secular mumblings...

  1. As you may have guessed, I have no religious persuasion. It was Tweety's thread about religious tracks on the BB at work that set me going, thinking about this BB, and how lately the number of religion-oriented threads have been multiplying. I believe there are three running about the Mel Gibson movie, and a sprinkling of others at present, requests for prayers for the sick, etc. I'm not seeking a flame fest, just noting a jarring difference between peoples who otherwise have a lot in common.
    Here in the UK, your spirituality is seen as something private, and to a certain extent, you keep it to yourself. Visiting here can be a little like going to the bakery store and finding fish on display! So far, it's only dotted around on a few shelves, but it may end up taking over a whole aisle! I'm rambling now, so I'll stop, but I'll leave this link which sort of illustrates the area I'm meandering around...

    UK among most secular nations
    A survey of people's religious beliefs in 10 countries suggests the UK is among the most secular nations in the world.
    Ten thousand people were questioned in the poll by research company ICM for the BBC programme What The World Thinks Of God.

    More than a quarter of Britons thought the world would be more peaceful with nobody believing in God, but very few people in other countries agreed.

    The survey found the highest levels of belief in some of the world's poorer countries, but also in the world's richest, America.

    The countries polled were the US, UK, Israel, India, South Korea, Indonesia, Nigeria, Russia, Mexico and Lebanon. The interviews were carried out in January 2004.
    The programme producers said: "Overall, the results of our poll show that levels of belief and religious activity in the UK are consistently lower than in most of the other countries polled.

    "Only Russia and South Korea produced results similar to the UK. The highest levels of belief are found in the poorer nations of Nigeria, India and Indonesia.

    "However, the US also stands out in contrast with the UK. The US is the richest nation polled and yet has a very high level of belief."

    Those willing to die for their God, or their beliefs, included more than 90% in Indonesia and Nigeria, and 71% in Lebanon and the US.

    Almost 30% of all atheists surveyed said they sometimes prayed
    ICM poll
    Among Israelis only 37% were willing to take this ultimate step, and only 19% of Britons, 29% of whom said the world would be more peaceful without beliefs in God. Very few people in other countries agreed with this.
    Israel and the UK showed a similar temperament when asked another question. On who was to blame for much of the trouble in the world, 37% of Britons and 33% of Israelis said it was people of other religions.

    In most of the countries covered, well over 80% said they believed in God or a higher power. In Nigeria the figure was 100% and in the US 91%, with the UK scoring lowest at 67%.

    A series of images created for What the World Thinks of God

    In Nigeria, Indonesia and Lebanon more than 90% of people said their God was the only true God. In Israel the figure was 70%, but it fell to 31% among Britons.
    In Nigeria 91% of people said they regularly attended a religious service, contrasting with 21% in the UK and only 7% of Russians. The average across the 10 countries was 46%.

    In most countries well over 80% of the sample agreed that a belief in God or a higher power made people better human beings, with only 56% agreeing in the UK, by far the lowest figure.

    The subject of prayer found 95% of Nigerians and 67% in the US claiming to pray regularly.

    Those saying they never prayed included 29% of Israelis and 25% of Britons. But across the entire sample, almost 30% of all atheists surveyed said they sometimes prayed.

    The Muslim Council of Britain said there had been "a quite clear erosion of the sense of the sacred" in the UK.

    Spokesperson Inayat Bunglawala said: "Religion, or Christianity especially, is certainly seen as more and more fair game, as a target to be lampooned, satirised.

    "In Islam there is a difference, a clear sense of the sacred. You just cannot trivialise issues to do with God and death.

    "These are serious issues in all our lives and ridiculing those concepts has perhaps made religion seem almost an optional extra, if you like."

    Full poll results will be published on the programme website after the programme. What The World Thinks of God will be broadcast as follows:

    on Thursday 26 February, 2100 GMT
    Sunday 29 February, 1306 and 1806 GMT

    Story from BBC NEWS:
  2. Visit donmurray profile page

    About donmurray

    Joined: Jun '01; Posts: 3,117; Likes: 51
    RN, Elderly Mental health


  3. by   Fraujacobs
    I wonder who the 30% of the atheists are praying to?
  4. by   fergus51
    I think Canada is similar. I can't imagine a Canadian Prime Minister openly preaching his religious beliefs. The prime minister that decriminalized homosexuality was a devout catholic, and so is the one who will be in power when gay marriage becomes legal! That's in stark contrast to American politicians' religious beliefs and how they impact their stance on homosexuality.

    Religion is one of the big differences I have noticed among Canadians and Americans. I just can't imagine going to work in Canada and hearing people "witness", but that was fairly commonplace when I was in the US. fortunately, I don't find they are usually intolerant of us atheists and agnostics.
  5. by   Dave ARNP
    I think those that are bothered by christianity equally bother those who aren't.

    -Dave, not flaming... just stating fact, and will be happy to "witness" to anyone who asks.
  6. by   Dialyzin' Dar
    Do atheists still say "G-d damn it!" ? :chuckle
  7. by   manna
    Quote from donmurray
    As you may have guessed, I have no religious persuasion. It was Tweety's thread about religious tracks on the BB at work that set me going, thinking about this BB, and how lately the number of religion-oriented threads have been multiplying.
    It's a free board, don't read what you don't like, I say.
  8. by   gwenith
    I wonder where Australia falls??? I think we are more british than American in our outlook on religion - with us it is seen as intensely private - we do not even ask people what thier religion is on adm anymore. I would be hard pressed to tell you what religion our Prime Minister is and most would not care. Some politicians do go to church but it is not a requirement for office. Indeed some of our more colourful members of parliment are anything BUT religious.

    We are far more interested in the issues of politics than the person mouthing them.
  9. by   Spidey's mom
    God's Funeral by A.N. Wilson traces Christianity's journey in Britian.

    A snippet of an interview with Mr. Wilson:


    God's Funeral

    A conversation with A. N. Wilson

    Interview by Karl Giberson and Donald Yerxa

    Novelist, biographer (of Tolstoy and C. S. Lewis, among others), reviewer (one of the sharpest), literary editor, polemicist, A. N. Wilson has been a lively presence on the British literary scene since the 1970s, when he was still in his early twenties. In addition to producing a steady stream of fiction, he has written most recently Jesus (1992) and Paul: The Mind of the Apostle (1997). His new book, just published by Norton, is God's Funeral, a narrative of the loss of Christian faith particularly among intellectuals in nineteenth-century Britain. Wilson's own faith pilgrimage has taken him from the church (he was one of the few Christians among the British literati) to a highly publicized deconversion (the Saul-Paul story in reverse) to his current status as a "Christian fellow traveler." Karl Giberson and Donald Yerxa met with Wilson in Boston near the end of the June heat wave.

    DONALD YERXA: In God's Funeral you write with great empathy about the loss of faith. Did you yourself receive a religious upbringing?

    My father was an agnostic; my mother is a practicing Anglican, not of a very enthusiastic kind, but she is a believing Anglican, and so she goes to church each week. For reasons which are quite strange, but trivial, I went to a Roman Catholic primary school. I was taught by the Dominican nuns until I was 7. Then from the age of 7 to 18, I went to boarding schools, which were, broadly speaking, Church of England. I would say I was a more than usually religious child and certainly had aspirations to become ...

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  10. by   Tweety
    Donmurray, those of some interesting stats. It's those Puritans who left Britain seeking religious freedom a few hundred years ago that still have an influence on the American phsyche today. It definately is not the American way to keep your beliefs personal. (I've participated and have noticed a definate increase in spirituality talk on this bb of late too. Not a flame either, just an obs.)
  11. by   fergus51
    I don't think anyone means to flame the Christian talkers on the bb. I think Americans don't really understand how interesting they can seem to outsiders because of their differences. This is just one example of us outsiders going "Hmmm, so that's what Americans are like"..... Canadians in particular seem to define themselves based on the differences we have with the US. I think it's only natural considering what a small country we are, next to the ginormous USA. Although I am an American too, I am socially waaaaaaaaayyyy more Canadian, so the social aspects of American life have always been interesting to me.
  12. by   sbic56
    Another interesting aspect of the way Americans believe is that those in the northeast are more like Canadians and Britons in that we are more private where religion is concerned and those who admit to being Christian are not as devout. Interesting thread. Thanks for posting, don.
  13. by   gwenith
    Strangely because we get so much American TV we think we know all about America and then I hit a thread like this and I realise that there a large aspects of your culture that just does not come across on TV and the differences are both facinating and interesting. I love learing more about the "real America".
  14. by   Ted
    P. K. ("Preacher's Kid) here!

    Doesn't make me special. But I did grow up with lots and lots and lots of religion. . . Christian Religion to be more precise.

    I've noticed an increase in Christian-related threads here as well. Just an observation.

    Interesting thread, Don. Appreciate the stats.

    There's just one personal belief that I wish to share at this point. It is something that I've shared here before in the past. I hold a marked difference between religion and spirituality. With all of its rules and all of its dogmas and all of its so-called claim to "morality", I believe that religion is very much man-made. Spirituality is different. It is difficult to give a precise defination to "spirituality". But to me spirituality involves a deep interest to be at peace with one's self and to the world around one's self. Spirituality involves concepts like "acceptance", knowing what one can control in life and what one can not control in life, openmindedness, and a keen sense of fairness. Spirituality may or may not involve some kind of "higher power". Spirituality doesn't make a person the center of the universe. Rather, it involves the desire to learn more of the universe which exists despite of one's self.

    Please accept my apologies for sharing "deep" thoughts. It is because of my "religious" upbringing that I hold a keen interest in such matters. I've thought a lot about this stuff. . . I mean A LOT about this stuff!!! It's part of who I am. I love to philosophize. I'm not necessarily good at it. But it helps bring a little peace to my tired little mind.


    P. S. One other shared piece of observation. There's a huge growing gap between the Christian communities in the United States. More precisely, it's between the Christian folk who believe in the literal translation of the bible and claim every word to be true, and the Christian folk who believe that the bible is the inspired word of God written by man with all of man's imperfections, biases, and available knowledge of the universe at the time of writing. Sadly, this difference does effect American politics! Let's just hope that the seperation between church and state does not futher erode like it has been these past few years!! :stone
    Last edit by Ted on Feb 26, '04