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Atheist Surge Confounds Right-Wing Evangelicals

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Atheist Surge Confounds Right-Wing Evangelicals

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Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

Religion was a major backdrop in the 2016 election. Donald Trump campaigned hard in white Christian America, promising voters that he would essentially turn back the clock to an America when religion and Christians overall were more influential in the country.

This strategy paid off, as the Washington Post reported: “Exit polls show white evangelical voters voted in high numbers for Donald Trump, 80-16 percent. That’s the most they have voted for a Republican presidential candidate since 2004.

“White evangelicals are the religious group that most identifies with the Republican Party, and 76 percent of them say they are or lean Republican, according to a 2014 survey. As a group, white evangelicals make up one-fifth of all registered voters and about one-third of all voters who identify with or lean toward the GOP.”

So it is no surprise that Trump has quickly moved with an executive order to relax restrictions on the political activities of tax-exempt churches in an effort to strengthen the role of religion, in essence working to strengthen the political hand of churches in political campaigns.

Trump playing the conservative religious card is in stark contrast to the role nonbelievers play in American society. Atheists, those who disbelieve in the existence of god, comprise a growing sector of American society. Their numbers are often hidden in polls and generally undercounted because some fear reporting their identity and facing social stigmatization.

There have been various reports showing a marked increase in nonbelievers, including atheists, agnostics and others who do not identify with a religion or say that religion is not important to them. Between 2007 and 2014, the portion of Americans who do not believe in a god grew by over 10 percent, according to a study done by the Pew Research Center. The growing numbers of nonreligious people in the United States are propelled by generational change, as young people, who are more likely to be unaffiliated with a religion, reach adulthood and slowly replace their older and more religious counterparts.

Report: Christianity decreasing, atheism rising

A recent study by psychologists Will Gervais and Maxine Najle at the University of Kentucky concluded that the number of atheists in the United States “exceeds 20 percent with a roughly 0.8 probability.” This estimate is more than double the conclusion of the study collected over the telephone by Pew Research Center, which found that approximately 10 percent of Americans don’t believe in god and only 3 percent of Americans identify as atheists. This disparity toward what is essentially the same question suggests that people are hesitant to identify themselves as atheists. Furthermore, a study by PRRI in 2016 revealed that more than 30 percent of atheists hide their disbelief from friends and family for fear of disapproval, suggesting that many might find an admission over the telephone similarly difficult.

To obtain accurate results, Gervais and Najle constructed a very subtle test that would remove the stigma around atheism. Using a sample population of 2,000 Americans, they asked respondents to answer true or false to seemingly banal statements such as “I am a vegetarian” or “I own a dog.” The control group responded to nine statements while the test group responded to the same nine statements plus an additional one—“I do not believe in God.”

Participants only had to acknowledge the number of statements that applied to them. They never had to deny believing in god or identifying as an atheist, which omitted any social stigma from the test.

By comparing the responses of the two groups, Gervais and Najle came to their conclusion—approximately 26 percent of Americans are atheists. Assuming the number of vegetarians and dog owners is the same between the two groups, any increase in the test group compared to the control group indicates the number of atheists.

The two psychologists admit that their study is not free of error, but they have undoubtedly proven that previous polls conducted over the telephone or in person have yielded deceptively small numbers.

In fact, another study performed by the Pew Research Center found evidence supporting the existence of social stigma around being openly atheist. Pew found that only a third of Americans feel warmly toward atheists. Daniel Cox of PRRI wrote in FiveThirtyEight that a third of Americans believe that atheists should be banned from becoming president, and a similar percent thinks that they should be prohibited from teaching in public schools. With pressure to conform to the dominant religious beliefs, some American atheists choose to hide their beliefs.

In an interview with Slate, Renee Johnson, a single lesbian mother in Point, Texas, said that she would “rather have a big ‘L’ or ‘lesbian’ written across [her] shirt than a big ‘A’ or ‘atheist,’ because people are going to handle it better.” Johnson is just one of many who feel uncertain about revealing their nonbelief in a country where religion and spirituality seem like national imperatives.

As the discrepancy between the poll performed by Gervais and Najle compared with previous polls indicates, the role of religion in the daily lives of Americans is becoming increasingly complex. Many polls require respondents to select a single religious identification from a list, which does not allow people to choose multiple answers. By this method, someone can’t be Jewish and an atheist or Catholic and atheist. Although it’s possible to follow a religion for cultural, heritage or spiritual reasons—separate from a belief in god—in previous polls, religion and atheism have been considered mutually exclusive. This method of polling fails to recognize the possibility that religion may be determined by heritage and cultural background, rather than belief; it also presumes one concept of god.

However, ideas of god or spiritual forces are entirely subjective, as indicated in a study by Gallup, which found that 89 percent of Americans believe in god, but only about half believe in an anthropomorphic god. The various studies about religion, belief and god exemplify how the United States necessitates having a society that can accept a full range of religious belief and spiritual ambiguity.

While feelings toward atheism are certainly changing—60 percent of Americans report knowing an atheist, which is significantly more than 10 years ago—the stigma surrounding people who do not believe in god is continuing to stifle freedom of belief in America. As with his other attempts to turn back the clock in America, President Trump’s remark in his inaugural address about joining all Americans together with “the same almighty Creator,” threatens the intricate and varying histories, beliefs and ways of being that are present in this country.

Anna Sanford is an editorial assistant at AlterNet‘s office in Berkeley, CA.

This article was made possible by the readers and supporters of AlterNet.

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96 Comments

  1. Sand_Cat June 4, 2017

    A certain person is purported to have said, “By their fruits you shall know them.” Though the evangelical “Christians” will never get it, that’s probably why more and more people are turning away from Christianity and other blood-stained “faiths” like it. They’ll just continue to vote for nasty, dishonest, and belligerent idiots like Trump and wonder why the world is going to hell in a handbasket. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b40077ca1651630e754443914e0b807caf708c55fc62c8751d2759a7cdd8b54e.jpg

    Reply
  2. Sand_Cat June 4, 2017

    As is to be expected, “Christians” evince greater ignorance of the Constitution they clain is divinely-inspired, than they do of the Bible (though it often seems a very close-run thing). A third of Amercans – can you guess which third? – say an atheist should be prohibited from being president, despite the Constitution’s unambiguous statement that “no religious test shall ever be required for an office of trust under the United States,” not to mention the First Amendment.

    Reply
      1. dpaano June 6, 2017

        Too bad Trump hasn’t read this, but then again, he probably wouldn’t care or understand it anyway. He’d take it out of context and go hit his tweeter!

        Reply
    1. Helengfrizzell June 5, 2017

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      Reply
    2. The lucky one June 5, 2017

      I don’t care whether or not a candidate is a Christian, Muslim, Jew, a member of any other sect or an atheist. However I am immediately suspicious of any candidate who “wears their religion on their sleeve”.

      Reply
      1. Reminder, though: You are super stupid.

        Reply
      2. Sand_Cat June 5, 2017

        I agree with you there: unless the person appears either hopelessly naive, or inclined to pass his/her religion into law, it really shouldn’tmatter, but it appears that it does to a greatmany people.

        Reply
    3. FireBaron June 5, 2017

      Most of these so-called Christians are more familiar with Leviticus, Deuteronomy and Revelations than they are with Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

      Reply
      1. Sand_Cat June 5, 2017

        It’s clear from what they say that you have captured the problem in a nutshell.

        Reply
    4. dpaano June 6, 2017

      The evangelical Christians make up their OWN Bible; they don’t seem to know or care about what the actual Bible tells them because they do just the opposite of what Jesus tells us in the Bible! They are greedy, they lie, they cheat, they steal from this nation, and they don’t care about anyone but themselves! That’s NOT what the Bible preaches for us to follow.

      Reply
      1. Sand_Cat June 7, 2017

        They like Paul (both the real and forged letters); none of that love your enemies and give to the poor and the other commie-socialist stuff. Just have “faith.”
        Besides that, the next favorite is “John,” where “Jesus” talks mostly about himself: none of that “peacemakers,” “good Samaritan,” and “as you did it to the least of these my brothers, you did it to me” nonsense, though – I believe the story is believed to have been added, not that there’s the slightest evidence that the disciple “John” had anything to do with the rest of it – “Let he among you who is without sin throw the first stone” must trouble those of them who bother to think about it.

        Reply
  3. dtgraham June 5, 2017

    The new American energy secretary, Rick Perry, called the British Petroleum 2010 gulf of Mexico oil spill, simply “an act of God.”

    Let that sink in.

    I’m not entirely sure, but I think that might be fulfilling one of the five signs of the apocalypse from the bible.

    Take that, atheists!

    Reply
    1. OK thanks for your racist opinion, racist. “Rosa Parks” is not an insult, and you are garbage.

      Reply
      1. idamag June 5, 2017

        Knowing dtgraham, I think that might be snark.

        Reply
        1. No, he is straight-up racist.

          Reply
          1. dpaano June 6, 2017

            And you, sir, are an idiot! DT is NOT the problem, you are the problem!

            Reply
          2. dtgraham June 6, 2017

            ‘delete your tomato brain’ Lennie, knows that deep down I’m fond of him, if only in a John Steinbeck “of mice and men” kind of way.

            Reply
          3. It’s my fault he decided to post racial abuse directed at me? Get stuffed.

            Reply
          4. dtgraham June 7, 2017

            “Get stuffed.” Are you throwing stereotypical, female, body weight, abuse accusations at dpaano?

            Sure sounds like it.

            Reply
          5. This meltdown is amazing. Truly one of my most hilarious victories.

            Reply
          6. dtgraham June 7, 2017

            How dare you defend your body weight “get stuffed” insults towards an obviously attractive lady, like dpaano, just because she may not have the exact body weight of an Ariana Grande.

            She’s also not 20 years old.

            Reply
          7. Get better soon!

            Reply
          8. dpaano June 8, 2017

            My body weight is just fine according to my doctor and for a 71-year-old, I’m extremely healthy! Hope the big red tomato can say the same! I can probably outrun and outfight him any day! He sounds like a wimp! In the meantime, thanks for defending me!!! Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately), I can’t read the big red tomato’s posts! I don’t even know how he can even say anything about my body weight from a head shot! What an idiot!

            Reply
          9. dtgraham June 9, 2017

            At least he hasn’t called you a racist — yet. Apparently everyone in the world is, except him.

            You look slim from the chest up in your avatar. I wasn’t sure where tomato brain was going with that insult. Didn’t make a lot of sense. I guess a woman has to be flat out scrawny in the tomato’s eyes. He’s probably a gigantic tomato sitting on his couch too.

            The big fat tomato brain — “They’re all racist sacks of garbage.”
            Mcdonalds cashier — “Yeah, I heard you the first 6 times.” “Now can I take your order?”

            Reply
          10. dpaano June 8, 2017

            He’d better not be……I’m retired military and I’ll take him DOWN!!!

            Reply
          11. dtgraham June 9, 2017

            I believe you could. Then again, we’re talking tomato brain here. Retired girl scouts could at least hold their own.

            Reply
          12. The lucky one June 6, 2017

            Ignore him unless you’re amused by his infantile ravings.

            Reply
          13. dpaano June 8, 2017

            Have blocked him…..don’t need his BS! We’ve got enough stress going around because of our current idiotic administration!

            Reply
          14. Note that he is right here, accusing me of molesting animals and gaslighting. This is the person you’re defending.

            Reply
        2. And NOT ONLY racist, but an abusive liar as well.

          Reply
        3. dtgraham June 6, 2017

          It was. I think I should have said that Rick Perry, personally, is one of the 5 signs of the apocalypse.

          Reply
      2. FireBaron June 5, 2017

        I agree with id on this. dt is pretty much point out how Teflon Donnie has attracted a bunch of mooks with the same know-nothing attitude he is proud to demonstrate.

        Reply
        1. Sorry, but I’ll obviously never care about the opinion of someone who decided – out of the blue – I was a “black racist who hates white people” who was “blacksplaining” things to them, then announced I was a white person pretending to be black, then declared I was a pedophile.

          That guy is a racist, abusive, gaslighting, Nazi-enabling sack of crap. He is exactly what everyone has been saying the Bernie Bros are all along. He is not a liberal, not a progressive, and not an ally.

          Reply
          1. The lucky one June 6, 2017

            He may have been wrong about your skin color but it’s obvious you are senile, or maybe just an imbecile. And no it’s not “everyone” who is critical of sanders’ supporters, just some of those who backed a failed candidate.

            Reply
          2. OK traitor.

            Reply
          3. I do love that all the fake liberals who spent the general election helping Trump are sticking together, though – it’s very touching. Remind me: how is Sanders not a failed candidate?

            Reply
          4. The lucky one June 6, 2017

            Did I say that he wasn’t? Can you say Hilary Rodham Clinton is a failed candidate?

            Reply
          5. What does she have to do with your defending a racist, exactly? I mean, I know you’re really dumb, but this is baffling.

            Reply
          6. The lucky one June 7, 2017

            That’s right helpy, everyone but you and your heroine Hilary are racists. it was idiots like you that got Trump elected. Get over yourself.

            Reply
          7. dtgraham June 7, 2017

            “how is Sanders not a failed candidate?”

            Because he wasn’t even on the Presidential ballot last November 8th.

            Verstehen Sie?

            Reply
          8. OK bigot.

            Reply
          9. dtgraham June 6, 2017

            Hey, you forgot that you’re an animal abuser too. Remember when you told me that when you found out about Grumpy cat earning 100 million dollars, you immediately slapped your happy cat in it’s face.

            Reply
          10. OK racist.

            Reply
          11. dtgraham June 7, 2017

            It’s OK, tomato brain. It looks like everyone has deserted you here, but you can always chat with me. I know that you need someone to hurl baseless racial accusations at.

            Reply
          12. OK racist.

            Reply
    2. PumperPickle June 6, 2017

      Psh.. I saw no pictures of Jesus on my toast today.

      Checkmate Christians!

      Reply
  4. Aaron_of_Portsmouth June 5, 2017

    The article points to the reason why so many in the West are turning away from God. If we look at the way the Religions that have appeared prior to 1844 have become so distorted and are sending out signs and displaying behavior that contradicts what the behavior to be expected from those Religions, then it is logical and understandable to turn away from such “distortions”.

    But, the average agnostic/atheist makes a grave error in their logic by expecting God to daily micromanage the behavior of His avowed adherents. Nor is He to be expected to behave as some sort of “Magician” or Genie, who with a wave of His hand will eliminate all problems in a flash. That imagery and expectation of “God” is childish, illogical, and based largely on how Religion and God have been portrayed in the media, in frescoes, on canvas, and as shown in Cecil B Demille film productions. These aren’t to be taken as representing “God”, or to be cited as truthfully portraying what is written in the Books as metaphors. God and Religion, if taken as accurately represented in Greek/Roman mythological settings and context, makes true Religion appear farcical if we imagine God as a Zeus-like entity, with human shape and features, seated atop some mystical Mount Olympus.

    So, what the atheists, AND the avowed believers need to do, I humbly suggest, is to jettison the views and portrayals of Religion as conjured up in the minds of those who depict their Religion in Greek Mythological context. The doubter and “unbeliever” should also look to the original Writings(a problematic exercise given many inaccuracies that crept into the sayings and Writings of the past Religions), but still offer a more accurate view of what the Religion is supposed to be.

    And don’t go by what the generality of the clergy in Islam, Christianity, Judaism, etc. have to say about their respective Religions, most of whom are totally whack, as seen by the remarks attributed earlier this month to a Christian minister, exhorting the faithful in Christianity to resort to a more violent form of expression. And certainly, Islam is in confusion because its clerics can’t decide on what is acceptable behavior and forms of dissent, nor can they decide on the role of women in society—think Saudi Arabia for example.

    By Baha’u’llah’s example and Writings, the atheists and those who follow the previous Dispensations sent by God, a re-calibration is afforded, making sense of why Religions of the past gradually found themselves going into decline. As He cites in “The Kitab-i-Iqan”, an eminently readable volume which the average atheist will come to see provides an unbiased and logical explanation as to the reason for this obvious decline in the previous Revelations. And will learn more of what the “Essence” of each of the Religions is, and what they all share in common. Then will the independent investigator discover the real nature of Religion, and see how far the clergy have deviated from their own Religion, and why they have deviated.

    This book, and “Gleanings From The Writings of Baha’u’llah”, and Abdu’l Baha’s compilation of responses to questions put forth to him by a woman of Christian background, and entitled “Some Answered Questions”, all may assist the atheists, agnostics to have their doubts dispelled, and serve to better inform the “believers” of the real nature of Religions which have suffered “corruption of the Text”, and subsequently have been in a decline for centuries now. These books are all available via Amazon, and the prices are quite affordable.

    Just to disbelieve based on something you can’t sense with the 5 senses isn’t a responsible and sensible reaction to the question of whether “God” exists. To disbelieve in what you can’t prove doesn’t exist is like an ant giving a treatise on why there are no humans—just two-legged large creature that have a tendency to now and then crush you beneath their shoes, or who carelessly leave food around on the ground or in dwellings called “houses”, to be eaten by the rest of the Ant Kingdom.

    Reply
  5. Aaron_of_Portsmouth June 5, 2017

    Furthermore, Right Wing Evangelicals shouldn’t at all be surprised by the rise in atheism, since the behavior and wrong interpretations of Christianity has had a direct correlation with the displeasure by many for Religion.

    Here in Cork, Ireland, just this past weekend, I happened to go to Cork center in the down town area for the annual Cork Summer Festival. There I happened upon a group of youth performing on the sidewalk, doing a dance to the accompaniment of music. They were multiracial, and I thought they were Irish citizens. Quickly, I found out they were a missionary group from the US, who were here in Cork to “tell the Irish about Jesus. To which I was flabbergasted that they would come all the way to Ireland to tell a nation primarily of Catholics about Jesus. When I asked why this person in the group thought that the Irish needed to know about Jesus, and that they furthermore already knew about Jesus, my friend responded “Well, they don’t know about Jesus the way we know about Him”. I quickly replied, “How do you know that they know about Jesus?” To which he responded, “Well I asked a few of them”. Which naturally led me to question this absurd extrapolation, by citing that a tiny sampling isn’t representative of all of Ireland, nor can those Irish sampled have their interpretation trumped by this so-called American Christian delegation’s views of who Jesus is and what He stands for.

    This is just an inkling of a major collapse occurring within Christianity, and in Islam and most of the other Religion. The fact that the British Protestants in the 17th Century had the same imperious attitude towards the Catholic Irish of the time had no impact on this poor “missionary youth” or his adult sponsor.

    I’m still at a loss and in some shock to try to understand what would lead any “Christian” in America to assume they have some Mandate and duty to tell the Irish about Jesus.

    Reply
    1. glynnis bugati June 5, 2017

      US Evangelicals despise the Catholic Church. They have well-hidden this loathing since the Church agrees with them on abortion and they need the numbers. Privately, Catholics are regarded as barely better than Jews.

      Evangelical Christians believe Catholics are sinful idolaters and unless they say the magic words and get “born-again” they are going straight to hell; along with the rest of us 🙂

      This is why they feel they have a “mission” in Catholic Ireland because you are doing it wrong. In their twisted worldview, God “commands” them to get in everybody’s face and “witness” to them until they see the light.

      Reply
      1. FireBaron June 5, 2017

        glynnis, I was raised Catholic. One thing to point out – in many cases Holy Mother The Church is more concerned with its outward appearance than in its missions. One of my roommates in USN Tech School was the son of a Baptist Missionary. He used to tell us about his family’s work in rural Sonora Mexico, and the reason for their success was the Catholic Church’s lack of response to the needs of the people.
        His parents set up a free medical clinic, got local lawyers to help the people with property rights, wills, etc, organized food and clothing drives for the poor, etc., all the while the local Catholic Pastor ignored everyone except the wealthier ranchers.

        In the Republic of Ireland, people have been strong with the Church because of the support they provided for the Catholics throughout the time from Cromwell until the Republic. They educated the people when it was illegal to do so, they fed the poor, cared for the sick, clothed the needy, etc. Amazing how different one country’s version of Catholicism can be so different from another.
        Now, if those poor benighted Evangelical Missionaries were to try their stuff in Northern Ireland, the local flavor of Protestants would have them tarred and feathered and offer them an opportunity for Martyrdom! The North is primarily old-school Presbyterian and does not tolerate anyone else, even Church of Ireland (local flavor of Anglican Church), much less Papists or “Evangelicals”!

        Reply
      2. Aaron_of_Portsmouth June 5, 2017

        This is what galls me about those who insist on being belligerent about their belief, and won’t hesitate to use the Bible as a battering ram.
        Charles Cromwell of old had a similar idea about how best to use the Bible—as a weapon.

        Reply
    2. idamag June 5, 2017

      One of my six-year-old son’s friend’s mother called me and asked if my son could attend a children’s group in her church. She said he would learn to pray. I asked her what she thought he was learning in the church we went to.

      Reply
      1. FireBaron June 5, 2017

        And on the floor for a 10-Count! Da winnah and new champeen!

        It always amazes me how the Evangelicals BELIEVE they are the only ones who do it right. At her last job, my wife worked with a member of one of the local “mega-Churches” and commented how they had their own Scout Troops, Bowling Leagues and other functions. I explained that it was how they kept their congregation under control. I told her you would not find their members in the local Kiwanis, Lions, Rotary, Junior League, Elks, Moose, Masons, Red Hat or any other social organization where the possibility existed that they may encounter people who don’t belong to that Church. Those who belonged to those organizations before joining the Church were encouraged to sever their ties with them.

        I know at least one family where the husband and wife split up because one partner didn’t want to be exposed to the toxicity of that church, and even got the court to award full custody of their kids, with only controlled, supervised visits from the ex.

        Reply
        1. idamag June 5, 2017

          The ancient civilizations all had a codes of ethics. The thing about evangelicals and other religions that have strict rules, is that their membership does not know how to disseminate whether something, that is not on their list, might be wrong or not. I had a supervisor who was in a religion that had many rules, including dietary rules. He was always buying inferior product and getting things, like television sets, sent to his home. I mentioned that this was not ethical and he said, he never heard anything against it in church. It wasn’t specifically spelled out so he wasn’t able to judge it wrong. Our consumers paid the price for his gimmicks. When Life Magazine did a piece on the Emmett Till murder, they found those four men, who beat that boy beyond recognition, were active in church and one was even a deacon. We have a church, here, where the boy scouts and other activities are part of the church.

          Reply
          1. dpaano June 6, 2017

            Did you hear that the Mormons, who used to have their own Boy Scouts Troops, have pulled out of the Boy Scouts entirely?

            Reply
        2. dpaano June 6, 2017

          Again, much like the Mormons and the Jehovah’s Witnesses!

          Reply
      2. Aaron_of_Portsmouth June 5, 2017

        How ludicrous to think that praying is some mechanical practice meant to be seen rather than felt. And even more ludicrous to think that people at a particular church don’t pray “correctly”.

        What a strange sleep so many people are snoring through.

        Which brings to mind a story which originates in Muslim tradition, in which a son and father are at a mosque praying. The son looks over at a man next to him who had fallen asleep during his genuflections, and the boy turned to his father to complain, to which the father replied—“It would have been better if you hadn’t noticed”.

        Reply
    3. dpaano June 6, 2017

      Much like the Mormons who send their youth all over the world to sermonize their religion…..why?

      Reply
      1. Sand_Cat June 7, 2017

        Because if they can convince others of its merit, they can tell themselves that it isn’t just a batshit-crazy cult founded by a convicted con man.

        Reply
        1. dpaano June 8, 2017

          Even worse are the ones that Leah Remini has been talking about….they are actually a cult! But, they say that they go overseas and proselytize also. They are WORSE than the Mormons in many aspects.

          Reply
      2. Aaron_of_Portsmouth June 8, 2017

        I’m back, and what a wonderful country. if you haven’t been there, you should by all means try to get there. I recommend the Cork area since there is a more relaxed atmosphere with little in the way of billboard blight.
        The #237 bus out of Cork to the end of that line is quite scenic—the stop in Ballydehob is quaint and refreshing with great scenery and walking paths.

        I’ll write again regarding your point of missionaries which deserves closer inspection of that whole phenomenon.

        Reply
        1. dpaano June 8, 2017

          Aaron: I would LOVE to visit Ireland. My cousin has been there twice and has raved about it. Gotta save my pennies, I guess. I’m still trying to get to New Zealand to visit a cousin who lives on the South Island!

          Reply
          1. Aaron_of_Portsmouth June 9, 2017

            New Zealand—Cool! Yes, save those pennies, because Ireland’s not that far away, unless you’re on the West Coast. Are your immediate ancestors from Cork County, or the western regions?

            Reply
          2. dpaano June 9, 2017

            I’m on the west coast (California), so it’s quite a trip, but I think it’s closer than flying out of the New York area, isn’t it? I know my cousin flies out of New York, and he says it takes him forever!!! As for my ancestors, from what I understand, we’re from Northern Ireland….I think that Protestant country.

            Reply
        2. Aaron_of_Portsmouth June 9, 2017

          And now, considering missionaries, you know as I do that Religions have always spread by virtue of the early believers fanning out to inform neighbors and those in far off regions about the new Message. Religion was best, and is best, spread by one-on-one conversations.

          The problems with missionary work arose when the “Faithful” became over-zealous, and insisted on forcing the Message on others. Early American history, from the times of the conquistadors and the early French explorers bear this out; after a generation past the ascension of Muhammad, many among the Umayyads became too zealous and forced Islam on those who they encountered—usually with the sword, which Muhammad had forbade.

          Today, we see a strange phenomenon, of Christians feeling a need to tell other “Christians” about what amounts to a shared knowledge of Christianity but slanted according to a particular sect’s interpretations. For example, Protestants in Britain feeling the necessity to convert Catholics of Ireland to change over to Protestantism. My reading of the Great Famine shows that “souperism” was a policy employed to provide soup if the Irish suffering from hunger would agree to become Protestants.

          Incidentally, the Baha’is in Iran, in the early days of the Baha’i Faith, were enjoined to bring the Message of Baha’u’llah to the Arabs in the neighboring Muslim countries. But the central Figures cautioned them not to engage in active conversations—just to live as Baha’is, and be good examples as citizens and neighbors. Those Arab Muslims who wished to become Baha’is had to do so with wisdom and caution—all the while, the Baha’is would stress the inherent Oneness of Religion, showed utmost respect for Islam and the cultures of the Arabs, and gradually won the respect of the Muslims. But the Muslims had to remain quiet about becoming Baha’is because of the implementation of laws related to Apostasy. There are many Baha’is in Oman, Saudi Arabia, etc., who must remain incognito for their own safety and also so as not to agitate the fanatical elements in those countries, because of the dangers imposed by changing religion from Islam to Baha’i.

          When I traveled to Zanzibar, a Muslim country, things are more relaxed, but if I saw an opening to mention the Baha’i Faith, I did it by first expressing respect for Islam, and showing knowledge of Islam. Then, I could mention the Baha’i Faith, share some of the principles, and leave it at that. If they asked questions, I would answer, but I wouldn’t insist on continuing the conversation. The Zanzibaris I met responded in a positive way to what I shared, and then we would talk about other things.

          Just saying.

          Reply
  6. ORAXX June 5, 2017

    Nothing revealed the hypocrisy of the evangelical crowd quite like their support for a man who personifies everything they claim to abhor. Religion has survived many things, but it’s going to have a tough time surviving the internet. Free thinkers are now able to network and share information as never before, and realize for the first time they are not nearly as alone as they once though. This isn’t going to change.

    Reply
    1. plc97477 June 5, 2017

      I feel that if one needs eternal damnation hanging over their head to be a good person then they are not by definition a good person.

      Reply
      1. idamag June 5, 2017

        100% agreed.

        Reply
      2. Nativegrammy June 6, 2017

        Very wise thing to say! I agree completely!

        Reply
  7. jakenhyde June 5, 2017

    The minions of christianity must be wearing blinders if they’re surprised by so many people falling away from a belief in god. All one has to do is tune into some of the “evangelical” shows on tv and watch such charlatans as Benny Hinn, Rod Parsley, Jimmy Bakker, Mike Murdoch, Joseph Prince, Joyce Meyer, Paula White, Creflo Dollar, Joel Osteen, Jimmy Swaggart, and Kenneth Copeland….all of whom are multi-millionaires…tell people that if they’ll send in a “seed”, that they will reap wonderful financial rewards. They don’t even promise to open the doors of heaven; just that financial woes will cease to be a problem. Well, it’s certainly the case for the religious charlatans….they’re all making tax free money hand over fist.
    And these stupid sheep do it! I’m reminded of a line in the original Magnificent Seven movie in which the head bandito was asked why he constantly robbed from the poor peons in town. He said, “If god had not wanted them shorn, he would not have made them sheep.”
    People who give money to already rich pseudo-religious charlatans in hopes of getting rich themselves might as well send money to the multitude if Nigerian crooks who promise millions of dollars in exchange for a fee to handle the deal.
    I know there are a lot of good men and women who have the welfare of their parishioners at heart. But they don’t get the wide tv coverage that the real charlatans do.
    The charlatans have given christianity a bad name in the minds of many younger folks. And who could blame them for not taking religion seriously.
    The fact remains that religion of all kinds is a man-made phenomenon, and it is the bane of man’s existence. Billions through the ages have been slaughtered in the name of some god.

    Reply
    1. glynnis bugati June 5, 2017

      They have been peddling the same bullshit for the 40 years I can remember and it never changes.

      “God told ME that (something) is going to destroy us tomorrow unless you do what I say and give me lots of money TODAY!”

      Reply
      1. jakenhyde June 5, 2017

        It’s been going on for much longer. I can remember when Oral Roberts told the world that god “told” him that if the public didn’t pony up millions of dollars to keep his(Roberts) tv ministry alive, that god was going to take Oral.
        The absolute irony of Roberts’ statement boggled my mind. Isn’t going away with god what all they supposed christians are after in the first place?
        Of course, someone(?) took Roberts away. Because he isn’t walking the earth these days.

        Reply
        1. glynnis bugati June 5, 2017

          It was 1987. The grifter kept grifting until 2009.

          http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2009/decemberweb-only/151-21.0.html

          Reply
  8. FF June 5, 2017

    After a tornado ripped through a town in Oklahoma demolishing entire neighborhoods, a woman, whose house was spared, was asked by a TV news reporter if she thanked God for surviving. She responded, “No, I’m an atheist”. I was so surprised by her honesty. That took a lot of courage to say something like that in a predominantly Christian state.

    I’m always amazed how people say it’s God’s plan when people are wiped out by a catastrophe. If it was their “time to go” why not wait to take them in a more peaceful manner? Hurtling a baby or a young child, or anyone for that matter, into a tree trunk or having a roof collapse on them just doesn’t seem a very caring thing for an “all loving” God to do.

    All religions were created by man, not the other way around.

    Reply
  9. idamag June 5, 2017

    You shall know them by their fruitage. Evangelicals have done more to drive people away from their brand of religion than their supposed devil could. They have lowered their standards to support a man who bragged about assaulting women and took out bankruptcy 6 times to get out of paying his legal debts. He started a fraudulent university and settled out of court on that one. Those evangelicals who gasped and grabbed their chests at bikini swim suits didn’t even have an intake of breath over Melania’s Hustler magazine photos. Oh, but when it comes to a microscopic blob of plasma, they raise their voices in alarm, but care less about a child’s healthcare, food and clothing. To me, they are disgusting. They abhor drinking and gambling, but look the other way on how trump makes his money..Throw them to the lions.

    Reply
    1. Beethoven June 5, 2017

      Most evangelicals seem to believe that if you say you believe in God and say you believe Jesus is his son and you have accepted Jesus as your personal savior, you are in God’s good graces, and you can ignore pretty much everything else in the Bible, except the things that condemn people that you personally want to condemn.

      Reply
      1. Mama Bear June 5, 2017

        well said…thank you:)

        Reply
      2. Sand_Cat June 7, 2017

        Yes, “faith” covers it all; I wasn’t sure just what that means, but was enlightened by the following:
        Christ died for our sins. Dare we make his martyrdom meaningless by not committing them? ~Jules Feiffer

        Reply
  10. jakenhyde June 5, 2017

    There’s money in them thar pulpits. Look how many children of tv evangelists(they’re not really ministers, but side show freaks) are following in the footsteps of their parents. It’s an endless list, but here’s an abbreviated list: The whole Swaggart clan, Ken Copeland’s kids, Robert Schuller’s son, Oral Roberts’ son, Pat Robertson’s son, John Hagee’s son.
    Those are just a few of the kids whose parents have amassed millions of dollars of tax tree money under the guise of being religious(almost always christian) entities.
    And, although it’s strictly against the law, they wax very political during their broadcasts and the IRS stands by with their thumbs up their butts and not having the balls to challenge these charlatans(nearly all of who pushed for a Trump election) about their political involvement from their tv pulpits.

    Reply
  11. Beethoven June 5, 2017

    Let’s say you have a certain opinion concerning religious beliefs. Or that you have a certain preference in the way of sexual activities. Now imagine that 98 percent of the people you work with and associate with socially have stated, in one way or another, that people who hold your opinion or sexual preference are as evil as mass murderers or traitors to the nation they claim to dearly love. Imagine that if your religious opinion, or your sexual preference, were to become known, you would be at risk, not just of being ostracized by most of the people you know, but also of losing your job, and even be at risk of physical attack from some of the more radical of your neighbors. Why would you ever want to honestly reveal your opinions or preferences? You would hide them, perhaps even from your closest and most trusted friends, simply for the sake of self-preservation.

    Reply
  12. FireBaron June 5, 2017

    Penn Jillette has one of the greatest responses to this issue I have ever heard or read. He is probably one of the two most famous atheists (besides Neil DeGrasse Tyson) in America today.
    According to most self-professed Christians, they need the Bible to give themselves a guide for how to act in life. After all, without that they would all be thieves, rapists and murderers. To which Jillette said he doesn’t need the Bible to be his rule and guide. He commits all the theft, rape and murder he wants, which is none.

    Reply
    1. dpaano June 6, 2017

      And, unfortunately, these “self-professed Christians” don’t actually DO what the Bible says to do because most of them ARE thieves, rapists, and murderers! Many of them are even in our own governments!

      Reply
      1. Sand_Cat June 7, 2017

        Well, I wouldn’t say “most,” though “many” seems fair, with most of the rest looking the other way: I believe the Biblical description is “passing by on the other side of the road.”

        Reply
        1. dpaano June 8, 2017

          You’re correct….I should have said “many” in lieu of “most.”

          Reply
  13. Mama Bear June 5, 2017

    Evil-gelicals should not be surprised at this. After all….they have set the rules and put the straight jackets on everyone (except themselves of course) and then wonder why people look at them and say…”no thanks, not for me, I believe in love and truth and honesty”

    Reply
  14. 788eddie June 5, 2017

    The Christian Evan-genitals (I refer to them that way, because they only seem to focus on things concerning sex and those who are getting it) are turning off many people from any religious expression, especially since they’ve allied themselves with the tRump crowd.

    Very fitting, indeed.

    Reply
    1. Fred Weems June 18, 2017

      Evan-genitals! Brilliant! I love it! Do you mind if I steal it for my own use?

      Reply
      1. 788eddie June 18, 2017

        Please do; and with my blessings!

        Reply
  15. 788eddie June 5, 2017

    The Chrisitan-conservative crowd seems to be in support of tRump, but he certainly doesn’t seem to be in support of the teachings our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

    Hey, “Chrisitan-conservative crowd” what did Jesus say about not serving two masters?

    Reply
  16. dpaano June 6, 2017

    Does anyone understand that many people have left their religion because they do NOT want to identify with “evangelical Christians?” I am a Christian; however, I do NOT align myself with the evangelicals for very simple reasons…..they are too conservative; they don’t follow the Bible, they elect individuals to our government that are anti-Christ in all their actions, etc. Because of the heavy emphasis put on religion by our government, which was NOT supposed to be worried about religion, people, especially younger people, are tired of it! They’d rather leave the church that have to deal with the many bans that churches put on their congregants. I left my church, not because I didn’t like the church or the pastor, but because I got tired of hearing about how we must vote for a Republican; how we must be pro-life; how we must do away with people unlike ourselves or who don’t believe as we do; i.e., Muslims, Jews, etc. I don’t think that way, and I didn’t like my church to tell me how to think…..I read the Bible and I do the best I can to adhere to it’s suggestions on how to act! Some churches have forgotten even the Ten Commandments!

    Reply
    1. PumperPickle June 6, 2017

      “Does anyone understand that many people have left their religion because
      they do NOT want to identify with “evangelical Christians?””

      I have yet to meet one atheist who left their religion for precisely that reason. However, I can understand how it could help influence their decision.

      Reply
      1. dpaano June 8, 2017

        Actually, I’ve met several. The main reason they left was NOT because they were atheists, but because they felt their particular church became too “evangelical” and too “political.” Some have gone on to find other nondenominational churches that fit their needs. Being a Christian and being an “evangelical” Christian are two VERY different things.

        Reply
  17. ivory69690@yahoo.com June 8, 2017

    the DUMPSTER put himself right in the middle of it all and by himself get impeached .(the best thing that could happen for the country & the world) the DUMPSTER is such a sneaky snake his DUMP CARD and its his brain washed VP that will at the end pardon the DUMPSTER for anything that he knowing did and that comes to light .(its been in the DUMPSTER’S plan im sure from the start ) at the end the DUMPSTER will be crying & screaming its all someone anyone else’s fault . he will with no problem throw anyone under the b. including his own family cult and KLAN in a heart beat .. he will bury every one to make his big soap opera ! reality =unreality TV show . and the clown will star in it of course a dull star but still his own star . loyalty the clown only has for himself and frauds , con’s & scams it from everyone he can to use them and throw them away after he gets what he wants and feels he needs . as for the brain washed clowns that didn’t answer the Questions yesterday 6/7/17 still defending the DUMPSTER when thy didn’t answer the questions thy should of been locked up for contempt of court . there was no legal reasons why thy couldn’t answer the questions . this is the USA real life times not a DUMPSTER game show . where anyone can do what thy want when thy wants . the LAWS OF THE LAND RULE not clowns or brain dead followers . its time for the LAW to put its foot down and stop all these fools that think thy can do what thy want . the GOP gang of pinheads always talks their BULL of the law and laws of the land and not thy close their eyes and lets the DONNY DUMP CLOWN SHOW run wild .

    Reply
    1. Larry Linn July 3, 2017

      Social commentator and former alter-boy George Carlin sums it up, “Think about it. Religion has actually convinced people that there’s an invisible man living in the sky who watches everything you do, every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a special list of ten things he does not want you to do. And if you do any of these ten things, he has a special place, full of fire and smoke and burning and torture and anguish, where he will send you to live and suffer and burn and choke and scream and cry forever and ever ’til the end of time! But He loves you. He loves you, and He needs money! He always needs money! He’s all-powerful, all-perfect, all-knowing, and all-wise, somehow just can’t handle money! Religion takes in billions of dollars, they pay no taxes, and they always need a little more.”

      Reply
  18. ivory69690@yahoo.com June 8, 2017

    here’s something’s in the DUMPSTER’S sneaky businesses of trying to catch people . he would deal with to try to trap them in what was said at any given time (and one can bet he would record it ) every thing that comes out of the DUMPSTERS mouth is more likely pre-planed .. making sure of trying to people . and shift it to making them seem are doing illegal things . these things COMEY did was in his mind protecting himself from the DUMPSTER’S ways . still the DUMPSTER still has his ways of saying I never did this or that its all lies . and COMEY doing what he did the DUMPSTER will say he shouldn’t have done those memo on me im the POTUS . (but its ok by him to be able to set up anyone he wants ) the DUMPSTER is going to try his hardest to making look like its some one anybody else fault .(like he always dose ) when this all comes to a head COMEY should be able to sue the DUMPSTER for firing him for not doing the illegal things he wanted him to do . wanted COMEY to give him his loyalty . the DUMPSTER knows nothing about being loyal to anyone . he likes to fool ppl. to think he is loyal to them and when he has them he screws them . at these times why is the DUMPSTER always so defensive about every thing ? don’t be surprised at the end of all the BULLSTIfTING

    Reply

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