US becoming less Christian

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    Certainly, from your perspective, Skep, that may be true. And there is plenty of evidence and data to support “the bad” religion has done.

    Also, I’ve never associated religion as feel good. There may be aspects to it that bring some good feelings, but, good religion, in my opinion, is: humble, compassionate, willing to work towards the greater good, creative, inspiring, transformational and bringing together all types of folks to help build stronger communities.

    In our state we have the Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon. EMO, puts a ton of work to help the poor, abused, homeless and others.

    There’s also the Oregon Center for Christian Voices. Another ecumenical organization that has put immense amount of work in stopping human-trafficking.

    And there are plenty more…

    Those of us in the ecumenical faith community are keenly aware of how bad religion has played out over the years. More and more, many of us are doing what we can to have our voices heard. But too often we are drowned out by not only the folks who oppose our message but the folks who probably could join our voices, but have decided that all religious folks are pretty much the same. That is a hard fight.

    As Reza Aslan noted in his Q&A, what’s happening with ISIS and much of the middle east is a reformation. Reformations are ugly, brutal, and can last a long time. The Protestant Reformation turned into the 30 year war, where half of Germany’s population was killed.

    As Jim Wallis has said, “We need better religion.” And I agree.


    It turns out that I, despite what I had been told, do not need Jesus. While that’s not yet easy to say, it’s true. Pretending otherwise would make me a hypocrite.

    I no longer recognize the authority or power grab of religion. I feel stronger than ever about a topic that I have no regrets exploring.

    Deane Johnson

    Chickenjuggler, don’t confuse what man has done to religion with a faith in God. Man’s version of religion and God’s have no similarity.


    Ha. Very funny.


    The first time I said it was hard. Really hard. My family is religious, many of them deeply religious. Most are of reasonable character, but not solid. So the hate stuff gets in, and for me, is intolerable.

    Friends and family expressed deep sadness, and some fear. Some still do think I’m broken somehow now.

    But, like you say, the fear just fell away. Being perfectly honest about something like this is very liberating, despite the strong social norms involved. IMHO, it’s easier now too.

    Not so easy as to not be an overall worry. After all, there are places in the world where people are killed for a few words. In a way, that realization helped me identify with others who are discriminated against, or worse for being who they are.


    It is very liberating.
    But I do miss it sometimes.


    I have never ever felt encumbered by my faith…or my religion. It’s never felt like a rule book or the old white bearded guy in the sky throwing lightning bolts at me for being human type of crap.

    It’s never been about me. It is a part of me, but not my defining embodiment of who I am. That’s why it’s easy for me to flow between those of different faith traditions and those of little or no faith traditions.

    CJ, I could easily be in your court. Do I really NEED Jesus to have a fulling life? Probably not. I have a great sense of purpose already in my life and a deep sense of compassion towards others since I was child – and well before any real mature understanding of things biblical.

    So for me, it’s a choice. I love Jesus. I try to live out the way he lived out his life…the difference, beyond the 2000 year time period, is, Jesus lived a definitive Jewish life. I think we forget just how Jewish Jesus really was. Andy Brown has already written pretty extensively on that subject. So, not being Jewish, I work through things on a more Protestant process, while embracing the Jewish heritage of my Christian roots.

    Since humans have roamed this earth, there were those who asked lots of questions. Good questions. Hard questions. It is probably some of those questions that lead to the many religious practices we see today. It seems to me, that humankind has wondered about its connection with the earth and our own lives. My feeling is, religion never set out to answer those questions but merely to find others who were asking similar questions. From there, community happened, and the early beginnings of religious practice began to emerge.

    So embrace the person you are. Don’t be afraid of your mistakes, because as Billy Joel sings,”…they’re the only thing you can truly call your own.”

    Sorry for the rambling. I had a good dinner.

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