Four Reasons for Decline of Religion in US

Praying handsSteven Reiss, Huffington Post (15 Dec. 2015) - Religious participation is declining among Americans, even though religion is still very popular.
 
According to the latest Religious Landscape Study by the Pew Research Forum, the percentage of Americans who believe in God, attend religious services and pray daily has declined significantly during the last eight years, especially among adolescents. The drop in religious participation is larger among whites, and less among blacks. One group bucking the trend is political conservatives, who show no decline.
 
Psychologist Jean Twenge and her colleagues have cited a rise in narcissism and self-centeredness among young people, but in truth there are no hard data scientifically linking narcissism to the decline in religious participation.
 
Could something else be behind this important shift?

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Icelanders flocking to the Zuist religion

 An ancient Sumeran statue dating from around 2520 BC. The Sumeran mythology is thought to be one of the world's oldest religion, on which others are very much based.A new religion, Zuism, based on the worship of the ancient Sumeran gods promises a refund for government religion taxes for everyone registering with their religious group in Iceland.

On the Zuist website in Iceland it was advertised that anyone over the age of 16 registering with the religion (and thus unregistering from the National Church of Iceland) would get a refund for these fees called parish fees. However, tax authorities have responded to questions from news organizations explaining that if Zuists go ahead to refund parish fees to their members they will have to pay income tax from these funds.
 
Zuists would like to abolish government funding to religious organisations in the form of parish fees and believe that the "state should stop gathering data on the personal religious beliefs of Icelanders."

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Britain is no longer a Christian country and should stop acting as if it is, says judge

Anglican Church logoThe Telegraph (UK): A two-year commission, chaired by the former senior judge Baroness Butler-Sloss and involving leading religious leaders from all faiths, calls for public life in Britain to be systematically de-Christianised.
 
It says that the decline of churchgoing and the rise of Islam and other faiths mean a "new settlement" is needed for religion in the UK, giving more official influence to non-religious voices and those of non-Christian faiths.
 
The report provoked a furious row as it was condemned by Cabinet ministers as "seriously misguided" and the Church of England said it appeared to have been "hijacked" by humanists.
 
The report, by the Commission on Religion and Belief in Public Life, claims that faith schools are "socially divisive" and says that the selection of children on the basis of their beliefs should be phased out.

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All pupils at non-faith schools must study atheism, UK judge rules

BHA LogoLONDON, 25 Nov 2015 - All non-faith schools will be forced to teach non-religious views following a landmark judgment by the UK High Court that ruled the Education Secretary unlawfully excluded atheism from a new Religious Studies GCSE.
 
The decision was met with fierce opposition by religious groups which argued "humanistic ideas already dominate the rest of the curriculum", while teachers warned a slow official response might risk wasting valuable teaching time and resources.
 
The ruling was a victory for three families, supported by the British Humanist Association, who claimed Nicky Morgan had taken a "skewed" approach and was failing to reflect in schools the pluralistic nature of the UK.

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Masturbation & Porn Bigger Priority Than Planet & Poverty for US Bishops

By Patricia Miller, Religion Dispatches:

US Conference of Catholic Bishops (logo)

In another sign of just how far the agendas of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and Pope Francis have diverged, it's worth noting that at their recently concluded fall plenary, the bishops signaled strongly about what's on their radar when the only formal pastoral statement they issued was about what they consider a pressing pastoral crisis—pornography.

The bishops couldn't be bothered to add either the environment or the plight of distressed peoples—whether they be refugees and immigrants or the poor—to their list of key priorities, despite the fact that they are a clear priority for Francis, and, therefore, the church. (Although they did work in some language about concern for the poor and immigrants.) And there was virtually no mention of growing economic inequality or the corrosive effects of unfettered capitalism. But pornography got a 22-page official pastoral statement.

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Religion and Conspiracy Theories

Conspiracy TheoriesBY EDUARDO FELIZ ARIAS, AAI NEWS TEAM

Do you find civilization falling apart and think that social norms are being undermined? Do you feel helpless and authoritarian with margins of low self-esteem? If your levels of study and scientific information have hit rock bottom and if you also show an interest in the paranormal and strange phenomena (1), do not despair, there is a solution: Get together a sect to disclose conspiracy theories.

According to H. Darwin and colleagues in the academic psychology department of the University of Northumbria in the UK(1), individuals who promote conspiracy theories embrace similar symptoms: high levels of anomie, autocracy, and low self-esteem and education; considerable interest in precognition and the supernatural; and, especially, the imminent end of the world.

The result of these findings suggest that belief in conspiracy theories is directly related to effects of schizotypal and paranoid ideation (3). The second concept refers to insane beliefs of persecution, while in the first the subject has unusual experiences such as hearing thoughts aloud in one's head or a feeling or sensation that one has developed magical powers. The truth is that these individuals lose contact with reality, the person bears false beliefs about what is happening and thus becomes a psychopath (2).

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Canadian Masquerade: "Personal Choice" of the Niqab

Marco de Rossi, Atheist Freethinkers, http://www.atheology.ca/blog-062/
 
Zunera Ishaq (allegedly), Muslim-Canadian voterJust to set things up for you, Zunera Ishaq is the fundamentalist Muslim woman who, after a two-year legal battle, obtained permission from the Federal Appeal Court to take the citizenship oath while wearing her niqab.
 
Ms. Ishaq maintains that her battle to wear the niqab while taking the oath is merely a personal choice. However, according to Ms. Tahir Gora of the Canadian Coalition of Progressive Muslim Organizations, Ms. Ishaq is motivated by political considerations. In fact, Zunera Ishaq works as a volunteer for an organization linked to Jamaat-e-Islami, whose military wing is considered to be a terrorist organization. Up until last October 16th, her Facebook profile mentioned that she is a member of Jamaat-eIslami and a supporter of this Pakistani political party.
 
Thus, she became a central figure in the 2015 federal election campaign.

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Australian Muslims being forced to assimilate, Islamic conference told

Radical Islamic group Hizb ut-Tahrir have accused the federal government of criminalising the Muslim community through its anti-terror laws.
 
According to SBS, Hizb Ut-Tarir says Muslims are not just being forced to obey the law - but also adopt Australian values.
 
The group, which supports an Islamic caliphate and sharia law, is banned in some countries but not in Australia.

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