Number of Americans who believe in God is at its lowest since at least 1944

The interpretation I have gravitated to, which was shared by my HS freshman year religion teacher was the following:

The original sin was not eating the apple, it was that when asked, Adam says “It’s not my fault, she tempted me.” And then Eve says “It’s not my fault, the snake tempted me.”

The story is not true, but it contains truth. Humans would be way better off taking responsibility for their own shit and having more humility.

I have thoroughly enjoyed this conversation. The idea of the garden of Eden as a trap was new for me.

Others may define me as an agnostic or Catholic or lapsed Catholic. For me, I also keep asking myself what I am. But at the end of the day the questions are the most important, so I’ll declare myself a Questioner.


Perhaps He will be more like a perfect therapist in the sky, leaning back and asking, “Yes, yes, tell me more of your hypothesis about justice and truth …”

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At some point they’ll be declared “divinely inspired” and included with the rest of the Scriptures


Are you okay with people not believing that YOUR truth is their truth? Because if you’re not, that CAN lead to trouble in tough times.

It tends not to be Buddhists or people of other faiths who are whinging about how others are acting in ways they don’t like, at least here in America. That’s pretty much ALL white Christians, generally speaking evangelicals who believe that there is only ONE truth. So no need to throw up a strawman here that doesn’t even exist in this context.

Of course. My POINT is that living in a pluralistic society means you don’t get to impose your beliefs on others, no matter how “true” you believe your faith to be.

We’re getting awfully fucking close here, as white evangelical Christians keep pushing to impose their beliefs on the rest of us. That is the opposite of pluralism.


It isn’t restricted to Christianity, see Hindu persecution of other faiths in India, of Coptic Christians in Egypt, of Shia in Sunni areas, of Sunni in Shia areas, of Christian militias in Africa, of Islamic militias in Africa, of militant Atheists in China…

I could go on, but my point is that we Yankees get too wrapped up in our perceived exceptionalism, but we aren’t all that different from the rest of the world. Any culture that has achieved dominance will soon fear losing that dominance. O Fortuna, velut luna, statu variabilis!

Heck, even the current war in Ukraine could be considered a crusade for Russian orthodoxy.


I’m aware, but right here, in the US, it is white evangelicals who are THE problem. No one is trying to force them to live in a way that violates their faith, but they are hell-bent on forcing their faith on us. I’m talking specifically about the US context, not anywhere else.


I think what makes the Evangelical form of Christianity so, well, toxic, is in the name. It’s defined by its push to convert, that its adherents have to convince others that theirs is the only faith, that tolerance is failure. The Ponzi scheme of it all. And that makes it uniquely American, I admit, the way they treat religion as if it were a game of Monopoly, where only one player can be left.

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Yes! Yes I am. Please let me say that as clearly as I can. I like people disagreeing with me (politely and thoughtfully†), precisely because I believe that there is a possibility of talking about THE truth.
If all we have is MY truth and YOUR truth then there can be no meaningful conversation and every disagreement will be a personal attack. But if we believe in a common reality that can be apprehended, rightly or wrongly, we might learn things from each other.††
But you must at least partly believe this too, because here you are, disagreeing with me and trying to show me I’m wrong.
There are other things I could say in response but I think this the core issue.

† Which is the real challenge here, I think, so thank you.

†† So already in the context of this discussion, for example I have been (i) reminded to speak more carefully about other religions by chgoliz and (ii) pushed by you to see that this “your truth / my truth” stuff is partly true – in the sense that what I should have been saying is “I think I know some universal truth,” which is different from saying “I know what’s universally true.”


But once again, that’s not how reality works, with regards to things like religion. You are just going to have to live with the fact that YOUR truth is not everyone’s truth. Might not be comfortable, but it’s reality.

I just dislike people assuming that they are right and the rest of us are merely dupes, especially on something that can’t be proven. :woman_shrugging:

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You lose me here, because the only truth is science. Everything else is opinions, morality, and feelings. All of which have immense value and are very important, but applying the word “truth” to them is what tends to start wars.


What about historical truth? What about the truth of the state of another person’s mind? Neither of these can be tested in an empirical sense, but I don’t think we’d want to say that we can’t talk about “truth” in either context – our political discussions and legal proceedings rely on both these things, after all. You sound like an old-fashioned logical positivist.

Of course they can. History is empirical, as is psychology.


I think you mean deductive. Unless you know how to do a rerun of the Roman Empire. You might be closer to the mark with psychology, but I don’t think we are quite there yet.

Just because we can’t run experiments doesn’t mean we can’t test hypotheses. You might want to learn more about what historians and psychologists actually do.

You also seem to be applying a black and white standard to science, but that’s not how it works. We accumulate a preponderance of evidence which increases confidence in a conclusion over time. Historians do this too, just in a different way than physicists.

You’re playing semantic and culturally relativistic games now, so I’m disengaging. Continue on with whatever your point was.


Okay, if you want to use a broader definition of “science” I probably agree (though I think you will find that it is a topic for debate – at least for historians). But then I would immediately want to say that some religious claims must become scientific by the same token. For example, the historical claim that Jesus rose from the dead.

Thanks for the brief interaction.

How is that a historical claim?




It’s a claim that it was an historical event.

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Except since it’s a RELIGIOUS claim, it’s not something historians would examine (except in terms of coming to a better understanding of the religion itself and how it shaped the flow of historical events).

Here is a book of history about Jesus of Nazareth (the historical person), but not Jesus Christ (the religious figure):

It puts the historical figure of Jesus into the larger context of the conflict between the Jewish community in Palestine and the Roman authorities. He lays aside the religious views of Jesus in all the places he shows up, like the Christian bible or the Q’uran, and focuses on what historical evidence we have about him. He knows that “he rose from the grave” or the he performed miracles is not a claim that can be substantiated via historical scholarship, so he does not engage with that, except to examine why people might have believed such claims at the time.

So, the core of the narrative of Jesus, that he was the son of god, and rose from the dead, etc, are not part of the historical examination, because there is no way to prove that claim with the kind of evidence that we might have. You’re confusing YOUR belief in YOUR faith with history. They are not one and the same.


It was just a bunch of broads who claimed they saw that. No scientific standing.

(HUGE /s, if it’s needed!)