God damn (pardon the pun). I’m part of a positive trend!
A growing number of “nones” live in our midst: those who say they have no religious affiliation at all. An October Pew Research Center poll revealed that they now account for 20 percent of the population, up from 16 percent in 2008. — NYTimes
Look a little closer and you’ll see that there’s a distinction between people who claim no religious affiliation, and people who admit to no religious beliefs. That 20% is not atheistic, or even agnostic. It’s people who still entertain a belief in a Supreme Being, or at least supernatural forces, but who reject traditional organizations of belief and worship.
Personally, I stopped believing in any of this shit a long while ago. No gods, no supernatural forces, no little green men. The world as we know it is firmly in the hands of us corrupt, beshitted human beings, which is the only rational explanation for the horrible state it’s in. If there’s a god somewhere, what kind if fiend is he that allows the sort of evil and pain most of the world confronts on an hourly basis? E.g., Seinfeld reruns, the government of Cuba, and Orka Winfrey’s Book Club.
Like religion itself, this report is a mixed blessing. While the intellectual underpinnings of religion are just plain wrong, leading to a largely ignorant and often aggressively violent population of believers, the same principles espoused are enlightened, compassionate, and productive in the mission of advancing our humanity and civilization. It all depends who’s steering the ship. Again, it’s firmly in our hands. Us, the sinners. Us the thinkers. Us, the assholes who are human beings in whose hands the world’s condition rests.
While I’m an atheist of many years’ standing, some of the finest, wisest, most decent and compassionate beings I’ve had the pleasure and honor to meet are members of the clergy — pastors, nuns, church deacons, priests — as well as passionate lay believers. Dogma and belief are not the issue. We share a common belief that there are people who benefit from good intentions and better deeds regardless of motive, and are prepared to implement actions that provide assistance. End of tale.
So: are there fewer affiliated believers? Who cares, if charitable endeavors are on the upswing, and good deeds proliferate? Keep your focus on the ends, not the means. There’s a world of hurt who needs your help and nobody cares if you’re an American Christian so long as you provide it.
To which I have but two words to add: Merry Christmas!
And Rick: if this isn’t the Post of the Week, what is?