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What's the Problem with the US Today?

People, especially religious pundits of the nation, claim that all of America's problems, the decline in values, the degradation of the fabric of society, and all the failures lamented throughout chapels as well as the media, are directly due to the rejection of religion.

As a Humanist, I agree wholeheartedly.  Throughout the majority of recorded history, civilization based itself on traditional religion.  Ethical monotheism and its rituals and relations drove everything from interpersonal relations to international politics.  Traditional religions have been one of the primary factors in shaping the daily life of modern society.

However, modern society is an environment increasingly hostile to traditional religion.  Every day, advances in science seem to contradict another claim of religious history or faith.  Religion itself is more multifaceted than ever.  Christianity ranges from Mormon to the Church of the Creator.  Muslims range in affiliation from Sikh to Nation of Islam.  With all this confusion, it's not surprising that people throw up their hands and forget the whole business.  Today's hectic, commercial lifestyle is also no small factor.  Piety and reflection pale in comparison to the X-box and Britney Spears.  With all of these factors working against traditional religion, it is no surprise that religion has lost its hold on modern humans.

That leaves us with our situation today.  Human culture, so long dependent on a supernatural law-giver and law-enforcer to dictate its morality and laws, has lost its faith, and thus its dependence on the supernatural.  Many religious leaders have urged, warned, and prophesied disaster if the nation does not turn back to (his) god.  However, these religious leaders have found, and will increasingly be confronted by those who have lost their faith and have not the least desire to return to a faith-based lifestyle.  For those of us who are committed to peace, progress, and enlightenment for humanity, we must find a means to that end.  Faith has been an answer in the past, but what is the answer for those who reject faith?

Now more than ever, religion is not the silver bullet for good living.  Swearing on the Bible and reading the Ten Commandments have no meaning to one who knows that there is no god to enforce compliance.  So, the answer to improving the moral stature of the united states is to introduce secular ethics to those who reject religion.  There are many flavors, just as in theistic ethics.  Options include Unitarian Universalism, Humanism, pure philosophical ethics, Church of Freethought, and undifferentiated rationalism, skepticism, and freethought.  If we want to instill morality in society, we must speak to all of society, including those who reject traditional religion.

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I am not a vegetarian because I love animals. I am a vegetarian because I hate plants. -- A. Whitney Brown
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