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Americans and religion

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11. Posted by Sam I Am (Admin 5588 posts) 9y

Firstly, that's an interesting set of articles to read through.

Secondly, the numbers vary wildly in all of those sources, from 30 million to 80 million. 80 is the max ever mentioned and I think it's safe to say in context that when the NAE on their own website write "..the broader NAE constituency includes organizations, local churches and individuals numbering in the tens of millions..", this is talking about quite a few surrounding organizations and people that might not necessarily class themselves as such. It's a safe bet that these organizations, like most others, like to overclaim their numbers. I'm not saying religion and faith isn't very important for these people, but to claim they are 'fundamentalists' and that the States is full of them is a totally different thing!

I should also point out that having lived in the Netherlands, the Dutch media has a very interesting, sarcastic and generally negative way of referring to the US. Especially in documentaries but it also comes out in a lot of news programs. Watching it if you've been away for a while and for example heard the Australian news for a few months is very weird. Almost nothing that's done the US way seems good enough, although of course the Dutch have quite a few issues themselves that need working out (ie. the 'tolerance' that we are so famous for, amongst others).

Last but not least, there are HUGE differences in where you go and the people and their backgrounds/religions that you will encounter in the States. To be quite honest, if Europe was all one country, similar things could probably also be said...

Just my thoughts, and of course I should specify that I am half Dutch and half American, although I have only ever lived in the Netherlands of those two ....

12. Posted by wouterrr (Travel Guru 3379 posts) 9y

Thanks Sam, good explanation, your thought is clear.

Do you think that these extremist Christians in the US speak good about Islam? Do they know where it stands for? Do they see only evil? It could detoriate and the 30 million will expand. That could be a thread to the world. Islamic countries like Iran are "also" a theocracy. They (the fundamental muslims) have not very nice feelings about the Christians and visa versa. What will be the logical continuation? War? War between religions?

Its not the first time this will happen. Many had been fought out in the last, say 2000 years. I am worried about extremistic Christians, really!!

Knowledge about each others religions is important in this. Knowledge leads to acceptation. Acceptation means no fighting, no war...

[ Edit: Edited on Feb 5, 2007, at 4:25 PM by Wﺭﺍﺪﻤﺎﮐﺭ ]

13. Posted by dr.pepper (Travel Guru 316 posts) 9y

Hey Wouter,

What exactly do you mean by "extremist Christians"? What does it mean to "follow Christianity in extreme"?

14. Posted by swimmergrl (Budding Member 7 posts) 9y

Hi Wouter,

It really sounds like you are determined to see only the parts of the USA that you want to see, which is rather extremist, in my view. Saying that there are not religious radicals in Europe is like saying there isn't hunger in Europe. It is there, hunger is everywhere, from the richest country in the world to the poorest, it is there. You just might not see it because it is hidden and ignored by the media. It is the same for religion.

Yes, there are radical christians in the USA that practically vomit hatred for everything that is different from them. You can find them in most religions. They tend to get more time on the news because they are an oddity. If I had a story about a 3 headed dog and another story about my neighbors normal, chocolate lab, which story would you listen to longer? Being from the US, and having watched the events of 9/11 happen as a sophmore in high school in the midwest, it was really hard to understand the hatred against the US that could have caused it. A lot of my friends decided right then that the Islamic religion is one of hate and terror, which it isn't.

Unfortunately, many people don't realize that the only thing hate produces, is more hate, and ignorance is the mother of all hate. People throughout the world must look past the images they see in the media, and experience it for themselves before they decide. Stereotypes might have a grain of truth, after all, religion is an important part of many people's lives, but you can't trust them 100%. According to stereotypes, coming from Kansas, I should be uneducated, grow up on a farm, be a fundamentalist, and never travel very far from home. In reality, both my parents are college educated, and I'm currently in college, I've never lived outside of a town, rarely go to church, and have traveled through much of Europe, the UK, Costa Rica, and this summer Mexico. I did grow up in a small town, but that is about the only true thing.

As for seperation of church and state, I'm all for it. I don't want somebody else's beliefs shoved down my throat. But you have to realize, we get alot of morals and beliefs from religion. Where did laws against murder, adultry, theft, etc come from?

If you don't want to see something, you won't, but your view sounds pretty dismal.

Rachel

(ps- You'll need to post a random survey done by an uninvolved party (in english) before I'll really trust them. )

[ Edit: Edited on Feb 5, 2007, at 9:22 PM by swimmergrl ]

15. Posted by Sam I Am (Admin 5588 posts) 9y

Quoting Wﺭﺍﺪﻤﺎﮐﺭ

Do you think that these extremist Christians in the US speak good about Islam? Do they know where it stands for? Do they see only evil? It could detoriate and the 30 million will expand. That could be a thread to the world. Islamic countries like Iran are "also" a theocracy. They (the fundamental muslims) have not very nice feelings about the Christians and visa versa. What will be the logical continuation? War? War between religions?

I definitely don't think this means it will all of a sudden deteriorate and the numbers will expand greatly. FYI, I personally STRONGLY doubt that there are really even close to 30 million of what you call 'extremist' Christians.

It's like saying things in Holland would deteriorate even further after the Van Gogh killing and all the Dutch would start killing Muslims because of it. I guess you witnessed that this didn't end up happening, regardless of all the media attention a small group got for a while.... similarly, you could expect by your reasoning that outsiders then start saying the Dutch have such a extremist view against foreigners in general. A lot depends on how closely you look at it and who is reporting the news to you.

16. Posted by Mel. (Travel Guru 4567 posts) 9y

No, I dont think it is healthy.
Being religious does not necessarily mean a person is good.
If a person cant even say they are an athiest, then people are placing way too much importance on Christianity. This applies to any country, where people are not allowed to be non religious, or of the religion of their choice.
I think, there is a tendancy for people to cliche together in society and make up rules, to suit themselves. These cliches become acceptable over time. The various religions are examples of these cliches.

I think in these days, when we are all well educated, with endless information at our fingertips, we should really be able to work out what is right from wrong, without religions, telling us what to think. If people cant think for themselves, they leave the door open for any dictator, who is passing by.

Mel

[ Edit: Edited on Feb 6, 2007, at 3:24 AM by Mel. ]

17. Posted by wouterrr (Travel Guru 3379 posts) 9y

Quoting dr.pepper

Hey Wouter,
What exactly do you mean by "extremist Christians"? What does it mean to "follow Christianity in extreme"?

Below is my personal opinion, based on things I read in Newsweek and saw on television.

Extremist Christians are in my opinion Christians that live according to the book literaly. That means no sex before marriage, no abortion, no euthanasia, homosexuality is a disease, less rights for women (only in the kitchen). What is worse, they believe that Christianity is the only true faith. The rest are just troopers. This is exactly the same for the muslim extremists. They think more or less the same. And mostly this appears in the less developed communities. Especially among the less educated in rural areas and in areas with poverty (also in the US is real poverty, especially in the southern states). In those circumstances I think that faith is a kind of shield around them to protect themselves. Everything which is not in line with christianity is a potential danger. We are talking here about the evangelicalism. This is a thread for this world, like extreme mullahs and Imams in Islam who preach hatred towards their devotees.

Many politicians have to lie about their faith in order to stay popular. If you openly declare that you are atheist, you may shake it. The story about Ted Haggard I found hypocryt. All his life he is preaching againt gay people. Then at doomsday he gets caught by having sex with a gay prostitute. Amazing and very, very unhealthy. And all those so called "preachers" abusing young children, discusting....:(

Could it not be possible that many moderate (normal) Christians have turned extremists after 9-11? I can imagine. Especially if you don't know anything about the muslim faith. Many people must think that Muslims are evil people. They only see them throwing bombs. I should say that this is all detoriated by the media. My opinion may also be influenced by the media but facts are facts.

I don't mean that extreme Christians are expanding like bunnies in the woods. But it could be a thread in the future. Many people in islam and christianity turn into extremists because they don't understand one thing of each others religions. That is a shame. And a potential danger for the world if leadership is choosen out of extremism (in both Christian and Islamic countries). Will they throwing atomic bombs at each other out of emotion and frustration because of religious differences? Remember that every faith has love and peace as its basics.

18. Posted by wotthefiqh (Inactive 1447 posts) 9y

Quoting Wﺭﺍﺪﻤﺎﮐﺭ

Thanks Sam, good explanation, your thought is clear.

Do you think that these extremist Christians in the US speak good about Islam? Do they know where it stands for? Do they see only evil? It could detoriate and the 30 million will expand. That could be a thread to the world. Islamic countries like Iran are "also" a theocracy. They (the fundamental muslims) have not very nice feelings about the Christians and visa versa. What will be the logical continuation? War? War between religions?

Its not the first time this will happen. Many had been fought out in the last, say 2000 years. I am worried about extremistic Christians, really!!

Knowledge about each others religions is important in this. Knowledge leads to acceptation. Acceptation means no fighting, no war...

The Islamists hate America because it's all lap-dancing and gay porn; the secular Europeans hate America because it's all born-again Christians hung up on abortion; the anti-Semites hate America because it's controlled by Jews; the socialist left hate America because it's destroyed Soviet communism; the fervent environmentalists hate America because of it's industrial/consumer consumption and some hate America because of it's entertainment and fast-food industries.
Whatever your theological/cultural/ideological bugbear, America has it in spades.
From reading letters to my local newspaper here in Western Australia, knowledge does not lead to acceptance. It has led to one Member of Parliament advocating the complete cessation of moslem immigration to Australia, and there is growing support for his idea.

Charles Martel (pbuh).

wotthefiqh does the Arabic script mean - Wﺭﺍﺪﻤﺎﮐﺭ???

19. Posted by wouterrr (Travel Guru 3379 posts) 9y

Quoting swimmergrl

Hi Wouter,

It really sounds like you are determined to see only the parts of the USA that you want to see, which is rather extremist, in my view. Saying that there are not religious radicals in Europe is like saying there isn't hunger in Europe.

I am not thinking extrimistic. I just give my opinion based on facts. Namely the fact that there are a lot extremist Christians in Northern-America. In Europe its not like this. Being a Christian extremist is not accepted in Europe. We have a Christian extremistic political party in the Netherlands. They only get votes in one particular very stringent Christian area in the Netherlands (similar to the evangelicals), a real small percentage of Dutch population. But they are nothing in the rest the Netherlands. Europeans are more level-headed. They feel much less compassion for extremism as in Northern-America.

Quoting swimmergrl

As for seperation of church and state, I'm all for it. I don't want somebody else's beliefs shoved down my throat. But you have to realize, we get alot of morals and beliefs from religion. Where did laws against murder, adultry, theft, etc come from?

And where did hatred against homo-sexuals come from. And less rights for women? And hatred against the non-believers?

Quoting swimmergrl

If you don't want to see something, you won't, but your view sounds pretty dismal.

Its my opinion, Rachel. You think different. So in fact I could say the same to you;).

Quoting swimmergrl

You'll need to post a random survey done by an uninvolved party (in english) before I'll really trust them.

Below are the sources that are used for the documentary/survey with the links. They are in English;

Good Morning America;
Alexandra Pelosi was a guest at Goodmorning America to talk about the "friends of god"

Newsweek
During an interview with Newsweek, Pelosi descibes how the publicity around Ted Haggard influenced her movie.

NAE
The National Association of Evangelicals, the organisation where Ted Haggard was the chairman untill a sexscandal pursuated him to resign his post.

Jerry Falwell Ministries
On this website is shown background information about the organisation of Jerry Falwell.

20. Posted by beerman (Respected Member 1631 posts) 9y

Quoting swimmergrl

According to stereotypes, coming from Kansas, I should be uneducated, grow up on a farm, be a fundamentalist, and never travel very far from home.

Unless a tornado strikes and picks up your house and drops it in Munchkinland!!!!!

Sorry, Swimmer, couldn't resist...

This is one of the best written replies I have ever read on such a touchy subject. People from other countries should certainly read it and learn a little about America. This is the melting pot of the world, and the paranoia following 9/11 has not dimmed the spirit and understanding of people who understand what it means to be a citizen of the world.

OK, time to go sand the outhouse seat........

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