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Old 05-13-2012, 12:30 AM   #1
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How Can Religion Lose Its Respect / Power?

Is religion like racism? Will people gradually realize it's wrong with each following generation being less racists than their parents, until we are where we are today; a society looks down / hates racism. Or will it take something more extreme?

The strongest defense religion has against reason is how it teaches / scares young children that the most important thing in their lives is their unquestionable faith. If they deviate from their faith, they will suffer unimaginable pain for ETERNITY. There will be evil people that try to persuade you against God, but you must remain strong! Modern science shows us how our childhood experiences have a profound impact on the way our adult mind functions.

Everyone knows of someone who is so stubborn on a specific belief, that nothing can change their mind, nothing. Whether it be religion, political affiliation, or views on homosexuality. At some point in his life, he reached the point of no return, where is brain is incapable of altering strong held beliefs. Unfortunately, this seems to be quite early in life.

It's mindboggling how there can be individuals in the same society discovering the inner workings of the particles of atoms at CERN, yet others telling children that the Earth is 4000 years old and their non-believer friends will suffer unbearable pain for eternity. Both are considered honorable and respectable occupations by the majority! Amazing.

Racism took centuries of smart men constantly speaking against its evil for it to finally lose its hold on the society. Can religion lose its power the same way? What would it take for all religion to be regarded how astrology is currently?
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Old 05-13-2012, 09:09 AM   #2
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Re: How Can Religion Lose Its Respect / Power?

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Is religion like racism? Will people gradually realize it's wrong with each following generation being less racists than their parents, until we are where we are today; a society looks down / hates racism. Or will it take something more extreme?
Yes, definitely. It's already happened in a lot of places in the western world (I'm in Sweden, religion was big a few hundred years ago or whatever; now it's close to a non-factor). It seems to me like the same thing is clearly happening in the US, it's just been a slower process. Give it another generation or two.
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Old 05-13-2012, 10:21 AM   #3
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Re: How Can Religion Lose Its Respect / Power?

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Yes, definitely. It's already happened in a lot of places in the western world (I'm in Sweden, religion was big a few hundred years ago or whatever; now it's close to a non-factor). It seems to me like the same thing is clearly happening in the US, it's just been a slower process. Give it another generation or two.
Agreed....It may sound harsh but sometimes we just need to wait for old people to die off...
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Old 05-13-2012, 04:17 PM   #4
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Re: How Can Religion Lose Its Respect / Power?

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Agreed....It may sound harsh but sometimes we just need to wait for old people to die off...
I'm not as convinced in the case of the US. There are a lot of young, vocal, and eager-to-breed evangelicals in many parts of the country. This probably does apply to some denominations, though, notably Catholicism.
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Old 05-13-2012, 04:45 PM   #5
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Re: How Can Religion Lose Its Respect / Power?

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I'm not as convinced in the case of the US. There are a lot of young, vocal, and eager-to-breed evangelicals in many parts of the country. This probably does apply to some denominations, though, notably Catholicism.
And there were a lot more of those 20, 40, 80, 150, etc years ago*, no? Sure it might take longer than in most western countries, but the trend seems very clear.

*Relative to the rest of the population, or I'll get owned by someone because of population growth.
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Old 05-13-2012, 07:40 PM   #6
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Re: How Can Religion Lose Its Respect / Power?

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I'm not as convinced in the case of the US. There are a lot of young, vocal, and eager-to-breed evangelicals in many parts of the country. This probably does apply to some denominations, though, notably Catholicism.
You might be interested in "The Next Christendom" by Philip Jenkins. It's a very interesting view of the development non-Western manifestations of Christianity ("global Christianity"). I'm only partway through the book, but it's quite fascinating and (as best as I can tell) very carefully researched.

(Edit: "Non-Western" isn't quite the right word... I really mean non-European/non-North-American.)

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And there were a lot more of those 20, 40, 80, 150, etc years ago*, no? Sure it might take longer than in most western countries, but the trend seems very clear.

*Relative to the rest of the population, or I'll get owned by someone because of population growth.
This depends on how you understand the term "Evangelical" (as a subset of the broader term "Christian" or even "Protestant").

Last edited by Aaron W.; 05-13-2012 at 07:59 PM.
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Old 05-13-2012, 07:52 PM   #7
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Re: How Can Religion Lose Its Respect / Power?

Never underestimate the stupidity of Americans.
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Old 05-13-2012, 09:42 PM   #8
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Re: How Can Religion Lose Its Respect / Power?

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I'm not as convinced in the case of the US. There are a lot of young, vocal, and eager-to-breed evangelicals in many parts of the country. This probably does apply to some denominations, though, notably Catholicism.
This is true, and the abstinence-only sex education they are promoting certainly isn't helping...

I think education is the most likely path to any significant decrease in religious belief. This is why it's so important to elect politicians who will keep our school curricula secular and promote honest, scientific inquiry.
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Old 05-13-2012, 10:18 PM   #9
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Re: How Can Religion Lose Its Respect / Power?

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I'm not as convinced in the case of the US. There are a lot of young, vocal, and eager-to-breed evangelicals in many parts of the country. This probably does apply to some denominations, though, notably Catholicism.
I think the shift will be very slow in other countries as well. I don't think we will see a major reversal within our lifetimes.
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Old 05-13-2012, 10:38 PM   #10
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Re: How Can Religion Lose Its Respect / Power?

The US mentality is tricky on religion. We're very respectful, publicly, of people's feelings towards religion. Politicians also use it as a tool.

Somewhat in the cities and most scientific/academic type atmospheres you'll get more of nonchalant attitude towards religion, but outside of that pretty much all of small-town America is religious.

In general, people are not strong enough to break out of the religious belief, but on top of that Americans are so unquestioning when it comes to things like this it's laughable. People worry much much more about the NFL than they do about God, or his lack of existence.
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Old 05-14-2012, 01:46 PM   #11
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Re: How Can Religion Lose Its Respect / Power?

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This is true, and the abstinence-only sex education they are promoting certainly isn't helping...

I think education is the most likely path to any significant decrease in religious belief. This is why it's so important to elect politicians who will keep our school curricula secular and promote honest, scientific inquiry.
...which is why prominent evangelicals are out to alter the school curriculum to their own ends, most notably in biology and history. Where they have failed to challenge the facts of human evolution, they have ironically turned to trying to instill radical skepticism into students (odd for a movement with such stark certitude about the truth of the Bible)--you wouldn't believe how many times I've seen, either in person or in media, evangelical students attempt to shunt science into the category of private belief. "Oh, that's just another opinion," is the refrain about evolution/geology/cosmology now. If you can't elevate religion to the world of facts, then reduce science to the world of feeling and opinion. Young people can usually be persuaded to give nominal "respect" to the beliefs of others, yet as they pass into adulthood, this rarely translates into political tolerance. Conservative evangelical churches are extremely vocal about their opposition to abortion, birth control, gay rights, and secular culture.
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Old 05-14-2012, 02:21 PM   #12
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Re: How Can Religion Lose Its Respect / Power?

religion is like racism in the sense that neither will ever end completely
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Old 05-14-2012, 04:45 PM   #13
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Re: How Can Religion Lose Its Respect / Power?

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...which is why prominent evangelicals are out to alter the school curriculum to their own ends, most notably in biology and history. Where they have failed to challenge the facts of human evolution, they have ironically turned to trying to instill radical skepticism into students (odd for a movement with such stark certitude about the truth of the Bible)--you wouldn't believe how many times I've seen, either in person or in media, evangelical students attempt to shunt science into the category of private belief. "Oh, that's just another opinion," is the refrain about evolution/geology/cosmology now. If you can't elevate religion to the world of facts, then reduce science to the world of feeling and opinion. Young people can usually be persuaded to give nominal "respect" to the beliefs of others, yet as they pass into adulthood, this rarely translates into political tolerance. Conservative evangelical churches are extremely vocal about their opposition to abortion, birth control, gay rights, and secular culture.
Reminds me of an awesome Colbert interview:

Colbert: Human beings and dinosaurs walked side by side?
McLeroy: That is my personal belief.
Colbert: Thatís your personal scientific view?
McLeroy: Absolutely.
Colbert: I agree with you. Science can be a personal choice.

Later...


Colbert: But the changes that you called for in the textbook arenít just evolution, you also wanted to remove references to Thomas Jefferson and his importance in the founding fathers. Why was that?
McLeroy: Actually, thatís not true.
Colbert: I have personally chosen that it is true.

http://www.colbertnation.com/the-col...12/don-mcleroy
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Old 05-15-2012, 01:32 AM   #14
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Re: How Can Religion Lose Its Respect / Power?

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The US mentality is tricky on religion. We're very respectful, publicly, of people's feelings towards religion.

In general, people are not strong enough to break out of the religious belief, but on top of that Americans are so unquestioning when it comes to things like this it's laughable. People worry much much more about the NFL than they do about God, or his lack of existence.
Couldn't agree with this more. Nothing is more annoying than seeing those stupid "Tolerance" bumber stickers spelled out with religious symbols. Why would anyone ever want to tolerate something as evil as Christianity or Islam? Why not just replace the cross "t" with a Swastika? Don't we need to also respect the Nazi's world views?
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Old 05-15-2012, 12:59 PM   #15
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Re: How Can Religion Lose Its Respect / Power?

I grew up in an evangelical Christian family who went to church every Sunday. I am now a borderline atheist (thanks to this forum) and my two sisters still believe in God but don't practice or think about religion. My former church is 1/3 the size that it used to be. Hardly any of the children of my parent's peers attend the church even though they still live in the same town.

I think the decline of religion will follow a slope similar to what my family has experienced. Not so much the children of religious parents straight up rejecting the notion of God but that they just don't practice their religion and don't pass it on down to their kids. My niece has only been to church a couple of times and knows nothing about Christianity. I bet her future daughter will never attend a church.
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