Public Policy is social agreement written down as a universal guide for social action. We at The Policy ThinkShop share information so others can think and act in the best possible understanding of "The Public Interest."

Our dying spirit and our gluttony: ‘No Religion’ on the Rise: 19.6% Have No Religious Affiliation – Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life

Our children are obese.  We all want sugar, salt and animal fat. Our diets are structurally dictated by social norms and supermarket design. Our heart is big for our country and we hate anything or anyone that does not belong.

Our hearts are clogged with fat as we await our 4th of July picnics.  Yet we want more.  Our ability to love and our confidence in our progeny is growing small.  As we have more and our children get more, somehow we all seem to have less.  In a multiple choice test today, our children would choose “a condiment or a flavor” for the word lament.  We lament and they do not understand.  They have so much and they cannot appreciate what we no longer have to give them.  We lost it along the way in our pursuit of other things.

Going to temple, church or mosque, has probably never been 100% popular in American communities.  Never. Never 100%.  Organized religion, or as philosophers say “religion as a public vs. a personal phenomenon” is now being used as a bully pulpit–mostly for social and ethnic networking purposes and increasingly for abortion, guns and even to pursue a mythical “moral majority.”

The collective and unity values that undergird any ethical and spiritual system of thought and code of behavior are increasingly absent from the American popular scene.  Ad nauseam, thinking people clamor and, ad nauseam, they think and ponder about the increasingly apparent American fabric deficits demarcated by our dying brotherhood–a brotherhood that is being replaced by cliches like: Men are from Mars and women are from Venus.  The cult of the vagina diaries is upon us.  Perhaps it has been spawned by a Geist that finds the heterosexist world we live in increasingly misogynist, misandrist (The hatred of men by women) and ultimately misanthropist. With the common denominator of hating, we are doomed to a society in which each one hates one.

Religious identity is complicated, personal and often private.

However, today, these sort of things are measured by polls.  We are now being told that belonging to a formal religion is waning in our society.  That  1 in every 5 Americans today say that they do not identify with any religion.

It is interesting to see how the baby boomers, who tore down the proverbial establishment and replaced it with some form of conspicuous consumption, will manage the current crisis in our society.  A malaise one may describe as lacking a rational and popular central value system we can say a significant majority of Americans practice.  Organized religion seems to be eroding quickly. America’s self respect and view of itself seems somewhat jumbled today by an omnipresent media establishment that caricatures America and then entertains and educates her with the productive and lucrative apparition of an America that is a cacophony of stereotypes.

Spirituality seems to be dying in America and social purpose is quietly being suffocated as we ware-out our soles chasing sustenance for our souls.

If promotion, status and in-group membership  drive our reason for connecting, where is there room or opportunity for giving or sharing?  Where is the anima to do so?

Of course, this topic is as divisive as the moment of death, when our spirit leaves our body.  Even if you are an atheist you know that  a lifeless body has no anima–spiritual or not it looses its vibrant gestalt–at minimum consciousness.

In a similar way, a community or society without anima is not really alive–look at what mathematics, power and chauvinism did for the Nazis.  Yet chauvinism is the driving force for political parties, political discourse and political groups today…  Same sex, same social class, same club, same religion, same neighborhood, same party.

So, discussions of spirituality go well beyond intellectual elitism and snobbery and their disdain for the opiate of the masses.

“The number of Americans who do not identify with any religion continues to grow at a rapid pace. One-fifth of the U.S. public – and a third of adults under 30 – are religiously unaffiliated today, the highest percentages ever in Pew Research Center polling.

In the last five years alone, the unaffiliated have increased from just over 15% to just under 20% of all U.S. adults. Their ranks now include more than 13 million self-described atheists and agnostics (nearly 6% of the U.S. public), as well as nearly 33 million people who say they have no particular religious affiliation (14%)…”

via ‘No Religion’ on the Rise: 19.6% Have No Religious Affiliation – Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.

Filed under: Blogosphere, New Electorate, News, perenting, Religion

Most Muslims in Region Reject Violence Against Civilians – Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life

The Pew Forum on Religion continues to bring us facts and figures to enlighten our view of the religious world which is often clouded by a sensationalist media and the rose colored lenses of young ambitious journalists trying to move up the career ladder or older ones stuck in yesterday’s phobias and mired in a short and myopic view of a changing modern world where the acts of the few motivate and move the masses through the loud megaphone that is our entertainment driven media establishment…. Read the Pew article and tell us what you think…

“A new Pew Research Center survey report finds high levels of concern about religious extremism among Muslims in the North Caucasus area of Russia and the neighboring Central Asian countries of Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. The survey also finds that few Muslims across the region support the use of violence against civilians in the name of Islam, though there is somewhat more support for suicide bombing and similar violence among Muslims in Kyrgyzstan than in Russia or Kazakhstan.”

via Most Muslims in Region Reject Violence Against Civilians – Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.

Filed under: access to education, Blogosphere, Changing Media Paradigm, Culture Think, Discrimination, ethnicity in politics, faith-based, ideology, International Relations, Intolerance, Mass Media and Public Opinion, News, Policy ThinkShop Comments on other media platforms, propaganda and spin, Pundits, Racism, Religion, symbolic uses of politics, WeSeeReason, , , , , , ,

Equating Islam with terrorism –

When the media feeds xenophobia, sensationalism, ethnocentrism and religious bigotry, the crazies and the extremists win.  The crazies and the extremists are such a minute minority but their acts are so big and their intentions are to cloud our judgement and make us crazy.  The media’s handling of these acts magnifies them and makes these pitiful bigots super heroes, if evil ones.  They become larger than life and feed our need to catch and conquer the proverbial boogyman.  Read the following article by a Chicago journalist for some clarity and what is happening to us every time we over state the role of religion in violent acts that are perpetrated by people who in the end are not very religious at all…

“Before we knew anything about the dead Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev, we knew that he “recently became a devout Muslim who prayed five times a day.” This piece of information was placed in the lead of an Associated Press article published as the police were still on the hunt for Tsarnaev’s younger brother and alleged accomplice, Dzhokhar.

As the day went on with increasing panic and an intensifying sense of terror emanating from television and computer screens across America, and news outlets scrambled to release sound bites and tweetable articles with any information they could scrounge up on …”

More via Equating Islam with terrorism –

Filed under: Blogosphere, Changing Media Paradigm, Community Tragedy, consumers, Crimes and Misdemeanors, Culture Think, Death and Dying, Demographic Change, Discrimination, ethnicity in politics, faith-based, ideology, Mass Media and Public Opinion, News, Policy ThinkShop Comments on other media platforms, Political Violence, propaganda and spin, Pundits, Religion, symbolic uses of politics, symbols as swords, WeSeeReason, , , , , , ,

Suddenly, They’re All Gone –

As the baby boom generation we have had all the benefits that come from the exercise craze and the health food awareness diet bonanza.  We have learned to drink skim milk, munch wholewheat bread, and eat our veggies…  Others have taken it further and have gone stock, lock and barrel into the Whole Foods, or “whole paycheck” abyss.

But it is not so much healthy living that is our biggest challenge… Perhaps it is facing mortality while seeing the previous generation die right before us… Since they were so much more likely to abuse salt, sugar and tobacco, their gerontological downfall is not pretty…  But the idea that life ends so absolutely, and that their life, perhaps, ends with relatively little meaning or impact, that kills us…  We are the baby-boomers and we learned to question everything, and we are perhaps the most spoiled generation….  If you think about black and white TV, how many toys kids got for the holidays prior to the 1960s and beyond,  you see a picture of how colorful our lives have been…. The end, however, may not have changed much for us … and when we see our loved ones leaving we have to face their mortality in a post modern world that is perhaps more complex, less spiritual and simply busy.

The Policy ThinkShop recommends the following read in the NYTs for those of us who are being forced to see and feel the inevitable end though our eyes and our nostrils…

“Caring for the old is just like parenting an infant, only on really bad acid. It’s all there: the head-spinning exhaustion, the fractured brain, the demands and smells. Only this time with the knowledge that it won’t …”

via Suddenly, They’re All Gone –

Filed under: Aging, Blogosphere, Culture Think, Death and Dying, faith-based, Health and Exercise, Health Literacy, Parenting, Religion, WeSeeReason, , , , , , ,

Pope Benedict Over the Years: News Coverage by the Numbers | Pew Research Center

No one covers religion like Pew does…  Get the facts on rapidly evolving world events now….

“Pope Benedict XVI, the spiritual leader of some 1 billion Catholics worldwide, announced on February 11 that he will retire from his post by the end of the month, citing weakness and age. It will make him the first pope to resign in 600 years.

Perhaps the most visible religious figure in the world, Pope Benedict has attracted a significant share of news coverage over the years. Since Pew Research Center began tracking the U.S. news media in 2007, the pope has been by far the central figure in mainstream religion coverage.”

via Pope Benedict Over the Years: News Coverage by the Numbers | Pew Research Center.

Filed under: Blogosphere, Religion, ,

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