More Americans Choose Reason Over Religion

posted by Nima

December 24, 2009 · Posted in Philosophy 

From a recent gallup poll:

This Christmas season, 78% of Americans identify with some form of Christian religion, a proportion that has been declining in recent decades. The major reason for this decline has been an increase in the percentage of Americans claiming no religious identity, now at 13% of all adults.

What Is Your Religious Preference? 1948-2009 Trend

… I might be naive of course. Just because more Americans abdicate from fairy tales of talking snakes, virgin births, or a Jewish zombie sent to earth by his father who was really himself, doesn’t mean they are not choosing some other blind ideologies, such as socialism, belief in government, etc.

In the long run, reason will prevail. But the long run is, by definition, long …

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7 Responses to “More Americans Choose Reason Over Religion”

  1. Mike on January 6th, 2010 7:20 pm

    I will not be one of the people who chooses reason in place of God… I choose both. So did Einstein. Or do you believe you have more reasoning capabilities than Einstein for his belief in God? Or do you have more scientific knowledge and evidence than Einstein to prove that God isn’t real?

    Einstein: “I’m not an atheist and I don’t think I can call myself a pantheist. We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many different languages. The child knows someone must have written those books. It does not know how. The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the arrangement of the books but doesn’t know what it is. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of even the most intelligent human being toward God”

    Also which one of the 54 Christian men of the 56 signers of our Declaration of Independence is without reason? The other 2 were Unitarian and also had some form of belief in God…

  2. Mike on January 6th, 2010 7:29 pm

    By the way… let me remind you that your man Ron Paul has confessed his own faith in Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Saviour… How can he be the voice of reason to you when he obviously lacks reasoning ability for his Christian faith. Sounds like a double standard to me to respect him only for his economic prowess and say you don’t care about his religious stance. You obviously do care about it when you continue to write more and more about it.

  3. Nima on January 7th, 2010 3:05 am

    Hi Mike,

    thanks much for sharing your views with me again. Please find my comments below:

    “I will not be one of the people who chooses reason in place of God… I choose both. So did Einstein. Or do you believe you have more reasoning capabilities than Einstein for his belief in God? Or do you have more scientific knowledge and evidence than Einstein to prove that God isn’t real?”

    NM: It is perfectly fine for you to “choose both”. I have nothing against that per se as long as you are in your heart clear on what you actually mean by that. As far as I’m concerned I simply don’t understand how this is possible. I believe we are starting from differing assumptions on what reason means. Reason is applying that which is logical and empirically proven to our world around us. Obviously neither of the two apply to religion. It is not my task to prove God isn’t real. That would imply that somebody has already proven beyond reasonable doubt that he is real. Anyone who proposes an unproven theory is free to prove his theory. God may show up tonight before I go to sleep. That would be pretty strong evidence right before my eyes that he is real. Until then, I will be waiting for Christians to simply prove their thesis to me. That’s all. I am not expecting more from others than they expect from me.

    “Einstein: “I’m not an atheist and I don’t think I can call myself a pantheist. We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many different languages. The child knows someone must have written those books. It does not know how. The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the arrangement of the books but doesn’t know what it is. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of even the most intelligent human being toward God””

    NM: I think Einstein’s contributions to science are vast. But that doesn’t mean that I will accept as true every single thing he says!! Since you seem very keen on bringing up Einstein quotes, here are a few more for you:

    –The word god is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honourable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this.–

    –It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it.–

    “Also which one of the 54 Christian men of the 56 signers of our Declaration of Independence is without reason? The other 2 were Unitarian and also had some form of belief in God…”

    NM: The answer is simple: I don’t know whether or not they were with reason when it came to their true opinions regarding a higher immaterial power. Just because they affiliate with some label, doesn’t mean their views are commensurate. But let’s say they were. Then in regards to this question, yes, they were being completely unreasonable. This doesn’t mean they didn’t apply reason in other fields …

  4. Nima on January 7th, 2010 3:07 am

    “By the way… let me remind you that your man Ron Paul has confessed his own faith in Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Saviour… How can he be the voice of reason to you when he obviously lacks reasoning ability for his Christian faith. Sounds like a double standard to me to respect him only for his economic prowess and say you don’t care about his religious stance. You obviously do care about it when you continue to write more and more about it.”

    NM: I’m not sure what you mean by “my man” Ron Paul, but you really don’t need to remind me of what you already brought up and what I have already known for a while. I don’t apply any double standards. I am saying that I agree with his economic views, and I don’t agree with his religious ones. How is this a double standard? It is the opposite. I only have one standard: reason.

  5. Mike on January 10th, 2010 5:28 pm

    Ron Paul… well you did write the article about Ron Paul titled “the voice of reason” correct?
    It appears that his economic principles are aligned with the Austrian School of Economics theories which you appear to also hold in high regard (based on your preferred reading list you had mentioned). My point is this: you hold in high regard a man who has declared Jesus Christ as his Lord and Saviour. To commend him for his economic stance which aligns with yours and then turn and bash Christianity (when he has declared himself to be a Christian).. this doesn’t seem the least bit concerning to you? Commending him for his economic “reasoning” and then inadvertently bashing him for his “lack of reasoning” regarding his Christian faith. It’s one thing to just disagree with him and not believe Christianity… it’s something entirely different to be this vocal about dogmatic about your opinion that believing what the bible says is akin to lunacy and a lack of reasoning.

    If you are this opinionated, then surely you must have a very firm grasp on where the human race came from along with solid proof of this… the same solid proof that you wish someone to show you that Jesus was born from a virgin.

    Einstein was not a Christian man… I mentioned this in a previous post. He also didn’t claim to be a biblical scholar either. What he did spend his time doing was incredibly intellectual scientific research…. lots of research to conclude that he had enough proof in his mind to determine that a Creator had to arrange the universe because the order of all that he observed could not have come from some random cosmic accident. The fact that he was not out to prove the existence of God, support Biblical claims, etc. only enhances the fact that he was a more objective observer of facts. Not a Christian man trying to prove Christian theories where you would then most likely believe him to be biased and nonobjective.

    What proof do you have and firmly believe in to refute the existence of God? Is this enough evidence to be able to refute the conclusion that Einstein made about the order of the universe? If you think Einstein’s conclusions that a Creator arranged the world as we know it were false… well where’s your proof to refute him?

    Like I told you before… I was a dogmatic atheist who didn’t care what Christians had to say and in fact used to become quite angry when I heard Christians saying things like “Praise the Lord!” or “Praise Jesus!”. I didn’t care what Christians had to say because it was all lunacy which didn’t line up with my philosophical beliefs about life as well. But the day that I actually asked God an honest verbal question: “God who are you?” and sincerely wanted to know if He was real… was the day He answered me… and I said goodbye to atheism. What harm is there for you to ask Him the same question? Are you afraid of the answer you might get in return and what that means? Jesus Christ is a patient and loving God… and I thank Him with all my heart for waiting patiently for this atheistic dogmatic man to ask, not demand, and answer my sincere question.

    I can share one of a few miraculous events in my life that occurred shortly after I asked that question of God… but I will not share it unless you care to hear about it.

    You are in my prayers Nima…. a fellow former dogmatic atheist.

  6. Nima on January 10th, 2010 7:41 pm

    @Mike: It seems to me like we are running in circles:

    Let me state a few things that I hope you can keep in mind whenever you write something:

    - I agree with Ron Paul on Economics, I disagree with him on Religion, I have never said anything to the contrary, I still think he is a great man for speaking the truth about economics and government, and opening up many people’s minds to the idea; that’s my opinion about him, nothing more and nothing less; and no, this is not in the slightest concerning to me, quite the opposite, this is the only consistent position I could possible have about him

    - What proof do I have to prove God doesn’t exist? I find this question kind of funny! It is not on me to prove God doesn’t exist! Just as I haven’t seen the Spaghetti monster, Allah, the big Joon Joon behind the hill, Zeus, Solon, Appollon, Hera, or any of the thousands of Gods that one or the other cult worships right now or has worshiped in the past! The burden of proof is on the people proposing the hypothesis that God exists, not on me who is simply waiting for the proof! If refuting a concept’s existence in realty always required actively proving that it doesn’t exist, then what in the world could possibly NOT EXIST? Nothing, because by that logic, everything someone somewhere claims to be existent would exist just by virtue of the fact that he said so. If you lived by that maxime, you couldn’t even leave your house if I now declared that it is surrounded by fire spitting goblins who kill every human on sight!

    - I think you mentioned a couple of times now that you used to be an atheist. I get it and there is no need to repeat it. Nor does it in any way solidify your argument.

    - OK, I just asked “God who are you?” – I’ll let you know once He replies.

    I just wrote a post on concepts vs. reality, trying as diligently and patiently as possible to point out where I am coming from:
    http://www.economicsjunkie.com/reality-concepts-the-state-and-god/

  7. Mike on January 10th, 2010 8:36 pm

    “- What proof do I have to prove God doesn’t exist? I find this question kind of funny! It is not on me to prove God doesn’t exist! Just as I haven’t seen the Spaghetti monster, Allah, the big Joon Joon behind the hill, Zeus, Solon, Appollon, Hera, or any of the thousands of Gods that one or the other cult worships right now or has worshiped in the past! The burden of proof is on the people proposing the hypothesis that God exists, not on me who is simply waiting for the proof! If refuting a concept’s existence in realty always required actively proving that it doesn’t exist, then what in the world could possibly NOT EXIST? Nothing, because by that logic, everything someone somewhere claims to be existent would exist just by virtue of the fact that he said so. If you lived by that maxime, you couldn’t even leave your house if I now declared that it is surrounded by fire spitting goblins who kill every human on sight!”

    Where did humans come from is a basic question…. and in my opinion a question that demands an answer if you wish to openly talk about how irrational it is to believe in God. I’m not talking about the Joon Joon, Spaghetti monster….. or whoever else you’d like to put in there. Our human race came from somewhere and quite simply we came about by either pure chance along with the right environmental conditions… or we were created by a Creator… the Bible has a very clear declaration that we and the rest of life on earth are His creation. Does science have an explanation about how we humans came about and how life was formed that you believe is enough proof for you to refute God’s claim that He created us? The burden of proof is also on you to support why you believe what you believe as much as why I believe in God. For me, my burden of proof is a personal response from God directly that changed the course of my life.

    To admit that I was a former atheist is to show that I was not raised from childhood in the ways of the Bible… in fact very much in strong opposition of the Bible, whether or not you believe this solidifies my argument is not the point. I’m simply pointing out that I didn’t come from a God biased upbringing and point of view… something happened many years into my life where God revealed himself to me… a person who was very much anti-God.

    Well I’m glad you asked God who He is…. I truly hope He does respond to you as well.

    I will read your article as soon as I can… studying for my PE exam right now and focusing on fluid dynamics.

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