No longer one nation under God?

A Washington Post feature takes notice of something that’s been obvious for a long time: Our Invisible Friend is an ever-more-feeble retiree.

In the United States, one of the most consequential cultural changes of our time may be the swift and seemingly accelerating decline of religious commitment.

[ … ]

When asked to express the importance of God in their lives on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being “not at all important,” and 10 being “very important,” Americans rated Him at an average of 4.6 in 2017 — down from 8.2 in just over a decade, according to an excerpt of Inglehart’s book, “Religion’s Sudden Decline,” in the current issue of Foreign Affairs.

A number of reasons are offered, some more convincing than others and all of them familiar to people acquainted with the issues. None of them, in my estimation, get it quite right. Really, at least with respect to the Abrahamic religions, it’s pretty simple.

  • Only a moron believes that the story of Abraham’s near-sacrifice of Isaac (or, Ishmael, in Islam), and that its interruption in the very nick-of-time by an angel, is true. And the universe of people who worship the Invisible Friend who imposed such a cruel test is comprised exclusively of people with a grave character problem. Honestly, I have wondered from time-to-time through the years: Is it really not obvious to Jews, Christians, and Muslims that, if they actually believe that story, they worship a psychopath? Which leads to …

  • The Abrahamic faiths have never, ever, been able anywhere, to establish themselves without violence. Because …

  • They are degrading, deeply anti-life religions. There is no nice way to say it: To celebrate Abraham’s near-slaughter of a longed-for son is perverse and contrary to the most deeply-rooted impulses of life itself. On this point, as so much else, Christopher Hitchens gets it exactly right:

As I have said often through the years, most people have too much sense and decency to be good Christians; it’s the ones who don’t that you’ve got to keep an eye on. And the self-loathing True Believers who go for that death-wish theology are, and always have been, a minority. When they controlled the police powers of governance they could make it unseemly or even dangerous to disagree; with the rise of formally-secular states with the American Revolution, their decline became inevitable.

And so much for that.

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