Teens are fleeing religion like never before: Massive new study exposes religion’s decline

Oct 1, 2015

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By Joan Shipps

Religion is rapidly losing the youngest generation of Americans, according to new research.

America’s rising generation of adults are the least religiously observant of any generation in six decades, determined an expansive study led by Jean Twenge, a psychology professor at San Diego State.

“Unlike previous studies, ours is able to show that millennials’ lower religious involvement is due to cultural change, not to millennials being young and unsettled,” Twenge says in a San Diego State University news release. .

In one of the largest studies ever conducted on Americans’ religious involvement, researchers from Case Western Reserve University and the University of Georgia collaborated with Twenge and her colleagues in California to analyze data from four national surveys of U.S. adolescents between the ages of 13 and 18.  The surveys were taken between 1966 and 2014, and include responses from some 11.2 million people.


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72 comments on “Teens are fleeing religion like never before: Massive new study exposes religion’s decline

  • @OP link – The study also notes an “increasing acknowledgment that religion is not consistent with scientific understanding” could be driving adolescents away from religion. It is possible that “debates about teaching creationism or intelligent design in U.S. schools, such as those in Kansas in 2005, pushed some young people away from religion,” Twenge and her colleagues write in the study.

    I think modern communications and access to science and history, are making it increasingly difficult for religious pseudo-authority to have fanciful nonsense accepted without challenge.
    Deluded differs making ludicrous assertions with posturings of superiority, just doesn’t cut in the face of those inconvenient and now accessible facts!



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  • Stephen Mynett
    Oct 2, 2015 at 6:57 am

    Good point Alan and one this school has tried to address:

    It is predictable that the “faith-Schools” of the more fundamentalist sects, will try to fight a rear-guard action!

    I’m not sure how much rebellious teens will be prepared to accept this restriction on real knowledge – or how far regulatory education authorities will be prepared to accept it as “education”!
    The UK had the Trojan Horse showdown scandal!



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  • 4
    voiceofarabi says:

    Problems with leaving god.

    God is like the operating system of all the fantasies we have as humans, and once we leave the “operating system”, we are unable to use all the applications that can run on it.. Religion is a bit like having a smart phone that can run all kind of applications that we use on a daily basis and all though we know some applications are stupid and time wasting, we still engage in them to amuse ourselves.

    Some of those applications are really silly like Santa Clause, and some are really intermediate like football… and some others are really important like love.. But they all work on the system of believing in faith or the “super natural”……

    Once we lose God, or stop believing in God, or stop believing in the super natural, or as i would like to call it, “lose the operating system“ all those applications run on, or the Smart phone that has all those applications, we lose all fantasies including LOVE..

    And that’s all kind of love, including that magical first love and parents love…

    After all, Love is nothing but a need that we have, just like eating food, and there is nothing super natural about it, which frankly sucks…

    I sometimes, would love to go back to my stupid days when i believed that love existed, and ghosts are all around us… ohhh well….



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  • 6
    voiceofarabi says:

    Hi BigPencil,

    I am not good at sarcasm, as English is not my first language, but this is not sarcasm.. It is just my two cents…



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  • voiceofarabi
    Oct 2, 2015 at 8:12 am

    God is like the operating system of all the fantasies we have as humans, and once we leave the “operating system”, we are unable to use all the applications that can run on it..

    I think you are right up to a point.
    Religious indoctrination seeks to build itself into the infant brain’s operating system, – but to carry your analogy further, it modifies it to disable rivals’ operating systems and applications.

    Religion is a bit like having a smart phone that can run all kind of applications

    … . . But only from the indoctrination programmer!
    Other third-party software, is either barred and blocked, disabled, freezes the system, or throws up error messages and warnings!



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  • 8
    voiceofarabi says:

    Hi Alan4Discussion.

    when you say….

    … . . But only from the indoctrination programmer!

    So… it is really like real life, and the indoctrination programmer in this case happens to be either Apple or that other evil company that’s called Google…

    I really enjoy your posts.. thanks



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  • So, if I take your meaning correctly, once the bullshit is cast aside, there is no love in your life, since love is merely a product of the original bullshit operating system. Is this correct?



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  • Hi voiceofarabi,

    Your analogy is very revealing. It fails on a whole heap of points.

    Opinions vary about what is important; some football fans claim that it’s more important than life-and-death.

    Why do you believe our fantasies are a waste of time? It seems to me that they’re a way to exercise our creativity.

    I reject belief through faith – pretending to know things I don’t know – but I don’t always reject my fantasies. Fantasies that survive my don’t pretend, be real, be authentic filter are hypotheses; they’re something I hold onto until I can find evidence to test them.

    Santa Claus, properly introduced, can be a great exercise in critical thinking. Reassure the child that Santa will visit whatever they believe about Santa and his origins. Now ask some open questions; Who or what is Santa? Why is Santa? Where is Santa? Which Santa? If Santa, then … and so on.

    What began as a fantasy appeared to provide evidence for His existence, but when examined that evidence, though very comforting, affirming of you and attractively generous is not the fantasy you believed, nor the fact you later hoped for – it’s a fraud, designed to keep you in your place (in Santa’s case designed to keep you locked in childish thinking).

    Fantasies are useful and informative in these ways.

    Fantasies also tell us about ourselves. Anyone who has been through psychotherapy will tell you this; thinking through your fantasies is thinking through the workings of your mind.

    I accept my fantasies as a part of my real life, my fantasies do not rely on a belief in the supernatural. I reject the supernatural, it’s a fantasy that proved to be a failed hypothesis. My fantasies are explained by my examination of the real World.

    My internal review of my fantasies tells me little about love. I see a link between fantasy and love – they clearly trigger each other. But my love is also rooted in my real life: If my love is rejected I don’t fantasise about having a broken heart, I really am extremely distressed.

    I conclude that my love is real.

    You seem clear: Your belief in the supernatural persuades you that love is fantasy, and no more than fantasy. I pity you.

    Peace.



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  • 11
    voiceofarabi says:

    Partly correct….

    There is love in my live today, just like there is a need to eat and breath….. They are both manifestation of human needs, and there is nothing magical about them….

    So… no, there is no first love, or love on first sight, etc etc.. all those super natural related magical moments that we once believed in (wrongly).

    Now a days.. life is more mechanical(logical) and less magical…



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  • 12
    voiceofarabi says:

    Hi Stephen of Wimbledon,

    Your love is real need just like your need for food or to breath….

    But it is just that… a mechanical need without any magic, and does not lead to broken heart, although you feel pain when you get dumped. Interestingly, you also get pains when your football team loses, and when you miss that airplane, but none of this has to do with magic…

    I don’t know about you.. but my fantasises are all built on some kind super natural, very much like dreams… time gets wrapped, reality gets mixed up, people became magical etc etc..

    So, I grew up.. and sometimes I wish I did not……



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  • Hi Voiceofarabi,

    But [love] is just that… a mechanical need without any magic …

    Define magic.

    Define mechanical need.

    Based on the usual definitions of these words (a quality of being beautiful and delightful beyond the usual, relating to physical forces, essential rather than merely desirable) I see magic in my love and the love I receive from others.

    … and [love] does not lead to broken heart …

    The many who have suffered unrequited love beg to differ.

    … although you feel pain when you get dumped.

    Confused: Are hearts not broken, or do we feel pain? You can’t have it both ways. Either we suffer or we do not.

    Interestingly, you also get pains when your football team loses, and when you miss that airplane, but none of this has to do with magic …

    Why can they not be related? Why can I not love my Team?

    I don’t love the airplane, any airplane, the disappointment I feel about missing an appointment with one is of an entirely different character. I agree, this has nothing to do with the magic of love.

    I don’t know about you.. but my fantasises are all built on some kind super natural …

    You don’t know … after I told you …

    SW: I accept my fantasies as a part of my real life, my fantasies do not rely on a belief in the supernatural. I reject the supernatural, it’s a fantasy that proved to be a failed hypothesis. My fantasies are explained by my examination of the real World.
    .

    > VoA: … my fantasises are all built on some kind super natural, very much like dreams …

    You appear to say here that you accept all your fantasies, including your dreams, as a part of the supernatural. How do you conclude that? Be fair; I shared the foundation of my thinking, share yours.

    As I described, using the example of Santa Claus, the method of thinking that links unexamined ‘evidence’ to the conclusions merely asserted by authority figures is childish thinking.

    Peace.



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  • Am I the only one here disappointed by Raw Story’s presentation?

    Why is the Young Person in the photo under the headline not a happy, smiling, Young Person?

    On the other hand, I quite liked the headline: “Fleeing religion”.

    Are the young more self-centred? Selfies and social media aside, which speaks more of image consciousness, I’m not convinced that there is significant evidence for this view. The 1960s generation of young adults are often decried as self-cantered, but they were also the generation that secured more funding for education than miltary arms, protested most loudly against war and went to the Moon. That might be taken as a token of the good of self-cantered thinking, if coincidence is evidence of causation.

    Peace.



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  • I would be interested to know how others on this site feel about the “magic” of (God free) Love. Do they have that flat perhaps anhedonic feel of a mere need, an itch to be scratched or do they have still have something akin to a peak experience when experiencing or recalling?

    Like Justice or money or the sonnet I find Romantic Love to be a human invention. Perhaps the greatest.

    The sickness, the elation, the tears, the other sort of tears. Sensing pain and pleasure for two, undeniably felt and feels like life with the volume turned up to eleven. But then you find me on a good day.

    I think voiceofarabi may be of a different opinion given a chance meeting or two…



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  • Hi V of A

    If I am reading your post right, I have to disagree with your conclusion. What about families like mine, who were never grounded in religion? The “operating system” was never there to begin with, so I didn’t have any feelings of loss.

    I don’t think there are many parents quite like mine, but what I see instead are families where religion is very much in the background of their daily lives. If I ask them, “Do you believe in god?” their answer is almost always, “Yes.” But if I ask them, “Why?” they do not have a ready answer.



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  • Why is the Young Person in the photo under the headline not a happy,
    smiling, Young Person?

    To me, she looks exasperated. But then, I like to think I’m a glass-half-full person. 🙂



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  • I didn’t have any feelings of loss.

    Nor me and for the same reason.

    I note that neither I nor my children ever had the prospect of everlasting life. There was never a hint of losing out about that either. Everlasting life seems to have little allure for us. If anything it adds to the sweetness and value of the moment. Life rather more takes on the span and modulated form of a poem.



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  • Exactly! Life is an adventure!

    But I think it is misleading to say young people are dropping religion…it’s more like they are indifferent to it. Asking them to explain their position one way or the other, many are not able to do it. It is a mystery to which they’ve given little thought. Or worse, some claim to be atheists because they are angry–not at the religious institution, but specifically at god.



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  • phil rimmer
    Oct 3, 2015 at 6:09 am

    I would be interested to know how others on this site feel about the “magic” of (God free) Love.

    I think god-love is group-think hero worship of a fantasy figure, into which indoctrination (or media hype) channels sexual and bonding feelings.

    Without this diversionary love of fantasy images, we can love people, receive reciprocal love, and admire genuine role models on the merits of their observed actions!

    Real people can of course fall short of our expectations, whereas fantasies can be fulfilled in the feed-back loops of dreamland imagination, where any illusion, delusion, or wish-thinking, appears possible!



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  • Vicki
    Oct 3, 2015 at 6:39 am

    Or worse, some claim to be atheists because they are angry–not at the religious institution, but specifically at god.

    That would require irrationality, to claim anger with a deity whose existence they don’t accept!

    It sounds to me more like a theist fantasy claim that atheists “deny the theists default god”.

    Those claiming to be atheists, could of course be angry about the activities of specific god-delusions, but that would be anger at actions via the god-delusion’s puppet hosts!



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  • Yes.

    That’s why I say it is worse. Sometimes I try to explain if there is anger directed at a being they think exists, that is not atheism.

    And I get really exasperated with the theists who claim atheists are just in denial. When they inevitably say they will pray for me, I like to put in a request for a shiny new convertible.



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  • Vicki
    Oct 3, 2015 at 7:20 am

    And I get really exasperated with the theists who claim atheists are just in denial. When they inevitably say they will pray for me, I like to put in a request for a new convertible.

    You could always suggest they pray for all the followers of the many thousands of other gods, while of course the followers of the thousands of other gods, similarly pray they will become “enlightened” and recognise those other “default-gods”.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lists_of_deities

    They should stop denying all the gods other than their own, if they believe in negative proof fallacies as evidence!!!

    I have yet to receive a coherent answer when I have raised this with believers! – The standard response is: “We dismiss false gods”!!! – Which is comical when they are claiming atheists are “in denial”!



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  • 25
    voiceofarabi says:

    Hi Stephen of Wimbledon,

    I like your posts, but they focus on semantics rather than concepts.

    The general concept I am discussing here is that Humans need to believe in the super natural, and that’s why they invented god, and that’s why “we appear” to suffer broken hearts or love a football team….

    Once you “grow up” and understand that there is no need for the super natural, then life becomes just chemistry…. very logical and not magical. (Richard Dawkins argues that Chemistry can appear to be like magic if you look, and I argue that I need to be in Amsterdam to be able to see that 🙂 )

    A muslim scholar once said…. “God gave muslims the Quaran to follow, and they choose to study it instead” (and forgot to follow it….) And that’s the main reason why you have different sects of Islam, and that’s why they focus on how your pray, and how to chop peoples hands and how to stone women to death, and forget the main concept of that religion… ISLAM is literally translates to PEACE. (where is the peace in beheading a teenage in Saudi.???

    Focusing on semantics and forgetting the main concept leads to what Islam is today…



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  • Humans need to believe in the super natural,

    No they don’t. Its mostly cultural pressure that creates any need.

    life becomes just chemistry

    and culture and in the cultural space we create what we need



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  • life becomes just chemistry – very logical, and not magical

    Logic and magic don’t have to be odd bedfellows. On the contrary, a delightful pairing.

    Homemade marshmallows, odd looking gelatinous brew, whisked into edible white satin.



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  • Hi Voiceofarabi

    Now a days.. life is more mechanical(logical) and less magical…

    Im sorry it turned out that way for you. This wasn’t my experience at all.
    If anything, when I finally made peace with my doubts and cast away the cognitive dissonance my passion for art, music, sports, literature and poetry, the beauty of nature and living grew, as did my empathy for others.
    As for missing “magic”, Viscerally, a Mozart seems less likely without a god or some magic involved, yet the very mathematical improbabilities of a Mozart evolving from the available gene pool gives my mind a bigger lift than any belief in any grand designer ever has.



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  • BigPencil
    Oct 3, 2015 at 11:06 pm

    This wasn’t my experience at all.
    If anything, when I finally made peace with my doubts and cast away the cognitive dissonance my passion for art, music, sports, literature and poetry, the beauty of nature and living grew, as did my empathy for others.

    I think the misleading dichotomy set be theists is a lack of continuity.

    The spectrum goes continuously in music for example, through the vibrations of sound, the mechanical and electronic features of instruments which produce the sound, the mechanical functions of the ear, the neurological conversion of mechanical sound into signals to the brain, the information and emotional analysis and reaction of the individual to the sound, the shared psychological interactions of social groups producing music and of audiences responding to it, the triggers of memories recalling previous experiences of earlier sessions, and so on.

    Admittedly there can be feeling of magic (as with conjurers), where there are gaps in understanding, or feelings of being overwhelmed by complexity, but there is no polarised separation of process and experience, except where there are gaps in the knowledge of the continuity of the process.

    I have seen no evidence that a detailed understanding of the functioning of their equipment in any way detracts from the enjoyment of musicians, or that the the scientists’ understandings of biology or neurology, detracts from enjoyment of music, in a similar manner.

    Coming out of the limited, blinkered, mental “god-did-it” box, certainly widens one’s horizons, and learning capabilities, on the awesome extent and complexity of nature.



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  • 31
    voiceofarabi says:

    Hi Alan4Discussion,

    The spectrum goes continuously in music for example, through the vibrations of sound, the mechanical and electronic features of instruments which produce the sound, the mechanical functions of the ear, …….

    That’s impressive dude…. you have a lot of horse power under the bonnet.(hood)



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  • 34
    voiceofarabi says:

    Hi Bonnie,

    I think Richard Dawkins written that book when he was in Amsterdam.. 🙂

    I got this book a while ago for my young niece… She liked the pictures, but getting her to read is still work in progress.



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  • Hi Arabi

    Something kept gnawing at me with your first post and this morning it finally came to me: it reminded me of Matthew Arnold’s “Dover Beach“!

    Such despair! It makes me sad every time I read it. 🙁



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  • 36
    voiceofarabi says:

    Hi Vicki,

    WOW… thanks for introducing me to this poetry…. It is at times like this I wish English was my first language…



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  • It is at times like this I wish English was my first language…

    I’d say you do pretty well; hell, English is my first language and I still struggle with it!



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  • Hi Voiceofarabi,

    The general concept I am discussing here is that Humans need to believe in the super natural …

    Need … hmm … There are few things that I’m certain about, but this is one: No-one needs to believe in the supernatural.

    Some, undoubtedly, need to believe in something bigger than themselves in order to frame their personal philosophy. This was recognised in my lifetime by the Freemasons who will now allow an Initiate to say that they believe the laws of Physics in place of the old rule that initiates must be monotheistic theists.

    Personally I think this is to fundamentally misunderstand the difference between science and religion, but it’s a good illustration of how people look for a big, ‘immovable’ sky hook on which to hang their other beliefs, and, how that hook doesn’t have to be supernatural.

    Humans need to believe in the super natural and that’s why they invented god …

    The notion of a supernatural realm doesn’t necessarily lead to a god – ask those millions of people in the World who are Animists or Spiritualists. Nor do those who believe in gods necessarily restrict themselves to one.

    In many, perhaps most, cases these believers in pantheons and spirits, but not gods, are looking for explanations for things they observe, and asking for answers to their questions. In effect, they’re bad scientists. Many, of course, are led astray by charlatans looking to make an easy living and/or misguided relatives and other authority figures.

    … they invented god and that’s why “we appear” to suffer broken hearts or love a football team …

    Sorry I still don’t see a connection. You need to bridge the gaping hole between believing in the supernatural on the one hand and human feelings and emotions on the other hand.

    Once you “grow up” and understand that there is no need for the super natural …

    True.

    … then life becomes just chemistry …

    While I know that life is based on chemistry, does that mean life is only chemistry.

    That’s like claiming that the play Macbeth is ‘only an instance of the Periodic Table’. Such a description is true in a certain sense, but it it’s a hopelessly inadequate in any way that actually tells us anything enlightening about Macbeth.

    From the Standard Model we see micro-Physics emerge, from the confluence of Astronomy and micro-Physics we see Physics emerge, from Physics we see Chemistry emerge, from Chemistry we see Biochemistry emerge, from Biochemistry we – sometimes – see life emerge, from life we see ecologies emerge, from ecologies we – sometimes – see living beings with complex emotional lives emerge and from complex living beings with ecological and evolved properties we see Psychology emerge.

    We do not study the Standard Model, or Chemistry, in order to understand Psychology, just as we do not study Chemistry in order to understand Macbeth, because such an approach would be a colossal waste of time. Each of these layers, despite the observed trait of emergence to a higher-order domain, is a complex subject in its own right; they are in many respects none-overlapping magisteria.

    A muslim scholar once said “God gave muslims the Koran to follow, and they choose to study it instead”

    Well, you can’t fault them for that. Scepticism is a driving force for the enhancement of human existence that is second only to ambition.

    … And that’s the main reason why you have different sects of Islam, and that’s why they focus on how your pray, and how to chop peoples hands and how to stone women to death, and forget the main concept of that religion… ISLAM is literally translates to PEACE.

    Islam translates to: Submission

    Focusing on semantics and forgetting the main concept leads to what Islam is today…

    I see no problem with people studying semantics.

    Semantics: The branch of linguistics and logic concerned with meaning. The two main areas are logical semantics, concerned with matters such as sense and reference and presupposition and implication, and lexical semantics, concerned with the analysis of word meanings and relations between them.

    Semantics is a discipline with a distinguished history that has made significant contributions to human advancement, understanding and co-operation. That is just one of the many reasons my Daughter is studying it as part of her University education right now.

    Studying the semantics of the muslim faith, and its scriptures, is an essential part of understanding its main concepts. I know this to be true because the same can be said of the scriptures of all the other religions, and of the foundational documents of design, psychology, textual criticism, journalism, sociology … okay, maybe not sociology.

    I don’t see how it is possible to study the semantics of the Koran without continuous reference to the main concept(s)? I am the pupil here voiceofarabi, teach me how you know the main concepts, while the semantic students do not.

    Peace.



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  • voiceofarabi

    I bought that book on Kindle – electronic version- for some kids I know. They read it on tablet now. Some kids prefer to read electronically these days. Try that and good luck.



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  • Logic and magic don’t have to be odd bedfellows.

    Agreed. There is much of science that appears magical and even when you understand how something happens/works it still retains an element of awe. I will always remember the first time in a science class we were given prisms and light boxes and set about producing the colours of the rainbow as it was a special moment for me. Learning about refraction and reflection and stuff did not diminish it, it probably made it more beautiful.

    Which reminds me, I must get Unweaving the Rainbow off the shelf, it is about the only Dawkins book I have note read.



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  • Hi Bonnies & Stephen Mynett,

    Count me as no. 3; and here’s an experiment that almost anyone can do on a clear night.

    Find a place to just lie down and look up.

    I’ve repeated this experiment so many times. The Wow! factor is as big as ever.

    The only down side is that, as the history of astronomy indicates, someone first has to explain what your looking at.

    I can still recall, with great clarity, how it was explained to me and twenty others, by a Scout Leader, on a grassy Summer hilltop in Britain.

    The word awe is still one which is generally used rarely, and with reverence. It also remains inadequate for that memory.

    Peace.



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  • 44
    voiceofarabi says:

    Hi Stephen of Wimbledon,

    ISLAM comes from the word SALAM which is PEACE…..

    SAL-LEM which also comes form SALAM means Submit…

    The same people who market ISIS wants you to believe that ISLAM means submit….

    Anyway… and this is important……

    A friend once told me….. Always remember BSBB…..

    So, I said, Terry, what does BSBB mean….

    So, he said, Bull Shit Baffles Brains… keep it up..



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  • Hi voiceofarabi,

    No, you’re wrong.

    Islam = Submission.

    I actually did the research.

    I’m very disappointed in you as a Teacher. I really was looking forward to learning how YOU know more than other students about the “main concept” of the Muslim religion.

    Peace.



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  • Hi Phil,

    With the benefit of anonymity I can speak freely.

    I have discovered that it is possible, probably throughout one’s life (I am not, yet, old) to experience, both directly and vicariously, the thrill of new love.

    The same bordering-on-obsession, heart pounding, tongue-tied, sleepless nights, day dreaming, lightness of being, madness as first love. If anything even more surprising and, therefore, all the more disconcerting.

    If this mental and physiological immersion of self in a new, brighter, more satisfying, more exciting, existence was not my life experiencing the walk from a valley to a new – unsuspected – peak, then I’m a Dutchman.

    A life without poetry, pain, or passion would be a long hard life of palliatives – a coma.

    And don’t get me started on the possibilities of an old love rediscovered …

    I hope that helps.

    Peace.



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  • 47
    voiceofarabi says:

    Hi Stephen of Wimbledon,

    Salam Alikum, means PEACE on you… That’s the first thing in Islam..

    a prophet saying goes (and I don’t subscribe to any), “a muslim is a person who others are safe (peaceful) from his words and actions…. (literal translation, and I am sure it is not accurate.)

    Finally, and just for you Stephen….
    Never argue. In society nothing must be discussed; give only results. (Benjamin Disareli)



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  • Hi voiceofarabi,

    Meaning of:

    Islam

    Islam

    Islam

    Islam

    Islam

    Islam

    Islam

    Okay, I get bored quickly so I’ll stop now.

    Disraeli also said:

    Action may not always bring happiness; but there is no happiness without action.

    I cannot be still if I can help.

    While we’re quoting British ex-Prime Ministers how about this:

    The truth is incontrovertible; malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.

    Churchill

    Still waiting for your unique and primary insight into the Muslim Main Concept.

    Peace.



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  • I hope that helps.

    Greatly, not least for the vicarious frisson of recognition. Thanks.

    It suddenly reminded me that older relatives agreed they felt most alive during the war (WWII).

    There is great, vivid clarity in risk…..what you really want and need is never so clear.



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  • I can recall from my hormone ravaged high school days in the late 60’s when mini skirts were school uniforms, I fell in lust with every turn of my head, recess, lunch, before and after school. I can recall that all consuming passion / desire to be with that one girl. The weeks, sometimes months before I had maneuvered to a point when I had the courage to speak. The request through a mutual friend to sound out the other party. The bliss of non rejection…..

    But all of the above is Lust at First Sight. What Hollywood tells people love is like. How many people do you know that fall in lust, marry, survive two years then separate, because the they don’t like the underlying human being. That chemical lust to have sex (procreate) is all powerful. All consuming. The Hollywood romance fantasy is not true. But this is not what I call love.

    To me, love relates to the human being in your company. It can be sexual but it can also apply to family and friends. That quiet but every present feeling of gentle pleasure to be in company and share time with that person. To go on a holiday. Enjoy a movie of a meal. To grow old together. Raise a family. Grandchildren per chance. That to me is like gravity. Gentle, almost invisible, but very strong over long distances.

    Lust is great, but love is better.



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  • 52
    bonnie says:

    great, vivid clarity in risk

    Storm and stress, yes!

    Nothing equals being alone in nature; eyes wide open, ears perked as a lynx, the sniffing of odors pleasant and putrid, winds suddenly shifting from the north to usher in autumn.



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  • Just an observation, I don’t believe love is a human invention. Beside the fact that other animals appear to have similar feelings, I would think that the ability to form close emotional bonds, and subsequently communities of people that ‘love’ one another enough to protect each other at the cost of the individual, would provide a strong evolutionary advantage.



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  • I also love this – nothing excites me more than a brisk walk/run or cycle in the morning, all the more so if it can be done in nature, on a trail in a forest or the hills, away from civilisation. Good smells and bad! I figured I wasn’t unique in this, but very few people I know revel in the contrast of good and bad smells so much as I.



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  • 55
    moveebuff says:

    Allowing children to think for themselves is a great gift a parent can give a child. As soon as people break the cycle of brainwashing children from birth religion will be seen for what it really is….a cult. a cult that preys on the poor to give money, to manipulate followers, to oppress women, even to be executioner in some religions. Education is key to finally close the chapter on buying into a cult that teaches you to hate other cults.



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  • LOL, took me back to an obscure moment on Babylon 5, when a human meets an “Ancient” an advanced creature that is millions of years old, in a cave underneath the Shadow world. They have a short conversation and the Ancient says “I envy your naivety of love.” You’re not even a century old yet, can you imagine how jaded we would be after a million years?



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  • Hi voiceofarabi,

    Re. your “problem of leaving god”:

    I never had a god to leave, never viewed all the myths as more than stories, but that didn’t detract from my understanding or enjoyment of love, which is as natural as any emotion and any human. The feelings were just as intense and at times overwhelming, but I never thought of love as supernatural or magical.

    The absence of god also did/does not prevent my appreciation of poetry, literature, art and music, to feel the awe, the transformative and empathetic potential of masterpieces old and new. Nor does it remove from me the informative and entertainment value of other “stories” of demons, ghosts, monsters and mythologies of the world.

    To use your “operating system” analogy, I have a different system that runs all the apps yours does, only with different parameters. My OS still finds love in its various forms, including sacrificing one’s own needs and happiness for someone “deeply cared for”, and those individuals who provide one the most happiness. Perhaps you don’t have to lose your OS, only update it?

    Sorry if I’m repeating points others already made. Your English is just fine. 🙂



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  • 58
    Cairsley says:

    Very well put, Atheos.

    Those who reduce human life to molecules and biological processes are failing to see the wood for the trees. Not believing in the supernatural or immaterial makes no difference to the range of experience and feeling and perception and curiosity and creativeness and inventiveness and expressiveness and wonder that result from having the big and very complex brains that we have. It just means that our understanding of all these and everything else in human life is probably more accurate. We humans are still the very soulful beings we always were.



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  • 59
    no1453 says:

    Actually, I’ve also noticed how some of the more romantic notions of love, like “true love”, also fall apart as fantasy when examined. Glad to see I’m not the only one this has occurred to!



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  • He’s talking about Jesus and his “Evidence” is the bible, a document written by men (Masculine gender intended because women do real bad in the bible). He thinks that a document with so many errors, contradictions, lies, unsupported archaeological evidence, debase morality, tribal politics and just plain nonsense is the word of god. If god came forward and claimed this book, or the koran as his work, he’s unlikely to be someone anyone would want to worship, let alone obey or follow. Venal, immoral, inconsistent, vain, egocentric and brutal. This, the moral template for all humanity to follow.

    p.s. Have you ever noticed that when some fundamentalist stricken poster does a drive by post on this web page, they always use a biblical name as an alias. Very sad.



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  • Mark
    Oct 6, 2015 at 5:19 am

    Have not affected the life of mankind on earth
    As powerfully as that one solitary life.

    No need for mysterious games!

    Selected stories were put together by Bishop Athanasius of Alexandria after an argument with Arius in the 300s AD, as to what the nature of Christians gods might be! – Folk-tales of 300 years ago at that time !! – Picked from the wider range of “gospels”, to meet with the political requirements of Constantine’s Roman Empire!

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Athanasius_of_Alexandria
    Conflict with Arius and Arianism as well as successive Roman emperors shaped Athanasius’s career. In 325, at the age of 27, Athanasius began his leading role against the Arians as his bishop’s assistant during the First Council of Nicaea. Roman emperor Constantine the Great had convened the council in May–August 325 to address the Arian position that the Son of God, Jesus of Nazareth, is of a distinct substance from the Father.[1] Three years after that council, Athanasius succeeded his mentor as archbishop of Alexandria. In addition to the conflict with the Arians (including powerful and influential Arian churchmen led by Eusebius of Nicomedia), he struggled against the Emperors Constantine, Constantius II, Julian the Apostate and Valens.

    Of course those who are ignorant of history, think the NT bible is a history book, when it is actually a compendium of folk-tales about supposed events 300 years earlier!



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  • You state the bleedin’ obvious Alan! Reality is more astonishing than anything anyone can make up.

    “The internet is where religion goes to die.”

    Albeit, in sheer desperation, idiots post stupid “proofs” of all sorts of utter drivel; such as, evidence of 69 Muslim miracles; a fundamental contradition in terms.

    But, believe me, I know a number of so called educated individuals who fall for this crap; I thinks it’s called confirmation bias; seeking the result that meets your opinion, before looking for any evidence.

    And to compound an already ridiculous situation, when evidence proving something wrong is presented, it’s poo pooed as conspiratorial.

    How do you argue with that kind of mentality?



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  • Thank you, Cairsley.

    I’ve encountered many believers who, mindlessly echoing the religious propaganda they’re fed, assert that reality-preferring atheists like us cannot feel, that we’re somehow defective, less than human. Such insidious lies, aside from declaring false superiority, serve to dehumanize their detractors (for easier dispatch by various methods). But then, what would we expect from religions that lay vacuous and hubris claim to merely…everything, at least everything worthwhile?

    Religions of and by fellow primates not only hijack everything natural and human, they purport to own our very existence and identity. Whatever phenomenon, attribution and association of it to a deity only devalues it from the wondrous reality or mystery it already is, including molecular life and biological processes. The Kyrie of Mozart’s “Great Mass in C Minor” is extraordinary for his loving showcase of Constanze’s virtuosity, for his introduction to and eagerly sought acceptance from his father of his new bride, in the language Mozart most likely felt comfortable speaking with him. Without these human inspirations, it would have been just another movement in countless mass compositions nauseatingly praising the glory of a fiction.

    Pardon my rant. 🙂



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  • 65
    Jeffrey says:

    Say what ever you want… Islam is still the world fastest growing religion and i’m happy to be a part of it
    …at least i feel much better than being a Christian !



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  • 66
    Stefanie says:

    I was casually Christian, but lost faith in all religion over a decade ago. I study history and psychology for fun. I am a naturalist and a multi disciplinary artist. I am about half fluent in German and Italian, and I am still learning both. I just want to say that the loss of magical thinking does not preclude wonder. Religion can be like a curtain, remove it and there are endless possibilities to discover. I have a rich inner fantasy world as well as in insatiable curiosity for real information. I think that the broadening of my comfort zone has made me a much happier person. I have chosen not to define myself by what I exclude, or think is wrong. I think this cultural pressure to ally oneself with a philosophy or theology is unnecessary. I call it “The Culture of False Dichotomy. ” I see no reason why I can’t like vanilla and chocolate. Life is marvelously complex, I am brilliant and still learning and growing, so there is no need to dumb anything down.



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  • Cairsley
    Oct 5, 2015 at 10:18 pm

    Those who reduce human life to molecules and biological processes are failing to see the wood for the trees.

    I think this is often an attempt by theists using a false dichotomy to belittle understanding of nature.

    It is of course possible to see the wood AND the trees! – All the way from atoms and molecules to the trees, forest ecosystems, landscapes, flowers, fruits, associated scents and flavours, and the psychology and biology of human reactions to perceptions of these.

    I think it is an extended form of gapology, where gods of gaps are inserted into ignorance of the continuity of nature and the understanding of nature, in order to assert a “superior” view of the disjointed and fragmented bits and pieces of knowledge, which are contained within restricted the box of theist thinking.

    That argument also has elements of psychological projection, in asserting that because the theists presenting that argument have big gaps in their own knowledge, they delude themselves that those who understand one piece of the continuity, must be unaware of the other fragments which THEY have compartmentalised into separate items.



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  • Some of those applications are really silly like Santa Clause, and
    some are really intermediate like football… and some others are really
    important like love.. But they all work on the system of believing in
    faith or the “super natural”……

    Once we lose God, or stop believing in God, or stop believing in the
    super natural, or as i would like to call it, “lose the operating
    system“ all those applications run on, or the Smart phone that has all
    those applications, we lose all fantasies including LOVE..

    This is the same kind of nonsense that the religious use to claim there would be no morality without religion (when religion itself is fundamentally immoral).

    I do not need religion to have a sense of what is right and what is wrong. Nor do I need religion to tell me emotion is not a fantasy.

    I read the new testament cover to cover when I was 5 and knew then that it was not only nonsense but rather vile nonsense. By your suggestion, I haven’t loved anyone or anything since I was 5. That is obviously preposterous (and rather offensive TBH).

    There is nothing wrong with having traditions to mark out time as being special and to help us take focus away from the meaningless minutia we all get caught up in and place the focus on kindness, gratitude and those we love. And arguable, those traditions would be made even stronger if we acknowledged them as a celebration of humanity, human values and human spirit.

    And of course there is nothing wrong about indulging in a little fantasy, it’s psychologically very healthy and children in particular need it to develop, grow and learn.

    As for sport, and speaking about someone who has worked in sport and seen how it brings people together and genuinely changes lives, it’s preposterous to say that it is a fantasy linked to the belief in god or the supernatural. Sport, like art and literature, is so incredibly and wonderfully human. It is the celebration of what humans can achieve through talent, endeavour and cooperation (even solo sports need a lot of cooperation). Supporting a team is not having faith or rejoicing in the supernatural, but having faith and rejoicing in people. Take Rugby World Cup (on just now in England), sure you have some teams where there will be a high percentage of religious followers in the team, but look at the values, spirit, joy and unity being celebrated in the stands by crowds that will be predominantly atheist or agnostic (rugby has high ABC1 levels and a generally well-educated fan base so will have lower level of religious believers than wider population). That’s not a fantasy. That is humanity at its most joyful best. And off the back of this tournament, thousands of children will take to their local rugby pitch and learn a little of the values that sport (and that sport in particular) conveys boosting their confidence in a way that opens doors to them to opportunity and careers far beyond sport.

    Dismissing all that you are as a symptom of religion is not just to throw the baby out with the bathwater as you would be if you suggested dismissing traditions such as Christmas which were co-opted rather than invented by religion. What you are suggesting, is throwing out the car, the sofa, the roof tiles and a panda with the bathwater. These things have no link to religion nor the supernatural, these are things that are at the heart of being human.



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  • 69
    Philippo54 says:

    To say that I think you’re wrong would be a bit of an understatement. (You did tell Big Pencil that you weren’t being sarcastic.)
    I think you should always be very careful when arguing that X is just like Y – and that you can therefore draw a conclusion about X from your knowledge of Y. Describing God as an operating system is a possibility if you’re going to start a new religion, I suppose, but doesn’t seem (as fas as I can see) to have much to do with any of the major world religions that currently exist.
    Secondly, (and without going into this any more deeply) my love for my wife and my family – and my friends – requires no God whatsoever. You simply need to be human.



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  • Some religions clearly give them more motivation to flee than others!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-34475424

    Child abuse linked to exorcism and witchcraft accusations is on the rise, figures obtained by the BBC suggest.

    The Metropolitan Police said there had been 60 crimes linked to faith in London so far this year. It saw reports double from 23 in 2013 to 46 in 2014.

    Half of UK police forces do not record such cases and many local authorities are also unable to provide figures.

    London is unique in having a police team, Project Violet, dedicated to this type of abuse.

    Its figures relate to crime reports where officers have flagged a case as involving abuse linked to faith or belief. Many of the cases involve children.

    .Ibidapo was trafficked to the UK from Nigeria in 2007, to work as a servant for relatives in the North of England. They accused her of being a witch, stopped her going to school and physically assaulted her. She escaped with the help of a Nigerian woman living nearby.

    “I started living with my aunty at the age of 10, to help her to look after the baby. If my aunty went to work I’d be left with the baby, to do all the housework, wash clothes, cook the food.

    “Each time the children got sick my aunty would accuse me of being the one responsible for their illness, start calling me a witch, start beating me up, and there was a time that she took me down to church, to a pastor. They were calling me a witch, they were using a broom to beat me.

    “You’ll get the actual physical abuse and injuries taking place, and, in the worst-case scenario, we’ve had some homicides as well,” he said.

    “We’ve had a case within the last year where a nine-year-old boy had been called a devil child and thrown out of his address by his parents and was found by social services standing in his bare feet.”

    In another case a child was attacked by his mother, who bit him on the face and tried to smother him, because she believed he was a “witch possessed by evil spirits”.

    She added that within churches there was often a financial motivation behind accusations.

    .”The pastor says there’s a witch in this church today; looks around and points to a child.

    “That means public humiliation for the family. The next step is exorcism which is not done for free. It’s a money-making scam.

    Ah! the “benefits of all-knowing faith”!



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