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Thread: Prostitutes, evangelicals and lousy journalism

  1. #1

    Default Prostitutes, evangelicals and lousy journalism

    The Sad State of Religion in the U.S. |

    Now, according to this article, it seems that among non-christians (ie: muslims, jews, buddhists, atheists, etc), the general opinion of evangelicals ranks very low. So low in fact, that only prostitutes rank lower.

    Don't get me wrong. That sounds pretty danged funny, and I'd like to be able to absorb it as a factoid to remember when I need a laugh. But here's the problem - where the hell is this guy getting his data? From a book, which can't possibly be the actual source. What are the odds that if I go buy that book and check out his reference, I'll get a similar blurb devoid of all context? What were the other categories? Were all options other than "evangelical christian" or "prostitute" comprised entirely of categories like "astronaut", "Batman" or "Neil Patrick Harris"? If so, that's gonna throw the curve a little. Who conducted this survey? What were the survey details? What was the exact question/questions, and how was it conducted? In order to know if this guy is on the level, I need to know these things.

    As much as I really wanna rail on the guy, I know I shouldn't. It's a bit of an odd situation, really. Here's an article about something that I desperately want to be true because if so, I'd find it hysterical. But I know that it's situations like these - where I want something to be true - that I need to demand a higher standard of evidence to try to overcome my bias. So normally, I'd rip this guy apart for lousy, un-sourced writing. On the other hand, most articles of this nature wouldn't even give the lousy source this author did - I'd be lucky to get a casual mention of "a recent survey found".

    So yeah, this is just a rant on the lousy state of journalism and how our standards for quality writing have been lowered to the point where we have diminished expectations. And it made me sad, and I needed to vent a little.

    ---------- Post added at 03:00 AM ---------- Previous post was at 02:55 AM ----------

    Nevermind, just found the study that the book was referencing. At least, I think it is:

    The Barna Group - Surprisingly Few Adults Outside of Christianity Have Positive Views of Christians

    Interesting. I'll have to read over this tomorrow morning. I would have ranked "prostitutes" above politicians of any party - the prostitutes are honest about their whoring. They're also cheaper.

  2. #2


    I love the book in progress by the author of the article: "The Rise of Secular Religion in America." I would be interested in seeing him address what constitutes a "secular religion," but not interested enough to buy his book. I experienced a similar irritation today when Keith Olbermann referred to an "Atheist Manifesto," (alongside various holy texts) as if such a thing could exist without being immediately contested, even disowned, by a significant percentage of its readership.

  3. #3


    according to my bad memory of the Good Book, Jesus washed the feet of one prostitute... So ranking prostitutes lowest is not Christ-like. I thought the point of Christianity was to emulate Jesus, to be Christ-like? Like Mohammed who set all those precedents in his own life, for his followers?

    Also what happened to the exponential growth of the Mormons? When did that come to a sudden halt?

    For that matter, what of the home-grown American radicalized Moslems? Aren't they converting from atheism, Christianity and whatnot?

    Let us assume that whatever one's beliefs in one's heart of hearts, damn few (damned few, har har) Moslems actually renounce Islam officially, however many non-Mosque-going Moslems there are; renouncing Islam gets you fatwah'd by the "moral majority." Would not that mean that the net Moslem population, at least measured by equating the number of Moslems to the number of people who say they are Moslem is stable.. plus however many convert? So the Moslem population should have some net growth, no?

    Happily the cited article is justified by faith alone, and certainly not by good works.

    A guy walks into a bar in Ireland, circa 1980. A mean looking guy comes up to him and demands to know if he is Catholic or Protestant; he mumbles he wants no trouble; he is an atheist.

    Reply: So then would you be a Catholic atheist or a Protestant atheist?

    If the number of Moslems = the no. who so claim, why not for Christians? like say, Mormons? No? or some super-authority... wait... who appointed that super authority? The majority of? Themselves? I smell a recursion... or a contradiction... or something... Heisenberg says a Mormon must be half Christian and half atheist ... ... but who am I to knock that fine journalism cited by OP... clearly I am of the devil and nothing in this post can be trusted. clearly.

    Nowhere in the Bible does it explicitly state the Bible is the word of God. And the Bible is the word of God. therefore it says it aint. ha. Oh wait, the Bible can't then be the entire word of God; and there must be some extra bits that supersede what the Bible says. oops, there we go again...
    Last edited by Raccoon; 17-Aug-2010 at 11:39.

  4. #4
    Butterfly Mage


    At least prostitutes work for a living. They also deliver the goods once paid. Televangelists don't do jack s--- and still take one's money.

  5. #5


    Quote Originally Posted by Raccoon View Post
    Also what happened to the exponential growth of the Mormons? When did that come to a sudden halt?
    It never existed. It is extremely difficult to "leave" the Mormon religion, meaning kids raised in the church that leave as adults are counted in their roles. I grew up in a very Mormon area due to there being a church near our highschool, and while a lot of the kids where raised Mormon none of them stayed Mormon. I knew a lot of ex Mormon families as well. Every single one of them is still counted by the church. That fuzzy math is where the numbers come from. When you are a religion that encourages large families and you continue to count any person who ever joined the church your numbers are bound to look huge.

    A friend of mines family gets really frustrated with it because goddamn missionaries show up wanting to stay with them despite them not having been a active part of the church for years. You hate to be mean to them though because most of them are just a bunch of 18-19 year old kids who where pressured by their family and friends to do their service.

  6. #6


    I found the article very biased and poorly done.
    The guy was an Unitarian minister so it's not surprising to see him going after evangelicals, considering that the Evangelical super churches and the Unitarian Universalist Church hate each other.

  7. #7


    You raise a very good point bgi. Only recently did I respond to a post saying that I thought the source for the material was from a rag web site. Source is extremely important when backing up one's argument. When I was in college a few years ago, we could only go to edu. sites to back up our argument. I had another course where I had to refer to The Economist. If such a statement came from the New York Times or the Washington Post, I would take it a lot more seriously. Anyone can make a crackpot statement, but carrying validity with it is another matter.

    As for mainstream denominations, they have been losing membership for years, but they've been losing members to the Evangelical church. My source comes from the many articles written and discussed in my church staff meetings. The Methodist Church is only too aware of this. Recently however, there has been a backlash among younger Evangelical members. They're upset with their parent's attitudes because they have the intelligence to realize they go against the teachings of Christ and the Old Testament. Christ would forgive the sinner, including homosexuals. Gluttony is as big a sin as homosexuality. I might add here that Jerry Falwell died from his huge girth...teehee. I know, that wasn't very Christian of me, and guess what, I'm a sinner..(oh in so many ways...sigh).

    The Old Testament says we are stewards of the world. Take care of my garden. Young evangelicals have voiced concern over the destruction of our environment and are dismayed at their parents denial of global warming. There is change blowing in the wind. I had several discussions with our Methodist district superintendent over the relevancy of the church. This is perhaps the biggest reason we have lost members. I think, listening to the members here on adisc, I have become painfully aware that the modern church does not meet the needs of its younger members, neither spiritually nor socially. As a church we must find relevance. My superintendent feels that the church will eventually have a bigger membership on the internet than it will in physical buildings.

    I hope I haven't sidetracked you original intent bgi, but I think this may address part of what you might be saying. If not, it opens up an interesting door.
    Last edited by dogboy; 18-Aug-2010 at 10:51.

  8. #8


    Interesting points. I myself rarely attend church anymore, as I get nothing out of corporate worship. The socially there is almost nothing for me. I've been harassed for coming to church before, but choosing to sit out in the hall to listen to the sermon with friends, rather than in the sanctuary, where I can discuss the sermon on an intellectual level without disturbing others around me.

    And they wonder why they lose members?

    I don't go to church to hear political speech, or simple-minded, shallow lessons...ridiculously misguided views... If sermons were more like the lectures my college professors gave...I would go every single Sunday. Sunday night, too. Probably Wednesday as well.

    I've found that it isn't even really my parent's generation (50s) who are die-hard homophobes...they perhaps would vote for Prop 8, but only because they've never been stimulated to think about it, and aren't naturally geared to think about it on their own. When stimulated to think about it...often they will side with our generation.

    It is my grandparent's generation (70s, the ones currently controlling the political spectrum, essentially) who are so...infuriatingly brainwashed that they can't recognize hatred from holiness. I just have to still my tongue around my grandpa...there is simply no speaking to these people, they will not hear it. Either I've been brainwashed by liberals, or possibly possessed by a gay demon, who knows. Surely there is something wrong with me. I mean, how else could you explain the fact that I don't wish to deny basic rights to a group of people simply based on warped and misinformed religious views...and hell, even if they were perfectly, 100% sound, irrefutable, who cares. Our government is not supposed to be enforcing religious morals.

  9. #9


    Quote Originally Posted by babymace View Post
    I found the article very biased and poorly done.
    The guy was an Unitarian minister so it's not surprising to see him going after evangelicals, considering that the Evangelical super churches and the Unitarian Universalist Church hate each other.
    I wouldn't say UUs hate evangelicals. Do note I distinguish between evangelicals and the mega churches. Evangelism is a religious persuasion. Mega churches toe the line between scam and cult. That said, UUs find more common ground with evangelicals than you'd think. There are plenty of issues in the religious world that unrelated to sex and abortion. And not all evangelicals are as crazy as the pentacostals.

  10. #10
    Butterfly Mage


    I would rate a UU minister *much* higher than a fundamentalist minister. Just by my own experience, most UU ministers are looking to get the congregation to start thinking, while most fundamentalist ministers consider free-thinkers to be a threat.

    Also, although I am a Wiccan now, there was a time in my life when I was a Christian fundamentalist. My experience was that they considered my mental illness to be a sign that I lacked faith (after all, a strong Christian wouldn't develop a dissociative disorder in response to a lifetime of witheringly intense abuse at the hands of one's parents). When this fact became known, I was ejected from the particular religious institution to which I had been a member.

    That experience led me to believe that the root cause of the fundamentalist's hatred of homosexuals has very little to do with the Bible. They hate anything that isn't as THEY are. It is uniformity and conformity that they value more than goodness and kindness.

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