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Secular government, extremist population
June 15, 2004 8:58 AM   Subscribe

Secular government, extremist population? How is this going to play out? Where is America headed? Europe, France in particular, may face secular challenges because of imigration and subculture integration, but what's the excuse on the other side of the Atlantic? Is the US prepared to challenge the Middle East and Africa for the coveted Most Fundamentalist Population Prize?
posted by ewkpates (16 comments total)

 
...and another thing. Why is "liberal" politics always at odds with "fundamentalist" religion? Jesus was as fundamentalist as it gets, and yet so sweetly liberal. How did this happen?
posted by ewkpates at 9:02 AM on June 15, 2004


The second link: "This page is not available in a printer-friendly format, sorry (0)."
posted by trharlan at 9:07 AM on June 15, 2004


Jesus was as fundamentalist as it gets, and yet so sweetly liberal. How did this happen?

Easy. Jesus was a libertarian.
posted by trharlan at 9:10 AM on June 15, 2004


My bad. Extremist Population?
posted by ewkpates at 9:11 AM on June 15, 2004


A small group of Baptists leaving another group of Baptists is hardly indicative of extremist population [16 million SBC's/~280 million est. Americans = 5%]. I like Kevin Drum's analysis: it all comes down to the division between urban/rural not secular/religious people.
posted by plemeljr at 9:24 AM on June 15, 2004



The states with the highest proportion of Southern Baptists are Mississippi, Alabama, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Kentucky.


Hello from the economic and cultural powerhouses of the nation!
posted by Armitage Shanks at 9:25 AM on June 15, 2004


*blinks*

So you're saying that based on Southern Baptists quitting the World Alliance that the U.S. population at large qualifies as "extremist"? Doesn't that sound a bit....cartoonish? Or hyperbolic. Coupled with the fact that our Bill of Rights' First Amendment "Freedom of Religion" doesn't exist as such in most of Africa and the Middle East, I'm not too convinced by the post of...

Actually, ewkpates I guess I'm not sure what your post is trying to say.

Preview: what plemeljr said
posted by dhoyt at 9:38 AM on June 15, 2004


Jesus was a libertarian.

You'd think he could have chilled a bit more on those guys down at the temple who were, after all, only providing a service.
posted by biffa at 9:40 AM on June 15, 2004


Jesus was as fundamentalist as it gets

No, he wasn't. He was decidedly undogmatic.

More specifically than urban/rural, there's an educated/uneducated split which contributes to fundamentalism/liberalism. (I said "contributes." This does not imply all fundamentalists are uneducated or vice versa.)

For those who question the US's fundamentalism, think about the fact that evolution is still controversial in many school districts. Much of the support for one side of the stem cell, abortion, and gay marriage debates comes from fundamentalism, not mere conservatism.
posted by callmejay at 11:01 AM on June 15, 2004


Well, the Southern Baptists may be a relatively small part of it, but Americans do tend to be quite religious, on average. To judge by this set of poll data, anyway. 46% of Americans describe themselves as "born-again or evangelical" Christians.

Meanwhile, 59% believe that the events of the Book of Revelation will come to pass as described. I'd say that counts as "extreme" religion. 23% claimed to believe that the 2001 terrorist attacts were predicted in Revelation, with another 13% "not sure." I'd say that counts as "insane."

On average, you've got about two thirds of the population who are very religious (ie. 66% belong to a church, 70% think it's okay to display the "Ten Commandments" in gov't buildings, 71% believe in the existence of "The Devil", 59% think religion "can answer all or most of today's problems").

About half of those, one third the total population, are really hard-core fundamentalist, believing various things that seem absolutely crazy to most of the rest of us. You know, the 30% who think the "Bible is the literal, word-for-word Truth as dictated by God" crowd. Also, 34% belive that the teachings of Islam encourage violance against non-Muslims. 34% believe in ghosts. Somewhere around 36% believe it's okay to post the Ten Commandments in public buildings, but not a verse from the Koran. 40% believe the government "can promote the teachings of a religion without harming the rights of people who do not belong to that religion".

So yeah, extremist. Still has a way to go to catch up with (parts of) Africa, though.
posted by sfenders at 11:03 AM on June 15, 2004


May I just say, as a New Zealander, how absolutely incredible those poll numbers seem? Not to mention terrifying? (About 10% of us go to church more than once a year).
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 9:51 PM on June 15, 2004


how absolutely incredible those poll numbers seem? Not to mention terrifying?
They're scary to us non-Christians here too. The biggest problem tho, is that some of them feel entitled to shape our laws and government and culture to their beliefs, or else.
posted by amberglow at 9:54 PM on June 15, 2004


Is the US prepared to challenge the Middle East and Africa for the coveted Most Fundamentalist Population Prize?

of course. we're number one!
posted by mcsweetie at 12:29 AM on June 16, 2004


Aah!
Sweet!
A conversation regarding my favorite subject!
I say too bad we can't put all the fundies in one place, like, say, South Carolina, and let them make their own little country.
It is a fundie idea that I wholeheartedly endorse.
That would raise the average education and intelligence levels of the US (according to callmejay), a nice little unintended side effect.
posted by nofundy at 5:34 AM on June 16, 2004


I didn't say anything about intelligence, nofundy.
posted by callmejay at 8:08 AM on June 16, 2004


I think the story is a bit more complex than what is described here. The SBC took a hard turn to the right in the late 70s and early 80s as fundamentalists gained control over the institutional structures of the church. This page has a nice overview of the conflict (scroll down). The SBC went through the same storming and norming that are currently rocking the Methodists and Episcopalians a generation ago and for the most part, moderates either left on their own accord or were forced out.

Meanwhile, 59% believe that the events of the Book of Revelation will come to pass as described.

Oh dear. The question was not "come to pass as described" and you have to match this up against the problem that only 36% of the population believes that the bible is the literal word of god. The question is phrased quite badly because non-fundamentalists believe that some of the metaphors of Revelation will happen in some way (ala the Apostolic Creed. Note that the lower-case catholic does not equate to Roman Catholicism) without a literal rapture or battle of Armageddon. Examples of this include the view popularized by C. S. Lewis that the fires of hell are a metaphor for eternity estranged from God. This would fit into the %59 who believe in the book of Revelation.

Also FTR, I'm not a Christian and find that the basic theology of Chistianity is pretty darn sadistic when you get down to it. However, I don't think that it is really possible to talk intelligently about these issues based on stereotypes and misconceptions.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 10:58 AM on June 16, 2004


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