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Posted by: madeguy ( )
Date: July 15, 2023 05:24PM

Before the covid pandemic, church attendance in the U.S. was around 56% for people who attend at least once a month.

After the pandemic, at least once-a-month attendance is at 35%.

When I was TBM, I attended every week, as I'm sure you and most TBMs did. Once a month is wishy-washy at best.

So, people got used to staying home on Sunday, having a leisurely breakfast, walking the dog, letting the kids sleep, taking it easy. They had time to think.

Some denominations preach you are already saved. It's a done deal. If that's true, then why go to church?

Many people are waking up to the fact that you don't need to be saved. You don't need to go to church. This is a controversial idea that churches strongly argue against.

LDS attendance is also down. I think members are waking up.

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Posted by: Cafeteria Mormon ( )
Date: July 15, 2023 05:33PM

LDS attendance is down, and to a slightly lesser degree, so is religious observance with the population of the U.S. in general. Part of this, but certainly not all of it is the fact, other than consumerism, our country no longer has any cultural norms, no glue to hold it together, America is disintegrating.

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: July 15, 2023 05:39PM

There are many countries that are united by things other than religion. In fact, some of the best places in the world are agnostic/atheistic in culture.

I agree that religion has lost much of its legitimizing influence in US culture. But what would one expect? Look at what religion has become in recent decades.

Its whole raison d'etre has become division.

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Posted by: Beth ( )
Date: July 15, 2023 06:09PM

America is disintegrating? Do you mean armed rebellions and attempted coups? In that case, yes.

Do you mean the incredibly slow but steady work towards living in a country where all (all!) are seen as deserving members of one of the greatest political experiments in self-governance? That desire is the true glue that will bind us in the end. This I believe.

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: July 15, 2023 06:11PM

Let's hope.

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Posted by: Beth ( )
Date: July 15, 2023 06:13PM

Otherwise, what’s the point?

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Posted by: bradley ( )
Date: July 16, 2023 03:56AM

"That desire is the true glue that will bind us in the end."

Must be Crazy Glue

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Posted by: summer ( )
Date: July 15, 2023 06:37PM

Western Europe has pretty much given religion the heave-ho, and no one is arguing that those countries lack cultural norms or a cohesive culture. Some of the most admired countries in the world are in Western Europe.

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: July 15, 2023 06:50PM

Yes, that's the point I was trying to make above.

Alexis de Toqueville wrote extensively about this in Democracy in America, a two-volume book that shows what a genius could do in the 1830s while the Mormons were off chasing nihilistic delusions. He thought the strength of the United States lay in its decision as an act of will to de-emphasize religion in order to build a united society. He lamented that Europe had proved unable to achieve that.

The tables have turned. Northern and parts of Central Europe have found a non-sectarian equilibrium that supports robust democracies while the most vile forms of religion have riven the US in ways that may prove insuperable. Lacking both history and decent education in history, most Americans have no idea what demons they have unleashed.

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Posted by: madeguy ( )
Date: July 15, 2023 07:00PM

Yes. The so-called religious right in the U.S. wear religion like armor to protect themselves from heathens, pagens, and all the other non-believers they are surrounded by, afraid of straying off the straight-and-narrow path. Afraid of losing 'salvation'.

Bedrock belief systems, like Christianity, Mormonism, etc. take a long time to chip away, but the truth will emerge eventually.

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: July 15, 2023 07:53PM

I wouldn't say the religious right "wears religion like armor;" I'd say they wield religion like a sword.

The problem is that Toqueville saw the US at a time of confidence. The religious did not perceive others, religious or not, as an existential threat. The looming division was over slavery, not confession.

But the confessional threat was always present in the shadows. If you ignore all the warm and fluffy stuff in Jesus, you can fasten on the minor theme of "I come to bring a sword." And there is a certain logic to it, for if there is only one God and one truth it is mine and not yours. And if I am God's chosen, you'd better sign up or get out of the way.

The truth is today's American evangelical extremism is a result of religious weakness and not strength, as billy Graham and Jerry Falwell and their ilk no longer thought they could achieve their aims without state compulsion. Gone, therefore, is the "one nation under God" and "e pluribus unum" aspiration of the early 19th and early 20th centuries, supplanted by "replacement theory" and theocratic aspiration.

The United States resembles 1618 Germany and 1789 France a lot more than the America of Toqueville's and Smith's 1830s America. For the present, at least, the latter is ascendant.

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Posted by: madeguy ( )
Date: July 15, 2023 08:46PM

America is much more mature than in Tocqueville's time, and adolescents are more difficult to deal with than toddlers, especially when they're in puberty.

I agree, evangelical extremism is a result of weakness, which results from doubt, uncertainty, fear.

As far as wielding religion like a sword, I think they wield it like a suppressed Glock 9mm. They can kill silently without hardly moving at all. But they're afraid to. They're restrained by their beliefs.

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: July 15, 2023 08:50PM

I don't think they were restrained when chanting "Jews will not replace us" in Charlottesville nor on January 6. And the new rules on abortion, gay rights, gun control, and other issues are killing people.

There are other ways to kill besides firearms.

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Posted by: Dave the Atheist ( )
Date: July 15, 2023 07:07PM

I wonder why ?

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Posted by: Cafeteria Mormon ( )
Date: July 15, 2023 11:12PM

I noticed everyone conveniently ignored my argument regarding the religion of American consumerism, the greatest that has existed in the history of the world thus far.

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: July 15, 2023 11:25PM

You may need to spell that out for us. It is not intuitively obvious.

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Posted by: Dave the Atheist ( )
Date: July 15, 2023 11:29PM

Not everything is a religion despite your desire that it be.

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Posted by: summer ( )
Date: July 16, 2023 12:57AM

>> Part of this, but certainly not all of it is the fact, other than consumerism, our country no longer has any cultural norms, no glue to hold it together, America is disintegrating.

The U.S. can hold its own in pretty much any artistic or cultural endeavor -- art, architecture, music, dance, cuisine, fashion, books, movies, the theater, etc. We also have more lowbrow cultural norms such as uniquely American sports (i.e. NFL football, basketball, and baseball.)

I think the American spirit, at its best, could be described as innovative, entrepreneurial, exploratory, and adventurous.

We are generally speaking a prosperous society, but so are many others. Where people have money to spend, they will spend it (consumerism.)

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Posted by: unconventional ( )
Date: July 16, 2023 08:16AM

I understand the ignoring of valid arguments. That happens often here. People talk over each other. I trust you post elsewhere with better success? I certainly do.

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Posted by: summer ( )
Date: July 16, 2023 08:22AM

Board members are not compelled to respond to any post, response, comment, or argument. The Mormon church attempts to compel, but this board does not. It could be that board members (i.e. YOU) simply had nothing to say about the comment. Such is life.

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Posted by: madeguy ( )
Date: July 16, 2023 09:58AM

The original post was about the decline in church attendance.

We are certainly pushed to buy and consume as much as possible, and we do that quite well.

However, the glue that holds us together as Americans, are the freedoms guaranteed to us in writing: freedom to own property, of speech, of the press, freedom of religion, to keep and bear arms, and many more. We are taught this in school. We know this.

Whether or not America is disintegrating is a good subject for debate. Nothing lasts forever, but as long as the constitution is in tact, and our rights are guaranteed, we should be OK.

I'm free to join or leave any church I want to. I like that.

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