Skip to comments.Less Religion Means More Government
Posted on 10/10/2009 2:12:46 PM PDT by NYer
Soviet communism adopted Karl Marxs teaching that religion was the “opiate of the masses” and launched a campaign of bloody religious persecution. Marx was misguided about the role of religion but years later many communists became aware that turning people away from religious life increases dependence on government to address lifes problems. The history of government coercion that comes from turning from religion to government makes a new study suggesting a national decline in religious life particularly alarming to those concerned about individual freedom.
The American Religious Identification Survey, published by Trinity College in Hartford, Conn., reports that we should expect one in five Americans to identify themselves as having no religious commitments by 2030. The study, titled American Nones: The Profile of the No Religion Population, reports that Americans professing no religion, or Nones, have become more mainstream and similar to the general public in marital status, education, racial and ethnic makeup and income. The Nones have increased from 8.1 percent of the U.S. adult population in 1990 to 15 percent in 2008.
According to the study, 22 percent of American 18 to 29-year-olds now self-identify as Nones. For those promoting dependency on government to handle the challenges of everyday life, as well as those who wish to take advantage of a growing market for morally bankrupt products and services, the news of declining religious life is welcome.
The increase in non-religious identification among younger generations highlights a continued shift away from active participation in one of the key social institutions that shaped this country. It may also come as no surprise, then, that according to the research firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, voters under 30 are more liberal than all other generations. When asked about their ideology, 27 percent of those under 30 identify themselves as liberal, compared to 19 percent of baby boomers, and 17 percent of seniors. Pragmatic utilitarianism, favorable views toward a larger role for government in helping the disadvantaged, and a lack of ethical norms characterize this young segment Americas population.
The most significant difference between the religious and non-religious populations is gender. Whereas 19 percent of American men are Nones only 12 percent of American women are. The gender ratio among Nones is 60 males for every 40 females.
The marketplace and society in general will both reap the consequences of high numbers of male Nones. If more and more men are abandoning the religious communities that have provided solid moral formation for thousands of years, we should not be surprised by an increase in the explosion of demand for morally reprehensible products as well as the family breakdown that follows closely behind. With consciences formed by utility, pragmatism, and sensuality, instead of virtue, we should expect to find a culture with even more women subjected to the dehumanization of strip clubs, more misogynistic rap music, more adultery and divorce, more broken sexuality, more fatherlessness, more corruption in government and business, more individualism, and more loneliness.
Alexis de Tocqueville cautioned in his 1835 reflections on Democracy in America, that the pursuit of liberty without religion hurts society because it tends to isolate [people] from one another, to concentrate every man’s attention upon himself; and it lays open the soul to an inordinate love of material gratification. In fact, Tocqueville says, the main business of religions is to purify, control, and restrain that excessive and exclusive taste for well-being which men acquire in times of equality. Religion makes us other-regarding.
Historically, religious communities in the United States addressed the needs of local communities in way that were clearly outside the scope of government. For example, as David G. Dalin writes in The Jewish War on Poverty, between the 1820s and the Civil War, Jews laid the foundation for many charitable institutions outside the synagogue including a network of orphanages, fraternal lodges, hospitals, retirement homes, settlement houses, free-loan associations, and vocational training schools. These were also normative activities for both Protestant and Catholic religious communities on even a larger scale in communities all over America before Franklin Roosevelts New Deal.
The reported decline in religious life is an omen that virtue-driven local charity will decline, the passion to pursue the good will wane, and Americans will look to government to guide, protect, and provide. As we turn our lives over to government control, our capacity for independent thought and action are compromised. The real opiate of the masses, it would seem, is not religion but the lack of it.
Yes, and how does the author rectify this with what he states about the loss of individual freedom?
“Less Religion Means More Government”
No, less real men/fathers/husbands means more government.
Marxism IS a religion, complete with unprovable dogmas which are not allowed to be challenged, including objectively implausible prophecies about the future. Think about Marxist teaching: once everybody sees the light of Marxism, the billions of people on earth will all be contentedly working as hard as they can for the collective good, and wanting no more for themselves than they absolutely need. Hard to find any evidence of rational, scientific thought there.
No, less real men/fathers/husbands means more government and/or less religion means more government.
2 Corinthians 3:17 Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
Romans 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
John 8:36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.
Believe and be free ...
John 8:31-32 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
Jesus IS the Truth
John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
If you go back to the founders they kept things in order — as do many people today!
You can see that the self-centered Items are at the bottom of their list.
If we don’t live this principle we are falling into the secular trap of the modern world.
Read Matthew Kelly’s book: “Rediscovering Catholicism”
Individualism is one of the sicknesses of the church.
“Less Religion Means More Government”
I’ve heard a quote (sorry, don’t know who said it) to the effect that:
“When people stop believing in G-d, they’ll believe in anything.”
The current faith movement concerning Obama and Big Government
is Exhibit A.
In the context of the article, individualism seems to be stated in terms of placing yourself as “top of the world”...even if your responsibilities dictate otherwise.
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The correlation is logical. Religion provides a fabric of behavioral correction that comes from the individual’s belief. A good Catholic, for example, does not need a government to tell him to be a good father, husband and citizen: his religion tells him that, and shows how.
If that fabric is broken, jurisprudence begins to bracked undesirable behavior. Complex laws are put in place to make better fagthers, husbands and citizens, who now lack internal motivation to be good. The government grows.
But the government is not a meare reaction to immorality. It has an evil of its own: it has an appetite for growth. Many people become its clients, either as direct or indirect employees or as economic dependents. On the next stage the government stops to simply react and actively seeks lines of attack in order to expand. Laws are invented that foster immorality; then the very govenrment that gives us these destructive laws gets democratic support for further expansion. At this point, growth becomes cancerous.
The mistake of Catholic leadership in this country may be that they seek to persuade the government to adopt rational policies, while the likelihood of that happening is about the same as a hurricane choosing to stay over the Atlantic. Perhaps our leaders should instead teach us how to better survive in an atmosphere that is deliberately hostile.
Atheism is the religion of the masses.
With consciences formed by utility, pragmatism, and sensuality, instead of virtue, we should expect to find a culture with even more women subjected to the dehumanization of strip clubs, more misogynistic rap music, more adultery and divorce, more broken sexuality, more fatherlessness, more corruption in government and business, more individualism, and more loneliness
The history of government coercion that comes from turning from religion to government makes a new study suggesting a national decline in religious life particularly alarming to those concerned about individual freedom
Individualism is acting contrary to justice, to the detriment of others, especially family, and to the nation as a whole, which leads to cultural decline and loss of freedom.
Individual freedom is the right of the individual to self-govern in accordance to justice.
For example, someone who acts contrary to the obligation of married state and succumbs to temptations that destroy his marriage is a victim of individualism. His family is a victim of his individualism as well. As a result, the government steps in to regulate the cultural and economic life of the fragments of his family, dictating who lives with whom, who pays child support and how much, how the children are educated and how the non-custodial parent is allowed to see them. Everyone in the family his individualism destroyed lost individual freedom.
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