Author Topic: 1 in 5 Americans now religiously unaffiliated  (Read 8302 times)

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Offline j

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Re: 1 in 5 Americans now religiously unaffiliated
« Reply #35 on: January 21, 2013, 12:12:14 PM »
In spite of years of searching, I have never understood what it means for a person to be "spiritual."  Being religious at least means that the person's beliefs are supposed to lead to a set of practices that influence the way they live their life.

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Offline soundgarden

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Re: 1 in 5 Americans now religiously unaffiliated
« Reply #36 on: January 21, 2013, 04:32:43 PM »
In spite of years of searching, I have never understood what it means for a person to be "spiritual."  Being religious at least means that the person's beliefs are supposed to lead to a set of practices that influence the way they live their life.

-J

I see being "spiritual" as the removal of all aspects of religion but staying open to the idea of there being "something."  Frankly, I think its fear of acceptance of the notion there is no supernatural purpose to life.  The ideas and practices of established religions may be unacceptable; but the idea of lack of purpose, or something eternal is more unacceptable.  Its why something people are without faith, but still believe in the notion of souls.



Offline j

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Re: 1 in 5 Americans now religiously unaffiliated
« Reply #37 on: January 21, 2013, 05:49:42 PM »
In spite of years of searching, I have never understood what it means for a person to be "spiritual."  Being religious at least means that the person's beliefs are supposed to lead to a set of practices that influence the way they live their life.

-J

I see being "spiritual" as the removal of all aspects of religion but staying open to the idea of there being "something."

That just sounds like a hopeful brand of agnosticism.

What is "being spiritual"?  Does one do "spiritual" things or have "spiritual" experiences, whatever those things are taken to mean?  Is it just a bare bones belief system about the supernatural?  Or am I way off?

Quote
Frankly, I think its fear of acceptance of the notion there is no supernatural purpose to life.  The ideas and practices of established religions may be unacceptable; but the idea of lack of purpose, or something eternal is more unacceptable.  Its why something people are without faith, but still believe in the notion of souls.

I pretty much agree.  Also, I gather that it's sort of a reactionary term to the negative connotations surrounding the word "religion" that have arisen in recent decades.  In other words, people who have some belief system but want to distance their belief system from peoples' notions of "religion," despite the fact that it probably constitutes just that.

-J

Offline Ħ

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Re: 1 in 5 Americans now religiously unaffiliated
« Reply #38 on: January 21, 2013, 08:24:41 PM »
Here's an example. Lots of people that do the AA program have a 'Higher Power' that they don't necessarily identify as a deity. Those would be genuine SBNR people.
"All great works are prepared in the desert, including the redemption of the world. The precursors, the followers, the Master Himself, all obeyed or have to obey one and the same law. Prophets, apostles, preachers, martyrs, pioneers of knowledge, inspired artists in every art, ordinary men and the Man-God, all pay tribute to loneliness, to the life of silence, to the night." - A. G. Sertillanges

Offline kirksnosehair

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Re: 1 in 5 Americans now religiously unaffiliated
« Reply #39 on: January 22, 2013, 12:55:58 PM »
I've been someone who has adopted spiritual principles in his life but does not subscribe to any religious beliefs or doctrines.  I think SBNR means different things to different people.  The WIKI on this topic would seem to support this concept.


When I was super-active in AA around 15 years ago, my sponsor gave me this "guide" to the "spiritual principles" of the program:


The 12 Steps and Principles


Honesty
Step 1. We admitted that we were powerless over alcohol - that our lives had become unmanageable.

Hope
Step 2. Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

Faith
Step 3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood him.


Courage
Step 4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.


Integrity
Step 5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.


Willingness
Step 6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.


Humility
Step 7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.


Brotherly Love
Step 8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.


Justice (I was taught that the principle here is "Self-Discipline")
Step 9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.


Perseverance
Step 10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.


Spirituality (again, I was taught that the principle here is "Awareness")
Step 11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.


Service
Step 12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics ("others", in Al-Anon) and to practice these principles in all our affairs.





He stressed that for people like me who didn't really believe in "God" we could substitute a generic "higher power" and that is what worked for me, personally.

Offline j

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Re: 1 in 5 Americans now religiously unaffiliated
« Reply #40 on: January 22, 2013, 05:24:24 PM »
I guess I just don't buy that there is a *real* distinction there between somebody who tries to live their life according to "spiritual principles" and somebody who tries to live their life according to principles laid out by a holy text or tradition.  That's the very definition of religion!  Sure, said person does not claim to be Catholic, or Jewish, or Muslim, or Buddhist; that is, their professed religion is not one of the primary mainstream ones we generally recognize, but it's a religion nonetheless.  The only difference that is actually manifested is that the principles are different.

And if it's a blanket term meant to encompass anybody who acknowledges the possibility of a "higher power," then that's fair enough too, but that renders it pretty meaningless IMO.

-J

Offline Ben_Jamin

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Re: 1 in 5 Americans now religiously unaffiliated
« Reply #41 on: January 22, 2013, 05:45:32 PM »
I guess I just don't buy that there is a *real* distinction there between somebody who tries to live their life according to "spiritual principles" and somebody who tries to live their life according to principles laid out by a holy text or tradition.  That's the very definition of religion!  Sure, said person does not claim to be Catholic, or Jewish, or Muslim, or Buddhist; that is, their professed religion is not one of the primary mainstream ones we generally recognize, but it's a religion nonetheless.  The only difference that is actually manifested is that the principles are different.

And if it's a blanket term meant to encompass anybody who acknowledges the possibility of a "higher power," then that's fair enough too, but that renders it pretty meaningless IMO.

-J

Its one thing i never really understood either. But I dont know what my religion would be considered as its a part of my culture. Even though we've  for some reason welcomed the catholic religion. Hence, i dont go to church, but still respect those that do.
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Offline Ħ

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Re: 1 in 5 Americans now religiously unaffiliated
« Reply #42 on: January 22, 2013, 05:49:57 PM »
Very relevant survey:

https://www.scienceandreligiontoday.com/2012/05/30/is-atheism-increasing-at-the-expense-of-theism/

To list America's statistics:

1998 - 3.2% did not believe in God, 77.5% were theists overall.
2008 - 2.8% did not believe in God, 78.2% were theists overall.

So, according to this survey, atheism has gotten weaker and theism has gotten stronger in America.
 
And if 20% are not religiously affiliated, only a slice of that are people that don't believe in God. Meaning lots of SBNR people, I'm guessing.
"All great works are prepared in the desert, including the redemption of the world. The precursors, the followers, the Master Himself, all obeyed or have to obey one and the same law. Prophets, apostles, preachers, martyrs, pioneers of knowledge, inspired artists in every art, ordinary men and the Man-God, all pay tribute to loneliness, to the life of silence, to the night." - A. G. Sertillanges

Offline rumborak

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Re: 1 in 5 Americans now religiously unaffiliated
« Reply #43 on: January 22, 2013, 06:50:04 PM »
It's hard to judge really. Atheism is the new gay. Lots of people are it, but nobody dares to publicly say it.
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Offline Dr. DTVT

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Re: 1 in 5 Americans now religiously unaffiliated
« Reply #44 on: January 22, 2013, 08:41:28 PM »
Atheism is the new gay. Lots of people are it, but nobody dares to publicly say it.

This.  I made the mistake of describing myself as atheist to another faculty member less than a month on the job.  I didn't go out of my way to do so, she just asked me why I like organic chemistry so much and I talked about how chemistry and science answer questions that faith does not.  She advised me against making that statement in a public place because someone who disagrees and has pull might disagree (we were at a volleyball game).  Being in the bible belt probably isn't helping my cause either, but even so I've noticed that a lot of activities and groups that were completely secular up north are not in the south.
     

Offline Implode

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Re: 1 in 5 Americans now religiously unaffiliated
« Reply #45 on: January 22, 2013, 11:28:37 PM »
It's true. I feel like it'd be really uncomfortable to tell my parents that I'm not really Christian anymore.

Offline Fuzzboy

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Re: 1 in 5 Americans now religiously unaffiliated
« Reply #46 on: January 23, 2013, 10:38:14 AM »
Yeah me and my parents don't really talk about it. Most of my close friends though are non-religious though.
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Offline wkiml

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Re: 1 in 5 Americans now religiously unaffiliated
« Reply #47 on: January 23, 2013, 02:27:20 PM »
my 16 year old son has flat out told me he doesn't believe in a God...I being raised Catholic homestly don't have an issue with his beliefs.

I had my own issues with the church, but going through AA I did reconnect with a spiritual side
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Offline Ħ

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Re: 1 in 5 Americans now religiously unaffiliated
« Reply #48 on: January 23, 2013, 03:02:52 PM »
From the opposite perspective, I remember when I told my parents that I had become a Christian at the end of high school. They are pretty irreligious and were fine with my decision, but I could tell they threw up walls around themselves and my younger brother, for fear of me becoming too evangelistic in the home. In their defense, I had always possessed a "holier-than-though" character even before converting. Fortunately it's died down and it's really not a dividing issue between us anymore. I do my thing and they're supportive of it. They're good parents.
"All great works are prepared in the desert, including the redemption of the world. The precursors, the followers, the Master Himself, all obeyed or have to obey one and the same law. Prophets, apostles, preachers, martyrs, pioneers of knowledge, inspired artists in every art, ordinary men and the Man-God, all pay tribute to loneliness, to the life of silence, to the night." - A. G. Sertillanges

Offline theseoafs

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Re: 1 in 5 Americans now religiously unaffiliated
« Reply #49 on: January 23, 2013, 03:27:57 PM »
It's true. I feel like it'd be really uncomfortable to tell my parents that I'm not really Christian anymore.

Yep, I won't be able to do this for a very long time.

Offline Dr. DTVT

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Re: 1 in 5 Americans now religiously unaffiliated
« Reply #50 on: January 23, 2013, 07:35:39 PM »
Some of my family knows, namely my parents, sister, and my uncle who is also athiest.  I was a lot more open about my lack of belief when I lived up north.
     

Offline TheVoxyn

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Re: 1 in 5 Americans now religiously unaffiliated
« Reply #51 on: February 04, 2013, 07:29:28 PM »
Interesting. It's not at all like that over here. I'd even say that in certain parts of society (higher educated) it would be the opposite. I don't know anyone from my university who is theistic and I think if someone were to admit to being a strict practicing Christian (e.g) then that would be frowned upon (still accepted, but surely to be mocked in some way).

Offline Ħ

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Re: 1 in 5 Americans now religiously unaffiliated
« Reply #52 on: February 04, 2013, 08:02:31 PM »
From what I know, theism is pretty much dead in the academic world in the US and especially Europe, apart from philosophy departments (and Christian schools, obviously).
"All great works are prepared in the desert, including the redemption of the world. The precursors, the followers, the Master Himself, all obeyed or have to obey one and the same law. Prophets, apostles, preachers, martyrs, pioneers of knowledge, inspired artists in every art, ordinary men and the Man-God, all pay tribute to loneliness, to the life of silence, to the night." - A. G. Sertillanges

Offline theseoafs

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Re: 1 in 5 Americans now religiously unaffiliated
« Reply #53 on: February 04, 2013, 08:11:18 PM »
^I don't know about "dead", but it's certainly becoming very uncommon in academia.

Offline rumborak

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Re: 1 in 5 Americans now religiously unaffiliated
« Reply #54 on: February 04, 2013, 10:03:23 PM »
As a subject of research, yeah, I think theology is pretty much dead as an academic subject. It had its heyday during the late Middle Ages, but these days  it's kept around as a subject in colleges as a point of pride, i.e. to show how long a university has been around (at least in Europe, that is, where the old universities started out as religious places).

My university has a theology department, and I just looked up what they teach in. Sound more a like a combination of history and self-help, to be honest. The way their curriculum reads I would be *very* surprised if they dared touch the tough question, probably because they know they would only alienate people.
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Offline Ħ

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Re: 1 in 5 Americans now religiously unaffiliated
« Reply #55 on: February 05, 2013, 10:50:33 AM »
^I don't know about "dead", but it's certainly becoming very uncommon in academia.
Er, yeah, I guess "dead" is a little bit extreme. At UC Davis, I only know of one outspoken Christian professor - of chemistry, which is interesting. When William Lane Craig spoke at the school, the philosophy profs were polled and virtually all were atheist. We do have some oddballs in the philosophy department though. One guy is a logical positivist. Another is a realist when it comes to properties, numbers, and propositions (meaning he thinks that properties, etc., are existing things).
"All great works are prepared in the desert, including the redemption of the world. The precursors, the followers, the Master Himself, all obeyed or have to obey one and the same law. Prophets, apostles, preachers, martyrs, pioneers of knowledge, inspired artists in every art, ordinary men and the Man-God, all pay tribute to loneliness, to the life of silence, to the night." - A. G. Sertillanges

Offline Ħ

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Re: 1 in 5 Americans now religiously unaffiliated
« Reply #56 on: February 05, 2013, 10:55:26 AM »
As a subject of research, yeah, I think theology is pretty much dead as an academic subject. It had its heyday during the late Middle Ages, but these days  it's kept around as a subject in colleges as a point of pride, i.e. to show how long a university has been around (at least in Europe, that is, where the old universities started out as religious places).

My university has a theology department, and I just looked up what they teach in. Sound more a like a combination of history and self-help, to be honest. The way their curriculum reads I would be *very* surprised if they dared touch the tough question, probably because they know they would only alienate people.
That's unfortunate to hear about your theology department. I do think the field is advancing, though, and far from dead. Particularly, apologetics has made great leaps and bounds in the past fifty years or so. Very recently, Biola (probably the biggest Christian university) which is in Los Angeles has actually opened an degree called "Christian Apologetics".
"All great works are prepared in the desert, including the redemption of the world. The precursors, the followers, the Master Himself, all obeyed or have to obey one and the same law. Prophets, apostles, preachers, martyrs, pioneers of knowledge, inspired artists in every art, ordinary men and the Man-God, all pay tribute to loneliness, to the life of silence, to the night." - A. G. Sertillanges

Offline theseoafs

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Re: 1 in 5 Americans now religiously unaffiliated
« Reply #57 on: February 05, 2013, 11:02:52 AM »
^I don't know about "dead", but it's certainly becoming very uncommon in academia.
Er, yeah, I guess "dead" is a little bit extreme. At UC Davis, I only know of one outspoken Christian professor - of chemistry, which is interesting. When William Lane Craig spoke at the school, the philosophy profs were polled and virtually all were atheist. We do have some oddballs in the philosophy department though. One guy is a logical positivist. Another is a realist when it comes to properties, numbers, and propositions (meaning he thinks that properties, etc., are existing things).

Ah, the guy who thinks that the number 2 is real?  Wacky stuff, if you ask me.

Offline Ħ

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Re: 1 in 5 Americans now religiously unaffiliated
« Reply #58 on: February 05, 2013, 11:20:03 AM »
Er...can't tell if sarcasm. Well, I mean the existence of numbers isn't so far-fetched. But the existence of propositions? Like, "Theseoafs is my best friend", while a true proposition, literally exists?
"All great works are prepared in the desert, including the redemption of the world. The precursors, the followers, the Master Himself, all obeyed or have to obey one and the same law. Prophets, apostles, preachers, martyrs, pioneers of knowledge, inspired artists in every art, ordinary men and the Man-God, all pay tribute to loneliness, to the life of silence, to the night." - A. G. Sertillanges

Offline rumborak

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Re: 1 in 5 Americans now religiously unaffiliated
« Reply #59 on: February 05, 2013, 11:57:06 AM »
That's unfortunate to hear about your theology department. I do think the field is advancing, though, and far from dead. Particularly, apologetics has made great leaps and bounds in the past fifty years or so. Very recently, Biola (probably the biggest Christian university) which is in Los Angeles has actually opened an degree called "Christian Apologetics".

They probably view it themselves as advancing the Christian cause, I actually think by attempting to "prove" God they are instrumental in the subject's further demise. I would guess that with vocal people like Craig they might get a few people on board, and a LOT of others that look at it and walk away shaking their heads.
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Offline Ħ

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Re: 1 in 5 Americans now religiously unaffiliated
« Reply #60 on: February 05, 2013, 12:21:38 PM »
From what I've seen, it's encouraged many people, young and old, to think analytically when they tackle theology. Less people are content with familiar Bible stories and three-point sermons. Really, renewed interest in apologetics has encouraged pursuit after answers and understanding rather than just relying on the pastor, which can lead to isolated groups of fundamentalists that don't engage with the secular world.

And, contrary to uninformed belief, there are advancements in the field. I've brought up before how the logical problem of evil has recently been brought to its knees and hardly anybody affirms it anymore. Plus, there has been a huge resurgence of Christianity in philosophy. Decades ago, it was Alvin Plantinga and that was it - now there are many more.
"All great works are prepared in the desert, including the redemption of the world. The precursors, the followers, the Master Himself, all obeyed or have to obey one and the same law. Prophets, apostles, preachers, martyrs, pioneers of knowledge, inspired artists in every art, ordinary men and the Man-God, all pay tribute to loneliness, to the life of silence, to the night." - A. G. Sertillanges

Offline rumborak

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Re: 1 in 5 Americans now religiously unaffiliated
« Reply #61 on: February 05, 2013, 12:29:18 PM »
I've brought up before how the logical problem of evil has recently been brought to its knees and hardly anybody affirms it anymore.

Well, you buy the arguments for that, just like Craig's arguments. I don't think a lot of other people do.
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Offline Ħ

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Re: 1 in 5 Americans now religiously unaffiliated
« Reply #62 on: February 05, 2013, 12:31:32 PM »
I mean in academia, no one affirms the logical problem of evil anymore. It's been shot down.
"All great works are prepared in the desert, including the redemption of the world. The precursors, the followers, the Master Himself, all obeyed or have to obey one and the same law. Prophets, apostles, preachers, martyrs, pioneers of knowledge, inspired artists in every art, ordinary men and the Man-God, all pay tribute to loneliness, to the life of silence, to the night." - A. G. Sertillanges

Offline theseoafs

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Re: 1 in 5 Americans now religiously unaffiliated
« Reply #63 on: February 05, 2013, 12:34:09 PM »
To be fair to the problem of evil, there really aren't that many philosophical arguments, for OR against the existence of God, that are anywhere near universally agreed upon; that is, I feel that if you polled all of academia about all the common arguments for and against God, the majority wouldn't find any of them completely convincing.

Offline rumborak

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Re: 1 in 5 Americans now religiously unaffiliated
« Reply #64 on: February 05, 2013, 12:35:40 PM »
I mean in academia, no one affirms the logical problem of evil anymore. It's been shot down.

Not really. It's just that along with the lack of actual academic discussion about theology nobody talks about theodicy either.
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Offline Ħ

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Re: 1 in 5 Americans now religiously unaffiliated
« Reply #65 on: February 05, 2013, 12:38:51 PM »

Sure. All the arguments are controversial. Most would receive at least some supporters and some deniers, but the logical problem of evil has basically been annihilated by Plantinga.

I mean in academia, no one affirms the logical problem of evil anymore. It's been shot down.

Not really. It's just that along with the lack of actual academic discussion about theology nobody talks about theodicy either.
That just tells me that you're unaware. There's theological discussion all over the place.
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Offline Scheavo

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Re: 1 in 5 Americans now religiously unaffiliated
« Reply #66 on: February 05, 2013, 12:53:15 PM »
I mean in academia, no one affirms the logical problem of evil anymore. It's been shot down.

What do you mean? That no one thinks the problem of evil disproves God (in general), or that no one thinks the problem of evil is a problem for certain definitions of God?

My experience of the matter was that the problem was taught, but it was left open as a problem.

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Re: 1 in 5 Americans now religiously unaffiliated
« Reply #67 on: February 05, 2013, 02:49:14 PM »
I mean in academia, no one affirms the logical problem of evil anymore. It's been shot down.

What do you mean? That no one thinks the problem of evil disproves God (in general), or that no one thinks the problem of evil is a problem for certain definitions of God?
The first. No one thinks that evil and God are logically incompatible anymore, on the standard definition of God as omnipotent, omnibenevolent, omniscient, etc.
"All great works are prepared in the desert, including the redemption of the world. The precursors, the followers, the Master Himself, all obeyed or have to obey one and the same law. Prophets, apostles, preachers, martyrs, pioneers of knowledge, inspired artists in every art, ordinary men and the Man-God, all pay tribute to loneliness, to the life of silence, to the night." - A. G. Sertillanges

Offline Scheavo

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Re: 1 in 5 Americans now religiously unaffiliated
« Reply #68 on: February 05, 2013, 03:55:48 PM »
I don't get how he can be all caring, and let there be evil. What's the argument for that? I get all-powerful, all-knowing, even personal... but when you throw in a word like benevolent, it seems to me that our definitions of benevolence should apply to the world. At the very least, it's more reasonable, in my opinion, to assume there is no benevolent God than there is one with a conception of benevolence beyond us.

Offline TheVoxyn

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Re: 1 in 5 Americans now religiously unaffiliated
« Reply #69 on: February 05, 2013, 04:32:35 PM »
I think you and Rumbo deserve a medal for being able to debate against religious arguments in this sub-forum for such a long time without just walking away out of frustration.