Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
State of the Debate
George Pyle
George Pyle has been a newspaper writer in Kansas, Utah, Upstate New York, and now Utah again, for more than 30 years - most of it as an editorial writer and columnist. Now on his second tour of duty on The Salt Lake Tribune Editorial Board, he has also done a stretch as a talk radio host, published a book on the ongoing flaws of U.S.agricultural policy and, in 1998, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing. His most active bookmarks are Andrew Sullivan, Christopher Hitchens and Tina Brown. And he still thinks the Internet can be used for intelligent conversation and uplifting ideas.

» E-mail

» Subscribe (RSS)

This weekend’s column: Religion out; civil society in ...

Above: Is Doctor Who a religion?

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

This weekend’s column. Peruse and comment.

Religion replaced by civil society — George Pyle | The Salt Lake Tribune

... A Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life survey puts the number of Americans who follow no organized religion at nearly 20 percent of the adult population, and growing. For the first time in American history, mainline Protestant churches claim the loyalty of less than half of us.

Following no organized religion does not mean that individuals do not believe in God, or a higher power. It just means they are compelled to define and follow that power on their own, being responsible for their own decisions, not outsourcing their thinking to any Earthly leader. And that should make democracy easier, not harder.

When no single religion is in a superior position of power, participants in a democracy must find another common language, the language of civil society, in which to converse. Preferred policies must be argued in terms of rational facts, because no one can simply claim it is God’s will and shut down the conversation.

Think it won’t work? It worked for Martin Luther King Jr. Yes, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., best known for his I Have A Dream Speech, 99 percent of which could have been embraced, even delivered, by the staunchest of atheists. Because it was all about America’s civil creed of equality and freedom. Because it was about man’s laws, not God’s. Because we, not our religions, are responsible for the choices we make. Or, in the case of the Pakistani Taliban, the little girls we shoot. ...

Rise of ‘nones’ huge change — Scranton Times-Tribune

... For the nation the trend is a step into historically uncharted territory that might leave voids in society beyond diminished religious practice itself.

Here’s who you aren’t seeing at church — Lauren Markoe | Religion News Service, via Springfield Journal Register

Survey: Americans overestimate Mormon, Muslim numbers — Jeanie Groh | Religion News Service, via Salt Lake Tribune

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.

  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.