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According to the Pew Research Center's latest study, more young Americans doubt the existence of God than at any other time in our nation's history.

It's sort of ironic when you think about it, considering that God and religion have never been more center stage in our politics and culture than they are right now. However, in spite of Herculean efforts by the Evangelical right to insert religion into every aspect of our lives, 31% of young adults under the age of 30 express doubt that God exists.

Now I'm sure if we were to ask Michelle Bachman, Rick Santorum, Ralph Reed, Pat Robertson or any of the other proselytizers on the religious right to explain this disturbing turn of events, they'd have absolutely no trouble affixing blame. They'd begin by lamenting the pervasive influence of a godless entertainment industry, then point to the very obvious fact that prayers are not allowed in government buildings or schools, but sex education and condoms are. Next, they'd bemoan the acceptance of homosexuality as a legitimate life choice rather than the abomination that it is, and of course, the coup d'etat would be the legalization of abortion. Some would also throw in the rise of feminism, divorce and co-ed dorms but any way you slice it the answer is obvious. Living in this modern day Sodom and Gomorrah, it's no wonder young people doubt the existence of God.

A compelling argument to be sure, but I'm more inclined to look for the culprit somewhere else. I think the reason that young people are losing faith in the belief that God exists is because the God that the religious right is telling them to worship and obey isn't anyone to whom you'd want to ascribe all-seeing, all-knowing powers.

Let's face it, it's hard to have faith in a God that's so vindictive, judgemental and intolerant, He, and really does anyone think there's even a remote possibility that this God's a she, thinks a young woman who has sex outside of marriage deserves to get pregnant or worse, contract a venereal disease. Educating her about her body and giving her condoms just encourages her to engage in sinful behavior, sinful behavior her partner wouldn't be participating in if she wasn't leading him on. And don't even get this God started on homosexuality. Not only is it a blight upon civilization that should be condemned in the angriest, most strident terms, it's also responsible (according to Pat Robertson) for the recent spate of floods, tornados and hurricanes plaguing the midwest and south. Another characteristic of this God is that he has absolutely no patience for the belief in any other God or faith. It seems that there is only one true path, and if you aren't on it, you are one of them not us. If there's one thing this God has made plain to his followers, it's that he doesn't like anyone who is a them.

In fact, according to his advocates, the list of things this God doesn't like is far longer than the list of things he does and it includes President Obama, uppity women, universal healthcare, poor people, George Clooney, environmentalists, and a whole host of others too numerous to list. When you look at it in those terms it's easy to understand why recruitment for the big guy is off among young people. It makes much more sense for them to believe in Bruce Springsteen. He's larger than life, embraces his fellow man, cares about the sick and poor, preaches love and tolerance wherever he goes and makes incredible music. I'm also pretty sure that he's allowed in government buildings and schools.

 

Originally posted to msopine on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 04:49 PM PDT.

Also republished by Street Prophets .

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Comment Preferences

  •  This is why it is important that we of faith (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mapamp, blueoasis, DJ Rix

    Who believe in and who worship the God of Martin Luther King, Jr., Abraham Joshua Heschel, and Bishop Tutu, do not surrender to the bigots and ignoramuses who are so loud today.

    "We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals, now we know that it is bad economics." Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Jan. 20, 1937

    by Navy Vet Terp on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 04:56:45 PM PDT

  •  "Dress tight as skin, invitation to sin... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mapamp, DJ Rix

    ...does the Lord look at women this way?"

    --Foot of the Bed, Tres Chicas

    Which apparently has no YouTube video available of it, but it's a damned good song.

  •  Thank you! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    allergywoman, Navy Vet Terp, DJ Rix

    Republished to Street Prophets!

    Peace, Hope, Faith, Love

    by mapamp on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 05:03:29 PM PDT

  •   so when religion is full of hucksters.... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Navy Vet Terp, DJ Rix

    Scandals in the Catholic Church

    and

    All manner of   "religious" people going where Christ would not go -- politics.  (with attention to hateful things, like being against civil rights for gay people).

    and

    The national ethic turning to Ayn Rand.

    I don't think we have a strong claim to be a Godly nation.
    Quite the reverse. So no surprise.

  •  Odd; On the Diane Rehm Show They Were Saying (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DJ Rix

    youth was very skeptical about abortion, I think they said it was polling in the low 50's. There isn't any reason to oppose it other than religion.

    Well I guess it can be an ultimate reason given their propaganda, without the individual subscribing to it.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 05:15:08 PM PDT

  •  ok...here's somethign I have never understood (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DJ Rix

    You state that it's hard to have faith in a vindictive, indiscriminate, angry, unpredictable God.

    Why?  It's a GOD, for crying out loud.  Gods in all religions do nutty  things.  They kill people.  They turn them into spiders.  They hit them with lightning bolts.  They cause them to die from drought.  Starvation.  Disease.

    Gods are MEAN.  Sometimes, when you curry their favor, they can be nice.  Then they get MEAN again.

    I'm agnostic, but I've never understood the argument that in order to believe, the God you believe in has to be really nice.

    •  I think that's why Jesus was so welcomed by (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DJ Rix, sewaneepat

      so many in the 1st century.  He taught a Judaism that emphasized the better nature of man and softened the harsh rhetoric of the Old Testament.  

      I should add here that so do many practitioners of Judaism today.  While the latter don't believe Jesus was a god, they do seem to think he was onto something.  

      Unfortunately, (some) Christians have distorted Jesus' message so badly that if you hadn't read the beatitudes and only had fundamentalist Christians to go by, you would think that Jesus actually taught the opposite of what he did.

      The same thing happens in Islam.  Most Muslims are peace-loving and tolerant.  It is difficult to reconcile that they and the extremist radicals quote from the same book.

      Yes, gods can be mean.  Yahweh did things that, were he a mere human, would mark him as a terrorist, so bevenro, what you say cannot be dismissed out of hand.  Some people have a faith that somehow justifies it in their minds.  I don't and I can't.  Fundamentalists don't feel a need to even try.

      Jesus, on the other hand, was not mean, and was not evil.  I suspect that if young people had role models who lived like Jesus, a great many of them would be Christians.  Too many of them don't, hence their doubt.

      Because stupid people are so sure they're smart, they often act smart, and sometimes even smart people are too stupid to recognize that the stupid people acting smart really ARE stupid.

      by ZedMont on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 06:48:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  although there is the concept of eternal damnation (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        DJ Rix

        for those who are not saved--which is pretty morbid itself...in the Old Testament, God is rougher on the living who don't follow his commandments.  But Christianity can be quite malevolent towards the soul.

        •  This is true. The concept of an afterlife was not (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          DJ Rix, sewaneepat

          a widespread Jewish belief until a couple of centuries before Jesus was born and it was never a universal belief.  My personal hunch is that the Judeans were beaten down by so many occupiers that they began to think there HAS to be something more than this.  But even by the time of Jesus it was not a universal belief and some Jews to this day do not believe in an afterlife.  Consequently, from what I'm told by my Jewish friends, the emphasis for most Jews is on righteous living and tradition, not one's own salvation or condemnation.

          The part about Christianity being malevolent towards the soul is, I believe, an attitude of Christians that developed long after the death of Jesus. I don't personally believe that the man who spoke the beatitudes was the condemning type, and I realize that contradicts some of what the gospels claim that he said.

          I'm not religious, but like Ghandi, I'm a great admirer of Jesus.

          Peace be with you.

          Because stupid people are so sure they're smart, they often act smart, and sometimes even smart people are too stupid to recognize that the stupid people acting smart really ARE stupid.

          by ZedMont on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 09:28:36 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  This is so true. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ZedMont
        Unfortunately, (some) Christians have distorted Jesus' message so badly that if you hadn't read the beatitudes and only had fundamentalist Christians to go by, you would think that Jesus actually taught the opposite of what he did.
        These days many "Christians" quote Paul (out of context and implying that it is what Jesus said) that if you don't work, you don't eat. What Jesus actually said was exactly the opposite.

        They also ignore many other of Jesus' teachings such as when you pray, go into a closet and pray silently and instead preach that you do what Jesus said the hypocrites do - pray loudly in public.

        You can't scare me, I'm sticking to the Union - Woody Guthrie

        by sewaneepat on Thu Jun 28, 2012 at 04:52:28 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  If you're saying (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DJ Rix, sewaneepat

      that ancient stories are filled with examples of blood thirsty Gods, or that humans have always used religion and Gods to further their own ambitions, then I can't argue with you. But Jesus Christ's image is specifically of acceptance, inclusion, love and forgiveness. The fact that fear, hatred and intolerance are being disseminated in his name is a huge turn-off for young people and helps explain the large drop off, not only in people who practice a formal religion, but who believe in God

  •  God got the 'Earth' SIM game as a child (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DJ Rix

    And was SUPER into it, was completely hands-on with every little detail (seriously, if you read the Bible, God acts like a spoiled 8 year old - 'Do every stupid thing I make up and tell you, or I'LL SQUASH you!), but then he started to grow up, discovered Goddesses, and lost interest. We're actually all just a game that was left running, and are now forgotten in a box in God's attic.

    Romney 2012 - ALL GLORY TO THE ROMNO-TOAD (((@-@))) !!!

    by Fordmandalay on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 07:57:30 PM PDT

  •  Faith & certainty (0+ / 0-)

    are not the same things. Not by a long shot. When theologian Paul Tillich wrote, "Doubt isn't the opposite of faith; it is an element of faith," he wasn't saying anything new. Belief entails many "ifs." If this is true, if that is true. It is the religious ideologues who demand certainty, the unhealthy banishment of doubt.

    "There ain't no sanity clause." Chico Marx

    by DJ Rix on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 09:46:24 PM PDT

  •  Is the Bible a Hoax - or is it just how we read? (0+ / 0-)

    I think that we believers do both God and Christ a disservice in our interpretation of the Bible.  The drive to interpret these writings as literally the "word" of God is so paradoxically and manifestly obtuse on our part that it is scary.  And, it must drive off new believers in the end.

    This is because the worlds of new testament writing and of old testament writing are so completely different as to offer contradictory God views to a potential believer.  By nature our species seeks to reconcile world views to form a cogent perspective and explanation for what we see.  If taken literally, the Bible simply doesnt do this.  But I maintain that it never was supposed to.  Perhaps either by design or happenstance, the Bible has become to mean "the Word" as in Johns testament: literal, infallible, sacrosanct. But has been noted by scholars through the centuries, this simply can not be - by the Bible's own admission.  As one simple example: why was Christ sent?  For remission of sins right.  But why is this needed God gave Moses and the law.  Yes but mankind didnt obey you argue.  But this is not true, there are many that did obey - for instance Paul himself says "unto the law I am blameless." So for Christians, and according to Paul, Christ is received through grace and we come to him not through our own understanding but through grace.  Therefore the law must not be enough? But God told the Hebrews it was right? So why send Christ if God was getting exactly what He wanted - only those that kept to the law pleased Him.  You might argue that God didnt get enough believers, and o He had to do something.  This doesnt work either, He did save Noah and his family but had little worries about destroying everyone else.  

    In the end, we must conclude that Christ's purpose was exactly what He said it was, to fulfill the law - bring a deeper meaning to it.  This by necessity implies we didnt get the meaning right the first time.  But that meaning was taken as a direct literal translation of the Torah or Old testament (give or take a few books).  It was the literal interpretation of God's law. Furthermore, the profits all claimed to "hear" this interpretation of God's will directly from God's own mouth (so to speak).  And Christ Himself said He came to give it a different meaning. Now like most people I do not care for flip-flopping Gods, and God does say He is "constant".  So what can be made of this except that this collection of writings that spans thousands of years is not to be taken literally, but morally, and the moral really is that the way mankind goes around blaming God for mans wars, mans injustices, and mans weaknesses is not the way to look at things. Christ gave us an altered picture - not an alternative one.    

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