Sunday, July 21, 2013

Good God

Well, here's something interesting. Turns out there are growing numbers of religious people in America concerned about doing the right thing. Progressives. Thinkers. They are, of course, young people.

While politicians like Rick Perry and pundits like Bill O’Reilly may clog up a lot of media airtime, the proportion of religious conservatives in the United States is shrinking with each successive generation, and close to 20 percent of Americans today are religious progressives, according to a new survey conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute and the Brookings Institution. 
Religious conservatives account for 28 percent of the total population (38 percent are religious moderates and 15 percent are nonreligious), but religious progressives already outnumber them in the millennial generation
... Twenty-three percent of Millennials (ages 18-33) are religious progressives, while 17 percent are religious conservatives. Among Millennials, there are also nearly as many nonreligious (22 percent) as religious progressives. 
Religious progressives are also significantly more diverse than religious conservatives: 
Catholics (29 percent) constitute the largest single group among religious progressives, followed by white mainline Protestants (19 percent), those who are not formally affiliated with a religious tradition but who nevertheless say religion is at least somewhat important in their lives (18 percent), and non-Christian religious Americans such as Jews, Buddhists, Hindus and Muslims (13 percent). Notably, white evangelical Protestants constitute only four percent of religious progressives... 
They also tend to value different things in their faith: 
Nearly 8-in-10 (79 percent) religious progressives say that being a religious person is mostly about doing the right thing, compared to 16 percent who say it is about holding the right beliefs. A majority of religious conservatives (54 percent), on the other hand, say being a religious person is primarily about having the right beliefs, while 38 percent say it is mostly about doing the right thing. (All the boldings are mine.)

One might be excused for thinking that, when it comes to religion, holding the right beliefs and doing the right thing would be indistinguishable. Not so for the perversion of the Christian religion that's taken hold of the teabagging Republican party nowadays, in the form of reactionary and highly selective literalism, used to justify the most hateful and divisive -- not to mention patently false -- of beliefs. On the other hand, knowing the Catholics that I do, it's not surprising to me that that denomination represents the highest percentage among the progressive thinkers. Even the conservative ones I know are open to new ideas and enjoy talking about them. (Seems paradoxical, given historical Papal rigidity [haven't yet figured out the new guy], doesn't it?) Anyhow, as usual, the only hope is the younger generation; and the biggest concern is that the current one will have screwed things up irreparably before the next group is in charge.

[Image source]

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