Friday, December 25, 2015

Not to rub it on this special day, however according to a new poll there are 5% fewer self identified Christians in American than at the beginning of President Obama's first term.

Courtesy of Politico:  

Three-quarters of Americans identify as Christians, according to a Gallup poll released Thursday — down from the beginning of President Barack Obama's first term. 

While a significant portion of Americans still follow Christianity, the percentage has steadily fallen since 2008, when 80 percent of Americans identified as Christians. Story Continued Below 

But as fewer associate themselves with Christianity, more are identifying themselves as people with no religious affiliation. The percentage of Americans who follow no religion has risen from 14.6 percent in 2008 to 19.6 percent this year. 

Meanwhile, the percentage of Americans who follow a non-Christian religion remains largely unchanged from 2008, still hovering around 5 percent. 

75% is still a huge number, so we still have quite a ways to go before we can call ourselves an enlightened nation, but baby steps are still steps on that journey.

The other day somebody accused me of hating Christians. That of course is ridiculous.

However it is true that I despise organized religion, and what it does to people.

Having said that all I really want is for religious people to keep their beliefs and superstitions out of our schools, our politics, and out of our faces.

While I don't agree with ANY religious faith, I do have a lot more respect for the Amish, the Quakers, and the Jains who keep their worship mostly private, than I do for those who come to my doorstep and suggest that I am doomed if I do not attend their particular church.

But putting all of that aside I DO love Christmas and all of its traditions, though I cannot help but wonder if it would not still be just as much fun, or perhaps even more fun,  if we called it by its original name, Saturnalia


  1. Those are tidings of great joy!

  2. A. J. Billings7:15 AM

    A 5% increase in "unafilliated" is a baby step, but certainly in the right direction.

    In case you might be at a gathering where Uncle Teaparty is preaching religion and fascism this season, here are 35 quotes from the founding Fathers that easily put to rest the lie that the USA was founded as a Christian nation:

    If the USA can survive as an intact secular Republic for the next 2-300 years, we might get to a place where athiests and agnostics are more than 50% of the population.

    Saturnalia sounds like a whole lot more fun than opening presents on XMas morning :)

    1. Leland2:23 AM

      Sorry, A.J., but I have tried a few of those quotes with my idiot family. They always tell me I am reading things wrong or that the quote wasn't accurate or that I was a fool for believing everything I read, etc., etc., etc.

      The tea baggers will NOT accept historical fact. Period. Facts would mean they were wrong.

  3. At that rate, it'll be another 40 years until something close to half is reached. I was hoping to see the change sped up a bit so I could see it before I croak, (I am 69 this year). Oh well, just glad to know people are becoming more in tune with reason...or is that too hopeful?

  4. Anonymous7:33 AM

    "Saturnalia" has 635,000 Google searches.

    "Christmas" has 1,900,000,000 searches.

    You may be on to something here...

  5. Anonymous7:37 AM

    The numbers could change much faster as current times move along!

    Reason: The elders will die (tend to be more Christian) and the youngsters (the majority of which) have indicated they are not 'God fearing'! The latter group will skew the numbers considerably.

    Enjoy the festive season everyone! From a senior and also a non Christian.

  6. Anonymous7:43 AM

    5 percentage points fewer, not 5 percent fewer.

  7. Boscoe8:01 AM

    I still say these polls are useless because if someone comes up and asks you what your religion is, there is a lot of pressure to just say "Christian" simply because it is the one answer that will never cause you to be further questioned. It is simply the easiest answer to get on with your life without hassle.

    It's also the easiest answer if, like the vast majority of people, you haven't actually put that much thought into what you think about God and the meaning of life. It's just an easy default answer in America that is free from judgement or criticism.

    Christians like to gloat over these polls as if they meant something, but I'm pretty sure if it were put to a national referendum whether we should switch the country over to rule by the church, it would fail resoundingly.

    Not to mention that I've NEVER been asked to participate in one of these polls, nor has anyone I've ever met. So WHO are they even asking?

  8. Anonymous8:14 AM

    It is unfortunate that if you dig down into MOST organized religions you find what they are really about - power and money. How sad that so many are so used so badly.

    1. Leland2:25 AM

      Been that way since religion began, 8:14.

  9. Anonymous8:20 AM

    This just means that more people have eaten from the tree of knowledge.

    Those who would say we non-Xtians hate Xtians, are the real h8ers. They project their insecurities on us.

    Me, I'm a secular humanist. Most people who have the audacity to question me on my 'religion' are too lazy or stupid to look it up.

    1. Anonymous10:17 AM

      I'm sorry, but what exactly is the difference between a secular humanist and and atheist? In my my mind, the term is a cop out for people who are not secure enough to call themselves atheists - which simply put - is the absence of belief in a supreme being. I am an atheist - I have not seen any evidence that a supreme being exists. If and when such evidence is produced, I may change my mind at any time and become a theist.

    2. Anonymous10:21 AM

      And I truly meant my question respectfully. I am truly interested in knowing what the distinction is for you.

    3. Anonymous8:41 AM

      10:17--- And the term "agnostic" means "without knowledge." I consider myself one, because I don't think I have enough knowledge or understanding to say with sufficient confidence that some type of deity exists or not.

      I consider myself a secular humanist. You apparently consider me a cop out. Fair enough, I guess, if certainty is your measuring stick.

  10. Anonymous8:46 AM

    People coming to their senses? Finally! I cannot believe in this day and age of science and technology that there are still those that cling to superstitions, myths and fairy tales. And , so many of these people make a great living off of it!! Preachers, ministers, et al. There's a sucker born every minute.

    1. Leland2:29 AM

      8:46, I would have to say it is most likely due to the way their children are "taught" their parent's religion. From the time they are able to absorb - even subconsciously - the drivel their parents give them, they have it hammered home that god hates those who don't believe in him.

      Brainwashing, of course. You can't convince then that's what they are doing, but it is, nonetheless.

  11. Anonymous8:47 AM

    My tiny Brethren church had a short Christmas Eve service yesterday. Our organist was out of town, so we designed a service of readings and carols, sung a Capella.
    Our pastor, who is 85, asked me if this was the night Jesus was born. I replied, "well it depends who you read, doesn't it?"
    I am leaning away from the church, but I've been there a long time, and the people are great. Plus, we are pacifists, and I think that voice needs to be raised.

  12. Anonymous8:59 AM


    You make very valid points!

    I, too, have never been polled with the question, "Am I a practicing Christian?", OR "Do I believe in God?" OR "Do I attend a church on a regular basis?"

    If someone did ring me up, I'd more than likely ask who was calling, who they represented, what they were going to do with the information and then politely indicate I wasn't interested in responding!

    1. Anonymous9:38 AM

      do you realise that the person on the phone is just another 'worker' trying to make ends meet? The folks on the phones have no interest, mostly, in the issues being asked about. They often do not know who the client is because of the double- and triple-blind setups. They often do not know exactly 'who they represent'. They have no idea what is being done with the information collected, except to know it is all turned into an impersonal numerical model. If you have no interest in the poll, you seem to enjoy jerking around the po'shmo' that is just trying to do a job.

      Polling is part of the process. If you do not like this part of the process, please don't take it out on the minimum wage (in most cases very close to it) person who is just trying to make ends meet.

      And btw: the religion and denomination and attendance questions are on almost every study, as this informs the rest of the data.

      You accomplish nothing by being a shit to the interviewer in the trenches. They know a paper xtian from a real one. The real ones are not shits.


    2. Anonymous10:45 AM

      Of course, I do! I even say in my statement that "I'd politely" .

      Please reread as I think it will calm you.

  13. Anonymous9:15 AM

    When was the last time you actually had someone come to your door? Been at least twenty years for me.

    1. Last year. I chased her back down the sidewalk.

      We've just adopted an English Mastiff. Next to screaming abuse at the missionary, mastiffs are better. I've had LDS missionaries get so engrossed in the huge dog (we've had mastiffs in the past) that they forget to talk about God.

    2. Anonymous10:29 AM

      That was my question also. It isn't as though they constantly bug people. Gryphen is hypersensitive about this whole subject.

    3. Anonymous10:41 AM

      There have been two consistent groups of Christians that have come to my door throughout the past couple of years.

      And, even though I've nicely told them, I'm not interested, they still come a knockin'!

      I don't want to be rude to them, but perhaps I'm going to have to take that step!

    4. Well, it's winter, too.

    5. Anonymous2:50 PM

      at least 3-4 times this year. A couple of Jehova witness visits with pamphlets and all. A couple of Mormon visits.

    6. Anonymous4:14 PM


      We are Atheists but we happen to know a jehovah person and we asked her to take us off their list of visits and we haven't seen one for 2 years. As far as mormons go, if they do spend the 1/2 mile to make their way down my driveway past 4 signs that say "posted" "private" "posted" and finally "beware of dogs" I tend to greet them at the door in bra and panties, (or less ;-) and the unclothed female form is definitely something that gets a couple of young latter day saints moving very quickly away from your door!

  14. So... 30% not Christian... population about 320 million, so...about 100 million people in our country.

    That is NOT a small number of people.

  15. Matthew Arnold's "Dover Beach" was first published in 1867, though parts were written somewhat earlier. The poet is standing on the beach at Dover looking across the Straits, seeing and listening to the waves as the tide goes out. Here is one stanza:

    The Sea of Faith
    Was once, too, at the full, and round earth’s shore
    Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furled.
    But now I only hear
    Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,
    Retreating, to the breath
    Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear
    And naked shingles of the world.

  16. Anonymous3:59 PM

    Baby steps... My immediate family are atheists, we raised our kids without church, and let them explore their own spiritual paths. They have friends and fiancee's who are christian, and we've had more problems with the parents than the kids themselves. We'll be fine with whatever they choose, but they're in college and so far, none of them have expressed interest in converting.
    I've been badgered by one set of parents to go worship with them, and we politely refuse. One year they sent me a beautiful nativity card, and we sent them a hallmark card with broccoli on the cover, and "Happy Holandaise" inside, they called all bent out of shape, I told them to look at the post mark, which was before they sent us a card. and said "We're atheists, not psychics" ..... and the answer's always been the same "Well you GOTTA believe in SOMETHING!" Now we get along, but skirt the issue of religion or politics.

  17. Anonymous7:22 PM

    People who proselytize, including atheists, are really obnoxious. Kinda like women who insist on whipping a boob out in public and breastfeeding their beat. It's offensive and they all need to go away.

  18. Anonymous9:48 PM

    If there are less Christians now it's because the GOP-TeaParty-Bircher-Fundie Alliance has ruined the "brand" of it. No sane person with a heart wants to be tied to the current American "Christianists."

  19. Except that . . . President Obama is Christian--brought up by his grandparents, infuenced by Reinhold Niebuhr and other theologians, married in a Christian church to a Christian lawyer, had his children baptized into Christian faith.

    A good point is made at 7:22. There are too many crusaders everywhere, with no distinction made between the trivial and the profound.

  20. Christianity is not going away in the future, as far as we can see. The notion that we are loved and valued beyond any human measure--in spite of our weaknesses and failures--is a powerful motivator.

  21. Anonymous8:58 AM

    I used to think that was a good thing...and that secularism would win out and that would mean people would be fair and logical, and embrace freedom of speech and other important values of the constitution.

    But that hasn't transpired. And that's quite a surprise to me. People are more judgmental and more "tribal" than ever, and there's no longer freedom of speech on our campuses or anywhere. Social media has destroyed any sense of logic we have or patience for the full truth to win out. It's like a sack race, whoever gets to the finish line first wins the day, and wins the narrative.

    Plus, it's obvious to me that in the void...another religion, just as insidious but much more violent, dangerous and viralant, has emerged - fundamentalist islam. And some of it's strongest defenders are secularists, sadly. We seem so scarred from the years of battling evangelicalism, that we think the grass is greener over there. But much like the GOP's claim years ago of being "kinder and gentler" or being a "compassionate conservative"....their claims of being peaceful and loving western values is also a lie.

    And at this point I don't care anymore. We get what we deserve in elections, I've always said that, and we get what we deserve within the culture as well.


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