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105 COMMENTS

  1. Because we have a two-party system in which one party has had success by encouraging religiosity and demonizing science. It started out small, but rapidly ratcheted up in insanity– becoming very tribal in nature relatively recently. Now both parties risk failure unless they can appeal to an ignorance loving portion of the voting base. I imagine there are financial gains to be found in encouraging ignorance as well.

  2. How the tables have turned! It wasn’t so long ago that people left their countries in droves to get away from the God of the land, and start fresh in the United States. It’s a haven for both God lovers and non-believers. People love their faith in the United States because it’s not forced on them by their government.

    • In reply to #4 by bigambig:

      Thanks for the prompt guys; I wrote 1000 words.

      . This was spurred and accelerated by a 50-year long Cold War with the explicitly atheistic USSR, in which US govt propaganda used Christianity as a mark of American pride (see also: the “God” additions to the Pledge of Allegiance and US Currency).

      I suspect this is the main reason for the extent of religiosity in America in contrast to the other nations of the west. US citizens were subjected to a sustained propaganda campaign and now they’re paying the price.

  3. It was first peopled by English religious zealots who wanted to be free to pursue their zealotry.

    As a young huge country rapidly filling with strangers the folk needed a sense of identity quickly.

    John Smith wiped away any squeamishness over the genocide and theft of land. (The UK’s record? Have at it.)

    As a lawless country in its wild expansionist days it needed “badges of goodness” to show you were non threatening. These are still widely used today by the exploiters and by those who wish to demonstrate they are not the exploiters.

    It has free market religion, unfettered by advertising standards, with a free market mentality. Untold riches are promised for only $10-95 a week.

    As a spectacularly unequal developed country with an underdeveloped welfare system, the poor need hope and the rich need excuses.

    Democracy has been parasitised by an unholy alliance of out of date leviathan business interests and theocrats. This is the new pairing like priest and the tribal chief.

    The natural authority of evidence and reason has been undercut by an over-reading of what personal autonomy constitutes. In overplaying ideas of personal freedom and being government and institution-phobic, expertise is dismissed with a wave of the hand, as if it were a right to do so. The default lame brain pacifying explanations of religion fill the gap minimising personal effort.

    • In reply to #6 by phil rimmer:
      BTW this entire country is not populated by Christians nor do we all trace our roots back to England. Some of us trace our roots back to Germany and throughout Europe except the UK in the 1930′s where the Nazi party didn’t care if one was a believer or not. Many tried to gain entrance into the UK and were denied. The amount of muder is too excessive to speak of. The only nations not sharing in this genocide is Denmark and Sweden whom actively took measures to prevent it
      The UK, US and rest of the Western world is guilty through inaction enabled the most massive genocide in all history

      It was first peopled by English religious zealots who wanted to be free to pursue their zealotry.
      BTW regarding the UK and genocide, my family is relative newcomers to the US. They are from Poland and Germany. They miraculously escaped the Nazis who didn’t care whether you believed or not managed to escape to Canada after being denied entrance into the UK. The US is equally guilty of this but the UK must certainly share in it.

      As a young huge country rapidly filling with strangers the folk needed a sense of identity quickly.

      John Smith wiped away any squeamishness over the genocide and theft of land. (The UK’s record? Have…

      • In reply to #56 by Ergewirtz:

        In reply to #6 by phil rimmer:

        This entire country is not populated by Christians and some had to escape from things much more horrible than persecution from the English. Yes they did continue to practice Judaism in memory of 6 million murdered

        ??? Sorry, I don’t get your point.

        EDIT I’ve just seen your amended post. Why this blame fixation? This is not what is going on. You are not your country, nor I mine. If you want to see me trash the failings of the UK I’ve done it many times. I love Denmark and on another thread I complained about the lack of variety in its culture. This is what we do to make things better. We chat as friends some with insights because they are inside a country and still others with insights because they look in from the outside.

        Its all grist for our mill. Besides, as I said on another thread, I depend on others to tell me I have spinach in my teeth. Its what friends do.

      • Denmark in World War II.

        In 2003, in a speech for the 60th anniversary of the end of the 1940–43 collaborationist government, Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen said that Denmark’s cooperation with Nazis was “morally unjustifiable”, which was the first public condemnation of the World War II era Danish leadership by a Danish leader.

        In reply to #56 by Ergewirtz:

        In reply to #6 by phil rimmer:
        BTW this entire country is not populated by Christians nor do we all trace our roots back to England. Some of us trace our roots back to Germany and throughout Europe except the UK in the 1930′s where the Nazi party didn’t care if one was a believer or not. Many tried…

    • In reply to #6 by phil rimmer:
      What is particularly insidious are the feel-good multilevel marketing groups pulling in those ignorant on how businesses are really run. The include a religious component and traveling to large conventions where they are made to feel “God wants you to be rich”. The crowds make them feel welcome, like one of them. I guess that’s why the governments don’t care to shut them down.

  4. Religion is built on fear. And USA government support and generate fear in its citizens. As USA citizens are getting more and more afraid the need for security in a group, in a brotherhood, is greater. That suits politicians because they have a mass of fear, ignorant and manageable inhabitants. :)

  5. “Other countries” and War.

    The question posed is only true when one defines other countries a certain way. Which way? This creates circular loop which defeats logic. But going beyond that, to this ignorant commentor’s assumption, that the other countries are the ones similar to the US in other ways. Let’s say: western hemisphere, Europe, and UK ex colonies.

    Then its War. Europe has WWII as the capstone in a collosal history of war based, by degrees, on one’s god. Unfortunately, not all the lessons learned from WWII have stuck permanently in European’s mindset, but not taking god serious enough to commit geonicide is one they seemed to have learned well. Religion can stay a funny sideshow, nothing as important as business, family, and where to seista at.

    Then cold war. As a previous post stated , the US got proud of their god and placed it as one reason for defeating only other superpower.

    Then US had a war over god. 9-11 happened. War on terrorism. Other countries were sympathetic and supportive at times, but 9-11 changed mindset of average american on god in one day, then whole cold war did. US is having its big religios war right now, and US seems comfortable with its progress. US needs it God. What is that famous quote about god being with us…

  6. It’s because of “Early Age Indoctrination” in which the bible thumpers are getting their whacked-out religious beliefs pounded into their children’s heads about the time they get past the diaper stage. So the children grow up ONLY hearing about God God God and nothing else. Every religion in the world uses the early age indoctrination principle to snag new followers and then use the proven scare tactic “you will burn in hell for eternity” to keep their followers and their weekly donations. My bible-thumping sister has admitted she has donated around $100,000 in her 72 years of being a church and choir member. Build a church, hire a preacher for maybe $25,000 a year, then get a whole 5-gallon bucket full of $5′s, $10′s, $20′s, $50′s, and $100′s every Sunday morning for just two hours of work. It’s no wonder the old saying ‘The Fastest Way To Wealth Is To Build A Church” exists. That and “Fleecing The Flock”.

  7. This might not be all of it – but having lived in the USA for 8 years I think a big part of it has to do with a desperate and fear driven need for divine protection and sustenance of the so called American Dream. Important to understand at the outset that christianity per se is not really the national religion of the USA; consumerism is, and the consumerist lifestyle requires a fiscal backing. A (minimally) stated belief in God, (not necessarily practiced) is the good luck token of the average American seeking the continued blessing of sufficient wherewithal to sustain the so called good life. First and foremost most Americans are pathologically superstitious and ever fearful that their luck (blessings) will dry up if they don’t continually pay lip service to their big and bearded good luck charm in the sky. Bottom line – money, or the fear of not having any, is partially why God is so pervasive.

  8. When you put a bunch of puritans on a boat and ship them elsewhere so that your own continent can develop, you shouldn’t be surprised that the country you created as a result is a little strange. I may be overstating that a bit. However, the wikipedia entry on puritans says of their beliefs (emphasis mine):

    The idea of personal Biblical interpretation, while central to Puritan beliefs, was shared with most Protestants in general. Puritans sought both individual and corporate conformity to the teaching of the Bible, with moral purity pursued both down to the smallest detail, as well as ecclesiastical purity to the highest level. They believed that man existed for the glory of God, that his first concern in life was to do God’s will and so to receive future happiness.

    Everyone must believe the same thing, tiny details matter, and there is only one morality. Sound familiar?

  9. Why is God pervasive? What God?
    People themselves are responsible for anything and everything they do.
    It is just the way we evolved, I suppose we should wait for evolution to do its thing whatever that is. But because there is no intelligence or purpose in evolution there is not much we can do about it except wait and see what the future brings.
    We cannot have our cake and eat it either there is no God so we cannot blame him for anything.. or there is a God who gets blamed for everything ..time we made up our mind which one is it? I blame evolution and hope that in the near future we will become intelligent enough to make intelligent decisions about how we run the world unfortunately we didn’t reach that level yet because man is polluting the earth, and we are not intelligent enough to do anything about it.

  10. It has been suggested that religion is disproportionately popular in the US because, unlike many European countries, the US has never had a state or official religion. This has led to a free-market economy of religion where different churches are more motivated to to promote their business and people more inclined to remain loyal to the brand they have selected. In contrast, a country like England has a state church that is so dessicated and dull that no-one can get enthusiastic about it. The Guardian newspaper in an editorial in 2010 wrote, ‘ England’s state religion is an accident sustained by apathy: lacking any logical existence at the heart of the nation, it survives because it is already there.’

    Perhaps Americans are just rebelling against their fathers, or in this case their founding fathers. After all many of those men were deists rather than Christians. Hopefully the tide will turn again and a new generation of politicians will emerge in the land of liberty who can get elected for publicly agreeing with Thomas Jefferson that in ‘every country and every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot.’

  11. “Why is god so pervasive in the United States versus other countries?”

    How can something that doesn’t exist be persuasive? It’s a nonsense question.

    I suspect that what the author meant was, “Why are the deluded so persuasive in the United States?”

    I suggest it’s because Americans believe in themselves. Or you could even say, America believes in itself.

    Everything in American society is built on self belief. In America there is no room for doubt, no acknowledgement of second best. And under such a suffocating indoctrination of righteousness, all common sense is expunged like moisture in the desert under the baking barking sun. They believe they are right to to spend more on weapons than the rest of the world put together – and that’s only the military … it doesn’t even include domestic weaponry. They believe they are right to pollute. They believe in gas (I meant petrol). They believe in burning. They believe they are right to reward the rich with more riches and punish the poor because it is their own fault. They believe they are democratic though they don’t believe in politics. They believe they are the best. They believe in fighting. They say they believe in equality, though they never practice it. They believe they are funny. They believe in thieving from the rest of the world. They even believe in thieving from each other. …….. They believe that all these things are their God-given rights.

  12. It’s hard to go past Phil Rimmer’s comprehensive exposition but a really bizarre feature of US history has been the long-term presence of a substantial slave population whose loss of freedom had to be continually justified and opposed on religious grounds, while the Africans themselves by their religious passion expressed so compellingly in their gospel songs surely added another dimension to the overall religiosity.

    • In reply to #16 by Livers:

      a really bizarre feature of US history has been the long-term presence of a substantial slave population whose loss of freedom had to be continually justified and opposed on religious grounds, while the Africans themselves by their reli…

      I think this is spot on. Its also an example (with the volume turned up to eleven) of religion being the natural byproduct of unequal societies. This is the most dramatic and convincing demonstration of it. The downtrodden need their hope against hope in a hopeless world. And the downtreading get their justification from religious texts.

    • In reply to #16 by Livers:

      It’s hard to go past Phil Rimmer’s comprehensive exposition but a really bizarre feature of US history has been the long-term presence of a substantial slave population whose loss of freedom had to be continually justified and opposed on religious grounds, while the Africans themselves by their reli…

      This is where my mind went first when I read the question. The constant usurping of other people’s rights, the genocide, etc. led to a need to justify horrific actions by delusionary means (what other means could there be?) Like the loony, evil religious quack who excuses inexcusable behavior with religion but on a grand scale.

  13. Humans are communal creatures and the national psyche of a country, if there is such a thing, seems to crave some sort of continuity of leadership. A constitutional democracy like the US relies on a short term polititcian as the supreme leader with only an inanimate paper constitution ‘above’ it for the long term. The president is selected by some of the population and is partisan to some extent.
    The UK in contrast has the Queen and her successors ‘above’ its politicians, ie a human symbol of continuity that bridges the time spans of numerous political leaders and parties and that is not influenced by politics. The Queen, also as the head of the Anglican church, could be perceived to be almost above the Church so the church is somewhat redundant and is not taken too seriously. Other religions are also easily tolerated as the Queen still seems supreme. Even though the comfort provided by Royalty is an illusion, perhaps it satisfies the craving of the population for a ‘leader of last resort’ . Perhaps, because the US does not have that, people turn to imaginary gods for comfort that there is someone above the president that they can rely on?. The apparent fascination and even affection that the Royal family attracts in the US might support this idea.

    • In reply to #17 by Richard01:
      An interesting point of view but didn’t Charles I the Supreme head of the English Church and King of England have a war (The Thirty Years War) and a Revolution (Civil War if you prefer) occur under his reign before he was finally executed. Perhaps it is the violence that occurred in the 17th century that served as an important lesson to the British people for religious intolerance.

      Humans are communal creatures and the national psyche of a country, if there is such a thing, seems to crave some sort of continuity of leadership. A constitutional democracy like the US relies on a short term polititcian as the supreme leader with only an inanimate paper constitution ‘above’…

      • In reply to #31 by Ergewirtz:

        In reply to #17 by Richard01:
        An interesting point of view but didn’t Charles I the Supreme head of the English Church and King of England have a war (The Thirty Years War) and a Revolution (Civil War if you prefer) occur under his reign before he was finally executed. Perhaps it is the violence tha…

        Perhaps some overhang of the ‘divine right of kings’ still prevails in UK in a sense. This was scrapped in late 1600′s in England I think and fizziled out in Europe over the next 2-3 centuries. Scandanavia, Holland etc have very low public interest in religion but still retain their royal families although at a very low key level. Inspite of that their royalty does provide a sense of long term continuity which pure constitutional democracies cannot do as by definition leaders are short term appointments. Strongly Islamic countries have a single religion which is also used as a basis for ruling (sharia) of the countries…again providing a sense of timeless continuity that is not soley dependent on individual leaders.
        Death is a universal concern and religions provide some sort of explanations of an afterlife…perhaps part of imagining an afterlife assumes that ‘your’ world carries on normally after your death for your descendants…in the US people cannot trust that their politicians will see to that and need some other form of comfort? The evangelicals expoit that ‘need’ and have to build their own brands and acquire market share to make money . Charismatic evangelists make far more by starting their own churches than by working for exisiting ones…… hence the proliferation!!

        • In reply to #37 by Richard01:

          In reply to #31 by Ergewirtz:
          I think you misunderstood my point. There is no denying that Europe is far mor secular than the US. I disagree that a monarchy has anything to do with it. France, by far more secular than England and one of the more secular nations of Europe hasn’t had a monarchy since the late eighteenth century. In fact their bloody revolution was fotlr the express purpose of bringing equality to France. Equality in the form of getting rid of the monarchy and clergy. While some of that was overturned by Napoleon it eventually came full circle. The mantra “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity had a permanent effect on world history.It led to social Darwinism and influenced thinkers such as Karl Marx and Frederick Engels. This had a negative effect on 20th century history but it certainly promoted atheism.

          I hesitate to use Germany as an example, but it too became more secular after the reigns of Kaisers.

          I believe Europe became more secular than the US is for many reasons but the reigns of monarchs are the least of which. I cannot claim to understand the relationship people have for a monarch in a constitutional monarchy. I am sure you have a fondness for the Queen that no American can appreciate, but I think it far more likely that after centuries of war over religious disharmony that the lessons were learned from history. Sure took you long enough!

          In reply to #17 by Richard01:
          An interesting point of view but didn’t Charles I the Supreme head of the English Church and King of England have a war (The Thirty Years War) and a Revolution (Civil War if you prefer) occur under his reign before he was finally executed….

        • In reply to #37 by Richard01:
          I would also point out that Spain has a monarchy (of sorts) and is one of the most religious countries in Europe. Furthermore the existence of a monarchy has caused violence on a massive scale– from the call for an Inquisition that lasted almost 400 years to a series of Civil Wars and the list goes on and on.

          In reply to #31 by Ergewirtz:

          In reply to #17 by Richard01:
          An interesting point of view but didn’t Charles I the Supreme head of the English Church and King of England have a war (The Thirty Years War) and a Revolution (Civil War if you prefer) occur under his reign before he was finally executed….

  14. Not my hypothesis, but Niall Ferguson’s. He used to write for Newsweek. Separation of Church and State is responsible in combination with our Free Market system. Because of these two factors all forms of religion have taken hold. It is only limited by the imagination and not the state. I would like to add the lack of understanding of science and how inaccurate our brains are at interpreting what is seen (detected). As in, things are not always what they seem. Combine that with our basic requirement to find purpose (cause) and God is often the reason – if no other tenable explanation is evident.

  15. I do no think that god is more pervasive in the US than in other countries. I am a Mexican citizen born and raised in this country. I was born in a catholic family and was a believer until I was 16 years old when I realized, basically by reading the fabulous works of writers and philosophers of the late XIXth and early XXth centuries that god and religions were nothing but an invention of men, out of fear and ignorance. . Mexico was conquered by Spain in 1510 and they imposed the catholic religion upon our ancestors by rhe sword. Our ancestors were indeed very religious before they were conquered, but they, like many other indigenous peoples in the world, had many gods, noy just one, and such gods represented, like in many other religions, the sun, the rain, death, life,the moon, and so on.
    The Spaniards thought, by having destroyed every single piece of their cultures, that they had erradicated the ancient religions, but the truth is that even today the native Mexicans still believe in their old gods and in the new one, altogether, and are still tremendously religious. As for the europeans that came to live in this country, all of them were, and are, catholic. So religion permeates in every single aspect of our lives. Mexico is officially a lay State, but almost 85% of it´s population is catholic. This is still due to ignorance, fear, and lack of reading. We unbelievers are seen as devilish, dangerous and, yes, even today, as communists!.
    So, as you can see god is as pervasive in Mexico as it is in the US

    • In reply to #19 by Hector Rojas:
      There really is no logical reason why monotheism is more ore less rational than polytheism. Your ancestors were at least worshipping something real, something that can be proven by observation and something that brought necessities of life. If one is going to worship something the sun and rain make a whole lot more sense to me than a figment of the imagination.

      I’m curious. You say that religion is no more pervasive here than elsewhere, citing the fact that Mexico is 85% Catholic. Does the Chuch exercise the same political power as the Christian Right has here?

      I do no think that god is more pervasive in the US than in other countries. I am a Mexican citizen born and raised in this country. I was born in a catholic family and was a believer until I was 16 years old when I realized, basically by reading the fabulous works of writers and philosophers of the…

  16. A people as collectively adept at money-spinning as the US is bound sooner or later to come up against the idea that money is not the answer to everything. This seems to frighten Americans. Wealth doesn’t prevent planes from crashing into cities. Wealth does not guarantee supremacy in education. Wealth does not apparently let the US take care of its less fortunate citizens. Wealth seems not to have prevented those with sinister intentions towards America from winning the war of nerves. No, these problems are a job for….. God!

    Curiously, though, it is not God who is the object of American adoration. That rôle falls to…you guessed it… wealth. Is it possible that those besotted with riches (or the promise of same) have a sliver of shame at their avarice, at their cult-of-the-individual-at-all-costs; perhaps a glimmer of awareness that a comparatively poor world thinks of them as humanity’s failures? Is this the chink in the armour into which conscience-salving religion has slithered? Is God the salvation of the American Way…or just a drug that feels like that?

    Now, to anyone brought up to think rationally, to question and ponder, test and demand that things just ‘make sense,’ the question “Why is God so pervasive in the United States….?” has a whiff of non sequitur. It would seem that the European countries, despite millennia of religious wars, witch hunts and crusades, are shaking off their devotional religious baggage and are striving, educating themselves, to settle for ‘what makes sense.’ “What”, muses the European thinker, “is the use of trusting a crazy fairy godfather in the sky to guide my thinking, dictate my morals, steer my political vote, underwrite my business, bolster my hockey team?” Not one of these enterprises works that way, nor could it. And yet hundreds of millions of Americans have persuaded right wing politicians that the price of their votes is their public profession of undying Christian religious fervour. “Tell God you’re on his team and he’ll empower you to lead us to…..to what?….Wealth of course! Want to be rich? Praise the Lord and tell your congressman to do the same”. Anyone as deluded in his thinking as the practicing Christian is likely to be deluded in other things too. Beware the powerful believer. Beware any religious state. Passing strange, is it not, that these non-existent ‘Gods’ should stir up so much trouble.

    • *In reply to #20 by CristóirMácR
      O’Malley
      I am not defending the country of my birth and home bit simply stating fact– we are much younger. Out nation was dreamed of by those in the Age of Enlightenment. As someone else pointed out we did not follow their wise and beautiful vision. We did not have a Revolution caused by religious differences as our English friends did or a revolution based on liberte, Egalite fraternite (I apologize to my French friends, I couldn’t figure out how to put the accents in). Liberty equality fraternity served the French well in developing a secular nation whereas one nation under god kept the United States a so called “Christian nation” which is supposed to guarantee freedom of religion insted of freedom from religion

      A people as collectively adept at money-spinning as the US is bound sooner or later to come up against the idea that money is not the answer to everything. This seems to frighten Americans. Wealth doesn’t prevent planes from crashing into cities. Wealth does not guarantee supremacy in education.

  17. Power, and the need to want to have it. Power in a democracy is inspired by loyalty, and earning trust. For any group of people to join together, a common desire and/or goal of ‘being right’ isn’t enough, it has to be viably and infallibly moral enough to warrant any loyalty. IN Western society, nothing has had that sort of power, especially in what was for the most part, a largely illiterate population that was given that sense of ‘morality’ by virtue of their own brand of belief in things that were far greater than any king, any monarch, and all under the illusion that in a democracy they, as the people, had the power. They could control the things they hated, the things they loved, the things they held dear as given to them or promised to them by some unseen force.

    In any democracy, power is kept by those that know that when you make promises that distract the masses from the real problems, the most easily-sold basis for any such promises are the ones you don’t need to prove.

    “Because I have faith in God.” “God spoke to me.” George W. Bush was given a second term by 90 million evangelical Christians just based on that alone, with no thought given to any of the issues of the day.

  18. It’s really simple when you think about it. All of us are raised and taught in school to believe that our Constitution and Bill of Rights were written in a Religious context.
    An extremely common misconception is that the United States Constitution and Bill Of Rights were created so that this country would have a foundation based on Christian Beliefs. Nothing could be further from the truth. Thomas Jefferson, writing to his predecessor, John Adams said, “The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the Supreme Being as his Father, in the womb of a virgin, will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter.” Neither of those founding documents mentions God, Jesus, Christianity, the Bible, Heaven, or Hell. Quite the opposite, they emphasize freedom of religion, and freedom from religion, particularly the separation of Church and State.

    • In reply to #22 by ellissg:
      I’m curious, did you go to a religious private school? Or are you from the South where religion may be more important? I grew up in Brooklyn NY and was never taught the Constitution talks about religion in any context other than freedom of religion. By the same token, I did not learn the foundinf fathers were deists (nor was I taught they were religious). I think I assumed they were since the colonies were settled by those escaping religious oppression. This fact was drilled into us. While it was true for some colonies it was not for all, particularly VA where many founding fathers were from.

      I do not ask to be critical of your early education but rather to account for these differences and try to account for these differences. Perhaps it could begin to explain the answer to the question because as you know there are vast differences in attitudes, methods and even quality of education depending on where you are. Anything you can supply would be appreciated:)

      It’s really simple when you think about it. All of us are raised and taught in school to believe that our Constitution and Bill of Rights were written in a Religious context.
      An extremely common misconception is that the United States Constitution and Bill Of Rights were created so that this country…

  19. First, god is not as pervasive as in 59 officially-Muslim countries, where all traffic on freeways stops during afternoon prayers. Second, the “Freedom of Religion” clause has been interpreted to mean that public schools can’t teach that religion is wrong, or silly. Private religious schools require a Statement of Faith from all students. Most people assume that if our government doesn’t post a warning label, it’s safe. Primarily, it’s because people are stupid. It’s not just that girls don’t want a repuation for being smart, it’s that Americans, no, make that all humans, are the product of random evolutionary processes and we don’t have that razor-sharp intellect that’s so admired in literature. There’s no reward for proving that dead people don’t return to life. The oldest people, the people who are seriously thinking about their own deaths, want to cling to the hope that there’s an Afterlife, and the best way to enter Heaven is by accepting Jesus as a Savior.

  20. You, Americans are living on ivery tower…
    You don’t really have any idea what’s going on in other parts of the world…
    The human beings all over the world are being oppressed under the faith or spiruallity etc.
    You are in the best situaiton/position than other people in the globe…
    By the way, michael gill’s comment is the best…

  21. First and foremost religious freedom allows for the practice of many different religions-anything from Catholicism, any number of Protestant faiths to so called faith healers to any scheister who wants to claim that he is a man of God and who finds people who will pay a whole lot of money to hear him speak.

    Next freedom of speech allows for people to say that we are right and everyone else is wrong.

    In addition to this we have a nation which was plagued by prejudice (and still is to some extent). Prejudice against people of color, prejudice against LGBT, prejudice against Jews, prejudice against women. This gave Christian white men (who can also exercise that power over their white wives) a lot of power.

    Also the melting pot has a great deal to do with it. Whether people came to escape the political oppression, economic difficulties or violence in their nation of origin many retain their religious beliefs and some mistake their need for cultural ties, failing to realize that they don’t believe. In other cases their family endured violence due to their religious beliefs and despite the fact that one does’t believe an obligation is felt to carry the religion to the next generation.

    In many cases, particularly in the South (otherwise known as the Bible Belt) the community and the church are inextricably linked. It’s almost like in the Middle Ages where should a member of the community miss church, everyone knows. While that person won’t be deemed a heretic and burn at the stake, it would be a good idea to lie claiming to be sick. Church functions are the primary social source, private schools are church oriented and these are the states which teach creation as science.

    Unfortunately religion has a strange grip on the human psyche. It seems to operate under the “give an inch, take a yard” principle. People dare not question it. From a very young age we are taught “it is private-never talk about it in public”. Underneath it all the ministers of ignorance gain an increasingly powerful grip. Even former enemies, the Christian Right, Orthodox Jews and Israel are allies, having learned “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”-that enemy being Islam. Religion becomes a vicious cycle of one religious group committing an act of violence, strengthening the unity and ostensibly the will for vengeance of another group, which in turn offends another group and round and round it goes.

  22. The fact that a war has never been fought on American soil since the Civil War may have something to do with it. It does not give Americans proper insight into the costs and damage (psychological) that fighting for faith can do.

    Freedom of religion and right to bear arms may also be an unfortunate combination.

  23. MONEY, i see this as one of the main reasons. When “churches” can get loads of money and not pay taxes, they can also influence politicians, media and the general public. In an open market, religion sells. Religion has always been about power, money and control over the masses. Governments in which state and/or church/religion separation is clear do not see the proliferation of miriad cults or religions as in the US. And when it does, their reach diminishes, so they focus on low income population. And there is also ignorance…. you can see “educated” people, or so it seems, that think creationism is a great idea. But ignorance is not the fault of the school education system, it has to do with values and the promotion of knowledge as a basic value of the american culture.

  24. Religion is big money, power and control.

    Religion in the United States is big business, it’s all about the money; institutionalized religion, in additions, is about power and control. Without a state religion- thanks to the first amendment – religions are free to compete in the open market of ideologies, selling a broad spectrum of beliefs to credulous souls. Resignation, fear and redemption are the commodities of religion.

    People are lazy; they would rather have someone else think for them.

    Concomitant with poor physical fitness and the prevalence of obesity, most Americans are flabby thinkers, lacking cognitive fitness. People are lazy; thinking is hard work, figuring stuff out for one’s self, grueling. Given the choice – unless trained and practiced how to think – people will take the easy way out and will usually hold onto what they have been taught a children, or grab onto the nearest prepackaged ideology that “feels” right to them.

    Religions serve as a nexus of social interaction and networking.

  25. …because in the US the alternative sucks?…

    From what I read, much more than in other (western) countries, proclaiming atheism in the US has severe personal consequences, socially (outcast from family and town) and economically (as religion has silently penetrated many ranks of society (and the remaining ranks are scared of them) an outspoken atheist can forget being hired or promoted to a decent job).

    Ergo, better stay comfy… and get stuffed with food and gadgets, and lulled with ‘we are the best’ (addicted as they are to all three). Plus a free card to heaven ! Come on, what does atheism offer compared to that? A no-brainer (indeed..).

    Also, religion is a so much easier way to get through the day compared to the alternative which requires years of learning and thinking to understand life, nature, tricks and chance, which not everyone in society has the brain capacity to do—a quite obvious fact, but something I never seem to see being considered by the smart godfrees.

    Roughly, the left side of an IQ bell-curve of a society is simply not gifted with a brain to go through that process (remember going from primary to secondary school losing your first buddies?… why was that? First sift on brain capacity).
    But, just as no one likes a smart-ass, no one likes being exposed as a dummy either, so they cover up by being silent, grouping together and, apparently more so in the US, the dummies’ pastors (=herders! how appropriate!) shout loud / buy airtime with messages along lines of ‘atheists are devils’ (getting angry has always been the dummy’s response to an argument). And so defend their safe fortress even stronger.

    One may argue this IQ distribution of a society is no different in other countries, but a quick search revealed there are no less than 21 countries in the world with a smarter population than the ‘we are the best’ US of A (including Mongolia—no offence, guys. Congrats! Just trying to make a point to myopic Americans), and another 8 countries equally smart (including ‘utterly insignificant dustspecks’ as Andorra and Latvia—ditto there). And that is after a century of importing smart guys, and with all the top universities and Silicon Valley people jacking up the average. Go figure the implications for their fellow country men…
    (Just mocking US a bit with a tabloid interpretation).

    By the way, on the right side of the bell-curve are the closet-atheists / people that don’t dare rock the Ark and, America being the epitome land of opportunities, the people that recognized the extreme gullibleness of the large herds on the left side of the curve, so easily coercible with ‘religion’, who dove right on them and milked them once a week ever since.
    (till sound).

    At an outside glance, church appears a disgusting parasite (and in the US mutated into some nasty aggressive and persistent variants, where the atheism vaccin don’t work as good as in other countries), but the host apparently perceives the infection as a happy symbiosis without which it can’t survive.

    What I don’t understand (so I am just speculating) is how religion has been able to penetrate government in a country with a secular constitution and a clear seperation of church and State. The country is apparently full of hungry lawyers. Aren’t there any that see a buck in sueing church out of government? It seems there is where the disease should be fought, not the masses who need that comfort blanket to get through the day.
    If that catches on, other lawyers looking for a job can sue any unlawful use of religion in societal affairs (discrimination against non-religious). The new fertile ground may well lure more atheists out of the closet.

    To sum, as a compromise, let church have the ones susceptible to religious addiction, but don’t allow it to crawl up and influence government policy.

    Djee, if it wasn’t for science they wouldn’t even have made it to the wheel. The present-day penetration of ignorance combined with arrogance is just jaw-droppingly astounding. …Time for a planet-gobbling monster story? (o, how I miss Douglas Adams, the most wonderful guy I’ve ever heard of).
    Time for a drink then.

    • In reply to #33 by Hmm:
      On many points you are quite correct. As an American I can tell you that during my marriage to a military man I did not dare even tell my ex husband I was an atheist. Perhaps this is why he is my ex husband. When I ran my own business in FL again it was very rare for me to share my atheism (you can imagine how shocked I was to learn I was safer saying I am Jewish). Now that I live in New England it is rare for me to sense complete disgust. While I have met kindred spirits, crazy Bible thumping Southern Baptists don’t exist and born again Christians are rare.

      As a teacher I avoid talking about religion. I feel very uncomfortable with the subject and immediately change the topic.

      When I visit my sister in Georgia (the Bible Belt) I always feel a little uncomfortable on the plane because it is not uncommon to be trapped for three hours next to some moron who feels the need to “bring Jesus’s love into my life. On one occasion I stupidly told him I am an atheist and he became even more aggressive. Upon explaining the scientific wisdom of atheism it attracted the attention of every one around me and I seriously began to fear for my safety.

      There is no disputing that in certain communities church has had benefits. In the overall history of our country it has caused far more problems than any benefits gained.

      Perhaps Reagan’s trickle down economics would have madeore sense as trickle down Christianity.

      …because in the US the alternative sucks?…

      From what I read, much more than in other (western) countries, proclaiming atheism in the US has severe personal consequences, socially (outcast from family and town) and economically (as religion has silently penetrated many ranks of society (and the re…

    • In reply to #33 by Hmm:
      Your question about how a secular nation with a separation between church and state is a good question and not such a complicated one.

      Between 1901 and 1909 the US President Theodore Roosevelt was openly an atheist, even a naturalist. In 1912 Woodrow Wilson, a rather religious man used religion to unite and gain support for World War I. He believed it necessary to get Americans to overcome the isolationist attitudes. Look on the bright side- at least William Jennings Bryant was never elected.

      When Truman took over for FDR he used a similar trick to rationalize the dropping of the bomb on Japan. During WWII religion was given a little bit of a reprieve because the enemy of my enemy is my friend. We had to become allies with the Soviet Union. Furthermore in all likelihood FDR was not particularly religious.

      In 1956 Eisenhower had “In God We Trust” put on paper currency (it had been on coins since 19th century). He also had “under god” put into pledge of allegiance.

      In 1964 the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back occurred. Lyndon B Johnson of Texas signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This was seen by Southerners as the ultimate betrayal. Before 1964 a Republican found it very difficult to be elected president in the South. After Lyndon Johnson a Democrat finds it very difficult to be elected in the South hence cannot get elected to the White House short of it being a knee jerk reaction to a very bad Republican president. Remember the South has some strategically important states such as Texas and Florida.
      Presidents since 1964:
      Johnson (D) 1 term
      Nixon (R) 2 terms
      Ford (not elected finishing Nixon’s term) (R)
      Carter (D) knee jerk reaction to Nixon 1 term
      Reagan (R) 2 terms
      Bush (R) 1 term luckily
      Clinton(D) Knee jerk reaction to Bush 2 terms
      Bush Jr (R) 2 terms obviously there is no god but maybe a devil!
      Obama (D) knee jerk reaction to Bush 2 terms

      Johnson predicted the South’s anger

      …because in the US the alternative sucks?…

      From what I read, much more than in other (western) countries, proclaiming atheism in the US has severe personal consequences, socially (outcast from family and town) and economically (as religion has silently penetrated many ranks of society (and the re…

  26. This shouldn’t be a case of the USA Vs Other Countries; it should be the USA as well as Other Countries or regions — but with two exceptions: Northern Europe and China.

    It’s true that the god meme is less prevalent in Northern European countries and China compared to the USA. But if you compare Southern and Eastern Europe, Africa, South America and South East Asia to the USA, god seems to be as prevalent, or no less prevalent, in both.

    So the question should be: why is the god meme less prevalent in China and Northern Europe than in the rest of the world, the USA included?

    In China it can probably be put down to purging of religious and other counter-revolutionary beliefs during the Cultural Revolution, which started in the late 1960s. This is a period where people were literally forced to become atheists.

    In Northern Europe, the Enlightenment movement similarly purged much of the educated classes of god-belief. This is when science really took off and publicly available evidence (not private revelations), as well as distrust of authority, became the gold standard for many thinkers.

    The USA, and also many other parts of the world, has not undergone anything similar to the Cultural Revolution or the Enlightenment; if it has, it was not as sustained or widespread as it was in China or Northern Europe. But that, too, might be changing since the advent of the Internet and Gnu Atheism.

      • In reply to #48 by phil rimmer:

        In reply to #34 by RDfan:

        The USA, and also many other parts of the world, has not undergone anything similar to the Cultural Revolution or the Enlightenment

        But it did. The founding fathers were mostly Enlightenment men.

        Exactly! One need only examine the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution (perhaps one of the most brilliant documents in history) to see that this country is a product of the Enlightenment.

        George Washington himself said “The United States is in no sense founded upon Christian doctrine” Article XI Treaty of Tripoli passed by Congress 1797.

        It was a very different Congress. But one of the things that makes the US Constitution so brilliant is that it evolves. This allows for laws to be passed meeting the needs of the majority
        Perhaps that is a primary answer to this week’s question. Currently the overwhelming majority is religious. Perhaps in the future the number of atheists will grow enough for further evolution thus causing the separation of Church and State that was intended.

    • In reply to #34 by RDfan:
      And we (US) had a huge cultural revolution in the form of a civil right movement and anti-war protests. We even adopted your nuclear arms disbandment as a symbol for peace. Arguably, you could throw the women’s rights movement of the 70′s in with that though as an American woman I wouldn’t.

      This shouldn’t be a case of the USA Vs Other Countries; it should be the USA as well as Other Countries or regions — but with two exceptions: Northern Europe and China.

      It’s true that the god meme is less prevalent in Northern European countries and China compared to the USA. But if you compare S…

  27. I Think it stems from early days there with America then being a country of many fugitive immigrants from the old world. A lot of people saw it as a fresh start, away from the old religious persecutions in Europe and thankfully threw in their lot with the bible only believers.With a now open interpretation, this consequently allowed for the rise of Cult leaders, Joseph Smith, Russel, Baker Eddy with the rest, and along with tax free status became the perfect base for “Church” money making businesses including TV Evangelism and Scientology.These in turn exert powerful self-sustaining interest lobbies on Govt. and Communities even extending where they can into school education. Against a Constitutional separation of church and State, without continually promoting God and the Bible they know they would not long survive.

  28. God has been actively bred into the psyche of the over populated descendants of White European religious puritans, propaganda and deceit keep the myth going that white male elites have supreme power and authority over the thoughts and minds of the populace…the specifically under-educated people are more wilfully gullible in some kind of ideal of isolationist selection myth

  29. Since the beginning Americans have believed that they were God’s chosen people. In 1630, as the Massachusetts Bay Company was preparing to leave England for the Americas, Rev. John Cotton was already indoctrinating some of the very first colonists with his “God’s Promise to His Plantation’ sermon. Now throw in John Winthrop’s “City on a Hill” while you take a look at the heathen natives as viruses kill them off in droves to clear the way and make room for the Christian Whites, and then the stage is set. From that time on it has been crammed into the head of almost every American child (especially those of us who grew up during the Regan administration) that they were special. They were chosen by God and this land was given to them so that they could be a light to the rest of the world. Therefore rejecting God is almost equivalent to rejecting America in the minds and hearts of so many Americans.

  30. The Christian Right is generally another way to carry on racism. The Ku Klux Klan claimed to be committing their dispicable acts in the name of Christianity. Jerry Falwell was a segregationist in the 1950s. When racism became unfashionable, they merely turned their hatred over to hatred of gays. However as we see from the Tea Party Movement hatred is always there and the election of an African American president brings it out.

    The United States differs from any other nation in its multi racial, multi- national makeup. The rational mind knows that light skin is simply a product of evolution as humans moved into colder climates. The religious mind believes that an imaginary figure chose people of similar skin colors and beliefs in an imaginary power they call god to be better than people with different skin colors and beliefs. The Christian Right is simply a disgusting reincarnation of those who felt that forcing African Americans to sit in the back of the bus was ok because it is seperate but equal. Rev Dr. Martin Luther King would be horrified if he saw where Christianity is today.

  31. Perhaps we should be asking why religion is more pervasive in the New World countries than in Europe?. South America and the West Indies are also generally far more religious than their former colonising countries are today. Ironic as many of the original settlers to the New World fled Europe to escape religious persecution.

    • In reply to #46 by Manzanilla40:
      Latin Americans are the particularly interesting in the fact that many Latin American countries are Roman Catholic in name only but here in the US many become born again Christians in one Protestant faith or another. Many also continue in Roman Catholicism with greater faith. Obviously in Cuba communism clamped down on religion in Cuba but once again here in the US many practice with a ferver. Whether it be Roman Catholicism, Protestantism or Santeria many Cuban Americans practice. In South Florida there are many churches of all denominations with Spanish names helping me to learn religious terminology in Spanish.

      Perhaps we should be asking why religion is more pervasive in the New World countries than in Europe?. South America and the West Indies are also generally far more religious than their former colonising countries are today. Ironic as many of the original settlers to the New World fled Europe to esc…

  32. It also strikes me that the country’s huge untapped wealth of “free” land, new resources and an enormous and mostly isolated market, and the low cost labour of slavery, flattered the prowess of business men. The shear ease of wealth creation undoubtedly had a god-given quality to it, a natural sense of abundant reward for honest toil. Like the the little dance of Skinner’s superstitious chickens randomly rewarded, I could well imagine that such unreasonable good fortune might elicit a sense of godly gratitude and start a particularly diligent Sunday superstitious behaviour. In turn this would keep them from noticing their own somewhat klepto-maniacal behaviours behind their wealth’s source.

  33. It was a very different Congress. But one of the things that makes the US Constitution so brilliant is that it evolves. This allows for laws to be passed meeting the needs of the majority Perhaps that is a primary answer to this week’s question. Currently the overwhelming majority is religious. Perhaps in the future the number of atheists will grow enough for further evolution thus causing the separation of Church and State that was intended.

    To sum up it is not the practices of the government that matters, it is the desires of the people. I live in Massachusetts. Same sex marriage was legalized under the most unlikely govenor- Mitt Romney. He is a Republican and a Mormon. Why was it passed? Because MA is one of the most liberal states in this country.

    If there are indeed more atheists than statistics indicate, then they must come out, shout it from the rooftops and most importantly write letters to their representatives protesting laws that favor religious concerns. While in MA that is a safe thing to do south of the Mason-Dixon Line it is still not particularly safe.

  34. It’s been mentioned a few times – the free market model in american religion. It’s unconstrained by intellect. Most european state religions (catholics excluded) have become more liberal and less extreme. This doesn’t work in the free market model. Preaching hellfire and highlighting the wickedness of outsiders brings in the customers. The extreme end of the free market model is pastors with mansions, helicopters and private jets.

  35. In reply to #14 by Moulinsart:
    England is over 1000 years old (as a nation state). In that time it has a long, bloody history of violence by Catholics,. Legislating a reformation, in an effort to reverse the reformation, Queen Mary (aka Bloody Mary) committing mass murder, large groups of people coming here to escape religious persecution and a Civil War completely based on religious differences.

    In contrast the US is 222 years (by England’s recognition). We (the US) has existed in the blink of an eye compared to England.

    I’m sensing a great deal of hostility in the English for Americans in you and many other posters. I never realized. Here we love the English. Everything from the accent to your comedy, to the grandeur of your archotecture going back 100′s of years

    This is not my point. My point is we did not make the errors in regard to religion that England and Europe made. Our nation is also so much larger Europe as a whole is only a little bigger than the US and much of that is Russia) with so much more varied ethnical and nationality groups. To compare England to the US is not only unfair but will not lead to conclusions that will work. There is no denying the problems of religion in the US but to chalk it up to being due to a large class imbalance seems to me to quote Karl Marx.

    It has been suggested that religion is disproportionately popular in the US because, unlike many European countries, the US has never had a state or official religion. This has led to a free-market economy of religion where different churches are more motivated to to promote their business and peopl…

  36. In reply to #6 by phil rimmer:

    It was first peopled by English religious zealots who wanted to be free to pursue their zealotry.
    I don’t think I am going to debate you as to which country has had more violence.due to religion. One has been around so much longer and one is so much larger. I will point out the obvious that to view the 17th century through the eyes of the 21st century is not only going to lead one to a misunderstanding of history but ostensibly to the present. To not believe in God in the 17th century was as likely to occur to them as the likeliness of an imaginary figure striking us down for not believing in its reality. This was true both in England and the American colonies equally.

    Obviously in the 21st century religion is a huge problem in every facet of American society. I do not debate that and I commend England (or do you prefer UK I mean no offense)I simply say that to place the blame at the fact it was colonized by religious zealots is not helpful. We can’t go back in time. Its about as helpful as saying that today’s problems in England can be traced to the past millenia after the Conquest of England in 1066 or that they were due to the anglo Saxons invasion after the Romans fled. England’s secularism is remarkable but how can the US apply it here?Unfortunately I think we have more to learn from the French and that would be a blood bath.

    As a young huge country rapidly filling with strangers the folk needed a sense of identity quickly.

    John Smith wiped away any squeamishness over the genocide and theft of land. (The UK’s record? Have…

    • In reply to #55 by Ergewirtz:

      In reply to #6 by phil rimmer:

      We are in the role of Historians here trying to explain an exceptional country. Blame is not the issue in any way. Understanding that Roman occupation left a legacy on the present day population of the British Isles, or the Doomsday Book or Magna Carta is to understand the progress of an evolutionary path. Cultures are conserved with surprising integrity as we know only too well on this site.

      Knowing the contributions of the past gives a clearer indication of what the “levers” for effecting change are. That religious zealots left the UK may also explain part of why they are less fundamentalist now.

      The lessons for the US are-

      Clean up politics

      Invest in kids by investing in their education.

      Work to reduce the inherent unfairness of the system. Reduce the fear at the bottom end of society.

      Work to remove religious privilege per the constitution.

      Demand higher standards of your media. Reduce monopolies. Charge the FCC with spending its efforts on pursuing accuracy and breadth of content and less on wardrobe malfunctions.

      Toughest of all, get people to trust their government and experts more. There are some awesome institutions.

      My son in wanting to get on an American literature course at University observed in a paper, “The US manufactures narratives in industrial quantities. It both makes them and is made by them.” It is some kind of dogma epicentre.

      The US is politically off to the right of Europe and sustained there by a curious dogma, a narrative that wants to establish high levels of personal freedom and an arms length treatment of other peoples’ problems. To tackle the problem of the parasitising religion rampant in the country they may need to change the story about what healthy societies are and how shared everyone’s problems actually are.

      • In reply to #57 by phil rimmer:

        In reply to #55 by Ergewirtz:
        It took me a little time to understand the meaning of your son’s quote. Now I realize it was hidden in plain sight.

        Yes the US government lies. So much so that Americans naturally assume they are lying pretty much as we asset the sun will rise tomorrow

        The ignorant don’t care that the politicians are lying and the educated read newspapers from Canada, UK etc. We know that the government telling the truth is as likely as the existence of God…
        Oh I see…

        In reply to #6 by phil rimmer:

        We are in the role of Historians here trying to explain an exceptional country. Blame is not the issue in any way. Understanding that Roman occupation left a legacy on the present day population of the British Isles, or the Doomsday Book…

        • In reply to #63 by Ergewirtz:

          In reply to #57 by phil rimmer:

          In reply to #55 by Ergewirtz:
          It took me a little time to understand the meaning of your son’s quote. Now I realize it was hidden in plain sight.

          Yes the US government lies.

          This was the opposite of my point. I said earlier-

          Toughest of all, get people to trust their government and experts more. There are some awesome institutions.

          It is your media who serve you worst. The dogma that government is innately corrupt, that it is in the nature of government to be corrupt, serves the media beautifully. Its the story that keeps on giving and is sure of an eager reception.

          I think Americans need to rediscover trust in the idea of governance. It started out so well.

          • In reply to #64 by phil rimmer:

            In reply to #63 by Ergewirtz:
            Thank you. A very refreshing (and correct) view from afar.

            You are correct that it is in direct opposition to the intent of the founding fathers. Their view was a country EVERYONE participates in (of the people, by the people, for the people) Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Paine were particularly anti religion but they were all deists.

            Activist Dr. Rev Martin Luther King Jr. was very much for the separation of church and state. He believed that the cooperation they each enjoy was a stronghold that allowed oppression of African Americans to endure leading everyone to suffer. He would be horrified to see how much stronger that cooperation has gotten with time.

            The Christian Right is merely prejudice being disguised as religion. The Ku Klux Klan always claimed their actions were for the cause of Christianity. Jerry Falwell a top leader in the Christian Right was a segregationist in the 1950′s, etc.

            But these extremes only dramatically illustrate the thoughts of the norm. I grew up hearing my father tell distasteful jokes about various groups. These jokes still make me ill 30+ years later.

            In reply to #57 by phil rimmer:

            In reply to #55 by Ergewirtz:
            It took me a little time to understand the meaning of your son’s quote. Now I realize it was hidden in plain sight.

            Yes the US government lies.

            This was the opposite of my point. I said earlier-

            Toughest…

  37. In reply to #58 by phil rimmer:

    In reply to #56 by Ergewirtz:

    In reply to #6 by phil rimmer:

    This entire country is not populated by Christians and some had to escape from things much more horrible than persecution from the English. Yes they did continue to practice Judaism in memory of 6 million murdered

    ??? Sorry, I don’t get…

    Point well taken. I suppose with so many postings stating how horrible we are it gives a persecution complex.

    Everything you said in your list of suggestions I agree with 100℅. Only a madman wouldn’t. Which brings us to the heart of the problem. Religion and madness rather go hand in hand. I would love to see our politicians cease allocating money to religious pursuits. I have written letters to my House Representative and Senators every time the Secular Coalition of America informs me of it.

    I very much hope that as time goes on an increase in the number of atheists will come out. It is believed there are more than believed even in the South. That is where much of the problem lies. Christian communities put tremendous pressure on those in their “flock” to attend church. These are also the states that typically offer vouchers for home schooling. This is money that could be used to improve public schools.

    I hope in time all Americans will see people as people rather than white people, black people, gay people, straight people, Christians,Jews, atheists, British people , American people,etc. Unfortunately we are not there yet. I fear currently God is the parent allowing his “kids” to act with great cruelty.

    Thanks for your input.

    Your friend across the pond,
    Erica

    • In reply to #60 by nycdave:
      Interesting perspective. You live in one of the most diverse cities in the world (I presume). It is also a city where you are safe as an atheist. While religion has become more powerful in recent years as the nation has become more ethnically diverse, big cities have become more secular (NY, Boston, Chicago, LA, even Atlanta sees more atheist organizations, I’ve even read Dallas and Houston are gaining in the atheist movement). Interestingly Miami has not seen the same level of acceptance. It is definitely an interesting inconsistency which should be studied.

      I believe the reason God and religion is so pervasive in America is because God/Religion is probably the strongest common denominator in America’s multi-cultural and multi-ethnic society.

  38. 1) “Free market” Christianity and the promise of Great Profits to come.

    2) Fear of “communism”.

    3) The likes of Joseph Smith, Ron Hubbard, Billy Graham and other superb snake oil salesmen.

    4 ) An under educated working class and an under educated ruling class.

    5) Latent belief in superstition of various “free market” kinds, whether it be crystal healing, Jesus, or Thetans.

    6) Fox News.

  39. I think Hitchens, had some clues about this when he mentioned the extreme religious that are created when religion itself is pushed more and more the outside of the forum of knowledge. As we understand more the need for religion to provide answers dwindles, so relying on faith takes a more extreme form each iteration. this is obviously not just a problem in the US, but the form it takes here is very peculiar.

    Just a few decades ago, the US was at the forefront of scientific research, education, and was much better at keeping the class structure under control. These are all things that have gotten out of control and helped the rise of this ‘religious ignorance as virtue’ ideal that is now so pervasive in our politics, media and social discussion. It makes an enemy of science and people that don’t outwardly proclaim that religion is right even when it is blatantly wrong. Worse, it is often not based on the actual ideas of a given religion, but using religion to embrace whatever prejudice one prefers and putting loads of money to misinforming the public on those ideas.

    This same ideal also perpetuates many of the same prejudices other countries left behind decades ago regarding color, class, sex and sexual orientation. People in positions of power are still in strong support of separating classes and races of people for just those arbitrary reasons.

    This is the worst part about it, it’s not that there are a group of people that see the bible as a light of guiding principles above science and everything else most often. It’s using religion as a tool to create an illusion that support the most inane of ideas for the sake of maintaining control. The delusional notions that rich is virtuous, poor is sin, minorities are evil and that kindness towards these things are awful are all ideas that could only thrive if you spend huge amounts of misinforming the public and dumbing down the dialogue about what is actually wrong which is the misinformation itself.

    The moment religion became successful in dominating the public dialogue on issues that in no way pertain to it (especially if the claims themselves are either invalid or downright false) the problem became systemic, in my view.

    • In reply to #65 by achromat666:
      Amen!
      As I just stated, when racial equality started to gain strength, it did not gain acceptance. Racism was “reborn” into religious intolerance. That intolerance came in the form of intolerance of scientific education, intolerance of accepting scientific fact which directly opposes religious belief, intolerance of people whose lives directly oppose the bible
      To sum it up intolerance for all who refuse to celebrate a time in human history when ignorance was not a choice it was all there was.

      As Dawkins wrote religion acts as a virus. During the Spanish inquisition the same was thought of heresy. As an educator in history, I find it disturbing to see this country going backward in time. Theodore Roosevelt was an open ateist and he was elected in 1904. Today that would be impossible.
      The media has done a great disservice in glorifying not one particular religion but god as a whole. Even our manner of speech includes god. How many times do we hear “thank god” upon someone’s near miss with disaster or even finding keys.

      I think Hitchens, had some clues about this when he mentioned the extreme religious that are created when religion itself is pushed more and more the outside of the forum of knowledge. As we understand more the need for religion to provide answers dwindles, so relying on faith takes a more extreme f…

  40. Because we are BIGGER than you puny, little European countries or little islands – all of which, when combined are still smaller than all of the US. All of UK is smaller than California or Texas. The point is, we are spread out far and wide so there are pockets all over the county. Comparing Texas to the Northwester US is night and day. Yes, the south is dominated by conservative Christians, but we have pockets in Atlanta, Savannah, and plenty of other areas. Yes, were I live, it is primarily secular, but Catholics dominate and there are pockets of wackjobs in Akron, and others who are “underground”throughout the city.

    We Americans also are driven by the media which can influence people into making “popular” or expected decisions around religion. If certain networks are driven by a conservative agenda, surely they will filter news through their lens.

    Personally, I think about half the population really doesn’t care about the God idea. Most keep silent because they don’t care or they don’t even know that they are deistic and not religious. The media gravitates to extremes and exposes those limited views to the world.

    • In reply to #68 by QuestioningKat:

      Because we are BIGGER than you puny, little European countries or little islands – all of which, when combined are still smaller than all of the US.

      LoL.

      Actually viewed that way there is little to distinguish the two. The USA is 98% of the area of Europe which is also composed of wildly different regions. Net net, though, the averages for self reported religiosity are curiously different on either side of the pond.

    • In reply to #68 by QuestioningKat:
      Have you ever lived in the “Bible Belt”. I have. Religion is everything. I certainly wouldn’t come out as an atheist there. In fact when I lived there I only considered myself agnostic. It was only when I moved to a rather secular area in the NE, I immediately realized my atheism. Your apparent lack of concern is very much part of the problem. Even if you are right ( which you might be considering the dense populations of more secular states- NJ MA RI NY DE), first of all they are still small states (except NY) and second of all you said the problem spot on THEY DON’T CARE thus giving religious fanatics an opportunity to be of extreme influence. As an American patriot I find your posting disturbing, to be charitable. In honesty I find it downright unpatriotic.

      BTW Europe is slightly larger than the US albeit about 35-40℅ of if is Russia. On the other hand, Alaska is bigger than CA, TX, and MT combined (about 20%) the size of the 48 contiguous states). UK is about the size of Oregon. What’s your point? I think you may have demonstrated some of the results of education trends in the US.

      Because we are BIGGER than you puny, little European countries or little islands – all of which, when combined are still smaller than all of the US. All of UK is smaller than California or Texas. The point is, we are spread out far and wide so there are pockets all over the county. Comparing Texas t…

    • In reply to #68 by QuestioningKat:
      I also urge you to remember that the “puny” island across the pond at one time controlled one-fourth of the world and the nation which currently occupies one-ninth of the worldworld (Russia) has very little power. Size far from matters. As an American I wish to learn from their example rather than throw meaningless remarks which are insulting likely only in your own mind; but do reveal what Americans consider important-power and military might rather than education, meaningful exchanges of ideas and most importantly that people are people whether British, American, Russian. Chinese, etc. Don’t be the big bully on the playground whose only asset is size.

      Because we are BIGGER than you puny, little European countries or little islands – all of which, when combined are still smaller than all of the US. All of UK is smaller than California or Texas. The point is, we are spread out far and wide so there are pockets all over the county. Comparing Texas t…

      • In reply to #72 by Ergewirtz:

        In reply to #68 by QuestioningKat:
        I also urge you to remember that the “puny” island across the pond at one time controlled one-fourth of the world and the nation which currently occupies one-ninth of the worldworld (Russia) has very little power. Size far from matters. As an American I wish to lea…

        OK, but this conversation is entirely irrelevant to my comment regarding the current size of the US and how some people want to view all Americans in the same light as the “deep South.” My comment has nothing to do with the historic past! I will chalk off your irate comment of grand standing to the need to argue on an atheist site and showcase some knowledge of history.

        Frankly, I’m sick of people slamming the US comparing their tiny geographic country to all of our country’s spread out population. Equal comparison is given to a population that is about five times larger than the UK. We have vastly different cultures spread out across the US; change and consistent views cannot be expected equally amongst all. Even you acknowledge the difference in living in the “Bible belt” as opposed to more secular areas. Some people read about extreme issues happening in Tennessee, Alabama, Kansas, Texas and then make comments lumping ALL Americans into one mix. “You Americans are so stupid.” “Americans are so gullible…” Specific comments that clarify the issue are rarely heard. “What’s happening in Houston is unacceptable.” or “I can’t believe that bill passed in Ohio without anyone noticing.” Why include ALL Americans? We need specificity. The problems in San Fransisco are greatly different from Buford SC. (Should I assume ALL of UK reflects attitudes I saw at Hyde Park’s Speaker’s Corner?) My point is that people do not realize that we are HUGE –expansive in geography which is perfect breeding grounds to develop a diverse culture which ultimately effects our education, social norms, male/female roles, beliefs… Why keep comparing apples to oranges?

        I’ve met people from the UK and they are astounded by the size of the country. They comment that they could not believe that their flight took so long. My “puny” comment related to the fact that a drive from about Sedona to Yellowstone is equivalent to the driving the entire length of the UK. Yes, I made a geographical error regarding the entire size of Europe compared to the US. I was visualizing western Europe without Russia – similar to this visual I found. I suspect some of you realized I did this. We generally don’t get many Russians here complaining about the US. I made a quick comment overlooking the Russians, my bad! I should have wrote, “We are geographically larger than all of Western Europe.” My apologies to my Russian relatives.

        meaningless remarks which are insulting likely only in your own mind; but do reveal what Americans consider important-power and military might rather than education, meaningful exchanges of ideas and most importantly that people are people

        Really, aren’t you getting a bit dramatic? You’ve made matters worse by projecting a whole bunch of assumptions just because you can… and then decided not to seek out clarification. You have made an assumption based upon your opinion of a few written words and expanded it to personally attack an unknown individual. You expanded my oversight of forgetting Russia as implications regarding my education while lumping me into a stereotype of Americans being power hungry and militant. You have taken my use of “puny” to mean something which is unintended. It seems that even Phil Rimmer got that “puny” was a joke!

        • In reply to #76 by QuestioningKat:

          In reply to #72 by Ergewirtz:
          Actually in earlier comments, I did mention the size and age difference of the US as opposed to Europe.I take it you did not read that since I did state Europe is slightly larger than the US. I also stated that to compare the problems of the US to that of European nations is unfair. How is that relevant to the stronghold that a group you have already stated is a minority has on the media, government and education system in the US?
          In reply to #68 by QuestioningKat:
          I also urge you to remember that the “puny” island across the pond at one time controlled one-fourth of the world and the nation which currently occupies one-ninth of the worldworld (Russia) has very little power. Size far from matter…

        • In reply to #76 by QuestioningKat:

          In reply to #72 by Ergewirtz:

          It seems that even Phil Rimmer got that “puny” was a joke!

          He did and thought it a perfect way to express exasperation, softened with some tongue in cheek….

          I often don’t grok what is in people’s heads and I’m grateful to all who say what they are feeling as well as what they are thinking.

    • In reply to #68 by QuestioningKat:
      After giving the issue some thought I believe the answer lies in a combination of many issues brought up.

      I think it began with Manifest Destiny. The newly established Americans after defeating Britain again (War of 1812) came to believe it was their God given right to extend from coast to coast.

      The Louisiana Purchase enabled this. Done under the Presidency of Thomas Jefferson (who himself questioned the constitutionality), we kicked the British out for good, moved the Native Americans to the most inhospitable parts of the country, made a whole independent country into a US state (Texas), fought Mexico for California and realized Manifest Destiny.

      Slavery was escalated and slaves were indoctrinated with Christianity. Their African practices were prohibited.

      The North kicked off the Industrial Revolution. This in and of itself made North and South cultures very different (a difference which greatly intrigued Karl Marx who saw the South as evidence of his class struggle theory. Slaves=serfs white masters=noblemen). The revolution in Marx’s opinion came in the form of the American Civil War.

      After the North won the Civil War the displaced slaves were forced to become sharecroppers and for more than a century were forced to be oppressed.

      Meanwhile the North was advancing at an exponential rate (particularly the Northeast)

      The difference in lifestyles caused differences in what was believed to be important. Northerners were prejudiced but did not believe it was their God given right to oppress. Why bother? Poverty for the most part was doing the job for them.

      Southerners believed “God” made white people superior and black people to serve. This misconception took many forms. The KKK, “separate but equal” (which was anything but), different units in the armed forces, denying jobs to black people who were otherwise qualified, calling them ” colored, negro and worse, the right to inflict terrible violence, and the list goes on. And all of this was their “God given right” for the privilege of having been born white. This is one of the reasons Dr. Rev Martin Luther King Jr stressed the importance of separating church and state.

      After Civil Rights laws were passed robbing these God designated superior whites of this great privilege other ways were sought to exercise their “God given” right. This took the ugly form of the Christian Right

      This is also how racism and the Christian Right became inextricably linked.

      So more specifically than size I believe it is the dramatically different climates and terrains, the violence used to obtain the land, the natural resources of the US and most importantly the ugly history of racism, violence and the inextricable link between racism and religion

      Because we are BIGGER than you puny, little European countries or little islands – all of which, when combined are still smaller than all of the US. All of UK is smaller than California or Texas. The point is, we are spread out far and wide so there are pockets all over the county. Comparing Texas t…

  41. Americans love fiction, especially fairy tales, tall tales, legends, myths, etc. I dare say we may be the only nation to celebrate ghosts and supernatural phenomena with television shows dedicated to such. I think historian Ray Arsenault is spot on when he observed that Americans prefer “mythic conceptions of what they think happened.” Americans desperately want to believe that the Bible is the Word of God, so they accept without question that the mythology contained therein is history.

  42. In reply to #66 by Marktony:

    Denmark in World War II.
    (http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rescue_of_the_Danish_Jews)
    I apologize I’m not sure how to create link but Denmark was remarkable
    In 2003, in a
    speech for the 60th anniversary of the end of the 1940–43 collaborationist government, Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen said that Denmark’s cooperation with Nazis was “morally unjustifiable”, which was the first public condemnation of the World War II era…

    • To add links you put the name in square brackets, eg:

      [NICHOLAS WINTON AND THE RESCUE OF CHILDREN FROM CZECHOSLOVAKIA, 1938–1939]

      immediately followed by the link in round brackets, eg:

      (http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10007780)

      With no spaces between the closing square bracket and the opening round bracket.

      I put them on separate lines above for clarity. Here is the link.

      Your post:

      The only nations not sharing in this genocide is Denmark and Sweden whom actively took measures to prevent it The UK, US and rest of the Western world is guilty through inaction enabled the most massive genocide in all history.

      seems biased.

      In reply to #74 by Ergewirtz:

      In reply to #66 by Marktony:

      Denmark in World War II.
      [Wikipedia] (http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/RescueoftheDanishJews)
      In 2003, in a speech for the 60th anniversary of the end of the 1940–43 collaborationist government, Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen said that Denmark’s cooperation with Naz…

      • In reply to #75 by Marktony:

        To add links you put the name in square brackets, eg:
        thank you. In what sense are they biased? I am American
        I didn’t say we behaved better- worse in fact since we didn’t enter the war until bombed. I take it you are British. I didn’t say America was any better. In 1938 America Britain and France convened to discuss allowing Jews to emigrate there. They all agreed to keep things status quo and kept it that way until 1945. I am not Danish or know anyone Danish. I don’t get it.
        [NICHOLAS WINTON AND THE RESCUE OF CHILDREN FROM CZECHOSLOVAKIA, 1938–1939]
        I read your link- interesting, I honestly did not previously know of him. I do stand by my previous statement but I don’t think the statement Hitler was not alone is some new revelation. I am also aware of the British army’s horror upon the liberation of Auschwitz. Why don’t we just settle it with it was a dark period in human history that we can only hope to learn from.
        immediately followed by the link in round brackets, eg:

        (http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10007780)

        With no spaces between the closing square bracket…

  43. In reply to #76 by QuestioningKat:

    In reply to #72 by Ergewirtz:
    I do agree that when people think of Americans they think about the Bible thumping south. I live in MA. With the exception of VT is there a more liberal state? Furthermore MA despite it being “puny” has more representation in the electoral college than the generously sized GA. However it doesn’t answer the question of why God is so pervasive in America. I have often thought the US is following a similar path as the Roman Empire– too big with too many different ethnic groups with differing interests.
    Ok I apologize for getting distracted on the last posting. How does the obvious size difference with a minority of religious fanatics, who are contained to states with small populations (except TX and FL FL definitely being a swing state) exert so much influence on policy, media education etc including foreign perception in America? Your comments seem to confirm apathy in the US.

    By the way- adorable cat pic

    In reply to #68 by QuestioningKat:
    I also urge you to remember that the “puny” island across the pond at one time controlled one-fourth of the world and the nation which currently occupies one-ninth of the worldworld (Russia) has very little power. Size far from matter…

  44. Furthermore MA despite it being “puny” has more representation in the electoral college than the generously sized GA

    Really? I googled this and supposedly MA’s population/electoral votes is 6.646 mil/11 while Georgia is 9.92 mil/16. Did I misunderstand you somehow?

    Size far from matters.

    Admittedly this is my opinion. But my opinion is based on some facts….It matters because people are spread out more. Cities and highly dense areas are good places for atheists, gay people, or anyone with differing ideas. Cities are more progressive and tend to have institutions of higher learning, colleges, museums…They also attract educated, young professional who are open minded about exploring new ideas. Yes, there are pockets but these groups are not in power. If they are, the city is surely on the down trend or has a massive “underground” It is my opinion that relative closeness leads to being influenced by diverse or new views.

    Have you ever driven out West? You could drive for miles and miles for hours and maybe see a couple of houses. It makes you wonder how they survive out in the middle of nowhere. Rural towns and desolate part of the US are mostly theistic. They are not diverse. One city center is located far away from other city centers compared to WESTERN Europe. Ideas are contagious in compact areas where people can be impersonal with contact from others. Small communities fester certain ideas in isolation. It is these types of areas in which the God virus is free to roam without any antibodies. People feel a sense of oneness and community by sharing their views.

    Wikipedia “84 percent of the United States’ inhabitants live in suburban and urban areas,[3] but cities occupy only 10 percent of the country. Rural areas occupy the remaining 90 percent” Another source (CNN) commented that 50% of the population is living in the suburbs.

    Suburbs are not gardens for alternative thinking. Like rural areas out West, they are not diverse.( Many people don’t even know their neighbors. “He was a quiet man, no clue that he killed all those women.” Another neighbor could be a famous artist and most may not even know it.) There is less interaction between neighbors. Less spreading of ideas. Add in rural areas (10%) and a percentage of city dwellers (say half who still have connections outside the city- maybe 20%) and you have a majority of people ISOLATED from certain secular topics, diverse views, various cultures… physical and psychologically even intellectually.

    How does the obvious size difference with a minority of religious fanatics, who are contained to states with small populations (except TX and FL FL definitely being a swing state) exert so much influence on policy, media education etc including foreign perception in America? Your comments seem to confirm apathy in the US.

    I personally think it all started changing during the Reagan years. Conservative and theistic views finally had a platform of power. Evangelists in the media jumped into this spotlight. Like-minded individuals were financially supportive. They paved the way for acceptance of conservative views that were disguised as “apple pie and country music.” Before the Reagan years, it was unacceptable to thank God publicly. Any Miss America contestant who thanked God seemed to have quickly gotten the boot. We seemed to be progressing before this era or at least the decline became more noticeable.

    I’m 50 (so I only have about 18 years of life before those years,) but I recall a shift in the late seventies accepting what I call “lessening of quality.” Everything started getting cheaper. Products were made faster and less expensively. Quality and durability were no longer priorities. New buildings and homes had less detailing even less windows. Craftsmanship hit a low. Yes this started after WWII but even homes before the 70s were built sturdy. I think cheapening also reflected a dumbing down of our culture.

    The news media is worded for an elementary aged child, but intended for adults. Our expectations as a country became lower. We got fatter ( wanting our food processed) and lazier. We settled for plasma TVs, and stereos. We started to accept our information – spoon fed as long we could come home and veg out on the couch.

    What’s changing this? The internet. The newer generation is taking advance of certain infrastructures and technologies that were established by their proceeding generations by building upon it. They are finding ways to connect through social media that was impossible twenty years earlier. I can “travel” anywhere in the world and find out what’s going on. Technology is shrinking the world. A hundred years ago, you needed to take a ship across the ocean and send telegraphs. With air travel, we became exposed to new cultures, information, techniques… That exposure is happening at lightning speed today. Soon distance and size will become irrelevant. (Perhaps after a couple more generations.)

    Consider the latest news: 58% of Milennials are absolutely certain of God

    • In reply to #80 by QuestioningKat:
      You have made some excellent points. In the South the community is the church. The children all go to the same Sunday School for religious training, the members of the community all attend the same church. If someone misses church everyone knows. I grew up in Bklyn NY. In the brief time I spent living in Grovetown GA I kept wondering when the mother ship would arrive. I was there as a military wife so at least I knew it wasn’t permanent but it was enough.

      Suburbs are also more isolated than cities but there is some level of diversity. I rather suppose it depends on the city the suburb is near. Long Island. ( NY) is quite diverse. So is Pembroke Pines FL, a suburb of Ft Lauderdale/ Miami. People have diverse lives and as you pointed out you barely know your neighbor other than to wave as he washes his car and you go off to the store. While there is little sharing of ideas there is also no obligation to show up for religious worship.

      Cities have mostly good points but some bad. Like anything else it depends on the city and the individual. Cities have much more to offer education wise. Here I am a stones throw from some of the most prestigious universities in the country and indeed the world. Museums are in abundance. The BSO is considered one of the country’s top orchestras. But Boston is unusually secular for an American city. New York has experienced much violence in the name of race and religion with a large community of Hassidic Jews and constantly are both victims of and initiators of violence. It becomes a vicious cycle. New York is an extremely diverse city that has seen its share of violence for it.
      Atlanta’s secular portion is growing but its still relatively new. Atlanta has 2 of the world’s largest corporations – Delta and Coca Cola. I believe UPS is also there. It is also not far from Emory University. Houston and Dallas only just started some atheist organizations. I dp not claim to knowvmuch about TX but the ethnic make up does seem to be shifting. Miami is different than other Southern cities in that South Florida attracts northern transplants as well as Cubans. I doubt Memphis TN or Birmingham/Montgomery AL are doing as well. I am not sure about New Orleans. I seem to recall about a year and a half ago some news article about the arrest of Christians for speaking out.

      All things being equal cities are less conducive to religion but they can also be conducive to violence.

      I was a child when Ronald Reagan was elected. However I can see where religion escalated and went into overdrive thereafter. Perhaps bringing down the “evil empire” served as the vindication of religion. Perhaps it had been in the works before that and was only just becoming obvious.

      Furthermore MA despite it being “puny” has more representation in the electoral college than the generously sized GA

      Really? I googled this and supposedly MA’s population/electoral votes is 6.646 mil/11 while Georgia is 9.92 mil/16. Did I misunderstand you somehow?
      Touche. Though considering the size difference…
      Size far from matters.

      Admitted…

  45. I wouldn’t say the same isn’t true in some other countries. The government tells people in the US they have the right to free speech, but that doesn’t include the right to access the truth or a good education. Even the info that appears in the history books is controlled by politics. Transparency and truth are the enemy to those in power. The more religious a person is, the more gullible and easily persuaded they are. There’s a reason they’re called a ‘flock of sheep’. There is great comfort gained from being with other sheep, especially if times are bad and there is continual uncertainty and fear mongering.

    • In reply to #83 by twocents:
      Very true. All mediums of reliable information are controlled including newspapers, television, radio. It is done under the umbrella of “security”. As far as books go you may want to check out a book entitled “Lies My Teacher Told Me”. Quite Disturbing.

      I wouldn’t say the same isn’t true in some other countries. The government tells people in the US they have the right to free speech, but that doesn’t include the right to access the truth or a good education. Even the info that appears in the history books is controlled by politics. Transparency an…

  46. God is portrayed as a benevolent yet nasty sod if not respected!
    Fear of God the Sod, is inculcated via the Holey Babble ; his/her/ its promotion exempt from tax!
    RD et al. are convincing more and more people to dump the very silly nonsense called religions.
    Hopefully God,Allah and the now unfashionable deities like Zeus ,Odin ,will all become a piece of mythology!

  47. Why is god so pervasive in the United States versus other countries?

    Because Americans are generally highly insecure people with a deep fear of failure. With the god delusion on their side, believers think they will always be ‘winners’ in the end.

  48. Because the First Amendment has granted us each the freedom to make up our own religion, and the freedom to change it. We don’t turn to reason if our birth church seems whacked – we just change to another whose rocks better fit the holes in our head. And there are so many it’s created a forest of nonsense almost biologically resilient. We can’t oppose ‘The Church’ – we have to oppose faith itself, which greatly reduces those willing to admit they doubt.

  49. I think this goes back a long way…people came to this country to avoid religious persecution…but many had deep religious convictions that have been passed down. The “sense of community” often gets blurred with religious affiliation, especially in rural areas. In the south, one of the first questions often asked is what church do you belong to. There is enormous pressure to associate..once you do the dogma begins to work… Older adults do not attend school but weekly they get “taught” in church. I have a huge confidence in our new generation to begin to change this cycle. Free thought is a powerful force…in a free society…in the end it wins.

  50. In reply to #45 by Ergewirtz:

    as we see from the Tea Party Movement hatred is always there and the election of an African American president brings it out

    The Tea Party formed as a grass roots fiscal policy political movement opposed to government spending and taxes. To the extent that there is a central organization to the Tea Party, it explicitly avoids contentious social issues in order to promote it’s views on fiscal policy and adherence to the constitution. The formation of the Tea Party has nothing to do with the color of the president’s skin. Some Tea Party groups have taken up social issues, such as abortion, 2nd amendment rights, and issues of the Christian right, but those fringe groups stray from the central issues of the movement. There has been a largely successful campaign by both Republicans and Democrats to falsely paint the Tea Party as a bigoted Christian right movement.

    I suppose this touches on the topic here. Religion has become a polarizing issue in American politics. Single-issue voters seem much more likely when the issue has religious connections. That tendency has made religion a powerful rallying cry. Unfortunately, politics is largely a contest of controlling people who don’t take the time to inform themselves. Note that this is not particular to the US. There are voting blocs of poorly informed voters in Europe with easily manipulated knee-jerk voting tendencies, its just that in Europe it tends to be other social issues that drive elections.

    I get a kick out of the people in this comment section that want to blame the popularity of religion in the US on Americans being dumber, greedier, more gullible, more superficial, etc. without offering any evidence to support their claim. In fact after reading all of the posts so far on this topic, I’m sorry to say that, with a few exceptions, critical thinking is no more evident here than in the arguments of creationists. Both are based on an unjustified belief in superior knowledge.

    One thing that a few people have mentioned that mirrors my anecdotal personal experience is the societal pressure against publicly acknowledging you’re an atheist. It seems that the stigma against being an atheist has lessened over the years, in part I’m certain to the efforts of Richard Dawkins, for which I’m grateful.

    • In reply to #93 by dougbell:

      The Tea Party formed as a grass roots fiscal policy political movement opposed to government spending and taxes.

      That is the propaganda not the reality. The Tea Party movement was and is an astro turf (pretending to be grass roots but really funded by corporate backers) movement from the beginning. Their rhetoric was about spending and taxes but if you look at the war, war, and more war policies supported by the people they back its an absurd claim. You can’t claim to be a fiscal conservative and say you want to go to war and pay for it by borrowing money from China. And of all the recent US presidents the ones who have hugely increased the US debt were the ones the tea party types liked: Bush II and Reagan and the ones who have drastically shrunk the deficit and the growth of government were the tea party bogey men: Clinton and Obama.

      • In reply to #97 by Red Dog:

        The Tea Party movement was and is an astro turf (pretending to be grass roots but really funded by corporate backers…

        Well, we’ll have to agree to disagree since this isn’t the proper forum to debate who is being misled by propaganda. You’ve done a good job of regurgitating some of it and I’ll leave it at that.

        • In reply to #102 by dougbell:

          In reply to #97 by Red Dog:

          The Tea Party movement was and is an astro turf (pretending to be grass roots but really funded by corporate backers…

          Well, we’ll have to agree to disagree since this isn’t the proper forum to debate who is being misled by propaganda. You’ve done a good job of regurgitating some of it and I’ll leave it at that.

          Actually, I think this is an excellent forum to debate who is being misled by propaganda and it is clearly anyone who watches Fox News and thinks that it’s something other than entertainment. And it’s not propaganda to say that the Tea Party was and is primarily funded by corporate backers. It’s simply a documented fact.

          And it’s a documented fact that deficits went way up under Bush and Reagan and went down under Clinton and Obama so that any claims by the Tea Party to actually care about budget deficits while they support the policies of Bush and Reagan is also clearly a lie.

          For me this has little to do with concepts like right or left. I think the American left is tragically inept at times and I like free enterprise and the free market a lot. But I also like things such as science and reason and it’s clear to any honest intelligent person that the tea party people have little of either.

  51. This is based upon my observation. The difference in religiosity in the United States may be explained by observing the effects of Supply and Demand since the founding to Europe. In 1776 the colonies of the current United States were by and large much less religious than their European Counterparts.
    The Founders distrusters two things; standing armies and organized religion, and above all else religions controlling standing armies. Thus, the founders passed the First Amendment based upon the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom to ensure free thought. This shut the churches off from public endorsement from the state but forced them to enter the free market of ideas. Church now had to compete against other churches to gain adherents/customers. The same way that Nike must compete in sneaker sales against Puma and Reebok, This occurred at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution when companies were first learning how to market themselves in the Capitalist world. By the time of the civil war the Religious had caught up to business. They began to sell salvation and guilt and market themselves as social centers were agrarian peoples would social network for business and dating on the weekend. This is particularly seen throughout the south and Midwest which lacked the influence of the beauracracy of the Roman Catholic Church. The y lobbied for tax exempt status and then instituted themselves in the Progressive movements of the time and fought segregation every step of the way. On the other side of segregation black leaders used the church as standard gathering point for local black communities to organize for the civil rights movement.
    After WW2 the united States was facing the USSR which is openly hostile towards organized religion. This allowed religious leaders to capitalize against a so called atheist threat. They were even able to force Dwight Eisenhower, a man who had not attended church in over 40 years to change the motto to “In God We Trust.” In the 1960s-1980s the church gained large amounts of right wing power in a coalition to push against the left which was becoming associated with issues they did not like such as homosexuality and rights for women. This required them to double down on their marketing and embrace television, radio, and other media. Politicized evangelicals have become the largest group. These groups/businesses also seek to dismantle the social system. This allows them to push the most vulnerable to church run programs that they can use to claim moral superiority over others and prey upon the minds of the most vulnerable.

    Contrast this with Europe were as much as people may not believe they first and foremost despise the church. The churches long since addicted to a state welfare system to fund them have been left completely unable to adapt to the business mindset of American CEOS (I mean Pastors). Combined with a strong social welfare program the church is left useless and unable to justify its existence and surviving by a state handout.

    • In reply to #94 by BenHydro:

      This is based upon my observation. The difference in religiosity in the United States may be explained by observing the effects of Supply and Demand since the founding to Europe. In 1776 the colonies of the current United States were by and large much less religious than their European Counterparts….

      Apologies for the spelling and grammar errors. Also apologies for the endless paragraph. I had intended for 4 paragraphs but they seem to have merged when posted.

    • In reply to #94 by BenHydro:

      In 1776 the colonies of the current United States were by and large much less religious than their European Counterparts.

      That is false. On average the American colonists of that time were more religious than their relatives in Europe. The colonies were a mecca for those who were on the fringes of society and many of the original colonists (e.g. the pilgrims) came to the new world because their beliefs were so strong and so contrary to the norm that it caused trouble for them in Europe.

      The thing that is confusing is that among those outcasts there were also a small but highly influential group of men who were products of the enlightenment. It was those people (Jefferson, Franklin, Madison, Paine, etc.) who were not religious and it was those people who drove the revolution. So it is correct to say that the US was founded as a secular state and that such a state was highly revolutionary at the time. But it is also wrong to say that the average American was not religious. The average was more religious and one of the reasons secularism made so much sense even for them is that they (the religious colonists) realized that there were so many divergent and strongly held faiths in the new world that to try and base a government on any one of them would have been a disaster.

      • In reply to #96 by Red Dog:

        In reply to #94 by BenHydro:

        In 1776 the colonies of the current United States were by and large much less religious than their European Counterparts.

        That is false. On average the American colonists of that time were more religious than their relatives in Europe. The colonies were a mecca for tho…

        The Pilgrims were not the founders of the United States nor did they exist in 1776. They were also only in one colony. New England was quite religious in its founding but the southern and mid atlantic colonies were certainly not and were largely founded to develop ports, develop agriculture and make money. It was in the southern state of Virginia that George Mason’s Virginia Constitution took hold and Declaration of Religious freedom took hold. The fringes of society also included extremely independent people who wanted to get rich, seek adventure, or did not fit in. Guess what these people were much less religious and much less trusting of conforming to organized systems than the conservative European society that was largely made up of people living in the same village their ancestors did 1000 years ago..

        • In reply to #98 by BenHydro:

          The Pilgrims were not the founders of the United States nor did they exist in 1776

          Both true — well actually I don’t know about the Pilgrims I would think there were plenty of them still around in 1776 — but both irrelevant to my point. The descendants of the Pilgrims, regardless of what they were calling themselves, were still very much around and the history is clear, the average American colonist and the average American citizen of the new nation were more not less religious than the people in Europe of the time. Contrary to what you said in your earlier comment.

          • In reply to #99 by Red Dog:

            In reply to #98 by BenHydro:

            The Pilgrims were not the founders of the United States nor did they exist in 1776

            Both true — well actually I don’t know about the Pilgrims I would think there were plenty of them still around in 1776 — but both irrelevant to my point. The descendants of the Pilgrim…

            I request evidence of this.as it is routinely repeated by the religious when they claim “Founded as a Christian nation by Christians.” The founders though were deists. The pilgrims were a few boats in only one colony and hardly representative of 13 colonies that were very diverse. I have never been provided any evidence that American colonists were more religious than Europeans. I would be interested in seeing this. It was not until the “Great Awakening in the 19th century that America became more religious.

          • In reply to #100 by BenHydro:

            I request evidence of this.as it is routinely repeated by the religious when they claim “Founded as a Christian nation by Christians.” The founders though were deists. The pilgrims were a few boats in only one colony and hardly representative of 13 colonies that were very diverse. I have never been provided any evidence that American colonists were more religious than Europeans. I would be interested in seeing this. It was not until the “Great Awakening in the 19th century that America became more religious.

            It’s stated in just about any history of the US colonies. Here is a good overview from Wikipedia:

            “Many of the British North American colonies that eventually formed the United States of America were settled in the 17th century by men and women, who, in the face of European religious persecution, refused to compromise passionately held religious convictions and fled Europe.

            The Middle Atlantic colonies of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Maryland, were conceived and established “as plantations of religion.” Some settlers who arrived in these areas came for secular motives—”to catch fish” as one New Englander put it—but the great majority left Europe to worship in the way they believed to be correct. They supported the efforts of their leaders to create “a City upon a Hill” or a “holy experiment,” whose success would prove that God’s plan could be successfully realized in the American wilderness. Even colonies like Virginia, which were planned as commercial ventures, were led by entrepreneurs who considered themselves Protestants and who worked diligently to promote the prosperity of the church.”

            The source for that is listed as Patricia U. Bonomi, Under the Cope of Heaven: Religion, Society, and Politics in Colonial America (1988)

            I realize that the founders weren’t religious and were mostly deists and I agree with you that it’s nonsense to say the US was founded as a religious nation. In fact I think most people these days don’t appreciate how truly revolutionary the idea that you could have a state that wasn’t tied to a religion really was at that time. But I also like to read about American history and I’ve never come across any writer, even major revisionists such as Howard Zinn or Michael Parenti who delight in overthrowing right wing myths, that contradict what I said about early Americans being religious.

          • You are absolutely correct. George Washington himself said “The United States is in no sense founded upon the Christian Doctrine.” Article XI Treaty of Tripoli
            In reply to #100 by BenHydro:

            In reply to #99 by Red Dog:

            In reply to #98 by BenHydro:

            The Pilgrims were not the founders of the United States nor did they exist in 1776

            Both true — well actually I don’t know about the Pilgrims I would think there were plenty of them still around in 1776 — but both irrelevant to my point. T…

  52. Because Americans are so arrogant whilst having little world knowledge – oh yeah and they think they are bigger and better than the rest of the world and also that they worship the all consuming dollar god at the temple of religion and ‘pushy’ power… at the expense of humanity and nature and act like the world’s mafia…while ‘pretending’ to act like the worlds policing peacemakers – bloody hypocrites…(The wealthy elite minority that is) !!! – God bless America ! – An imaginary concept gives ‘special preference’ to a self righteous created identity !

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