Author Topic: U.S. Church Membership Falls Below Majority for First Time  (Read 2063 times)

rcjordan

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Re: U.S. Church Membership Falls Below Majority for First Time
« Reply #15 on: April 03, 2021, 11:09:58 AM »
Alabama’s Yoga Ban Is Part of the Christian Right’s War on Pluralism

https://religiondispatches.org/alabamas-yoga-ban-is-part-of-the-christian-rights-war-on-pluralism/

Brad

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Re: U.S. Church Membership Falls Below Majority for First Time
« Reply #16 on: April 03, 2021, 11:47:11 AM »
Man, yoga is getting hit from both the Right and Left.  This from 2015:

A university yoga class was cancelled because it was 'cultural appropriation' of a non-western practice

https://www.businessinsider.com/yoga-class-cancelled-because-its-cultural-appropriation-of-a-non-western-practice-2015-11?op=1


littleman

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Re: U.S. Church Membership Falls Below Majority for First Time
« Reply #17 on: April 03, 2021, 06:33:41 PM »
>cultural appropriation

I really dislike the concept of limiting ones activity to what people find acceptable for one's ethnicity.
« Last Edit: April 03, 2021, 06:35:46 PM by littleman »

Brad

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Re: U.S. Church Membership Falls Below Majority for First Time
« Reply #18 on: April 03, 2021, 07:29:32 PM »
>cultural appropriation

I really dislike the concept of limiting ones activity to what people find acceptable for one's ethnicity.

Agreed.  "Cultural Appropriation" is a phony sin invented to allow somebody to feel righteously offended and to put somebody else at a seeming disadvantage.

1. Nobody can own a culture.
2. No two cultures encounter each other and come away unchanged.
3. Cultures have been selectively stealing from each other since before recorded history.  It's part of progress.

BoL

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Re: U.S. Church Membership Falls Below Majority for First Time
« Reply #19 on: April 03, 2021, 07:57:43 PM »
>>cultural appropriation

It is a funny one. My other half (a native American) found it a bit weird that someone in my daughter's Primary school class dressed up as a Native American. Reminded her I saw a photo of one of her cousins at Halloween in a "see you jimmy" hat and some tartan, holding a beer of course.

I try to take the view that we should celebrate our differences rather than more dangerously try to homogenise everyone into indifference. Respect the fact people are different, talk different, look different, believe different, all that.

I'm 100% agnostic but totally get why people have faith.

If it's weaponised against you, different story.

Brad

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Re: U.S. Church Membership Falls Below Majority for First Time
« Reply #20 on: April 03, 2021, 10:01:03 PM »
Remember when that American high school girl wore a Chinese dress to her prom?  People piled on that poor girl like crazy.  I read through a massive Twitter thread about it at the time.  I followed that thread across all the US time zones and people were piling on that young lady saying the most terrible things about her and her cultural appropriation.  Nasty stuff  but I kept following that thread until it hit China.  The Chinese were very polite but they made the following points:

A. They pointed out that nobody owns a culture.
B. They pointed out that there is no monolithic "Chinese" culture as American's seem to think, but that there are 8 Chinas (I don't remember the number TBH).
C. When the girl wearing the dress hit the media it was much discussed on Chinese social networks and the overwhelming consensus was that the Chinese were flattered that a young American woman chose to wear a Chinese dress to her special party.
D. They said they don't understand the concept of cultural appropriation and wondered if it was being pushed by first generation immigrants who were feeling the loss of their parent's heritage.
E. Many ventured that it looked to them like it was an excuse to bully a young woman.

That pretty much stopped the Twitter pile-on for that thread in it's tracks.  I got quite a chuckle out of that.

littleman

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Re: U.S. Church Membership Falls Below Majority for First Time
« Reply #21 on: April 04, 2021, 01:33:44 AM »
>It is a funny one. My other half (a native American) found it a bit weird that someone in my daughter's Primary school class dressed up as a Native American.

>Remember when that American high school girl wore a Chinese dress to her prom?  People piled on that poor girl like crazy.

To me these are very different things.  Wearing a costume to mimic an ethnic group for entertainment isn't the same thing as wearing a specific type of outfit because one finds it beautiful.

BTW, my wife has no issue with anybody wearing a Qipao/Cheongsam.

nffc

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Re: U.S. Church Membership Falls Below Majority for First Time
« Reply #22 on: April 05, 2021, 09:15:39 AM »
"Some of the decline is attributable to changing generations, with about 66% of people born before 1946 are still members of a church, compared to just 36% of millennials."

"Many Americans – especially young people – see religion as bound up with political conservatism, and the Republican party specifically,”

"Just 47% of the US population are members of a church, mosque or synagogue" I'm guessing including the others makes the decline even steeper amongst the church demographic?

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/apr/05/americans-religion-rightwing-politics-decline

ergophobe

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Re: U.S. Church Membership Falls Below Majority for First Time
« Reply #23 on: April 05, 2021, 07:08:34 PM »
BTW, my wife has no issue with anybody wearing a Qipao/Cheongsam.

Same here. Her reaction is just "pretty dress" (which they are). However, as a child she and her siblings were really perturbed that the only Chinese-American person they could get to play a Chinese -American monk was David Caradine... who is not in the least Chinese.

Ideally, I'd like to see a world where there was less focus on whether people "look" the part, but right now it is asymmetrical. David Caradine is 0% Chinese, but gets to play a Chinese person. But I think Jackie Chan, for example, could make an excellent Reagan in terms of delivering both the serious and humorous lines Reagan is known for, but that is completely off the table.

>> 36% of millennials

Which basically brings the US into line with where other countries were a couple decades ago. In France, going back to the 1980s, church membership was primarily invoked for weddings, baptisms and funerals. The common line was "croyant, mais non-pratiquant" (believing by not practicing). Though the famous historian Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie once told a friend that he was "pratiquant mais non-croyant."

Quote
Just 14 percent of Britons identified themselves as Church of England, down from 31 percent 15 years ago, the British Social Attitudes survey found. The number saying they had no religion rose from 41 to 52 percent.

Church of Scotland numbers also fell from 31 percent in 2002 to 18 percent.

The sharpest decline in those saying they were Church of England was among 45 to 54-year-olds while 70 percent of those aged between 18 and 24 said they had no religion, according to the survey, based on 3,988 interviews.
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-britain-religion/church-of-england-numbers-in-britain-are-at-record-low-survey-idUSKCN1LM3D1

Quote
An Ipsos/MORI poll in 2011 showed that 45% of French people claim to be Christians - most of them Catholics - while 35% claimed to have no religion, and just 3% proclaimed themselves as Muslims.
  Church attendance in France is among the lowest in the world, with surveys showing that only about 5% of the total population, i.e. less than 10% of those who are nominally Catholics, now attend weekly mass.
https://about-france.com/religion.htm

I would guess the only places where participation is rising is where it was formerly repressed.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_Poland




littleman

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Re: U.S. Church Membership Falls Below Majority for First Time
« Reply #24 on: April 05, 2021, 08:44:21 PM »
>David Caradine

I think that's a bit of a sore spot for Jen too and it is closer to BoL's example.
« Last Edit: April 05, 2021, 08:47:34 PM by littleman »

Rupert

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Re: U.S. Church Membership Falls Below Majority for First Time
« Reply #25 on: April 08, 2021, 06:14:08 AM »
Going back in this very interesting thread a bit:

Quote
In his view, the churches provided a break on boundless greed which has become more manifest as the influence of religion wanes.

There is a school of thought that the protestant work ethic is the cause of much of the current greed. "The West" (by which I mean civilisations started in the colder climates, with long dark winters) had to save food to survive to the next harvest and beyond.





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ergophobe

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Re: U.S. Church Membership Falls Below Majority for First Time
« Reply #26 on: April 08, 2021, 05:19:49 PM »
>>protestant work ethic

There has been a lot of pushback on the Weber thesis. Some have argued that what he saw as the "protestant ethic" was actually a refugee community ethic, for example, given that when Weber said "protestant" what he really meant for the most part was Calvinist.

The protestant ethic results in accumulation of wealth precisely because the wealth was an accidental consequence of calling and service - those societies valorized work and criticized spending, so people tended to accumulate wealth. And most of those societies also had sumptuary laws that prevented conspicuous consumption.

The David Brooks argument is that what happened is that the accumulation of wealth has become divorced from any traditional break on the use and abuse of that wealth and has resulted in breaking the social contract that previously existed, because those religious beliefs in charity and even the nobility of the poor have diminished while the accumulation of wealth has accelerated.

Personally, I have a number of issues with Brooks' thesis, but just throw it out there as food for thought.

Rupert

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Re: U.S. Church Membership Falls Below Majority for First Time
« Reply #27 on: April 08, 2021, 06:36:55 PM »
Ok, this is new to me. :)
When was the contract broken? Or was it general timing.

Was it before Gadsby?  Published 1925. I confess to not reading it, but vaguely know the story, from family discussion. 
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rcjordan

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Re: U.S. Church Membership Falls Below Majority for First Time
« Reply #28 on: April 16, 2021, 01:14:12 PM »
worth a read

"The nones aren’t just young, highly educated, liberal white people.
Compared to the U.S. population overall, nonreligious Americans are younger and more Democratic-leaning. But the number of Americans who aren’t religious has surged in part because people in lots of demographic groups are disengaging from religion — many nones don’t fit that young, liberal stereotype. The average age of a none is 43 (so plenty are older than that). About one-third of nones (32 percent) are people of color. More than a quarter of nones voted for Trump in 2020. And about 70 percent don’t have a four-year college degree.

The decline over the last decade in the share of Black (-11 percentage points) and Hispanic adults (-10 points) who are Christians is very similar to the decline among white adults (-12 points), according to Pew. The number of college graduates leaving the faith (-13 points) is similar to those without degrees (-11 points). The decline in organized religion is indeed much bigger among Democrats (-17 points) than Republicans (-7 points) and among Millennials (-16 points) compared to Baby Boomers (-6 points), but the trend is very broad.

The growing diversity of nones explains a lot of dynamics we see in America today. For example...."

It’s Not Just Young White Liberals Who Are Leaving Religion | FiveThirtyEight
https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/its-not-just-young-white-liberals-who-are-leaving-religion/

ergophobe

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Re: U.S. Church Membership Falls Below Majority for First Time
« Reply #29 on: April 18, 2021, 04:36:53 PM »
So this is David Brooks argument. I've always been skeptical of both the Weber thesis (The Protestant Work Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism) which is mostly disregarded in scholarly circles, and David Brooks' thesis about religion having, until recently, provided a break (one among several) on unadulterated greed.

But here goes...

>>Was it before Gadsby?  Published 1925.

Mmm... that's not a great starting point for discussion. Remember, Jay Gatsby was a bootlegger and somewhat of mobster who didn't care about money at all. He simply wanted to throw lavish parties to seduce the woman who lived across the way and everything he did from the bootlegging, the big house, the fancy car, the lavish parties were all to get the girl. So that doesn't speak to the question of income inequality very well. Better would be Veblen's Theory of the Leisure Class from the 1890s, but we don't need to go back that far.

>>When was the contract broken? Or was it general timing.

Brooks is referring primarily to the post-war contract. One of the key events in the breaking of the contract was a shift that people see in the 1960s and 1970s in the language of corporate earnings reports and prospectuses and so forth. Prior to that, there was a fairly common refrain that a corporation has a responsibility to its employees and customers. The cynic might say that was just talk, but there is a noticeable shift as people start adopting the Milton Friedman framework and saying that a corporation's only responsibility is to the shareholders.

If you look at trends after that you see a sharp inflection point. Up until 1970 in the US, wages tracked with productivity. Rising tides raised many boats. Also, the share of wealth of the bottom was staying steady or increasing. After 1970, you see those trends change sharply. Productivity increases become decoupled from wages and working class wealth falls dramatically as a share of total wealth.

That's the breaking of the contract. I don't think there's much argument there. It's not a particularly liberal argument anymore. Even people like Marco Rubio (Republican legislator who jumped on the "election has been stolen" train) has lately been writing op-eds about this. And, of course, so has David Brooks.

The thornier question is whether the breaking of the contract has anything to do with the decline of religiosity. That's a much harder argument. Kick it off with a quote from a Brooks op-ed:

Quote
The frequency of the word “I” in American books, according to Putnam and Garrett, doubled between 1965 and 2008. The authors are careful not to put it into moralistic terms, but I’d say that, starting in the late 1960s, there was left-wing self-centeredness in the social and lifestyle sphere and right-wing self-centeredness in the economic sphere, with a lack of support for common-good public policies. But it was socially celebrated self-centeredness all the way across. It was based on a fallacy: If we all do our own thing, everything will work out well for everybody.
https://www.palmbeachpost.com/story/opinion/columns/more-voices/2020/10/17/david-brooks-says-we-need-big-cultural-shift-america/3680525001/

Brooks isn't making a straight one-to-one argument: less religion equals less social contract. Rather, he's saying that it coincides with a shift into extreme individualism and, on the right, that means hardcore individualism in the economic sphere, which decouples any sense of social responsibility from one's personal economic activity. That is the breaking of the social contract.

Not everyone is a fan of Brooks' cultural-religious decline thesis for income inequality, of course. To wit, liberal economist Robert Reich:

Quote
Occasionally David Brooks, who personifies the oxymoron “conservative thinker” better than anyone I know, displays such profound ignorance that a rejoinder is necessary lest his illogic permanently pollute public debate.
https://robertreich.org/post/73764746576