Do we have to read the Bible? »« Episode CCCXXIX: Centered

Hey, Seattle, try harder

In a list of the 10 least religious cities, my hometown of Seattle came in third, beaten by Tampa and Portland. Portland? Come on, Seattle, you can beat a town full of hipsters. Turn a few more churches into gay bars, OK?

To no one’s surprise, I’m sure, Salt Lake City is the most religious major city.

Comments

  1. bksea says

    Tampa? Really? Were they using butterfly ballots to record people’s answers?

  2. dianne says

    Tampa is unexpected. Also, Phoenix? Admittedly, I don’t see anyone in AZ worshiping much except for their…guns…but Phoenix? Really?

  3. says

    An excellent college buddy of mine found himself several years ago in Turlock, California, and was not charmed when local boosters bragged that it had more churches per capita than any other American city (according to Ripley’s Believe It or Not back in the 1930s). Some were surprised to discover it did not thrill him.

  4. Sili says

    Well, if I lived in a town full of hipsters, I’d lose all faith in a benevolent god, too.

  5. nooneinparticular says

    We’re number three! We’re number three! We’re number three!

    Still, nearly 36% is far to much. The neighborhood where I live (Capitol Hill, with all teh gayz) is probably in the 10-15% range. The CD and Beacon Hill are lousy with churches.

  6. nooneinparticular says

    *pppffffffttttt* AHAHAHAHAH! Sili! Good one. But you owe me a new keyboard. Oh, and I’ll be sending you a dry cleaning bill.

  7. Trebuchet says

    Don’t forget a high percentage of the “religious” people in SLC are not Christians at all, but members of the heathen Mormon cult.

  8. Rip Steakface says

    Definitely with Sili here. By the way, Washington is now being overrun with Mormons, so the high rate of disbelief is falling, unfortunately.

  9. scottlesch says

    Wow that site makes my work computer hurt. I couldn’t read the captions. Too much going on.

  10. says

    We’re working on it HONEST.

    As for the rest of the list, I have to say Tampa and Miami caught me by surprise. I kind of assumed that once you got past the tourist bits they were good little Catholic enclaves.

  11. says

    I’m pretty surprised about Phoenix as well. I’m not sure asking people whether they identify with a religion is the same thing as not being religious.

  12. livingwithmormons says

    I have hopes for Salt Lake City. There is a diverse community growing including liberals and homosexuals. The pride parade last year saw record numbers.

  13. microraptor says

    All right! Go Portland!

    Of course, it’s not really surprising, given Portland’s rep as the strip club capital of the US.

  14. says

    I have hopes for Salt Lake City. There is a diverse community growing including liberals and homosexuals. The pride parade last year saw record numbers.

    As a resident, I do too. I think we’ve made some decent progress for LGBT visibility. Hell, I was pretty happy with the Pink Dot event in Salt Lake last year.

    I’m not sure whether I think the local pockets of tolerance are making much a larger impact, particularly with the state legislature, but the percentage of Mormons in SLC trends down, not up. Maybe I’ll be surprised by political change over the next decade.

  15. says

    Coffee and new age nonsense aren’t necessarily that great as replacements.

    I can agree on New Age, but coffee is an excellent replacement for virtually everything.

    unless it’s Starbucks coffee. in that instance, I’d prefer if all Starbuckses were turned into UU churches :-p

  16. A. Noyd says

    I dunno about this. Seems like we have loads of “spiritual but not religious” types here. So it’s not that people are necessarily different from church-goers in ways that matter—it’s that they don’t like authoritarian models of religion. (They don’t like “authoritarian” models of health care either, which is why we’re infested with naturopaths and acupuncturists and have Bastyr University festering like a boil on the ass of the city.) I’d be interested in how we stack up with other cities if “spirituality” was included in the measurement.

  17. The Cat From Outer Space says

    Granted I don’t live in SLC, but when I spent a week there for a conference, I found an excellent live music scene, cool microbreweries, funky cafés dishing out the warm drink even though it’s terrible for the belly (forbidden in Doctrines and Covenants) and, away from Temple Square, a fairly normal, modern city.

    Once again, I have no idea what it’s like to LIVE in Salt Lake. It could be (and most likely is) completely different. But I was really surprised at the lack of overt religiosity.

    Maybe Provo is getting lumped in with SLC as well, which I’m led to believe, is about 90% LDS, ceding Salt Lake proper to the gentiles.

  18. elfsternberg says

    Unfortunately, there’s a new church in town. “Hope of the City,” complete with a garish “Hope Kids!” window display, opened inside the large and popular Southcenter shopping center.

    Saddest of all: It opened in the space vacated by Borders Books. From a home of knowledge to a pit of vipers.

  19. QueQuoiHuh says

    Someone tell that to all the Republicans who will be swooping down on Tampa in August. Their second choice was Phoenix.

  20. says

    Woo hoo! Finally something I can brag about in Tampa Bay! I mean aside from good fish, a few great breweries, a nice university, sun, watersports and a relatively Ontario license plate free summer, very low malaria and dengue rates (under 30 dengue cases a year!), still above sea level property for sale (check those foreclosure pages, folks), and a governor who kinda looks like Skeletor.

    Well, we do our best anyway.

  21. tainthammer says

    I’m calling bullshit on Tampa. I live near there and there’s no shortage of religiosity. I think there’s less than 100 members of the local Atheists of Florida chapter.

  22. jalyth says

    I would say I’m surprised we slipped to number 3, but I was at my friend’s house the other day and there were 3, maybe 4, actual believers. I’ve never been the odd one out as an atheist in Seattle before. I did yell at them a bit, though. I told ‘em if they wanted me to qualify “Christian” with “nice” or “moderate”, I’d need to start hearing them out-shout the WBC. I didn’t convince them, but I didn’t like them anyway.

  23. Ermine says

    Don’t forget a high percentage of the “religious” people in SLC are not Christians at all, but members of the heathen Mormon cult.

    *sigh* Heathens. Riiight. And Atheists actually *believe* in god, they just hate Him and want to live lives of sin, so they just pretend that they don’t believe, right?

    The Mormons (Whose real name is of course, “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints”, not “Mormons”) are as Christian as any of the other 38,000 “Christian” denominations. Sure, they’re different from the others in some of their beliefs and practices, but every one of those 38,000 denominations is different in some ways from the others. However, they all still believe in salvation through Jesus Christ, (supposedly) the son of God, who lived ~2000 years ago, suffered for their sins, died for them on the cross, and was resurrected afterwards.

    Only by twisting the definition into something having nothing to do with belief in Christ can you possibly claim that they aren’t Christian, and that’s a dishonest argument. I’d like to hope that that matters to you – does it?

    To be actual heathen, they’d have to not believe in the god of the bible, either – By definition, neither Jews, Muslims, nor Christians are considered “Heathen”.

    If you want to complain about what they actually believe, how their way of life leads to ignorance and damaged children and families, even how silly their special underwear looks, knock yourself out! But bald-faced lies about their foundational beliefs are the sort of thing I expect from the religious, not our side. If you have to lie about the other side, you’re already losing! People *will* catch the obvious lies, and then they’ll stop listening to you from that point on. That’s how a lot of us got our first clues that religion was bogus, remember?

    Really, the one thing that atheism, freethought, and using the scientific method have going for them is that we can be honest about reality and still come out ahead, thanks to reality being the way things really are.

    So can it, will you?

  24. Shaun says

    I am likewise surprised to see SLC as the most religious city, they must have had some minimum population consideration when listing them. I am currently living in SLC after having moved from Provo and the difference is unbelievable.

  25. raven says

    Ermine the OverPope of all “xians”:

    The Mormons (Whose real name is of course, “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints”, not “Mormons”) are as Christian as any of the other 38,000 “Christian” denominations.

    Ermine is expressing an opinion, not a fact. BTW, who appointed you Overlord of all Xians? I’m afraid the voices in you head are not going to be very convincing to anyone but you.

    FWIW, there is no Xian Central. It is all someone’s opinion who is a xian and who is not. The only way xians have ever been able to settle the point is violence, war, and genocide. The Albigensians weren’t xians because 1 million were killed and they are all, every one of them, dead in a highly successful genocide.

    So what is the current opinion of xians about Mormons?

    1. A recent poll shows that 3/4 of all Protestant ministers believe Mormons are nonXians.
    2. The Catholic church believes they are nonXians.
    3. The Southern Baptists have an official position that the Mormons are a false cult and they are all going to hell.
    4. The same poll in point 1, showed that the majority of US xians thought Mormons were nonXian.

    None of this “proves” that Mormonism is nonXian. Since it is all opinions, that point is unprovable. The vast weight of the evidence and opinion though, indicates that they are nonXians. And that is as good as it can get.

    FWIW, IMO, the Mormon mythology is so radically different from anything found in the bible that they aren’t xians. They don’t even display crosses on their churches among other things.

    Highly polytheistic, gods are all married to fleets of women, spend all their afterlife fucking to produce “spirit babies”, that is us, jesus is just a guy like us, god is just a guy like us that has been around longer, humans becoming gods themselves and so on. It all looks like a fantasy made up by a sex crazed overaged adolescent name Joe. And while xianity is equally a fantasy, it isn’t that fantasy.

  26. raven says

    Ermine Dictator of the Universe:

    If you have to lie about the other side, you’re already losing! People *will* catch the obvious lies, and then they’ll stop listening to you from that point on.

    Rather insulting and wrong at that.

    Those who claim Mormons aren’t xians include most xians, most xian priests and ministers, and a lot of nonxians who know enough to venture an informed opinion.

    Just because we don’t share your opinion, doesn’t mean we are lying.

    We have our reasons for that opinion and they are good and compelling reasons.

    I don’t think you are lying. This isn’t even a matter of true or false. You do come across as a self important and obnoxious control freak though.

  27. Ogvorbis: strawmadhominem says

    Don’t forget a high percentage of the “religious” people in SLC are not Christians at all, but members of the heathen Mormon cult.

    Christians have a very jello-like quality when it comes to ‘who is a Christian.’ Virtually every single Christian denomination claims that they, and only they, are the only true Christians and that only by believing what they believe in the same way can any sinner be saved. Fine. That works.

    Until it comes down to counting noses. Then, all of a sudden, every Christian sect, from the Phelpsians to the Unitarians, Catholics to Mormons, suddenly get counted. Especially if, say, a group wants to show that ‘The US is a Christian Nation!’ or wants all True Christians to vote to deny human rights to humans.

    Other than accepting the divinity of Christ and the importance of the crucifiction, what else matters? If someone believes Christ’s ‘sacrifice’ was essential to save us all from hell then they are a Christian (and yes, I know that these two beliefs make the position of the UUs rather amorphous, but True Christians don’t consider Unitarians to be Christians anyway (unless it comes down to counting noses)).

  28. raven says

    Poll: Pastors say Mormons not Christians
    ww.lifeway.com/ArticleView?storeId…Poll…Mormons…

    10 Oct 2011 –
    Most pastors feel strongly that Mormons are not Christians,

    Three-quarters (75 percent) disagree with the statement, including … Pastors whose highest education level is no more than a bachelor’s … All ministers would do well to learn about Mormonism and have an answer ready for their congregations

    It works both ways of course.

    Mormons claim they are the only True Xians and all the other 2 billion xians are Fake Xians.

    You can’t get into the highest Mormon heaven and become a god unless you are Mormon. All those 2 billion others who claim to be xians are wasting their time and money in church and could just as well work on their hobbies and watch TV.

  29. raven says

    Other than accepting the divinity of Christ and the importance of the crucifiction,

    Mormons don’t accept the divinity of Christ.

    Jesus is just first among humans, just a guy. He is a literal son of god and some namelss goddess mother. Satan is a son of god. We are sons and daughters of god. Jesus, Satan, the demons, the angels, and all humans are literally brothers and sisters.

    In the NT, you obtain salvation by…believing jesus is god. This is how the Trinity was invented to explain how jesus could be jesus and also god.

    In Mormonism jesus is not god and never will be our god. Some day he will get his own planet and be someone else’s god. And so will all true believing Mormons.

  30. raven says

    I stand corrected. Or, well, sit corrected. Sorry.

    LOL, don’t worry about it.

    It’s all make believe anyway, like arguing about the fine points of the Lord of the Rings or Twilight.

    Except that tens of millions of people have been killed over these disputes and quite recently at that.

    The last of the Reformation wars ended a whole 12 years ago in Northern Ireland. And Mormons and nonMormons slaughtered each other in the 19th century over their beliefs and Mormons still oppress and discriminate against nonMormons whenever they have the numbers.

  31. phrankeaufyl says

    The figure for Phoenix must be for the city of Phoenix and not the Phoenix metro area, because Mesa is pretty much Salt Lake City south.

  32. Vicki says

    It’s talking about most and least religious cities, not most and least Christian. If they had specified “identifies with a Christian church,” New York City might well be in the top ten for least religious, because a lot of the religious people around here are Jewish or Moslem or Hindu or Buddhist (not necessarily in that order of numbers).

  33. Ermine says

    fastlane says:
    Ermine@33: Lighten up, Francis.

    Fuck the hell off, Francis. You just fuck right the fucking fuck off! And please, go ahead and complain that my post is too long, too.

    As for Raven.. What. The. fuck?

    Ermine is expressing an opinion, not a fact. BTW, who appointed you Overlord of all Xians? I’m afraid the voices in you head are not going to be very convincing to anyone but you.

    I notice that you don’t address any of the points I raise, and all you appear to have in response is argumentum ad populum and no true scotsmen. I don’t care at all what the other Xians have to say about the matter. Do you actually object to anything I actually said?

    And it’s SO nice of you to suggest that I’m mentally ill, too. Thanks! I disagree with someone who’s demonstrably wrong, (or do you intend to redefine “Heathen”, too?), so I -must- be hearing voices, right? You know what you can do with that comment, and the decaying porcupine it’s attached to, too. I recommend habanero quill toppers!

    Are you saying that the Mormons aren’t actually named “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints”? That’s not a matter of opinion. Or perhaps you’ve got some evidence that they don’t believe in the god of the bible, so they really are heathen after all? No? So maybe that’s not opinion either, is it? Buuut that’s probably unimportant, right? Do you actually dispute anything I said?

    Just because we don’t share your opinion, doesn’t mean we are lying.

    Mormons don’t accept the divinity of Christ.

    Raven, you are lying right there, you colossal git! Or have you redefined “divinity” just like you’re attempting to redefine “Christian”? Judging by your other posts, I -think- you’re trying to say “Mormons aren’t trinitarians, so they aren’t Christian”, but I could be wrong. If that’s actually what you’re trying to say, then you’re doing exactly what I said – you’re trying to redefine the meaning of “Christian” specifically to keep the LDS out, when none of those other Xians use that definition when they use the word in any other context. I don’t buy it.

    You do come across as a self important and obnoxious control freak though.

    Well la-de-da! Considering where it’s coming from and your responses so far, I’ll take that as a compliment of the highest order, thanks! It’s astonishing what great depth of character you’ve seen in me from a simple disagreement of fact. I am in awe at your perspicacity!

  34. KG says

    Other than accepting the divinity of Christ and the importance of the crucifiction – Ogvorbis – emphasis added

    If that was a homage to Tpyos, it was an inspired one!

    Whether Mormons are Christians depends on how you define “Christian”. They insist they are, most other Christians insist they’re not. We should just sit back and enjoy the kook fight.

  35. fastlane says

    ermine the spittle flecked @46:

    You just fuck right the fucking fuck off! And please, go ahead and complain that my post is too long, too.

    I can read long posts. It’s the stupid that bothers me, and I’m still trying to figure out what your points are that raven was supposed to address.

    Oh, and here’s me….not fucking off.

  36. Ermine says

    And here is me, not lightening up. Isn’t this fun?

    Hey, I can’t help it if the simple things escape you. I don’t like to see people spread lies about other people, when I know for a fact that they’re lies.

    Some idiot made a fact claim – That Mormons not only weren’t Xian, but they were “Heathen”. I disputed that remark. What do I get? Derailment for Dummies 101.

    I raised 2 major points: First, that if you look at how other Xians define the word themselves, the LDS are christian, it’s a No True Scotsmen argument to try to redefine the word to lock them out. Second, they aren’t “heathen” either, for exactly the same reason.

    I’ve seen the NTS argument right here often enough to know that for other topics, for instance “What atheists believe” or “How women view the world around them” or even “whether or not fucking Hitler was a Xian”, what people claim to believe themselves makes all the difference here, NOT what other people claim about their beliefs.

    Spittle flecked? Oh, I’m sorry, am I too angry for you? I should just calm down, lighten up, (i.e. shut up), no one wants to hear from someone who might be -unhappy- to see people lied about, and by the people who usually pride themselves on sticking to the facts, no less! Unless I’m completely calm the content of my argument doesn’t matter, right?

    For your tone trolling, you win your very own decaying porcupine! Yayyyyy! You can sit and spin right alongside Raven if you like.

    What exactly have I done that’s any different from so many of the other conversations here, where someone posts something racist, sexist, or that otherwise just plain ain’t so, followed by people piling on to explain just how those claims are wrong – quite often with plenty of vituperation. Is it really just because the Mormons are a popular target here, rather than the usual minorities that everyone jumps in to defend?

    @ KG

    Whether Mormons are Christians depends on how you define “Christian”. They insist they are, most other Christians insist they’re not. We should just sit back and enjoy the kook fight.

    Yep, that’s correct. And whether Atheists are good people or not depends entirely on how you define “atheist” (And which group does the defining). Atheists insist that they are, most of the religious insist that they aren’t. Who do you think we should listen to?

    Rather than defend them when someone prints something that just obviously isn’t true, (people seem to be ignoring that half of what I objected to was a claim that the LDS were Heathen, too), we should just sit back and enjoy the kook fight. Actually presenting an argument to explain why one group’s claims are wrong would be too much work!

    - Or maybe not. Maybe someone will stand up and defend them even if it isn’t popular, even if they no longer share any of the beliefs of the group they’re defending, just because it’s the right thing to do.

    Nahhh! Anyone who would defend Mormons must be mentally ill, right?

    Whatever, I’ve said my piece and defended my point, and I’ve got other things to do.

    Have fun!