Religion is in decline throughout the Western world, especially conservative religion. That's the good news. Now, the bad news: as church membership shrinks, they're becoming more insistent in their absolutism, more suspicious of outsiders, more fervent in their rejection of science and moral progress, more susceptible to fevered conspiracy theories, more hostile to democracy when it seems democracy isn’t going to deliver the outcome they desire.
"In America, the political divide can best be summarized as white evangelical Protestants versus everybody else. And this group’s self-imposed isolation feeds their sense of persecution. They feel that the culture has slipped away from them, that they’ve suddenly become an outcast and besieged minority in a country they once felt they ruled by right. This sense of privileged distress stokes their rage and paranoia."
https://www.smbc-comics.com/comic/apocalack SMBC has a brilliant parody of the doomer mindset. People who predict the apocalypse one too many times start getting bitter when it doesn't happen.
A reminder: The nonreligious are overwhelmingly pro-choice, more so than any other demographic in America. If the abortion rights movement needs allies, this is where to find them.
All large religious groups in America are sharply divided about abortion. White evangelicals are mostly opposed, while white mainline Protestants, Black Protestants, and Catholics are mostly supportive; but among each, there are large minorities with the opposite view.
However, the nonreligious aren't divided. Secular Americans, and atheists in particular, are all but unanimous in favor of abortion rights.
If we don't own ourselves, we own nothing: The moral principle of self-ownership is the bedrock of nearly every human right. We'd have a freer, better society if we protected bodily autonomy in all its forms, and the fact that this is even up for debate is a giant step backwards for personal liberty.
"You own yourself. You are sovereign over your own body. No one else owns you: not your parents, not your spouse, not your church, not your job, no one.
If there’s any such thing as a natural right, it’s this. Property isn’t natural in this sense, because there’s no inherent way to exclude everyone else from a patch of land or a spring of clean water. But I’m the only one 'in' my body, the only one who sees through its eyes and steers its limbs. It’s mine in a way that nothing else in the world is."
TIL: There are places in Europe that were so utterly destroyed in World War I (not II!) that they've never been reinhabited by humans. Here's one of them, the Zone Rouge in France:
These 400 square miles were the site of the Battle of Verdun, where almost a million people died in a year of brutal trench warfare. Millions of artillery shells were fired by both sides, and tens of thousands of them didn't explode. Those shells are still there, rusting and decaying, leaching poisonous gases and heavy metals like lead and arsenic into the ground. Some of them could still explode if touched or disturbed.
The French authorities estimate that it will take another 700 years to clean and demine this land and make it habitable again.
Religion is declining, and America is becoming more secular, at a rate that's without precedent in history. That's good news for progressives, and a looming iceberg for religious conservatives who wield faith as a weapon to justify a cruel, regressive political platform.
"As of 2021, for the first time ever, a majority of Americans don’t belong to any house of worship. Americans who say their religion is “none” are now as numerous as evangelicals or Catholics. The Millennials were the least-religious generation in American history, until our successors, Gen Z, broke that record and set one of their own."
Science lets us tell better stories: Ancient people had large stores of practical knowledge, but didn't know the reasons behind natural phenomena. The writers of religious texts attempted to conjure up explanations. But with improved understanding, we can tell the whole story, which they glimpsed hazily at best, and often not at all.
"Indeed, that’s what ancient religion was: not a list of abstract theological propositions, but a thoroughly practical attempt to figure out what the gods and other supernatural beings wanted, so we could ward off the bad ones and bestir the good ones to act on our behalf. In that sense, religion was the precursor to science."
15 ways you can help people seeking a still-legal but challenging path to abortion right now:
Arkansas Abortion Support Network
Northwest Abortion Access Fund
Kentucky Health Justice Network
New Orleans Abortion Fund
Mississippi Reproductive Freedom Fund
Missouri Abortion Fund
North Dakota Women In Need Abortion Access Fund
Oklahoma Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice
South Dakota Access for Every Woman Fund
Memphis Center for Reproductive Health
Fund Texas Choice
Utah Abortion Fund
The Brigid Alliance
Gleaned from the awesome @email@example.com:
A resource to be aware of right now is https://aidaccess.org/.
They send the medications necessary to perform a safe, at-home medical abortion to people in countries where abortion access is heavily restricted.
Including the US.
If you're a nuclear power and you want to keep your arsenal in working order, you have to replace the radioactive tritium in your bombs about every ten years. What are the odds that Russia's corruption-riddled military has actually been doing this maintenance?
The power of telling your story: A good story wins people over, which is why progressives and secular folk need to get better at telling ours.
"No matter what motivates you, stories are why we get out of bed in the morning. Our lives are made up of stories we tell ourselves, stories about who we are and why we’re here and what our purpose on earth is. The late, lamented Terry Pratchett called it narrativium: the invisible element that everything else is made of, without which the universe would be mere balls of flaming gas and rocks moving in curves."
Wrote some postcards today for a local race in California, for Postcards to Voters.
I've done phone banking, and the ROI is terrible. It consistently took an hour of making calls to speak to two or three real people. I don't know if this is better or not, but I feel like a postcard you can stick on your fridge is a more tangible reminder to vote.
The most significant, most overlooked story of the 21st century is the meteoric growth of the nonreligious. Our numbers are rising every year, to the point that for the first time ever, Americans who don't belong to any church constitute a majority.
Secular people don't all share a philosophy or a belief system. What we do have in common - more than you might expect - is a value system: a morality that puts human needs and human happiness first.
That's fortunate for humanity, because the world is facing a multitude of crises that secular values are uniquely well-suited to handle. It's more urgent than ever that nonbelievers speak out and assert our power.
This story is bonkers. A Christian TV show, "The Chosen", ran an ad campaign on the premise that Christians in America are unfairly persecuted for their beliefs.
But because there's no genuine persecution of Christians for them to point to, they created some of their own - by rolling out billboards designed to look like they'd been vandalized!
Hi Mastodon! Good to meet you.
I'm Adam Lee. I'm a columnist for OnlySky Media, a new site by and for America's rising nonreligious population.
Almost one-third of Americans are secular, and our numbers are growing year by year. As a group, nonbelievers are overwhelmingly progressive. But because we aren't organized like churches are, our perspective is often overlooked. OnlySky exists to give this community a voice. If this aligns with your philosophy, I hope you'll join us there!
On OnlySky, I write about the benefits of a humanist life and the harms of religious fundamentalism. I also discuss secular morality, cool science and other geeky stuff, hopeful news on climate change, and the revolutionary power of optimism. I've also written books, most recently "Commonwealth: A Novel of Utopia," about a secret conspiracy to save the world from the ravages of unchecked capitalism. Free to read!
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