Friday, October 28, 2005

Religiosity, a necessity for a Moral Society?

I'm reposting one of Dan's posts from Honest Over Thought, because he was curious what we thought about it. I've got some thoughts, but I have to finish Dateline then do laundry. My life is sooooo crazy!


There is an interesting article from an Arizona Campus Newspaper located here. It talks about a recent study done whose results seem to negate the necessity of religion in order to have a moral society. This article brings up some good issues about the effectiveness of religion in society, as well as the idea of America being a Christian nation.

As far as the need for religion in society, I am not sure the data described fully accounts for some of the trends that are seen. A huge factor in the occurrence of high religiosity alongside a high 'dysfunction' should be considered in the light of America's ability and pride in 'freedom', which frequently manifests itself as 'having your cake and eating it too'. Many people are religious in this country, and the freedoms that we have allow people to be more outspoken about this. But, Some of those same 'religious' folk are probably some of the 'dysfunctional' in the studies as well.

Then, if you want to look at whether America is a Christian nation, well this could open a very long and in depth discussion. I have recently been reading more on this due to my American Church History Class. A good book to read might be Noll, Hatch, and Marsden's Search for a Christian America. To say one or the other I would definitely say that America is not a Christian nation. I wonder whether it is really possible to have a truly Christian government at all. Would Scripture even allow for that?


At 10/29/2005 3:51 PM, Blogger Dusty said...

I think it will be interesting how the Evangelical/Religious right reacts politically to the shifts that appear to be happening. Specifically, that the protestant majority is shrinking in America. Will Christians still lust for political power or will they more to a more Scriptural focus on power. Doesn't Jesus seem to indicate that political power is not that important? Maybe I read it all wrong?

I have that book, but I have not read it yet.



At 10/30/2005 11:26 PM, Blogger Jake Sikora said...

I guess I am just restating what I said on the SNL post, while mainline protestants are shrinking, the evangelical powers are surging, at all time highs, reference once again the Miers nomination, where she was both nomiated and then removed primarily because of evangelical christians. John Roberts gets through because of Justice Sunday. Bush is elected because he appealed to the social concerns of evangelical Christians.

Dan, I think your point is right on. Perhaps we're making an Anabaptist out of you! Particularly to your first point, I would say that one of the characteristics of the modern society was the development of morality as seperate from religion. Prior to this era such a suggestion would have been seen as ridiculous because to think of anything apart from religion was impossible. What is fascinating, though, is how these issues and concerns are perpetuated in the "post-modern" era. It's true that "morality" can exist without religion. People can choose to act without a religious motivation. This is a frightening fact of the matter, that then puts faith on the defense, forced to explain what religion even has to offer if ethics can be derived elsewhere. I think the best response is that the church offers an alternative political space with an alternative morality. The 20th century has shown the failure of the secular, religionless morality and the state that develops from it. Now the church must do better at showing a better way of being in the world.


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