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Young Americans believe in a vengeful God

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jouris

compared with their elders, young people see God as less likely to protect them and more likely to punish them.
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You (especially the headline, which I realize you may not have written) seem t suggest that young people see God as more likely to punish them than to protect them. But the data you present show the opposite. Them may be less likely to see protection and more like to see punishment than their elders. But they definitely still see the balance as heavily on the protection side.

ashbird in reply to jouris

jouris,
Your comment made me reread the article - and, obviously, therefore the title headline too. [A personal note on TE's headlines - I have never been impressed by TE's headlines - many of them turn me away from reading the article for which the lines headline (I am serious, I just go right past them). Many are obvious baits to incite disagreements they know are present in their readership. The worst ones don't even have anything to do with the article. That's how bad they could be. I have a feeling the older and more seasoned writers for TE write their own headlines. At least my personal favorite columns convince me of that. No self-respecting writers would let some of those worst headlines stand - they are so far from FACTS they turn off any better informed readers just like a smelly previously frozen now thawed worm trying to catch a fish in fly-fishing. Bad art, bad science, bad journalism. Distasteful.]
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Back to your comment. I don't, as an abominable heathen, understand where the notion of protect v. punish comes from in the first place. I thought the teachings of Jesus focus, certainly then, and as it should now (after all, Jesus put his own life on the line teaching the stuff) on one thing, and I already mentioned that in my comment below.
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And then there was this other guy in the Old Testament starred by Charles Heston who, among things he did, divided the Red Sea so his people could walk through it, and seeing a burning bush, heard the voice of God telling him, in no loose or equivocal language, 10 things that his people mustn't do. In the things they mustn't do, we find things like Don't kill, Don't steal, Don't grab another man's wife's pussy (this one paraphrased), Don't lie, Honor thy father and mother.... things like that.
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And thenceforth, all progeny of the guy who divided the Red Sea were supposed to be held accountable to the Commandments.
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Nowhere did I learned from the St Vincent nuns, and certainly not the Jesuit priests, that God is the same as GodFather who'd protect you if you if you keep him in good humor, or shoot a few bullets in you if you don't (GF has a lot of employees to carry out that task for him - they are called by Elliot Ness "the mob") .
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So all these "protection" and "punishment" stuff is bizarre to my mind to begin with. But I understand many things in the world have changed.
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One last note. What the Jesuit fathers and St. Vincent nuns taught us was there will be times when in life (when we grew up) we will face difficult choices and moral dilemmas. That is when you turn to the 10 commandments for a moral guidance. Pretty straight forward teachings. Not unlike when the CPU in your computer runs into a problem, you troubleshoot by looking up the manual.

Kremilek2

I think that vengeful God can be a consequence of less publicly showing of believing in God. Maybe if young Americans went more to the Church then they would be less fearful about the Allmighty. Generally, it is a good news since examples of atheistic countries are not very promising.

Patrice Ayme Tyranosopher

It is easier to believe in the biblical God, than to learn history and geography. Also believing in a God made in the image of the all powerful, all knowing masters of the Roman empire, who imposed and engineered Christianism, shows all one respects authority, one is anxious to lease it, and one is endowed with proper naivety and anxiety to fit among one's peers.
These properties enable those immigrants or descendants of rather recent immigrants who are most US citizens to fit with each other, a common way to empathy.

The problem is all this is that it sets the same sort of mood which presided over the fall of the Roman empire, and one can expect the same results. Believing in the vengeful, all everything Lord sets a belief in vengeance and justice in another world, not in the one at hand. It replaces the drive to progress with the patience of resentment. It makes the youth inclined to respect omnipotence (the NSA) and omniscience (Facebook) and the power of politicians, rather than to fight plutocracy, and for progress. After all, the biblical God is, at least symbolically, the ultimate plutocrat: owning everything, knowing everything and ready to use violence and ultimate cruelty to impose her glory and jealousy.

The biblical God is the perfect God for the rule of wealth and evil, and in America, this enormous (mostly) European colony stolen from the Natives, it justifies the very existence of the society: a precious gift.
Patrice Ayme

leonmen

What the article should be saying is that there is a large drop in believers compared with ten tears ago. It could easily be that within a generation or two non believers in the US will have approached those in Europe.
Religion (apart from belief) is like one huge social club. When one finally admits that there is no God he stops going to his temple/church and realizes he is lonely. As a social meeting point organized religion takes a lot of beating. They have now turned to Facebook and are even more manipulated!

ashbird

It seems to me all the punitive messages from Extreme Evangelicalism - fire and brimstone, if you don't believe, you are eternally damned and if you do, you need do nothing further but will get through the eye of a needle as a matter of right by baptism, even if you covet another man's wife - finally boomerang back. Who wants to live in a state of perpetual hatred and ill-will to all other people not similarly convinced? Perhaps it is a good sign in terms of a lesser degree of dysfunctionality and an affirmative movement toward the message of the guy who was nailed on a cross for preaching the unthinkable - Love thy Neighbor.

jouris in reply to ashbird

See my (very belated!) comment above. It would be interesting to see the numbers broken out for Evangelicals as well. But I'm betting that overall they would also come out on balance on the "more protection than punishment" side.

ashbird in reply to jouris

Thanks, jouris! It's not "belated". We both have a lot time, I should imagine. :) .
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The truth is I am frightened of these American Evangelists - I am looking at the most Extreme ones, fully-uneducated on just about every and any subject in a community college class catalogue, talks with, or imagine themselves talking with a "Holy Ghost" at least once a day in a secret closet, and the H0ly Ghost will reassure them the way to knowing anything about anything is by knowing nothing, as all the answers are already written in the Bible, including how to reconnect a severed vagas nerve or pull a wisdom tooth. These folks raise their children to believe exactly what they believe. And this is not all it. These folks are also so saturated with hate (in the name of Jesus' love) you could literally see the stuff oozing out of their pores - they hate the blacks, the browns, the yellows, the reds, the greens, the pinks ...... anyone who disagrees with them, anyone who takes a view of the world and the people in it that is a different from their views. I don't exaggerate. Some of them comment on TE. Directly in their speech, one'd find that hate, and ignorance, full throttled ignorance, driven with abandon, again in the name of Jesus.
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I think these folks, though they exist, are a minority in America. I refuse to believe they comprise the majority. Indeed the entire demographic cannot be more than 10% of the entire population in America.

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[sikko6
May 3rd, 21:31
War mongering Americans believe in vengeful god. Is this normal or irony? Obviously people believe absurdity will believe anything. god bless omenica.]
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911 was the work of a vengeful god.
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Devil's

sikko6

War mongering Americans believe in vengeful god. Is this normal or irony? Obviously people believe absurdity will believe anything. god bless omenica.

Sense Seeker

The really interesting comparison is not between subsequent generations of Americans, but between Americans and people in other rich countries. Why does the belief in supernatural entities persist in the US, while Europe has moved on and embraced more scientific views on the universe, or at least ceased to see religion as important?

ashbird in reply to Sense Seeker

I don't, personally, see the presence of a belief of a religious nature ("religious nature" defined as "something larger than the self" in my usage of the term) is a "bad" thing in and of itself.
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It is when a "believer" assumes his chosen belief is bigger and better and superior to everyone else's that has created endless problems for humankind in the annals of history. The worst cases, of course, were, are, the believers who continue with the same dysfunctional belief, though horses and armors have gone of fashion in their MO.. These folks disrespect others' faith or belief, and insist on others to give up theirs, on the theory that the fulfillment the other people attain in their religious faith is inferior to theirs [these folks would, if they could, tell you your wife is not as beautiful as theirs and you orgasm is inferior to theirs].
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The assumption that everyone else's belief is inferior to theirs, I submit is as bad as it gets. And one cogent reason why religion is bad. But NOT ALL religious people are like that. I know vastly too many people, in all different religions, who are NOT like that. Again, every barrel of apples has its bottom rotten ones. That does not mean the entire barrel is bad apples. Granted, the most religious people whose deeds match their words don't talk about their religion. You can know them all your life and not heard a single sound of gong and cymbals from them aiming at "converting" you.
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Also, you'd think these holier-than-thouers would have, if only they study a bit of history, known about the deeds of the Crusaders and Jihadists 800+ years ago, and the deeds of the Crusaders would have taught them a lesson. NO!! Not one bit!!! First they deny those things happened. Second, they say if those things happened, they happened "too long ago" as to matter a whit. Third, they say their manner of disrespecting other peoples' faith is done in the name of their "God", the "most superior one" - "My God is better than your God". They also assume they know everything in the universe which, virtually 9.99 times out of 10 they know exactly nothing about. But they always, by talking in a circle, arrive at the conclusion they do, per the force of their voluntary, willful, enthusiastic, gleeful ignorance. For this circular reason, the are therefore better in body and soul than everyone else. Their entire personal identity rests on this single BELIEF.
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THAT is when Religion is bad.

Sense Seeker in reply to ashbird

Of course most religious people are fine people, no question.
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Your definition of religion as belief in "something larger than the self" is overly broad. It would include me, as I believe in the existence of other people (of whom many are larger than I am). Where it becomes 'religion', in my view, is when a supernatural element is added to it, and it is that element that worries me.
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I am a scientist, and in science, such magical thinking is strictly forbidden. There is no room for explanations like '... and at this point a miracle happens and this is the result...' or '... from the book Genesis we know that the universe was created in a week'.
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Since Darwin and his version of the evolution theory, God can no longer credibly be posited as the creator of life, just like the discovery of molecules has rendered homeopathy obsolete.
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It worries me if people continue to cling to such magical thinking. To me, it indicates an unwillingness to accept reality, a flight into fancy. It worries me both for its consequences (if you can make people believe in an all-knowing onmipotent being, what else can you make them believe?!), and as an indicator. What makes people feel they need the support of such imaginary friends or parents?
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The reason why I think many Americans need this magical friends is that their lives are much more precarious than those of Europeans. You get sick, lose your job, and you access to health insurance, go bankrupt, die of complications or despair and drugs. Europeans have greater job security, more income support if they fall ill, wouldn't lose access to health care, and consequently have a lower risk of despair, drugs and death. They don't need an imaginary friend who comes and magically makes everything okay.

ashbird in reply to Sense Seeker

"There is no room for explanations like '... and at this point a miracle happens and this is the result...' or '... from the book Genesis we know that the universe was created in a week'."
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Definitely no quarrel with that!!! Worse, the person who so believes would feel perfectly justified to interfere with other people's private lives, and directs traffic when the person does not have the slight qualifications to do so. And then the person walks away when there is a crash, without feeling the slightest bit of guilt or responsibility.
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Re the other thing, also no quarrel. Of course, at the present moment, Trump is their Magical God who will wave a magic wand and make all their problems go away. When none of the problems are solved or even half solved, in fact, exacerbated, he'll walk away unencumbered by any moral and ethical responsibility. The believers in magic will be poorer and sicker for their magical thinking, and he and his family team is richer (not sure healthier).
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The whole phenomenon is blow by blow the same thing as drug addiction. In this case, the drug is not even pure stuff, but adulterated with other things in it that jacks up the weight of the drug , and hence per gm cost.
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Education. Education. Education. But education would have no appeal in the advanced stage of addiction. Indeed, the potency of the drug has to increase, because it will take more of the same to achieve the same effect.
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Re my definition, that, in general, is the "outlook" of Eastern spiritual thinking. Not a matter of broadness or un-broadness, but a matter of how far you zoom away from the round thing that is the Earth when you take a look from where you zoom to.

Michael Dunne

Trying to understand the headline and subsequent text here in light of the graphics...
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The page screams out "Young Americans believe in a vengeful God" and then goes on to claim "Their deity offers relatively little protection and plenty of punishment"
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However, the graph on "has protected me" apparently has a supermajority in the younger demographics answering in the affirmative.
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Conversely, those talking about punishment are in a technical minority, at somewhere just north of 40% if I am eyeballing that chart correctly.
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If that interpretation is the case, then, what gives? Seems it is accurate to say a good number of young Americans believe in a higher power, and a good number feel that that higher power could/has dealt out retribution.
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A link to a table with comparisons to other developed countries could be interesting ....

Peace Love and Understanding

You need to do a life course analysis here to really draw any conclusions about changes in how generations are perceiving God as time goes on.

I think it's very possible that young people have always been more likely to believe in a punishing God. It is not a mature perception of God. Before people grow up and realize that they are causing a lot of their own problems they often attribute those consequences of getting in their own way as punishments from God. Mature perceptions of God tend to come with maturity which comes with time and growth.

Then if the data is available, that's the way to tabulate it.
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Doing things by generation shows a lot of things, with big break for those who came of age back in the 1960s. Those coming of age afterward have had lower pay (despite higher educational attainment and more people working, had less secure childhoods, and have had higher suicide rates at each phase of life.
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Then they start to get old and everyone is shocked to find out how bad off they are. But they were worse off at every phase of life. It's just that the advantages and optimism of youth covered things up.

yg7mu2DYnw

In your Daily Dispatch of this story you reference Ezekiel 25:17 in the title....as if God is mad at young Americans....how about a little context on that?.....

A Message for Philistia
15 "This is what the Sovereign LORD says: The people of Philistia have acted against Judah out of bitter revenge and long-standing contempt.16 Therefore, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will raise my fist of judgment against the land of the Philistines. I will wipe out the Kerethites and utterly destroy the people who live by the sea.17 I will execute terrible vengeance against them to punish them for what they have done. And when I have inflicted my revenge, they will know that I am the LORD."

3000 years ago, God was angry at the Philistines and others for their "bitter revenge and long-standing contempt" against Judah, the people who belonged to Him and worshipped Him.

WT Economist

Since this is The Economist, one can't help notice a correlation between the generations that felt "protected" and "punished" by God, and the median work compensation each received at a similar point in their lifecycle. Poorer, younger generations are "Children of a Lesser God," I guess.
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Or perhaps the correlation is with other trends. In the 1960s, people became addicted to heroin because they wanted to live on the wild side and rebel, and got their dosage cut by the dealers. In the 2010s people became addicted because they were sold opioids by the pharmaceutical industry, and then had their heroin spiked with fentanyl.