Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Religious Conservatives Lie, But Sometimes They Have A Point

                            Rod Drehrer. Image from the Frum Forum

By Hos
There have been a number of (rather amusing) reactions to the recent poll showing a decrease in religiosity and an uptake in atheism in the US. The BBC is offering two takes.
What is interesting is that neither contributor seems to have a clue about the works of social researchers who have studied secularization trends all over the world. They never mention that what we see in the US now has been happening in Europe and elsewhere for decades.
But aside from their ignorance, they do make some interesting remarks. Conservative (and, curiously, sexist Vladimir Putin apologist) Rod Drehrer, says all this is "hardly good news for atheists...the influence of atheism is limited to a tiny population, concentrated disproportionately in the academia and the media". (So much for the efforts of the accommodationist Templeton Foundation trying to paint US academia as a lot more religious that generally thought.) He falsely claims that if American religion weren't about rigor, repentance and reform, "neither the 19th-century abolitionists nor the 20th-century civil rights marchers would have had a thing to go on". (I'd suggest that he needs to look up Frederick Douglass and A Philip Randolph). He asserts that people who have stopped going to church may one day discover nothing other than religion can give them "the otherworldly hope they need to endure and to triumph over true suffering". (Right, because that happened in country after country in Europe once secularization took hold? And besides, as we all know, the suffering of gay people doesn't count as "true" suffering. But hey, it is not like the religious fanatics haven’t been long in the business of making up self-serving fantasies.)
The second contributor, David Dickerson, isn't much better. He starts by giving as little credit to the New Atheist movement as possible. (Right, I am sure the out campaign and the clergy project never changed anyone’s comfort level expressing their views, let alone any minds.) Then, he the goes on to mention negative views on evangelicals among young people, who see them as homophobic, judgmental, hypocritical and out of touch.
But if young people so much dislike evangelicals, why aren't they flocking to the liberal churches, which, if anything, have been in even faster decline than the  fundamentamentalists? Dickerson doesn't go into that, but Rod Drehrer has an explanation:
" If God expects nothing of you but to be nice and to be happy, why roll out of bed on Sunday morning, even for the most progressive of liturgies?" (Of course, liturgies are not the only reason people go to church: music, socializing, dating, etc are others. Unfortunately for liberal churches, all of these have not made up for the numbers gone along with fire and brimstone sermons.)
Drehrer's prose is a rich mix of lies and condescending potshots at those who disagree with him, but he has a point here. Religion is an ideology founded on fear and guilt, and once you take that element away it will, slowly as it may be, collapse.

1 comment:

Carl said...

Religious conservatives have no point and never will. Religion has no point either so both go hand in hand.