Religion Trends

Chris Hedges on Christian Heretics, Truthdig.com, Nov 2, 2013… what I’m willing to do, which the mainstream church is not, is to denounce the Christian right as Christian heretics…what they have done is acculturate the worst aspects of American imperialism, capitalism, chauvinism, and violence and bigotry into the Christian religion… I think the great failure of the liberal tradition that I come out of is they were too frightened and too timid to stand up. I don’t know why they spent all the years in seminary if they didn’t realize that when they walked out the door they were going to have to fight for it. And they didn’t fight for it.

The Distortion And Decline Of Christianity by Robert De Filippis TheBig Slice.org, February 27, 2013 …organized religion is on the wane; particularly with young people.  I want to explore why this is happening…true Christians who remain silent…allowing Christianity to be politicized, commercialized, and generally maligned to conform to another agenda…The silent majority is allowing the vocal minority to distort Christianity.  Silence can be interpreted as agreement… two millennium of politically-based human revisionism has caused a pernicious Christian neurosis that is now coming into full bloom in some segments of society.  Our politicians have been infiltrated by this neurosis – as if they needed any help to be more neurotic.  And now we have a twisted knot of revisionist Christian propaganda inserted into our public discourse. Christianity in America is getting a reputation for being filled with hate mongers… But the overwhelming majority are good people – good, but silent…Take a lesson from history.  The Enlightenment era of the 18th century brought with it a new appreciation for human reasoning and a diminution or our dependence on “the official truth” in our holy texts.  I think it’s time we start reasoning again…  Does [rhetoric] truly reflect Christ’s teachings? Or is it from carefully selected Biblical excerpts, taken out of context, to justify a hate-filled and neurotic attack on another human being? One is true Christianity. The other is a reflection of a deeper character flaw in the perpetrator. Christianity can be good for good people and bad for bad people, independent of, in Thomas Jefferson’s words about Christ’s teachings, “The most sublime and benevolent code of morals which has ever been offered to man.”

Why are so many Christians un-Christian?

A New Religious America – How a “Christian Country” Has Become the World’s Most Religiously Diverse Nation by Diana L. Eck - Understanding America’s religious landscape is the most important challenge facing us today…the change since the 1960′s has been dramatic and Muslims now outnumber Episcopalians, Jews or Presbyterians….The Pluralism Project Eck directs at Harvard University is investigating religion in America, what the changes mean and “the challenge of creating a cohesive society out of all this diversity.” 
In the United States, the climate of tolerance and the engagement of pluralism emerge not from an authoritarian central regime, but from a democratic experiment as an immigrant nation, a nation in which, at our best, we are motivated by ideals and principles” says Eck.
The consequences for community life and public policy are enormous. (this is the full text)

Another Word on “God and the Twenty-First Century”by Michael Benedikt, Tikkun.org, March 5, 2011 – It is no longer necessary to invoke the name of God to explain or promote compassionate action. Today we understand we have evolved that capacity…what are commandments? Ways of bringing goodness to life through actions, through deeds… These are the words of three champions of monotheism [Judaism, Christianity, Islam]…But what should followers of these theist traditions think of the good practiced by nonbelievers — people who would say it’s quite unnecessary, and even counterproductive, to bring “God” into ordinary morality, who would offer that morality can and should be understood from an entirely scientific, evolutionary, and historical point of view thus: the capacity for empathy, fairness, and altruism is wired into human beings and even other higher mammals from birth, thanks to millions of generations of reproduction-with-variation under the constraints of natural selection. Similarly, the laws of civility — from the Eightfold Way and the Ten Commandments to the Magna Carta, the Geneva Convention, and the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights — are the culturally transmitted legacy of thousands of years of human social evolution overlaid upon older, natural reproductive-selective processes. Whereas laws of civility may once have needed the rhetorical force of God-talk to establish themselves, today they can be embraced rationally in the service of peace and prosperity.

New Satire Campaign Launches War Against Irrational Fear Wednesday, 27 November 2013 10:08 By Candice Bernd, Truthout   Americans are 9,000 times more likely to die from the influenza or pneumonia than a terrorist attack – and that fact alone is a weapon in a new “War Against Irrational Fear,” which is waging war across new fronts such as lighting strikes, dogs, football, bathtubs and the flu – all of which cause more American deaths annually than domestic terrorism. The new satirical campaign was created by Incitement Design, a design firm for progressive causes…uses statistics to show the truth behind the “war on terror,” using social media, videos and graphics backed up with fact-based research to reveal that America’s obsession with domestic terrorism is a costly and harmful distraction… New York Times survey of expert estimates put the total cost of anti-terrorism initiatives at more than $3 trillion since 9/11. [Professor John Mueller authored a report widely cited in the campaign] Mueller’s research shows the United States currently spends more than $400 million annually on domestic terrorism prevention per victim. But the US spends only $9,000 for cancer prevention research per victim. “What we want to do is make it so that people feel comfortable and feel like the price they’re going to pay politically for stating this obvious truth is not incredibly high,” Arnow [Robert Arnow, creative director at Incitement Design] told Truthout. “Our federal government portrays terrorists as wily supervillians, while the research shows they are small in number [and] generally incompetent and that 9/11 was a historical anomaly.” http://truth-out.org/news/item/20272-new-satire-campaign-launches-war-against-irrational-fear

 

 

Pope Francis ‘Evangelii Gaudium’ Calls For Renewal Of Roman Catholic Church, Attacks ‘Idolatry Of Money’ By Naomi O’Leary,  Reuters Posted on HuffingtonPost.com: 11/26/2013-Pope Francis called for renewal of the Roman Catholic Church and attacked unfettered capitalism as “a new tyranny”, urging global leaders to fight poverty and growing inequality in the first major work he has authored alone as pontiff…In it, Francis went further than previous comments criticizing the global economic system, attacking the “idolatry of money” and beseeching politicians to guarantee all citizens “dignified work, education and healthcare”. He also called on rich people to share their wealth. “Just as the commandment ‘Thou shalt not kill’ sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say ‘thou shalt not’ to an economy of exclusion and inequality. Such an economy kills,” Francis wrote in the document issued on Tuesday…Denying this was simple populism, he called for action “beyond a simple welfare mentality” and added: “I beg the Lord to grant us more politicians who are genuinely disturbed by the state of society, the people, the lives of the poor.”…Stressing cooperation among religionsHe praised cooperation with Jews and Muslims and urged Islamic countries to guarantee their Christian minorities the same religious freedom as Muslims enjoy in the West.

Pope Francis called right-wing Christian fundamentalism a sickness. Stephen D. Foster Jr. October 21, 2013

 

 

The Corporate Bully Whose Front Groups, Willful Distortions and Hate-Mongering Has Poisoned U.S. Politics: Meet Richard Berman BySteven Rosenfeld, AlterNet, November 24, 2013 

5 Biblical Concepts Fundamentalists Just Don’t Understand

Did the Dalai Lama Just Call for an End to Religion?

The Bible Hates Homosexuality. So What?

Religious Diversity in America

Why Young People Are Fleeing Conservative Evangelicalism By Eleanor J. Bader, RH Reality Check, February 9, 2012

Holy Book Learning — Americans are shockingly illiterate when it comes to religions — including their own by Christoper Shea

Good Without God: Why “Non-Religious” Is the Fastest-Growing Preference in America By Terrence McNally, AlterNet.org, May 10, 2011

Goodbye Religion? How Godlessness Is Increasing With Each New Generation by Adam Lee, AlterNet, August 10, 2011

5 Signs That America Is Moving Away from Religion, alternet.org, September 28, 2011

Obama And the Rise of Secular Spirituality by Deepak Chopra and Dave Stewart, Belief.net, January 18, 2009 - …Barack Obama has …become a symbol of the rise of secular spirituality in this country, a liberated set of values that exists largely outside organized religion…Obama’s worldview is more congruent with alternative theology than it is with churchgoers…millions of Americans who consider themselves spiritual have longed for peace, unity, nonviolence, and freedom that isn’t imposed by the force of arms…Religion was hijacked for political gain by the right wing beginning as far back as the Nixon era, yet there is a much stronger current of secular spirituality running through our history. The Founding Fathers were mostly Deists, rational Christians emerging from the Age of Enlightenment…They were tolerant believers in a benign God who transcended narrow denominations. They considered the rights of man to be the basis of enlightened belief, and when freedom was labeled an inalienable right, they meant that is was God-given, just as all men being created equal was God-given. …secular spirituality…now includes the following principles…– A spiritual duty to be benign stewards of the Earth and to preserve the ecology.– A responsibility to revere Nature and to be humble before it.– A duty to further peace among nations.– A pledge of nonviolence that will lead finally to total nuclear disarmament in our lifetime.– A refusal to useAmerica’s super power for militaristic ends. — A sense of compassion for the poor and wretched beset by pandemic disease, lack of political influence, and denial of basic human rights….Nothing about secular spirituality is radical. Most of its principles are articles of belief for millions of average Americans who have largely been shut out of politics for eight years….But secular spirituality isn’t limited to the left or the progressive movement in general. It is a national phenomenon, one that will swell steadily in the coming years, particularly among the young. Born after the divisive culture wars that gave the right wing its main chance, the younger generations yearn for new values….Nothing less than spiritual renewal is needed across the board, and there is no one of equal stature to lead it.

Why fundamentalism will fail by Harvey Cox,  BostonGlobe.com, November 8, 2009

Obama Says Faith Shouldn’t Be Used to Divide, President Barack Obama at National Prayer Breakfast, February 5, 2009

New Theists: Knowers, Not Believers by Rev. Michael Dowd

Religious tolerance, then and now by Dana Milbank, Washington Post, August 17, 2010

The Pluralism Problem by Brendan Sweetman, PBS, ONE NATION: RELIGION & POLITICS, January 28, 2010

The Distortion And Decline Of Christianity by Robert De Filippis TheBig Slice.org, February 27, 2013
The Corporate Bully Whose Front Groups, Willful Distortions and Hate-Mongering Has Poisoned U.S. Politics: Meet Richard Berman 

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