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December 16, 2009

U.S. is most religious in industrialized world

With 89 percent of the population religious and 62 percent highly so, the United States is the most religious nation in the industrialized world, according to an international survey released this week.

Religiosity remains high among all adult age groups, according to the Bertelsmann Foundation's Religion Monitor, and large majorities of Catholics and Protestants say that their religious beliefs affect their political views.

In comparison, faith plays a far less significant role in developed European countries such as Britain, France and Germany.

The Religion Monitor asked 21,000 people in 21 countries nearly 100 questions about their interest in religious topics, belief in God or the divine, public and private religious practices, religious experiences and the relevance of religion to their everyday lives. The answers were used to classify individuals as highly religious, religious or non-religious.

(Internet users may complete the questionnaire at religionmonitor.com to identify their own "religiosity profile" and see how they compare with others from their country.)

Dr. Martin Rieger, director of the Religion Monitor, said the results contradict the view that the world is becoming increasingly secular.

“The United States demonstrates that the role of religion does not necessarily decline even when countries have achieved considerable economic, social and cultural progress,” he said in a statement.

Reiger attributed the gap between American and European religiosity to historical differences: “The Enlightenment in young, free America included a vigorous religious vision. In Europe, which was shaped by clerical feudalism, the Enlightenment came only after a struggle against the institutional church.”

The survey found that 85 percent of Americans believe in God and life after death, 80 percent pray regularly, and 75 percent attend religious services or visit a place of worship, with half going at least once a week.

In contrast, 48 percent of Britons, 46 percent of Frenchmen and 28 percent of Germans and Austrians are non-religious. Among European nations, only strongly Catholic Poland and Italy are as religious as the United States. Globally, American religiosity ranks between that of Europe’s industrialized countries and that of developing countries such as Brazil, Guatemala and Nigeria.

American religiosity is also unique in its vitality among all age groups, according to the survey. Eighty-nine percent of Americans 18- to 29-year-olds are religious or highly religious, and levels of belief remain high among older cohorts: 89 percent of those in their 30s, 88 percent of those in their 40s, 93 percent of those in their 50s and 90 percent of those 60 and older are religious or highly religious.

In Europe, in contrast, religiosity declines from one generation to the next.

Religious convictions also play a significant role in Americans’ political views, according to the survey. Seventy-six percent of American Protestants, including evangelicals, charismatics and Pentecostals, and 65 percent of Catholics say that their religious beliefs moderately or substantially affect their political views.

In Europe, only 27 percent of respondents report that religion plays a role in their political decisions, and just 12 percent say they are strongly influenced in this regard by their religious convictions.

Posted by Matthew Hay Brown at 4:28 PM | | Comments (68)
        

Comments

This would be frightening if not for the simple fact that people had to go to a site called religionmonitor.com and complete a questionnaire with 100 questions to answer--come on--100 questions--only the religious would have the patience to plod through such nonsense--they would first pray to their chosen deity for guidance and then they would set about laboriously ticking off yes, yes to show their allegiance to the almighty. 21,000--that's all were polled--from that they projected that 62% of America is highly religious? The religious are sure to appear on these blogs and declare that this poll has to be the god honest truth and yet if it were a poll against them, like the one about the high suicide rate among the Christian clergy, they will burst upon these blogs with axes in hand to grind against that statistic and mash it to a pulp. But Robert Littel would say that he is not surprised--after all the stupid and the mediocre far exceed the wise in this world--the bleating bah bah black sheep far exceed the lions and the humbugs, thugs and fearful far exceed the secular stout hearted. That of course will set off Ravensfan into a tizzy. Clay just say, "Praise the lord!" no more--we'll get your drift.
Ravensfan Anon

Anon – I wasn’t even going to comment here since my belief isn’t conditional on any survey of what others believe. I’m surprised Robert isn’t over here condemning the survey as being controlled by the evil religious and greedy corporate powers that run the world today.

God help us then, if the US is the most religious country in the "industrialized" world!

Religion isnt a good word to use actually. It is mentioned only about 7 times in the bible and 5 of those times in a bad sense. It is faith in Christ that is important. The fact that people are religious means nothing to Christ when He judges us to be sent to heaven or hell. Thanks.

Clay - Your Jesus/god seems to be a very vain and vindictive creature/creatures, if it means to damn an individual to the fires of hell for not worshipping it/they in a narrow proscribed manner. Sounds to me like you worship a SOB, of the worst kind.

Worthless survey that overestimates the facts. Maybe just maybe 50% of US goes to church regulary (not every Sunday though). Most of Europe 5-10%. Them are the figures , or close to it, folks!

Lots of bad things going to happen to Europe as a result!

DEAR ROBERT, FOR OVER 20 YEARS I HAVE PRAYED FOR PEOPLE LIKE YOU. I LOVE YOU AND FORGIVE YOU FOR YOUR HATE FILLED LOOK AT CHRIST JESUS THE LORD. GOD IS GOOD AND LOVES MANKIND. I HOPE YOU CAN OPEN YOU HEART TO THAT. THE WORLD WILL BE A BETTER PLACE WHEN WE CAN RESPECT EACH OTHER. ROBERT YOU HAVE A RIGHT TO FREE SPEECH 1ST AMMENDMENT. I UNDERSTAND THAT. PLEASE TRY TO SEE THAT CHRISTIANS ARE HUMAN MANY CAN BE BAD EXAMPLES. GOD IS PURE & HOLY & WITHOUT SIN. MANY THAT CALL THEMSELVES CHRISTIANS LIVE IN SIN WITH IMPURE , UNHOLY LIVES. THIS HURTS EVERYONE MOST OF ALL REAL CHRISTIANS THAT LIVE THE TEACHINGS OF CHRIST JESUS THE BEST THEY CAN WITH GOD'S HELP. I'LL BE PRAYING THAT THE LORD SHALL SHOW YOU HIS LIGHT & MERCY & GOODNESS. YOUR FRIEND ALWAYS, PAUL

Robert Little – God lays out what is needed for salvation. He puts up with insults like the one you just made and worse. He waits patiently for us come to him even despite our failings. Only when someone refuses all those opportunities does He consign someone to the fires of hell. That doesn’t sound like a vindictive God to me. It sounds more like our own arrogance and stupidity.

DEAR ROBERT, FOR OVER 20 YEARS I HAVE PRAYED FOR PEOPLE LIKE YOU. I LOVE YOU AND FORGIVE YOU FOR YOUR HATE FILLED LOOK AT CHRIST JESUS THE LORD. GOD IS GOOD AND LOVES MANKIND. I HOPE YOU CAN OPEN YOU HEART TO THAT. THE WORLD WILL BE A BETTER PLACE WHEN WE CAN RESPECT EACH OTHER. ROBERT YOU HAVE A RIGHT TO FREE SPEECH 1ST AMMENDMENT. I UNDERSTAND THAT. PLEASE TRY TO SEE THAT CHRISTIANS ARE HUMAN MANY CAN BE BAD EXAMPLES. GOD IS PURE & HOLY & WITHOUT SIN. MANY THAT CALL THEMSELVES CHRISTIANS LIVE IN SIN WITH IMPURE , UNHOLY LIVES. THIS HURTS EVERYONE MOST OF ALL REAL CHRISTIANS THAT LIVE THE TEACHINGS OF CHRIST JESUS THE BEST THEY CAN WITH GOD'S HELP. I'LL BE PRAYING THAT THE LORD SHALL SHOW YOU HIS LIGHT & MERCY & GOODNESS. YOUR FRIEND ALWAYS, PAUL

Ravensfan Anon is correct in pointing out the flaw in this "poll". It is about as valid as a poll would be of 100 questions about the ability of Barak Obama to lead the country conducted at the White Aryan Nations web-site.

Just look at the shopping malls in the U.S.A. on any given Sunday. The impious Jews crucified Christ on Friday. The impious Christians crucify Him on Sunday. (cf. The Third of the Ten Commandments about keeping holy on the Lord's Day.)

James B. Phillips

U.S.A. Most religious country. Surely they mean the country that has bred the most religions. Thank God in Australia we don't have people being kicked out of school for drawing pictures of Jesus or having groups like America's ACLU (AKA Fascists) saying what people can say. Their record of gun related deaths outranks many other countries.

Paul - SHOUTING IN ALL LARGE CAPS, only gets your post ignored, even if you repeat it. It is shouting and it is rude.

God is the reduction of all that is illogical to the simplest possible non-answer. It is the end result of a failed search for truth by a very shallow mind, provided any search was made at all, instead of just buying into the myths and lies fed to us while impressionable and gullible children. Instead of buying into a made-up lie to answer questions we have yet earned the right to, it is preferable and intelligent to just say, "I Don't Know....YET!".

For those of you who are Catholic, please know that Our Lord Jesus Christ appeared many years ago to a nun named Consolata, and her last name escapes right now. But he told her that "only those who want to-go to hell." He repeated this to her. So, it is not a mean and vindictive God but each individual who has the opportunity, and a lifetime, to choose. Robert Little and others like him still have time to turn to Him. He will welcome you immediately!

Anon,
Aren't you denying the poll for purely ideological reasons--just as you accuse religious people of same?

If you know anything about survey methodology, 21,000 is a pretty decent sample size for the US. Frankly, I don't care if the poll is accurate or not, but to see self-righteous people like you pretending that you're motivated by pure reason when you obviously haven't considered the matter beyond your rank prejudice is, well, disheartening.

You secularlists are just as sanctimonious as the bible thumpers.

From what I understand, the survey included 21,000 people total. 21 different countries were covered, meaning the U.S sample size must have been significantly smaller than 21,000 people. So if we assume that 1,000 Americans were surveyed, I'm not sure the sample can reasonably considered representative. Also, if you follow the links to the religionmonitor website, you can see that the results were gathered via "national telephone interviews." It does not say how the recipients of calls were chosen. It would seem logical that those who consider themselves religious would be more likely to take the time to complete the survey, whether over the phone or on the internet.

I don't think any American, religious or not, who takes an honest look around could possibly believe that 62% of the nation is highly religious or that half of the nation visits a place of worship at least once a week.

I'm just not impressed with this research.

DP thank you for a sane defense of what I wrote--couldn't have said it better myself. Hey Jim, my rank prejudice as criticized by you, in pure disgust, is no more than simple logic. Laugh pal--you sound like a morose poor excuse for a human being. So you are neither a secularist nor a religionist--what does that make you? An equal opportunity execution-ist?
Ravensfan Anon

If, in fact, half of all Americans attended weekly church services, we could end our dependence on foreign oil by just making it illegal to drive to church. That many cars, using that much energy to participate in rituals that have no basis in fact for even existing, is just causing the rest of us to pay higher prices for energy. If we add that subsidization to the higher taxes they don't pay on all that juicy prime property they own, and religion has its hands deep into our collective pockets.

Robert – Unfortunately for your ideas they violate “Separation of Church & State” which you and other atheists are so found of using against religion. We could of course rewrite the constitution, but that could we end up with Clay’s idea of America becoming a Christian nation. Then what would happen to diehard atheists like you?

Ravensfan,
If Clay had his way, we'll visit blogs like these and eviscerate the believers for their superstitions and every chance we get we'll raise hell until the theocratic state falls on its knees and crumbles to pieces. You see Ravensfan, the Catholic Church is already up to its knees subverting the constitution and that is why we are on these blogs--the atheists-- highlighting the Church's high noon jinxes that mix up church and state in a molotov cocktail.
Ravensfan Anon

Dear Robert, Should people stop going to the gym? how about people stop going to get food at the store? No one can see the good these places do with just sight ever time. People of Christian faith made the U.S.A. what it is. Spilling much blood of our american people for freedom. Freedom has a great price on it the lives of many good people. Please keep this in mind. Dear Leo Daly, Australia has no guns for people!Please take a look at out of control crime in all it forms. Being lawless it is off the chain in Australia. Hitler,Stalin,and many more Godless men lived as they willed. Please read up on history to see the end of these wicked men. When you get the time Leo please look up and check the info stated omline. Rich I can learn look no more cap lock. Rich stay far from text messages it has very bad grammer. It could drive you nuts. My faith has been time tested it's real and of great worth in this life & the next. Everything is a gift from God most of all life itself. Trust in God. He shall always prove Himself. God is more real than this world ever will be. You Friend Always, Paul

You believe in what you believe in because your mama and papa indoctrinated you with the same myths they got from their parents. If you were born in another time you would be worshiping a tree or maybe that spirit that lives in the wind or a rock or some story that people who wanted to control the masses made up.
Also- why is it that those that profess to be the most religious regularly break the 10 commandments that they hold dear.. to wit- "You shall have no other God before me". That means no father- son stuff, no praying to saints ( left over from the old roman gods), no lady of guadaloupe ( left over from the old mayan religion), no statues in churches( particularly those with blue eyes and blond hair- those are really funny). If jesus were walking the earth today he would probably look like Yasir Arafat.

Paul - Thank you for your definition of what an automatonic, unthinking, inflexible, delusional, waste of gray matter the "true " believer actually is. Religion is the refuge of the weak minded, who cannot accept that they are just an integral part of the world, not somehow special types of demi-gods capable of defeating the grim reaper to become one with an almighty, that no one has ever been able to prove exists.

Anon – When did the Church start lobbying for Catholicism to be the state religion? I haven’t read it anywhere yet. What are they doing pushing for a Vatican takeover? How did I miss it? I don’t even recall the Church lobbying for anything solely a Catholic or Christian concept? Could it be that it’s simply a concept you don’t believe in and that’s what bugs you?

No one is born an atheist. People choose to become atheists as much as they choose to become Christians. And no matter how strenuously some may try to deny it, atheism is a belief system. It requires faith that God does not exist.

When dialoguing with atheists, it is helpful to point out the logical problems inherent in their belief system. If you succeed in showing an atheist the natural outcome of some of his (or her) main claims and arguments, you are in a much better position to share the gospel with him. Let us consider two prime examples here.

"There is no God." Some atheists categorically state that there is no God, and all atheists, by definition, believe it. And yet, this assertion is logically indefensible. A person would have to be omniscient and omnipresent to be able to say from his own pool of knowledge that there is no God. Only someone who is capable of being in all places at the same time - with a perfect knowledge of all that is in the universe - can make such a statement based on the facts. To put it another way, a person would have to be God in order to say there is no God.

Anonymous - Someone would have to be a brain dead troll to believe that they are the possessor of ultimate truth, based on the accumulated dogmatized and institutionalized myths and superstitions of ancestors, thousands of years ago, when those ancestors thought the world was flat and disease was caused by demons. When an Atheist says "There is no god", it is the same thing as saying "There is no chewy chocolate center at the core of the Sun", because there is not now, nor has there ever been the tiniest shred of proof that either has any validity. To try to defend the existence of a god creature on the basis of a bet on a long shot that has odds as long as those involved in the existence of a god, or the chewy center at the core of a star, is the scum at the bottom of the logic pot.

Robert Little – Well then I guess that makes you a brain dead troll as you seem to believe you have the ultimate truth on God’s existence. The problem with your example is that there isn’t centuries of writings and teachings on a chewy chocolate center to the Sun. That concept didn’t survive the rise and fall of countless civilizations. In fact more supports the believers view than yours. You just choose to close your eyes and deny it. Like a little child you just close your eyes and deny it figuring if you say it enough you can convince yourself. You cover your eyes and ears and shout insults in the hope that you can make God disappear. Truly a sad way to live ones life.

Anonymous - I have NEVER professed that I am the possessor of absolute truth about anything. I have always held, and stated frequently, that the best answer to give, if one in search of the truth and cannot find the correct answer is, "I Don't Know....YET!". You, on the other hand need the answer, even if you haven't earned the right to it, and have shown that you will accept any old pile of offal as a substitute for truth. Your god, your religion and your determination to stand behind them, make you the worst type of individual, a superstitious zealot with delusions of near god-hood (when you cheat death to sit at the right hand of your make-up crutch). Any insults you attract are well earned and considering the nature of religion, required to test your will to be so used by the institution. You are to be pitied, always, and not respected ever.

Robert Littel - Are you really that stupid? How exactly isn't that garbage you just posted a pitiful attempt at proclaiming your own ultimate truth? Any insults from you would be the equivalent of being called having a petulant child making feeble attempts at insulting a grown up. If you don’t know yet then how can you know that God doesn’t exist? I’m not concerned with earning anything nor do I have delusions on god-hood. I’m not the one talking about humanity earning anything you are so the god-hood fantasy is all yours. I can’t cheat anything there is no cheating there is accepting God and his gift or salvation or there is your path to leading to nowhere. Save your pity for yourself you need it far more than I and as for respect I don’t need any human’s respect least of all someone on the wide road to oblivion.

Anonymous - If anyone is stupid here, it has to be the one who insists that they have a monopoly on truth based on the existence of a god, for which there is not now, nor has there EVER been, the slightest shred of proof that it exists, or has ever existed. The fact that you can subscribe to such a pile of rubbish and make it the central pillar of your existence only illustrates how mind numbingly ignorant and delusional you can be. Just because you believe something that is unsupportable DOES NOT MAKE IT TRUE, or even worth considering, until you can come up with something to back it up, which you will NEVER be able to do.

If there is an "Ultimate Truth" it is unknown and, at present, unknowable. That you profess to know the answer to the ultimate, or any ultimate question, is the most arrogant statement any human can make. That you call someone who admits they don't know everything as professing an "Ultimate Truth" is patently ridiculous and totally dishonest.

Lastly - You deny attempting to achieve near godhood in one breath and in the next you spout salvation crap where you would be at one with your made-up god. You can't have it both ways and if you do not see that that is exactly what you are trying to do, by elevating yourself above all other creatures on Earth by association with this god creature, then your stupidity borders on mental deficiency.

Dear Rich, May you have a very Merry Christmass & Happy New year. Rich if God is not real no need to get bent out of shape. This is the greatness of America to live as you wish and say what you think. Even when people do not see eye to eye we can still be americans that are friends.My family hepled me to have little or no faith. I was a faithless person for many years. I was empty with no center. I looked at ever faith known to mankind. I open my life to the Christian faith because it worked. After working in a E.R. I became more fully grounded in Christ. When seeing death face to face everyday you can understand to see more clearly. It is very tough to tell people that mom,dad,brother,sister or any other family loved one has died. Someone has to do that job. That would be a person like me. No matter if a person had faith or not I would still be there as a fiend to show kindness. So when bashing Christians real ones will always help others in the greatess hour of need. If God is not real you have nothing to lose. Yet if God is real you have everything to lose. I do not know who or what turns people from having faith. We do have free will. To share with each other in a civil manner shows respect. Most of all keep in mind that I may be a sinner far from perfect. I know I'm human and just another mortal. Rich you have problems with the topic of faith & need some help. Find someone close to you to talk things out with. Being a bigot toward Christians or anyone else is unhealthy. I hope you can have a open mind to people that have another way to walk in life then what you do. Love & Prayers Always, Paul

Dear Rich, Please forgive any miss spelled words I went to public school.(I.E.)No matter if a person had faith or not I would still be there as a friend to show kindness.Word should have been friend instead of fiend. In above statement. I'll always keep in mind Rich that cap locks is known as yelling with all future postings. May you have a very happy Christmas. Prayers & Love, Paul

Your blog is much appreciated. Please do keep up the good work.

Why all the hate and name calling from (atheists,and securlest)someone else's beliefs should not get you into a tempest.Go on a fishing trip,read a little from the bible and read the news today.Realize the bible(old and new testament)was started about 6,000 years ago and finished about 1,900 years ago.I was where you are today not long ago.If you are a true athiest the bible won't hurt you or corrupt your mind,just read it for shits and giggles,find the mistakes you know are there and THEN look around you.Yep,go fishing and prove your point.I wish all a good day.Chuck

Dear atheists. You are dead. You just don't realize it. Ignorance is bliss I guess, at least until reality strikes. That’s the core of the entire issue. Atheists believe reality does not include any real God, supernatural ("The natural not yet understood" -Sir Isaac Newton), sin, salvation, spirit, soul, or anything similar along those lines. On the other hand, a Christian believes reality DOES include those things. So clearly someone must be wrong about what is real and what is not. Either the atheist is rejecting a potentially huge spiritual aspect to the world (purposely missing out on half the universe AND killing his future), or the Christian is believing in emotionally charged fantasy.
Either way, what happens to them if they’re wrong? The Christian dies and that's the end of it. Nothing more. Everything that was and is that individual dies with the body. And yet the Christian died believing in a heaven, a wonderful afterlife. A belief that gave him hope, purpose, guidance, comfort and strength. Even if it’s all imaginary, the placebo effect alone did wonders in his life. If there is no God and Christianity is wrong, he died in the comforting belief that he was moving on to better things. He'll never know it wasn't true, because everything that was him is dead. But if the Christian is right in the belief that God exists, that sin is a poison that damns the eternal soul and that salvation comes through Jesus Christ, then he has made the most important correct decision of his existence because by doing so, he'll move on from here into heaven and enjoy the best possible future, forever.
For the atheist, he lives life certain that he and the physical world around him are all that exist. Mankind is nothing more than a mix of cells and impulses. He lives life with only himself and the other people around him as his guide and support. All his sources of comfort, purpose, love, connection, and worth are found in material objects and people that, like him, will one day die and end a generally empty existence. There is no true higher calling, meaning, or spirituality. He dies and sees others die around him with hopelessness, facing the cold hard reality of vanishing entirely, having lived and meant no more to the universe than a pile of mud. He faces an eternal death. However if he's wrong, he has lived missing out on half of what it is to really live, half of what really exists. He’d be like a blind artist, unable to comprehend what the universe really looks like. Upon death, if he's wrong, he'll stand before God trying to argue his case like a criminal who refuses to even entertain the possibility that he actually committed a crime. In this instance, ignorance of the law and truth is no defence, especially since it was an ignorance born of a personal choice to remain so. Having lived a generally meaningless life, now he'll move on and spend eternity in hell. Things just keep getting better and better, don't they?
You see, IF sin, the soul, God, Jesus, heaven and hell are all real, then the atheist is in serious trouble, unlike the Christian. But you may say that if God, hell and judgment are real, then God must be evil (or at the very least unfair) to send someone to hell since they refused to believe and make things right with Him. But here's the flip-side. What if God isn't the one that's actually evil or guilty, and instead, YOU are? God creates the universe and everything in it, creates mankind, and through that creation you come into existence. Your whole life, you have your fist raised to the heavens giving God the finger each and every day. It upsets God, because your life is a choice and you’ve chosen poorly, even considering yourself to be smarter than everyone else for doing so. When you die, you have to move on, and since you clearly don't want to be with God, you'll have to go and be with the others who didn't want to be with Him. That place is hell because all things good are from God, but you are forever separated from God with no hope of return because you already made up your mind that He didn't exist and you weren't going to listen to Him anyway. So you sit there in hell, surrounded by the worst of the worst, as well as other people who believed they were good enough but found out it wasn't about being "good enough" at all. These people have no hope, no moral compass other than the one they create, and to make matters worse, the king of this distant place (Satan) is a being that absolutely hates you simply because you exist. You're in HIS home now and he's the boss. You scream in anger at God for being so cruel as to send you away from Him and leave you at the mercy of Satan, but it was YOU who decided to end up there. God has already dealt with you. The fact is, you don't want to change your mind and make things right with God. You HATE God and just want to scream and shout at Him, something you did your whole earthly life already. So God ignores you, just like you wanted. Meanwhile, millions of people that DID choose to follow God are in a world so amazing and wonderful that Earth looks like a swamp in comparison. That's gotta make you even MORE furious. All they did was say, "God, I'm sorry for rejecting you. Please forgive me. I thank Jesus for dying in order to pay for my guilt." Pretty simple really, and it's the difference between heaven and hell.
We all walk a road through life. Some of us believe there is a juncture up ahead that leads in two different directions. One path goes to heaven, one path goes to hell. The Christian has decided to go to heaven and made preparations to do so. His name is on the reservations list, and it’s a “reservations only” resort. The atheist however refuses to even believe their IS an approaching fork in the road. There's no turning around or starting over. Upon reaching that split there is no more choice. This is God's creation and you are God's created. You either choose to be with Him in heaven or you choose to reject him and thus must go elsewhere, hell. God won’t let you in to His paradise when you want nothing to do with Him. You’re likely to ruin the whole thing since you don’t intend to even attempt to follow the rules anyway. If you die tomorrow, you've made your choice and get no more chances.
Christians are trying to invite people to heaven, show them the way there. It's called "salvation" for a reason, because it means you're saved, you're spared. What right does God have to judge you? What right do YOU have to question Almighty God who created every molecule, every spark of energy, ever law of nature and everything that has ever existed and will ever exist? Stubbornly folding your arms across your chest and saying, "You're mean because you won't let me do whatever I want," just makes you look like a tantrumming two year old. But if you change your mind before you die, He'll gladly forgive you. God built this planet, this universe, this "house" for Him and His people. He also gave everyone free will. Heaven or Hell is YOUR choice. YOU choose your path. God did that in order to BE fair. God even went so far as to come to earth and die a horrible death at the hands of His own creation just so He could welcome you into his arms forever. He suffered and died because He loves you. God isn't the evil one in this picture. He has given us the easiest possible way to live with Him in paradise forever. It really doesn't get any more simple than that.
So it's your choice, just like it's my choice. For your sake I hope you know what you're doing, because you only get so long to decide before your time is up and you go to be with God forever in heaven, or hell with Satan. God's not going to make a special new world or reality just because you don't like the one He's already made. You're a speck, a grain of sand. Christians believe we were created unique by God, and yet the atheist stands there trying to convince everyone that he's a highly evolved monkey that the entire universe should bow to, even God. Strange how that works. An angry monkey shouting to anyone that’ll listen, “I’ve got rights!” and then dies like everything else, despite supposedly having special rights. Or a humble human thanking God for giving us an invitation to a perfect life after death, a paradise that will last forever. Quite the contrast.

PS. I agree that this poll is flawed from the start. Though at least it brings up some interesting points (that were already known anyway) for discussion.

Mike - If ignorance is bliss, then people who subscribe to infantile, unsupportable, illogical and totally made-up god concepts must be having never ending explosive orgasms.

God is God and He can do as He wishes, it is He that has made us and not we ourselves. What fools some are to attempt to judge God. He sent Jesus to die to pay for your sins; if you don't accept that you deserve Hell and you will get it...

Hello everyone! Merry Christmas to all. Wish we could enlarte the printing on this page. Interesting reading.
Would like to suggest to all doubters and non believers to please visit a site and get some scientific facts about God. We can believe just on faith but also remember the Heavens declare the Glory of God. Site www.reasons.org. click on Dr. Ross says. Explore and get your questions answered..........Before its too late!

GOD BLESS YOU, PAUL, for 'shouting' out the truth about Jesus Christ. It's really a shame that people like Robert and other non-believers refuse to open thei hearts to the gospel of Jesus Christ. If it were me, I'd be running to get answers to the truth. Instead, these people just fight it.

Dennis, Walt, MajorF and all the other major head cases--welcome to these blogs, overpopulated by the god believers. Thank you for being preaching and praying dervishes. We the non believers need your inanities to feel galvanized and inspired. Keep at it --your certainties are touching to say the least.
Ravensfan Anon

Robert Littel - You speak as though I have to prove something to your satisfaction to make it true. Like most who don’t believe all you seem capable of doing is hurling personal insults and denying proof exists. I’ve run into your kind many times. What is tragic is that the real loser here isn’t me, but you. You will learn that truth eventually. I can only hope and pray for your sake it isn’t too late when you find it out. The only thing dishonest is someone who claims he doesn’t know, but does know there could be no God and his sole basis for that is an argument so flawed that even a first year logic student would recognize the fallacy. You are woefully ignorant in what Christianity is about. It’s the very fact that I recognize my own weakness, imperfection and flaws, the opposite of godhood as you call it that will enable me to receive salvation as a gift from God. I am nothing anything I will receive is through my faith in Christ and the mercy of God. You mock what you don’t or can’t comprehend. Your problem is you are trying to fit God through the limited knowledge of man. As long as you do that you will never be able to comprehend anything and will walk in darkness. Anyone who thinks human beings are no better than an insect or single cell organism is truly devoid of not only spirituality but also common sense. I’ll pray for your enlightenment.

Anon – Since these blogs are on faith how can they be overpopulated with believers? Actually you have it backwards my friend. It’s us believers putting up with the nonsense of Robert, you and other nonbelievers that give us reasons to preach and pray. Without you to galvanize us all we could do would be to argue smaller points of difference among ourselves. You help unite us and give us a common purpose. Maybe you could start an atheist blog or at least lobby Matthew Hay Brown to give more time to the atheist point of view.

May the Love & Peace of Christ Jesus be the tools Christian use to brings others to the Lord. Thank you for this blog Batlimore Sun. God Bless you & Have a very Happy New Year!!! Love & Prayers Always, Paul

I love you totally Ravensfan--religious you may be but caustic thou art with a capital C. I think Matthew Hay Brown is doing a fine job on these blogs for the Atheist cause--he is serving up a lot of religious heads on silver platters and the meal is sumptuous Ravensfan--by the way where is Pattycakes--you think he is immersed in his prayers and got lost in a meditative apoplexy? I am glad you are able to tear yourself away a few moments everyday from contemplating the lord, to attend to the mundane business of trying to--but also failing to--verbally vanquish the atheists.
Ravensfan Anon

Ravensfan Anon - ravensfan doesn't understand that when we criticize his beliefs in a public forum and he responds, that the casual believer is exposed to both sides of the debate and, for perhaps the first time, is able to see the dichotomy of the divergent positions. The first time, as a child, that I heard Madelyn Murray O'Hair speak, I hated every word that came out of her mouth, but over time, what she said began to make a great deal of sense when held against the dogma of religious teaching. It is unlikely that I would have ever questioned my implanted beliefs, if I had not been exposed to things, that at the time, I had no interest in hearing. I hold no illusions that people like Clay, pattycakes, or ravensfan, will ever be influenced by the arguments arrayed against delusionalism and superstition, as the seduction of their fantasy world is too great for their feeble minds to question, but there are others whose curiosity and and understanding will be tweaked by our participation here.

Anon - I'm glad I could brighten your day a bit. I have no aspirations to vanquish anyone. Why without Robert and you these blogs would be no fun at all.

OHHH! Look who's back! It's the 2k10 version of Pattycakers! Greetings Rfan Anon, I hold the solstice was a time of great joy and merry-making for you and the folks? I must say, I did not find as much time for quiet contemplation this year with the volume of guests we entertained -- so no, I was not lost in meditative apoplexy -- thanks for the inquiry.
I see a new kindred spirit had his say a few posts ago. Nice job Mike! About as straightforward a post as you can type, however I do not think Rfan Anon will be quaking in his boots anytime soon. Rfan Anon and his movement need a compromising proposal; a common denominator between faith and science for arriving at a reason to believe in a God figure. The problem here is that many propositions have been put forth only to fall on stubborn ears. As great of a guy you are Rfan, you still have a dictative way of showing your predispositions about religious belief. Sometimes you come up with well thought-out responses as per matters of the state using logic and reason -- other times I would even say you are a touch dodgy -- when speaking on matters of faith. It would be wonderful to hear a concise, logical, reasonable, moral argument for becoming an atheist. Otherwise, you are just as fruitless in your attempts to plead your case as you say Ravensfan has been.

So there it is: Why be an atheist?

One does not choose to become an Atheist. In the search for truth, if one is honest and making a credible effort, one wakes up one day and realizes that that is what they have become. It is a conclusion to an honest process that has to overcome the prejudices and comfortable lies handed to us, beginning before we can walk. It is far more difficult than subscribing to societal myths and group enforced behaviors and family members guilt driven programing, that so characterizes the behavior of religionist dupes. Try being fired from a job because some uber-Catholic heard through the grape-vine that you were "One of Them" (the legal settlement paid for my undergraduate work, by the way). We Atheists have done the hard work to get to the intellectual spot we have achieved, you have just gone with the flow and signed on without a second thought. That is why we hold you in low regard and why we pity you, you haven't earned the right to your beliefs, you have just stupidly and blindly fell into them.

Robert – When have I ever complained or tried to silence either Anon or you. In fact I have on several occasions defended your right to preach your atheist nonsense. What you fail to realize is that insulting someone or their beliefs is hardly the act of a rational, logical, intelligent mind. When have you ever made a logical intelligent argument against anything? Your posts pretty much all sound the same chocked full of ad hominem and bare assertion logical fallacy and appeals to ridicule. Oh and the standard no proof for God exists therefore He does not exist. I believe that’s called argument from ignorance. What’s even better is you accept single payer as a health care solution on pure faith. I hope you say a long time. I hate to break it to you but you still don’t question implanted beliefs. All you did was change what was implanted and who implanted it.

Robert – I’ll give you credit that has to be the nicest post you’ve made. It’s also nothing more than an opinion which lacks even more substance than belief in God. Unless you were born an Atheist, which you can’t prove, you had to make a choice at some point to accept the views of atheism over what ever faith you were raised in before. Your parents made a choice for you and you changed from it to something else. It’s no different from someone raised in one faith to change to another. You had difficulty understanding and believing the principles of the faith you were raised under and at some point found something that made more sense to you or felt better and you changed. To read your writing it’s some sort of enlightenment journey like Siddhartha Gautama. Sorry to bust your bubble but you made no such journey. If you were fired as you indicated then you should have been compensated and the person responsible has a lot to learn about what being a Christian means. It takes far less intelligence to reject what you don’t or can’t comprehend and say I don’t believe then it does to study it and all the alternatives. If you were as truly enlightened as you claim you wouldn’t feel the need to insult and belittle those who have different beliefs. That’s what intellectually inferior minds resort to doing. You hold us in low regard because you aren’t really yet a peace inside and don’t understand why. You need to feel superior because deep inside you aren’t as sure of your choice you just can’t or won’t admit it.

ravensfan - So sure am I that you are wrong in you superstitious beliefs (That I oppose for the damage they are doing to the survivability of Humanity), that if when I am near death, I have the ability to communicate, I will ask for a priest and when he arrives, I will salute him with my Mr. Digit hand puppet and then die. My final act will be to show my contempt for the delusional stupidity that Humanity never learned to outgrow. On my head-stone will read, "Bury Me Deep, Because I wasn't afraid".

You say I reject your gods because I don't understand, but it is because I understand so well what they represent and why weak and unevolved people still cling to them, that I reject them out of hand. I will NEVER be that pathetic that I have to stoop as low as you seem more than willing to do. Religion is a cheap addictive high, and all it does is create a false reality. What a horrible waste of a life and mind.

St. Paul saw and spoke with Jesus. Constantine saw a cross in the sky and won the 4th century war. So he made Christianity the religion of his empire in Rome. Paganism to Christianity because a Hellenistic Apostle and a Roman Emporer claimed they saw Mr. Christ. I love mythology. Jesus was a Jew? There is no "J" in the Hebrew alphabet.

Robert – Am I supposed to be upset because you would spit at my faith with your dying breath? All that causes me is a feeling of sorrow for how truly hateful one human being can be. I will tell you it’s not the act of an enlightened mind rather it is the act of a petulant child. Maybe we should amend that stone to read “Bury Me Deep, Because I was too stupid to be afraid”

I don’t say you don’t understand I know you don’t. That’s why you feel the need to insult and attack. If you were truly enlightened and at peace, you would be such a hateful intolerant bigoted human being that you are. You would be showing the rest of us how you obtained it and not spending so much time attacking and mocking others who disagree with you on it. That last sentence applies far more to you Robert and the truly sad part is you are too full of yourself and hate to see clearly enough to notice it. I feel truly sorry for you not just for what will happen when your time comes, but also for the lack of fulfillment and of making a difference your life will be.

ravensfan - The truly aware person can never be at peace. The enlightened person is the person who continues the search for truth for their entire life, knowing full well they will never understand it all. If you think achieving the delusional state, where you have false answers that let you be at peace, while the rest of the world crumbles around you because of your neglect, then you have no grasp whatever of the concept of enlightenment. I have contempt for your faith, because it is contemptible. I have contempt for you, because you are an intractable wholly owned subsidiary of a bald-faced lie.

Robert – Why can’t an aware person ever be at peace? That sounds like an opinion to me. Your narrow mind seems to feel that the only way one can obtain inner peace is if all the problems in the world are solved that is your right. You are entitled to believe whatever nonsense you wish and think whatever you wish of me or what I believe. Just don’t expect me to accept such nonsense just because you state it. Your opinions are just that and nothing more including your opinion of religion. As I’ve said before if you are what a typical atheist is I’m glad I had the sense to reject such intolerant, unappealing and completely arrogant views that seem to occupy such a deep place in your mind. The deluded on is you Robert and always has been. You can scream your dogma as arrogantly and ignorantly as you wish. It won’t change that or my views of your opinions. I am curious how anyone who holds others in such contempt could ever help bring about any meaningful change in anything.

Robert - You said the other day that:

"Atheism is not a club, it is a level of understanding, that once achieved, cannot be denied."

As a "club", it (atheism) is evident in the signs and slogans put on buses and billboards. Atheists, if they so choose to put up an effort to "evangelize" when in the public arena, need to be organized as such to find fundamental beliefs, idiosyncrasies, and common notions which will strike chords with society. As a "level of understanding", it is directly contrary to a systematic and intelligent means by which to evaluate opposing views and opinions. It is an arrogant disregard for cultures, "religious" beliefs, and traditions based on subjective opinions about "how it should be because I think...". You see this in the communication on this forum, speaking to agnostics and atheist in the flesh, and from researching the sociological and psychological reasoning for many to choose this alternative. It is an overwhelmingly broad, convoluted and hopeless facet in today's societal trends.

If one is to just admit "I just don't know... yet", then great. Search for the truth and reality of your subject. When this curious "level of understanding" or lack thereof -- as Robert espouses -- leads to subjective reasoning, a lack of productivity, degradation of human persons opposing your dogmas, and a incredibly inexorable mind, then I would conclude it has no appeal to the betterment of our race.

God belief does not hinder ones search. It gives us a context from which within we are truly free to chase the mysteries of our existence. This context gives us an outline to protect us from ourselves; our human tendencies to stray off course and continue towards entropy. This is a hope-filled journey now because we realize that in all this mystery, we have a purpose in the "plan" of a higher force who truly DOES love us and who wants us to chase the stars. Why? because we are meant to have hope and joy throughout our journey on earth, and by faith in this force based in intellect, we have hope. We are open to the possibilities of human achievement and innovation while at the same time honoring the objective balance of the natural and supernatural realities which we apart of.

"...I'm saying this in kindness, you are an insane blithering idiot, who is wasting oxygen someone else far more deserves. You make me ashamed to be considered the same species as you..."
- Robert

Is this what non-belief breeds?

"...send him (Rush Limbaugh) straight to their (believers) supposed hell, and even that would be too good for him."
- Robert

This manifestation of a hopeless, bitter paradigm of unbelief is absolutely not what we humans should strive for. Excuse me if wholesome God-believers put faith in the teachings and laws of an unseen deity. If this uncanny example of an atheist (above) is what we have to look forward to should we choose to lose faith, then this is one humble reason why religion has been and will continue to be a stronghold in society; it is to spare us from the ways of the truly deluded minds of "enlightened" renegades who hold no foundation in elementary respect and goodness.

Thank God for freedom of speech right Robbie?


pattycakes - I have never hidden my disdain for dealing with your simplistic world view and the contortions you go through to make it seem relevant. If you insist on flinging your god creature at me to "prove" your points, please prove first, that your god exists, otherwise you might as well be trying to make bricks out of smoke.

Why we have become the most religious country in the industrialized world is not a mystery. Our religiosity is a result of having so many people come here from other countries, so that they could practice their more extreme forms of belief, not tolerated in their former countries. There was a tendency to push such people toward the boats and when they arrived here, they set about firming up their peculiar views and then passing them on to their many children.
Starting with the Calvinist Pilgrims, we have had a long history of extreme religion putting its stamp, and stomping their heavy boots, on every aspect of society. It is almost like we became a dumping ground for the intractable superstitionists of other cultures, which allowed other nations to unload their problems on us, so that they could evolve away from rigid delusionalism to a higher degree than we have been able achieve. We have a lot of catching up to do because their descendants do so like to over-breed, and they tend to be as thick as pattycakes and the ever, head in sand (and other dark places), Clay.

Robert Littel - If you and what you say are what you consider evolving then our race is surely doomed. Why would anyone consider such an angry, hate filled, distain for others philosophy superior to anything else? I see nothing superior in any way shape or form in anything you have ever said here. Anything built on the assumption that those who believe differently are inferior is going backwards not forwards. Only someone supremely ignorant and arrogant would think otherwise.

and, evidently, as stridently defensive of absurdities of infantile god concepts as (Fake) Anonymous, above.

Once again the defender of atheist ignorance and arrogance strikes a blow for intolerance.

ravensfan - I understand the need for you to give your highly improbable beliefs the acceptance that they might be true, but the odds against that are so high as to make your attempt meaningless, except in a receptive deluded mind. Say that I assert that the third planet in the Alpha Proxima star system is covered with a three foot layer of French brie, I could declare that a possibility, and demand that you respect that the way you are demanding I respect your assertions. That would allow me to do exactly what you are attempting to do, because you cannot prove that assertion false, then there must be a probability that it is true. The same applies to your god concepts. So unsupportable and irrational are they, that to propose that they have any chance of being true, is as ludicrous as the French brie assertion.

Your only recourse in this type of discussion is to paint those who will not subscribe, or give any respect to your clearly ridiculous beliefs, as if they are engaged in a campaign of hatred against you and what clearly is a system of beliefs based on NOTHING, but your desire for it to be true. You are asking us to accept a level of understanding that cannot be given unless we as well become vacuous enough to abandon rational and logical thought. To us, that is a crime against everything Humanity should be trying to achieve in understanding the universe around us.

Clearly, my last post to ravensfan was not from any Anonymous, in any form, and was aimed at (Fake) Anonymous, even though it could apply to ravensfan, as I believe they are one in the same.

What would make you even think about a 3 foot layer of French brie Robert? Does that belief have any evidence leading you to think that which you believe? Has this French brie theory been a source of joy and human compassion for over 2000 years? Has this French brie theory been accepted the world over because of it's usefulness, validity, relevance and truth in all things good? Has this French brie theory been the subject of study over millennia by sages, scholars, academics, professionals, curious persons and ordinary people?

Fake Anonymous - A long lived and widely held absurdity is still an absurdity. Just because it has remained a popular idea is only a salute to the power of complacency and ignorance. Grow up, your argument is shallow and circular.

Robert Littel - The arguement made your example look like simple minded attack it was. A salute to the intolerance and ignorance of you and your fellow atheists. What's funny is you think that reply was a grown up response to it. All it did was reaffirm how truly overmatched you are.

Robert, if you could, give us an objective example of "extreme religion putting its stamp, and stomping their heavy boots, on every aspect of society." It would be interesting to know what your thoughts are.

Anonymous / ravensfan / any other name you are using here - Why don't you just settle on one name, so that it doesn't appear (falsely) that you are a crowd of delusionalists arguing for your own absurdities. You keep slipping back and forth forgetting what name you are being addressed as, and it will only get more embarrassing the more you do it. I realize that having pattycakes and the brain-dead Clay, as your cheering section, would put you into the loony-bin section by association, but inventing extra persona to give credence to your argument is just pathetic. I sometimes make the mistake of typing in the name of someone I mean to address by accident, like my post above and I'm sure no one disputes that it is in fact my post. Yours however seem deliberate and are as easily identifiable by your typical boneheaded lack of style.

You don't like the Atheist position, because it is intolerant of intolerable absurdities that only an ignorant fool could swallow. Your argument is a salute to thousands of years of blind belief in things that are so improbable as to be ridiculous, that have been institutionalized by ignorance and fear of the unknown. What is even more unbelievable is that you demand not only that we pay lip-service to your absurdities, but that we respect your right to not only hold them, but to spread them unchallenged. Lots of luck with that.

Anonymous - Like you I haven't settled on a name. Isn't rather hypocritical for someone posting as an anonymous poster to be lecturing on id's. I'd accuse you of being Mr Littel, but you don't generate the same level of hatred. Maybe you're Littel's lighter side?

I don't care for those who ignorantly, arrogantly and foolishly believe that only their position is worthy of respect regardless of what that position or religion happens to be. You want to be an atheist go right ahead. Actually I’ve never met one yet that didn’t sound like an angry child. You made a valiant effort to try and hide it.

Name calling and rude behavior isn't challenging. If that's your idea of challenging then you are seriously lacking in education. So far I haven’t seen any challenge just a lot of grade school name calling. Like Little you can’t comprehend something so you attack it and malign it and those who do. Calling believers delusional is comical. It’s like hearing the person staring at the mirage say we’re the one seeing things.

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About Matthew Hay Brown
Matthew Hay Brown writes and blogs about faith and values in public and private life for The Baltimore Sun. A former Washington correspondent for the newspaper, he has long written about the intersection of religion and politics. He has reported from Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East, traveling most recently to Syria and Jordan to write about the Iraqi refugee crisis.
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