One Nation Under God?

Posted in the Atheism Forum

“Reason's Greetings!”

Since: Feb 11

Pale Blue Dot

#1 Dec 24, 2012
"....The truth is that “nones” are nothing new. Religion has been a feature of human society since Neanderthal times, but so has religious indifference. Our illusions of the past as a golden age of faith tend to cloud our assessment of today’s religious landscape. We think of atheism and religious apathy as uniquely modern spiritual options, ideas that Voltaire and Hume devised in a coffee house one rainy afternoon sometime in the 18th century. Before the Enlightenment, legend has it, peasants hurried to church every week and princes bowed and scraped before priests.

Historians have yet to unearth Pew studies from the 13th century, but it is safe to say that we frequently overestimate medieval piety. Ordinary people often skipped church and had a feeble grasp of basic Christian dogma. Many priests barely understood the Latin they chanted — and many parishes lacked any priest at all. Bishops complained about towns that used their cathedrals mainly as indoor markets or granaries. Lest Protestants blame this irreverence on Catholic corruption, the evidence suggests that it continued after Martin Luther nailed his theses to the Wittenberg church door. In 1584, census takers in Antwerp discovered that the city had a larger proportion of “nones” than 21st-century America: a full third of residents claimed no religious affiliation.....

Nevertheless, America’s rates of church affiliation have long been higher than those of Europe — perhaps because of the First Amendment, which permitted a religious “free market” that encouraged innovation and competition between spiritual entrepreneurs. Yet membership, as every exasperated parson knows, is not the same as showing up on Sunday morning. Rates of church attendance have never been as sterling as the Christian Right’s fable of national decline suggests. Before the Civil War, regular attendance probably never exceeded 30 percent, rising to a high of 40 percent around 1965 and declining to under 30 percent in recent years — even as 77 percent still identify as Christians and 69 percent say they are “very” or “moderately” religious, according to a 2012 Gallup survey.

We know, then, that the good old days were not so good after all..."

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/23/opinion/sun...

“ecrasez l'infame”

Since: May 08

Atlanta, Georgia

#2 Dec 24, 2012
Thanks for the post. That was a pretty good read!

“Reason's Greetings!”

Since: Feb 11

Pale Blue Dot

#3 Dec 24, 2012
Hedonist wrote:
Thanks for the post. That was a pretty good read!
You're welcome! I agree it is one of the better articles lately.
KittenKoder

Sydney, Australia

#5 Dec 28, 2012
waffle, waffle, waffle.......

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