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Does Secularism Make People More Ethical?
Der Spiegel ^ | August 11th 2011 | Hilmar Schmundt

Posted on 08/12/2011 5:51:47 AM PDT by Cardhu

Non-believers are often more educated, more tolerant and know more about God than the pious. A new wave of research is trying to figure out what goes on in the minds of an ever-growing group of people known as the "Nones".

Barry Kosmin is a different kind of market researcher. His data focuses on consumers targeted by companies like Lifechurch.tv or World Overcomers Christian Church TM. The sociologist analyzes church-affiliated commercial entities, from souvenir shops to television channels and worship services.

But the most significant target of Kosmin's research is the consumer group most likely to shy away from such commercial products: secularists. "The non-religious, or Nones, hold the fastest-growing world view in the market," says Kosmin. "In the past 20 years, their numbers in the United States have doubled to 15 percent."

The director of the Institute for the Study of Secularism in Society and Culture at Trinity College in the US state of Connecticut, Kosmin is among the few researchers focused on the study of non-believers. This umbrella covers various groups including atheists, agnostics and humanists, as well as those who are simply indifferent to religion.

Secularists make up some 15 percent of the global population, or about 1 billion people. As a group, this puts them third in size behind Christians (2.3 billion) and Muslims (1.6 billion). Despite their large numbers, little is known about this group of people. Who are they? And if not religion, what do they believe in?

"Sometimes I feel like Christopher Columbus on an expedition to an unknown continent," says Kosmin. "For example, many believe that the US population is steadily becoming more religious -- but this is an optical illusion. Many evangelicals have simply become more aggressive and more political."

(Excerpt) Read more at spiegel.de ...


TOPICS: Catholic; General Discusssion; Religion & Culture
KEYWORDS: america; assia; christianity; christians; europe; secularism
US Churches Losing Millions of Members

This heightened public profile may be contributing to the shrinking numbers of religious believers. Churches in the US are losing up to 1 million members every year. In Europe, secularization has advanced even further. The number of non-religious people, those who do not believe in God or any higher power, has reached approximately 40 percent in France and about 27 percent in Germany.

1 posted on 08/12/2011 5:51:50 AM PDT by Cardhu
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To: Cardhu
I think most folks don't wear their religion on their sleeve.

Went to mass everyday when I was a kid, every Sunday as a young adult but by age 35...decided that I no longer needed the Mass itself...but I did NEED a lot more private time with God. I truly think I'm closer to God now.

Sorry...don't believe in those 40 percent number.

2 posted on 08/12/2011 6:06:01 AM PDT by Sacajaweau
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To: Cardhu
The people who don't believe in God feel that they are better and smarter than the people who do believe in God.

How novel. How new. How unexpected. [/s]

3 posted on 08/12/2011 6:07:15 AM PDT by ClearCase_guy (The USSR spent itself into bankruptcy and collapsed -- and aren't we on the same path now?)
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To: Cardhu
Non-believers are often more educated, more tolerant and know more about God than the pious.

Non-believers in God do not know Him. They may know about God in small ways, but they do not rest their salvation upon Him. They do not trust in His sovereignty. The Scriptures say their nature suppresses the knowledge of God.

They do not know, from their hearts, love from God or that the greatest act of Love was by the Lord Jesus Christ on behalf of folks like them.

No, der Speigel is wrong when they say non-believers know more about God than believers. It is illogical.

Also, to say that non-believers are more ethical when they do not believe the 10 commandments?

What rubbish!

4 posted on 08/12/2011 6:07:38 AM PDT by sr4402
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To: Cardhu
Being a Christian is like being a Jew in WWII Germany. Liberals get mad to violent with the mention of God. Some still say that Christianity is the fastest growing religion. When you look at the left you find more tax cheats, liars and much less ethical behavior. They make abortion “ethical”. Theft form middle class is called redistribution of the wealth. The have redefined many things to give them the warm fuzzy feeling inside. They make laws to their advantage and call them “rights” They live in a made up world.
5 posted on 08/12/2011 6:17:20 AM PDT by mountainlion (I am voting for Sarah after getting screwed again by the DC Thugs.)
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To: Cardhu
Non-believers are often more educated, more tolerant and know more about God than the pious.

Just the other day, a study came out with the opposite conclusion... that one was actually researched and sourced rather than hopeful opinion. Let's see... who is more educated... Hitchens or Aquinas?... Michael Moore or St Augustine?

6 posted on 08/12/2011 6:19:55 AM PDT by pgyanke (Republicans get in trouble when not living up to their principles. Democrats... when they do.)
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To: pgyanke
Non-believers are often more educated, more tolerant and know more about God than the pious.

More tolerant??? How is that even possible???

Non-believers, by definition, don't believe in God, and therefore think that those that do, are under educated boobs that need some thing in our life, that we can pray to when things get tough.

I personally don't care one way or another about what people believe, just leave me and God alone, and we will do just fine.

If one doesn't believe, I have no ability nor interest in trying to change their beliefs; when death comes, somebody will be proven right and someone will be wrong.

Good luck.

7 posted on 08/12/2011 6:31:31 AM PDT by USS Alaska (Nuke the terrorist savages.)
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To: Cardhu
This is such utter nonsense. I am no Bible scholar, but I know many non-Christian people and they are certainly not more ethical than the Christians with whom I deal on a daily basis. And the suggestion that secularists know more about Scripture than Christians is the usual progressive fantasy.

After all, progressives are SOOOOOO much smarter than the rest of us. Smart and ethical. Like the London rioters.

8 posted on 08/12/2011 6:32:25 AM PDT by Dr. Thorne (Buy Gold and Guns Now!)
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To: Cardhu

1 Corinthians 1:18 - For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.


9 posted on 08/12/2011 6:33:10 AM PDT by ViLaLuz (2 Chronicles 7:14)
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To: Cardhu

It is easy for secularists to be more “moral” given they have none. Christians have a much higher standard to meet.

Second, I don’t trust a humanist academic to produce any analysis on Christians and there is no lumping Amercia to Europe in this kind of study because the people of America and Europe are hugely different in culture. We have religious freedom and are not totally dominated by communists. Not so for Europe.

The Marxists did this in the sixties and many boomers and church leaders turned away from their faith to be cool. It did not last. Boomers returned to their faith and one another. I hope Christians don’t get lost during this latest effort. Socialists have created a huge amount of chaos in the churches today like they did in the sixties.


10 posted on 08/12/2011 6:35:19 AM PDT by SaraJohnson
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To: ClearCase_guy

The people who don’t believe in God feel that they are better and smarter than the people who do believe in God.

They may have 100-90 years to think like that but an eternity to find out they were wrong. I don’t like those odds. I’ll stick with God.


11 posted on 08/12/2011 6:35:30 AM PDT by Bitsy (!)
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To: USS Alaska

“Non-believers, by definition, don’t believe in God, and therefore think that those that do, are under educated boobs that need some thing in our life, that we can pray to when things get tough.”

Irony.


12 posted on 08/12/2011 6:39:54 AM PDT by RFEngineer
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To: Cardhu

Secularists have their own gods such as liberalism and environmentalism, cheap morality plays that appeal to their need to feel superior to others.


13 posted on 08/12/2011 6:40:26 AM PDT by Fair Paul
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To: sr4402

The” nones” would be more ethical because they get to make up their own ethics. Of course that’s not true either because by nature we are inconsistent beings.


14 posted on 08/12/2011 6:44:32 AM PDT by vanilla swirl (We are the Patrick Henry we have been waiting for!)
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To: Cardhu
Does Secularism Make People More Ethical?

No. It makes them selectively ethical and subjectively ethical. It causes them to pick a handful of areas--almost always areas that are the most open to public view--to focus their "righteousness" on so that they can claim moral superiority.

Just to pick on the article's own examples: "On average, they are more commonly opposed to the death penalty, war and discrimination. And they also have fewer objections to foreigners, homosexuals, oral sex and hashish."

Okay, so who the heck determined that any of this is a sign of higher ethics? (Especially fewer objections to hashish. Seriously, folks.) Discrimination, sure, but I've also found that quite a few secularists are incredibly bigoted against real Christians. I can't think of too many of us who are for "war" in any kind of general sense, though we may support specific wars as necessary. (How many of those "opposed to war" wish we had never entered WWII, for example?)

But sorry, I don't buy the idea that having fewer objections to homosexuality and drug use is somehow more ethical. Is it ethical to trap people in an addiction by telling them that there's nothing wrong with it or, worse yet, that they were simply born that way and they shouldn't even try to change? I don't think so.

Shalom

15 posted on 08/12/2011 6:45:05 AM PDT by Buggman (returnofbenjamin.wordpress.com - Baruch haBa b'Shem ADONAI!)
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To: Cardhu
secularists tend to be more ethical than religious people. On average, they are more commonly opposed to the death penalty, war and discrimination. And they also have fewer objections to foreigners, homosexuals, oral sex and hashish.

Gotta love the stupid studies that take what liberals believe to be more moral and then decide that liberals are more moral because they believe it.
1. Against the death penalty but probably pro-abortion.
2. Against discrimination but probably pro-affirmative action.
3. Fewer objections to hashish makes a person moral? What?

And, of course, they conclude that secular societies around the world are more moral that religious ones. Really ? Ask some of the people that live in China , North Korea, the old Soviet Union , etc. Oh, that's right you can't because their governments murdered them.

16 posted on 08/12/2011 6:50:56 AM PDT by techcor (I hope Obama succeeds, in being a one term president.)
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To: vanilla swirl
The” nones” would be more ethical because they get to make up their own ethics. Of course that’s not true either because by nature we are inconsistent beings.

The "nones" ignore the commandments at a whim. Whereas the believers ignore them at the cost of conscience, rewards and perceived relationship.

So which is more ethical? Those who chuck the commandments on a whim or those who suffer conscience?

17 posted on 08/12/2011 7:00:15 AM PDT by sr4402
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To: Cardhu

Knowing “about God” and knowing God are two completely separable statuses. And frankly, as a believer, I maintain that anyone who truly knows about God will come to know God eventually.

Colonel, USAFR


18 posted on 08/12/2011 7:17:46 AM PDT by jagusafr ("We hold these truths to be self-evident...")
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To: Cardhu

Sound like another huge load of BS from the Godless blowing their own horns.

The ONLY ethic that makes any logical sense for an atheist is Dawinian survival of the fittest. Everything else is illogical for someone who only considers themself to be a glorified animal.


19 posted on 08/12/2011 7:27:58 AM PDT by SampleMan (Feral Humans are the refuse of socialism.)
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To: Cardhu

Religious = Effort to be moral.
Anti-religious = Effort to be anti-moral.
Non-religious = No effort, but amoral in practice.

Good examples of these three things are first religious people who either try to follow their accepted code of ethics; as well as those who fail in this pursuit, in their opinion, but are aware of their failings and either seek to correct them or are at least bothered by their failings.

Anti-religious people are those often intensely hate religion, to the point of going out of their way to break its rules and be offensive to those who obeys those rules. Often this comes in the form of trying to be oppressive and destructive to that religion and its followers.

(From my own experience were the almost comic “jack Mormons”, who because Mormons refrain from smoking, drinking and caffeinated products, chain smoke, and consume too much liquor and coffee.)

Non-religious people (if they are not psychopaths, which of course could affect any of the groups), still have to develop *some* code of ethics for their behavior. For this, they cherry pick ethical situations for what they consider reasonable behavior. But this makes them very susceptible to ethical flights of fancy, including shallow “bumper sticker ethics”, mob behavior, knee jerk emotional investment, and prejudice.

Their default is not doing anything in either what they support ethically, or what they figure violates their ethics. They are beloved by psychologists as experimental subjects, precisely because they will choose the path of least effort.


20 posted on 08/12/2011 9:33:54 AM PDT by yefragetuwrabrumuy
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To: jagusafr
I think it's safe to say that all of us will come to know Him eventually, in judgement. I completely agree with you on the difference between knowing God and knowing about God. In all honesty, I feel secularism is a rampant scandal. In general, those who espouse it seem to mock and look down upon those of us who wish to know, love and serve Our Maker. And it's not so much that I cannot understand that there are those in the world who do not agree with me. It's not something tied to my ego. The noisome part is that, by virtue of my belief, I am somehow inferior, unable to view the world in an adult manner, et cetera. For those people, I quote my favorite three words in the whole English language: The Incarnation Happened.
21 posted on 08/13/2011 4:05:52 AM PDT by sayuncledave (A cruce salus)
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