Who’s more moral: theists or atheists?

Topher
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Who’s more moral: theists or atheists?


I was thinking as a poll, but this forum software doesn't allow polls.

Anyway, what do you think?

"It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring" -- Carl Sagan


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Neither. We are all human.

Neither. We are all human.


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Neither

Neither

It is an artificial construct arbitrarily applied to evolutionary behavior, and used by whatever dominant cultural, political, or religious institutions in society to justify its actions and control.

Although If i had to choose, I'd say atheists, only because theist 'morality' is based upon punishment and reward, similar to that of a trained dog.

The powerful feed ideology to the masses like fast food while they dine on that most rarefied delicacy: impunity.


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Well, theists have more

Well, theists have more rules to follow, and more reason to follow them.  Atheists, however, are moral for what I believe are the right reasons.  So its quanity versus quality.  You decide.

I hope that when the world comes to an end I can breathe a sigh of relief, because there will be so much to look forward to.


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As I mentioned in another

As I mentioned in another thread your morality or lack of it is none of my business and nor do I care

 

I do care if you obey the law, whether if I'm paying you you do the job

 


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"moral" by who's standard?

"moral" by who's standard?


Topher
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I agree with those who

I agree with those who technically say neither. Theists get their morality from the same ‘place’ atheists do: the brain, human nature, society, and so on.

I guess I should rephrase the question a little:

What provides a better moral system: theism or atheism. (Regardless of the fact that theists don’t really follow their religions moral system)

"It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring" -- Carl Sagan


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Topher wrote: I agree with

Topher wrote:

I agree with those who technically say neither. Theists get their morality from the same ‘place’ atheists do: the brain, human nature, society, and so on.

I guess I should rephrase the question a little:

What provides a better moral system: theism or atheism. (Regardless of the fact that theists don’t really follow their religions moral system)

 

Atheism is a lack of belief in God. Nothing in atheism says X is good/bad, it relies on the brain, human nature, society etc... 

Atheists can be moral, but they are not getting there morality from their atheism, they would be moral regardless of their religion. 


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I must say I'm a little

I must say I'm a little disappointed by this thread. In answering the original question I would have to say it depends on the person. There are nasty atheists and nasty theists, there are also nice atheists and nice theists.

In answer to the second question I'll say this. Atheism has no official moral code, and it would also depend what kind of theism you're talking of. If by an atheist moral code you mean one that does not depend upon theism such as utilitarianism/consequentialism then those are better, more rational and will have the better results for the most people possible (by definition nd thus in practice). I can explain all this further if you'd like but I'm rather tired right now.


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Jacob Cordingley wrote: I


Jacob Cordingley wrote:

I must say I'm a little disappointed by this thread.

Do you mean the replies or the idea of the thread itself?

I got the idea to make the thread after an atheist said theists were more moral than atheists. I disagree, since both theists and atheists get their morality from the same place (with the theist retrospectively crediting their religion.) Although that said, I do regard the basis of the atheists morality to be better in that it is not based on threats of punishment or reward.

"It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring" -- Carl Sagan


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Well, I have to point out

Well, I have to point out that theists have more motivation to do moral actions.  If an atheist is immoral, he has to answer to his community and himself.  If a theist is immoral, however, he has to answer to his community, himself, and an all-powerful omniscient being that created the universe and has the power to put his soul in the grasp of Hades for all of eternity.

I hope that when the world comes to an end I can breathe a sigh of relief, because there will be so much to look forward to.


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I'd say atheists since

I'd say atheists since atheists are WAY underrepresentd in prison, and also as said that theists do what they do based on fututre rewards/punishments.

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it's easy to find numbers

it's easy to find numbers which show, in the american prison system, theists outnumber atheists 1000 to 1, which would lead me to the conlcusion that atheists are more moral.

but you could also use that to say that atheists are simply smarter criminals than theists.

you could look at people like fred phelps and say that, because of his biblical based prejudice, atheists are more moral.

but you could also use that to say that his extreme devotion to biblical morality proves that theists are more moral.

ultimately, i think the question comes down to the individual.

personally, i think the morality of theism is paper thin, but as long as it's not taken to the extreme, it achieves the same goals as atheistic morality. and, essentially, theist morality is just atheist morality credited to a different source, with some superficial and questionable additions.

so my quickie answer to the question would be neither. 

www.derekneibarger.com http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=djneibarger "all postures of submission and surrender should be part of our prehistory." -christopher hitchens


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Well.... also the question

Well.... also the question needs to be asked.

Moral in which country, what era, what culture, what society, and what sense?

Morality is just that, it is subjective and there is no such thing as objective morality. What is moral in one country, in a certain culture, in a specific time frame may well not be moral by other standards.

I prefer the terms ethical and altruistic.


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Atheist can use the

Atheist can use the reward/punishment method too, that is why we have Law enforcement agencies. If they knock off a 7-11 they could get their freedom taken away.


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Cpt_pineapple

Cpt_pineapple wrote:
Atheist can use the reward/punishment method too, that is why we have Law enforcement agencies. If they knock off a 7-11 they could get their freedom taken away.

which is really a far more persuasive deterent than hell, since a christian can always go to confession or accept christ as their savior on their death bed. but you can't go to the police, confess, say 5 hail mary's, and avoid jail. but of course the american legal/prison system isn't exclusive to atheists, though claiming you found god while in prison somehow works in favor towards getting you a shorter sentence. which is baffling and idiotic.

www.derekneibarger.com http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=djneibarger "all postures of submission and surrender should be part of our prehistory." -christopher hitchens


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Brian, the second video is

Brian, the second video is sheer cherry picking.

 

Canada is ~77% Christian and one of the lowest crime rates.

 


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U.K has a high religious

U.K has a high religious population

https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/uk.html



Christian (Anglican, Roman Catholic, Presbyterian, Methodist) 71.6%, Muslim 2.7%, Hindu 1%, other 1.6%, unspecified or none 23.1% (2001 census)

 

Germany

https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/gm.html



Protestant 34%, Roman Catholic 34%, Muslim 3.7%, unaffiliated or other 28.3%

 

Norway

https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/no.html



Church of Norway 85.7%, Pentecostal 1%, Roman Catholic 1%, other Christian 2.4%, Muslim 1.8%, other 8.1% (2004)

 

Japan

https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ja.html



observe both Shinto and Buddhist 84%, other 16% (including Christian 0.7%)

 

And Canada has over 70% Christian

 

[MOD EDIT - fixed links]

 


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I think more important

I think more important questions to ask are: 1) What is morality? 2) How can we say we know, whatever answer we give to one, is morality?  Now, a common answer to 1) is "Knowing right from wrong".  Unfortunatly that does not answer 2).  Even if we want to suppose that "knowing right from wrong" is what morality is, how does one know what makes a certain action right and certain action wrong?  Now, I am not going to pretend I know this answer but I will say appealing to a higher intelligence does not seem the best way to show knowledge of such a concept.  To illustrate this point, I will present two stories that presents two illustrations of a claim to knowledge and a defense of how it is knowledge. 

Story 1 

Lets say I walked up to you and claimed I know what addition is.  You entertain me and ask me to demonstrate how I have knowledge of it.  SO I start stating things like "Four plus four equals eight", "ten plus six equals sixteen" and such.  After hundreds of such statements you begin to realize that I am not really explaining how  four plus four equals eight, rather, I am simply stating it.  So you inquire about how four, when added to four, equals eight.  I then give answers like "Isn't just obvious that it does?  Even a child knows this!"  You keep on inquiring until I finally say "Ok, one with an intelligence greater than my own informed me that these answers are the correct answers to these problems and this being never lies, therefore, these answers are correct, thus my knowledge of addition is correct for the only way for my knowledge to be incorrect would be if these answers are false which could only be false if this being lies which he does not."

Story 2

Lets say I walk up to you and claim I have knowledge of addition and you entertain this claim and ask me to demonstrate this knowledge.  Now, I begin this demonstration be explaining what a "number" means in mathematical terms showing how terms like "one", "two", etc. refer to a specific amount of individual objects.  I then explain that the process of combining two groups of objects to make a larger group of objects is addition.  I illustrate this by picking up a handful of pebbles and counting out a group of four pebbles, putting it in a pile, then counting out another group of four pebbles and putting them in a seperate pile.  I then move the two piles together making one large pile.  Then I count the pebbles in the new pile to find out that there are now eight pebbles in this new larger pile and inform you that that this new number that results from two smaller numbers being added together is called a sum.  Although I made a passable explanation of what addition is, you are still skeptical that I have knowledge of it and ask me to add two numbers together that I could not possibly do with pebbles: 560 + 40.  I pause for a moment then say "600".  Now you are suspecting that I am either guessing, had the answer memorized, or was told it from a higher intelligence, thus cannot be able to explain how 560+40=600 and ask me to explain how I got that number.  At which point ask you "ten plus ten is 20 right?"  And you say "Yes it is."  I repeat thius process of having you add 10 to the previous sum until we get to 560.  I then repeat the process again to add 40 to 560 at which point we both end up with 600 as the total sum.  

What is important to notice between story 1 and story 2, aside from story 2 being hell of alot longer is that story 2 actually gave an explanation of what addition is whereas story 1 simply gave examples of correct answers without really explaining how the answers are correct.  What is also important to notice about story 2 is that there was no appeal to a higher intelligence of any kind, but rather, and appeal to the other person's own intellectual capacity, which, in the end, allowed the other individual to be able to understand and apply what was learned.

Now, this is not to say that there is absolutley no chance of their being a higher intelligence somewhere.  But, it does suggest that if the best explanation for how one can know what morality is "A higher intelligence gave us a bunch of rules it holds to be moral, and this being does not lie, therefore they must be moral" shows a lack of knowledge rather than actual knowledge of the concept.

" Why does God always got such wacky shit to say? . . . When was the last time you heard somebody say 'look God told me to get a muffin and a cup tea and cool out man'?" - Dov Davidoff


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People are either 'moral' or

People are either 'moral' or they're not.  Religious belief has very little to do with it.

Freedom of religious belief is an inalienable right. Stuffing that belief down other people's throats is not.


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Quote:   [MOD EDIT -

Quote:

 

[MOD EDIT - fixed links]

 

 

Why do links always work for me but not for anyone else?

Puzzled 


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Oh, BTW, the video said that

Oh, BTW, the video said that Japan, U.K, Norway and Germany had high morality compared to the U.S. I'm showing with exception of Japan, they are mainly Christian.


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Cpt_pineapple

Cpt_pineapple wrote:
Quote:

 

[MOD EDIT - fixed links]

 

 

Why do links always work for me but not for anyone else?

Puzzled

Pineapple, just be sure you do a carriage return  (press the return key) at the end of the link.  That's usually all I have to do to fix them.  Smiling

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djneibarger wrote: you

djneibarger wrote:
you could look at people like fred phelps and say that, because of his biblical based prejudice, atheists are more moral.

It’s interesting that you mention the Fred Phelps. If he (or any other fundamentalist for that matter) really believes what he preaches - that you go to hell without Jesus’ forgiveness - would it not be immoral to NOT preach that message?


Cpt_pineapple wrote:
U.K has a high religious population

This is not really true. In actually fact, the UK has a bit of a “pew problem,” so to speak.

I recall recent CoE church attendance statistics stating only 6% or there about attending church on a weekly basis. While 70% (actually only 53% now) claim to be Christian, they’re really not. Many people merely regard themselves as culturally Christian.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UK
”The UK is traditionally a Christian state, but it has become predominantly secular; only 38%[57] of the population believe in a God and 66% have no church connections.[58]. For cultural reasons, some non believers still identify themselves with a religion, perhaps explaining why 71.6% of people identified themselves as Christian in the 2001 UK Census.[59]

Christianity in the UK, however, is showing signs of decline. The Tearfund Survey[58] in 2007 revealed 53% identifying themselves as Christian, a large decrease from the 2001 census. Only 7% of people in the UK are actually practising Christians.

Cpt_pineapple wrote:
Oh, BTW, the video said that Japan, U.K, Norway and Germany had high morality compared to the U.S. I'm showing with exception of Japan, they are mainly Christian.

”Mainly Christian” only in regards to how many people CLAIM to be Christian. In terms of practicing Christians places like the UK, Germany and Norway etc are some of the least religious, Norway in particular:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norway
”In 2005, a survey conducted by Gallup International in sixty-five countries indicated that Norway was the least religious country in Western Europe, with 36% counting themselves as being religious, 9% as being atheists, and 46% neither”

"It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring" -- Carl Sagan


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I agree with Steven

I agree with Steven Weinberg.

"With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion."


wavefreak
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djneibarger

djneibarger wrote:

 

which is really a far more persuasive deterent than hell, since a christian can always go to confession or accept christ as their savior on their death bed. but you can't go to the police, confess, say 5 hail mary's, and avoid jail.

 

This would be called a plea bargain. I'll do 500 hours of community service if you don't send me to jail. I'll rat on my accomplise if you don't give me the death penalty. I'll give a million dollars to your favorite charity if you don't file that indictment. Negotiating punishment is a very human trait.


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Topher

Topher wrote:



Cpt_pineapple wrote:
U.K has a high religious population

This is not really true. In actually fact, the UK has a bit of a “pew problem,” so to speak.

I recall recent CoE church attendance statistics stating only 6% or there about attending church on a weekly basis. While 70% (actually only 53% now) claim to be Christian, they’re really not. Many people merely regard themselves as culturally Christian.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UK
”The UK is traditionally a Christian state, but it has become predominantly secular; only 38%[57] of the population believe in a God and 66% have no church connections.[58]. For cultural reasons, some non believers still identify themselves with a religion, perhaps explaining why 71.6% of people identified themselves as Christian in the 2001 UK Census.[59]

Christianity in the UK, however, is showing signs of decline. The Tearfund Survey[58] in 2007 revealed 53% identifying themselves as Christian, a large decrease from the 2001 census. Only 7% of people in the UK are actually practising Christians.

Cpt_pineapple wrote:
Oh, BTW, the video said that Japan, U.K, Norway and Germany had high morality compared to the U.S. I'm showing with exception of Japan, they are mainly Christian.

”Mainly Christian” only in regards to how many people CLAIM to be Christian. In terms of practicing Christians places like the UK, Germany and Norway etc are some of the least religious, Norway in particular:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norway
”In 2005, a survey conducted by Gallup International in sixty-five countries indicated that Norway was the least religious country in Western Europe, with 36% counting themselves as being religious, 9% as being atheists, and 46% neither”

 

You do realize I actually quoted reliable sources.

 

 

Quote:

”Mainly Christian” only in regards to how many people CLAIM to be Christian. In terms of practicing Christians places like the UK, Germany and Norway etc are some of the least religious, Norway in particular:

Ahoy thar no true scotsman! 

 


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Quote: ”The UK is

Quote:


”The UK is traditionally a Christian state, but it has become predominantly secular; only 38%[57] of the population believe in a God and 66% have no church connections.[58]. For cultural reasons, some non believers still identify themselves with a religion, perhaps explaining why 71.6% of people identified themselves as Christian in the 2001 UK Census.[59]

 MORE no true scotsman.

How many? How do you know? How do you know people in the U.S aren't doing this?  Why do only the good countries have people claiming to be Christian?

 

Quote:

Christianity in the UK, however, is showing signs of decline. The Tearfund Survey[58] in 2007 revealed 53% identifying themselves as Christian, a large decrease from the 2001 census. Only 7% of people in the UK are actually practising Christians.

The UK census gets a bigger response than some Tearfund Survey. You don't go to jail for not completing a Tearfund survey. (I think it's illegal in the UK not to complete the census. I'm pretty sure it is in Canada)

 

 


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Cpt_pineapple

Cpt_pineapple wrote:
Topher wrote:


Cpt_pineapple wrote:
U.K has a high religious population

This is not really true. In actually fact, the UK has a bit of a “pew problem,” so to speak.

I recall recent CoE church attendance statistics stating only 6% or there about attending church on a weekly basis. While 70% (actually only 53% now) claim to be Christian, they’re really not. Many people merely regard themselves as culturally Christian.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UK
”The UK is traditionally a Christian state, but it has become predominantly secular; only 38%[57] of the population believe in a God and 66% have no church connections.[58]. For cultural reasons, some non believers still identify themselves with a religion, perhaps explaining why 71.6% of people identified themselves as Christian in the 2001 UK Census.[59]

Christianity in the UK, however, is showing signs of decline. The Tearfund Survey[58] in 2007 revealed 53% identifying themselves as Christian, a large decrease from the 2001 census. Only 7% of people in the UK are actually practising Christians.”

Cpt_pineapple wrote:
Oh, BTW, the video said that Japan, U.K, Norway and Germany had high morality compared to the U.S. I'm showing with exception of Japan, they are mainly Christian.

”Mainly Christian” only in regards to how many people CLAIM to be Christian. In terms of practicing Christians places like the UK, Germany and Norway etc are some of the least religious, Norway in particular:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norway
”In 2005, a survey conducted by Gallup International in sixty-five countries indicated that Norway was the least religious country in Western Europe, with 36% counting themselves as being religious, 9% as being atheists, and 46% neither”
 
You do realize I actually quoted reliable sources.


You do realise they were outdated. Yours being 2001, mine being 2007.

Quote:
”Mainly Christian” only in regards to how many people CLAIM to be Christian. In terms of practicing Christians places like the UK, Germany and Norway etc are some of the least religious, Norway in particular:

Ahoy thar no true scotsman!

No, it isn’t. Research shows that while 53% call themselves Christian, only 38% who believe in god, and only 7% attending church. So it's reasonable to conclude that people identify themselves as Christian for cultural reasons.

Cpt_pineapple wrote:
How many? How do you know? How do you know people in the U.S aren't doing this?  Why do only the good countries have people claiming to be Christian?

Because as far as I am aware the number of people claiming to be Christian and the number of practicing Christians is a lot closer.

Cpt_pineapple wrote:
The UK census gets a bigger response than some Tearfund Survey. You don't go to jail for not completing a Tearfund survey. (I think it's illegal in the UK not to complete the census. I'm pretty sure it is in Canada)

Yes, but it is 6 years old and in those 6 years there has been a sharp decline. The Tearfund Survey is not the only source which demonstrates such a decline. The Church of England’s own church attendance figures is at 6%.

In any case, the point is not the amount of people who call themselves Christian but rather the amount of people who are practacing Christians.

"It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring" -- Carl Sagan


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I'm reading a good book

I'm reading a good book about this at the moment:

"Godless Morality: Keeping religion ou t of ethics" by Richard Holloway

I've only just started so can't give you much detail but here's a good quote from the introduction:

"just because the connection between ethics and religion has been broken, it does not follow that it is no longer possible to have ethics. It may mean that we have to discover and promote the importance of a non-religious ethic. And such an ethic could be a genuinely ecumenical ethic that appealed, in its broad principle, to people who were religious and to people without religion, to people who believed in God and to people who did not. Unless it is more important to believe that wife beaters go to hell than to stop wife beating itself, religious believers will be able to support an ethic that achieved or sought to achieve the same end, the ending of wife abuse."

I do think that reaching this kind of universal moral system would be a lot harder coming from the religious side though because you have the whole sin issue to contend with.   In another quote,

"the concept of sin essentially works on the basis of obedience rather than consent, blindly following what is commanded rather than co-operating with an end that is understood and voluntarily accepted." 

"The World is my country, science my religion" - Christiaan Huygens


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Topher wrote: You do

Topher wrote:
You do realise they were outdated. Yours being 2001, mine being 2007

 

Are you honestly suggesting that big of a drop?

 

Quote:

No, it isn’t. Research shows that while 53% call themselves Christian, only 38% who believe in god, and only 7% attending church. So it's reasonable to conclude that people identify themselves as Christian for cultural reasons.

Why lie in a census but not on a random survey? How big was their sample? In what neighbourhood?

 

Quote:
 

In any case, the point is not the amount of people who call themselves Christian but rather the amount of people who are practacing Christians.

[/quote

The title of this topic is 'Who’s more moral: theists or atheists?'

Last I check, Christians are Theists. 

 

 


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Cpt_pineapple

Topher wrote:
You do realise they were outdated. Yours being 2001, mine being 2007


Cpt_pineapple wrote:
Are you honestly suggesting that big of a drop?
Quote:


A lot has happened in the world since then? It's not surprising at all to see people turning away from religion.

Those who have stopped calling themselves religious were probably the cultural Christians.

 

"It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring" -- Carl Sagan


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Topher wrote: A lot has

Topher wrote:


A lot has happened in the world since then? It's not surprising at all to see people turning away from religion.

Those who have stopped calling themselves religious were probably the cultural Christians.

 

 My main point is that there is no correlation with religion/morality. I can point out many majority Christian nations that are moral. (Canda, France, etc...) which show my point.

 


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BTW, America is also seing a

BTW, America is also seing a decline in church attendance.