'Jesus fucking christ!'A fun new study by that Pew Research group finds that only 65% of “millennials” (young adults) consider themselves to be Christian, and only half of the alleged Christians even understand the central tenet of the religion: That the Jesus character is the only way to be “saved” by God, the purported “second daddy” of Jesus. Overwhelming majorities of these 18-to-30 year olds don’t go to church, avoid that weird Bible book, and only half of these nutty kids even believe in God at all!

Says some Christian operative trying (and failing) to convert the kids: “The Millennial generation will see churches closing as quickly as GM dealerships.” Ha ha, let’s hope so. And let’s hope they’re the big dumb suburban ugly-ass stucco mall/warehouse/steel building churches that sit like poop upon our already trashy American landscape.

And there’s little chance any of these people will ever join a church, even as old folks staring blankly at Death. Studies show that young adults who either drop church or never went will almost always never return or never pick up the habit. And less than one-in-five protestant kids forced to go to church as teen-agers will continue into their twenties.

“Unless religious leaders take younger adults more seriously, the future of American religion is in doubt,” says Princeton sociologist Robert Wuthnow in After the Baby Boomers, due in stores in September.

The proportion of young adults identifying with mainline churches, he says, is “about half the size it was a generation ago. Evangelical Protestants have barely held their own.”

Experts say all these dumb “millennials” also lack the only thing organized religion has been known to offer rudderless losers through History: a moral compass. [USA Today]

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  1. Sounds like things might actually be getting tolerable in this great country of ours, right around the time I punch the clock. Figures.

  2. Who needs in-person church when I have my televised Joel Osteen megachurch loving experience? I can’t eat Cheez Whiz straight out of the dispenser in real church!

  3. [re=564776]TGY[/re]: In a lot of ways, Kids are smarter these days…or at least better able to sift through a lot of the BS. Maybe this is the generation that finally finds a cure for Cognitive Disconnect?

  4. Yes! Thanks for some good news, Ken — this makes it worth all that despair and obesity.
    And as far as never going back once one has left religion — I try yogurt every year or so, just to see if my distaste for it has gone away. No such liberal outlook with religion. God — worse than yogurt, with less prospect of improvement in the future.
    Also, Jesus is a renter? And I thought he was supposed to be the landlord.

  5. I’d be happy for a major decrease in US America Religoids. It would make you easier to be neighbors to. Would end a lot of your leaders saying “God this” and “God that” while we non believing socialist health care having heathens roll our eyes. It might surprise you guys, but US America is the only “developed” nation that has a majority of its population who still goes to church.

    I don’t believe that it will lead to a rise in liberalism as it seems the majority of millennials don’t read books or care about “knowladje.”

  6. Progress! “Among the 65% who call themselves Christian, “many are either mushy Christians or Christians in name only,” Rainer says.”

    Can I assume mushy is a euphemism for obese or overweight?

  7. The youngs would flock to church if communion were potato chips and Mtn Dew instead of grape juice and those little wafers that stick to the roof of your mouth.

  8. Well, the population of the olds keeps growing and they refuse to die.

    Anyway, I think kids today are tired of being molested/groped in church and are well pretty much fed up with that.

  9. This one’s kind of serious, alas.
    Think about it: the feebs are out there saying they’re Christian, but completely unburdened by messy things like ethics or morality or standards. They’re “Christian,” but they don’t have to listen to priests, pastors, the Bible, or God.

    They are, in other words, ready to follow Sarah Palin and vote Republican. They are ready to campaign on “Christian values” and pay hookers.

  10. If churches are closing at the rate of GM dealerships, it’s obviously time for a Christianity bailout program. I’m sure the Teabaggers would be fully behind that, what with their reverence for the Constitution.

  11. Cool, this will free up lots of neat old buildings. Think of the space! the ceilings. “New York Style Loft Space” Movie palaces. …..80s Nightclubs with caged dancers in pseudo bondage outfits and big hair…course i’ll be using a walker and a Vitter diaper by then.

  12. I’ve got a great deal for you on a new loft condominium. It’s located in an historic building — a converted church! Imagine eating breakfast underneath a vintage stained glass window. You, too, can break bread where the priests did!

  13. Difficult to understand..Evangelicals have been such shining, guiding beacons of love & tolerance. The trouble comes from “plants” by libtards that set bad examples. Bush, Palin, Swaggart, the crusades in Iraq. Plants I tell ya!

  14. Churches just need to give out some iPads.

    ‘Free iPad to first 10 to be saved’. That’ll get the youngsters flocking there.

  15. Great to hear some good news for a change! Anecdotally, it’s always seemed like there were more atheists among people my age (Generation X or maybe Y) and younger than olds, but being the subset of the liberal college-educated urban elites (AKA unAmericans) I thought it might not apply to the non-old population at large.

    Of course, those obnoxious “new atheists” like Dawkins should have just been quite instead of rudely asking people to acknowledge their existence, because while less people would have abandoned religion the religious wouldn’t have gotten their precious feelings hurt.

  16. The new, hyper-short attention span, multi tasking generation needs something other than dinosaurian mega churches. How about:

    The Church of Xbox 360
    The Church of Perpetual Masturbation
    The church of Cable TV
    The Church of Riddlin
    The Church of Malls
    The Church of Boobies!

    And so on

  17. [re=564800]Mild Midwesterner[/re]: You kid about this, but in Europe there ARE a lot of churches that have been converted into living spaces. And they are awesome.

  18. Join me brother and sisters in the wonderful liberal secular humanist world of Unitarianism. All the fun of Xian, Jewish, pagan, etc. holidays, none of the guilt. AND sexx classes!

  19. Many are unsure Jesus is the only path to heaven: Half say yes, half no.

    Come on, America — this is not apostasy I can believe in. Agnosticism is for sissies — the term “agnostic” is actually from the Greek, and originally meant “I don’t believe in god but I’m still afraid of him.” So unless you’re talking about your Jesus vibrator, he’s not the path to heaven.

  20. Meh. This is what happens when prosperity becomes widespread. There’s no reason to turn to the Almighty for succor against misery when you’re not that miserable. Same reason the number of kids is dropping off worldwide — why put your hope in the future generation when you’re having a good time yourself? Europe is ahead of us on both of these because of teh socialisms, which we’re just getting around to.

    Don’t get too cheerful, though; when peak oil tips our oil-based economy/food production into the toilet, or the planet finally gets to the tipping point and refuses to support 7 billion humans, or the aliens come, people will get religion like a motherfucker.

  21. [re=564797]Geogre[/re]: Does not compute – ethics, morality and standards are completely separate from religion, and whether or not someone calls themselves Christian, reads some old book or listens to a particular authority figure has nothing whatsoever to do with their ethics and morality, or lack thereof.

  22. The young’uns (the males anyway) apparently have yet to discover Pastor Melissa Scott (google her.) I don’t regularly swing that way, but she could definitely get all my munnies, and slobbed down, also.

  23. This story has made the Flying Spaghetti Monster angry. Beware of his vengeance — a plague of meatballs the size of hailstones, and marinara sauce raining down like blood from the skies. You have been warned!!!!

  24. It’s Morning in the Bible Belt.

    Seriously, as a young living in what is essentially the Jeebus Goblin’s Mordor, it cheers me up to know that by the time I’m an old, nobody will be listening to these idiots, lunatics, and con artists anymore.

  25. Actually no, the central tenant would seem to be that homeless Mexican kid. That’s why they keep trying to guilt-trip people into letting him crash for a night or two in your chest cavity. I’ve never understood why he’d wanna sleep between my lungs when there are unoccupied telephone poles for as far as the eye can see, but then again I’m no theologian.

  26. [re=564819]Jerk Cade[/re]: I was in Portland several years ago and went to a head shop in a renovated church — so they’re being put to good use, finally.

  27. Personally, I blame The Dead Kennedys:

    They all claim that they have ‘the Answer’
    When they don’t even know the Question
    They’re just a bunch of liars
    They just want your money
    They just want your consciousness

    They all claim that they have the truth
    That’ll set you free
    Just give ’em all your money and they’ll set you free
    Free for a fee

    All religions suck
    All religions make me wanna throw up
    All religions suck
    All religions make me wanna BLEAH

    They make me sick
    They make me sick
    They make me sick
    They make me sick
    They make me sick
    They make me ILL

  28. This also proves, I think, that the millennials’ parents never did believe in religion as much as they said, or as much as people thought. Because if they did, they would have been dragging these kids to church and whatnot. But they didn’t, so they kids said meh.

  29. Oh, silly, silly. Let’s not do this, again.
    Christians who are Christians are bound by the restrictions of their moral and ethical code. Muslims who are Muslims are bound by the restrictions of their moral and ethical code. (Moral: pertaining to ‘good and evil’ as qualities outside of social interaction. Ethic: pertaining to ‘right and wrong’ as qualities largely political and interactive.) So, if a group calls itself “Christian” but does not read the Bible, does not have churches, does not have any of the actual religion, then it is purely a social or political identifier, nothing more.

    The point is that it’s better, for an agnostic or atheist, to be surrounded by a group of Puritans than a group of these “Millennials.” The reason is that the one has committed to specific rules of positive behavior. The other is just practicing identity politics. It is also, of course, a ready mob. Either they should be persuaded to stop calling themselves “Christian” or be persuaded to be religious. Either one would be better for a political state.

  30. This is a win for everybody. Older generations get to blame us for destroying the precious fabric of society, which they want to do anyways, and I don’t have to spend 45 minutes EVERY sunday doing the ritual of stand-sit-stand-kneel-stand-eat wafer-get stuck in parking lot.

  31. [re=564819]Jerk Cade[/re]: Ha! I was thinking of Limelight but thought too few people would remember it.

    I’m thinking a way they could save their precious would be to have stripper poles to the right and left of the pulpit. Then evangelicals could have both of their obsessions in one place. Instead of passing the plate you could get a lap dance. Jesus would be so happy with attendance.

  32. Wait are they counting the “churches” the size of baseball stadiums where they rock out, have rappers, promise oaths not to spend off hours at the bar instead or raising their kids, promise to turn straight if they are gay, and have gift shops selling double layer neoprene wetsuits? Because those places scare me a little. Oh, and those pesky illegal immigrants? They are big into that Jeebus fellow. The supposition here is that because whites no longer go to church, the churches will vanish. They’re not taking into account the minor leagues and farm teams!

  33. “When the Son of Man returns, will he find faith on the earth?”

    Not among the Christians, let’s hope. Trying to be a good X-ist, myself.

  34. [re=564797]Geogre[/re]: Yeah, the whole “shallow but stringent” thing personified by Palin sure doesn’t require four years at the seminary … or four years studying anything, ever. What’s encouraging is that in just two generations we’ve moved from a 95% “Christian Nation” to just 65% of 18-to-30s even bothering to claim allegiance to the generic faith and half of those not even believing in Jesus, necessarily.

    People of Earth: Sorry I typed “tenant” instead of the actual word, “tenet,” when I wrote a draft of this after midnight while falling asleep. I blame Jesus/Firefox spell check for allowing this outrage. Also I am old.

  35. [re=564827]bureaucrap[/re]: You obviously are referring to the old testament FSM, where I was referring to the mellower new testament FSM, the deity that promises us stripper factories and beer volcanoes when we shuck this mortal coil.

  36. [re=564825]Zadig[/re]: Word to this. Could it be also that today’s churchy-volk (particularly in our redneck of the woods) continue to peddle homophobia, racism, xenophobia, and other sociocultural ideas that were already considered outmoded in the 1950s? As [re=564783]Dashboard_Buddha[/re]: noted, the Cognitive Disconnect… it is awesome.

  37. It’s that insidiously liberal honeypot facebook. It draws kids in with promises of death panels and funny jokes about God killing the President. But while they start out with these wholesome activities they soon find themselves on a dark path when Satan clicks the “like” button on them!

  38. [re=564793]ella[/re]: Maybe more people would come if they gave a decent amount of wine instead of just a sip, and stopped using the watered-down shit.

    For the first time ever, I want to thank the likes of Oral Roberts, Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, and the entire leadership of the Catholic Church, for showing the complete moral bankruptcy and hypocrisy of religious institutions and driving people away in droves.

    That, and the show that spent decades in daily reruns teaching kids to be skeptics. That’s right, Scooby Doo.

  39. [re=564819]Jerk Cade[/re]: ZOMG I remember once at Limelight (so I was told, I didn’t see this personally, swear to Allah), there was some kind of cylindrical contraption built consisting of waist-high holes, and there were supposedly people, or some form of creature, occupying the inside of this cage/booth/torture device. I don’t think there wasn’t a single mode of defilement that did not occur at that place, and I haven’t been there since the early nineties.

    I fucking love the idea that someone will be buying kitchen utensils at the site of the Hobbit Glory Hole Solstice Predictor, or whatever the fuck it was. Honestly, I never saw it, I was too afraid to go in there once I heard. But I have it from one who had it from one who had it from one…

  40. [re=564822]nappyduggs[/re]: She is hot. I think she’s also the daughter of the Rev. Gene Scott, that crazy old bastard who used to have a show in the middle of the night on basic cable … the guy who used to tell the band, “Play Pissants for Jesus again, boys,” and solicited donations for his church’s racehorse.

  41. As one of the more-than-four in five 20somethings who happily does not attend church now after being forced to go to a Protestant church growing up, I will say this: I would be MUCH more likely to still go to church now if the one I was raised in was not filled with hypocritical, judgmental asses who acted MUCH more like the characters in “Mean Girls” than Jesus, if it was not filled with youth who jumped at the chance to go on church trips – where they got drunk and high and screwed the whole time – while preaching abstinence and sobriety, if it was not filled with adults who competed to see who could have the most Mercedes in their driveways and give the biggest donation to the church building fund (and who could stay the farthest away from the homeless or anyone who, you know, could actually use help from Jesus people), if the adults did not act like it was a big popularity contest and did not fire a preacher who actually said “geez people you have money, maybe actually do something Jesus-like with it instead of turning the church into your college sorority.”

    As far as I’m concerned, going to church growing up is WHY the 18-30s now don’t have a moral compass. If this trend continues, we’ll be a more moral, tolerant, helpful and giving society in a generation or two.

  42. Today I am proud (for a change) to be a Baby Boomer. Looks like we are finally contributing to the future of the nation. We raised our progeny to be rational, humanistic people and not superstitious sheeple. As a recovering Catholic, the only loss I see will be to some of the great cathedral architecture. I guess they can become museums. Renaissance art is safely in museums already.

  43. Ruh roh: “And Tommy doesn’t know what day it is.
    He doesn’t know who Jesus was or what praying is.
    How can he be saved?
    From the eternal grave.”

  44. This is horrible! Where will the Evangelicals get the money for their huge houses, corporate jets and expensive automobiles? Where will the Pope and Cardinals get the money for their fancy dresses and hats?

  45. [re=564838]Geogre[/re]: So you think that the religiously semi-committed are more easily whipped up than the religiously fervent? I don’t think that’s quite right — Puritans managed to off a bunch of their own for no reason, despite having stringent morals, and there are plenty of examples of fundamentalists going to excess, regardless of the religion — Afghanistan and Pakistan and Nigeria are not, in fact, made up of middle-of-the-roaders. I’d say the mushy believers are more susceptible to adopting something secular, like the humanist ethics that informed our founding fathers.
    To say, as you seem to be, that the believers more likely to act in a radical fashion are the ones who are less committed to their beliefs doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Sorry if I’ve misunderstood your point, but that’s what I got from it.

  46. Just when I think that the country is doomed, something like this gives me hope that one day we will emerge from our semmingly terminal case of the stupids.

    I saw a great bumper sticker the other day – Religion: the only thing that keeps the poor people from killing the rich ones.

    They can’t close those opium dens fast enough!

  47. Actually, the “central tenant of the religion” would be the priest in the middle room in the rectory. The central tenets of the religion, on the other hand, are “Fight the kenya-muslin anti-Jesus, no icky-poo uglies-bumping, eliminate inheritance taxes, and no more giving money to poor people,” or so my radio tells me.

  48. [re=564863]Redhead[/re]: “where they got drunk and high and screwed the whole time – while preaching abstinence and sobriety”

    I, on the other hand, would still be going to church lo these decades later if there had EVER been rampant youth group sex and drugs. I had to quit church and join a punk rock band to enjoy that life.

    Young people these days…..

  49. [re=564815]SayItWithWookies[/re]: I was going to write an enormous screed about why Apathetic Agnostic is the way to go, then I remembered that I’m not supposed to care.

    Also, my agnosticism carries a hefty caveat to the “lol idunno” part: all religions are bullshit.

  50. [re=564838]Geogre[/re]: But “Christian” has become a fuzzy identifier that doesn’t really mean all that much anymore, and which one can — if desired — apply to themselves without having to bother with any sort of underlying behavior modification or belief structure. Like “Democrat”.

  51. [re=564872]ivenson[/re]: Hey, I’m still looking for a place I can find rampant youth sex (or well, rampant 30-something sex now I guess). Maybe I should pretend to join a church…

  52. [re=564872]ivenson[/re]: See, but it was the Bristol Palin version of sex and drugs (and rock and roll) – do it behind closed doors and preach as loud as you can, to everyone, that you don’t do it and think it’s bad. And if anyone DOESN’T hide it and proclaim loudly that teh sex and teh drugs are evil and you would never touch them, well, you shun those people.

    It’s not worth it when you could just go to parties with normal people and not have to talk about how sex means you’re going to hell in between bong hits.

  53. I, for one, am very saddened by this news. My poor son is running out of ways to bilk people out of their money – as I have proven, being an engineer barely buys the groceries. I was hoping he could follow in the footsteps of his dear old Grandad and “screw” his parishioners, while literally screwing some of his parishioners.

  54. Some folks will miss the religions. Most of the people I knew in CYOs (Catholic Youth Organizations) had their first sexual experiences there. Some not even with a priest.

  55. So wait, if I spent my formative years following the teachings of this illegitimate carpenter, what the hell have I done with my life? Is it all a waste? Did anything good come out of this? What about converting the heathens? Why was I born to fundmentalist parents? Why can’t I like Single Payer Health Care?

  56. [re=564862]BeWoot[/re]:

    That guy was AW3SOME. But she is his widow. Even if she was his daughter I somehow think he would have made her wear a bikini around the compound….

  57. [re=564889]Radiotherapy[/re]: “While I agree PMS has a mild allure.”

    Out of context, this comes off rather odd.

    [re=564904]loquaciousmusic[/re]: For a second I thought you were referring to the classic movies. You know, maybe it’s George Burns’ lampooning of the Christian god that’s lead to so many atheists.

  58. [re=564868]SayItWithWookies[/re]:
    A true believer is a true believer. Eric Hoffer ain’t going anywhere. (Shoot, if we really want to talk serious, not funny, we can start tossing Kierkegaard in and say that the true believer isn’t “religious” at all.)

    I’m saying that “Christian” as a political label is nasty. A system of beliefs, and particularly one that is documentary and historical, is predictable and has room for reason. Ned Flanders has to forgive Homer Simpson, no matter what. On the other hand, if a group is bouncing around saying, “Christian” or “Muslim” or “Hindu” (and each religion has its own version of this) as a birth identity, as an ethnicity, then all we have is us and them. The people get to claim something but owe nothing.

    I would venture to guess that Diaper Man and Ensign both say that they’re just as “Christian” and even good Christians — practices, beliefs, and habits be damned — because, like these folks under discussion, the term doesn’t involve any belief or commitment.

  59. Oh, the church is filled with losers, psycho, or confused. I just want to hold the divine inside and forget. Oh but the beauty is wasted.

  60. [re=564919]nappyduggs[/re]: Guilty!??!! I have watched her blithering schtick, and thought nothing but carnally, but I’d bet a fap or two she’s done prOn. Which actually makes her interesting. PrOn Preacher. Why did she cover it up? How did she cover it up?

  61. [re=564914]Geogre[/re]: Please, let’s leave ol’ Soren out of this one.

    I think that the Christ Brigade is going to disagree with you on letting the Jeebus-less youths call themselves Christian. If only the true believers can hold the label, then suddenly America won’t be such a Christian Nation anymore.

  62. [re=564863]Redhead[/re]: if the adults did not act like it was a big popularity contest and did not fire a preacher who actually said “geez people you have money, maybe actually do something Jesus-like with it instead of turning the church into your college sorority.”

    Read more at Wonkette:

    We once had a guest preacher who was a local Jesuit priest, and gave a sermon that started off along the lines of “I had trouble coming up with a topic today, and then I realized that it’s because I was avoiding the subject God was pushing me towards.” He then proceeded to rail against the culture of death and torture that we’ve built up in recent years, making reference to recent news of a drone attack that killed some insurgent leader, and also his family and extended family that happened to live in the same home, and how not only was this celebrated by the press, but the dead overtly mocked. In particular, he dressed down how corrosive it was to our humanity that we were taking glory in the death of a half-dozen or so human beings, most of whom were innocent bystanders caught in the blast radius. All while taking pains to avoid discussing the war and invasion themselves.

    Anyway, the next week, when the regular pastor was back, several parishoners took him aside after services to excoriate him for allowing the guest preacher to give that sermon, and demanded that he not be allowed back.

    I never did go back to that church.

  63. [re=564790]ManchuCandidate[/re]: You know, you’d be easier to live next door to if you would stop being that guy at the party who always has to claim the moral / intellectual high ground. Thanks!

  64. [re=564914]Geogre[/re]: Eh — I’d say that’s a variant of the No True Scotsman argument — just because people don’t act as you’d expect a Christian to act doesn’t mean that they’re not fervent believers. It could be just as true that their church is inept at conveying its values, or has values that aren’t what you’d expect, but still considers itself Christian (or whatever religion).

    Additionally, you argument neglects that a functioning society has a moral code independent of the religion of its citizens — our laws are at the bottom, but other standards of behavior lie above that, and what’s socially acceptable has to transcend religion, especially in a pluralistic society. It might in fact be the case that our civic morality is stronger and more consistent than many religious moralities, especially the one that allows Ned Flanders to, for instance, kill with love and forgiveness in his heart. Consider that guy who murdered Dr. Tiller, the abortion provider — I’d guess he identified as strongly religious, not towards the secular end of the belief spectrum.

  65. [re=564914]Geogre[/re]: Yes. Many so-called Christians use that term in the political/cultural sense — in their minds it means being politically conservative while enjoying some of the highest divorce rates in the Nation and porn, lot o’porn.

    It may also mean that as these people become an even smaller portion of the population with less influence over the larger culture and society, some may react violently against what they see as the unGodly — the liberals, the elite, the media, the nonwhite, the gays, the Killer Whales who actually kill, and anything else they see as attacking their “faith” while, of course, ignoring the central doctorine of the actual faith — love your neighbor as yourself.

  66. [re=564939]mumblyjoe[/re]: Is it weird that I’ve always hated organized religion, and going to a diocesan high school taught me a special contempt for the Catholic Church, but also I’ve always thought that Jesuits were sort of badass?

    As much as I dislike missionary functions and Papistry, every Jesuit I ever met actually fucking, you know, believed and practiced what they preached. No doubt being big on education and a bunch of fucking commies helps, too.

  67. They’re just going to have to somehow take back political power and then compel people to believe and attend church on pain of execution if they don’t, just like the days of yore.

  68. So basically we can’t blame it ALL on Dan Brown?
    [re=564786]Limeylizzie[/re]: You win yet another thread–and this time with only two words.
    [re=564958]McDuff[/re]: They’ve been reacting violently for some time now.

  69. [re=564969]RoscoePColtraine[/re]: And then we can retcon women we don’t like into being witches, who (naturally) must burn.

    Personally, if we’re going full-on days of yore, I’d prefer we stop by the pre-Constantine days of Rome, where we can watch some lions stone cold snack on the Jesus people.

  70. I’ve Got Joy, Joy, Joy, Joy (Click here to print this page)
    From the album My First Bible Songs For Toddlers


    I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy
    Down in my heart (where?)
    Down in my heart (where?)
    Down in my heart
    I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy
    Down in my heart (where?)
    Down in my heart to stay

    I’ve got the love of Jesus, love of Jesus
    Down in my heart (where?)
    Down in my heart (where?)
    Down in my heart
    I’ve got the love of Jesus, love of Jesus
    Down in my heart (where?)
    Down in my heart to stay

  71. [re=564936]GoinGreen[/re]: “Funny” is hard to explain. But what’s that POS show on Faux at 3 AM? Last Rites, or something like that, that IS NOT “funny”.

  72. Yay, it’s a twofer! The right-wing base, having nearly completed the destruction of the GOP, is well on the way to turning Christianity into a historical footnote as well. Thanks lunatics!

  73. [re=564957]SayItWithWookies[/re]: That’s something I’ve often heard from liberal Christians; that the conservative assholes aren’t “true Christians”, thereby absolving their religion from responsibility for the worst acts of its adherents. Of course, a lot of the right-wingers claim the non-hateful are the “fake Christians”, and beyond that several denominations claim as doctrine that they are the only real Christian sect and all others are fake (most notably Catholic).

    The thing is, people can find pretty much anything in the Bible to support their own political beliefs, and they do. If someone calls themself a Christian, I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt on it; really, all it takes is believing that some guy from 2000 years ago was actually the son of god while also somehow god himself, and had magical powers.

    Sorry, but Christianity throughout the centuries has been, and is, used to justify a lot of monstrous shit; and the “those aren’t real Christians” argument is a disingenuous attempt to maintain the claim of moral superiority for the “true” believers.

  74. But hey! Wait everybody… hang on sec! We’re gonna have a Folk Mass over here. We’ve got this hippie Franciscan priest who looks like Jesus and tells jokes, as part of his homily! Chicks with guitars, right down in front, doing “One Tin Soldier” and then that Byrds number everyone loves, c’mon, sing along with us “Turn, turn, turn…” Hey, where’s everybody going? Aw geeze…

    Damn, I miss the 70’s.

  75. [re=565008]JMP[/re]: Where this sort of ‘no true Scotsman’ argumentation turns truly hilarious (actually sort of sad) is when the fundie Christians argue that any brown who isn’t blowing themselves up isn’t a True Muslin. Reel Muslins do terrorisms.

    I got in an argument with a ‘bagger relative the other day who insisted that as soon as someone commits an act of hate or violence, they remove themselves from the Tea Party. I was wondering if he realized that he was literally bragging about using a rhetorical cheat, or he just didn’t realize that you’re normally supposed to be subtle and at least retcon in a prior divergence from the main group.

  76. [re=564977]Cranky Little Camperette[/re]: That they are. I went to a Jesuit high school, and we were actually encouraged to question official Catholic doctrine; it actually helped lead me towards atheism, beginning with the realization that women who get abortions aren’t murderers and gayness wasn’t a mental illness.

  77. [re=565023]JMP[/re]: Is it any surprise that while Mother Church publicly recognizes and lauds the Ignatians’ works, the Church and the Society really don’t get along very well?

  78. [re=564976]chascates[/re]: Here in the Lone Star State – my chutch added some good old fashioned violence to it: wannahearit? hereitgoes!

    ANNND if the Devil doesn’t like it, he can sit on a tack (what?)
    Sit on a tack (what?)
    Sit on a tack
    ANNND if the Devil doesn’t like it, he can sit on a tack (what?)
    Sit on a tack TODAY!!!

  79. [re=564935]Zorg[/re]: It was definitely the Limelight, but it may have been Mineshaft Employee Appreciation Night. So that there is no misunderstanding, while I spent my college years in the West Village, I never went to the Mineshaft either. However, I have already related on another comment how close I came to going to Plato’s Retreat. There was an STD with my name on it out there, but it never found the appropriate vector.

  80. How dare the young-folk doubt the great Flying Spaghetti Monster! Hallowed be his many delicious tentacles. Blessed be his meatballs. Scrumptious may be his light dusting of parmesan.

    Now join with me in hymn: “On top of spaghetti, all covered with cheese…”

  81. [re=565032]GoinGreen[/re]: I’m from up in the Panhandle and we said:

    ANNND if the Devil doesn’t like it, he can sit on a stick (what?)
    Sit on a stick (what?)

  82. [re=565019]Zadig[/re]: No true teabagger would ever commit an act of violence! They’ll just use alarmist eliminationalist rhetoric to encourage others to commit terrorism; er uh, violent acts by a lone wolf who is not part of any organized movement which is not terrorism because he’s white.

  83. [re=564958]McDuff[/re]: ignoring the central doctrine of the actual faith — love your neighbor as yourself.

    It’s amazing how many Christians actively overlook this little gem of wisdom. But then again, most Christians think that selfless loving is so gosh-darn HARD, esp. when it comes to loving those “other” people.

  84. [re=564864]Rosie Scenario[/re]: As someone who is your son in spirit, I thank you. I even use the term “recovering Catholic” to describe myself! I think I turned away from the church because my parents only took me to satisfy their own parents, and after they died we no longer went. The Catholic Church was, even to my pre-adolescent mind, full of fear-mongering, self-centered gluttons who Jesus would consider the “enemy” Back In The Day. The wonderful education I got at Catholic schools all of my life ironically taught me that God should really be used as a metaphor for the human spirit, and that religion has great symbolic value that can bind communities together for the greater good. The problem was that people stopped thinking and started taking it literally, setting off a loudmouthed branch of the “faith” that culminated in Sarah Palin.

    My parents are Boomers, and it pains me to say this: once the Boomers age out of Congress, the country will be in a much better place.

  85. [re=565050]JMP[/re]: Also, it doesn’t matter that the ‘lone wolf’ previously attended all the rallies, gave generously to the cause, and moderated the message board, as soon as he committed his not-terrorism, he was retroactively never a member.

  86. [re=565008]JMP[/re]: [re=565019]Zadig[/re]: Glenn Beck does the same thing when he says that Dubya was a progressive — no, Glenn, he’s a conservative and a Reagan Republican, just as he claims to be. He is also completely inept and unthinking. Said propensity to failure doesn’t make him the opposite ideology — it just makes him a failure at being what he says. Don’t dump your trash in the liberal camp, and learn to enjoy eating where you pooped — or at least get used to it.

  87. According to those wonderful people that provide us The Coral Ridge Hour, every Sunday morning, the fault is in the public education system. They are encouraging their followers to home school their children, and for a donation of 35 bucks, they will send you a DVD that you can share with your friends proving that public education will be the downfall of America.

  88. [re=564974]chaste everywhere[/re]: Some lone wolf types have, for sure; what I’m afraid of is that the James Dodson and Pat Robertson types are gonna call for war and really mean it, as opposed to the current “when I say ‘lock and load’ I’m just kidding” bullshit they pull now.

  89. [re=565008]JMP[/re]: What you say is true of most, if not all, expansionist (evangelical) religions. See, “terrorists are not true Muslins despite all that ‘kill the infidel’ stuff in the Koran.” Live-and-let-live religions like Buddhism seem not to have this problem.

  90. [re=564808]JMP[/re]: Yes, those obnoxious “New Atheists” seem to be developing their own quasi-Talibanic orthodoxies (Dawkins bravely fulminating on the egregious untruths of fairy tales, for example, like any literalist Bible-thumper), and the religious faith of Ditchens’ and Hawkins’ followers in their Know-Nothing correctness will no doubt be able to move mountains in their ever-growing community/Internet lynch mob. (As displayed on P.Z. Myers’ blog when noted skeptic James Randi dared to emit a little skepticism about the consensus on global warming.)

    It’s at least as much of a delusion to declare you are without religious impulses (while denying that your faith in science comes from the same source) as it is to believe the Bible is literally true.

  91. [re=565094]McDuff[/re]: Nope, it happens in Buddhism, too. Once a concept becomes easy to explain, discuss, and comprehend (to the point of actually BEING comprehensible), it ceases to be Buddhist.

  92. [re=564799]cheeto_jeebus[/re]: Here’s hoping the flood of them on the market makes the price drop. Can’t wait to have gay buttsecks in a former church, although on second thought, it’s probably less than was happening when the church was open. At least more consent will be involved.

  93. So… Less Christians = no more religion? Ummm… So those conducting this study say 2,100 years ago would have equally concluded that no one had religious beliefs?

    Maybe the modern generation has just been exposed to enough science and fact to stop beleiving in a virgin-born sky baby saving their souls…

  94. [re=565098]qaf[/re]: I’m going to go ahead and declare that I am free of religious impulses, albeit not free from the human urge that religion really originates from: not any desire to believe in a higher power or master plan or deity or somesuch, but a desire to know how things work, and why they work that way.

  95. [re=565066]Mr. Tusks[/re]: The wonderful education I got at Catholic schools all of my life ironically taught me that God should really be used as a metaphor for the human spirit, and that religion has great symbolic value that can bind communities together for the greater good.

    And there’s the dilemma for me. I wouldn’t trade my Catholic education for anything. My kids go to the local Catholic school, same one I attended, and my wife is a teacher there now. I no longer profess the faith, but know from first-hand experience the value of being raised in that environment (we had no abusive priests in my tenure there).

    Pedophiles, mammon and hypocrites aside, the basic message is still: Jesus teaches you how to be a good human being. And until something replaces that (Star Trek? Socialism?) we still need Christian churches to teach people to be good. And for the most part they do that. But the overwhelming badness becoming associated with them is becoming, well, overwhelming.

  96. [re=564838]Geogre[/re]: Yeah, that’s why that know bastion of Christianity, Japan, has such a low crime rate, to the extent that i’ve heard multiple stories of wallets left on subways & returned with all the money in it! I’ve always wondered how they got such great “Christian values”… Jeebus must have a special aquaman-radar powers to contact…. I think it’s called Zen Buddhism and a shame-based culture….

  97. [re=565115]Lascauxcaveman[/re]: My question is, isn’t there a good way to impart these parable-ized moral values to kids without bothering with the political and social weapon that an organized religion inherently constitutes?

  98. Chirsitanity is suffereing and agonizing death after being mocked and tortured and hung up to die. When it dies we will bury it in the ground and that will be it.

    Thanks to the ad on Wonkette I have reason for my dislike of “ticket puncher” christianity. This is the belief that all humans will keep existing after death but in a place of eternal torment. This is the default setting for human existance. Some will get to have eternal happiness if they accept a particular worldview. Believing in the existance of a triune supernatural being is the way to get your ticket punched and get admission to the happy place. (For Catholics the ticket punching means getting sprinkled and attending mass weekly) This belief is what gets riduculed by the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Ticket Punchers would be concerned by declining numbers of “believers” because they see it has the opposing team scoring more points (souls) in a cosmic game.

    My prayer is that the christianity that emerges from the tube is not concerned about the hereafter but the here and now. That “believing” in Christ means not believing that He exists but believing in his command to love one another. Maybe I can organize a Flash mob to bring about the Kingdom of God on Earth…you know feed the hungry, clothe the naked, provide health insurance for the uninsured and other commy stuff.

  99. [re=565139]ManchuCandidate[/re]: I knew a Canadian girl once – not in the biblical sense, though. How are they, you know, Canadian chicks?

  100. You had me right up until that last sentence which reeks too much of raw truth. How dare you! “…religion has been known to offer rudderless losers through History: a moral compass.”

  101. I always wondered who the Hell was showing up to all those crappy new suburban churches that were built in the last 20 years. In the suburbs of DC, it seemed like they were proliferating faster than movie theaters. Hopefully, someone can put the buildings to good use once all the Bible-thumpin’ oldsters kick the can.

  102. I wonder. Do these statistics ring true for the religies that think Jesus is the blond, blue-eyed, right-side bookend for Brad Pitt?

  103. [re=565114]Zadig[/re]: Hey, I have that impulse too. And I don’t have any trouble believing that electrons instead of angels paint the pretty pictures that come from inside the TV (even if electrons are pretty miraculous things themselves, with all that wave-particle gluon-infested quantum weirdness). I just don’t think it should be illegal to think that angels might after all be responsible. And bellicose mocking of people who don’t believe as you do doesn’t do anything to change their beliefs, it just reinforces them and makes them more fanatical — as atheists should know from experience, I would think.

  104. [re=565098]qaf[/re]: You realize I was being sarcastic, right? The new atheists have helped the growth of non-belief, especially the number of us willing to publicly admit to atheism instead of staying in the closet.

    And “faith” in science does not come from the same source as religious faith, because there is no such thing as faith in science; science is opposed to faith. Faith means believing in something even though there is no evidence; science is a method to try and get closer to the truth out there based on evidence. Notably, science will drop something if it is contradicted by empirical evidence, while religions will continue to insist on believing in something that’s been proven untrue. See creationists, or the medieval church’s trial of Galileo.

  105. I’ll be glad when this news reaches Oklahoma – home of the
    big box Baptist church on every corner – then we’ll have more
    prime real estate for Indian casinos and WalMarts!

  106. I hate to criticize (not really) but the majority of the results in that story are not from our good fiends at Pew but from “Nashville-based LifeWay Research, which is affiliated with the publishing arm of the Southern Baptist Convention.” Pew findings are used to buttress the other organization’s findings.

  107. [re=565218]JMP[/re]: I doubt anyone who calls a bunch of people lamenting that the respected James Randi was talking out his ass on global warming a “quasi-Talibanic orthodoxy” and an “Internet lynch mob” can detect satire.

  108. [re=565218]JMP[/re]: especially the number of us willing to publicly admit to atheism instead of staying in the closet


    I would only add to your your sound argument the importance of serendipity and observation. Just as I stumbled across The End of Faith 9 years ago and realized the tyranny of NOT standing strong against the ultimate snake oil.

  109. [re=564836]Katydid[/re]:

    This also proves, I think, that the millennials’ parents never did believe in religion as much as they said, or as much as people thought. Because if they did, they would have been dragging these kids to church and whatnot. But they didn’t, so they kids said meh.

    I’d say that there are just as many kids leaving the church because their parents are evangelical, amway zombies and they just don’t see themselves being able to live in such misery.

    I used to date a girl whose parents were born again nazis and that was an intense experience. These people were literally cartoon characters acting out some weird, exhausting charade just for the sake of belonging to a group. And the worst part is that they knew they were full of shit.

  110. [re=565218]JMP[/re]: I was being sarcastic right back.

    What science has to offer us is proof, not faith. I’m sure you’ve seen someone hawking “proof” that their god exists (fibonacci numbers occurring throughout nature, for example, or the sheer mathematical improbability of humanity existing in the absence of an organizing force of some sort), and it’s obvious how ridiculous that is — that “proof” of a god requires faith, since science can no more prove a god’s existence than it can explain why yellow is my favorite color.

    Likewise, science can’t disprove a god’s existence. To make the affirmative statement that there is no god (as opposed to the agnostic position that you don’t know or don’t care if there is one), which I think we’d all agree is the essential quality of atheism, is to make a statement that can’t be proved scientifically — it is to make a statement of faith. Atheism is a religious belief, and some of its more fanatical adherents have a lot invested in denying that, perhaps because it gives them a warm feeling of superiority not to be shackled by faith like those other schmucks. (No doubt there is a scientific explanation for that, but I like to think of it as typical half-thinking human nature breaking through the shiny carapace of rationality.)

  111. [re=565249]Naked Bunny with a Whip[/re]: I have a feeling that someone who can make those statements with a straight face might be far more prone to satire than you may realize.

  112. Thank God.

    Things are looking up! Maybe mankind will start taking responsibility for stuff? That’s several generations away, I think.

    Best thread, ever!

  113. [re=565270]qaf[/re]: Science can’t disprove a god’s existence because it’s a ridiculous, unfalsifiable claim. It would be like claiming that in the fundamental nature of the universe, the gravitic force had an inherent name, and that the name was “Jaxleimos Bill” or something. It’s a claim that has no empirical or theoretical basis, and no empirical or theoretical implications.

    Claiming that science can’t disprove God is admitting defeat in the argument. If it can’t be proven whether or not it exists, then its existence is a pointless question. You are literally saying “Nya ha, you can’t prove me wrong, but also my beliefs are devoid of purpose or meaning!”

  114. [re=565270]qaf[/re]: To make the affirmative statement that there is no god … which I think we’d all agree is the essential quality of atheism

    Why would I agree with such a ludicrous claim? A theist is someone who believes in gods, an atheist is someone who doesn’t. Neither definition depends on any sort of “proof”.

    Perhaps instead of screeching about orthodoxies and lynch mobs, you should actually spend a few minutes educating yourself. Watching you smugly jerk off on your little strawman is boring.

  115. [re=565270]qaf[/re]: No one has claimed to disprove god’s existence, though, and you obviously haven’t read the people you’re criticizing. Dawkins wrote that he believed the evidence showed that god was very unlikely, and the existence of any particular good even more so; but 100% certainty (which many religious claim for their god’s existence) is impossible. Personally, it’s very simple; the complete lack of evidence for god makes be think there probably is none, just like the complete lack of evidence for unicorns makes me think there probably is none; but I accept that it’s possible there are unicorns that somehow have managed to go unseen and left no evidence of there existence. It’s just very, very unlikely. Agnosticism is different from atheism as has a CNN-style “both sides are equal” attitude.

    Atheism is not a religious belief, it’s a lack of a religious belief, and you will find that most adherents are not fanatical; except when confronted by people trying to force their religion on us.

  116. [re=565326]JMP[/re]: I seriously hate my beliefs sharing half a name with their wishy-washy evangelist-coddling bullshit.

    Go Apathetic Agnostic, kids! That way, you’re not merely on neither side, you’re not even the moderator. You just fucking walked out on the debate, because it’s dumb. “Apathetic Agnosticism: Don’t know, don’t care.”

  117. [re=565058]queeraselvis v 2.0[/re]:
    love your neighbor as yourself…

    Buddhists point out that a lot of people are self-loathing assholes. So the Golden Rule business is bound to be far less effective than it sounds.

  118. [re=565353]lumpenprole[/re]: Buddhists also made Tiger tie a little string around his arm and quit fuckin the ho’s (he ain’t married to, anyway) – so, I say GO Buddhism!! or Tiger. Shit, I don’t really know who’s side I’m on here.

  119. [re=565309]Naked Bunny with a Whip[/re]: Touched a nerve, did I? Your eruption of emotion appears to indicate you are the kind of fanatic I was criticizing, so I’ll take it as proof (not the scientific kind) that the heroic levels of self-denial involved in such people’s belief systems make them all the more irrational in defending their (we would presume) non-beliefs.

    [re=565308]Zadig[/re]: “Science can’t disprove a god’s existence because it’s a ridiculous, unfalsifiable claim . . . If it can’t be proven whether or not it exists, then its existence is a pointless question. You are literally saying ‘Nya ha, you can’t prove me wrong, but also my beliefs are devoid of purpose or meaning!'”

    I agree completely (except for that last sentence). So why do the “new atheists” act as though these “ridiculous”, “pointless” questions and whatever answers they may or may not have are so vitally important as to become fanatical about the difference? Some of them are as irrationally intolerant as any evangelical, take for example the wild hare replied to above. It’s like they’re saying “Nya ha, not only are you wrong about the totality of existence” — we’ll grant that they seem to be experts on the subject — “but your ideas smell of extra-poopy poop.” Their increased presence in public life, however bracing compared to the usual god-botherers and empty platitudes, is hardly a sign of a renaissance of informed debate. It is instead further evidence that we are collectively devolving into squawking heads, albeit well-fed and -entertained ones.

  120. Been re-reading Asimov’s robot novels. Maybe we should just adapt the First Law of Robotics to humans and let that be our moral law:

    A human may not harm another human being or, through inaction, allow another human being to come to harm.

  121. [re=565270]qaf[/re]: Likewise, science can’t disprove a god’s existence.

    Oh yes it can — though it gets more difficult when the deity changes its characteristics as soon as the deity with the previous characteristics is shown not to exist. Did The LORD create the earth in six days six thousand years ago? Science says no. Okay, that was just a metaphor, but God really did lots of other things, like flood the earth. Well, science says no. Okay, well God did other things, like make the sun stand still. Well, science says no. (after several iterations) Okay, God doesn’t want you to come to him from proof — he demands faith. And so it goes.

    Face it — there isn’t one god, there are zillions of them. And whenever one is shown to be unrealistic, the believers say “Oh, I was talking about this other god over here,” while calling it the same eternal, unchanging deity that was around from the beginning. Right. The plain fact is that God doesn’t exist, just as fire-breathing dragons don’t. It takes no faith to make that statement, simply a complete lack of evidence to the contrary.

  122. As someone who is not only lives among said “big-dumb-suburban-ugly-ass-stucco mall/warehouse/steel building-churches” but, regrettably, is paid to build them; I cannot wait for this church fad to subside. There are far too many olds driving in droves across the parking lot from these Mega- Churches to the Country Kitchen Buffet as it is. It ruins my lingering Saturday night/ Sunday morning buzz.

  123. [re=565389]SayItWithWookies[/re]: I really should have qualified my statement earlier that the existence of a deity, of a spirit or soul, etc. are not falsifiable claims. This only applies to the nonspecific potential for some higher or supernatural power to exist, not a specific deity. Once you’ve committed some theology to paper, you have some claims that science can actually approach and debunk.

    Like I said further upthread, I don’t know everything that’s out there. But I do know that on the off-chance that there is some sort of deity, every word that’s ever been said about it here on Earth is 100% fucking wrong.

  124. [re=565435]Zadig[/re]: That reminds me of this series of articles on HuffPo running now about whether science and religion are compatible. In the latest one, the author was arguing that yes, they can be, though he was coming from the point of view that religion has something to offer as long as it doesn’t try to kick out those people who think that evolution is true and try to reconcile doctrine with that.
    I’d take the approach from the other side and say sure they’re compatible — as long as religion doesn’t try to make any testable claims based on faith. As long as religion sticks to the imaginary world and lets science deal with reality, they should be able to get along just fine. Unfortunately, religion doesn’t seem to get the hint.

  125. [re=564821]FMA[/re]: I think the FSM is actually gaining converts or Pastafarians, whatever you’d call them.RAMEN

    [re=564792]TicChiracTac[/re]: An proud of it!

    [re=564810]Monsieur Grumpe[/re]: Maybe just The Church of the Holy Internets?

  126. “…organized religion has been known to offer rudderless losers through History: a moral compass.”

    So back when my born-again Dad was pinching me with pliars, kicking me, forcing me to eat vomit, he had a moral compass? Sure fooled me!

  127. Who would ever believe in something as silly as Lord Xenu? Sorry, Jesus is the way, the truth, and the light and is in no way the fictitious extrapolation of zealous, self-loathing, asexual ascetics who starved themselves to the point of hallucination. I know, because I learned all of this in Sunday school.

  128. [re=564795]Bruno[/re]: Yes! Some how the priest scandal has kept Americans from noticing that a lot of prot pastors are b*tt-f*ckers, too.

  129. [re=564862]BeWoot[/re]: Ah yes! One of the stars of short wave radio, too. At one point, he rented transmitters from Voice of Russia and you could hear him telling all the people in Krasnoyarsk about his nonsense.

    He was not as crazy as Brother Stair, though.

  130. [re=564939]mumblyjoe[/re]: The Jesuits are pretty much the Catholic wild cards – every once in a while they’ll let one talk to the general Catholic public (outside of those the school or minister to) and all hell will break loose. But usually they manage to keep them out of public view and out of positions of power within the church.

  131. [re=565828]Traveler[/re]: I dunno if “wild card” is that accurate, because they’re pretty consistent on a lot of stuff. Most importantly for the Catholic hierarchy, the Jesuits are totally gay for rational education, communism and ‘social justice’, basically all the time.

    But yeah, every time a Jesuit is allowed to express an opinion in public, Real Devout Catholics(tm) everywhere cringe a little. Or a lot, whichever.

  132. You know, I have a feeling it’s too good to be true. For 30 years, people been telling me that the religious right is beaten, they’re about to disappear, only old people watch them on TV and they’ll die soon, blah, blah, blah. Yet somehow, the religiousrightniks just go from strength to strength. Religious fanatics have been important in American society since the early 1600s and I’ll bet that they’re not about to die out. Another Great Awakening or something is sure to revive them. :-(

  133. [re=565098]qaf[/re]: Dawkins’ fans hate to admit it, but most massacres in the last 200 years have NOT been about religion. A fair number of the massacres have been atheists killing the religionists.

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