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Q: Declining religious values ( No Answer,   14 Comments )
Subject: Declining religious values
Category: Relationships and Society
Asked by: searchforlife-ga
List Price: $25.00
Posted: 27 Feb 2006 15:44 PST
Expires: 29 Mar 2006 15:44 PST
Question ID: 701645
I am writing a paper and need help on proving that religious values
have declined in the past 200 years. I have thought about several ways
to attack this subject and the best I can figure is to take specific
examples of 'ways of life' during certain eras, example, describing
religious activity during the civil war and comparing it to current
religious activity. Are there any articles or research that follows
these guidelines or attempts to ask this question?

Request for Question Clarification by pinkfreud-ga on 27 Feb 2006 15:51 PST
Are you trying to make the point that an increasing number of people
are not behaving in a manner that is consistent with the tenets of
their religions, or that the actual tenets are changing?

Clarification of Question by searchforlife-ga on 28 Feb 2006 15:22 PST
Yes, I'm trying to make the point that there is an increasing number
of people not following the tenents of their religions. Gauradas-ga,
lets have it. Ansel001, I'd like to keep it as broad as possible. If
there is data available for Christianity I'll take it. All religions
local or worldwide is OK
There is no answer at this time.

Subject: Re: Declining religious values
From: ansel001-ga on 27 Feb 2006 17:11 PST
Are you limiting your discussion to Christianity or does this include
other religions as well?  Also, are we talking the United States or
Subject: Re: Declining religious values
From: gauradas-ga on 27 Feb 2006 19:44 PST

I have the right cointent and can suggest that book with precise
answers and its exactly what you are looking for. R U READY ?
Subject: Re: Declining religious values
From: pinkfreud-ga on 28 Feb 2006 15:26 PST
One striking example of a change in Christian religious practice is
the increasing acceptance (even among fundamentalists and
evangelicals) of divorce and remarriage, which is expressly forbidden
by the Bible (except for reasons of marital unfaithfulness).
Subject: Re: Declining religious values
From: myoarin-ga on 28 Feb 2006 17:43 PST
Yes, quite so, and the divorce laws that once required evidence of
unfaithfulness have been changed to accept mere incompatability  - not
only in USA; ditto for homosexual acts and the acceptance of
pre-marital sex and the formalization of single sex relationships.

Swearing;  both "taking the Lord's name in vain" and formally: the
acceptance that many prefer to "affirm" rather than express their
belief in God.

The acceptance of atheism and agnostisism, which may be more prevalent
in Europe than in America.

Nudity to lesser or greater extent  - despite the great outcry about
the incident at the Superbowl show in 2005 (though this may not be a
religious tenet).
Subject: Re: Declining religious values
From: slakemoth-ga on 01 Mar 2006 08:10 PST
Hello, I think you can find some very helpful information at The Barna
Group website. For many years Barna has been surveying and polling the
religious community, and documenting the changes within these
communities. Take a look in the "Barna by topic" menu ( left side of
the main page). There you can look at various topics like church
attendance, views on the Bible, denominational beliefs etc. Each
report will typically give you comparative data going back many years
to compare trends... Good stuff in there.. should definitely be a
Subject: Re: Declining religious values
From: ephraim-ga on 01 Mar 2006 13:19 PST
I think it would be extraordinarily difficult to go about proving
this. To prove that "there [are] an increasing number of people not
following the [tenets] of their religions" you would need to find a
statistically valid sample that showed: (1) What religion(s) does each
person claim to belong to? (2) What does *that* person believe the
tenets of his/her religion require? (3) What does a lay or religious
leader of that religion believe the religion requires? (4) What
activities does each individual perform in regard to each of those
tenets? (5) How closely does that individual or a religious leader or
an objective outside observer view that person's compliance with the
tenets of religion according to both the individual and the
religious/lay leader?

Personally, I think that's an almost impossible claim to make in an
objective fashion. Even within a particular religion, there are
multiple strains of thought about how to interpret a rule or a belief.
How many different types of Christianity are you aware of just in the
US? To prove you claim, you would need to assert that one particular
belief is viewed the same way across all members. In addition, you
would need to find some way to calculate how many people are "not
following" the tenets. Since nobody's perfect, does a single violation
place a person in that category? If you don't believe in eating pork
and also believe in helping homeless people, does a single mistake
make you a violator? What if you eat pork on a regular basis, but also
volunteer time at a homeless shelter? People are complex creatures and
religions are complex frames of reference; it's tough to decide who is
"good" and who is "bad." Personally, I'd rather leave that query to
Subject: Re: Declining religious values
From: amber00-ga on 01 Mar 2006 15:20 PST
Many religious people prefer to affirm rather than take oaths. I know
of a couple of Christian clergy who do so. There is good Biblical
precedent for this.  And observant  Muslims almost always prefer to
affirm because it is against their religious tradition to touch a Holy
Koran without first perfoming ritual ablutions.

If you look at Islamic countries there is a fair case for saying that
religious values are on the rise.
Subject: Re: Declining religious values
From: ephraim-ga on 01 Mar 2006 17:48 PST
I'm going to second amber00's comment. Many religious people believe
that swearing in God's name is itself forbidden or at the very least
highly discouraged. Thus, affirming is considered to be more
respectful to God.
Subject: Re: Declining religious values
From: angel_crooks-ga on 01 Mar 2006 18:39 PST
You can perhaps focus on the Roman Catholic Church during the time of
Vatican II this does show a shift in not only practises within the
Church but also how there's stats and figures that show how many ppl
left the church and how they teach RE at schools nowadays! I'm saying
this because we as practising Catholics have been taught different
morals and values and many different church practises than our parents
generation. It also show how young ppl will no longer attend Mass and
that will be a research project initself but you can look at the need
for Religion the type of religion. Perhaps you need to change focus or
something I would approach your lecturer see if they can help you.

Also The Church always have regual countings within Parishes. So why
not try the Archdioceses of the cities where you are and see if they
can direct you to the right area.And maybe even the Holy See website
can help you! Its a bit tricky but very good!

angel_Crooks :*
Subject: Re: Declining religious values
From: myoarin-ga on 02 Mar 2006 07:29 PST
Amber and Ephraim,
You may be right about people with religious beliefs now preferring
not to say:  "I swear by God ..." or  "..., so help me God."  But is
this not certainly a change in attitude over the past 200 years? 
Previously, people understood and feared that they would invoke God's
wrath if they did not then fulfill their oath (of office or to tell
the truth in court).  God was a presence and moral instance to them
and those who heard them.  Invoking His name lent veracity to their
words because all understood that the person was NOT taking His name
in vain, i.e., no disrespect of God.

I feel that if religious believers now consider that this is
inappropriate, there has been a weakening in belief or tenets. 
"Affirming", if one is a believer, is assuming a higher plane for
responsibility of one's own action:
"Take my word for it; I don't need to appeal to a higher authority to
show that I will tell the truth."

Well, you don't need to agree with me, but my main point is that there
has been an change in attitude over the last decades.

Angel_Crooks has a good suggestion:  trace developments in the Roman
Catholic church.  Look at the changes in the liturgy since the 2nd
Vatican Council and the decline in individual confession AND the
expectation of such.  Here in Germany, I believe that the general
confession of sins during mass is often omitted (as is any even
watered down version spoken by Lutheran ministers  - not the
congregation -  just a prayer of contrition, more likely, just one
asking for guidance)

Since I live in Germany, I cannot speak for the situation in the
States, but here, no RC priest (or protestant minister) wears a
clerical collar, publicly showing his  calling.  (Young Mormon
missionaries are the only persons one can identify on the street by
their dress as religious advocates.)  RCs here have real problem with
the Vatican's stance on birth control and abortion, and generally with
its authoritarian attitude.

But the Vatican is moving also:
Subject: Re: Declining religious values
From: ephraim-ga on 02 Mar 2006 18:52 PST

Two points:

1) If you look at Jewish liturgy and tradition going back much more
than 200 years, you'll find a general disapproval of taking God's name
as an oath. See, for example, the prayer Kol Nidre, recited at the
start of Yom Kippur. It is considered a sign of *respect* that one
does not use God's name in such a way, even to the point that swearing
before God about the truth of what one says is almost considered
frivolous. Other traditions may believe likewise.

2) Just because beliefs or traditions change does not mean that they
are no longer authentic or less respectful of tenets. You are assuming
that any change in a belief or tradition is a decline in religious
values. This isn't necessarily the case. Despite "common knowledge" if
you look at the type of religion (even the types of Christianity)
practiced in the US 400, 300, 200, and 100 years ago, you'll find
differences. The megachurches of today did not exist in Puritan times.
Is one better than the other?
Subject: Re: Declining religious values
From: myoarin-ga on 03 Mar 2006 04:41 PST
Thank you for your comment.  We are talking about different religions.
 While reading this site about Reform Judaism (you can judge better
than I if it is accurate), I recognized the pertinence of your second
point, which may be of importance to Searchforlife's paper.
Click on early history.  
I was wondering if Reform Judaism was a "falling off" from the tenets
and ways of Orthodox Judaism, and was interested to discover that
Reform was related to the Enlightment, which brought significant
changes in Christian attitudes.

What I recognized was that in a discussion of religious beliefs, the
conservatives (those remaining conservative  - Orthodox, High Church)
will consider that reformers (Jews, Methodists in the 18th century)
are neglecting the classical tenets and rites, whereas the reformers
consider that they are doing so in respect to a different but strong
(maybe stronger) feeling about their religious beliefs and how they
should be expressed and practiced in their lives.
Okay?  :-)  As to oaths, therefore, I won't consider those persons
with strong religious beliefs, but I do feel that many persons who
"affirm" do so because they are uncomfortable about invoking God,
being ambivalent in their belief in Him and uncomfortable in
expressing any such in public.

For the asker's paper, this suggests that "examples of 'ways of life'"
must disregard individual religions and be "across the board", as the
example of divorce that Pinkfreud posted.
I don't expect that the examples should be limited to the bedroom,
So let's hope that others are suggested.

Regards, Myoarin
Subject: Re: Declining religious values
From: popztoolz-ga on 20 Mar 2006 10:55 PST
searchforlife; Why not turn to God's own words for the answers. The
Bible. In Matthew chapter 24 Jesus own words told his disciples while
he was on earth that times would change during the last days. Even in
your own life time, which I'm sure is less than 200 years, there has
been a drastic change. Following what Jesus fortold would mark the
last days. How many floods, earthquakes and wars haven't increased
even in the last 20 -50 years. The changing paterns of the climates
and temperatures. Hope this helps.
Subject: Re: Declining religious values
From: skrotum-ga on 26 Mar 2006 22:33 PST
Maybe mankind has gotten smarter, and realised what a scam religion really is?
I know you need a "happy place" when the lights are turned off, but
seriuosly - talking to your "lord, savior or whatever" (and getting
answers!!) should probably be a sign that your psychofarmical isn't
working too well..

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