What Do We Make Of All This?

Discussion in 'General Discussions' started by RiverJordan, Dec 19, 2013.

  1. I came across these two articles and was a bit struck by their contrasts.

    First: 5 Reasons Why 2013 Was The Best Year In Human History

    In a nutshell: 1) We're living longer; 2) fewer people are living in extreme poverty; 3) wars are less common and less deadly; 4) murder and other violent crimes are less common; and 5) there's less racism, sexism, and other discrimination.

    So from a broad, humanity-based perspective, it looks like things are getting better on a number of fronts and we are progressing fairly well (although much remains to be done).

    But OTOH...

    We (Americans) are Losing Faith in God

    "A new Harris Poll released today reveals that only 74% of Americans believe in God, an 8% decline since 2009.

    Before today, U.S. adults had remained fairly consistent in their religious beliefs — 82% of U.S. respondents previously reported that they believed there was a God since 2005.

    In another decline, only 54% of Americans are now "absolutely certain" in God's existence, a 12% decrease over the last decade.

    This trend towards a less religious society mirrors similar trends in Europe.

    So in some ways we (humanity) are improving our lot in several important ways, but at the same time we're becoming less religious and more secular. What do you make of that?
  2. Just a theory, and it's probably a very simplistic one, but it's easy to cast God aside when you feel you don't need Him.
    TParis likes this.
  3. Maybe, but doesn't that play into the anti-religion argument that religion and belief in God is merely a crutch?
  4. As far as morals and traditional values go, I see nothing but a downward spiral.

    Depression and suicide rate is up. More Americans die of suicide than by car accidents. Divorce rate is through the roof as well. I dont think everything is as rosy as people would like to believe.
  5. I guess it all depends on how you look at it. Some might see divorces as an increase in personal freedom (not being locked into dysfunctional marriages).

    But I find it hard to look at increased health and prosperity, fewer wars and violent crimes, and less discrimination as anything other than good things.
  6. I think it allows people to see it that way, but of course that would be wrong too. It would take away meaning altogether.
  7. Throughout history, one of the main arguments against religion is that it is a "crutch"--something people invented to help them cope with difficult times. So when we say that it's easier to be an atheist/agnostic when things are going well, we're reinforcing that argument, to the point of basically demonstrating it.
  8. It's only easier in that there is no facing judgement. Again, it's just a simple theory. I could be way off. It was an off-the-cuff response anyway. You probably have a more reasonable theory.
  9. Those are good things, depending on what you mean by discrimination, because some people say calling sin a sin is discrimination. As far as being healthy, studies show that Church going Christians tend to be healthier and live longer. However, if more and more people are rejecting God, then that means we are living in a society that is headed for hell, and that is never a good thing regardless of everything else.
  10. I think that the folks at ThinkProgress need to put the weed aside for a day or two and take a look at the world
    without the rose colored glasses.
    Fewer people in extreme poverty? where? the living standards for the "masses" have been in a slow decline for 2 decades.
    Food prices have been raising steadily due to investors playing with commodity futures while real wages have stagnated since the 70's. Wars are less common and deadly? Tell that to the Syrians. The is hardly a single major country on the planet that is not involved in some war, "intervention" or "police action".
    On the legal front, the rule of law has ended. Across the globe leaders rule with impunity, making the laws as they go, and ignoring laws they find inconvenient.
  11. Indeed, but in all fairness, this forum is addressing western culture. While the dollar has inflated more than ever, the police state has grown, etc. etc., resources have become better and more available to a wider audience. People in poor conditions are living better and longer than they used to many years ago.
  12. I'm not sure the two (things improving and less belief in God) are linked. I think the things they mention are getting better because humanity is progressing, and belief in God is declining for other reasons.
  13. The article specifically mentioned racial discrimination and sexism.

    I agree.
  14. They cite very specific data to support their claims. If you have better data, please present it.

    You missed the point entirely. They didn't say "everything is great everywhere". Go actually read the article.
  15. It's interesting to see how a group of Christians respond to a news article claiming that in 5 important areas, things are generally improving. Basically, the Christian response seems to be "Nope. Things suck."

  16. They would have to cherry pick their data.
    In the US (you can find the charts very easily on the web) real income for the bottom 90% has been esentially static since the 70's. During the same time income for the top 10% has increased dramatically. This is not a good thing.
    The US has been outsourcing jobs and industry like wild for decades, that has left us with an economy that doesn't really produce anything and a horrendous trade deficit. That is not a good thing. The US has been spared some of the repurcussions of this due to the dollar being the wrold trade currency, that is ending as we speak. When the dollar collapses, and it will within a very few years, the entire Western world will experience financial collapse.

    In the 3rd world, food prices have been soaring. Political turmoil is the rule not the exception. More and more states are relying on heavy handed repression to pacify the masses.

    I don't consider people becoming more secular as a good thing. People who have no basis for their morals tend to have no morals.
  17. Glomung,

    I don't know if you're being deliberately obtuse or what, but to repeat what I said in my last post....

    You missed the point entirely. They didn't say "everything is great everywhere". Go actually read the article.
  18. And again I'll note my surprise at the overall tone of the responses to this thread on a Christian forum. It's kind of consistent with what I see in conservative churches and hear on conservative Christian radio....a general message that the world is a terrible, horrible place with almost nothing good in it.

    Perhaps that explains the other part of the OP--the dropping rates of belief in God. If those who believe in God are constantly going around telling everyone how awful everything is....who wants to be a part of that?

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