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Featured The backlash against rightwing evangelicals is reshaping American politics and faith

Discussion in 'Religious Debates' started by Truthseeker, Jan 25, 2022.

  1. Truthseeker

    Truthseeker Non-debating member when I can help myself

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    Some sociologists believe that the rising number of non-religious Americans is a reaction against rightwing evangelicals. But that’s just part of the story.
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/jan/25/the-backlash-against-rightwing-evangelicals-is-reshaping-american-politics-and-faith

    What if I were to tell you that the following trends in American religion were all connected: rising numbers of people who are religiously unaffiliated (“nones”) or identify as “spiritual but not religious”; a spike in positive attention to the “religious left”; the depoliticization of liberal religion; and the purification and radicalization of the religious right? As a sociologist who has studied American religion and politics for many years, I have often struggled to make sense of these dramatic but seemingly disconnected changes. I now believe they all can all be explained, at least in part, as products of a backlash to the religious right. - Ruth Braunstein
     
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  2. idea

    idea Question Everything

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    I am an example of someone who left the religious right, left my church, changed my beliefs, and am now sbna.

    Carrot on one side, whip on the other. I'm now able to see and embrace inclusive beauty, no longer feeling the need to harm myself - some kind of weird - guilt if your not miserable/working/suffering/enduring trials thing on the religious right - not allowed to enjoy life over there, only allowed to keep working until everyone believes what you do. - eeek, freedom, midlife awakening :)
     
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  3. Brian2

    Brian2 Well-Known Member

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    I knew someone years ago who thought that fundamentalism in the US in particular was turning into a cult within Christianity.
    I wouldn't be surprised if there is a backlash against the right wing evangelicals and they are becoming the cause of what they don't want to happen in politics.
     
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  4. Sgt. Pepper

    Sgt. Pepper RF's resident Beatlemaniac. ☮ and ❤

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    Well said. I also left the religious right, left my church, changed my beliefs, and now I'm an ex-Christian and agnostic.
     
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  5. Truthseeker

    Truthseeker Non-debating member when I can help myself

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    Seems to be a typo there. I think you mean sbnr when I look your professed position.

    I welcome your input.
     
  6. Truthseeker

    Truthseeker Non-debating member when I can help myself

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    Yes, I agree. You have some insight, even from Australia.

    I noticed that the article said a backlash in part. I would add that in the European influenced world religion is on the decline, especially Christianity is the other part. This is much influenced by materialism, defining materialism as seeing this physical world as all there is, and religion as outdated for today's world. I don't agree with that.
     
  7. Truthseeker

    Truthseeker Non-debating member when I can help myself

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    Thanks for your input. I was from the religious left in Christianity. Quaker.
     
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  8. Brian2

    Brian2 Well-Known Member

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    I also think that fundamentalism and the insistence that evolution did not happen is pushing a lot of people to reject the Bible.

    Unfortunately I could not access the article from Australia.
     
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  9. Truthseeker

    Truthseeker Non-debating member when I can help myself

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    Being anti-science did help the rise of materialism of others. It become for some science vs. religion.
     
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  10. Brian2

    Brian2 Well-Known Member

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    I would say that the US is very capitalist and with a strong work ethic. Part of this came from Christianity no doubt and seems to have taken up residence in the type of Christianity found in the US, esp when associated with right wing politics.
     
  11. fantome profane

    fantome profane Beyond your borders do not live a lesser people..
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    This is a trend that has been going on for a long time,

    But I am quite concerned by the political power that the right wing evangelicals have in the U.S. and the rise of Christian Nationalism. I see a nation that is diving headfirst into fascism.
     
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  12. PureX

    PureX Veteran Member

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    Christianity is just being used as an excuse and justification for a disenfranchised group of people to express deep resentment, selfishness, greed, and a desire to be in control of everything. It isn't Christianity that's harming the U.S., it's people allowing these motives to drive their behavior. In that sense they are anti-Christian, even as they proclaim themselves to be super-Christians.
     
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  13. Brian2

    Brian2 Well-Known Member

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    You might have it right there.
    And the leaders of these right wing groups are probably leading the march and making it all look Biblical.
    No doubt this sort of thing happened with slavery and other anti Christian views that have been made to look right.
     
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  14. Brian2

    Brian2 Well-Known Member

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    Surely the US is further from fascism than it used to be in the middle of the last century, and now there would be a bigger protest about such a move.
     
  15. fantome profane

    fantome profane Beyond your borders do not live a lesser people..
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    Where are you standing if your feet are wet and you are looking at the Pyramids?
     
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  16. Brian2

    Brian2 Well-Known Member

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    In the Nile River?
    I can see that there was a rally against the Godless Communists who were taking over the world through the military last century and now I imagine the religious right sees the same Communism actually legally in power in Democrats and legalising Godless immorality. And of course Russia and China are a threat militarily.
     
  17. Audie

    Audie Veteran Member

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    Could you supply us with an example of
    someone making a clear statement that
    " the physical world is all there is"?

    Or that religion is "outdated".
     
  18. Revoltingest

    Revoltingest Abnormal before it was fashionable
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    Of all the heathens I know IRL, it was never such a reaction.
    All simply realized at some point that what they were taught
    as children was simply ridiculous myth.
     
  19. PureX

    PureX Veteran Member

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    Surely not. We just experienced an attempted coup. THAT certainly hasn't happened before. Though I agree that the US has always had a strong fascist bent. Often supported by it's brothers in arms, capitalism and racism.
     
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  20. It Aint Necessarily So

    It Aint Necessarily So Well-Known Member
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    Agreed. American white evangelicals are only part of the reason for the decline of religious participation there over the last many decades.

    I associate the American white evangelicals with their 81% support of Trump in 2016, and their support of Alabaman Roy Moore for the Senate, both of which I interpret as stage IV cancer of the soul. I'm sure that millions of others do as well.

    The public failures of Christianity in the lives of the Palins and Duggars were unflattering to religion and underscored its hypocrisy and failure as an ethical system. The Duck Dynasty people were visibly Christian and homophobic. I assume that they are all evangelicals. The whole clutching to guns and Bibles meme is unflattering to believers is associated with such people.

    But that is just part of a decades long public relations problem that the church well beyond the evangelicals has suffered in the media, as with Jim Jones, hypocritical televangelists exposed in the news, David Koresh, Heaven's Gate, Warren Jeffs, and pedophile priests. The news makes religion appear less relevant and less likeable. I imagine that the antiscientism of today's vaccine wars is viewed as an outgrowth of religious antiscientism. Whenever you read about an antivaxxer dying or dead, it's generally full of mentions of prayer and being in heaven now.

    And there are other factors leading people to a life without religion not coming directly from it. One is the growing influence of atheists whether through best sellers or Internet activities such as this one. Today, it's socially acceptable to be an atheist (or a pagan).

    Science is popularly viewed as a rebuttal to religion. Some theists argue that there is no conflict there and never has been, but I disagree as do millions of others. In this context, perception is what matters. People learn early on in church that faith is a virtue and reason the enemy, and that the wisdom of the world is foolishness. Then they go to university and discover that the opposite is true.

    Have you noticed how poorly the entertainment media depict religion? That's an indirect measure of the opinion of the culture at large as well as a predictor of where it is heading. Go back to the era of Leave It To Beaver and The Flying Nun, and the family pastor or priest was always a good, decent, and wise person, much sought after to sit around the Sunday table. Not any more. Father Phil in the Sopranos lusted Tony's wife Carmela from the first season. A recent successful series called The Young Pope depicted the papacy unflatteringly. Seinfeld mocks the Eastern Orthodox church when George attempts to convert for a girl and explains to the priests that what he likes about the religion is the hats the clergy wear. Also, a dentist converts to Judaism for the jokes, so he can tell Jewish jokes in the office. It's not an overt attack, but it is a depiction of religion as ridiculous and not respectable.

    The recent assault on reproductive rights in the States is probably poor PR for the church. Fence sitters likely disapprove.

    I'd say that all of this contributes to the declining popularity of religion, but certainly the evangelicals are poster children for bad religion. That Westboro Baptist Church and its overt homophobia didn't help religion's public image, nor does flying Christian banners at white supremacist marches and insurrections. How does one tease out just how much responsibility the evangelicals should be assigned to all of this?
     
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