1. Joined
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    18 Dec '13 17:00
    A Harris poll indicates that Americans' belief in god, miracles and heaven is on the decline:

    http://www.harrisinteractive.com/NewsRoom/HarrisPolls/tabid/447/ctl/ReadCustom pct.20Default/mid/1508/ArticleId/1353/Default.aspx

    "New York, N.Y. - December 16, 2013 - A new Harris Poll finds that while a strong majority (74 percent) of U.S. adults do believe in God, this belief is in decline when compared to previous years as just over four in five (82 pct.) expressed a belief in God in 2005, 2007 and 2009. Also, while majorities also believe in miracles (72 pct., down from 79 pct. in 2005), heaven (68 pct., down from 75 pct.), that Jesus is God or the Son of God (68 pct., down from 72 pct.), the resurrection of Jesus Christ (65 pct., down from 70 pct.), the survival of the soul after death (64 pct., down from 69 pct.), the devil, hell (both at 58 pct., down from 62 pct.) and the Virgin birth (57 pct., down from 60 pct.), these are all down from previous Harris Polls.

    Belief in Darwin's theory of evolution, however, while well below levels recorded for belief in God, miracles and heaven, is up in comparison to 2005 findings (47 pct., up from 42 pct.)."

    A 2012 Pew poll shows a similar trend:

    http://www.pewforum.org/2012/10/09/nones-on-the-rise/

    "The number of Americans who do not identify with any religion continues to grow at a rapid pace. One-fifth of the U.S. public – and a third of adults under 30 – are religiously unaffiliated today, the highest percentages ever in Pew Research Center polling.

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

    I think the most interesting part is the correlation of age/generation to belief. According to Pew, each generation has an additional 4-9 percent of the generation being religiously unaffiliated that the previous generation. It's been a pretty slow pace, but if this trend continues, we could start having generations born in the 2020's or 2030's who will be over 50 pct. religiously nonaffiliated and under 50 pct. believing in god.
  2. Joined
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    18 Dec '13 17:131 edit
    Originally posted by PatNovak
    A Harris poll indicates that Americans' belief in god, miracles and heaven is on the decline:

    http://www.harrisinteractive.com/NewsRoom/HarrisPolls/tabid/447/ctl/ReadCustom pct.20Default/mid/1508/ArticleId/1353/Default.aspx

    "New York, N.Y. - December 16, 2013 - A new Harris Poll finds that while a strong majority (74 percent) of U.S. adults do believe ...[text shortened]... or 2030's who will be over 50 pct. religiously nonaffiliated and under 50 pct. believing in god.
    I don't blame them, The american government doesn't help the people much at all If you don't have a job or can't find a job the goverment don't help that much 🙁 So people get depressed and lose their faith
  3. Joined
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    18 Dec '13 17:38
    Originally posted by tim88
    I don't blame them, The american government doesn't help the people much at all If you don't have a job or can't find a job the goverment don't help that much 🙁 So people get depressed and lose their faith
    U.S. Federal spending per capita has trended up over time, which corresponds with non-belief in god trending upward. I think these are two mostly unrelated events, but if you are going to conclude that U.S. Federal Government activity is related to belief in god, your conclusion should be that bigger government lowers belief in god, not the reverse.
  4. Joined
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    18 Dec '13 17:461 edit
    Originally posted by PatNovak
    U.S. Federal spending per capita has trended up over time, which corresponds with non-belief in god trending upward. I think these are two mostly unrelated events, but if you are going to conclude that U.S. Federal Government activity is related to belief in god, your conclusion should be that bigger government lowers belief in god, not the reverse.
    maybe people are getting smarter. Why do you think it's happening?
  5. Joined
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    18 Dec '13 19:12
    Originally posted by tim88
    maybe people are getting smarter. Why do you think it's happening?
    I'm not sure why it is happening. There is some correlation to education level, and I think that has something to do with it. But I think it is specifically science education and not just general education level, because polling scientist finds a big disparity in belief (a 2009 pew poll had 33 pct. of scientists believing in god (http://www.pewforum.org/2009/11/05/scientists-and-belief/)).

    I also read about a study that said that religious belief drops when analytical thinking rises (http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=how-critical-thinkers-lose-faith-god). If this is true, I think society today (at least in the more prosperous countries) forces more people to become critical thinkers (there are more "thinking" jobs and less manual labor jobs, as well as the vast amount of information and ideas we are exposed to with the internet).

    My own guess is that life in the U.S. is better than it has ever been for all rungs of society now, and as such, people see less of a need for a referee to balance the scales in the next life.

    But the answer to your question is the important one for determining if the trend will continue, and all I really have are guesses.
  6. Joined
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    18 Dec '13 19:46
    Originally posted by PatNovak
    U.S. Federal spending per capita has trended up over time, which corresponds with non-belief in god trending upward. I think these are two mostly unrelated events, but if you are going to conclude that U.S. Federal Government activity is related to belief in god, your conclusion should be that bigger government lowers belief in god, not the reverse.
    Big government and religion are natural antagonists to the extent that either seeks to control people's lives. Therefore, each will seek to discredit the other.

    This is unless one of them vanquishes the other. In that case, the winner may incorporate the loser into its control systems.

    So it is a relatively healthy state of affairs for individual freedom, when government and religion grudgingly coexist.

    But beware. If they happily coexist, they may be in an alliance.

    Example:

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/08/23/nixon-billy-graham-stand-united-in-phone-call/2691749/

    [/pontification]
  7. Joined
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    18 Dec '13 20:43
    Originally posted by JS357
    Big government and religion are natural antagonists to the extent that either seeks to control people's lives. Therefore, each will seek to discredit the other.

    This is unless one of them vanquishes the other. In that case, the winner may incorporate the loser into its control systems.

    So it is a relatively healthy state of affairs for individual freedo ...[text shortened]... religion grudgingly coexist.

    But beware. If they happily coexist, they may be in an alliance.
    So for those American liberals or conservatives who are not as concerned about individual freedom, the choice is relatively easy (those liberals want government to win that battle and those conservatives want religion to win). But for someone who is highly concerned with individual freedom (say, a Libertarian Atheist), that person should not really be hoping for both religion and government to lose influence, but should instead be hoping for an antagonist balance between them. Wow, that is a really interesting thought JS357. A Libertarian Atheist should then vote (and perhaps donate) in a Machiavellian manner, instead of picking their preferred candidate (and this might even mean choosing their least preferred candidate).
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    18 Dec '13 20:47
    Originally posted by tim88
    maybe people are getting smarter. Why do you think it's happening?
    With a public education system that has American children performing 48th in the world, and falling, I dare say that they are on the brink of genius.
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    18 Dec '13 20:52
    Originally posted by PatNovak
    So for those American liberals or conservatives who are not as concerned about individual freedom, the choice is relatively easy (those liberals want government to win that battle and those conservatives want religion to win). But for someone who is highly concerned with individual freedom (say, a Libertarian Atheist), that person should not really be hopin ...[text shortened]... g their preferred candidate (and this might even mean choosing their least preferred candidate).
    The issue is control. Mankind wants control over us all. God gave us free will and it is only man who wishes to take it away.

    It used to be that mankind tried to convince us that they were gods and should rule over us. Then they tried to convince us that they spoke for God and should rule over us. Now they are trying to convince us that there is no God, and since there is no parental God, the state should fill the void and preach morality to us. This means we must not question things such as global warming, recycling, drinking biggie sodas, gay sex, eating Happy Meals, paying our fair share of everything, etc, etc, etc.

    Once this fails where will they turn? I'm guessing back to a theocracy, more than likely Muslim in nature.
  10. Standard memberSoothfast
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    18 Dec '13 21:35
    Originally posted by tim88
    I don't blame them, The american government doesn't help the people much at all If you don't have a job or can't find a job the goverment don't help that much 🙁 So people get depressed and lose their faith
    This makes me want to fall to the floor and spin on my ear, as in the manner of Curly of the Three Stooges.
  11. Joined
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    18 Dec '13 22:20
    Originally posted by whodey
    The issue is control. Mankind wants control over us all. God gave us free will and it is only man who wishes to take it away.
    I am unclear about how god and mankind differ in terms of allowing free will and controlling people. Both seek a level of control of a person's actions through rewards and punishments, and both give a limited form of free will with a dose of coercion - obey and you will be fine, disobey and your will go to jail/hell. The main difference seems to be the level of the rewards and punishments, but other than that, they seem to me to be pretty similar in structure.

    In any event, either people must be allowed to misbehave in heaven or god has to take away free will in heaven. The last time he tried giving people both heaven and free will (Adam and Eve), it apparently didn't work out.
  12. Standard membersonship
    the corrected one.
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    19 Dec '13 14:32
    Originally posted by PatNovak
    I am unclear about how god and mankind differ in terms of allowing free will and controlling people. Both seek a level of control of a person's actions through rewards and punishments, and both give a limited form of free will with a dose of coercion - obey and you will be fine, disobey and your will go to jail/hell. The main difference seems to be the leve ...[text shortened]... he tried giving people both heaven and free will (Adam and Eve), it apparently didn't work out.
    I am not clear how you are using "coercion" as a charge against God. Coercion, I would understand as usurping the will and causing man to act a puppet or robot against his will.

    Let me ask you. If I climb out the window of a the tenth floor of a ten story building and jump, the law of gravity will cause me to plunge down to the earth. I will probably die.

    Now if the building attendant warns me not to do that, is he guilty of coercing my will ?

    If I jump irregardless of her warning, as I plunge faster and faster towards the ground beneath, can I blame the attendant for coercing my will? Can I complain that the attendant is controlling me ?
  13. Joined
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    19 Dec '13 15:04
    Originally posted by sonship
    I am not clear how you are using "coercion" as a charge against God. Coercion, I would understand as usurping the will and causing man to act a puppet or robot against his will.

    Let me ask you. If I climb out the window of a the tenth floor of a ten story building and jump, the law of gravity will cause me to plunge down to the earth. I will probably di ...[text shortened]... blame the attendant for coercing my will? Can I complain that the attendant is controlling me ?
    I think maybe you are confusing coercion with mind control. Googling coercion gives this definition, which matches what I described: “the practice of persuading someone to do something by using force or threats.”

    Your analogy doesn’t apply, because the building attendant is not using force or threats to convince you to do something. Warning someone of a potential danger is not the same as threatening them.
  14. Standard memberSwissGambit
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    19 Dec '13 17:15
    Originally posted by whodey
    With a public education system that has American children performing 48th in the world, and falling, I dare say that they are on the brink of genius.
    Genius succeeds in spite of the educational system's limitations. You also learn that college graduates are not necessarily any smarter or capable of practicing what they study. It's more like a rite of passage.
  15. Standard memberwolfgang59
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    19 Dec '13 20:44
    Originally posted by sonship
    I am not clear how you are using "coercion" as a charge against God. Coercion, I would understand as usurping the will and causing man to act a puppet or robot against his will.

    Let me ask you. If I climb out the window of a the tenth floor of a ten story building and jump, the law of gravity will cause me to plunge down to the earth. I will probably di ...[text shortened]... blame the attendant for coercing my will? Can I complain that the attendant is controlling me ?
    Your god is like the building attendant on the 10th floor who
    gives you a choice:
    crawl into the elevator on your hands and knees
    OR
    take the fast way down out the window.

    Free will





    (Of course the atheist walks down the stairs)
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