Views of US “religiosity” in the world?

 
Gawdzilla
 
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Gawdzilla
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24 May 2009 12:11
 

From where you are, how does the U.S. religiosity compare with yours, and what are your impressions of the U.S. religious situation at this time.

I’m a 20 year USN veteran with a lot more exposure to other cultures than most Americans.  So I can say with some confidence that the average American is no more religious than anybody else. More so than some, of course, and less so than others, but, with certain exceptions, nothing special on the religious scale.

(And please, can we not turn this into a county v. country battle?)

(I put this in the “Christianity” forum because fundamentalists will certainly pop up quickly. I have no problems, however, if it gets moved if the need arise.)

 
 
SeanK
 
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SeanK
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24 May 2009 13:05
 

Have you been to the scandanavian countries?  There are certainly religious people… but ne’er a fundamentalist to be found.

 
 
Gawdzilla
 
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Gawdzilla
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24 May 2009 14:13
 

SeanK, I have a friend who lives in the far north of Norway. He’s reported that there is a small fundie movement in Norway at this time, but it’s on shaky ground right now.

 
 
SeanK
 
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SeanK
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24 May 2009 16:21
 
Gawdzilla - 24 May 2009 12:13 PM

SeanK, I have a friend who lives in the far north of Norway. He’s reported that there is a small fundie movement in Norway at this time, but it’s on shaky ground right now.

Yeah… and Finland has a Christian political party.  The overall meme, though, isn’t nearly as pressure filled as here in the US.  My wife actually gets annoyed with people knocking on our door and leaving fliers.  And she is Lutheran.

[ Edited: 24 May 2009 20:13 by SeanK]
 
 
Fredwho
 
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Fredwho
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24 May 2009 17:35
 

I have no first hand knowledge of U.S religiosity, having last visited 40 years ago. But the news available to me -

(1) G. W. Bush was acquiescing to the demands of religion over the needs of science.

(2) Statistical information seems to suggest that a high proportion of the U.S. public (compared to say, the U.K) interpret the Bible to mean that a great deal of established scientific knowledge is false.

(3) Some States are having problems with Christian fundamentalist interference in the teaching of science.

- gives the impression that the Reason Project has a lot of work on its hands.

Far from this being a country v. country battle, it’s probably a social condition that can turn up anywhere…

There’s a sect quite new to Thailand called Johrei. The adherents that I’ve spoken to still claim to be Buddhist, saying that it’s still Buddhism, but more socially active. Yet one major difference is a belief in God. Activities appear to be focused mainly on spiritual healing (I once asked to participate in a healing session, and was told that I mustn’t, as I wasn’t a Johrei member).

The membership is largely professionals and semi-professionals.

[ Edited: 24 May 2009 17:38 by Fredwho]
 
Brick Bungalow
 
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Brick Bungalow
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28 May 2009 20:14
 

There are several levels to the question. The US certainly has a large proportion of fundamentalist christians. However, we are fairly unique in having a ‘freedom of religion’ clause. While many western european nations have rapidly declining numbers of avowed christians many also have official state religions and rising muslim populations. Its all relative.

 
Daniella
 
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Daniella
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29 May 2009 10:57
 

I am from Australia (I have never been to America, so my opinion is purely an outsider looking in) and the impression that I get is that Christian Americans believe that America was founded on Christianity. Where if they actually read the consitution they would see that the “founding fathers” had the exact opposite idea - going to great lengths to ensure that America was a secular country and that religion and government were kept separate.
I have seen this arguement brought up time and time again in debates, interviews, forums and comments to articles.

What this fallacy appears to propagate is a constant fight by christian groups to get god injected in any way they can as they believe it is their right.

I guess the overall impression is one of ignorance and laziness (wanting a quick fix) - it’s easier to say god did it than actually learn otherwise.

 
rcreative1
 
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rcreative1
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25 June 2009 20:19
 

America seems very religious, but a lot of that is veneer. When you ask people specific questions, it becomes clear that their faith is more of a club membership or security blanket than a fully formed worldview. Polls show that 45% of Americans think God created the world less than 10,000 years ago, but other polls show that 85% of Americans agree that dinosaurs roamed the Earth millions of years ago. That is, when people have an emotional involvement—when the question sounds like “Are you a faithful Christian?”—they say one thing; but when asked about a dispassionate fact, they say another. The vast majority of Americans who claim to read the Bible regularly can’t answer basic questions, and certainly don’t know more obscure facts or quotes. The recent Pew Forum study showed that 57% of people who claim to be evangelical Christians believe there is more than one path to heaven, even though the dogma that there is just one path is a central tennet of their faith.

 
 
SkepticX
 
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26 June 2009 11:11
 
rcreative1 - 25 June 2009 06:19 PM

America seems very religious, but a lot of that is veneer. When you ask people specific questions, it becomes clear that their faith is more of a club membership or security blanket than a fully formed worldview. Polls show that 45% of Americans think God created the world less than 10,000 years ago, but other polls show that 85% of Americans agree that dinosaurs roamed the Earth millions of years ago. That is, when people have an emotional involvement—when the question sounds like “Are you a faithful Christian?”—they say one thing; but when asked about a dispassionate fact, they say another. The vast majority of Americans who claim to read the Bible regularly can’t answer basic questions, and certainly don’t know more obscure facts or quotes. The recent Pew Forum study showed that 57% of people who claim to be evangelical Christians believe there is more than one path to heaven, even though the dogma that there is just one path is a central tennet of their faith.


That’s compartmentalization, not a lack of genuine devotion. Some of the very same people who can’t recite more than a handful of verses, and may get them mixed up with Shakespeare and other sources, are also the same people who will enlist in the military and put their lives on the line in order to fight in what they perceive as a holy war. The lack of rational thinking has certainly never hindered religious faith ... eh?

Byron

 
 
rcreative1
 
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rcreative1
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29 June 2009 14:39
 
SkepticX - 26 June 2009 09:11 AM
rcreative1 - 25 June 2009 06:19 PM

The lack of rational thinking has certainly never hindered religious faith ... eh?

Byron

I definitely agree. People who ask too many pointed questions of their religion either become non-believers or theology professors, leaving the core of believers to muddle through.

 
 
Zackman
 
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01 July 2009 09:06
 

I am from little New Zealand. Our religiosity ( or lack of it) is rather similar to our big cousin Australia. Historically we have founding links to the Church of England and to a lesser extent to other protestant denominations and the Catholic church and. However despite having a titular head who is the head of the Church of England, in practical terms we have a much stronger separation of church and state than the US falling church attendance and robust secular institutions running the show. We do have a small but at times very noisy fundamentalist Christian set of bodies that attempt to impose there will on us but there political power ebbs and flows. We also have the assertion of Maori spiritual practices into mainstream life which is something somewhat unique to us. And due to more recent migrations we have growing Buddhist and Muslim populations.

I feel completely dismayed by the religiosity and in particular the Christian Right in the US. The impact of this religious-political movement on Western policy is deeply concerning. This aspect of the US has had very negative flow-on affects to all the aligned western countries. The leadership shown in recent times on such things as war crusades, abortion and women’s health, health and well being of the child, the demotion of good science in education, healthcare only for an elite, public health, views on homosexuality - it has all been appalling. I guess we are very interested to see what the Obama regime can achieve to mitigate so much destructiveness. However I am not holding my breath.

[ Edited: 01 July 2009 09:12 by Zackman]
 
eudemonia
 
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eudemonia
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01 July 2009 16:11
 

Byron has hit upon the key point in Americana religiostupidification.  Many Christians may not be Bible savvy or very devout in their worship ,but they have a tendacy to blend their religiosity into conservative political ideologies. They are all about discrimination against the sins of socialism, race, sexual orientations and quick to pull the trigger on the next military operation. This is exactly what a secular democracy is supposed to prevent.

My Dad, who was also a Christian, (life long Methodist) always told me that Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell were the most dangerous men in America. Took me many years to understand what he meant.

In America, political conservatism and christianity are a bad combination for the world, regardless of how devout the worship actually is.

Basically Christianity, or their (or their Pastor’s) interpretation of it, gives them license to practice their ideology.