The New Circumcision

As the GOP (and their mouthpiece media) drone on and on testing our short memory/attention span by continuously carping that Obama hasn’t fixed the crisis they made quickly enough, they have now reached the critical mass where it is no longer sufficiently comically productive to further belittle their efforts. Luckily, a new curious statistic has been released that gives good loyal Americans who are proud of their heritage some cause for faith in our country — the Christian population of America is in decline. There is hope for the rest of us after all.

That’s right, praise Jesus, this just in: being a Christian isn’t the given it once was in this land of freedom of religion, but not necessarily of freedom from religion. As a parent of one of my students once told me, she didn’t guess she “cared that much what religion a person might be . . . just as long as they wuz Christian.” And, until recently, that about summed it all up in the theocratic quasi-republic Christian oligarchy known as the United States of America.

As you may recall, though the official founding fathers, Washington, Jefferson, Franklin and that bunch were decidedly non-Christian, deists in fact, the marketers who have shaped our American religious traditions prefer to hearken back to an earlier, more devout time, the 1620 pilgrimage of the Puritans to the Americas. Stern, ascetic, vengeful, and industrious, the Puritans built their church on Plymouth Rock and raised the colony of Massachusetts, and thus the mythology of a Christian America.

Of course the idealized version bought and sold from pulpits and politicians is that these wonderful Christian forbears laid out an admirable and irrevocable tradition for us, a theological manifest destiny as it were. This version of the tale leaves out the fact that three separate colonies and thus states — Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New Hampshire — were created by folk trying to flee the tyranny of those oppressive and rapacious religious fanatics. It fails as well to mention the dead Indians, and such, in their wake.

And so, America for the most part remained a Christian theocratic hegemony. Jefferson, et al, had to be specifically, legislatively, non-secular in their formation of the new America to overcome the rampant religious oaths and other sanctimonious oppressions of civil liberties common at the time and continuing right on up into the 20th century. Even so, religiously inflicted misery or no, Americans had remained steadfastly self-professed Christians in near unanimity.

However in 21st century pluralist America, one out of every four Americans now days no longer affiliate themselves with any Christian sect. According to the American Religious Identification Survey from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, the last twenty years has seen a ten percent decline in Americans claiming Christianity as their religion of choice. Understand Jesus would still have a hard time walking across the parted waters without bumping into an American Christian. Even with that ten percent decline, as of 2008 a full 75% of those surveyed identified themselves as Christian.

And no, this decline does not mean that the Muslim terrorists have won just because you saw a lot of brown skinned people with Oscars at this year’s Academy Awards. Quite the contrary, though the American Muslim population has doubled since an earlier 1990 Trinity College survey, Muslims still only account for less than one percent of the population. Even Wiccans outnumber Muslims.

Catholics and Baptists remain the #1 and #2 most popular religious choices, coming in at 25% and 15.8% respectively; but, wait a minute, who is that dark horse coming up on the outside lane at 15%? That’s right, the number 3 choice in America these days is . . . “no religion at all.” As the report explains, “the challenge to Christianity … does not come from other religions but from a rejection of all forms of organized religion.”

So is Atheism the new black? The USA Today coverage of the survey shows a stylishly dour dreadlocked Bostonian ex-Catholic moping that he doesn’t “know anyone religious and hardly anyone ‘spiritual.’” Of course since few can trust being alone in the confessional booth with a Catholic priest anymore, it is small surprise traditional papist population centers in the northeast are being bled dry.

Also as “Evangelicals” have devoured other more mainstream Christian sects, such as Lutherans or Methodists, old line mainline religions in America are seeing declines by as much as 50%, with the fastest growing religious preference being “none of the above.” The survey asserts further that it is exactly this expansion of the “born-again evangelicals” that are the GOP hard core conservative breeding ground that have pushed many Americans away from religions entirely.

Evangelicals form the business end of a spectrum of “Christians” that ranges from the Mother Teresas of the world to Vinnie the kid who just jacked your car to buy some meth but wears the prominent solid gold crucifix bling along with his 50 Cent piece, so don’t you dare say he’s not a Christian, goddammit.

In other words, lots of people claim to be Christians though not all of them hold themselves to the same standards. The evangelicals are the wonderful folks who bring you mega-churches, abortion clinic bombings, Gay-baiting, tent revivals, speaking in tongues, televangelists, and those dopey little pamphlets that litter street corners occasionally. They do these things, of course, so they can share god’s love and fund and thus dominate the Republican Party. Somehow, some people seem to think this sort of thing works and so traditional variations of Republicanist philosophies have lost their role in shaping party ideology. At the same time on at the expense of Christian variants and traditions hundreds of years old, the evangelicals have risen as their brethen fall.

Quoting from CNN’s online coverage of the release of the report, Trinity College’s Mark Silk claimed the rise in evangelical Christianity is contributing to the rejection of religion altogether by some Americans. “There [is] a long-lasting ‘religious right’ connected to a political party, and that turned a lot of people the other way,” Silk said linking the Republican Party to such groups as the Moral Majority and Focus on the Family.

Currently, about one third of American are claiming to be evangelicals. As the success of the evangelical Christian conservatives doom their Christian alternatives, it is small wonder more and more Americans are choosing to follow in our other American Religious Tradition of fleeing the zealots.

If this trend were to continue, with decidedly non-religious Americans and evangelicals sorting out the wheat from the chaff among the non-committed semi-religious Christians, one could imagine that, politically, the rabid born-again right-wing GOP cult that has so shaped America for the last 30 years could theoretically occupy as little as a third of the political spectrum by 2030. That is if the rest of America could endure another 20 years of keeping up with the Swaggarts and Haggards and Baakers and Jim Joneses.

One hopes that the now-fading Christian majority will not react the same way the White male and later Republican majorities have when challenged and then turned to shrill doctrinaire posturing. Not that Christians have ever been known for that.

Mikel Weisser teaches social studies and poetry on the left coast of Arizona. He can be reached at weisser@frontiernet.net. Read other articles by Mikel.

33 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. bozh said on March 10th, 2009 at 1:53pm #

    i hope more and more people see christianity, islam, and judaism as shamanism or cultish thinking.
    let’s face it, seeing, touching, tasting, hearing is not believing [guessing].
    we have just five senses and not a sixth, seventh … sense.

    all the knowledge [including technology or tool making] we have collected was collected via the five senses.
    experience comes before thinking; i.e., evaluating as true.
    one cannot experience god [s]; so, it is a waste of human energy to evaluate that god[s] exist.

    after all, columbus’ ships didn’t fall of the edge of the sea. which made their crew very happy cuz they have not seen the edge but nevertheless came to ‘india’. now, that’s knowledge!

    we shldn’t be forever argueing [or even kill one another] about such nonentities as saints, gods, holy land, prophets, etc.tx

  2. John Rackliffe said on March 10th, 2009 at 2:15pm #

    I find it interesting that the name of this organization portends a “struggle for peace and social justice,” yet the very ideals that Jesus Christ espoused, you vehemently oppose. Jesus predicted the day when people would leave denominational churches and return to home churches and small groups of believers who made Him first in their lives.
    Social justice and peace can be achieved through faith in the good news of Jesus Christ and him crucified and resurrected from the dead. Pretending their are no moral absolutes and hoping to achieve peace will be a struggle. Throwing out Christian morality issues such as Pro-life, Abstence before marriage between a man and woman, putting the needs of others before oneself, etc would be ideal starting points for achieving social justice.
    I pray that social justice is achieved but I doubt that historical revisionism and socialism are pathways to success; they weren’t in Russia, Nazi Germany, and Cuba. Perhaps you should try asking the God of the Universe what to do first, afterall he left us a handbook with all the answers and he gave his Son’s life as a place to start.

  3. Suthiano said on March 10th, 2009 at 3:34pm #

    bozh,

    I agree partially, but it is pyramid structure of cults that are biggest issue…. what they show is that human beings WILL ‘believe’ more than they will ever ‘know’ through senses… Most humans CAN be mislead with false/half truths (shadows on the wall) while reality occurs at top of pyramid.

    Evidence of this is in your own statement: “one cannot experience god”. I assume you have come to this conclusion because you have not experienced god? I have not experienced (vis a vis senses) many things (atoms for instance) therefore I do not believe in their existence… yet many people talk of atoms and apparently there is someway to harness destructive force in bombs, though we can’t ‘see’ the way it works. One could argue we ‘know’ atoms exist because they allow for existence of matter… I will respond below.

    Thus scientific thinking based on empiricism becomes a shoddy replacement for faith: after all, unless you have experienced something with one of the 5 senses you can only accept it as true through “belief” (that is through trusting someone else’s depiction of their own experience). So, based on materialism we still have pyramid structure in which most of what you take for granted in your day to day life is based on “belief”, credit, credere, trust. That is not to mention the way in which our senses can deceive us… and the way in which assigning a ’cause’ to an event/experience is hardly ‘scientific’, but rather based on old beliefs developed through customary habits.

    We have no reason to trust any of those at top of current cults. They have lied and lied to us, while killing us. True religion, however, will return once everyone recognizes common roots of all religions, which tie us to our past, future, each other. These true roots have been hidden for many many years… and those who have tried to expose them have been silenced.

    Another argument would be (similar to atom existence argued above): every experience is an experience of ‘god’, in that ‘god’ (creation, force, matter, planets etc) is reason for such things existence, and particularly for our faculties of perception and reasoning.

    This, while far from ‘knowledge’ of GOD (that which cannot be named?) would get closer to usage of term ‘god’ and customary understanding of the concept… help us understand how masses can be so confused and yet so willing to ‘believe’ (Faith is honored in masses above knowledge).

    thanks for considering my thoughts.

  4. Suthiano said on March 10th, 2009 at 3:37pm #

    I didn’t state it but: basically I agree with you about futility of most people talking about ‘holy land’ etc… but way to expose silliness is to expose peoples lack of understanding what they are suffering too. they have simply acquired a vocabulary through society and probably don’t have philological or historical understanding of what words signify.

    Thus: “they know not what they say”.

  5. Suthiano said on March 10th, 2009 at 3:37pm #

    *suffering should be referring.

  6. Jeff said on March 10th, 2009 at 4:21pm #

    Nor any other sect such as ‘Judaism’ Mikel. Calling the kettle black huh! Maybe Israel should take care of its’ own problems on their ‘own’. Maybe we are beginning to “see” the evil which is being perpetuated upon ‘us’. Without ‘us’, there is nothing here.

  7. Monkismo said on March 10th, 2009 at 5:50pm #

    The Bible, a catalog of bigotry, genocide, misogyny, tacit endorsements of slavery, and endless instructions in useful activities like animal sacrifice, is a “handbook with all the answers?” That’s sick. And even if you disregard the gross ugliness of the Old Testament, you’re left with the embarrassing horrors of Revelations, and its totalitarian threat that “every knee shall bow,” hardly an inspirational concept for anyone but a slave hoping to be rewarded for their subservience.

    And yes, the idea that God killed himself but didn’t know that he was killing himself, in order to save mankind from himself, with no instructions for us except to declare our allegiance to him, is a really beautiful and inspirational story.

    Sure, you can pick and choose a few verses from the Bible that sound good. But you’re left making excuses for the rest, instead of just caring about people and their suffering as any legitimate religion would.

  8. Hue Longer said on March 10th, 2009 at 10:30pm #

    Bozh,

    It was already well understood that the Earth was round when The slave trader Columbus began his Discovery Tour

  9. mikel weisser said on March 10th, 2009 at 11:00pm #

    wow.
    Reading through these comments was even more interesting than writing the article.
    Thanks for all of the ideas.
    Mr Rackliffe, i recommend the widely available documentary Zeitgeist, even if you just watch the 1st 1/3 of it you will see why so many of us expand beyond Christianity.

    And yes, the Greeks had had a spherical conception of a map of their known world, but i think Bozh was being rhetorical.

  10. Garth said on March 11th, 2009 at 3:10am #

    Suthiano,

    I think I know what you’re trying to say about science being similar to religion. What I’ve come to think about humanity is that we try to explain the way the world works with whatever means is available to us. Science makes lots of guesses, tests them with measurements, and then is fairly satisfied but still knows that the scientific explanation isn’t solid.

    Religious beliefs tend to rely on ancient guesses, and so do our accepted “scientific” beliefs. We could never operate without making guesses, assumptions, and leaps of faith. Our brains can’t just process everything that’s coming in like a computer and calculate the absolute truth of what you see, and this is true for everyday living as well.

    Humanity’s understanding of the world is pretty infantile, partly because of the tendency to prevent progress by not sharing profitable knowledge or even prohibiting certain kinds of knowledge, but also because we’re just behind in our development. We’ve got some more important realizations about the world than the inner reaches of matter. We don’t understand very well how we interact with each other as a diverse population of humans distributed over a planet, or our relationship with the rest of nature for that matter, even if some of us try very hard. We’ll have to accept some unaccepted types of ideas to become more completely wise, such as aboriginal wisdoms and anarchist theory.

    An infinite amount of very interesting questions have never even been asked or imagined before. We don’t know what we don’t know, and we can’t necessarily find it through what we already know. Somehow, maybe by taking drugs and randomly coming up with a profound thought, we end up with new ideas… Shouldn’t we all just be searching for knowledge from all sources, ancient or otherwise, instead of assuming that everything we’ve been taught is exactly the only way it could be?

  11. Dave K said on March 11th, 2009 at 3:10am #

    This is my first time on this site, Mikel’s article my first read and I’ll be back. Thank you all for the comments. Probably my favorite part of the comments (I didn’t read every word but read most of them) is that everyone shares and yet no one is personally attacking, berating, or otherwise disrespecting anyone else for their views. Thank you all for being civil! I consider myself a spiritual person; I am an atheist. I very much enjoyed Zeitgeist. I consider religion as a whole to be the greatest myth in human history; a myth perpetuated, among other things, to keep the flock subservient. And I feel absolutely no desire to disrespect those who have a different view.

  12. Garth said on March 11th, 2009 at 3:29am #

    Oops, excuse me, I didn’t mean to say that scientific beliefs rely on ancient guesses. I just meant to say that the common beliefs of people who feel they adhere to science can also be based on ancient ideas which may not be true.

    For example, most of us seem to be convinced that humanity is absolutely meant to pair off into twos (which works just great for some people) and that no other social structures could ever feel normal and healthy to a culture (although some people enjoy strange sexual practices that most of us don’t understand). How are we to say that humans aren’t allowed to treat sexual activity like any other common social interaction, but one to be linked to earned trust (for the sake of health), love, and physical attraction? In such a social situation (with no demonization for it, of course), people would probably be pretty well sexually satisfied and possibly more psychologically stable people as a result. They wouldn’t feel trapped by commitment, and I’m sure there are other complaints that stem from the monogamistic way we choose to organize.

    I know this would be a very unpopular idea and I realize people will disagree with it, but it’s an example of how some things we’ve been adamant on for millenia may not be 100% true.

  13. Martha said on March 11th, 2009 at 5:01am #

    “good loyal Americans who are proud of their heritage” — any Dissident Voice article that includes such a phrase doesn’t belong here. And Republicans aren’t the problem, despite what the professor thinks, Democrats and Republicans and the way they have gamed the system are the problem. This article is a fairy tale for those who need an enemy because they refuse to open their own eyes. Michael Moore couldn’t have blathered on more uselessly which is really saying something.

  14. Tree said on March 11th, 2009 at 5:29am #

    None of the articles posted here on Dissident Voice are so far reaching or so deeply intellectual that they are impossible to understand yet nearly every day there are comments from people like Martha who are incapable of grasping the most basic forms of satire, sarcasm, humor and any shade of gray. How embarrassing for them.

  15. Hue Longer said on March 11th, 2009 at 5:49am #

    Thanks Mikel,

    Bozh can talk with me–we’re cool

    Martha has a point…if your article was about laying blame on Repubs, the first paragraph wouldn’t seem so out of place. But you did include that first paragraph and though I think (unlike Martha) that the line about good loyal Americans was pointed, the notion that this was a Bush mainly problem shines through. Clinton was a tool of the ruling class too and worse in many ways

    I enjoyed the rest of it but since definitions are important, I don’t think less people believe in God (whatever that means)—it’s just all the fashion now to say they don’t prescribe to a religion (whatever that means) and to a lesser extent “christianity” (again, whatever that means). I don’t think the study necessarily reflects any actual self realized change. Not to say though that it doesn’t mean anything that people are shedding the “christian” label.

    Cheers

  16. Martha said on March 11th, 2009 at 9:10am #

    None of the articles posted here on Dissident Voice are so far reaching or so deeply intellectual that they are impossible to understand yet nearly every day there are comments from people like Martha who are incapable of grasping the most basic forms of satire, sarcasm, humor and any shade of gray. How embarrassing for them.

    Tree, I actually had a nice comment for you recently and I have left many nice comments at other articles. There is no ‘humor’ in the article above. There is only “evil Republicans.” There is only spin. As if the writer wishes he were part of that 8:45 a.m. phone call Politico just wrote about where the echo chamber the Democrats hope will compete with the Republicans takes place Monday through Friday as they learn the White House agenda for the day and what points to push.
    I’m not embarrassed to call out propaganda.
    That’s all this article is.
    That and a lot of hatred tossed at people who are religious.
    As an African-American, I’ll leave it to DV’s largely White leadership to wonder where the author of the article would put MLK on his hate chain?

  17. bozh said on March 11th, 2009 at 9:23am #

    suthiano,
    we can infer that atoms exist because we have smoking bombs to prove that there is s’mthing to the theories of physics.
    and some of the unseeables can be seen with telescope and microscope.

    i was using the word “god” as the mad priests use it. they know that it is a HE; talks hebrew and to hebrew prophets only; chooses people over other people, etc.
    yes, we have to guess to obtain further sightings; but one has to see s’mthing before one says, Ok i’ve seen steam. Will it scald me if i put my hand in it? Can i use it?

    i do not know how one can obtain new discoveries by neglecting to remember one saw the first cause; one saw, tasted, felt,, touched, heard s’mthing.
    and obtained thus traces of the events, called memories. about which one can think.
    but even memories precede thinking/guessing/postulating/theorising.
    to obtain an image of s’mthing one had to see it first.
    suthiano, i have not seen you; thus i have no image of you or your behavior.
    but if i had expereienced you i wld have images of you and your behavior and only then make some conclusion as to whether you are friendly, nice, etc.tnx

  18. Tree said on March 11th, 2009 at 9:41am #

    Martha, I’m not that impressed with the article itself but I felt to read that particular comment and take it literally was incorrect and that is a common occurrence in the comments.
    As for a lot of hatred tossed at religious people–I don’t support hatred but I support religion even less, so I have little patience or sympathy for religious people.

    Largely white audience? How do you know this?
    You mention MLK. I take it you would not consider him a good, loyal American who was proud of his heritage? (If we were to take that comment literally and if I was to take your comment about it not belonging on DV literally)

  19. Scott said on March 11th, 2009 at 7:01pm #

    One thing the founding fathers had right: they were deists. When an individual espouses Darwinian poppycock, I consider that he/she is wanting in a knowledge of space and natural history. The heavens and all creatures, great and small (without transitional forms), declare His handiwork.

  20. HR said on March 11th, 2009 at 10:59pm #

    One sure way to identify people who know nothing of evolutionary theory is by their constant, and improper, use of words, like Darwinism or Darwinian. They seem to assume that those who deal with observations, inductive and deductive reasoning, formulation and testing of hypotheses, a very few of which lead to scientific theories, are as addicted to dogma and belief systems as they. The truth is that many, if not most (unless things have changed dramatically over the last decade) biologists have never even cracked open Darwin’s book unless they have taken a history of biology course, or been particularly curious about Darwin as a person. Darwin is NOT someone we worship, nor would he have tolerated such nonsense. Science, unlike atheism, is NOT a religion.

    People seem to forget, or have never bothered to learn, that Darwin was not the only one exploring and observing the world around him during his time — and before. Darwin happened to be the first to be published widely. Type in Alfred Russell Wallace to your favorite search program, for instance. It might set you upon a journey of intellectual expansion. The view of the world would have changed with or without him specifically, at least for those more concerned with observation than with wishful thinking, or superstition, both of which lead to conclusions that are worse than utter poppycock.

  21. Hugh7 said on March 11th, 2009 at 11:26pm #

    “Science, unlike atheism, is NOT a religion.”
    Atheism is a religion like OFF is a TV channel.
    Atheism is a religion like not collecting stamps is a hobby.
    (Contributions welcome.)

    Transitional forms? We have heaps, as many as any reasonable person could ask, and more coming in every day. The wonder is not how few fossils we have but how many.

  22. Scott said on March 12th, 2009 at 6:18am #

    In my formative years I received, uncritically, in the context of the primary and secondary public school, the standard diet of evolutionary theory. This indoctrination was reinforced by the popular press: National Geographic, The Smithsonian, NPR, to name a few sources. Subsequent to my college education, which, though heavy in the sciences, was never once critical of the theory, a friend gave me Michael Denton’s book, “Evolution: A Theory in Crisis.” Currently, I am making my way through W.R. Bird’s, “The Origin of Species Revisited.” These two works address the serious flaws in Darwinian and neo-Darwinian foundations. Modern science rather than bringing additional support to the evolutionist, is actually making him appear quite like his principal antagonist, the fundamentalist Christian. His head, likewise, appears quite stuck in the sand. To summarize the gist of my readings: Microevolution, absolutely. Macroevolution(trans-speciation), never. Poppycock, my friends. Consider the ant, or perhaps some symbiotic relationship, or perhaps tern migration and forget your agenda.

  23. HR said on March 12th, 2009 at 12:21pm #

    Atheism is absolutely a religion: it is a BELIEF in the nonexistence of supernatural beings, and its adherents can be as dogmatic as members of any other religion.

    Scott, maybe you should read further. Evolutionary theory has plenty of evidence to support it — else it would not be a scientific theory. The Discovery Institute also disputes the theory, but offers no real evidence whatever to refute it. If real evidence is found to show that the theory is wrong, then it will be modified, or discarded. That hasn’t happened yet, as all the evidence is confirming of it rather than contradictory to it. Newton’s findings concerning gravity have been somewhat modified as a result of Einstein’s theories, though Newtonian physics are still very applicable in daily life, or in sending objects into orbit, or to other planets. Addressing and criticizing Darwin’s publication is sort of like criticizing Galileo because his telescopes were so crude. He wrote 150 years ago. Evolutionary biology has moved on. The only “Darwinism” we have today is the Social Darwinism, itself a bastardization of evolutionary theory through its incorrect interpretation of survival of the fittest (a bad choice of words), promoted by the right. But, the superstitious will retain their superstitions until the species passes from existence, I guess.

  24. Pastor Zip said on March 12th, 2009 at 3:52pm #

    George Washington was a Vestryman for the Truro Parish in Fairfax, Virginia, as was another Founding Father, George Mason. That would have been in the Church of Virginia, which after American independence and disestablishment would become the Episcopal Church. In the 1700s, there was no doubt that these were Christian men. Yes, Franklin and Jefferson weren’t particularly Christian, but to speak of the Founding Fathers as Deist one must ignore the faith most of the Fathers actually expressed.

  25. mikel weisser said on March 12th, 2009 at 4:08pm #

    Whoa. It has been nearly a year since i wrote something that generated this much commentary. Martha, while i do see many Republican “Values” as evil i am actually writing about the evils done by Christianity in general. To me, the “good loyal” part was about running away from zealots. Since the religious right in this country has so much in kin with the Taliban in other countries i would think that Christians who wish to promote their religions rightly would choose to condemn the perversions of the religion so commonly weilded by the GOP is the supposed name of god. Please further note, as linked in my little byline that i am a spiritual believer and not an atheist, which i do not see as a belief system, more as an avoidance of belief in general.

  26. mikel weisser said on March 12th, 2009 at 4:12pm #

    Oops. A closer review of the article shows me that DV did not publish the linked byline for this article that mentioned i am a pantheist. (My articles go out to several sites each week and i have little or no control over when or how they are published)

    Here is the link for more info on the subject:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pantheism

  27. HR said on March 12th, 2009 at 5:59pm #

    Believing (fervently at times) in the nonexistence of deities, as atheists do, and an absence of belief regarding such existence are two very different things. The first is a religion. The second is not.

  28. HR said on March 12th, 2009 at 6:11pm #

    Apparently the wealthy founders were troubled enough by religion, and the tyranny it can impose, to mention it twice in the Constitution, once in the First Amendment (added following ratification along with the rest of the Bill of Rights if I recall, per agreements with the states as condition for their ratification), and the clause, in the document as ratified prior to adding the Bill of Rights, prohibiting any religious test being applied as a condition of holding public office in the new country.

  29. russell olausen said on March 12th, 2009 at 8:49pm #

    Being in the presence of a Christian pedagogue always leaves me bemused.I am glad for the inbuilt radar that allows me to avoid them.Had no idea of the numbers.

  30. Scott said on March 13th, 2009 at 6:21am #

    I apologize to you folks for my tangential thinking. “Good loyal Americans proud of their heritage” coupled with a reference to the founding fathers’ deistic convictions set me astride my “anti-evolution” hobbyhorse. Latent schizophrenia? Perhaps.

  31. kalidas said on March 13th, 2009 at 2:47pm #

    Since many seem so smug and flippant as to rail against or otherwise deny religion, I DARE YOU to deny this.. (americans are excluded, *for the time being)

    As for me, I’m wholeheartedly, unfailingly adopting the newest, most powerful religion. The one none dare speak out against or deny. And that means YOU!

    The religion of Holocaustianity.

  32. Barry99 said on March 13th, 2009 at 6:26pm #

    The term ‘deist’ covered a lot of ground back then. One could believe there was a god and not be overly concerned with the Christianity of it all, one could believe in Jesus the philosopher (the Jesus of the four gospels) and not Jesus the Christ who was the son of god and performed miracles, or one could believe that there was a Christian god who set the universe in motion but then kicked back and let human will and foibles take over.

    Rackcliffe – You say: “Throwing out Christian morality issues such as Pro-life, Abstence before marriage between a man and woman, putting the needs of others before oneself, etc would be ideal starting points for achieving social justice.”
    Are you throwing out ‘putting the needs of others before oneself”? I don’t get it – and it does not mesh with those other morality issues you mention.

    Neither the Soviet Union nor Nazi Germany were socialist. In fact, the Third Reich was quite clearly a right-wing capitalist state. And just for the record, God did not leave us a handbook. (Unless you mean the Koran which was dictated to a man). The Bible was written by men (“The Gospel ACCORDING to Matthew, etc.), not God.

  33. kalidas said on March 14th, 2009 at 8:36am #

    Barry99, Ever hear of the Vedas? The Gita?