Growing numbers of United Statians moving toward religious independence

A large, nationally representative survey of 54,461 U.S. adults in the 48 contiguous states finds that the percentage of people calling themselves Christians continues to decline, while the number of declared atheists, although still small as a percentage of population, has nearly doubled since 2001. Also up sharply are the numbers of those calling themselves wiccans or pagans. Of those who call themselves Christians, fewer and fewer are affiliated with traditional Protestant denominations.

  It seems to me that these are positive trends -- they suggest that more people are choosing their own religious preferences instead of simply continuing to follow what they grew up with.

Love & Liberty,

        ((( starchild )))

Glad that warms your cockles little Starchild..........

could your disapproval Christians be more palpable........?

Are your small minded views Libertarian..?


  It's not Christians I disapprove of, it's Christianity. You know, love the sinner, hate the sin.

Love & Liberty,
        ((( starchild )))

The small-mindeness comes from the Religious Right. They routinely attack even other Christians who disagree with them. The Religious Right is not libertarian. They're more like a political cult, and several of their leaders have called for outright theocracy---others, (Palin and Huckabee supporters like Glenn), have no aversion to using the force of law to impose their social agendas on the rest of us.

Ummmm Like I said.....

I've never mentioned my religion except when it is assaulted by either Eric
or Starchild......

read your words Eric


  "Assaulted" is a pretty strong word. I respect peoples' right to believe what they choose. Freedom of belief and worship is a basic human right. But when there is a clear tendency among people who identify as strong believers in Christianity to use their religion as a rationale to oppose many of the freedoms I and others enjoy which are also basic human rights, am I supposed to just pretend that Christianity is not in many respects a harmful influence?

  Certainly there is also a tremendous amount of good work done by churches, religious institutions, and groups like the Boy Scouts or Alcoholics Anonymous which are Christian-oriented, as well as the comfort that belief in an anthropomorphized god-figure like Jesus of Nazareth provides to many people. But the fact is that doing such good works in society does not require adherence to an ideology that tells people they must submit to the whims of a patriarchal, judgmental, sex-negative god, and while it may be comforting to believe that a higher power will solve our problems for us if we just put our faith and trust in that power, this is also a dangerous and I would argue a fundamentally anti-libertarian belief. Christian demands for submission to higher authority can hardly avoid encouraging authoritarian thinking in society.

  If most Christians were able to separate what they believe god wants, from what they believe the law should force people to do, the ultimately authoritarian philosophical underpinnings of their religion would be less harmful. But ample evidence suggests that although the Bible informs us that Yahweh gave humans free will and wants us to be able to choose how we live, the vast majority of those calling themselves Christians do *not* become more tolerant of others' freedom to choose as a result of their religious beliefs.

Love & Liberty,
        ((( starchild )))


   You explained it well; but remember, to the religious right, government and religion are inseperable. You might find Catholics, Jews, and mainstream protestants with varying political beliefs, but to the religious right, political dissent is the same as heresy or blasphemy.


There is an air of quaint San Francisco hypocrisy in the air around you and
Eric.........constantly whinging about "neocons" or "conservatives" who
would ostensibly condemn your bedroom behaviors or lifestyle
choices...................and yet.....

we get this nonsense. Painting with an impossibly broad brush Starchild
writes that " But when there is a clear tendency among people who
identify as strong believers in Christianity to use their religion as
a rationale to oppose many of the freedoms I and others enjoy which
are also basic human rights"

Funny that its come to this............if Starchild made such a sweeping
statement (sans evidence) about any other "protected class" be it blacks,
gay persons, hispanics blah blah blah..........

we would get an immediate and forceful condemnation from the group.........

Can you give an example of how one of those groups are trying to suppress the human rights of others?

What is your point..?

So what if I did give an example, what if I said this group by a large
majority voted to support a bill you considered say Prop 8.

What does this have to do with anything...? What if I listed another
hundred examples of like minded, or like pigmented groups wrongly
suppressing the human rights of others..?

but what is your point...?

Just so we can end this nonsense. I objected to the thread because
Starchild took a cheapshot.

In spite of the less than veiled disapproval of my lifestyle (although I'm a
crappy catholic and sin with alarming regularity)

I think is intellectually lazy to think that libertarianism is inconsistent
with the notion of sin, or attempting to live a life of faith.

I remembered a column that I had read on Lew Rockwell on the topic some
years ago

It seems to me that it is relevant if the purpose of the discussion is to extend our understanding.

More to the point,

1) I don't see any problem with making generalizations about groups as long as one is willing to treat the question scientifically.

2) It seems to me that people of a religious faith are no different than people of a political party. If there was a political part whose official website said that gays should be stoned to death (as in Leviticus 20:13), it would be the responsibility of anyone with a concern for human rights to critically point this out.

Glenn Rapp wrote:

we get this nonsense.

’Tain’t nonsense at all. Christians are the majority in this country,
and so those (so-called) Christians who would like to impose their views
on others are in a position to do so *can* make a realistic attempt at
it. One need only look abroad to see that in countries where Muslims or
Hindus are the majority, they try the same things. (The one country
where Jews are a majority is a weirdly mixed bag, mostly focused on
ethnicity rather than moral practice.)

The key difference here is that people who are criticizing Christians
(or any other religion) are not calling for the outlawing of religion,
while the Christians being criticized often are.


P.S. Since I’m posting anyway, as an outside observer, both Glenn and
ERIC need to take Limbaugh-sized chill pills, or at least count to 1,000
before hitting Send on their posts to this group.


Was there a single thing in Starchilds post that you would describe as
scientific..? I'll answer for you, No.

And I'll proffer that you have never seen a stoning in your lifetime, never
met anyone who was ever stoned, witnessed a stoning, had someone in their
family back 5 generations who had a personal experience with a

but I think you need to get some sleep, quit watching all those reruns of
the West Wing, you're not Jeb Bartlett..........and even if you were he
wasn't a Libertarian...........he was a liberal

Was there a single thing in Starchilds post that you would describe as scientific..? I'll answer for you, No.

By scientific, I mean it's truth value is judged on the basis of evidence, not dogma.

And I'll proffer that you have never seen a stoning in your lifetime, never met anyone who was ever stoned, witnessed a stoning, had someone in their family back 5 generations who had a personal experience with a stoning.......

My point was that the religious texts in which christians say they believe contains this kind of bigotry and it has a direct influence their politics. For example, I actually received a call from a mormon before the prop 8 vote and he specifically mentioned religious arguments in his attempt to persuade me. (I agreed with him that gay marriage was a slippery slope - what's next, polygamy?)

Btw, stonings still happen frequently in countries ruled by religions, and far worse happened in Europe when it was ruled by the christian church.


  I posted about a study showing people in the U.S. are growing less religious, and that the numbers of atheists and people identifying as wiccan or pagan are up. I said I thought this was a good thing, because it meant people are thinking more independently rather than just automatically accepting what they grew up with. That seems to me like a fairly mild observation about a scientific study; I don't see how it was a cheap shot.

  Neither the concept of sin, nor trying to live a life of faith, are in my view incompatible with behaving in a libertarian manner toward others. Clearly it is theoretically possible to believe in an authoritarian model of the universe (i.e. Yahweh as absolute ruler), yet never commit aggression oneself. All I'm saying is that a more libertarian view of the universe seems *more likely on average* to produce libertarian views and behavior. And I never objected to your lifestyle -- I was talking about belief systems and politics, not personal actions. Besides, by your own admission it sounds like you don't live according to the tenets of catholicism anyway.

  But here's what really strikes me about your objections. Christianity says that if you accept Jesus as your savior, you will be rewarded on Judgment Day no matter what I say, while if I don't put my faith in him, I will be condemned to burn in hell for eternity. If you believe this to be true, then why are your main concerns here that I am supposedly making cheap shots or disapproving of what you do? Shouldn't you instead be feeling sorrow and compassion toward me, rather than annoyance, since you believe I'm setting myself up for an eternity of suffering? Even if I were to attack Christianity in the most offensive terms imaginable, what is that by comparison to the fate you supposedly believe awaits me? Surely not even as much as one drop of water compared with the entire Pacific Ocean!

  Further, you seem, according to Catholic doctrine, to be playing Russian roulette with *your own* eternal fate! You say that you "sin" with "alarming regularity" -- what if you commit a sin and then get hit by a bus and die before you have a chance to make it to confession and have the sin forgiven? If I were a Catholic I certainly would not be taking such chances! I would be deadly serious about loving my enemies, refraining from eating shellfish, not pigging out at the buffet, not watching shows like American Idol (maybe Yahweh wouldn't classify such activity as "worshipping false idols," but why take chances with one's immortal soul?), not working on Sundays, not making drawings or taking photographs (the second Commandment forbids making "graven images") etc.!

  I'm open to being proved wrong about this, but the message I am getting here is that you do not take your own religion seriously. If that is true, then why be defensive about other people criticizing it? Quite possibly the elements of Christianity to which I object are things to which you only pay lip service to begin with.

Love & Liberty,
        ((( starchild )))

It would be nice if we all tried to keep this discussion directed towards ideas, and not each other.

You know, you had me until you quoted Rockwell.


Nothing struck you about my observations. You're trying to be forgive me if I don't thank you for trying to save my

Again, what strikes me about you is how shallow your observations about
Christianity are. Your condemnations typically involve the behaviors of
Christians and not the teachings of the church,.

Someone in this thread made mention of the violence of Christians during the
middle ages.........I would remind that this is in spite of the Christian
religion and not because of it. Jesus was not an oppressor and his
teachings go against every possible behavior required of one to be an

Also dear Starchild.......from a historical point of view one might add that
the Catholic Church of Medieval times was in fact staffed by Popes or
Bishops who could be described as oppressive, but those were unfortunately
the times. But the cogent point is that there was no more a force for
liberty during those times than the independent Church. It was literally
the only effective check upon the behavior of the State, everywhere it was.
The seeds of liberty would have never been planted in Europe had the rulers
not had a check upon their limitless powers.

You also seem to have forgotten your first grade history lessons in that
those who ultimately transplanted liberty to places where there were no
kings, were Christians.

Now lest you find me naive I am well aware that there are plenty of
Christians who think their brand of Christianity should ultimately be
accepted as the "official" state version and that we should all live under
its teachings, and unfortunately "their rule" think Falwell
here...............again, like the guy who leaves the Church forever because
he encounters hypocrisy and ugly behavior.................this has little to
do with the teachings of the religion and more to do with the tendency of
man to try and accumulate power.

Fortunately, a young republic had both Jefferson and Madison.

" Be it enacted by the General Assembly, That no man shall be compelled to
frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever,
nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or
goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious belief; but
that all men shall be free to profess, and by arguement to maintain, their
opinion in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish,
enlarge, or affect their civil capacities".

In order that my stoner libertarian friend leaves a little in the sack for
the rest of us...........I'll sign off this thread

You and Eric feel free to continue bashing away, but youre losing my

Let's see who's being hypocritical and trying to suppress the rights of others:

There's the Rev. Rod Parsley, for example, a Palin supporter. Check out his 'Patriot Pastors Project' and read about its goals.

There's the Rev. R.J. Rushdoony, too, a holocaust denier and leading religious right media figure. He's openly stated that he wants to bring America under the Mosaic Law.

There's vicious anti-semites and anti-catholics like the Rev. John Hagee, the Rev. Rick Warren, and Bush's disgraced bosom-buddy. Rev. Ted Haggard.

There's ex-Rev. and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee who's preached sermons on the ideal theocratic state. He's joined in the chorus by the Rev. Thomas Muthee, an African who's led lynch mobs against 'witches' and is Sarah Palin's pastor. Palin said during the campaign that she wanted a 'faith-based cabinet'.

There's also the Rev.Hsung-Yung Moon, head of the Washington Times, who openly advocates using the government as a way of 'purifying' the country.

Volumes could be filled with the activities and statements of others. As for Glenn whining about 'protected classes'---imagine if Catholics or Jews engaged in partisan politics the way these pastors do---anyone would see the aim was theocracy. But with a lot of religious right dollars flowing into the media; not a chance.