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  • #2
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    I guess if one believes moral behavior requires a religion to inform it this might be cause for concern. But after a decade that saw pedophile priests and Ted Haggard it's hard to see how that might be.
  • #14
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    No one needs religion to be "moral" but without a objective foundation morality is just an illusion.... an evolved adaptation to aid in the survival of a social species. The murderer isn't "evil." He is just going against the herd survivability.

    "The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference."
  • #24
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    Some homosexuals and pedophiles saw priesthood as an easy path to a steady supply of prey. Yet the same folks who are 'outraged' at homosexual priests wail the loudest when the Boy Scouts want to keep homosexuals out of leadership positions.

    Hmmm...
  • #26
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    @Jeff_Woehrle No one is outraged at homosexual priests. People are outraged at pedophile priests. There is a huge difference.
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  • #53
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    I'm pleased the number is growing and concerned that it isn't higher. An institution that praises intolerance and prohibits thinking for oneself stands in the way of the advancement of the entire human race. Just consider how much more advanced we could be as a species if religion hadn't been there throughout history to combat progression. Medicine alone has been thwarted virtually every step of the way by religious zealots attempting to stop people from "playing god". Imagine how much sooner we could have understood the anatomy of the human body if people had praised autopsies as the brilliant way to understand how we work instead of attacked as evil and heathenish. How much sooner might we have understood the way the universe works had the church not met seekers of knowledge with threats of torture and death. Religion is a holdover from a time we thought the earth was flat and the center of the universe. Even today fanatics are still hard at work to stand in the way of science. Consider how much we could have advanced medicine just in the last couple of decades if stem cell research had been greeted with open arms instead of blind hatred for daring to "attempting to elevate ourselves to godhood". Think of how liberty has suffered because of religious people impose morality on the rest of us. Think of how many fewer people would be dying of disease if moral dictators didn't oppose regulating "the oldest profession". How many fewer people would be wasting away in prisons if others hadn't determined that they should be punished for living an alternative lifestyle? For every good thing religion can claim it does or has done, which are few, there are a dozen bad things. Nothing in the history of humankind as been as detrimental to the human race as religion and I'd be willing to bet nothing ever will be.
  • #93
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    You describe a world where bioethics plays no role in research or law. It is possible that unchecked experimentation would have catastrophic consequences for us all.
  • #97
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    @Libertatem
    I agree that unchecked experimentation would have catastrophic consequences, but I disagree that that's the world I'm describing. I'm describing a world wherein bioethics exclusively plays a role in research and law. I'm not encouraging unregulated experimentation. I'm discouraging basing regulation on religious principles which approach morality and ethics from a standpoint of superstition rather than evidence.
  • #105
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    @CitizenToker Thank you for clarifying. I would say that bioethics is a complex philosophy. Acceptable or unacceptible behavior is open to critique from all of us. We, including the religious of our country, all should be heard in the forming of these laws. In other words, we should all be represented.
  • #110
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    @Libertatem
    I completely agree that everyone should be heard and represented but in the end we should base our laws and regulations on fact and evidence. Take autopsies for example. Fact, the person is dead and there is no evidence to support any claim that any harm is being done in opening up the body to get a better understanding of the human anatomy. Whereas the religious people of the time were outraged because they considered it an affront to god (likely as desecration of his temple, though memory doesn't serve well enough for me to say that with absolute certainty). So they would have denied us knowledge that ultimately served us greatly based on superstition and unsubstantiated theory. Surgery is another example. When we first began opening up the living to attempt to repair damage and extend life parts of the religious sector were up in arms and would have punished people for it, yet now it's among the most significant lifesaving procedures we have in our medical arsenal. And finally, stem cell research is another example. Based on the claims this is knowledge that could revolutionize the medical field, but the religious would have us forsake that leap for the sake of protecting unborn children that are being aborted anyway. Of course I think their concerns should be heard, but when all is said and done I think logic and reason should dictate how we progress rather than unsubstantiated theory and religious fanaticism.
  • #113
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    @CitizenToker I agree with most of what you've said here but when you say

    "but the religious would have us forsake that leap for the sake of protecting unborn children that are being aborted anyway."

    I think this type of reasoning leads to a destructive cycle. For example a profitable & legal market for human organs gives incentive to organ theives.

    Sometimes the greater good ends up not being the greater good. Another example might be a woman who goes in for an abortion and is paid a substantial sum to grow the fetus to full-term for organ harvesting to save another child's life. It was going to be destroyed anyway. This might seem okay to some people but to others a gut feeling tells them it is not ethical despite evidence presented to them.
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  • #56
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    It is none of my business what religious beliefs a person has. I don't shove my beliefs in your face and I don't want you shoving your beliefs in mine.
  • #54
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    I'm not concerned at all. If someone needs belief in a higher power to make sense of their life, that's fine, just realize that some of us don't. The REAL problem here isn't less people being part of a religious organization, it's whether people will tolerate others beliefs. If I don't stand in your way to go to church, don't stand in mine to not......
  • #50
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    Yes, I am concerned...but it is their right to believe or not to believe in God. My
    father was atheist and never felt the need to shout it from the roof tops and wave a banner telling the world. If people are atheist, that is their business, I
    have believed in God since I can remember, I don't shove it down peoples throats or carry banners, I think much of it is just attention seeking behavior.
  • #82
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    @Jai Maybe, but the fact that many people are turning against religion is concerning to me...not so much" religion", but atheism is denying any existence of God and that seems to be a trend...
  • #83
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    @mimi57 Atheism is gaining traction, but not as quickly and it's not the theme to this article. The greatest share of the 20% are not Athiests.
  • #88
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    @Jai The topic of the article is ; One fifth of Americans Have No Religion...
    having "no religion", is being agnostic/atheist...is it not?
  • #90
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    @mimi57 No. Agnostic is basically being on the fence of God's existence. Atheist believes God doesn't exist. Having no religion is not belonging to any organized religion (Episcopal, Catholic, Baptist, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, etc, etc)
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  • #45
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    Take it from someone who used to be super religious, with a good heart and not nearly as judgemental as I could have been, when I became an agnostic I am certain that my "morality" has improved, but what I consider to be of moral importance has changed. I still beleive in following the agreed upon laws of the land and basic human rights, but I have dropped all the nit-picky stuff that evolved out of man's fear of anything or anyone outside the accepted 'norm". Homosexuality and sex outside of marriage and other things that are no one's business but our own are no longer issues to me, no longer worth making a big deal out of. I don't sweat the small stuff any more. I think it is healthier and gives people the freedom to explore who they are and make decisions based on logic and not fear and judgement.
  • #75
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    If you think your "morality" has improved by becoming agnostic wait till you become an atheist. I will be a massive improvement in you "morality". It sure was for me.
  • #12
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    In reading the poll I'm pleased to see that 71% of the respondents pray a few times a week or more. To me, that’s more important than any particular religious affiliation.
  • #22
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    Really? So God had no problem when Bush was President and the fact that his decisions caused the death of tens of thousands? It's stupid comments like yours that are causing more people to question religion and so I say keep talking as you're doing more damage than atheists ever could. THANK YOU!
  • #63
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    I'm with you, Zoe. With money influencing every vote in Washington, why would God bless it? With the US conquering, dominating and attempting to influence the leadership of countries in the middle east, why would God bless it? With all the hatred between conservatives and liberals, why would God bless it? And with all the inter-religious hatred between Christians and Muslims, why would God bless it?
    You would have Obama responsible for all that's wrong with the US. That's a pretty short-sighted view. The US took a long time (and a lot of Republican as well as Democratic politicians) to get this f*cked up. Obama's just your fall guy. Just as Romney would become the liberals' fall guy if he were to become president. Which isn't likely.
  • #85
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    @commonsense2x "With money influencing every vote in Washington, why would God bless it?" The reason why is printed right on the money.......In God We Trust.
  • #107
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    @jamayla I'm assuming you're joking.(???) I wonder which shrewd politician thought he'd gain approval by putting that slogan on there?
    I'm thinking it's high time the US replace that with a slogan more aligned with what seem to be US values around money. A few suggestions:
    In Greed we Trust.
    In Corporations we Trust.
    In Politicians we do not Trust.
    In Foreign Aid we Trust that You Will Do Things Our Way.... else
    In Defense Budget we Trust that You'll See The Light
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  • #5
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    I don't need to go to a building full of hypocrites blindly believing in something that scares them with hellfire and damnation if they're not good. You're either a good person or you're not. It's like when parents tell kids "the boogeyman is gonna get you if you're not good", or "Santa claus is watching so you'd better be good"; except it's for adults. "Jesus won't love you if you're bad"....."you will go to hell if you have impure thoughts/are mean to people/say a bad word/live someone of the same sex/kick the dog". Religion is a scare tactic.
  • #72
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    @HankMcGee
    I believe there are "good" people and there are "bad" people. I don't believe that just because one calls themselves "religious", that makes them good.
  • #6
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    I did some work with prisoners teaching them how to do drywall and paint. Most of them claim to be Christian. Very few are openly gay. Maybe there is a correlation there. Maybe Christians are the root of the crime problem. Or maybe religion is irrelevant.
  • #9
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    @Cheenoguy There is no denying that America's collective morals have been in a steady decline. This decline has accelerated in recent years, but the trend has been obvious for quite some time.

    Religion at its core is centered around human decency (an exception may be Muslim, which calls for believers to kill the non, but that's a subject for another thread). That said, it follows that as we as a nation turn our back of religion and its basic tenets, a decline in moral behavior will follow.

    And here we are. No one should be surprised.
  • #18
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    @Jai America has an exceedingly large prison population. Kind of reminds me of the headline: Prisons full, yet crime decreasing...liberals puzzled.
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  • #49
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    This is really good news, and speaks volumes about the direction of our country. People are becoming critical thinkers, rather than being guided or controlled by institutions - in this case, organized religion. That quality - critical thinking - has been missing in the US, and has led to the current situation: a government run by corporate influence; 1% earning more money than the bottom 40%; a budget deficit that will take generations (if ever) to pay off; and so on.
    As the rest of the world evolves, religious institutions cling relentlessly to the ancient past... and tend to support ideals and causes totally out of integrity with the teachings of Jesus (the hosanna of most organized religion in the US).
    And when religions start promoting one political party over another because that party is more in line with their so-called "ideals", it's time to take away their tax exempt status.
    How will critical thinkers NOT abandon institutions that promote ideals that are at odds with what they can feel as Truth with a capital T - which anyone can feel if they take time away from complaining about the world, to go inside with solitary prayer or meditation.
    The so-called "news" about this trend isn't that the US is becoming a nation of heathens, as most mainstream media are interpreting it (as well as religions and conservative politicians). It's that critical thinking - thinking for oneself instead of being told what to think - is expanding. Atheism and agnosticism may well be a part of first-stage "religious recovery" for many. But more will adopt spiritual beliefs that include a higher power of some form.. because they feel the presence of that higher power in their lives. And when they learn to feel that presence, they will have tapped into a source of inner moral discernment that rejects institutional dogma - be it religious, or political, or corporate.

    Hooray for rejection of religion! Bring it on!
  • #19
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    Gee, this is a no brainer for Christians. We know that things will get rougher and rougher. The idea that heathens (atheists and their ilk) will flourish is right on! Bring it on -- as I am sure that evil will be exerting it last big push. The whole idea behind the Holy Bible is that people bang their heads against each other in such effort that nothing makes sense anymore. Then what happens?
  • #4
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    I'm ambivalent, you sure don't need an organized religion to have good morals, but you do need to do something to overcome the profane values being taught by our state institutions.
  • #246
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    This is good. I'm an atheist, myself, and I like seeing others with similar beliefs. Now people just have to except each other for being different... That'll be the day.
  • #245
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    No!
    The millions and millions murdered over religion, murderous conniving popes, King Henry the 8th, Hitler's slaughter of the Jews. Your God allows this? please, keep me out of your church and don't bother with the condemnations. That is just late comer examples. The earlier civilizations had their own gods who were just as invisible, just as ineffective, just as fleeting as most other gods. The believers in Jesus swear the Bible tells us how to Believe, Muslims have the Koran. Almost all the faithful seem to have an overwhelming you are condemned attitude if you do not believe my way. Well, if I have to go to heaven and run into many of these types or most of the Christians, I have known, I will take the alternative.
  • #243
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    I couldn't care less honestly. You have ignorant atheists, and ignorant religious people. Indifference and ignorance are what matters. Not religion.
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