Sunday, March 4, 2007

Are Americans Religious?

Not particularly.

Although 92% believe in God, 85% believe in heaven, 82% believe in miracles, 71% believe in hell, 63% believe there is a devil, 44% believe that God is male, they are not religious in the sense that they blindly follow everything in The Bible.

It's easy for them to hold those beliefs because none conflict with their hard-wired sense of morality. That is, they select sections of The Bible that don't conflict with their civil lifestyle.

For example, I suspect that few "religious" people (at least, Christians and Jews) would condone putting people to death for working on the sabbath, or for being a homosexual, or for being insolent to a parent. In fact, if you do a Bible text search on the phrase "put to death", you can see dozens of capital offenses that, I think, few people would approve of. It's a long list: Adultery, sex with a daughter-in-law (which returns a death sentence for both parties), bestiality (Fido also gets the death penalty), claiming to be a "wizard", anyone who attempts to dissuade you of a belief in God, anyone who rejects the God's Commandments, blasphemers, and all sorts of other transgressions that I can't understand because the prose is too incoherent.

But there are certainly many references to blood, stoning, eye-gouging, "smiting with iron" -- and enough other violence to ensure that any decent Christian or Jew would not permit their children to view a literal reenactment, assuming that they could stomach these things themselves. Better to believe in the abstractions, and live a life free of literal interpretation -- as civilized people tend to do.

4 comments:

Lexcen said...

I think there is a fundamental (excuse the pun) difference between Islamic fundamentalists and Christian fundamentalists in that the Christians wouldn't be advocating blood,stoning,eye-gouging and smiting with iron etc just because they occur in the bible. Whereas the Islamic fundamentalists do advocate cutting of hands and feet and stoning to death.

21 said...

True enough...you can't accuse Islamic fundamentalists of diluting their behavior to suit a modern way of life.

Anonymous said...

Your view reflects a lack of understanding of Jesus and of Christianity. Do you not know of the Sermon on the Mount, who really is blessed, Mat 5:3-12, loving your enemies Mat 5:43-48, and his challenge to live a good life without judging others? (Mat 7:1-6) Or his pointing out that there are no 'unclean foods' and it is the thoughts and deeds we do that are defiling/wrong?

And when challenged by the Pharisees
about a sinful adulteress (John 7:53–8:11), he said: "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her".

We are given rules and an understanding of morality, but none of us are without sin. Yes, we are judes, but it is God's grace and mercy that keeps us whole and human. Sir, please read the Gospels from beginning to end. Jesus gave you the answers 2000 years before you were able to figure it out.

Anonymous said...

"Yes, we are judes" er, meant we are judged