Death of religion graveyardThe following guest sermon was submitted by ULC minister Angela Winkler. All ULC Ministers are invited to contribute their own sermons for consideration/publication. To submit a sermon, please email it to sermons@themonastery.org.


A Slow But Steady Death

Religion in America is dying. It’s about time. After being wielded as a weapon to enslave Africans, displace Native Americans, subjugate women, suppress LGBTQ communities and shelter abusers of women and children, we should welcome its decline with celebratory acclaim. The truth is that religion has been holding us back from experiencing a second Enlightenment as society.

Recent analysis by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) determined the number of “religiously unaffiliated” Americans has tripled between 1976 and 2016. Moreover, the “religiously unaffiliated” cohort had a mean age in 2016 that was seven years higher than that of the mean in 1976 – showing that not only are a greater share of Americans breaking away from major religious groups, but that young people aren’t nearly as susceptible to the trappings of religion as they once were. 

Chart showing religious affiliation on the decline

Pushing People Away

In my opinion, the religious right has acted as a catalyst in triggering these trends amongst youth in the United States. According to new research in the American Journal of Political Science, as the religious right grew in political stature, many political liberals and moderates elected to stop identifying as Christians, rather than be associated with inflammatory folks like Jerry Falwell, James Dobson and Pat Robertson.

Furthermore, as American minds evolved on subject matters such as homosexuality, prayer in schools, women’s rights, premarital sex, and contraception, some tenets of morality in major religious groups became anathema to American cultural values of freedom, liberty, and justice for all – resulting in a slow exodus over time. 

Millennials Hate Religion

Younger Americans, frequently referred to as “millennials,” are the least religious generation in U.S. history. Millennials serve as the bridge between an antiquated past dominated by religious frameworks of morality to a future that recognizes a secular moral relativism. As the millennial population cohort came of age they were witness to the Defense of Marriage Act, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, unchecked police brutality against people of color, and the growth of the Federal prisoner population by 790% since 1980. Perhaps millennials relate to Frederick Douglass’ lamentation that:

“Between the Christianity of this land and the Christianity of Christ, I recognize the widest possible difference—so wide that to receive the one as good, pure, and holy, is of necessity to reject the other as bad, corrupt, and wicked. To be the friend of the one is of necessity to be the enemy of the other. I love the pure, peaceable, and impartial Christianity of Christ; I therefore hate the corrupt, slave-holding, women-whipping, cradle-plundering, partial and hypocritical Christianity of this land. Indeed, I can see no reason but the most deceitful one for calling the religion of this land Christianity.”

Welcome to the New Age

As religion wanes from public preoccupation we will enter a second Enlightenment. Ideas must be framed within the context of reason and logic rather than from the arcane or theological. As scholars of the first Enlightenment period sought to curtail the excess powers of organized religion so too will it happen again. Already, so-called evangelical voters cling to adulterous and disgusting candidates for office. As long as “their guy” claims to love Jesus, they’re willing to overlook even the most terrible of flaws. These are piteous attempts by religious extremists to hold on to their last vestiges of power.

If power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely, conceivably the fall from grace for America’s religious movements are an opportunity for reflection – on the ills committed against countrymen, and just maybe, a restorative way forward.

 

45 comments

  1. Thomas says:

    Traditional religion and it isn’t any kind of “Enlightenment”. It is a religion that is taking two simultaneous path. The first is a form of tribalism where people of varying ethnic, racial, ideological, geographic, etc. groups are living uncomfortably and sometimes violently next or close to each other each with their grievances, complaints, claims, etc. This necessitates the real endgame, the religion of Statism, that is, the worship of a centralized, authoritarian, totalitarian, dictatorial government who puts itself out there as the place people to go to get even with other groups, to get the goodies, etc. Worship of government. Government becomes the source of everything good. Government is who you turn to to make things right. Government determines what your rights are. etc.etc.

    1. Carl Elfstrom says:

      Or, you could turn to someone like don Corlione to fix your problems.

    2. Christian says:

      America is founded upon limited government least restrictions of citizens natural god given rights.

      Our constitution and bill of tights is the cage we built around our elected employees.

      American Citizens have no ruler,
      only servants.

      Philosophies and teachings of loving kindness, generosity and gratitude are optomistic and focus on survival by well, try and live your best life.

      It’s worth trying ! 🙂

  2. Bear says:

    About time.Religions had a place and we’re needed back in the old,tribal days.
    It also helped bring people together in various locations where things were harsh.But in today’s world,there constantly disproving old myths and superstions.Wars continue due to old
    Religious beliefs.

  3. Tom says:

    It is time for everyone to recognize each of us is equal to everyone else, and we are all part of God…religions are divisive, and create hierarchies similar to corporations…God’s guide is to be loving, caring and compassionate to everyone…there is no need for religions to pretend to codify this…Tom

  4. James says:

    The govt don’t give us anything The govt is under contract to manage issues for us. The founders used religion as a base for the bill of right. This is a blog of a church ” religious group? So why the relief of the dieing of morality. Unless we are talking about oppressive organizations that remove rights to actually believe and practice your faith! More that sounds like a few people on the democratic side of things Even a few on the republican side too. I think the removal of God, faith, and religion is the numbing of the peoples will to be free from accountability. I. E. The communist portfolio…. No God, no one above govt, one higher power. No no no, that right there is the death of America and you all are the frogs in the pot. Open your eyes.

    1. Wendy says:

      The end of religion is not the dying of morality. Morality doesn’t originate in religion. The Bill of Rights was not religion-based. It was added to the Constitution to limit the power of the federal government.

      1. Joseph says:

        Was founded on Natural Law.Natural Law is based on Freedom and not Slavery.The Theft of a persons Sovereign Rights under this Cosmic Law is a threat to their Freedom as a conscious being. Only with the practice of Natural Law can fellow beings become Free ! I agree with your comment Wendy. Blessings….On to the Victory of Freedom !!!

    2. Carl Elfstrom says:

      As far as I can tell ULC is an interfaith ministry for members of all god centered religions, spiritual paths, and then some. As an interfaith minister I minister to people of all faiths,in accordance with their beliefs, not my own. And I believe in equality for all. I’m not for or against religion dying out in this country. Either way, people will keep believing in gods and goddesses, and will sometimes require the assistance of ministers.

    3. Christian says:

      nilhilism is rejection of creating meaning for one’s life and abandoning the creative responsibility that comes with Free Will and virtually unmilited choices of actions.

  5. John Owens says:

    I just have to say, this whole first paragraph is so heavily biased I would call it full of falsehood:

    “Religion in America is dying. It’s about time. After being wielded as a weapon to enslave Africans, displace Native Americans, subjugate women, suppress LGBTQ communities and shelter abusers of women and children, we should welcome its decline with celebratory acclaim. The truth is that religion has been holding us back from experiencing a second Enlightenment as society.”

    The first sentence is probably true, but due more to the indoctrination of the young than any other phenomenon. The second is a matter of opinion. The third– full of onesided half-truths. Some may have used religion as a “weapon” to enslave Africans, but (A) it wasn’t ONLY Africans, so that is one half-truth, and (B) it was also used as a motivation to END slavery, so that is an omitted truth. As for Native Americans, ( I despise that terminology, because it describes the ancient tribes that MIGRATED here from Asia), religion was also used to help them or at least temper their displacement in many cases. Many shelters for abused women and children are SPONSORED by churches. You will find very few shelters sponsored by atheists, since altruism is viewed as hypocritical and somewhat quaint by most atheists. I have never seen any church-organized suppression of LGBTQ communities. I know that respectable churches preach against any kind of fornication, but that is not “oppression”. Yep, I have to call BS on the opening paragraph.

    1. Wendy says:

      But Africans are the descendants of Ham. Therefore they’re supposed to be enslaved. That was the argument. And after the Civil War that same argument was used to subjugate African Americans and perpetuate racism. Religion, from Calvinism through Fundamentalist Christianity, was used to justify forcing Native Americans out of their lands. The argument for that was manifest destiny. It’s definitely used to subjugate women and shelter abusers. I experienced that first hand, and I’ve helped people get out of those situations.

      Atheism isn’t a group, so there’s no such thing as an atheist shelter. Just like there’s no such thing as a shelter sponsored specifically by people who don’t eat asparagus. Your statement that altruism is viewed as hypocritical and quaint by most atheists is pure supposition on your part. Maybe the very loud-mouthed atheists believe that, but I know a LOT of atheists who don’t feel the need to be loud about their disbelief in a god and put in a lot of time and donate a lot of money to shelters and other altruistic organizations.

      I’ve also seen church-organized suppression of LGBTQ people. It’s not pretty. In fact, it was one of the most disturbing, twisted things I’ve ever experienced.

      Religions have mitigated some of the damage they’ve done, but a lot of the problems wouldn’t exist in the first place without having been inspired by religion.

      1. John Owens says:

        Wendy, I appreciate you considering what I have written and offering a counterpoint, but if I might offer another counterpoint for your consideration: Is it the fault of religion itself? OR maybe, selfish people trying to find justification for their own greedy intentions?

        I mean, how many Jews actually follow the teachings of Moses and the prophets? All these centuries, millennia even, and many still open their businesses on the Sabbath. Some even eat things they should not. The things they do observe, they do out of a sense of identity more than obedience to God.

        As for the so-called “Christians”, do they really follow Jesus’ (Joshua’s) teachings? They pick and choose a few, and I’m not hurling stones at them– I do not, can not bring myself to do EVERYTHING I know I am supposed to do. I try NOT to allow myself to justify my own misdeeds on biblical grounds for my failings.

        I’m just saying, I’m not a bad person BECAUSE of my faith. If I fall short of godliness, it is not my faith’s fault, or God’s, but my OWN. Do you not think this happens on a societal or national level? I just think people seize on justifications wherever they can find them, even in their sometimes unreasonable hatred of Donald Trump or Obama or Christian Fundamentalism or whatever person or -ism.

        Still, “unbelievers” seldom do any ORGANIZED good for others. Wouldn’t you have to agree?

        1. Wendy says:

          Organized religion always results in politics. Actually, in any group of at least three people you get politics. Organized religion isn’t about spirituality; it’s about controlling people. And organized religions keep score. Organized religion is inherently selfish (you can’t be competitive and not be selfish), and religious doctrine is definitely shaped by what its adherents want to be true. Southern Baptists wanted to keep slavery, so they used the Bible to justify it, and that religion grew very quickly. And that racism is still very much a part of fundamentalist Christianity, as is the subjugation of women.

          I know many people who are good people despite, or maybe regardless of, their faith. I know many people who are evil because of their faith.

          Do “unbelievers” do ORGANIZED good for others? Absolutely. We have a lot of non-faith-based organizations around here that provide all kinds of assistance without the strings that religious-based groups tend to attach to their “help.”

      2. Joe says:

        Because of a specific shameful act that occurred after the great flood, Noah pronounced a curse or judgment on one of Ham’s sons, a man by the name of Canaan. The judgment was that Canaan and his descendants would become servants or slaves to his brothers and their descendants, and over time, this actually happened. But the curse was not on Ham; it was only on his son, Canaan (see Genesis 9:25). Nor was Canaan the founder of any African nation or race; his descendants settled only in the Middle East.

        1. Wendy says:

          Yes, but that isn’t what people want to believe, so they choose to believe a different interpretation. Fundamentalists are very good a picking and choosing.

    2. Christian says:

      Yes, I attemped to post three responses to the above article, all of which got deleated.

      But here is a condensed reply for your consideration:

      Faithfullness in America is Growing.

      Because our only choice is this:
      become the spearhead of human progress,
      or be extrminated by those more advanced than ourselves. A hard fact for all life forms.
      Survival of the fittest.
      Powerful groups fought to destroy America’s Freedom, from within and without.
      Our better equiped military met them in battle, fought several bitter wars, and won.
      Our religious freedoms bought & paid for, in blood.
      True Liberty is threatened in every generation.
      It could have gone the other way too…
      but here we are,
      and we Stand our Ground, Victors Triumphant.

      Our Brave Republic declared
      ALL SHALL BE FREE,
      and when the democrat plantation owners said no, some shall live and die in chains, as livestock, as farm equipment, our Republican President Abraham Lincoln did not agree with their opinion.
      He Led the Civil War to Victory, and Freedom for all.
      As a thank you, the Well known supporters of slave sellers and buyers murdered him.

      Our Nation, once again – baptised in free men’s blood.

      The blood of our President Lincoln, the blood of every American soldier, and every drop of blood spilled by every slave across our nation, the blood of all our saviors.
      All our Freedoms, bought and paid for by the RED in the white and blue.

      In the USA, the fight for civil rights was led by Republican Black women, and black government elected officials, that worked to end Lynching by Democrat KKK members & secure voting rights of, by, and for All raves and ALL women.

      America has continually led the way for women’s voting and property rights, education & business.

      Dignity of the PERSON is a Natural God Given American RIGHT for all men & women.
      Equality for All.
      Such freedom is seen as dangerous by those that would keep you enslaved in body, in mind, or in spirit.
      Today we have broken those chains.

      Free your mind, free your soul, with love & truth,
      and you free your Self as you free the world.

      Christianity as taught by Yeshua,
      placed Humane treatment of ALL Life as the most important focus for all life. Including women, children, men, animals, plant life, etc. EVERYONE !!! EVERYWHERE.

      God is LOVE, LOVE IS GOD.

      JUST LOVE.

      Love LOVE with all your emotions, all your thoughts, all your strength & will, ALL YOUR LIFE.

      Love everyone as yourself, even your enemies.
      The very best way to destroy enemies is to make them your friends. The only enemy is animosity.
      We are one family when we unite in love & truth.

      The true NEW AGE: TOTAL LOVE.
      Which is even older than Jesus – streching back long before him, since cave men struggling to survive the ICE AGES certainly loved their cave women and cave children.

      However, CHRIST is seen as the turning point in human history 2018 years ago (give or take a few years, based on readjusting time tables.) And it is noted he had 12 men very loving & close to him.
      13 men living close together all the time.
      As well as many women friends with them too.
      A commune ? Groupies? Extended family ?
      Whatever your terms for them, they’re LOVE changed the world, displaced the Roman Empire, and reached people all over the world. Some commune!

      Real Love changes things, and refuses to quit.
      Faith, Hope, & Love – and Love is greatest of All.
      Real Loves Power goes beyond life, beyond death.

      True Love is Eternal.

      Far from religion, Jesus taught the obvious reasonable thinking: caring for and loving each other. Do not be afraid. Avoid self harming and other harming behavior. Peace be with you.

      Repent from harmful thoughts and actions, and live a better life to the fullest, as your were created to Live Free and Enjoy our EDEN : Our Whole Universe IS your garden of eden when all people focus on Love & Truth. Because Heaven is within you and among you. Where two or more people gather in Love, Jesus is with them.

      As our Brother Jesus taught:
      The TRUTH sets us Free.
      The TRUTH of Facts frees us from Error.

      Christianity IS the REASON based belief system.
      Strip away the foreign words, mythology and middle east culture and you have the purest form of teachings:

      ENJOY LIFE. BE HAPPY. BE HEALING & HELPFUL.
      Love is Fun ! 🙂 Life is Wonderful ! 🙂

      The ‘Religious Right’ are RIGHT as in Correct.
      Conservative families protect the living cells of our Nation: Mothers & Fathers raising their homeful of children.

      If LOVE is far from you, Love didn’t move.
      LOVE is still calling you to be loved and love all.
      This is the teachings of Christ. God Loves You.

      As Lovingly as possible, all nations should protect their families and put their NATION FIRST.
      For U.S.A. this means putting AMERICA FIRST,
      to reverse the loss of Power and regain and increase in Power.

      All nations can work towards advancing EARTH FIRST – space exploration, even colonization on new planets, and teraforming dead worlds into new life. Someday.

      Humanity is the living pollen of Earth.
      Thank you Earth Mother Gia for creating US to be your star stuff children. We shall pollenate the Galaxy with your living beings.

      THIS IS HOW MUCH GOD LOVES YOU:
      TRUE FREE WILL.And a whole Universe to explore.
      You are more than an animal driven by emotions and controlled by instincts.
      You are more than a genetic automation preprogrammed to auto-reproduce during mating cycles.

      YOU ARE FREE.
      Freedom, God Wills It.
      Enjoy Free Will. It is Fun !

      Growing Families is FREEDOM from extinction.

      Avoiding Harmful Behaviors is LIBERTY from Error.

      Speaking the TRUTH against destructive harmful behavior is the greatest and most prescious form of JUSTICE FOR ALL.

      To Pray and meditate is very beneficial – to repeatedly focus your mind on Loving Kindness, gratitude, and generosity, is vital towards forming the Will, strengthening moral resolve, toughening mental fitness, and most importantly guide the motivation into a purposeful, personally fulfilling life.

      This mental dicipline is vital to all children.

      Removing prayer from schools directly increased child suicides as they see existence as meaningless, completely hopeless, and their own self as worthless. Broken homes & moral relativism. Such an empty world view of nilhilism.

      AMERICA faces two dynamic world viewpoints:

      1. Life is Sacred & wonderful, a Gift to be enjoyed.

      2. Life is a worthless mistake & to be aborted.

      Naturally these two world views do not mesh.
      Fun Life & Salvation True teachings of Jesus.
      vs Despare, death, and destruction. Nilhilism.

      Enjoy Loving LIFE, it is the better choice.

      LOVING LIFE is why AMERICA is poised on the greatest Awakening.

      A worldwide revival of meaning.

      In the great cold vaccuum of endless void,
      tiny human creatures giggle and laugh inspite of the darkness.

      It is more fun to exist and be alive.

      LOVE RETURNS.

      Wage slaves leave the plantation politics and embrace true financial success & record breaking economic growth.
      Loving their children, getting and staying married, working and making the most out of Life.
      BECAUSE LOVE MATTERS.
      Because Rugged Individualism yields success.
      Everyday heroes. Mothers & Fathers, Brothers & Sisters. Everywhere all the time.

      CHRIST HAS RISEN. LOVE RETURNS.
      OUR PEOPLE ARE AWAKE.
      LOVE WILL NEVER SHUT UP.
      LOVE WILL NEVER SHUT DOWN.
      LOVE IS FREE, & OFFERS FREEDOM TO ALL.
      TRUE LOVE NEVER FAILS.

      In America, ‘People of Color’ have DOMINATED every field of progress they set their mind to, with freedoms unknown to the past pages of history.

      Even now we Avoid the false delusion of duality.
      There are the original words of GOOD & EVIL.
      But both are best understood as HELPFUL or HARMFUL.

      It is good for Frederick Douglass to uphold Republican principles of ending Slavery, promoting equality and voting for women, Armed protection for and the valuing of children and family, objective truth and rational kindness.

      Loving Kindness is the New Age.

      Gratitude and Generosity are both rational choices to maximize the greatest success for the most people. Very utilitarian. Enjoy Liberty.

      The armies of moral relativism collapse under the Sherman tanks of loving Objective Truth.
      Red Poppies Remembering the price of Freedom.

      Already, so-called evangelical voters forgive the most human of flaws, just as Jesus taught us to forgive. Through forgiveness and abandoning error, we are freed from mistakes, and become the brothers and sisters of Jesus.

      It is this LIVING RESSURECTION POWER OF CHRIST,
      that allows Christians to roll away the stones and barriers in Life and RISE from a grave of dead transgressions. Love renews Life.
      Forgiveness frees us from guilt & vengence.

      That’s not politics.
      That’s not religion.
      That is the Survival Strategy of OPTIMISM.

      Real Hope, based on Demonstratable Change.
      Even that Optimism may fundamentally be based upon neuro-genetics and brain structure.
      Optomistic brains seek patterns of success.

      Real Power can not corrupt, because real power is only created by Truth and Wisdom.

      All falsehoods crumble once truth is revealed.
      All lies are disspelled once facts are self evident.

      The Light Upon our path,
      the Way for our truth,
      All the healing restoration we seek,
      is in the ressurection of Love in All our lives.

      Love surrounds us and fills us.

      https://youtu.be/53Pqw20xK10

  6. Lea Weis says:

    Well I guess people are not putting up with the fear control and don’t need the fire insurance anymore.

    I’m glad to see people wising up to the destruction of religion. We don’t need someone that is on a power high to enslave our minds anymore..People are looking for the god within..Steping towards spirituality..god orderly direction….We don’t need that cookie cutter mind anymore..We are done throwing our families away because they don’t think like us. We are learning that love for one’s self..is also love for others..We all want to be loved and excepted and we have realised we can love our neighbor even if they don’t share our same ideas..

  7. John Eftimiades says:

    Yes people may be wising up to the realization that religion is all about control and fear, but until they become more vocal and political the minority religious zealots will continue to dictate policy. Has anyone ever witnessed a politician say I respect your viewpoint but I am not of the belief in an almighty deity. Just once I’d like to hear a politician say we should not be considering military conflicts based on the belief that we’re doing God’s work. Honestly, how many soldiers have gone to their graves believing or at least being told that they’re doing God’s work. What a travesty, especially now in 2018. I hope I live to see more evidence of the United States moving once and for all out of the dark ages.

  8. Maurice Slaunwhite says:

    God is not about Religion in the first place. The whole thing is about the Lord thy God only and only him. If a person lives to be over one hundred years old and the people starts stories about that person that is not true like a certain person was at a place where he wasn’t in the First place or if a person wasn’t at a place when he was there this is called Gossip. Would you like something like this happen to you? Jesus had this happen to him. Now the whole truth comes out that he is God in the flesh,Son of God and the Holy Spirit. Yes we all Believe Jesus is coming back and the Muslims even believe in this as well. It is written John 3:16 For God so loved the world he gave his Only begotten son and who so ever believe in him shall not perish but have everlasting life. The word Religion is only mentioned in the Bible Twice in the book of James in the first chapter of the 26 and 27 verse. God bless you all and remember Jesus comes first.

    1. Maurice Slaunwhite says:

      God hates Gossip and that is Biblical.

      1. A Lone Voice In The Wilderness says:

        Gossip is a Lie. a Lie is Gossip. Not to be confused with critical thinking and discussions use to be known as conversations which lead to thinking, learning and knowledge. Lets be clear here. Heed your ears to the Lord, not man.

    2. BethCZ says:

      While the Koran recognizes Jesus as a prophet secondary to Mohamed, Islam does not believe Jesus was God, or “the son of God” – it explicitly decries Christian belief that Jesus is the son of God by proclaiming, “God (Allah) has no sons!” He’s not coming back any more than any other now-dead person of the first century is.

      God is all about religion. If God exists, that’s precisely what he wanted, God actively wants people to kill each other, hate each other, discriminate against each other, and make war on each other in His name. being omniscient, omnipotent, and all. If God did not want there to be tens of thousands of religions, all proclaiming theirs is “The Truth” and others are at best ignorant and deluded, and at worst heretical and damned, God would have let himself be known unequivocally to all people, directly, in a manner which would have evidence, proof. However, that would eliminate faith.

      1. Lea Weis says:

        People puting their faith in a invisible man is a fairy tale. Every human being has faith and hope. Faith in themself and hope for a better tomorrow. Its in our own hands.

        1. Carl Elfstrom says:

          Fairytales, can come true, they can happen to you, if you’re young at heart. Don’t be a doubting Thomas.

      2. Christian says:

        Certainly I agree with you Jesus never asked anyone to worship him !

        Brother Jesus was just trying to teach everyone we are ALL God’s sons and daughters. Love everybody. We are family.

        When we accept God Is our father, well – now we have the responsibility that goes with being a child deity.

        When God says to Love Everyone, all we need to do is say, “ok dad.”

        Jesus didn’t rule over people or tell them to build churches and worship HIM. Read every Version of Every Bible. He never asked anyone to kneel before him.

        When Jesus was called “Good”,
        he even corrected his student on the spot! “Why do you call me good ? Only GOD is Good !”

        http://biblehub.com/mark/10-18.htm

        Jesus taught everyone that God Loves them ALL as a father loves his children.

        “OUR Father – who lives in heaven.”
        His words are inclusive of everyone. All of us are God’s Children. It was written he used the informal wording for ‘father’.

        A better translation would be,
        “Our Daddy, he lives in Heaven”.

        Brother Jesus reminds us that we are gods, little children gods, all made by OUR Father to live and grow up as good loving gods just like Him.

        Some also view the creator of all the cosmos as a giant space Mother, or as Mother Earth.

        Certainly humanity clings to Earth like a baby clings to her mother’s breast.

        Humanity has a long road ahead before they can build new planets, teraform new worlds, or travel through dimensions and escape the limitations of space time & gravity wells.

        But here we sit and play with our toys. Enjoy the life time we have now. Life is fun!

        Little children looking up at the stars in wide eyed wonder.

        I am very thankful God created a universe for us to play in.

        Existing here for a while certainly is a great experience.

        I do not remember a time before I existed, but I am glad to be here & enjoy meeting so many other wonderful people too! 🙂

    3. Carl Elfstrom says:

      Wicca doesn’t believe in Jesus as a god or son of a god iether, although he can be part of your pantheon of gods if you want him to be. In the first place there can’t be a son without a mother and a father, but Christianity doesn’t accept that fact of life. And since the son of god the father alone is the number one tenet of their faith it makes the rest rest of that religion seem incredulous and preposterous. It shouldn’t take a genius to figure that out, and more people are getting sick and tired of buying into such shenanigans. Whether or not they have a better religion to replace it with they know such illogical myths are not for them.

    4. Lea Weis says:

      The story about Jesus….This story has been retold but the names have been changed. I personally can’t imagine putting my faith an hope in a god that sacrificed his son…thou shall not kill. But I do understand that everyone likes a hero…

      1. John Owens says:

        …but He only sacrificed Him for 3 days and 3 nights. He knew He could resurrect Him. Even Abraham knew, when he was willing to offer Isaac. Just saying.

      2. Reverend Joe says:

        He sacrificed his son to spare millions, and to go deeper, he actually sacrificed the body, the capsule if you will, not the spirit. Let’s all undertsmd the agony this sacrifice meant, but it had to be done.

        1. Christian says:

          Was it Jesus’ sacrifice ?
          or is it more the story of God’s Sacrifice ?

          It was God that had to let go,
          even just for a few days – but it was God who suffered losing just one of his children for 3 days.

          All parents understand the lain of letting fo of their children.
          Fly & live free – leaving the nest,
          but they will return…now and then.

  9. Carl Elfstrom says:

    It’s about time for me to listen to John Lennon sing Imagine again.

    1. Lori Mongillo says:

      I was thinking that as well!

  10. Lori Mongillo says:

    I thought this quote was beautifully said:
    “There is no need for temple or church, for mosque or synagogue, no need for complicated philosophy, doctrine, or dogma. Our own heart, our own mind, is the temple. The doctrine is compassion.” The Dalai Lama
    Religion may pass away, but spirituality will thrive in the hearts of those who are open and focused on truth. Truth isn’t exclusive to any religion. Truth is true for everyone, or it isn’t truth. I see many people moving in a direction that embraces a universal Source of creation. They are becoming spiritually aware in spite of their religious backgrounds. I live in East Tennessee. I am a Pagan living next door to a southern Baptist family. They have become wonderful friends and possess a spirit of openness that is not the norm for around here. I do agree the tides are drawing us away from old time religion. It’s a good thing!

  11. Gus St. Anthony says:

    Let’s define “religion” as a collective effort to express the spiritual quality, the “divine dimension” that exists in every human being. That’s one thing. Now, “organized religion” as it has evolved over the past three thousand years is a totally different phenomenon. It is a dynamic with both good and not-so-good aspects. With regards to Christianity, billions of people over the centuries have been cruelly treated in the name of Jesus. That’s true. But, other billions have found solace, comfort, peace of mind and a sense of holy communion in the name of Jesus, also. So, I don’t think decrying “religion” as opposed to “no religion” is what it’s all about.

    I think we’re seeing the need for religious reform in our culture. Religious reform that calls for a redefinition of divinity for starters.
    Let’s understand that “God”, within the framework of biblical traditions, has been defined as an almost human-like entity with very human-like failings. He can get tired and need rest, for instance. But, spookier than that, He can get angry! He can get vengeful! He can get surprised as in the “talking serpent” scenario where “God” never saw that one coming and re-did His entire plan for humanity as a result. But, most dangerous, “God” is capable of really nasty deeds. Like drowning the whole world! Also, most of “God’s” champions in biblical traditions are MASS MURDERERS! David, Moses, Joshua, Samson, etc., etc. All empowered by “God” to kill thousands at a clip. Is it any wonder, with models like these, the Abrahamic religions like Christianity, Judaism and Islam have always had their dark side?

    But, science and technology are showing us a far more logical and beautiful presentation of the process of Creation and a far more accurate picture of who and what we are in the cosmic scheme of things. Contrary to biblical traditions. Contrary to those ancient definitions of “God”.

    So, what I am suggesting is not to simply decry “religion” but, to move forward with the understanding that there really is a divine dimension to our human nature that needs to be expressed. We are spiritual beings. Our culture and our times are calling for a collective awakening. A re-evaluation of our religious concepts. A modern understanding of the Universal Force of Life in terms that do not abandon our intelligence. A definition of Divinity that dovetails with out understanding and God-given common sense.

    Not anti-religion, but religious reform … on an earth shaking level!

    1. Rev Bruce says:

      Gus, I both agree and disagree with your thoughtful presentation. I agree that a religious reformation is indeed what is necessary and that religious organizations have and are currently behaving badly when they abandon core principles and act solely in perceived organizational self-interest. But I totally disagree with with casting Christianity as poor model for understanding our relationship with creation and a loving Creator. I prefer the G.K. Chesterton insight: “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult and left untried.” The quote from Frederick Douglas in the “sermon” that initiated this dialogue reflects that same sentiment: the Christianity of Christ was then, and frequently is now, too difficult, inconvenient or impractical – usually for economic or power preservation reasons – to be tried or actually practiced. The Christianity of the Gospels is a radical realignment of understanding our relationship with God and all creation. Its core moral principle is that in serving others, we find ourselves; in serving others, so we are saved. The greatest of God’s gifts is love. A reformation to Douglas’ “Christianity of Christ” is what is needed.

      If indeed there is a second enlightenment afoot as the author of the “sermon” suggests, understand that there was a first and that the roadmaps to truth painted by scientism, rationalism, deism, pantheism, relativism, platonism, aristotelianism, dogmatism or any other “ism” you care to mention are nothing new to human epistomology. Nothing new here, other than science and technology have provided more precise insights into the nature of the universe, but when it comes to reaching the truth of any matter, we’re still dealing with degrees of probability. Heavens, we cannot agree that global warming is actually occurring. In term of defining how we are to interact with one another and our environment, science and technology are functionally amoral. The “laws” of science do not address morality. Witness the horrendous applications of scientific and technological discoveries that continue to occur; no less horrific than the misapplication of the Gospel of Love noted above.

      I only hope that what we are experiencing in America today is a disaffection with the practice of Christianity in its institutions, and not simply a movement to a self centered relativism. To quote G.K. Chesterton again: ” Most modern freedom is at root fear. It is not so much that we are too bold to endure rules; it is rather that we are too timid to endure responsibilities.” What I witness in current society is an unwillingness to accept responsibility for our actions or conduct. Moral accountability is what has been sacrificed on the altar of self-centered relativism.

      1. Christian says:

        Thank you for your beautiful post.

        I believe we are experiencing the flattening of systems as everyone embraces equality.

        Ponzi schemes cloaked by con men in robes of religion are easy to see, “GIVE ME MORE MONEY!” such false leaders demand.

        I would love to have lunch with the Pope & hear his ideas.
        But kneel before him ?
        Kiss his ring ?
        no.
        We are brothers together in life.
        I kneel for nothing.
        God gave me legs to stand on.
        LOVE alone is worthy of worship.

        I’ll just have the salad, and skip the wine & fish too, thank you !

    2. Carl Elfstrom says:

      You’re speaking out of context, St. Tony. The article isn’t about religious reform. You should submit these misguided ponderings as your own article.

  12. Carl Elfstrom says:

    The craft of the wise was around for thousands of years before Christianity and Judaism, and the old religion will not die. We will be here long after Christianity has been forgotten, and the matriarchy of the Goddess has been restored. We will be the highly regarded teachers and healers once again.Blessed Be !

    1. Lori Mongillo says:

      Yes. Paganism has experienced a revival and a boom in growth. I believe it will continue to grow. It embraces the necessity to bring change to the Earth environmentally and spiritually. There is a need for tolerance and awareness. Most people of the craft, though practices differ, are open minded and support diversity. Unfortunately, many Christians spend way too much time worrying that their children and others are turning to the craft. They should devote more time to examining why this is happening. Part of it is rebellion against the fire and brimstone attitudes. They need to recognize that their way is not the high way. It is only one way.

  13. Gus St. Anthony says:

    “Christianity” has been defined and understood in countless different ways over the centuries. The “Christianity” defined in the Pauline epistles is a very different thing than the “Christianity” of Revelations. The “Christianity” of the first century AD is a far cry from the “Christianity” of the crusaders, or of the Inquisition or of the Reformation. Etc., etc.
    But, the underlying premise has always been based on fear … not love. Blessed if you do, damned if you don’t. The vision of hellfire, boiling brimstone, unimaginable pain and suffering for all eternity always hovers in the background. Under that condition, love is not inspired. It is coerced.
    What earthly father would tell his children, “Listen to what I say and follow my orders. If you don’t, I will set you on FIRE! And you will scream in pain forever.”?
    As anyone who has had an N.D.E. and experienced the bliss and love in the Light knows, the whole concept of a judgmental and vengeful “God” capable of horrendous “punishments” like damnation is simply wrong.
    Today, we don’t know what Yeshua bar Yosef of Nazareth actually preached other than that it did not sit well with the religious hierarchy of his day. But, I believe that if he was an actual holy man who experienced a true theophany, there could be no damnation in the deal.

  14. Christian says:

    You try your society without God.

    We will stick with our civilization WITH God.

    As your childless society dies, our civilization of loving families and wonderful grand children takes your place.

    Enjoy your extinction.
    Sorry to see you go – but we won’t force you to stay.

    Jesus Saves. Amen, AMEN.

  15. Christian says:

    More censorship.

    So sad the some people are completely unable to endure open and frank discussions of interesting topics
    they themselves brought up.

    They turn to censorship.

    There can be no learning when people
    shut their minds and close their hearst to the Truth.

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