• Only Slim Majority of Americans Believe in God of Bible, Numbers Decline Among Gen X, Millennials (pew study)

Only Slim Majority of Americans Believe in God of Bible, Numbers Decline Among Gen X, Millennials

October 2018

Although some 80 percent of Americans say they believe in God, only a slim majority of the nation’s approximately 327 million people believe in God as described in the Bible, according to results of a new study released by the Pew Research Center.

And among those younger than 50, belief in the God of the Bible drops lower than 50 percent.

…Another significant finding from the study also showed that young adults were far less likely than their older counterparts to say they believe in God as described in the Bible.

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• An Intolerance of Uncertainty is Linked to Anxiety and Depression. Here’s How to Get Better at Tolerating It by K. Wong

An Intolerance of Uncertainty is Linked to Anxiety and Depression. Here’s How to Get Better at Tolerating It by K. Wong

I find some of what follows applicable to religious thought not just to mental health (anxiety, depression).

Many Christians, those of other faiths, and even many atheists, act completely certain about topics such as religion, salvation, the after-life, or if a deity (or deities) exist.

This following page reminds me a little bit of Pete Enns’ work on the topic of certainty in Christianity:

The Sin of Certainty by Pete Enns

“The controversial evangelical Bible scholar and author of The Bible Tells Me So explains how Christians mistake “certainty” and “correct belief” for faith when what God really desires is trust and intimacy.”

I’ve become more comfortable with uncertainty over the last few years and find myself rather put-off by people who claim to understand everything perfectly, who act as though they understand why everything happens, to claim to know definitely that a God does not exist, and so forth.

Being at that level of certainty can make a person arrogant or closed-off to considering other views, or to considering that maybe their opinions or understanding of some topic or another may be incorrect.

An Intolerance of Uncertainty is Linked to Anxiety and Depression. Here’s How to Get Better at Tolerating It

Excerpts:

If you’ve ever taken a philosophy class, you’ve probably heard of the Socratic paradox: “The only thing I know is that I know nothing.”

It advocates for the benefits of uncertainty, a point of view that happens to be backed by modern psychological science, too. Namely, uncertainty “improves our decisions, promotes empathy, and boosts creativity,” says Jamie Holmes, a Future Tense Fellow at New America and author of the book, Nonsense: The Power of Not Knowing.

Likewise, a 2014 study suggests that uncertainty can also be motivating. A little uncertainty is good for you.

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• Assessing Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life by Greg Boyd

Assessing Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life by Greg Boyd

Christian theologian Greg Boyd has written a series of posts about Jordan Peterson’s views.

Peterson has become a very revered figure among certain conservative people.

I myself am conservative, and while I agree with Peterson on a topic here or there, I don’t agree with him on much of what he says about women or gender roles.

I posted previously about Peterson on my blog here.

My conclusion about Peterson is that he’s essentially the secular version of a Christian gender complementarian. He holds what appears to be many of the same views about women that gender complementarians do – which is enough for me to reject his views.

Part 10 (of 15): Who Gets To Interpret The World? by Greg Boyd

Snippets:

In my previous two posts (post 8 & post 9) I critically evaluated Peterson’s thinking on hierarchies, race and white privilege. In this post I’ll address three other aspects of Peterson’s thought that was outlined in post 5, post 6, and post 7.

On the Power of Women’s “No”

First, we’ve seen that Peterson claims that “[w]omen’s proclivity to say no [to men] more than any other force, has shaped our evolution into the creative, industrious, upright, large-brained (competitive, aggressive, domineering) creatures that we are” (41).

Because females naturally want to mate with males who are as high up on the social scale as possible, finding the bottom half to be undesirable (41), they have been the central means by which advantageous genes got passed along while disadvantageous genes were selected out.

Hence, the playing field on which men must compete for mating rites has been getting higher and higher throughout our biological and social evolution.

While I don’t dispute the research demonstrating that women are choosy maters, I’m not convinced women have always, or even usually, had the power to say “no” that Peterson ascribes to them.

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• Single People Understand Marriage Better than Married People Understand Singleness – Being Single Over the Age of 30

Single People Understand Marriage Better than Married People Understand Singleness

There is a complementarian Christian guy named “KAS” who posts at Spiritual Sounding Board blog – I rather wish he did not, but that’s another topic for another day.

KAS is one of those dopey married people who thinks single adults can never, ever understand marriage or how stressful marriage is.

And he might have a point if we’re talking about a 15 year old teen-ager – but not if we’re considering older adults who have had careers, paid bills, or been in serious relationships of their own, and I do think most of the participants at SSB blog are over 30 years of age. KAS is not being read by or commented at by 15 year old kids.

In contrast, many married Christians mistakenly think they understand adult singleness just fine. But they would be wrong.

I’d say this is especially true of married Christians who are in their 40s, 50s, or older, who got married while teens or say, by their mid-20s.

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• The Marginalization of Single Women Via The Billy Graham Rule, Fleeing the Appearance of Evil, and James Dobson

The Marginalization of Single Women Via The Billy Graham Rule, Fleeing the Appearance of Evil, and James Dobson

There is much more I could say about the Billy Graham Rule (sometimes also referred to these days as “The Mike Pence Rule”) than what I am writing about here and now, but for this post, I wanted to narrow it down a little bit.

In the context of the Bill Hybels scandal discussion, news sites and abuse survivor blogs are mentioning how mega-church preacher Bill Hybels told one of his targets that under the advice of Focus On The Family’s James Dobson, he wanted to watch some pornography movies.

So, Hybels  – who was married – asked his target, an unmarried woman staffer at his church, a Pat Baranowski, to run out and buy or rent porn, then he watched it with her while wearing nothing but a bathrobe. Baranowski also lived with Hybels and his wife in their home for approximately two years.

One of the spiritual abuse survivor blogs covering this whole ordeal is The Wartburg Watch in this post, where one of the TWW bloggers, Dee, wrote this:

James Dobson was part of the Attorney General’s Commission on Pornography in the latter half of the 1980s. Note how Hybels cleverly used something that was true to give him plausible deniability.

Mr. Hybels told Ms. Baranowski that he had been told to educate himself on the issue by James Dobson, founder of the ministry Focus on the Family, who had been appointed by President Ronald Reagan to an anti-pornography commission.

Calling it research, Mr. Hybels once instructed Ms. Baranowski to go out and rent several pornographic videos, she said, to her great embarrassment. He insisted on watching them with her, she said, while he was dressed in a bathrobe.

I am opposed to the BGR (Billy Graham Rule), for a few reasons, one of which is because it (like a lot of complementarian teachings, though side note: I don’t believe Hybels was complementarian) assumes several obnoxious things and perpetuates sexist stereotypes: it assumes that men, all men, are unable (or maybe unwilling?) to control their libidos, that all single women are sexual temptresses who have loose sexual morals and are willing to have affairs with married men.

Because of these assumptions, some Christians believe that men and women should not be alone together, especially not married men with single women.

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• Jordan Peterson Critiques and Commentary – He’s the Secular Complementarian

 Jordan Peterson Critiques and Commentary – He’s the Secular Complementarian

When anyone disagrees with anything Jordan Peterson says or writes, his fan boys – his advocates, his supporters, whatever you wish to call them (some of them are touchy about this!) – tend to react in the same way that supporters of James Damore, of Google Memo infamy react.

The moment you say on Twitter or a blog post that you disagreed with Damore’s memo about women in tech fields, invariably, you get one of these reactions:

“I bet you didn’t read the memo!”

And you reply,

“Why, yes, actually, I did read the memo.”

Then you get the next comment:

“Well, you didn’t understand it! I understood it! Stop mischaracterizing Damore or his memo!”

And you say, why yes, you understood the memo just fine, and you’re not misrepresenting it, but you still disagree with Damore’s assumptions, his use of gender stereotypes, and his premises.

And so it is with disciples of Lobster-loving Peterson.

Jordan Peterson sycophants play at the same game.

First, they will ask if you have read EVERY book or article he’s ever written.

If you have not, some of them will dismiss you out of hand.

Some will start pasting in 456,334 links to very long articles (that would take days to read) explaining Peterson or his views and expect you to read all of them.

Even if you have read Peterson’s works, or have read some material he’s written, read interviews with him in magazines, watched interviews he’s given, and so forth, the Peterson acolyte will insist you do not understand Peterson, and so, you are misrepresenting Peterson or his views (even though you are not).

This comic sums up Jordan Peterson fan boys succinctly (and it’s accurate):

Every Conversation with a Jordan Peterson Fan

I am right wing, a moderate conservative. I am not a liberal.

I’ve seen Peterson in television interviews, I’ve read some of his interviews online, I watched a video or two of him on You Tube, and I’ve read articles about him and his views.

About one of the only areas of agreement I have with Peterson is that many staff, faculty, and student bodies of many university campuses are very liberal, and they try to silence the views of conservatives who dissent from whatever the liberal talking points are.

I agree with him that this problem or situation exists, and it’s not a good thing.

I’m familiar enough with Peterson’s work and his view points on some issues to say his views strike me as sexist (I can say the same thing about Damore, but as I’ve written about Damore in the past, I’ll try to stick more to discussing Peterson here).

Here is what I’ve concluded about Peterson after reading some of his articles, comments, or listening to him in video or televised interviews:

Peterson is the secular equivalent of Christian gender complementarians.

I am an ex-complementarian, and I have no intention of jumping back into that mindset or world of ideas.

Christian gender complementarianism is nothing but sexism with a religious or biblical-sounding veneer applied to it, to make it sound as though it is God-approved and that it’s not immoral or insulting.

Based upon what I’ve been exposed to so far, here’s my understanding of Peterson’s views in regards to the biological sexes and gender roles:

Peterson seems to think that men and women are biologically programmed, since the dawn of time or the start of civilization, to want to prefer and to live out traditional gender roles, and he feels this is a good thing, that it provides structure for a culture, and women would be at their happiest and most fulfilled if they would abide by traditional gender roles.

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• How to Be Assertive – Even When You’re Constantly Talked Over by M. Welding

How to Be Assertive – Even When You’re Constantly Talked Over by M. Welding

Unfortunately, a lot of women don’t learn the assertiveness skills this article is addressing, especially not women who were (as I was) raised under Christian gender complementarianism.

Complementarianism fosters codependency mindsets and behaviors in Christian girls and women, and unfortunately tells them such passive behaviors are godly, desirable, God’s design, good, right, and feminine.

These teachings actually handicap girls and women through their lives.

Such teachings convey the message to girls and women that they should be conflict avoidant, which does them no favor, because as you get older and go through life, there will be situations when you have no choice but to deal with rude, mean, or abusive bosses, co-workers, boyfriends, etc.

Complementarianism, and similar secular belief sets taught to girls, does not adequately prepare them for adulthood.

Notice, by the way, that the solutions presented in the article (a few of which I’ve copied to my blog below) do NOT rely on the “male headship” complementarian belief, where the man gets “final say so” in a dispute merely just due to the fact he has a penis (that he’s a man).

Two adults in a dispute can compromise with one another, or find another solution that does not involve one person automatically caving in to another based on biological sex.

How to Be Assertive – Even When You’re Constantly Talked Over – by M. Welding

Some snippets from that page:

Aggressive people are hostile, adopting the “my way or the highway” stance. Passive people give up their power and are easily taken advantage of, which creates a surefire recipe for burnout and resentment.

You want to be the happy medium—an assertive person.

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