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Religion in Modern America

Religion in Modern America
August 01, 2009, 10:23:03 PM
Religion no longer matters on any other scale than the individual.
Sure, there are billions of people actively involved in church, temple, etc. And billions more that practice praying or confessing or Good Fridays or whatever.
But who do they do it for?
A society?- Does the collective believe that if they do not follow their religion that God (or whatever holds the power) will punish them as a whole? With droughts or disease or other such things? And if they do follow God's will that they will be 'blessed' with things that help the community? (rain for crops, good health, etc)?
No, no one living in the modern world practices religion for such reasons ANYMORE. These are old ways. Ways that are no longer in practice.

So what do people practice religion for now?
Themselves, simply.
They think if they live the "holier than thou" lifestyle, they will be blessed with their individual desires. They pray for riches, not righteousness. They pray for a few more years of life, not because they want to do something worthwhile for anyone-but because they want to cling to THEIR OWN PERSONAL desires just a bit longer.

To ask if we need a replacement God is to ask if we need a replacement excuse. Our God didn't give us the perfect paradise we prayed for... our God no longer means anything to us.
We live in a society where people are atheists, "passive followers" (yeah I believe in God, but I don't go to church or any of that shit), or the "personally devout," (I believe in God, I go to church, I don't sin/I repent because I want to save my ass from Hell).

So, to those that still cling to the idea that the world needs religion: I say:
Look around, and see how little merit religion has in the world today. It has a very small part of our backbones clenched (Jihad, etc). But when you go to a restaurant, do you see any of the overweight families with too many greedy kids say grace before they stuff their snouts? When you walk by a church do you get the feeling of being mystified by what it (used to) represent? Do you pray for the good of your society? Do you repent your sins? Do you look beyond the individual in your beliefs?

The world no longer cares about being righteous, their priority is being rich.
The world no longer cares if they go to Hell, because the idea that we can be punished so severely for not living devout does not fit the happy little thoughts of theirs.
The world no longer sees their sins as sins- "I only had sex with her ONCE."

The world is full of excuses to justify their shunning of religion.

It doesn't matter though. What's here in front of us is what is at hand. We don't live in a religious mind-set anymore. Those people are long gone. So let us take that into account as we set off to war, as we spend thousands frivolously, as we fuck our neighbors wives...

If the fear of God no longer holds us back, what will?

Re: Religion in Modern America
August 02, 2009, 10:55:20 AM
I think that this argument becomes a bit over-dramatized by those who care too much. People explore positive ideas through religion, and negative, and I normally just gauge the value of the individual and decide how to approach them from there. As far as I'm concerned, what comes to the results that I want is of my standards, and I don't bother with the symbols. Religion, after all, is varying in degrees of truth and are all trying to describe the one world in which we exist. So, is God dead? Probably. But what are you going to do about it: rant, or create? Your call.

Re: Religion in Modern America
August 02, 2009, 04:49:53 PM
Nothing new under the Sun: even temples burn in riots.

After reading the OP message, I went to the church to hear mass. People was praying for rain (we're getting through a serious drought here), but as soon as the mass ended, everyone got into their cars in a small city where you can walk perfectly. I understood how Ameera feels.

People can't relate the effects of their lifestyles with the long-term-real-world. It is not a matter of religion. Materialists (the smarter ones) deny religion because they say that it is a distraction from real solutions, but in practice materialism gets degraded in the same delusion of hedonism.


"For many are invited, but few are chosen." Matthew 22:14

Finally, I opt for religion because it gives a reverential vision of the world and a internal via to fully embrace its beauty, in other words to be one with God's grace, unfortunately... many are just passerbies.

Re: Religion in Modern America
August 02, 2009, 06:23:47 PM
religion is a crutch of self-justification. 

the truth of the natural world, that there are real life-and-death consequences to everything we do, that "good" and "evil" are myth, that we live in a vast and desolate universe where the only constants are chaos and cruelty, that we alone are the only onces capable of living our lives, that death lies beyond unknown; these ideas are all too much to come to grips with, especially for those sad individuals who have committed themselves to a society and its arbitrary ways.  so religion fills the void.

your example of the church falls into this category.  the people live in a town that's walkable, but they all drive to church.  they're committed to their SUV's and their suburban subdivisions, and they need religion to confirm that their lifestyle is justifiable. 

whether religious ideas have had positive or negative impact on society is secondary to the fact that the perpetrators of religion are ALL corrupt liars.  religion is a money-making business, and all over the world people are paying to be told what to think. 

their first lie is their belief that they know anything.  what does a priest know of the origin of man, or what happens after death?  science has advanced over the years, but religion employs the same old tactics: hide behind dogma, and if you can't reconcile it with dogma, destroy it. 

it is impossible for you to supply anything beyond subjective anecdotes about modern american religion, or whether americans are more or less religious than they were generations ago, or what effects that has on society today. 

Re: Religion in Modern America
August 02, 2009, 08:42:01 PM
Ergriefer, your argument is logically flawed. Just because people today use a kind of pseudo-religion to justify their decadence it does not follow that traditional religion were self-justification. By the way, how exactly do you know what's the truth of the natural world? Your pessimistic evaluation of reality sounds like plain materialism.
What caused such pessimism in you?
Whatever you honor above all things, that which you so honor will have dominion over you.

Re: Religion in Modern America
August 02, 2009, 09:26:01 PM
The OP has a good point. A society in which individuals care about the well-being of the community is healthier than a society in which people are mostly concerned with their own desires. A society of the first type would counter global problems like pollution and overpopulation by limiting its consumption and reproduction to benefit the world as whole. A society of the later kind might acknowledge the problems, but refuse to change its ways, because walking to church is just too difficult when you have a Hummer. Sounds familiar?

If religion was once a method of restraint, which forced people to limit themselves in order to benefit the community, and now this method is gone, what is left to stop people from polluting and bearing 3+ children? It has to be either self-restraint, which a few people are capable of doing, or government regulation - the LAW telling you to fuck less, to drive less, to eat less, to recycle, etc. Do you see that happening in AMERICA? Maybe when we all have to share a bedroom with two Mexicans, something will change. 

Re: Religion in Modern America
August 02, 2009, 09:43:25 PM
Quote
what is left to stop people from polluting and bearing 3+ children?

Since when did religion do this?  Seriously, is there an example?

There absolutely WILL be population curbs.  This is inescapable. 

The curbs can take the form of government action or of disease, war and famine.  My guess is that religionists will fight tooth and nail against it.

Does saying this make me a nazi?
You got faith in the end... but you can't fucking see!

Re: Religion in Modern America
August 02, 2009, 09:49:21 PM
Quote from: nous
By the way, how exactly do you know what's the truth of the natural world? Your pessimistic evaluation of reality sounds like plain materialism.

Vague "god of the gaps" thinking.  Wishful flailing in the absence of any actual evidence or argument.
You got faith in the end... but you can't fucking see!

Re: Religion in Modern America
August 02, 2009, 10:23:47 PM
Quote
what is left to stop people from polluting and bearing 3+ children?

Since when did religion do this?  Seriously, is there an example?

There absolutely WILL be population curbs.  This is inescapable. 

The curbs can take the form of government action or of disease, war and famine.  My guess is that religionists will fight tooth and nail against it.

Does saying this make me a nazi?

I was thinking of the restraint that religion can impose on people, which can be put to use in a variety of ways, including those two specific ones. With one less source of restraint, government regulation becomes more necessary, because the natural limits of population growth are even less desirable.

You're right in pointing out that religion would probably never go in this direction. In addition to that, even if it tried, no one would go along any more. 

Re: Religion in Modern America
August 02, 2009, 11:16:25 PM
religion is a crutch of self-justification. 
  Exactly.

Quote
If religion was once a method of restraint, which forced people to limit themselves in order to benefit the community, and now this method is gone, what is left to stop people from polluting and bearing 3+ children? It has to be either self-restraint, which a few people are capable of doing, or government regulation - the LAW telling you to fuck less, to drive less, to eat less, to recycle, etc. Do you see that happening in AMERICA? Maybe when we all have to share a bedroom with two Mexicans, something will change. 

Perhaps not in such a drastic measure, but I DO believe religion once was a method of restraint. The "fear of God" or punishment for sins played a much larger role in the decisions people made than the role such things play now.
Quote

I was thinking of the restraint that religion can impose on people, which can be put to use in a variety of ways, including those two specific ones. With one less source of restraint, government regulation becomes more necessary, because the natural limits of population growth are even less desirable.

You're right in pointing out that religion would probably never go in this direction. In addition to that, even if it tried, no one would go along any more. 

So the government would be the ultimate answer to my original question???- what replaces the fear of God in restraining the masses?


Re: Religion in Modern America
August 03, 2009, 01:21:37 AM
religion is a crutch of self-justification. 
  Exactly.

Quote
If religion was once a method of restraint, which forced people to limit themselves in order to benefit the community, and now this method is gone, what is left to stop people from polluting and bearing 3+ children? It has to be either self-restraint, which a few people are capable of doing, or government regulation - the LAW telling you to fuck less, to drive less, to eat less, to recycle, etc. Do you see that happening in AMERICA? Maybe when we all have to share a bedroom with two Mexicans, something will change. 

Perhaps not in such a drastic measure, but I DO believe religion once was a method of restraint. The "fear of God" or punishment for sins played a much larger role in the decisions people made than the role such things play now.
Quote


I was thinking of the restraint that religion can impose on people, which can be put to use in a variety of ways, including those two specific ones. With one less source of restraint, government regulation becomes more necessary, because the natural limits of population growth are even less desirable.

You're right in pointing out that religion would probably never go in this direction. In addition to that, even if it tried, no one would go along any more. 

So the government would be the ultimate answer to my original question???- what replaces the fear of God in restraining the masses?

Once again, the argument is over-dramatized. Whatever replaces fear of God in the individual is irrelevant. What reactions that replacement symbol creates in people, and how you decide to react to the solipsistic people of today, however, is. So, I ask everyone in this thread again, negative or positive values? Rant or create? Are we still so passive as to mourn the death of God, or will we adapt to the situation today and create meaning within it? I'm sorry, I didn't know you all were so prone to tears.

P.S. In order to avoid confusion:

Negative values - a reaction to a perceived threat, usually with the intention of neutralizing, preventing, or destroying that threat.

Positive values - a code of conduct that is intended to create anything from a shared perception to a variety of accomplishments within a society.

Ex. Anti-drug campaigns are based on a negative value, and those who are not anti-drug but sober are utilizing a positive value.

Re: Religion in Modern America
August 03, 2009, 02:24:57 AM
I think you confuse me as being anti-religion, which I am not.
Why is what "replaces the fear of God" irrelevant? Irrelevant to what? To.... yourself?
To me, it's not irrelevant at all. I'm not looking to define symbols within religion to myself. I'm looking to study a people, a nation. I ask what restrains them if it is not the fear of God.
So far, the government has been the consensus. Perhaps you have another view?

Re: Religion in Modern America
August 03, 2009, 02:29:10 AM
Quote
I ask what restrains them if it is not the fear of God.

Some people don't need an imaginary friend to prevent them from raping and murdering.  Personally, for me it's sufficient that injuring other people causes pain.  Christians and many other religionists don't seem to understand that.
You got faith in the end... but you can't fucking see!

Re: Religion in Modern America
August 03, 2009, 03:49:55 AM
Evolutionary psychology equips us with a basic foundation for our conduct. Ideally, parents and community are both reinforcement and outgrowths of this foundation. But, a diverse or pluralist society requires lots of extra rules and expense to maintain because our evolution was never linear, always parallel and usually not compatible with every out group mixed in with us.
”The Revolution ends by devouring its own children” – Jacques Mallet du Pan, 1793