Losing Our Religion

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Losing Our Religion

Nearly half of Americans are not sure God exists, according to a poll that also found divisions among the public on whether God is male or female or whether God has a human form and has control over events.

The survey conducted by Harris Poll found that 42 percent of US adults are not "absolutely certain" there is a God compared to 34 percent who felt that way when asked the same question three years ago.

Among the various religious groups, 76 percent of Protestants, 64 percent of Catholics and 30 percent of Jews said they are "absolutely certain" there is a God while 93 percent of Christians who describe themselves as "Born Again" feel certain God exists.
As much as we report about fundies, it appears that the trend in America is going in the direction of skepticism, which I think is a very healthy thing. A little bit of doubt, not to mention some humility, is far better than the deeply held belief that you are right about the Big Questions-- the why and how we are here, and so on.

One of my favorite exchanges about faith in a movie ever is from Dogma, between Rufus, the 13th apostle, and Bethany, the last scion:

Rufus: [God/Jesus] still digs humanity, but it bothers Him to see the shit that gets carried out in His name - wars, bigotry, but especially the factioning of all the religions. He said humanity took a good idea and, like always, built a belief structure on it.

Bethany: Having beliefs isn't good?

Rufus: I think it's better to have ideas. You can change an idea. Changing a belief is trickier. Life should malleable and progressive; working from idea to idea permits that. Beliefs anchor you to certain points and limit growth; new ideas can't generate. Life becomes stagnant.

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