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What do you replace the church with?
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georgia_tech_swagger Offline
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What do you replace the church with?
I don't really have a good answer to this yet. Not because I don't think there isn't a solution, but because it's actually quite involved intellectually to try to answer these things within a rubric that fits nicely into our legal and tax system. But it is a highly provocative question to me.




https://samharris.org/the-frontiers-of-secularism/

Quote:I don’t want to barrage you with endless numbers, but the stats are staggering when it comes to people in the West who are abandoning religion. Consider just these tidbits: A century ago in Canada, only 2% of the population claimed to have no religion, whereas today nearly 30% of Canadians claim as much, and approximately one in five does not believe in God. A century ago in Australia, less than 1% of the population claimed no religious identity, but today approximately 20% of Australians claim as much. A century ago in Holland, about 10% of the population claimed to be religiously unaffiliated; today more than 40% does. In contemporary Great Britain, nearly half the people claim no religious identity at all; the same is true in Sweden.

Furthermore, 61% of Czechs, 49% of Estonians, 45% of Slovenians, 34% of Bulgarians, and 31% of Norwegians do not believe in God. And 33% of the French, 27% of Belgians, and 25% of Germans do not believe in God or any other sort of universal spiritual life force.

In the East, the most recent survey information from Japan illustrates extensive secularization over the course of the past century: Sixty years ago, about 70% of Japanese people claimed to hold personal religious beliefs, but today that figure is down to about 20%. Such levels of atheism, agnosticism, and overall irreligion are simply remarkable—not to mention historically unprecedented.

I just got the latest data on Latin America: 37% of people in Uruguay, 18% in the Dominican Republic, 16% in Chile, 11% in Argentina, and 8% in Brazil are non-religious. These are all unprecedented levels of secularity. And Jamaica is currently at 20% nonreligious! Gabon and Swaziland are at 11%! (While that may seem small, keep in mind that only 8% of people in Alabama are non-religious).

Secularism is growing in virtually all nations for which we have data; even the Muslim world, which contains the most-religious societies on earth, has a growing share of secular people (many of whom, unfortunately, must keep their secularity well hidden because of the danger of prison or death for being open about their lack of faith).

The proportion of Americans walking away from religion has continued to grow, from 8% in 1990 to somewhere between 20% and 30% today. Secularity is markedly stronger among young Americans: 32% of those under 30 are religiously unaffiliated. And somewhere between one-third and one-half of all those who respond “none” when asked what their religion is are atheist or agnostic in orientation—so the rise of irreligion means a simultaneous rise of atheism and agnosticism. Furthermore, the vast majority of nonreligious Americans are content with their current identity; among those who now claim “none” as their religion, nearly 90% say they have no interest in looking for a religion that might be right for them.

Of course, one wrench in all this is birthrates. Religious people have more kids than secular people. So demographically, the future is unclear.

Harris: Many of us have acknowledged that although “replacing religion” may not be an appropriate goal, religion does offer people many things they want in life—and these are things that most atheists also want. We want nice buildings that function as dedicated spaces for reflection and celebration. We want strong communities. We want rituals and rites of passage with which to mark important transitions in life—births, marriages, deaths. We just don’t want to lie to ourselves about the nature of reality to have these things. This poses a real challenge, because once we get rid of religion, we are left without an established tradition for meeting these needs, and the alternative is often piecemeal, halfhearted, and unsatisfying. How do you see us solving the problem of creating strong secular institutions and traditions that don’t feel hokey?

Zuckerman: You are spot-on here. Religion provides so much for people in terms of social capital, life-cycle rituals, and so forth, and if it were to just go away, most people would experience serious lacuna. True, a few die-hard hermits out there want none of the things that religion provides, but they are quite rare. Most people want and enjoy at least some of the many things that religions have to offer, even if they don’t buy all the supernatural nonsense.

So here are the options, as far as I can tell:

First, secularize religion. By that I mean keep the rituals, the holidays, the buildings, the gatherings, the knickknacks, but let the supernatural beliefs wither and fade. The example of this that first comes to mind is Reform Judaism. Most American Jews get what they like out of Judaism—the ceremonies, the holidays, the sense of belonging, multi-generational connections, opportunities for charity—and yet they have jettisoned the supernatural beliefs. Many liberal Episcopalian congregations, too, are in this vein. Also Quaker meetings. And most Scandinavians, with their modern form of Nordic Lutheranism, are as well. They observe traditional religious holidays and they participate in various life-cycle rituals and they congregate now and then in church and they even “feel” Christian—and yet they do all these ostensibly religious things without a scintilla of actual faith in the supernatural.

Personally, I think it would be great to have Catholicism, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, etc. all existing here and there, but neutered of their supernatural hoo-hah. I know that may seem contradictory or absurd, but I believe it is possible.

The second option is to create humanist congregations, like Sunday Assembly. The disadvantage here is that you are basically starting from nothing, which feels a little weird—there is no heritage, no tradition, no sense of something that has been around for generations. Not much for kids. But the advantage is that you get to create what you want and how you want it. I dig Sunday Assembly. I think the possibilities for such groups are strong. Obviously, they don’t appeal to most secular people—but for those who want the best of religious affiliation without all the supernaturalism, it is a damned viable option.

A third possibility is to find secular vehicles that provide at least some of the things religion has to offer. I’m thinking of sports, for example. Soccer. My Sunday morning soccer game fulfills me deeply: It makes me feel alive, it connects me to friends I otherwise would never know or see, it marks the end of the week, etc. Or music. My daughter’s love of music provides a lot: a sense of existential meaning, a sense of community via links with other fans, rituals in the form of concerts, and so forth. My younger daughter’s involvement in ballet serves a similar function, providing self-improvement, conscientiousness, camaraderie, performances. Others can find at least some of the things religion offers by communing with nature, or being creative, or engaging politically, or meditating.

I have learned in my research that the vast majority of people who walk away from religion don’t miss it and find numerous ways to live meaningful lives without it—through work, family life, friends, hobbies, art, sex, philosophy, theater, hunting, working on cars, dancing, and so on.

Of course, all that said, religion may not be so easily replaced, and the fact that secularism seems to correlate strongly with individualism could become a problem down the road.

Harris: Moving beyond religion is proving to be an immense challenge, and I greatly appreciate your contributions on this front. One of the main impediments to the spread of secularism has been the widely held belief, even among the non-religious, that religion will always be with us—as though the persistence of the current batch of supernatural ideas were a law of nature. I hope people will read your book to learn more about what the transition to secularism will look like. Thanks for taking the time to speak with me.
07-22-2018 11:45 PM
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Owl 69/70/75 Offline
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RE: What do you replace the church with?
I'd say the most surprising revelation is that 8% of the people in Alabama are non-religious. That's way higher than I would have guessed.
(This post was last modified: 07-22-2018 11:48 PM by Owl 69/70/75.)
07-22-2018 11:48 PM
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RE: What do you replace the church with?
(07-22-2018 11:48 PM)Owl 69/70/75 Wrote:  I'd say the most surprising revelation is that 8% of the people in Alabama are non-religious. That's way higher than I would have guessed.

Well to quote Proverbs, "Train a child up in the way they should go and when they are old they will not depart from it."

Religious training of children is pretty low. Secular training of children in school is universal in public schools.

The disconnect has been the affluent church. Most denominational churches are run like corporations. Everything revolves around the revenue and not specifically the mission. The Catholic Church will spend a nickel out of every dollar received upon some sort of mission for the poor, the orphans, the widows, the sick, the prisoner or the foreign sojourner who is within our community. Heck, the United Way only spends a nickel of every dollar on these things as well. So wouldn't you hold the Church which purports helping people to a higher standard?

But before you think I'm busting the Catholics, most mainline protestant denominations spend less than 3 cents on the same.

Now all of them will show you pie charts proclaiming that they spend 27% or some such number on home and foreign missions, but try getting the denomination to send you the breakdown behind those pie charts. You'll find that the overwhelming majority of that money goes to pay the missionaries salaries, health insurance, housing, transportation, and to denominational structures built in the mission field and that practically nothing but a pittance actually goes to the poor. So for every buck dropped in the plate about 60 cents of it will go to the local church building, utilities, salaries of clergy and staff, insurances for said staff & clergy, liability insurance for the church, fire insurance, etc. About another 20 to 25 cents will go to pay for the corporate offices of the denomination, the hierarchy's salaries & insurance & homes & staff, and most of them get extra stipends for travel. The rest will go into supplies for the family night meals, literature and books, and if the church is progressive they might actually have a poor fund which again will average getting somewhere around 2 to 4 cents on the dollar. But most don't have that much going to the poor.

Most denominational relief funds will claim to deliver 100% of the money to the poor. Most get most of it there but not 100%. But then that money is given over and above your tithe. So much less denominational stuff gets sucked out of it.

My point GTS and Owl is that if there are buildings, salaries, staff, programming, etc, it is a business and not a mission.

Paul said I labor while I am among you that I may not trouble any of you so that you might believe the Gospel. Christ sent his disciples out 2 by 2 to go into homes an to teach and to remain as long as they were welcome. And he told us he was where two or more were gathered in his name.

Paul and the disciples took no money from the people they ministered to unless it was for the poor, the orphan, the widowed, the sick, etc. Their offering of the Gospel was free. Their ministry was free. And their "church" was the people they were with.

So if you are looking for the substitute of the corporate church then more power to you. But you are to look for God within and what you personally do for others is your mission. So each gives what they can, when they can, as often as they can. In other words in true Christianity you are the teacher and missionary and whoever you are with is your church.

That means that you never needed a substitute for church, just a mission. And if you aren't sure what you believe then share your questions and talk about them.

I've met a lot of younger people who don't know what to believe in. That's quite different than saying they don't believe. They are smart enough to read a Bible/Tanakh/or Koran and then compare what they've read to what they see their church,synagogue, or mosque proclaim. When actions don't meet the scriptures they skedaddle. Most of them are searching. They need only begin with their own questions and in the sharing of ideas and assistance with others. In the search that involves questioning, talking about it with others, and in giving and receiving help the Divine is frequently revealed and it usually comes in the form of affirmation, inner peace, a sense of purpose, the humility of shared imperfection, and hope.

It's everything the very first churches hoped to find.

But you can't find it by just listening to 1 guy talk every week, you can't find it by doing nothing, and you can't find it by being angry over all of the hypocrisy. You can only find it by talking about your doubts, feelings, ideas about, and search for it. After all one of the most familiar sayings in the Bible is, "Seek and ye shall find." When you've found your true self, and you have shared your search with friends and new faces, it is in the experience of that mutual longing that all kinds of discoveries are made possible.

In my journey I have come to see what we call church as a bigger obstacle to faith than anything secular or destructive. People know evil when they see it. What destroys them is looking for truth and justice in self serving places that claim to believe in a loving and forgiving God. I also accepted Christ as the way. His teachings aren't in error, just the way we interpret and twist them to our own satisfaction. It's like Mahatma Ghandi once stated when he said Christianity was the best religion he had ever studied. He simply said that he hadn't met anyone who applied it. Well he was living with Hindus, Sikhs, Muslims, and the British Military. And he had left South Africa. It was easy to understand why he would say that. He had lived in nothing but constant conflict. Ultimately it is up to us to adhere to the teachings of the Bible and of Christ. If we don't struggle with our imperfections in that quest then we will never discover the grace we need to live with others.

That Proverb I quoted to begin this post is so very wise. Teach a child how to search for the way they should go, and they will spend a lifetime seeking it, and when they are old they will not depart from a way that has brought so much fulfillment.

But the beauty of it is that whether you believe in the supernatural aspects of a god, or not, the replacement of the church that you are looking for is actually a societal touchstone that acts as a moral framework around which to build a better life. So starting with your unbelief, or doubt, or just questions about what you seek is the first step in the journey of answering this question, which I take as, "What should the organizing principle of our lives be?" That is a question that you may share, but it is a question that you may only answer yourself while seeking it. You can share the journey, but ultimately the organizing principle of your life is determined by you. What do you value? How will your time here be spent? What should you value? How will you spend your time with regard to others? How do you see others? How sympathetic are you to their struggles, questions, doubts, and fears? How do you give them value, and how do you let them help you discover your own? All successful societies are built upon mutually shared objectives and a common morality that must be understood before it can be utilized. And all forgiveness begins within. You either accept forgiveness, or you never learn to give it. It is the basis of all solid relationships between imperfect people.

The United States was built on tolerance, adherence to law, and consideration for the rights of others. But we have allowed those with agendas to twist the meaning and destroy the experience and it is because we have not helped them to take their own spiritual journey whether that ends with an adherence to a religion or just philanthropy. As long as only the self is served civilization is impossible.

So you are asking good questions, but you are looking outside for answers where you will never find them. Ask yourself and then share your inner journey with others doing the same. You and they together will bring meaning and fulfillment to your life and it is that synergy which many call Divine.

[cleaned up some formatting - LS)
(This post was last modified: 07-23-2018 09:03 AM by Lord Stanley.)
07-23-2018 01:20 AM
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Post: #4
RE: What do you replace the church with?
The church offers a moral framework. If you don't have a church with a universal moral framework, you have what we have today in politics. People form their own moral framework, which is generally self-serving and based on the idea that anyone who doesn't think exactly like them is evil.

The hatred and insanity is what you get when you have a moral void. Some churches are that way. They are based on the world and not on universal truths. But you have to remember that churches are run by people. People are not flawless.
07-23-2018 09:53 AM
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RE: What do you replace the church with?
(07-23-2018 09:53 AM)bullet Wrote:  The church offers a moral framework. If you don't have a church with a universal moral framework, you have what we have today in politics. People form their own moral framework, which is generally self-serving and based on the idea that anyone who doesn't think exactly like them is evil.

The hatred and insanity is what you get when you have a moral void. Some churches are that way. They are based on the world and not on universal truths. But you have to remember that churches are run by people. People are not flawless.

Bullet, the principles of the 10 commandments are found in the vast majority of the worlds major religions. Those are the universal basis of morality. The beginning of every moral journey is in the questioning of your own issues. It is the basis for humility out of which comes empathy for the plight of others which forms the underpinning for what Christians call grace, and what the secular call tolerance. If I don't learn to respect the rights of others then yes chaos ensues. If I learn first to respect myself which means to grasp my personal limitations, assess what it is that I have to offer of value in society, and to act knowingly to use my abilities (gifts) in a positive way then I contribute nothing to order of things.

All emotional growth (spiritual journeys) start with dealing with yourself. If you can't manage yourself you can not be an instrument for understanding or a teacher (guide) for someone else.

Our society needs norms. We set the with the constitution. The concept was that people are not the property of the state, but are free in nature by the act of a creator. That was a wholly alien concept to the divine right rule of monarchs. We agreed from the beginning that we would be tolerant of different faiths, so long as none of them impinged the freedom of others.

What has happened in our society is that the nation's norms have been obliterated. We once held that in order to be a U.S. Citizen you had to learn to read, write, and most specifically speak English. That norm is gone.

We once gave a health inspection to every entering immigrant and those with contagious diseases were quarantined until healed. Those that could not be healed were turned away. The concept was that we protect our citizens first. That norm is gone.

We had respect for the privacy of our citizens ensuring them against unlawful search and seizure and requiring warrants with specific direction as to what was to be the purpose of the search. All subsequent discoveries where not admissible. That norm is gone.

We taught these norms to our children in school and we observed the religious holidays of the many without protesting their observance by others. It was considered part of our diversity to do so. That freedom to publicly express our faith and to celebrate holidays important to us are being ended. That norm is gone.

We expressed our allegiance to the nation through various means, the pledge to the flag, oaths of office, military service oaths, an the oath of citizenship. We expected everyone to be American first, and sub culture second, and that when it came to rights and obligations the norms of the nation came first. Those norms are gone.

The enemies of our Nation have carefully couched the demands of the individual against the demands of the nation as civil liberties. They were not! Because of the oaths we took through our many facets of citizenship the right to protest the nations norms were abnegated by what we swore to uphold. When one person does demand what is right in their own site it is because they have no respect for the rights of other individuals. That means no empathy, no grace, no tolerance, no respect for others. That is not a product of self awareness, enlightenment, spiritual awareness, or of the ability to be a citizen here or anywhere.

So Bullet the issue you are trying to roll into just the pursuit of the self is actually two issues. We need to reassert the norms of the nation and hold our citizens to their oaths. And then we need to encourage people to take a deep introspective look at their faults and abilities and encourage them to find a productive way to plug into society.

Government is supposed to provide the Norms. We are supposed to provide the self understanding, hopefully augmented by education, to be able to know how to plug in productively while respecting the rights of others.

What you propose attacks the wrong end for what you desire to produce. It will be difficult but once our country reimposes its norms, then our citizens who have considered their assets and liabilities will have the greatest chance of making us strong again.

We are a nation of people whose families at their origins were disposed, abused, and politically disenfranchised before this nation was founded. The days of giving groups of people rights that supersede those of the rest of us because they claim some aggrieved status need to end. They have produced this notion that those citizens do not have to do what is best for the country, owe it no allegiance, and can revile and bear animus towards the rest of us.

That is the locus for the unraveling of our society and will be the cause of the internal conflict that will destroy us. It is a pervasive malady that needs to be excoriated from the soul of this country. And it was all made possible by the abandonment of our norms.
07-23-2018 12:54 PM
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Post: #6
RE: What do you replace the church with?
Participation in Christianity in the United States is wildly over-reported.

During the Republican primaries pollsters were baffled by then candidate Trump's showing among "evangelicals". A pollster in South Carolina did something virtually no other poll did. Add questions about church attendance. Candidate Trump was through the roof on people who described themselves as evangelicals yet were Christmas/Easter Christians at most. Ted Cruz on the other hand was most supported by those evangelicals attending church regularly. Cruz finished third despite the support of regular church attenders.

The United States has entered what I can only describe as being "a weird place".

You have a significant segment of the population that clings to the labels of religion but reject the orthodox tenets of the faith.

There is a peculiar American jihadist movement that is not unlike the Islamic jihad movement in rejecting the orthodoxy.

Then you have an "enlightenment" movement that will depart from orthodoxy to use the "guidelines" of faith within the context of modern culture (think some of the most Westernized Muslim nations and progressive Christian denominations).

Then you have those who hold to the orthodoxy of their faith but see the secular government as something you might participate in while keeping your faith personal.

Many of the Founders fell in this category. Their distrust of political interference with church (the state declaring rituals and approving ministers/priests) was equally matched by the experience of their forebears when church used the government as a tool of religion. Mandatory baptisms, purges and oppression of churches that were not in power, including the stripping of civil rights from adherents of an out-of-favor church (history of Ireland as a UK colony for example).

Then of course the "nones"

The Founders didn't really have "nones" because science had no explanation for the existence of people or the planet. The nones of that era were generally called deists. A builder god created everything and then either died, moved on to the next project, or just sits back idly watching.
07-23-2018 03:50 PM
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RE: What do you replace the church with?
(07-23-2018 03:50 PM)arkstfan Wrote:  Participation in Christianity in the United States is wildly over-reported.

During the Republican primaries pollsters were baffled by then candidate Trump's showing among "evangelicals". A pollster in South Carolina did something virtually no other poll did. Add questions about church attendance. Candidate Trump was through the roof on people who described themselves as evangelicals yet were Christmas/Easter Christians at most. Ted Cruz on the other hand was most supported by those evangelicals attending church regularly. Cruz finished third despite the support of regular church attenders.

The United States has entered what I can only describe as being "a weird place".

You have a significant segment of the population that clings to the labels of religion but reject the orthodox tenets of the faith.

There is a peculiar American jihadist movement that is not unlike the Islamic jihad movement in rejecting the orthodoxy.

Then you have an "enlightenment" movement that will depart from orthodoxy to use the "guidelines" of faith within the context of modern culture (think some of the most Westernized Muslim nations and progressive Christian denominations).

Then you have those who hold to the orthodoxy of their faith but see the secular government as something you might participate in while keeping your faith personal.

Many of the Founders fell in this category. Their distrust of political interference with church (the state declaring rituals and approving ministers/priests) was equally matched by the experience of their forebears when church used the government as a tool of religion. Mandatory baptisms, purges and oppression of churches that were not in power, including the stripping of civil rights from adherents of an out-of-favor church (history of Ireland as a UK colony for example).

Then of course the "nones"

The Founders didn't really have "nones" because science had no explanation for the existence of people or the planet. The nones of that era were generally called deists. A builder god created everything and then either died, moved on to the next project, or just sits back idly watching.

That's a fairly accurate but excessively over simplified model. There are many more religions here other than Judaism, Christianity, and Muslim branches. We have Sikh, Buddhists (with regional temples), Hindu, and more than a few adherents of Confucianism. Of course Buddhists and Confucianism are both introspective pathways more than a religion. And everywhere science and secularism have degraded each. It's why if you are going to relate them to GTS's OP of finding a new core morality as an organizing principal moving forward then focusing on the core beliefs and practices that are common to all is the best place to start. The 10 commandments, the Code of Hammurabi, Taoist teachings (very similar to the Hebrew proverbs in style, and certainly Trinitarian in structure with an anticipated great teacher (Tao in the flesh), all share a very close teaching of common morality.

I agree with the founding fathers and with Jefferson's rational for using Deism as a way of talking about things not yet fully understood, but utilizing the creator concept for the declaration of freedom attributed to the divine to offset the claims of divine selection that monarchs used to enslave the people were all necessary for setting up our right to exist free, express an open mindedness for our future, and to ground us in a common morality.

I remain confident in my argument above that they catalyst for our destruction was in not taking our pledges to be American first and sub culture second. As Lincoln noted a house divided against itself cannot stand. As a people we have to have 1 mind for our common defense, and one allegiance and that to the United States of America. My hat is off to the Japanese Americans in WWII who embodied that spirit in its fullest in the face of oppression by the country they fought and died to defend against its enemies which included their country of origin.

That's why I give no slack to Muslims, African Americans, Latinos or anyone else who want dual citizenship, including Anglo Americans living in Europe. If you want to be part of our country then you make that your top priority and embrace what it means to be an American.

What we have done is a lousy job of defining what up until Viet Nam was commonly accepted. And now we have 3 generations of people who believe otherwise and those on the Left who are working wittingly and unwittingly to destroy our core values treat as a shame to even discuss.

If we want to make America great again then we need a country filled with people dedicated to that proposition. Anyone actively seeking to undermine what is best for the citizens of this nation needs to be politely show the door. And that is progress. Sedition is still a crime.
07-23-2018 05:54 PM
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RE: What do you replace the church with?
(07-23-2018 05:54 PM)JRsec Wrote:  
(07-23-2018 03:50 PM)arkstfan Wrote:  Participation in Christianity in the United States is wildly over-reported.

During the Republican primaries pollsters were baffled by then candidate Trump's showing among "evangelicals". A pollster in South Carolina did something virtually no other poll did. Add questions about church attendance. Candidate Trump was through the roof on people who described themselves as evangelicals yet were Christmas/Easter Christians at most. Ted Cruz on the other hand was most supported by those evangelicals attending church regularly. Cruz finished third despite the support of regular church attenders.

The United States has entered what I can only describe as being "a weird place".

You have a significant segment of the population that clings to the labels of religion but reject the orthodox tenets of the faith.

There is a peculiar American jihadist movement that is not unlike the Islamic jihad movement in rejecting the orthodoxy.

Then you have an "enlightenment" movement that will depart from orthodoxy to use the "guidelines" of faith within the context of modern culture (think some of the most Westernized Muslim nations and progressive Christian denominations).

Then you have those who hold to the orthodoxy of their faith but see the secular government as something you might participate in while keeping your faith personal.

Many of the Founders fell in this category. Their distrust of political interference with church (the state declaring rituals and approving ministers/priests) was equally matched by the experience of their forebears when church used the government as a tool of religion. Mandatory baptisms, purges and oppression of churches that were not in power, including the stripping of civil rights from adherents of an out-of-favor church (history of Ireland as a UK colony for example).

Then of course the "nones"

The Founders didn't really have "nones" because science had no explanation for the existence of people or the planet. The nones of that era were generally called deists. A builder god created everything and then either died, moved on to the next project, or just sits back idly watching.

That's a fairly accurate but excessively over simplified model. There are many more religions here other than Judaism, Christianity, and Muslim branches. We have Sikh, Buddhists (with regional temples), Hindu, and more than a few adherents of Confucianism. Of course Buddhists and Confucianism are both introspective pathways more than a religion. And everywhere science and secularism have degraded each. It's why if you are going to relate them to GTS's OP of finding a new core morality as an organizing principal moving forward then focusing on the core beliefs and practices that are common to all is the best place to start. The 10 commandments, the Code of Hammurabi, Taoist teachings (very similar to the Hebrew proverbs in style, and certainly Trinitarian in structure with an anticipated great teacher (Tao in the flesh), all share a very close teaching of common morality.

I agree with the founding fathers and with Jefferson's rational for using Deism as a way of talking about things not yet fully understood, but utilizing the creator concept for the declaration of freedom attributed to the divine to offset the claims of divine selection that monarchs used to enslave the people were all necessary for setting up our right to exist free, express an open mindedness for our future, and to ground us in a common morality.

I remain confident in my argument above that they catalyst for our destruction was in not taking our pledges to be American first and sub culture second. As Lincoln noted a house divided against itself cannot stand. As a people we have to have 1 mind for our common defense, and one allegiance and that to the United States of America. My hat is off to the Japanese Americans in WWII who embodied that spirit in its fullest in the face of oppression by the country they fought and died to defend against its enemies which included their country of origin.

That's why I give no slack to Muslims, African Americans, Latinos or anyone else who want dual citizenship, including Anglo Americans living in Europe. If you want to be part of our country then you make that your top priority and embrace what it means to be an American.

What we have done is a lousy job of defining what up until Viet Nam was commonly accepted. And now we have 3 generations of people who believe otherwise and those on the Left who are working wittingly and unwittingly to destroy our core values treat as a shame to even discuss.

If we want to make America great again then we need a country filled with people dedicated to that proposition. Anyone actively seeking to undermine what is best for the citizens of this nation needs to be politely show the door. And that is progress. Sedition is still a crime.

Well it's not a thesis. 04-cheers

But the Founders regardless of where they fell on the religion spectrum were adherents to the idea of a sense of civic belonging that served as the uniting force rather than religion. They were the descendants of people who not only experienced the bloodshed over religion in Europe, it happened here with the execution of Quakers for the crime of being Quakers.

The mythology of the US as the new Israel and a nation united in religious belief actually dates to the 1830's with the Second Great Awakening.

We've ebbed and flowed ever since. The Spanish-American War became a critical post-Civil War flashpoint to unite people around the civic. The First World War served much the same purpose. The Great Depression swung us back to the public piety.

The civic/secular entwined again in the red scare as the share fear of communism and the Soviets provided a common enemy and the tangle of knots has grown from there.

The religiosity swing has been fascinating (albeit scary at times, even for a believer such as myself).

If a person has time, just tracking the position changes of the Southern Baptist Convention on their view of the unchanging Gospel as it pertains to abortion as well as increasing political stances.
http://www.johnstonsarchive.net/baptist/sbcabres.html

The idea of that I am free to worship as I please, Bob may worship or not worship as he pleases has faded into Bob may do as he pleases as long as he doesn't offend my religious beliefs by publicly affirming a different set of beliefs.
07-24-2018 08:50 AM
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RE: What do you replace the church with?
(07-24-2018 08:50 AM)arkstfan Wrote:  
(07-23-2018 05:54 PM)JRsec Wrote:  
(07-23-2018 03:50 PM)arkstfan Wrote:  Participation in Christianity in the United States is wildly over-reported.

During the Republican primaries pollsters were baffled by then candidate Trump's showing among "evangelicals". A pollster in South Carolina did something virtually no other poll did. Add questions about church attendance. Candidate Trump was through the roof on people who described themselves as evangelicals yet were Christmas/Easter Christians at most. Ted Cruz on the other hand was most supported by those evangelicals attending church regularly. Cruz finished third despite the support of regular church attenders.

The United States has entered what I can only describe as being "a weird place".

You have a significant segment of the population that clings to the labels of religion but reject the orthodox tenets of the faith.

There is a peculiar American jihadist movement that is not unlike the Islamic jihad movement in rejecting the orthodoxy.

Then you have an "enlightenment" movement that will depart from orthodoxy to use the "guidelines" of faith within the context of modern culture (think some of the most Westernized Muslim nations and progressive Christian denominations).

Then you have those who hold to the orthodoxy of their faith but see the secular government as something you might participate in while keeping your faith personal.

Many of the Founders fell in this category. Their distrust of political interference with church (the state declaring rituals and approving ministers/priests) was equally matched by the experience of their forebears when church used the government as a tool of religion. Mandatory baptisms, purges and oppression of churches that were not in power, including the stripping of civil rights from adherents of an out-of-favor church (history of Ireland as a UK colony for example).

Then of course the "nones"

The Founders didn't really have "nones" because science had no explanation for the existence of people or the planet. The nones of that era were generally called deists. A builder god created everything and then either died, moved on to the next project, or just sits back idly watching.

That's a fairly accurate but excessively over simplified model. There are many more religions here other than Judaism, Christianity, and Muslim branches. We have Sikh, Buddhists (with regional temples), Hindu, and more than a few adherents of Confucianism. Of course Buddhists and Confucianism are both introspective pathways more than a religion. And everywhere science and secularism have degraded each. It's why if you are going to relate them to GTS's OP of finding a new core morality as an organizing principal moving forward then focusing on the core beliefs and practices that are common to all is the best place to start. The 10 commandments, the Code of Hammurabi, Taoist teachings (very similar to the Hebrew proverbs in style, and certainly Trinitarian in structure with an anticipated great teacher (Tao in the flesh), all share a very close teaching of common morality.

I agree with the founding fathers and with Jefferson's rational for using Deism as a way of talking about things not yet fully understood, but utilizing the creator concept for the declaration of freedom attributed to the divine to offset the claims of divine selection that monarchs used to enslave the people were all necessary for setting up our right to exist free, express an open mindedness for our future, and to ground us in a common morality.

I remain confident in my argument above that they catalyst for our destruction was in not taking our pledges to be American first and sub culture second. As Lincoln noted a house divided against itself cannot stand. As a people we have to have 1 mind for our common defense, and one allegiance and that to the United States of America. My hat is off to the Japanese Americans in WWII who embodied that spirit in its fullest in the face of oppression by the country they fought and died to defend against its enemies which included their country of origin.

That's why I give no slack to Muslims, African Americans, Latinos or anyone else who want dual citizenship, including Anglo Americans living in Europe. If you want to be part of our country then you make that your top priority and embrace what it means to be an American.

What we have done is a lousy job of defining what up until Viet Nam was commonly accepted. And now we have 3 generations of people who believe otherwise and those on the Left who are working wittingly and unwittingly to destroy our core values treat as a shame to even discuss.

If we want to make America great again then we need a country filled with people dedicated to that proposition. Anyone actively seeking to undermine what is best for the citizens of this nation needs to be politely show the door. And that is progress. Sedition is still a crime.

Well it's not a thesis. 04-cheers

But the Founders regardless of where they fell on the religion spectrum were adherents to the idea of a sense of civic belonging that served as the uniting force rather than religion. They were the descendants of people who not only experienced the bloodshed over religion in Europe, it happened here with the execution of Quakers for the crime of being Quakers.

The mythology of the US as the new Israel and a nation united in religious belief actually dates to the 1830's with the Second Great Awakening.

We've ebbed and flowed ever since. The Spanish-American War became a critical post-Civil War flashpoint to unite people around the civic. The First World War served much the same purpose. The Great Depression swung us back to the public piety.

The civic/secular entwined again in the red scare as the share fear of communism and the Soviets provided a common enemy and the tangle of knots has grown from there.

The religiosity swing has been fascinating (albeit scary at times, even for a believer such as myself).

If a person has time, just tracking the position changes of the Southern Baptist Convention on their view of the unchanging Gospel as it pertains to abortion as well as increasing political stances.
http://www.johnstonsarchive.net/baptist/sbcabres.html

The idea of that I am free to worship as I please, Bob may worship or not worship as he pleases has faded into Bob may do as he pleases as long as he doesn't offend my religious beliefs by publicly affirming a different set of beliefs.
This statement reveals your bias, or reveals an incomplete thought. I agree with its direction, but however you left out the even more common angle today. I may be free to worship as long as Bob's different set of beliefs are not offended by my worship. Herein lies the threat to civil liberties. Obviously the churches are either out of touch with, or wholly ineffective, in getting their message out to the swelling numbers of agnostics, those of other faiths, or the non believers. But within the context of guaranteed rights they are more often than not the targets of the changing beliefs of others than they are the aggressor in trying to deny Bob's different set of beliefs.

One side is just as much a threat to freedom as the other. This is a prime example of the harm of a nation full of citizens who don't know their own rights, and who don't understand the constitution, and therefore don't hold their elected officials to it.

The problem here Judge is our country has been carefully manipulated into ignorance and from ignorance into an "us vs them" mentality which is now spanning all vistas of American life. In any strong nation while the common ground may shift the common principles have to be ingrained and enforced. A strong nation must have as its first gut reaction when threatened "we". Pearl Harbor is the perfect example of a "we" moment. 9/11 captured it briefly but our divided political system didn't help to sustain it.

The synergy of "we" is tremendous. If that sounds odd it is because we don't think in terms of "We the people in order to form a more perfect union" anymore. Everything is "left vs right" and both sides believe that a political victory means they get to impose their will. Neither side is dedicated to the "more perfect union" any longer. It is a recipe which will boil over into more violence if we don't really focus in on how our government is intended to work and crack down on those who constantly try to divide us.

This is why it is so very crucial that we reaffirm everyone's rights, hold ourselves to a unifying principal which should be centered in our obligations as citizens, and agree to disagree on the rest without denying those rights not assigned to the government as the provenance of the individual.

We have slipped into this mess because we have dismissed our norms and nothing is more central to this, as silly as it may sound, than the protests against the flag and the national anthem. "One nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all" is under assault by those who want things just their way, or worse, want to seek vengeance upon the nation for sins they in their lifetime actually never suffered.

The reestablishment, inclusive of intentional instruction about what it means to be a citizen of the United States, of our norms needs to be rigorously re-instilled. That is our common ground. The reason it has been intentionally obscured is because of 50 years of individual rebellion against collective responsibility and obligation to the nation itself. Which not ironically is usually the end stage of public opinion in the life cycle of nations. When people see the nation's defense as the responsibility of the disenfranchised, immigrant, or professional soldier, the resolve to persevere in the face of threat gives way to conciliation to the threat. Which has been an extremely apparent tendency of several generations now spoiled by not having to risk life for liberty and having not experienced foreign incursion upon its native soil in several lifetimes. The public has no collective memory of a proper threat response.

There is an old adage attributed to our problem today. "And everyone did what was right in their own sight and chaos abounded in the land." Bullet was alluding to this in his post in this thread, but not sufficiently attributing the source.

Reagan quipped once that nothing would serve as a better unifying force for mankind than an alien threat from without our planet. While the notion is comical in some regards, it nevertheless illustrates the problem of our insular existence. Nothing makes people put aside their petty differences faster than a common threat. But in the past government was the common and clear call for that kind of unity. Today government is just one voice among many all calling for different responses. Only by defining and reinforcing our norms will the nation's voice in time of crisis be clearly heard.

Everything GTS wrote, what Bullet implied, and I believe what you innately understand boils down to the reinforcement of, and instilling of, a common and simple set of norms of what it means to be a citizen of the United States and what our obligations as citizens are. The public has radically lost touch with both and presently deny or seek to revoke the norms, and to ignore the obligations and that is the locus of our current breakdown in unity. It is not the absence or presence of church, or some substitute religion. It rather is wholly in our abandonment of "Our" social contract.
(This post was last modified: 07-24-2018 01:36 PM by JRsec.)
07-24-2018 01:28 PM
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RE: What do you replace the church with?
(07-24-2018 01:28 PM)JRsec Wrote:  This statement reveals your bias, or reveals an incomplete thought. I agree with its direction, but however you left out the even more common angle today. I may be free to worship as long as Bob's different set of beliefs are not offended by my worship. Herein lies the threat to civil liberties. Obviously the churches are either out of touch with, or wholly ineffective, in getting their message out to the swelling numbers of agnostics, those of other faiths, or the non believers. But within the context of guaranteed rights they are more often than not the targets of the changing beliefs of others than they are the aggressor in trying to deny Bob's different set of beliefs.

One side is just as much a threat to freedom as the other. This is a prime example of the harm of a nation full of citizens who don't know their own rights, and who don't understand the constitution, and therefore don't hold their elected officials to it.

The problem here Judge is our country has been carefully manipulated into ignorance and from ignorance into an "us vs them" mentality which is now spanning all vistas of American life. In any strong nation while the common ground may shift the common principles have to be ingrained and enforced. A strong nation must have as its first gut reaction when threatened "we". Pearl Harbor is the perfect example of a "we" moment. 9/11 captured it briefly but our divided political system didn't help to sustain it.

The synergy of "we" is tremendous. If that sounds odd it is because we don't think in terms of "We the people in order to form a more perfect union" anymore. Everything is "left vs right" and both sides believe that a political victory means they get to impose their will. Neither side is dedicated to the "more perfect union" any longer. It is a recipe which will boil over into more violence if we don't really focus in on how our government is intended to work and crack down on those who constantly try to divide us.

This is why it is so very crucial that we reaffirm everyone's rights, hold ourselves to a unifying principal which should be centered in our obligations as citizens, and agree to disagree on the rest without denying those rights not assigned to the government as the provenance of the individual.

We have slipped into this mess because we have dismissed our norms and nothing is more central to this, as silly as it may sound, than the protests against the flag and the national anthem. "One nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all" is under assault by those who want things just their way, or worse, want to seek vengeance upon the nation for sins they in their lifetime actually never suffered.

The reestablishment, inclusive of intentional instruction about what it means to be a citizen of the United States, of our norms needs to be rigorously re-instilled. That is our common ground. The reason it has been intentionally obscured is because of 50 years of individual rebellion against collective responsibility and obligation to the nation itself. Which not ironically is usually the end stage of public opinion in the life cycle of nations. When people see the nation's defense as the responsibility of the disenfranchised, immigrant, or professional soldier, the resolve to persevere in the face of threat gives way to conciliation to the threat. Which has been an extremely apparent tendency of several generations now spoiled by not having to risk life for liberty and having not experienced foreign incursion upon its native soil in several lifetimes. The public has no collective memory of a proper threat response.

There is an old adage attributed to our problem today. "And everyone did what was right in their own sight and chaos abounded in the land." Bullet was alluding to this in his post in this thread, but not sufficiently attributing the source.

Reagan quipped once that nothing would serve as a better unifying force for mankind than an alien threat from without our planet. While the notion is comical in some regards, it nevertheless illustrates the problem of our insular existence. Nothing makes people put aside their petty differences faster than a common threat. But in the past government was the common and clear call for that kind of unity. Today government is just one voice among many all calling for different responses. Only by defining and reinforcing our norms will the nation's voice in time of crisis be clearly heard.

Everything GTS wrote, what Bullet implied, and I believe what you innately understand boils down to the reinforcement of, and instilling of, a common and simple set of norms of what it means to be a citizen of the United States and what our obligations as citizens are. The public has radically lost touch with both and presently deny or seek to revoke the norms, and to ignore the obligations and that is the locus of our current breakdown in unity. It is not the absence or presence of church, or some substitute religion. It rather is wholly in our abandonment of "Our" social contract.

We are on a similar path.

The American social contract is under attack and from multiple angles.

We have made college unaffordable by use of a funding mechanism that that takes funding decisions out of the hands of the elected representatives and placed it in the hands of students. Part of the motivation was to insure government dollars could be funneled to private institutions for undergrad costs.

We do not struggle as a nation to find the funds for a robot airplane, piloted by a non-com in the desert of the US firing a maverick missile to destroy a bad guy's pick-up truck on the other side of the globe but we are unable to afford to stock a classroom with basic supplies or deal the condition of our bridges and highways.

Today's youth are bombarded with the message that not all work is worth your time one of the few bipartisan messages in this country.

The concept of the loyal opposition has become foreign. Anyone who disagrees with you is some toxic name.

I can just skim Facebook, twitter, listen to Fox News or MSNBC and one thing that pops out. The average American apparently HAS NO IDEA WHAT A NAZI, RACIST, COMMUNIST OR SOCIALIST ACTUALLY IS. If people knew what those words meant the ******** tossing them around would have already been laughed out of the public square.

The United States has become an individualistic society rather than a cooperative society of individuals.

My forebears came down out of the hills to fight at King's Mountain and Cowpens because their community as they understood it was in danger and when the danger passed they went back to the farm.

We understood cooperation as a rural society. If there is a wildfire or a house fire, you dash over to help. If the breadwinner became too ill to work his farm or died, you came over and helped and shared of your harvest to keep the other family afloat.

The militia was much less the military function we tend to think of and much closer in general practice to what we say in movies and TV that was called a posse. Not everyone went out to chase a raiding party or a robber or murderer. The idea of a patrolling law enforcement was unheard of. The community apprehended and turned the suspect over for trial (usually).

We ran into a couple bumps.
There was no longer any significant amount of viable land left to homestead and mechanization made the homestead economically unviable. Food prices would crazy but for that efficiency increase.
The urban dweller had no back-up for subsistence living if they lost their job.
The dust bowl drought was so extensive your neighbor to the south was busted and couldn't help. The neighbor south of them was busted too, and the one past them and the one past them and so on.

We had to rethink what it meant to be cooperative society of individuals and before we sorted out the answer we suddenly the only fully functioning industrial society for a period of decades which reshaped our thinking about the need to care what happens to the person the next town over or even the next block over.

There has been a dramatic erosion of shared values or even a shared definition of what it means to be a good citizen.
07-24-2018 02:47 PM
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miko33 Offline
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RE: What do you replace the church with?
If we take the article at face value and assume that everyone is converging towards a secular humanist view of the world and that religion becomes extinct, I don't think we necessarily have to replace it with anything IMHO. What do atheists and non-practicing yet religiously affiliated people do today to "fill the void" left by church? Some of the activities that I've seen include: attending sporting events (any level), doing activities with the family, hanging out with friends, participating in community activities, etc.

If this country continues to become more secular, those social connections (tribalism??) will grow organically and occur from the ground up. You don't need any overarching person or group in authority to drive us to "replace church". People will come together via different avenues, but I think that natural drive for social connection to a community will create new venues naturally.

In the U.S., I believe the majority of people who attend churches today do not do so for moral guidance so much as being being connected to others in a spirit of community. The only way churches drive moral behavior is via the use of negative reinforcement - aka the fear of hell is the driver of morality when the churches are the vehicle by which the moral framework is to be preserved in a country. JMHO.
07-24-2018 02:54 PM
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RE: What do you replace the church with?
https://www.theatlantic.com/internationa...sm/565076/

Not directly on topic, but modelers are trying to predict the rise of secularism and claim to be very reliable.
07-24-2018 03:13 PM
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RE: What do you replace the church with?
(07-24-2018 02:54 PM)miko33 Wrote:  If we take the article at face value and assume that everyone is converging towards a secular humanist view of the world and that religion becomes extinct, I don't think we necessarily have to replace it with anything IMHO. What do atheists and non-practicing yet religiously affiliated people do today to "fill the void" left by church? Some of the activities that I've seen include: attending sporting events (any level), doing activities with the family, hanging out with friends, participating in community activities, etc.

If this country continues to become more secular, those social connections (tribalism??) will grow organically and occur from the ground up. You don't need any overarching person or group in authority to drive us to "replace church". People will come together via different avenues, but I think that natural drive for social connection to a community will create new venues naturally.

In the U.S., I believe the majority of people who attend churches today do not do so for moral guidance so much as being being connected to others in a spirit of community. The only way churches drive moral behavior is via the use of negative reinforcement - aka the fear of hell is the driver of morality when the churches are the vehicle by which the moral framework is to be preserved in a country. JMHO.
That's there to be sure, but there are many people who are seeking moral instruction because they want to be better people. They aren't hung up on whether there is a heaven or hell as much as they are seeking meaning in the existential. Who am I? Why am I here? What is a good life? How do I live one? And having others seeking the same things gives them a natural connection and to my way of looking at reality that is a force seeking an agreed upon morality informed by reason, scripture that applies, a sense of tradition, and shared experiences (the community to which you refer). In some ways it is like a 12 step program for people who don't like the way they feel and are looking for a better way of living.

But if you have that you get the best out of a religion, the production of more moral and empathetic citizens. And the more of them that there are in a democracy the more likely we are to have a responsive and accountable government.

But clearly that is only the beginning to rebuilding a common bond among Americans.

Negative reinforcement is hardly a relevant factor anymore. Most people seeking to become more moral knowingly or subconsciously are seeking to be part of something larger than themselves and becoming more moral makes their inclusion more appealing.
(This post was last modified: 07-24-2018 03:18 PM by JRsec.)
07-24-2018 03:15 PM
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RE: What do you replace the church with?
(07-24-2018 02:54 PM)miko33 Wrote:  If we take the article at face value and assume that everyone is converging towards a secular humanist view of the world and that religion becomes extinct, I don't think we necessarily have to replace it with anything IMHO. What do atheists and non-practicing yet religiously affiliated people do today to "fill the void" left by church? Some of the activities that I've seen include: attending sporting events (any level), doing activities with the family, hanging out with friends, participating in community activities, etc.

If this country continues to become more secular, those social connections (tribalism??) will grow organically and occur from the ground up. You don't need any overarching person or group in authority to drive us to "replace church". People will come together via different avenues, but I think that natural drive for social connection to a community will create new venues naturally.

In the U.S., I believe the majority of people who attend churches today do not do so for moral guidance so much as being being connected to others in a spirit of community. The only way churches drive moral behavior is via the use of negative reinforcement - aka the fear of hell is the driver of morality when the churches are the vehicle by which the moral framework is to be preserved in a country. JMHO.

We become Europe. There will always be some people who will continue to remain faithful but the greater community rather than the subset of community (the local congregation) becomes the identity point.

The negative reinforcement system which isn't really a focal point outside of evangelical, fundamentalist, and charismatic churches may be fairly effective given the percentage of the US population that rejects science whether it be evolution or vaccines or whether you need to cleanse toxins from your body, that angle will work with people with an artificial heart valve posting on Facebook using a smart phone from while flying in an airplane that science is a bunch of BS.

I know of one ministry that works with the homeless that first took the name of the denomination that spawned it out of their name to attract help from congregations in other denominations. Then took any sort of religious reference out of the name to attract more money and more volunteers and quite likely their ministry component will continue to be shrunk because of the increasing secularly involvement.
07-24-2018 03:15 PM
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RE: What do you replace the church with?
(07-24-2018 03:15 PM)JRsec Wrote:  
(07-24-2018 02:54 PM)miko33 Wrote:  If we take the article at face value and assume that everyone is converging towards a secular humanist view of the world and that religion becomes extinct, I don't think we necessarily have to replace it with anything IMHO. What do atheists and non-practicing yet religiously affiliated people do today to "fill the void" left by church? Some of the activities that I've seen include: attending sporting events (any level), doing activities with the family, hanging out with friends, participating in community activities, etc.

If this country continues to become more secular, those social connections (tribalism??) will grow organically and occur from the ground up. You don't need any overarching person or group in authority to drive us to "replace church". People will come together via different avenues, but I think that natural drive for social connection to a community will create new venues naturally.

In the U.S., I believe the majority of people who attend churches today do not do so for moral guidance so much as being being connected to others in a spirit of community. The only way churches drive moral behavior is via the use of negative reinforcement - aka the fear of hell is the driver of morality when the churches are the vehicle by which the moral framework is to be preserved in a country. JMHO.
That's there to be sure, but there are many people who are seeking moral instruction because they want to be better people. They aren't hung up on whether there is a heaven or hell as much as they are seeking meaning in the existential. Who am I? Why am I here? What is a good life? How do I live one? And having others seeking the same things gives them a natural connection and to my way of looking at reality that is a force seeking an agreed upon morality informed by reason, scripture that applies, a sense of tradition, and shared experiences (the community to which you refer). In some ways it is like a 12 step program for people who don't like the way they feel and are looking for a better way of living.

But if you have that you get the best out of a religion, the production of more moral and empathetic citizens. And the more of them that there are in a democracy the more likely we are to have a responsive and accountable government.

But clearly that is only the beginning to rebuilding a common bond among Americans.

Negative reinforcement is hardly a relevant factor anymore. Most people seeking to become more moral knowingly or subconsciously are seeking to be part of something larger than themselves and becoming more moral makes their inclusion more appealing.

IMHO, that is like weening yourself from the bottle. My strong suspicion is that there is zero reason for why we exist. And that is OK. Regardless of how we came to be here, we are here as of today. Regarding a moral framework, I believe most of that is hard wired in us already. It's no accident that civilizations that showed success for long periods of time and who may have never interacted with other great civilizations tend to have similar patterns to their development and a lot of similar laws along the the lines of the 3 pillars of life, liberty and property. Definitely not perfect but much closer to the mark than what you saw in Christian Europe shortly after the fall of the Western Roman Empire up until the Renaissance - where the divine right of kings was used by the nobility as license to abuse the common man.
07-24-2018 03:45 PM
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RE: What do you replace the church with?
(07-24-2018 03:45 PM)miko33 Wrote:  
(07-24-2018 03:15 PM)JRsec Wrote:  
(07-24-2018 02:54 PM)miko33 Wrote:  If we take the article at face value and assume that everyone is converging towards a secular humanist view of the world and that religion becomes extinct, I don't think we necessarily have to replace it with anything IMHO. What do atheists and non-practicing yet religiously affiliated people do today to "fill the void" left by church? Some of the activities that I've seen include: attending sporting events (any level), doing activities with the family, hanging out with friends, participating in community activities, etc.

If this country continues to become more secular, those social connections (tribalism??) will grow organically and occur from the ground up. You don't need any overarching person or group in authority to drive us to "replace church". People will come together via different avenues, but I think that natural drive for social connection to a community will create new venues naturally.

In the U.S., I believe the majority of people who attend churches today do not do so for moral guidance so much as being being connected to others in a spirit of community. The only way churches drive moral behavior is via the use of negative reinforcement - aka the fear of hell is the driver of morality when the churches are the vehicle by which the moral framework is to be preserved in a country. JMHO.
That's there to be sure, but there are many people who are seeking moral instruction because they want to be better people. They aren't hung up on whether there is a heaven or hell as much as they are seeking meaning in the existential. Who am I? Why am I here? What is a good life? How do I live one? And having others seeking the same things gives them a natural connection and to my way of looking at reality that is a force seeking an agreed upon morality informed by reason, scripture that applies, a sense of tradition, and shared experiences (the community to which you refer). In some ways it is like a 12 step program for people who don't like the way they feel and are looking for a better way of living.

But if you have that you get the best out of a religion, the production of more moral and empathetic citizens. And the more of them that there are in a democracy the more likely we are to have a responsive and accountable government.

But clearly that is only the beginning to rebuilding a common bond among Americans.

Negative reinforcement is hardly a relevant factor anymore. Most people seeking to become more moral knowingly or subconsciously are seeking to be part of something larger than themselves and becoming more moral makes their inclusion more appealing.

IMHO, that is like weening yourself from the bottle. My strong suspicion is that there is zero reason for why we exist. And that is OK. Regardless of how we came to be here, we are here as of today. Regarding a moral framework, I believe most of that is hard wired in us already. It's no accident that civilizations that showed success for long periods of time and who may have never interacted with other great civilizations tend to have similar patterns to their development and a lot of similar laws along the the lines of the 3 pillars of life, liberty and property. Definitely not perfect but much closer to the mark than what you saw in Christian Europe shortly after the fall of the Western Roman Empire up until the Renaissance - where the divine right of kings was used by the nobility as license to abuse the common man.

That's because Constantine hijacked Christianity, centralized it in public only worship where it could be observed and controlled, and utilized their tithe to fund his military campaigns. More importantly he then made the state pay the clergy, insisted that the clergy dress in robes with stoles signifying rank after the fashion of the Roman Senate, so that they people would associate clerical law with the law of the empire. So divine right to rule became a tenet of a faith to which it had been wholly alien in concept, a faith which had taught there was no difference between male and female, slave and free, Jew or Gentile in the eyes of the creator.

I'd say that divine right to rule was merely one of many horrendous facets of the appropriated faith that funded Constantine. Lost in the mix was fair treatment for all. So with it the oldest trick of the state was also appropriated. Fear.

If you study the early church it was clearly more of move toward a cohesive approach to ministry through a close knit local community and buildings were virtually non existent as church meeting places. The meeting places were open air and in the home. Not much that was great for the faith happened after Constantine until various periods of spiritual revival occurred sporadically in different locations and almost all of them had some catalyst originating from social reform, whether that was child labor, slavery, suffrage, etc.

And btw: The compulsion to act in self interest is more hardwired in the average human than is any innate sense of morality. Morality is socialized in as a quid pro quo.
(This post was last modified: 07-24-2018 04:15 PM by JRsec.)
07-24-2018 04:10 PM
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UCGrad1992 Offline
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RE: What do you replace the church with?
From my perspective as an Evangelical Southern Baptist, the church will never be replaced based on the Scriptures until the return of Christ Jesus that will fulfill and complete the "church age" that we're currently in. I can cite Scripture if necessary. People are leaving churches, membership has declined, churches are closing, etc., but I think you have to take it into context. First, this has gone on for millenia as the church has had periods of corruption and low impact to periods of growth and revival. Second, growth/decline depends largely on the geographic area and the church denomination. I can speak from experience as my church membership here in North Carolina has grown from around 800 to 1,500 in under 15 years. We've done several building expansion/renovation projects and preparing for a third. Here are some links to help illustrate the numbers to consider...

Church in America

Church Growth/Decline

I think church in general has done a poor job in two areas: discipleship and adapting to the younger generation. Discipleship is the DAILY process of living as a Christian in a sinful world and how you relate to others and how to represent Christ Jesus. At my church we offer a wide variety of discipleship classes (typically Wednesday nights) that does just that - teaching why and how to CONTINUALLY develop your discipleship practices and actions and how it benefits you and those around you. In terms of young people, the church has to find better ways to communicate and make church a place of fellowship and fun without losing the preaching and teaching of the Holy Scriptures' core doctrine. For example, my church uses a praise and worship band consisting of guitar, bass, drums, keyboards, etc. Why? Because younger folks relate to this music style better than traditional (e.g., choir, gospel, etc.) music. As someone who grew up on rock, blues, folk, jazz, etc., it blew my mind when I heard our band for the first time playing contemporary Christian music. It was the "hook" that God used to set in my heart to desire worshiping Him. We also have a coffee/sandwich shop in our church that is open to the public. We offer wireless internet service (free), and many folks now use a download smart phone/tab app for following the Sunday Sermon message outline instead of the traditional paper copy. We also provide all kinds of year round activities and programming for young families because that is where your growth and future church members are.
07-25-2018 12:04 PM
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Post: #18
RE: What do you replace the church with?
(07-25-2018 12:04 PM)UCGrad1992 Wrote:  From my perspective as an Evangelical Southern Baptist, the church will never be replaced based on the Scriptures until the return of Christ Jesus that will fulfill and complete the "church age" that we're currently in. I can cite Scripture if necessary. People are leaving churches, membership has declined, churches are closing, etc., but I think you have to take it into context. First, this has gone on for millenia as the church has had periods of corruption and low impact to periods of growth and revival. Second, growth/decline depends largely on the geographic area and the church denomination. I can speak from experience as my church membership here in North Carolina has grown from around 800 to 1,500 in under 15 years. We've done several building expansion/renovation projects and preparing for a third. Here are some links to help illustrate the numbers to consider...

Church in America

Church Growth/Decline

I think church in general has done a poor job in two areas: discipleship and adapting to the younger generation. Discipleship is the DAILY process of living as a Christian in a sinful world and how you relate to others and how to represent Christ Jesus. At my church we offer a wide variety of discipleship classes (typically Wednesday nights) that does just that - teaching why and how to CONTINUALLY develop your discipleship practices and actions and how it benefits you and those around you. In terms of young people, the church has to find better ways to communicate and make church a place of fellowship and fun without losing the preaching and teaching of the Holy Scriptures' core doctrine. For example, my church uses a praise and worship band consisting of guitar, bass, drums, keyboards, etc. Why? Because younger folks relate to this music style better than traditional (e.g., choir, gospel, etc.) music. As someone who grew up on rock, blues, folk, jazz, etc., it blew my mind when I heard our band for the first time playing contemporary Christian music. It was the "hook" that God used to set in my heart to desire worshiping Him. We also have a coffee/sandwich shop in our church that is open to the public. We offer wireless internet service (free), and many folks now use a download smart phone/tab app for following the Sunday Sermon message outline instead of the traditional paper copy. We also provide all kinds of year round activities and programming for young families because that is where your growth and future church members are.

As a person who has helped plant a couple congregations.

Church isn't ever going away. It may be smaller and likely will be much smaller.

Liberated of people who there because they see attendance as important to a political career or business career will correct a lot of problems.

A number of churches have driven full speed down a dead end street. Any pastor who thinks abortion and homosexuals (or worse, abortion, homosexuals, and the tax code) are the biggest issues in a person's life is missing the boat, the pier, and the whole harbor.

Toss in the prosperity gospel folks and it has been a battle.

One of the reasons I'm the odd duck not complaining about Millennials is because I've found them to mostly be immune to the old avenues of being evangelized. You go clean up parks, help an inner city school, do things for the homeless, try to help people just out of prison get on their feet and explain to them why we exist and you can get them. Offer some weak argument like "well what if you are wrong and there is a God" and you can hang it up.
07-25-2018 02:37 PM
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Post: #19
RE: What do you replace the church with?
(07-25-2018 02:37 PM)arkstfan Wrote:  
(07-25-2018 12:04 PM)UCGrad1992 Wrote:  From my perspective as an Evangelical Southern Baptist, the church will never be replaced based on the Scriptures until the return of Christ Jesus that will fulfill and complete the "church age" that we're currently in. I can cite Scripture if necessary. People are leaving churches, membership has declined, churches are closing, etc., but I think you have to take it into context. First, this has gone on for millenia as the church has had periods of corruption and low impact to periods of growth and revival. Second, growth/decline depends largely on the geographic area and the church denomination. I can speak from experience as my church membership here in North Carolina has grown from around 800 to 1,500 in under 15 years. We've done several building expansion/renovation projects and preparing for a third. Here are some links to help illustrate the numbers to consider...

Church in America

Church Growth/Decline

I think church in general has done a poor job in two areas: discipleship and adapting to the younger generation. Discipleship is the DAILY process of living as a Christian in a sinful world and how you relate to others and how to represent Christ Jesus. At my church we offer a wide variety of discipleship classes (typically Wednesday nights) that does just that - teaching why and how to CONTINUALLY develop your discipleship practices and actions and how it benefits you and those around you. In terms of young people, the church has to find better ways to communicate and make church a place of fellowship and fun without losing the preaching and teaching of the Holy Scriptures' core doctrine. For example, my church uses a praise and worship band consisting of guitar, bass, drums, keyboards, etc. Why? Because younger folks relate to this music style better than traditional (e.g., choir, gospel, etc.) music. As someone who grew up on rock, blues, folk, jazz, etc., it blew my mind when I heard our band for the first time playing contemporary Christian music. It was the "hook" that God used to set in my heart to desire worshiping Him. We also have a coffee/sandwich shop in our church that is open to the public. We offer wireless internet service (free), and many folks now use a download smart phone/tab app for following the Sunday Sermon message outline instead of the traditional paper copy. We also provide all kinds of year round activities and programming for young families because that is where your growth and future church members are.

As a person who has helped plant a couple congregations.

Church isn't ever going away. It may be smaller and likely will be much smaller.

Liberated of people who there because they see attendance as important to a political career or business career will correct a lot of problems.

A number of churches have driven full speed down a dead end street. Any pastor who thinks abortion and homosexuals (or worse, abortion, homosexuals, and the tax code) are the biggest issues in a person's life is missing the boat, the pier, and the whole harbor.

Toss in the prosperity gospel folks and it has been a battle.

One of the reasons I'm the odd duck not complaining about Millennials is because I've found them to mostly be immune to the old avenues of being evangelized. You go clean up parks, help an inner city school, do things for the homeless, try to help people just out of prison get on their feet and explain to them why we exist and you can get them. Offer some weak argument like "well what if you are wrong and there is a God" and you can hang it up.

Its the liberals in the churches driving the homosexual issue as the most important one.
07-25-2018 03:27 PM
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Post: #20
RE: What do you replace the church with?
(07-25-2018 03:27 PM)bullet Wrote:  
(07-25-2018 02:37 PM)arkstfan Wrote:  
(07-25-2018 12:04 PM)UCGrad1992 Wrote:  From my perspective as an Evangelical Southern Baptist, the church will never be replaced based on the Scriptures until the return of Christ Jesus that will fulfill and complete the "church age" that we're currently in. I can cite Scripture if necessary. People are leaving churches, membership has declined, churches are closing, etc., but I think you have to take it into context. First, this has gone on for millenia as the church has had periods of corruption and low impact to periods of growth and revival. Second, growth/decline depends largely on the geographic area and the church denomination. I can speak from experience as my church membership here in North Carolina has grown from around 800 to 1,500 in under 15 years. We've done several building expansion/renovation projects and preparing for a third. Here are some links to help illustrate the numbers to consider...

Church in America

Church Growth/Decline

I think church in general has done a poor job in two areas: discipleship and adapting to the younger generation. Discipleship is the DAILY process of living as a Christian in a sinful world and how you relate to others and how to represent Christ Jesus. At my church we offer a wide variety of discipleship classes (typically Wednesday nights) that does just that - teaching why and how to CONTINUALLY develop your discipleship practices and actions and how it benefits you and those around you. In terms of young people, the church has to find better ways to communicate and make church a place of fellowship and fun without losing the preaching and teaching of the Holy Scriptures' core doctrine. For example, my church uses a praise and worship band consisting of guitar, bass, drums, keyboards, etc. Why? Because younger folks relate to this music style better than traditional (e.g., choir, gospel, etc.) music. As someone who grew up on rock, blues, folk, jazz, etc., it blew my mind when I heard our band for the first time playing contemporary Christian music. It was the "hook" that God used to set in my heart to desire worshiping Him. We also have a coffee/sandwich shop in our church that is open to the public. We offer wireless internet service (free), and many folks now use a download smart phone/tab app for following the Sunday Sermon message outline instead of the traditional paper copy. We also provide all kinds of year round activities and programming for young families because that is where your growth and future church members are.

As a person who has helped plant a couple congregations.

Church isn't ever going away. It may be smaller and likely will be much smaller.

Liberated of people who there because they see attendance as important to a political career or business career will correct a lot of problems.

A number of churches have driven full speed down a dead end street. Any pastor who thinks abortion and homosexuals (or worse, abortion, homosexuals, and the tax code) are the biggest issues in a person's life is missing the boat, the pier, and the whole harbor.

Toss in the prosperity gospel folks and it has been a battle.

One of the reasons I'm the odd duck not complaining about Millennials is because I've found them to mostly be immune to the old avenues of being evangelized. You go clean up parks, help an inner city school, do things for the homeless, try to help people just out of prison get on their feet and explain to them why we exist and you can get them. Offer some weak argument like "well what if you are wrong and there is a God" and you can hang it up.

Its the liberals in the churches driving the homosexual issue as the most important one.
They push it Bullet, but it is the corporate church hierarchy that has allowed this out of fear of losing some straight out corporate and governmental assistance. Remember H.W. Bush's 1000 points of light. Well if you took that assistance to help the homeless, battered women, etc, you can forget taking a traditional stance on sexuality. Have CEO's in your denomination that steer some corporate donations, or interest free loans your way? Bye bye getting around the corporate stance on whatever the issue may be. There are major strings attached to that money.

The Presbyterian Church and the Lutheran Church have already split over this issue and the Methodists will meet next year to do the same. There has been an exodus of some prominent churches from the Southern Baptist Convention over the same.

My point is that it is the acceptance of outside money with strings and the fear of being attacked in the media that have rendered these denominations bereft of a voice in moral issues. But then they neutered themselves years ago when their tithes and offerings went to self serving projects instead of to the places that Christ directed: widows, orphans, poor, sick, sojourners within your gates, and to help the imprisoned.

If you claim they are budgeted items you need to reread my earlier posts. The line items in budgets for these areas simply go to pay other ministers and missionaries salaries, retirement, insurance, housing, expenses, etc.

All of these systems are of the clergy, by the clergy, and for the clergy. It is as if Eli's sons had returned to take over the church business everywhere.

We home church. Our tithes and offerings go directly to those in need and with them we always get asked, "Why are you doing this for us?" Well right there you have your opening for a witness. "We are doing this for you because it is what God wants us to do because God loves and values you."

That's what the corporate church never gets around to and why it fails. And if you aren't helping people directly the young folks see you for what you are, worthless. If you want to reach the young then help them, or their friends, and get them involved with it. Then you'll grow.

In corporate church you drop some in the plate and socialize and have no responsibility to be a minister to anyone. Your pastor gets a fat check to work himself/herself to death (appx. 60-70 hours a week). They burn out, die early, or get too accustomed to the money, power or prestige and lose their way. Their congregations do nothing much of note and in time they die out with the wealthiest members.

Get everyone involved in ministry and just try to keep up with your growth. But your growth doesn't need a weekly meeting place all under one roof, just more homes to meet in. And there is no salary to support, no building overhead to cover, but there is a lot of personal contact time. There's your first century church at work.

In other words people are attracted to Christianity in practice, not in Christianity professed, or conferred through training programs that require no subsequent action when completed.
(This post was last modified: 07-25-2018 06:42 PM by JRsec.)
07-25-2018 06:39 PM
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