Home > Religion > Religion without religion, continued

Religion without religion, continued

So I was thinking about my last post some more today and I don’t think my assessment lines up with the survey I posted about a while back, where the ranks of unaffiliated believers were growing, as was changing religions. I realize we’re talking a survey in the exception to religious decline in the Western world, but churches do seem to have a problem here, too. The survey suggests the community structure religion provides isn’t currently that important to people. So if you’re defining religion down to essentially be community cooperation and morality, you’re building your religion around something that people are at worst discarding and at best bouncing in and out of. That’s not promising for Vosper’s project. People do still appear to be discarding traditional religious traditions and beliefs or trying to find other ones that fit better.

So where does this leave us? I’d like to say that there’s nothing churches can do – they’re going to continue bleeding members. And the Pew survey did suggest that the ranks of atheists and agnostics had grown significantly. It seems that churches have to adapt to the belief system that works the best for people. That means the least intrusive to the person’s lifestyle (premarital sex? Go for it!) and the most fulfilling. Maybe I’m misinterpreting, but the community aspect of church doesn’t seem to be the fulfilling part.

So I don’t know how the religious can hold onto their membership. I kind of like them having this problem.

Categories: Religion
  1. Lina
    March 26, 2008 at 8:48 pm

    Another view: Maybe those two groups — unaffiliated believers and religion switchers — represent two separate trends. I think a lot of people want the community but not (some of) the ridiculous bullshit, so they change religions in search of one more watered down. And then the unaffiliated are just as intellectually lazy as generations past (meaning just as inclined to believe without question), but now they’re physically lazy too (and don’t go to church). Vosper’s project could very well thrive, thanks to the first group. Even I sorta found her ideas appealing. It’s the more traditional, dogmatic churches that I think and are on the decline and will continue to be.

  2. March 28, 2008 at 6:07 pm

    Religion satisfies our need for certainty and simplicity. Life ain’t neither. I woudl like to know more about the numbers – the switchers. Has it been since 9/11? Have they been switching to the more fundamentalist varieties? Big events like that tend to drive people to extremes.

    But I’m just having a brain fart here. I got nothing.

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