The Atheist USA

If you thought there were many religious people in the US, you were mistaken. There are so few one can barely find them. Instead, we have a crowd of folks who like to repeat the words “God” and “faith” to pass the time but who have no interest in exploring any actual religion. Here is proof:

While only about 3-in-10 (27%) Americans, believe that God plays a role in determining which team wins a sporting event, a majority (53%) believe that God rewards athletes who have faith with good health and success, compared to 42% who disagree.

I thank David Gendron for giving me this link.

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24 comments on “The Atheist USA

    • A student mentioned in her presentation last week that the Christmas tree is a pagan symbol and Christians make fools of themselves worshiping it. The look of complete shock on everybody’s faces was priceless. It turns out they didn’t know this!!!

      • I have to say I’ve never heard of anyone worshipping a christmas tree and I’m not sure how that would work.

        The student sounds insufferable if she thinks insulting people’s holiday practices make her sound clever. Yeah, it’s a pagan symbol and the timing of most Christian holidays coincide with old pagan holidays (mostly revolving around marking changing seasons). So what? The subjective experience of the faithful on those occasions is what matters.

      • What’s so insulting about pointing out something that, according to you, is known to everybody anyway?

        This was part of an oral presentation in class and very relevant to what we were discussing.

      • Did she say that people “Worshipped” christmas trees? I’ve never heard of or observed any behavior towards christmas trees by anyone (regardless of whatever religion they identify with) that could be called ‘worship’. Yes, for the record I would regard someone who did worship a christmas tree as a fool.

        I would also not describe those who observe any harmless holiday custom as ‘fools’.

      • “Did she say that people “Worshipped” christmas trees? I’ve never heard of or observed any behavior towards christmas trees by anyone (regardless of whatever religion they identify with) that could be called ‘worship’.”

        - It is a literature class. Metaphors are allowed. :-) :-)

      • I suppose that religious activities (of whatever sort) might help with the “mental” aspects of the sport. Over a large sample of games between evenly-matched opponents, this might make a little bit of a difference. But if one teams totally outclasses the other (like this) it would have zero impact on the result. Kind of like what was supposedly found with teams/competitors with red uniforms.

    • The number of people who do _not_ have beliefs that directly contradict each other is probably statistically insignificant. Part of me thinks it’s a design flaw in the brain and part of me thinks it’s a prerequisite for consciousness (see what I did there?)

      • I was aware of that, but I didn’t it would manifest so starkly over the course of a telephone poll. I suppose, however, if a team is interpreted as some sort of collective unit which is distinct from an individual athlete, the positions could be parsed as being compatible with each other.

  1. I think there’s some confusion in terminology. If by religious you mean people who are truly interested in exploring religion then yeah, American isn’t a religious country. By this definition, not many countries are.

    But a majority of the people in the US overwhelmingly reject evolution, believe the earth is 5000 years old, believe creationism should be taught in schools, believe the founding fathers intended it to be a christian country, and expect their presidents (and other elected officials) to be nothing but Christian. Almost a half of them believe athletes with faith (read: Christian faith) are more successful.

    So this country might not be truly religious but I don’t think it’s unfair to label it so. The same way Saudi Arabia may not be a ‘truly’ Muslim country (surely the despotic rulers interpret the teachings of the Koran to benefit themselves) but that’s what it’s labeled as, for all intents and purposes.

    • I think it’s unfair to use “religious” and “stupid” interchangeably. These folks want to excuse their idiocy by pretending it has to do with religion. But why do we let them do it? Let’s just call them what they are: brainless fools.

      • Oh, I agree completely. The problem is, this word no longer means what it should mean. ‘Religious’ now means ‘anyone who calls themselves religious’. Any attempt to go back to its intended meaning will only create more confusion. Which is why I was surprised at the title on your post.

      • ” ‘Religious’ now means ‘anyone who calls themselves religious’.”

        - It doesn’t mean that to me. Just like everybody who calls himself the Sultan of Brunei is not really the Sultan.

        “Any attempt to go back to its intended meaning will only create more confusion. ”

        - As we all know, I’m opposed to relinquishing useful terminology to idiots just because they screech loudly. For instance, I find it very useful to respond to losers who start on with “abortion is baby murder” with “Of course, you are an atheist, so you have to believe this. I, however, believe in God, so my position is different.”

        When they start to babble incoherently in response, I say, “I respect your right not to be religious, that is perfectly fine with me.”

        Not a single time did a single one of them manage to say anything in response. They just stare stupidly, like cows. It’s hilarious.

      • ” “I respect your right not to be religious, that is perfectly fine with me.”
        Not a single time did a single one of them manage to say anything in response. They just stare stupidly, like cows. ”

        It’s possible they think you’re not being rationale and therefore not worth arguing with.

    • To me, the examples about evolution, etc. really seem like a marker of tribalism and fealty to ruthless social dominators who control the Religious Wrong and the GOP. To be “in the tribe”, so to speak, you have to reject evolution, be anti-choice, etc.

      • I think it’s partly like politics. I remember some reference that many (maybe most) people don’t choose a party based on their position on various issues, they choose a party based on their aspirational identity and then adopt the party’s positions.

  2. I’m rereading the Georges Bataille book, ON NIETZSCHE, with an introduction by Sylvere Lotringer. He says: “There is Christianity,” Bataille argued, “a will NOT to be guilty, a will to locate the guilt outside the Church, to find a transcendence in man in relation to guilt. ” This accounted for the church’s inability to deal with Evil, except as a threat coming from the outside. Doing the Church justice “in total hostility,” Bataille assumed guilt and anguish as his own, daring Christianity to experience Christ’s sacrifice as the equivocal expression of Evil.”

  3. I tend to be kind of a behaviorist in terms of religion and kind of an ideationist. A particular religion is the sum of what its self-proclaimed followers do and believe.

    Lacking ESP I have to use the proxy of listening to what people say they believe and comparing that with their behavior and then make inferences.

    The question of what a particular Holy Text says is largely irrelevant (since it doesn’t necessarily give you much information on how people who claim to believe it will behave).

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