical in the first century. 2) more to the point, don’t stop reading there. See what the other party in these relationships is called to. It’s not to assert their dominance-quite the opposite.

this is the what's wrong with religious texts and words of god. arbitrarily people can say this passage needs to read with context but then quote other passages as fucking gospel and use as judgement against others. so which is it? is it the word of god and is literal or is it merely a story and sometimes the exact words of god. or does it depend on your agenda with that specific passage. 

the goal post is always moving. 

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4 minutes ago, crash_davis said:

this is the what's wrong with religious texts and words of god. arbitrarily people can say this passage needs to read with context but then quote other passages as fucking gospel and use as judgement against others. so which is it? is it the word of god and is literal or is it merely a story and sometimes the exact words of god. or does it depend on your agenda with that specific passage. 

the goal post is always moving. 

No, the goalpost isn’t mining. When comparing a historical text you cannot take it out of the context it was written. 
maybe it’s al man made bullshit. I’m conceding that to you!  You might well be right and it’s entirely possible that I’m wrong and wasting my entire life engaging in nonsense!  It’s my single greatest fear in this lifetime. 
but your argument was the texts were written to establish a power imbalance against women and poor. That’s factually wrong. They do the exact opposite. 
If you want to argue that later People pick and choose words from the text to justify acting like a dick then Bravo. And you can certainly point to a million examples of that. Truthfully so!  
but that’s not the argument you initially made and not why I was responding to. You are moving the goalposts yourself. 

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2 minutes ago, crash_davis said:

this is the what's wrong with religious texts and words of god. arbitrarily people can say this passage needs to read with context but then quote other passages as fucking gospel and use as judgement against others. so which is it? is it the word of god and is literal or is it merely a story and sometimes the exact words of god. or does it depend on your agenda with that specific passage. 

the goal post is always moving. 

I honestly have no idea what you’re arguing here.

Texts should always be read in context. And outside of maybe some radical deconstructionist types on the one hand and people who don’t want any of that fancy book learning on the other, you’re not going to see any disagreement on that.

The rest of your post seems to me to be a bunch of random claims that don’t have much to do with each other. Or anything I said. 

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Posted (edited)
13 minutes ago, Wulaw Horn said:

No, the goalpost isn’t mining. When comparing a historical text you cannot take it out of the context it was written. 
maybe it’s al man made bullshit. I’m conceding that to you!  You might well be right and it’s entirely possible that I’m wrong and wasting my entire life engaging in nonsense!  It’s my single greatest fear in this lifetime. 
but your argument was the texts were written to establish a power imbalance against women and poor. That’s factually wrong. They do the exact opposite. 
If you want to argue that later People pick and choose words from the text to justify acting like a dick then Bravo. And you can certainly point to a million examples of that. Truthfully so!  
but that’s not the argument you initially made and not why I was responding to. You are moving the goalposts yourself. 

dating my now wife. dad was once a methodist minister. he quit because of the politics of the church. 

went with her and her parents to a church in her parent's small podunk town. minister's sermon was on happy marriages. he quoted verses about wives submitting to husbands, basically saying that happy marriages are when wives submit to husbands. looked over at her mom and dad and the rest of the congregation. no one batted an eye. did they tune out this dude were already thinking about sunday lunch? who knows. but the congregation took that sermon like any other sermon. i said something to my wife after and she said, yea that was fucked up.

you may choose to read certain passages with context. others are not. 

the bible may have been a breath of fresh air for women compared to the shitshow before. that's a great thing. but the argument was about religious text, not about what christianity did for women. religious text is used in all kinds of fucked up way to control and oppress people. gays love it when the religious right hold bible versus over their heads. and per that minister, wives better obey to their husbands lest the be the reason for marital strife.

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Believe what you want.  Personally, I believe there ought to be a constitutional amendment outlawing Astroturf and the designated hitter. I believe in the sweet spot, soft-core pornography, opening your presents Christmas morning rather than Christmas Eve and I believe in long, slow, deep, soft, wet kisses that last three days.

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10 hours ago, crash_davis said:

And religious text is self serving shit to suppress women and people and keep wealth and power in the church. People choose any passage in whatever book they deem holy to live by and judge others while wholly dismissing other passages that do not agree with their morals or lifestyle. How convenient. Sounds like a choose your own adventure book. 

So which sounds more made up?

Scripture is a spiritual Rorschach Test. You get your values from wherever you get them - parents, culture, education, personal experience - and then you interpret your scripture in a way that tells you that you’re right. And there are so many contradictions in your scripture that it can be used to support anything. Even human slavery or the murder of your own child, the latter being the basis for the entire Abrahamic myth. (Fortunately God stepped in and said ‘Psych!’ right before Abraham could commit the horrible deed, but imagine how that must have scarred poor Isaac.)

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Ask pretty much any public health expert, or social science researcher, or literally anyone who's familiar with the research on this topic and they'll tell you that both religion and spirituality are clearly a net good based on all the available data. Marital satisfaction, lower divorce, life expectancy, mental health, physical health, childhood outcomes, coping with disasters and negative life experiences, overall well-being - all positively associated with religious and spiritual belief and engagement. One caveat is that there is a small, but growing, body of literature on negative religious coping, in which individuals of faith begin to question their beliefs amid crises, that shows possible negatives of religious and spiritual beliefs. However, on the whole, the loss of religious and spiritual engagement is generally seen as a definite public health concern and net negative because of the benefits it has for individuals, families, and communities. You can think and believe whatever you want about religion, but if you're interested in what the science says about it, it is pretty strongly in support of it being beneficial.

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The contrast of this thread and the aliens thread is amusing.

Crash making arguments against religion but when it comes to mind blowing velcro technology.

Area 51 Aliens GIF by HISTORY UK

 

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No shit.  When I was young, my parents had to drag me to church.  Can you imagine the household conversations between Abraham and Isaac?  
 

“Dad, there is no fucking way I’m going to church today.  I don’t care what you or your winged cosplay friend have to say.  Mooooom, Dad’s literally trying to kill me again.”

 

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9 hours ago, Neonmoon said:

Fuck you and your groups. 
 

 

I’m not fond of the curling analogy, even though my experience of losing my religion probably matches Burr’s pretty closely.

This is really long but it’s brilliant and hilarious. Not something I would’ve expected from Julia Sweeney but it’s awesome.

 

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18 minutes ago, KYHorn said:

Ask pretty much any public health expert, or social science researcher, or literally anyone who's familiar with the research on this topic and they'll tell you that both religion and spirituality are clearly a net good based on all the available data. Marital satisfaction, lower divorce, life expectancy, mental health, physical health, childhood outcomes, coping with disasters and negative life experiences, overall well-being - all positively associated with religious and spiritual belief and engagement. One caveat is that there is a small, but growing, body of literature on negative religious coping, in which individuals of faith begin to question their beliefs amid crises, that shows possible negatives of religious and spiritual beliefs. However, on the whole, the loss of religious and spiritual engagement is generally seen as a definite public health concern and net negative because of the benefits it has for individuals, families, and communities. You can think and believe whatever you want about religion, but if you're interested in what the science says about it, it is pretty strongly in support of it being beneficial.

Yep.

Its; convenient and easy to lob judgement at the big mega churches.  They're easy targets.  But according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics  the median salary for clergy was $53,180 in 2019.  

I don't mind the Catholic Church having money. They build/run hospitals, and are the largest NGO healthcare provider in the world. Same with all faith based organizations on that end. Being good with money to sustain that giving is not a bad thing.

I also don't have a problem with beautiful churches. Some cathedrals, for example, employed people for over a 100 years worth of construction. I mean imagine getting to build a monument to God over a lifetime, rather than building a monument to capitalism/communism, or one man's ego to build a tall building in gold, or to build another IRS building.

I do have issues with preachers/priests/pastors living lavishly, and I also think there is a difference between some person just living their life and another who, at least outwardly, claims they have given the life over the service of Christ and his Church.  Looking at you Prosperity Preachers.....

One tenet of these kinds of churches that is important is that these kind of Preachers actually view their wealth as justification that God is showing them favor. So they create this expectation that the only way to know God is blessing that church is by the Pastor having nice things.  This of course is used as a club to pressure congregants into donate more and more of their wealth to the cause. This leads to disaster and probably does a lot to push people away from God because of this kind of abuse.

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32 minutes ago, KYHorn said:

Ask pretty much any public health expert, or social science researcher, or literally anyone who's familiar with the research on this topic and they'll tell you that both religion and spirituality are clearly a net good based on all the available data. Marital satisfaction, lower divorce, life expectancy, mental health, physical health, childhood outcomes, coping with disasters and negative life experiences, overall well-being - all positively associated with religious and spiritual belief and engagement. One caveat is that there is a small, but growing, body of literature on negative religious coping, in which individuals of faith begin to question their beliefs amid crises, that shows possible negatives of religious and spiritual beliefs. However, on the whole, the loss of religious and spiritual engagement is generally seen as a definite public health concern and net negative because of the benefits it has for individuals, families, and communities. You can think and believe whatever you want about religion, but if you're interested in what the science says about it, it is pretty strongly in support of it being beneficial.

I guess all those highly religious third world countries missed the memo.

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33 minutes ago, KYHorn said:

Ask pretty much any public health expert, or social science researcher, or literally anyone who's familiar with the research on this topic and they'll tell you that both religion and spirituality are clearly a net good based on all the available data. Marital satisfaction, lower divorce, life expectancy, mental health, physical health, childhood outcomes, coping with disasters and negative life experiences, overall well-being - all positively associated with religious and spiritual belief and engagement. One caveat is that there is a small, but growing, body of literature on negative religious coping, in which individuals of faith begin to question their beliefs amid crises, that shows possible negatives of religious and spiritual beliefs. However, on the whole, the loss of religious and spiritual engagement is generally seen as a definite public health concern and net negative because of the benefits it has for individuals, families, and communities. You can think and believe whatever you want about religion, but if you're interested in what the science says about it, it is pretty strongly in support of it being beneficial.

Everyone I’ve asked disagrees with this assertion. 

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29 minutes ago, F250 said:

The contrast of this thread and the aliens thread is amusing.

Crash making arguments against religion but when it comes to mind blowing velcro technology.

Area 51 Aliens GIF by HISTORY UK

 

one is based on science and probability. the other is based on books which may be the word of god or may not be, or may be if it suits your agenda.

surely you know the difference.

speaking of, so if the bible is to believe, we are alone in the universe because god sent his one and only son to save us. and the earth is 6000 years old. we're special. rocks and science lie. if that's what you believe, there's a wondeful museum in kentucky that you should visit.

 

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2 minutes ago, crash_davis said:

one is based on science and probability.

That's what makes it amusing because it's not.

Its just a vague nod to the Drake equation followed by must be aliens.

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1 hour ago, formermav43 said:

I honestly have no idea what you’re arguing here.

Texts should always be read in context. And outside of maybe some radical deconstructionist types on the one hand and people who don’t want any of that fancy book learning on the other, you’re not going to see any disagreement on that.

The rest of your post seems to me to be a bunch of random claims that don’t have much to do with each other. Or anything I said. 

I haven't read further, but wait til he finds out that the Jews have different meanings for slave.

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Just now, crash_davis said:

you believe the earth is 6000 yrs old, don't you?

No. Don't confuse my comment about you as a defense of theism.

I am merely pointing out the inconsistency of your skepticism. A rational skeptic applies criticism across the board not just certain topics.

 

 

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as a family, we used to go to a church that we really liked.  they did not preach hate, welcomed lgbtq community and were pretty much the polar opposite of the Jefress led downtown Baptist church in Dallas.  we are still members, still donate a decent chunk of change to them every year, but we just don't go anymore.  For me it's a complete lack of faith and really stems from shit i cannot wrap my head around. 

- Can God be active in our lives. I'm talking about direct divine intervention. God nudging a semi truck to the left to avoid an oncoming car.  More to the point, God choosing to intervene.  I cannot reconcile God choosing NOT to intervene when children are raped.  Either there are no miracles, no divine intervention, no 'God has planned out your entire life' and we are left to the laws of probability and human misery to deal with shit on our own OR the alternative is frankly sickening in that God helps some people in some situations but allows such horror to be visited on the innocent.  Yes, i get that we were kicked out the Garden and now bad shit happens because man sucks, but doesn't the concept of 'sometimes' miracles seem horrifying? 

So if there is no divine intervention we are left with God as the perfect clockmaker.  Set the world in motion and then take a step back and let things play out.  OK i guess we should be grateful and pay homage for being created, but the Bible directly contradicts that theory with tale after tale of God's vengeance, mercy, love and wrath.  So back to square 1.  

 

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22 minutes ago, gyroprotagonist said:

as a family, we used to go to a church that we really liked.  they did not preach hate, welcomed lgbtq community and were pretty much the polar opposite of the Jefress led downtown Baptist church in Dallas.  we are still members, still donate a decent chunk of change to them every year, but we just don't go anymore.  For me it's a complete lack of faith and really stems from shit i cannot wrap my head around. 

- Can God be active in our lives. I'm talking about direct divine intervention. God nudging a semi truck to the left to avoid an oncoming car.  More to the point, God choosing to intervene.  I cannot reconcile God choosing NOT to intervene when children are raped.  Either there are no miracles, no divine intervention, no 'God has planned out your entire life' and we are left to the laws of probability and human misery to deal with shit on our own OR the alternative is frankly sickening in that God helps some people in some situations but allows such horror to be visited on the innocent.  Yes, i get that we were kicked out the Garden and now bad shit happens because man sucks, but doesn't the concept of 'sometimes' miracles seem horrifying? 

So if there is no divine intervention we are left with God as the perfect clockmaker.  Set the world in motion and then take a step back and let things play out.  OK i guess we should be grateful and pay homage for being created, but the Bible directly contradicts that theory with tale after tale of God's vengeance, mercy, love and wrath.  So back to square 1.  

 

Yeah, "why do bad things happen to good people" is probably at the root of a large percent of peoples' skepticism about faith. I fully understand that difficulty, and struggle with it myself, but when I consider the alternatives, I see no system of belief that accounts for the rage I feel at these events, much less one that provides an absolute method for addressing them and hope for the end to them.

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37 minutes ago, gyroprotagonist said:

as a family, we used to go to a church that we really liked.  they did not preach hate, welcomed lgbtq community and were pretty much the polar opposite of the Jefress led downtown Baptist church in Dallas.  we are still members, still donate a decent chunk of change to them every year, but we just don't go anymore.  For me it's a complete lack of faith and really stems from shit i cannot wrap my head around. 

- Can God be active in our lives. I'm talking about direct divine intervention. God nudging a semi truck to the left to avoid an oncoming car.  More to the point, God choosing to intervene.  I cannot reconcile God choosing NOT to intervene when children are raped.  Either there are no miracles, no divine intervention, no 'God has planned out your entire life' and we are left to the laws of probability and human misery to deal with shit on our own OR the alternative is frankly sickening in that God helps some people in some situations but allows such horror to be visited on the innocent.  Yes, i get that we were kicked out the Garden and now bad shit happens because man sucks, but doesn't the concept of 'sometimes' miracles seem horrifying? 

So if there is no divine intervention we are left with God as the perfect clockmaker.  Set the world in motion and then take a step back and let things play out.  OK i guess we should be grateful and pay homage for being created, but the Bible directly contradicts that theory with tale after tale of God's vengeance, mercy, love and wrath.  So back to square 1.  

 

CS Lewis talks about our inability to comprehend the infinite. Basically if infinity in heaven is the reward then any struggle we have on earth is akin to complaint about stubbing our toe getting out of bed in the morning on our best day on earth. 
I don’t struggle with the sovereignty of God, though I know plenty do. If he’s what we are told/right he is then I have no more ability to know his mind or his ways than my child does to know mine.

thats not to say you shouldn’t feel that way- just thankfully that’s a part of the life of faith I don’t particularly struggle with. 

Edited by Wulaw Horn
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My wife is a minister....and people outside the church walls are her ministry.  She would have a shitload to say on this.  When I have more time, I'll share some of her thoughts/positions.

But in short, the institution of "the church" is dying.  Most of its wounds are self-inflicted.  My wife is of a cohort of pastors -- good people.  The kind of people you would want as your pastor.....who are not spending much time inside church walls these days, and don't have much of an inclination to go back.  These aren't just parishioners, these are actual pastors.

All of that said, the belief in God, the desire to explore faith and belief, remains and may be even stronger than before, because it's being driven by hunger and desire for the spirit, as opposed to a sense of obligation or obedience.  What will become of that?  Who knows.

But the institution of The Church is dying....and as that process finishes (it's almost finished -- that doesn't mean that all organized churches will go away, but rather, it means that they will reach a profound nadir)....the "rebuilding" has already begun.   The thing is, nobody really knows what they're building yet.  They're just feeding the spiritually hungry, meeting them out in the world where they are.  Which is the exact beginning that there was AT the beginning of the church -- going out into the world, and feeding those who were hungry and sought nourishment.

Where we are isn't bad or good.  It just is.

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3 minutes ago, Brisketexan said:

My wife is a minister....and people outside the church walls are her ministry.  She would have a shitload to say on this.  When I have more time, I'll share some of her thoughts/positions.

But in short, the institution of "the church" is dying.  Most of its wounds are self-inflicted.  My wife is of a cohort of pastors -- good people.  The kind of people you would want as your pastor.....who are not spending much time inside church walls these days, and don't have much of an inclination to go back.  These aren't just parishioners, these are actual pastors.

All of that said, the belief in God, the desire to explore faith and belief, remains and may be even stronger than before, because it's being driven by hunger and desire for the spirit, as opposed to a sense of obligation or obedience.  What will become of that?  Who knows.

But the institution of The Church is dying....and as that process finishes (it's almost finished -- that doesn't mean that all organized churches will go away, but rather, it means that they will reach a profound nadir)....the "rebuilding" has already begun.   The thing is, nobody really knows what they're building yet.  They're just feeding the spiritually hungry, meeting them out in the world where they are.  Which is the exact beginning that there was AT the beginning of the church -- going out into the world, and feeding those who were hungry and sought nourishment.

Where we are isn't bad or good.  It just is.

This has been the way through y’all of the history of the church. Ebbs and flows, revivals. Reorientation. The only thing constant in our existence is change and adaptations. 

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There exists no greater or more painful anxiety for a man who has freed himself from all religious bias, than how he shall soonest find a new object or idea to worship. But man seeks to bow before that only which is recognized by the greater majority, if not by all his fellow men, as having a right to be worshipped; whose rights are so unquestionable that men agree unanimously to bow down to it. For the chief concern of these miserable creatures is not to find and worship the idol of their own choice, but to discover that which all others will believe in, and consent to bow down to in a mass.

- Fyodor Dostoyevsky {The Brothers Karamazov}

Just food for thought. I'm essentially a deist. I've never been a fan of organized religion. However, it will always be with us. We can only hope that it is tolerant, kind, and promotes a sense of community. 

 

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1 hour ago, Helobious said:

I guess all those highly religious third world countries missed the memo.

Take away their religious beliefs and communities, then ask them. This is a pretty silly comment.

1 hour ago, WhatTheBuck said:

Everyone I’ve asked disagrees with this assertion. 

Then all I can say is investigate the matter for yourselves. There are thousands of excellent studies on the topic. If you value science and empiricism, look at the data. I'm not saying this means religion/spirituality is therefore true or right, I was just responding to the claim that the decline of religion in the US is a good thing. 

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38 minutes ago, Wulaw Horn said:

CS Lewis talks about our inability to comprehend the infinite. Basically if infinity in heaven is the reward then any struggle we have on earth is akin to complaint about stubbing our toe getting out of bed in the morning on our best day on earth. 
I don’t struggle with the sovereignty of God, though I know plenty do. If he’s what we are told/right he is then I have no more ability to know his mind or his ways than my child does to know mine. 

Did you by any chance attend a private Christian university?

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