Fox Clutches Pearls Over Growth of Nones


Fox News had a segment full of pearl clutching at survey findings that those having no religion now make up about 1/6th of the world’s population, making it the third largest religious demographic. They brought on Christian wingnut Robert Jeffress and Jewish wingnut Rabbi Arieh Spiro to wring their hands over the loss of “Judeo-Christian morality.” Given all the damage those beliefs have done in the world, I say good riddance.

Comments

  1. says

    What the hell is “Judeo-Christian morality” anyway? If Christianity, anywhere, provides moral guidance that one could not possibly receive in any secular context, I haven’t seen it. Indeed, as two of its core tenets — substitutionary atonement and infinite punishment for finite “sins” — are immoral right out of the box, then the entire religion can be condemned as immoral. And an immoral belief system cannot, by its very nature, provide moral guidance.

  2. Akira MacKenzie says

    But Martin, they run charities, and soup kitchens, and hospitals, and tell everyone what to do in their bedrooms and treat women like chattel. How much more “moral” do you athiests (sic) want!?

    ;)

  3. Lyle says

    Fox News: fair and balanced except when it’s pandering to religious social conservatives (i.e. all the time).

  4. Rodney Nelson says

    But if more people become Nones then where will Pat Robertson find the money to buy another limousine or the Catholic bishops have the resources to pay off child rape victims? The more people not going to church the fewer dollars in the collection plate.

  5. DonDueed says

    Wait, what? “The fact that evil occurs proves the existence of God”?

    Well, at least he admits where all that evil comes from.

  6. raven says

    The fundies have finally figured out that US xianity is dying, something known years ago.

    1. They are starting to band together with the fundie Catholics and sometimes even fundie Jews and the Mormons. They hate us more than they hate each other.

    2. They also seem to be getting even more repulsive and extreme. This would be expected if people are leaving in the order of best and brightest first. Who is left? This does seem to be the case. The moderate xians are declining and even faster than the fundies.

    I wouldn’t expect becoming uglier to reverse their decline. Fundie xianity is based on hate. It works or they wouldn’t use it. But hate isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.

  7. raven says

    While the fundies become even more extreme, they do have a problem.

    Who are they going to hate? They never completely drop a hate target, women and nonwhites are still on the list.

    But the current top hate is the gays. It isn’t working too well. A small minority that is at the end of the day, just people. Most people have gotten bored with it.

    I suspect it will be Moslems and No Relgions. Especially the Nones. There are now almost as many Nones as fundies.

    Going to be a long few decades until US xianity falls below 50% somewhere around 2030 to 2040.

  8. Sastra says

    “Judeo-Christian morality” is a mixture of two things: humanist morality — meaning ethical goals and choices which appeal to humans in the natural world — and specifically Christian morality – which consists solely of ethical goals and choices which depend on the truth and acceptance of the Christian religion.

    People who insist that ‘Judeo-Christian morality” is necessary to the function of a fair and just society deliberately blur the two together, so that atheists and other non-Christians who believe in the values of charity, justice, liberty, or anything else they consider moral are simply borrowing or stealing what rightly belongs to the Christians — as long as the Christians also value it. This way, they always win. It’s not just prayer in schools at stake, it’s the fundamental right to say rape and murder are wrong, too. Do away with Judeo-Christian morality and you get Bad Things: human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together… in other words, mass hysteria.

    The religious are always stuck in a logical paradox whenever they try to justify the necessity of their morality in a wider society which includes non-believers. If the nonbelievers agree that X is good, then you need not have Christianity to believe it is good; if nonbelievers do NOT agree that X is good, then you’re not going to convince them that you can’t have Good Thing X unless you have a Christian society. The pearl-clutching will only work in motivating a very small circle.

  9. Sastra says

    Don Dueed #9 wrote:

    Wait, what? “The fact that evil occurs proves the existence of God”? Well, at least he admits where all that evil comes from.

    I think they don’t “get” abstractions. They think preferences, standards, and ideals are supernatural. In a “materialistic atheist universe,” apparently nothing would exist which couldn’t hypothetically be picked up and tossed around. Anything connected to a mind is not really “natural.”

    Good and evil are generalized abstractions measured against a preferred ideal: ergo, God. Another Underpants Gnome argument with a concealed premise.

  10. says

    Well said, Sastra (as usual).

    Yes, this was actually the tack a Christian debater took at the theist vs. non-theist debate at a local college: we have morality, we all agree it’s bad to murder and steal, therefore Christianity.

    The audience actually booed him. Then Matt Dillahunty wiped the floor with him by referring to Biblical rules about slavery.

  11. Mr Ed says

    Formalized religions were created to provided a higher authority to enforce social mores. It’s wrong to steal, it’s really wrong because god who is watching says so. Removing the divine doesn’t change whats right and wrong it only changes why we do the right thing.

    While religion does provide a moral structure it also gives us a reason to behave our worst toward those who don’t believe the same as us.

  12. diesel213 says

    Perhaps there is some sort of key link that I’m missing. I would love for someone to explain the bridge the pastor brings up with evil and evolution. I get that they have the same letters in both words, but that’s all I can think of at the moment.

  13. anubisprime says

    raven @ 11

    Going to be a long few decades until US xianity falls below 50% somewhere around 2030 to 2040.

    Well if anything like the British collapse in religio mumbo jumbo, not quite as long I would think.

    If the trends continue, and there is no sign of it slowing, but there are signs it is speeding up, it will be 2020 when the Brit hiatus blossoms.

    The C of E is all but a busted flush and Catholic contamination is also in retreat.
    Ireland is a perfect example, and that Irish trend is maintaining and expanding.
    The Catholics are finished there…well and truly and who would have believed that a decade ago?

    Looks like the Catholic religion will be relegated to at least background noise in Irish society in about 5 yrs at present rate of collapse.

    America has more religious loonys, or is that loonys that pretend they are religious, fine line there methinks.

    And money is at the bottom of it all anyway.
    So it is a little more complicated and there are far more vested interests.
    But the numbers tell the story…and if it plays true as to most social phenomenon it will accelerate.

    Then you will really hear Fox howl, until Murdoch realizes there is more to be gained financially by endorsing the atheist non-aligned camp, but that admittedly is a ways away!
    Murdoch is an old fool, but he has a nose for money, and that is more important to him then integrity in many ways, He has demonstrated that quite obviously in how he runs his papers and the ethics he likes to instil.

    But in the main…the Xtian Religion is crashing and burning and some smell the stench, but most are snoozing through it.
    Wait until they wake up, and the panic seizes them, then we will see summat’ not seen since the barbarity of the Crusades, and it will not be pretty for theism for one simple fact, they have no Cœur de Lion waiting in the wings!
    And the ‘enemy’ are not Muslim, and Xtians have never fought against a non-belief…it will confuse the be-jabbers out of them, they will not know what buttons to press!

  14. Aratina Cage says

    That’s what Santa Claus is for. And he’s real.

    Hrm? So is baby Jebus. Haven’t you seen a Nativity play? So is adult Jebus. Haven’t you seen The Passion (film or stage version)? And he’s more special because less people play him.

  15. unbound says

    I would agree with the majority of comments, the xtian leaders are starting to panic. My uncle (a priest) actually attended a conference this year to discuss those “new atheists”…sounded more like they are gearing up for war as he told me “Those new atheists are a lot dumber than the old atheists”.

    They are circling the wagons at this point trying to keep what they have. They are lashing out in fear of the unknown (since they are absolutely convinced they have the answers). After all, there isn’t a much easier job than being a priest.

  16. Aratina Cage says

    My uncle (a priest) actually attended a conference this year to discuss those “new atheists”

    Funny, because that is probably where the whole “new atheist” label started popping up, like it did at a Catholic conference in 2006 (see the Pharyngula wiki at Wikia under New Atheists). But the Catholics knew that new atheists weren’t dumber and that new atheists are quite effective, so they proposed coming up with “new apologetics”. Even funnier, the new apologists have made no headway at all in countering new atheism.

  17. says

    High time we nones make it clear when we have business with the governments that we cannot get a fair shake in any place boasting “in god we trust.” Time to take that to court, so to speak.

  18. joachim says

    Ed says “good riddance” to “judeochristian” morality.

    Especially those JEWS….right, Ed?

    Thats OK, Hitchens lamented that they hadn’t been eliiminated in ancient times, so that we could “have been spared the whole thing”.

  19. joachim says

    The atheists may well get control They have before. And then they will start up the Gulags and even start killing believers outright. Then after two or three generations of oppression, the atheshits will self destruct, and it will start all over again.

  20. John Hinkle says

    If the death – or at least the minimalization – of Xianity is on the horizon, then it’s time for Congress to make laws to tax them when they liquidate assets for personal enrichment. It’s been nothing but handouts and freeloading for centuries (with the exception of whatever truly charitable work they do). Why should a few men in dresses and funny hats walk off with untold fortunes when their snake oil dehydrates?

  21. says

    Hitchens lamented that they hadn’t been eliiminated in ancient times, so that we could “have been spared the whole thing

    You’re probably right in assuming that there are a number of Hitchens’ readers here – so you ought to expect that we know what an egregious quote-mine that is. Why didn’t you just make up an offensive quote, if you’re already without shame?

  22. coragyps says

    A question arises: does anyone know when “Judeo-Christian” became popular in American political babble? I’ll bet a beer that it was after World War Two, when the WASP bosses here finally decided antisemitism really was an uncool stance to take. I know “J-C” was a buzzword in the latest 50’s, but how far back was it actually in use by persons who wrapped themselves in the Flag?

  23. anubisprime says

    unbound @ 21

    sounded more like they are gearing up for war as he told me “Those new atheists are a lot dumber than the old atheists”.

    I would imagine the fear is starting to tickle certain authoritarian gonads in the theist hive!

    But the ‘new atheists are a lot dumber than the old atheists’ adage is just the Cardinals whistling in the dark.
    They make it up and they dispense it onto their minions as if gospel.
    But it is just fear, and when the theist fears their first reaction is to blurt out fallacies and wishful traits and claim that is the true situation with the opposition….just simple projection.
    The rank and file pick up the latest hierarchical ‘attitude’ and they relay it on to their minions and congregation, as if gospel!

    Thing is the dynamics are askew a tad.
    The assumption is they are only dealing with a handful of ‘god haters’ or folks that had a bad experience at church, bad experience at home, liberals, communists, intolerant of Catholics, etc etc
    They assume that there is a simple and understandable explanation for the ‘lost souls’ not drooling for jeebus…
    But that is all they try to focus on.
    Because the truth of the matter is that it is not just a jaded few, religiously unaffiliated is a world view that equals the Roman Catholic Church in number globally apparently.
    And the count is tending upwards.
    Not all atheist or indeed agnostic, but it does beggar the question, if religiously unaffiliated, then what!
    The answer comes back, anything is possible, but certainly not Roman Catholic.

    That little fact is being ‘religiously’ ignored because if they acknowledged that demographic….they will know deep down that it is all over now baby blue!

    All they have left are lies and prevarication, character assassination, sheeple corralling and black arts manipulation of supposedly secular government.
    And they are failing badly all around and it is becoming very apparent to everyone gazing on with their bowl of popcorn!

  24. cptdoom says

    I don’t know which was worse about that clip – the argument that liberalism is a “religion” that has no basis in Judeo-Christian morality (because the whole “help the poor and unfortunate among you” concept is an atheist one, right?) or watching a rabbi talk about how a nation needs an “identity.” Seems to me that whole national identity thing has not worked out well for Jews in the past, you know.

  25. Ashley Sloop says

    “y’all can’t know no right or wrong unless you comes to church” That’s the way I heard it. He claimed “it’s not enough to just be a good person” but… wouldn’t that person already have solid morals by definition? One of them is in denial about the whole thing. The other guy just slanders them as being in a religion of evil. I’m satisfied by their reactions.

  26. neuralobserver says

    Interesting…. they’re talking about how increasing numbers of people are leaving/never engaging in religion. And they’re talking in a general way about to increase the ‘herd’ in each of their respective religions, all the while congenially implying that people need SOME sort of religious affiliation.

    I would LOVE to see the reactions,… what the contours of this discussion would look like if instead of increasing masses of people were rejecting religion of any stripe, they were leaving, say, Christianity in droves FOR Judaism, or Islam, or Buddhism,… or vice versa, people were leaving Judaism in droves and becoming Christians, or Buddhists or Jains, or some other religion.
    I think the accusations and criticisms that would being to fly, one religion upon the other, would prove verrrrrry interesting.

  27. dan4 says

    @27: Ed: Good riddance to “Judeo-Chrstian morality.”
    Ed’s statement filtered through a hot-headed crazy person like joachim: “Ed wants to have Christians and (especially) the Jews killed!”

  28. anubisprime says

    neuralobserver @ 41

    Interesting…. they’re talking about how increasing numbers of people are leaving/never engaging in religion. And they’re talking in a general way about to increase the ‘herd’ in each of their respective religions, all the while congenially implying that people need SOME sort of religious affiliation.

    It goes to prove they are like chickens without heads…squawking and spluttering and ladling copious amounts of wishful thinking while trying to behave as if there was ‘no one in the hen house ‘cept uz chickens’ and ‘crisis what crisis!’

    But when the mask slips you see the fear…and the reaction is to hint that cults must gang together to fight the inevitable.
    The babbling was intense…all they could muster was to mention ‘god’ or ‘Judeo-Christian morality’ as many times as they could in a sentence…the fuckers are pissing themselves with cringing creeping cowardice…simples!

    As for the ‘people need SOME sort of religious affiliation’ well obviously not otherwise the global numbers who have no religious affiliation would not be so high!
    That is typical theist panicked rhetoric…’But… But …you need us!!!’ plea!….

    The first sentence uttered encapsulated it…’It is worrying!’…if you are a jeebus drooler!

  29. says

    What study are they referring to? I didn’t catch it anywhere in the clip.

    It doesn’t sound even remotely plausible. Non-religious people are demographically in third place with 1.1 billion people? Maybe… if you don’t count China. I suspect the entire thing was made up as an excuse to whine on Christmas.

    While North America is getting more secular, I don’t see any evidence that this trend is taking place globally (much as I wish that to be true.)

  30. says

    I think things are going to get very interesting.
    When droughts start becoming even more common, and crops fail and cities flood and suffering is turned up to 11, combined with the tendency of the fundies to need a scapegoat for their fuck-ups (they’ve kicked Jesus off our farms!), and they STILL haven’t been raptured, they’re going to be the group that’s organized and has lots and lots of guns. And if current trends continue, they’ll have the American government squeezed tightly by the balls, and with it control of all those sweet, sweet thermonuclear weapons created by science that they don’t believe in.
    Think “The Hills Have Eyes” the home game.

  31. says

    It depends on what you mean by religoius, joe. Even here in North America a lot of people who claim a faith are “holiday religious,” turning up for Christmas, Easter, and the random weekly service when they get feeling guilty about not having gone in a while. Most of Western Europe seems to be much less religious than even Canada, which is less religious than the US. Japan is another place where a large percentage of religious observance appears to be more an act of culture and tradition than real faith in the divine.

  32. says

    I would be cautious about including the “nones” from (near) totalitarian states like China and North Korea that have a record of suppressing religion. As we’ve seen in the former Soviet Bloc, once the oppressive arm of the government is loosened, religious adherence tends to rebound strongly, at least for a while.

    On the other hand, there is still plenty to cheer about the growing numbers of “nones” in Europe and the English speaking world, and I suspect that South America will be fairly close behind if they continue to build stable democratic nations there too.

    Going to be a long few decades until US xianity falls below 50% somewhere around 2030 to 2040.

    Well if anything like the British collapse in religio mumbo jumbo, not quite as long I would think.

    If the trends continue, and there is no sign of it slowing, but there are signs it is speeding up, it will be 2020 when the Brit hiatus blossoms.

    Actually, for all intents and purposes, the British experiment with Christianity is already over. Most of the churches in the traditional denominations are literally dying off — the average age of their congregations is approaching 50, with many churches closing their Sunday Schools altogether. When I grew up in the UK in the 70s many parents still took their kids to church because they believed it was the right thing to do. Today’s parents no longer see the point.

    As for the US — I’d be willing to bet that the “nones” will be approaching 50% among those Americans reaching adulthood (it’s 34% today, and rising fast). Given the generational differences (older Americans are far more religious) it’s going to take a while yet for the “nones” to reach a majority — perhaps an additional 20 years — although their impact in terms of the continuing secularization of America will be felt way before then.

  33. says

    While North America is getting more secular, I don’t see any evidence that this trend is taking place globally (much as I wish that to be true.)

    Globally, it’s very much in fits and starts, and concentrated in places where stable democratic nations have taken root, (not including China and North Korea, of course, which actively suppress religious practices). There is the added issue of the militancy of Islam toward those who attempt to leave the faith, or even profess their disbelief. It is a serious problem even amongst Muslim populations in places like the UK and USA.

  34. says

    TCC: the opening line in the video segment talks about “a brand new study” (and then fails to provide any reference to it.) The Pew study numbers reflect the ones they’re bouncing around, but it’s from 2010, and I don’t see much trend data in there.

    The closest thing to a recent global poll on religiosity and trends in belief is this

    one, where self-identified atheists make up about 13% of the population, and non-religious add another 23%. This one seems to actually confirm the thesis of the Fox News people by indicating a measurable decline in religiosity worldwide since 2005.

  35. davidhart says

    Joachim@27: “Hitchens lamented that they hadn’t been eliiminated in ancient times, so that we could “have been spared the whole thing”.

    If you really can’t tell the difference between advocating the genocide of an ethnic group and looking forward to a world where that ethnic group has ceased to believe the particular harmful superstitions that arose among them originally, I don’t know what to say. Repeat after me, slowly:
    People are not ideas. Getting rid of bad ideas does not necessarily harm any people.

    Though I will concede that having the one word, ‘Jews’, to cover both an ethnic group, and people who hold to a set of supernatural claims that happen to be particularly prevalent among members of that ethnic group, is not helpful, and we should really be looking to use separate terms. I try to remember to say ‘Jews’ / ‘Jewishness’ for the ethnic group and ‘Judaists’ / ‘Judaism’ for the religion.

  36. says

    joedelaney, the data is from 2010, but it was published by Pew on December 18th, which is why it’s been kicking about news outlets (see also here, for instance).

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