Of course, there are other interpretations to explain negative social changes other than increased trends of secularism. I admit that. I also admit that there secularism isn't the only culprit.
On the other hand, to think that you can replace the 'meaning of life' that comes from a belief in God and replace it with a materialist outlook and without repercussions, I think, is naive.
***However, you make it sound like without the meaning in god, its all downhill. This is where I greatly disagree.However, you make it sound like without the meaning in god, its all downhill. This is where I greatly disagree.***
Not necessarily. As I alluded, Marxist governments are an example of materialists trying to satisfy the soulfull needs of their citizens in a manner that doesn't require a belief in God. The strategy is to provide some reason for existing. In the case of communism, it is to provide for all of society. Of course, this strategy is not successful in a free society since the State is not given the powers necessary to promote particular ideology. Many citizens would rather choose their own particular means to 'fill the void'. That might include a heavy emphasis on entertainment, sports, politics, social issues, or much more negative attributes such as pornography, gangs, violence, etc. A society that actively promotes spiritual meaning as part of its existence, is going to, in my opinion, give individuals in that society a stronger base by which to emphasize the positive aspects of human nature rather than the negative.
***My meaning can be found elsewhere than with god. And nothing that I've done has hurt this country. I'm an engineer. My work is for the people that live in my state. My intelligence helps other people. I am very environmental. I contribute to the Bruce Trail, I drive a hybrid vehicle. I use very little electricity and energy. I live a good life with a good purpose. And you are trying to tell me that somehow, my secularism is killing this country?***
You are a very enlightened person. There is no doubt in my mind that you are secularism at its best.
However, I still hold that pure secularism is bad for society in the longterm. Eventually, I believe, it will cause serious negative social changes. How far would it go? I don't know. I think fundamentalism would eventually rise up and strike down secularism. Fundamentalism meets the needs of meaning far better than secularism does, and for that reason it has an immense advantage on a global scale. That doesn't mean that secularism won't continue to grow, but eventually I think people will become skiddish and fundamentalists will take advantage of the situation.
Of course, there is a middle ground which is an active promotion of spirituality that is not fundamentalism. This makes some of the compromises that secularists want, but it doesn't go so far as to eliminate an ultimate purpose to life.
***You are right. You won't be able to find the statistics to prove your point. They don't exist, if they did, they'd been compiled by now.***
No, I'm engaging in armchair philosophy. Unfortunately this trend is probably not going to repeat in our lifetimes (hopefully not!), and therefore you will always think that I haven't a clue about what I think.
***Your thesis is fatally flawed because you assume that [the belief in] god will cure ills.***
I wouldn't say that the belief in God cures all. What it does is give you a head start in promoting the human species and ensuring a longterm chance of surviving extinction. I don't think fundamentalism can do it, and I don't think a society that loses an ultimate 'meaning of life' can do it.
***God has been used for so much evil in this country's, and many others, history. Remember the "The Crucible"? True story about witch trials in Salem. Of course, they weren't witches. People were so cold and hungry and tired of indian attacks that hysteria broke out and religion was used to justify the hangings of some decent people. These are large scale events! They try to argue that the "secularism" of the enemies justified the attacks or murders or sweeping injustices.***
Yeah, fundamentalism can lead to some pretty nasty events.
*** It was Hitler who thought he was pleasing the Lord through his actions.***
I don't know what Hitler believed about God and whether his religious beliefs motivated him. I've heard just about everything under the sun from Social Darwinism to his rejection as an artist by Jewish artists, etc. What I am talking about has nothing to do with immoral actions. It has everything to do with a spiritual mindset that encompasses Christian, Buddhist, and Hindu principles.
***Secularism is no more in charge of the evils in the world than religion.***
I think I would agree if you mean specifically fundamentalist religion. Religion that is more spiritual minded rather than driven by some hardline fundamentalism, I would disagree.
***People are capable of much greater evils because they want to survive longer and don't care who is effected! Just look at the Afghanistan conflict. How many innocents died in Afghanistan because of inerrant bombs? How many innocent lives were ended because we wanted revenge on someone else? Most Americans say the number was small and justified. Most Americans, who happen to be Christians believed those deaths to fall under the category of justifiable homicide. You tell me, whats wrong with that? Sure isn't secularism.***
Killing other humans is morally wrong. But, it is also inane not to protect yourself or prevent an event which will cause instability to civilization or the deaths of many innocent people. Military action is something that should only be carried out when the cause for doing so overcomes the morally wrong actions of taking such actions. Sometimes it is more morally wrong not to do anything, and sometimes it is more morally wrong to take such actions.
Moral dilemmas will always exist. This fact doesn't justify secularism.
Warm regards, Harv