Monday, January 9, 2012

I Think I Believe In God

Or, Higher Power or Divine Spirit....

Or, a 20,000 year old Alien being...

I don't believe in religion, though.

I've studied:

Jewish religion

to just name a few...

And, none of them make sense but since I've been "praying" to a higher power and allowing my dreams to come true, I've witnessed miracles in my life.

I may never have all the answers but I'm finding out what works for me.

Thank GOD?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Monday, May 30, 2011

I Couldn't Have Said It Better Myself!

These are the best lines in a movie, like ever!!

Pirate: “You’re either with us or against us!”
Philip:“I’m not with you neither am I against you.”
Pirate: ”Can he do that?”
Jack Sparrow: “He’s religious. I believe it’s required.”

I love all of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, but these lines are classic!!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


It's been a while since I've posted here.

My life in real life is busier than I ever thought it could be.

I have chosen to allow my children to decide for themselves about religion.

I have given my reasons for that here in earlier posts.

So, today when my youngest daughter was told by her best friend that "We are no longer friends because you are not Christian and we have nothing in common..."

It kinda broke my heart.

They've patched things up and they've agreed to disagree on religion but, the fact that her best friend wouldn't want to be my daughter's friend because she's not religious, hurts me a lot.

I feel like I've failed but at the same time....

I'm not going to force her to believe in something or someone just to be liked.


Sunday, December 26, 2010

When what we say doesn't match up with what we do

I read this excellent article today on :

Walking Santa, Talking Christ

Why do Americans claim to be more religious than they are?

Two in five Americans say they regularly attend religious services. Upward of 90 percent of all Americans believe in God, pollsters report, and more than 70 percent have absolutely no doubt that God exists. The patron saint of Christmas, Americans insist, is the emaciated hero on the Cross, not the obese fellow in the overstuffed costume.

There is only one conclusion to draw from these numbers: Americans are significantly more religious than the citizens of other industrialized nations.

Except they are not.

Beyond the polls, social scientists have conducted more rigorous analyses of religious behavior. Rather than ask people how often they attend church, the better studies measure what people actually do. The results are surprising. Americans are hardly more religious than people living in other industrialized countries. Yet they consistently—and more or less uniquely—want others to believe they are more religious than they really are.

Religion in America seems tied up with questions of identity in ways that are not the case in other industrialized countries. When you ask Americans about their religious beliefs, it's like asking them whether they are good people, or asking whether they are patriots. They'll say yes, even if they cheated on their taxes, bilked Medicare for unnecessary services, and evaded the draft. Asking people how often they attend church elicits answers about their identity—who people think they are or feel they ought to be, rather than what they actually believe and do.

The better studies ascertain whether people attend church, not what they feel in their hearts. It's possible that many Americans are deeply religious but don't attend church (even as they claim they do). But if the data raise serious questions about self-reported church attendance, they ought to raise red flags about all aspects of self-reported religiosity. Besides, self-reported church attendance has been held up as proof that America has somehow resisted the secularizing trends that have swept other industrialized nations. What if those numbers are spectacularly wrong?

To the data: There was an obvious clue (in hindsight) that the survey numbers were hugely inflated. Even as pundits theorized about why Americans were so much more religious than Europeans, quiet voices on the ground asked how, if so many Americans were attending services, the pews of so many churches could be deserted.

"If Americans are going to church at the rate they report, the churches would be full on Sunday mornings and denominations would be growing," wrote C. Kirk Hadaway, now director of research at the Episcopal Church. (Hadaway's research has included evangelical congregations, which reported sharp growth in recent decades.)

Hadaway and his colleagues compared actual attendance counts with church members' reports about their attendance in 18 Catholic dioceses across the country and Protestants in a rural Ohio county.* They found that actual "church attendance rates for Protestants and Catholics are approximately one half" of what people reported.

A few years later, another study estimated how often Americans attended church by asking them to minutely document how they spent their time on Sundays. Without revealing that they

were interested in religious practices, researchers Stanley Presser and Linda Stinson asked questions along these lines: "I would like to ask you about the things you did yesterday from midnight Saturday to midnight last night. Let's start with midnight Saturday. What were you doing? What time did you finish? Where were you? What did you do next?"

This neutral interviewing method produced far fewer professions of church attendance.

Compared to the "time-use" technique, Presser and Stinson found that nearly 50 percent more people claimed they attended services when asked the type of question that pollsters ask: "Did you attend religious services in the last week?"

In a more recent study, Hadaway estimated that if the number of Americans who told Gallup pollsters that they attended church in the last week were accurate, about 118 million Americans would be at houses of worship each week. By calculating the number of congregations (including non-Christian congregations) and their average attendance, Hadaway estimated that in reality about 21 percent of Americans attended religious services weekly—exactly half the number who told pollsters they did.

Finally, in a brand new paper, Philip Brenner at the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research compared self-reported attendance at religious services with "time-use" interviews in the United States, Canada, the Netherlands, Germany, France, Norway, Finland, Slovenia, Italy, Spain, Austria, Ireland, and Great Britain. Brenner looked at nearly 500 studies over four decades, involving nearly a million respondents.

Brenner found that the United States and Canada were outliers—not in religious attendance, but in overreporting religious attendance. Americans attended services about as often as Italians and Slovenians and slightly more than Brits and Germans. The significant difference between the two North American countries and other industrialized nations was the enormous gap between poll responses and time-use studies in those two countries.

Why do Americans and Canadians feel the need to overreport their religious attendance? You could say that religiosity for Americans is tied to their identity in a way that it is not for the Germans, the French, and the British. But that only restates the mystery. Why is religiosity tied to American identity?

Historians will point to the European roots of North American colonization. Many European settlers came to the New World in search of religious freedom, presumably because they cared more intensely about religion than did the brethren they left behind.

Perhaps. That answer feels unsatisfactory. I don't think religious intensity necessarily explains how religiosity becomes part of one's identity. Canada and the United States are quite different today in terms of their religious intensity and the importance they attach to the role of religion in public life, yet citizens in both countries greatly exaggerate their church attendance.

Whatever the reason for the disparity, here's the bottom line: For many Americans, church attendance is a central part of their lives. For others, it's a waste of time. If you're in either of these groups, more power to you. But in the spirit of Christmas and the truthteller whose message we celebrate, surely believers and atheists can agree on what to tell folks who talk Jesus but walk Santa: Enough with the two-faced posturing.

I have always said that a researcher could spend his/her entire career investigating the religious and cognitive dissonance:

"According to cognitive dissonance theory, there is a tendency for individuals to seek consistency among their cognitions (i.e., beliefs, opinions). When there is an inconsistency between attitudes or behaviors (dissonance), something must change to eliminate the dissonance. In the case of a discrepancy between attitudes and behavior, it is most likely that the attitude will change to accommodate the behavior."

Atheists will not "win over the hearts and minds" of the religious until theists are willing to really, deeply compare what it is they believe with what IS. I personally like the bus ad campaigns that are of this flavor:

It won't be until theists begin to question this foundational belief...that man is fallen and sinful and cannot choose goodness without god...that they will be able to overcome the cognitive dissonance that they cling to. It won't happen until they can ask themselves a line from "The Work" of Byron Katie: "Is that true? Can you absolutely know that it's true?"

What if we aren't utterly depraved?
What if when non-theists do good things and show love they are doing it without a god?
What if we don't need to be saved?
What if we can be good without god?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Atheists know more about religion than theists

I'm happy that the latest Pew Forum "U.S. Religious Knowledge Survey" is garnering so much attention. It is a common assumption by theists that atheists are only atheist because they haven't taken the time to really look into faith. But as Dave Silverman notes in this blog entry on Pharyngula:

"I have heard many times that atheists know more about religion than religious people," Mr. Silverman said. "Atheism is an effect of that knowledge, not a lack of knowledge. I gave a Bible to my daughter. That's how you make atheists."

I took the quiz to see how I'd do and scored 93%...the single question I didn't answer correctly was the one about American revivalism (which was never part of my religious experience when I was a Christian). How about you?

Monday, September 27, 2010

A Friend.....

Has asked me to join a Ladies Night/Church/Bible Study.

I really, really want to spend time with my friend but I don't really want to study the Bible.

Been there, done that.....

What am I supposed to do?

I'd really like to have your input by Tuesday night.

Thanks so much!!