Friday, December 31, 2010
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Since WWII, worship has dwindled starkly in Europe, Canada, Australia, Japan and other advanced democracies. In those busy places, only 5 or 10 percent of adults now attend church. Secular society scurries along heedlessly.
Pope Benedict XVI protested: "Europe has developed a culture that, in a manner unknown before now to humanity, excludes God from the public conscience." Columnist George Will called the Vatican, "109 acres of faith in a European sea of unbelief."
The United States seems an exception. This country has 350,000 churches whose members donate $100 billion a year. The United States teems with booming mega churches, gigantic sales of "Rapture" books, fundamentalist attacks on evolution, hundred-million-dollar TV ministries, talking-in-tongues Pentecostals, the white evangelical "religious right" attached to the Republican Party, and the like.
But under the radar, much of America slowly is following the path previously taken by Europe. Little noticed, secularism keeps climbing in the United States. Here's the evidence:
* Rising "nones." Various polls find a strong increase in the number of Americans - especially the young - who answer "none" when asked their religion. In 1990, this group had climbed to 8 percent, and by 2008, it had doubled to 15 percent - plus another 5 percent who answered "don't know." This implies that around 45 million U.S. adults today lack church affiliation. In Hawaii, more than half say they have no church connection.
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Monday, December 27, 2010
It wouldn't have done much good to get thru the road above because the other end of the road was also blocked. This is usually a 2'-3' wide river crossing.
But as you can see, it was a beautiful day for a bike ride. A little chilly, but perfect to try out my new long sleeve bike shirt. The lake is pretty high from all the recent rain, and there were several crews of guys in the park cutting up fallen trees.
We went to Karen's brother's house for Christmas dinner this year.
This is Uncle Dennis and his two daughters, Aubree and Megan.
Friday, December 24, 2010
The upper right hand corner panel reads:
Charlie Brown: Isn't there anyone who understands what Christmas is all about?
Linus: Sure, I can tell you what Christmas is all about.
Linus: December 25th is associated with the birth of many pagan gods including Mithra, Horus, Hercules, Zeus, and Sol Invictus. The Roman festival Saturnalia would also end around this time. Christianity imported many of these pagan myths and traditions into it's own customs around 400 AD.
Linus: Today Christians express outrage that Christmas is losing it's Christian roots. This is ironic since it was Christianity that hijacked the holiday in the first place to make it easier to convert new followers.
Linus: Nevertheless, it is a wonderful opportunity to share our love with friends and family, and commit acts of goodwill for those that are less fortunate. It is a time for children to revel in their innocence and wonder about the world, and adults to find their inner child.
Linus: That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.
I couldn't have said it better myself. By the way, has anyone seen my inner child???