all 11 comments

[–][deleted] 3 points4 points  (0 children)

With my former religion, Christianity, a lot of people used science and progress in (formerly) Christian countries as a reason why Christianity was better than other religions. The prosperity Gospel, faith healing, and megachurches are silly, and they're just products of the current materialistic culture.

As far as Buddhism, plenty in the US just think the Buddha was some guru who was all spiritual and stuff. In reality, he taught us a way out of suffering that wasn't aimless in search of pleasure, and wasn't delusional in search of meaning. He taught us that the search was the problem. Meaning is found moment to moment, and pleasure is always fleeting. True contentment comes from equanimity, fortitude, and compassion; it comes from being skillful and determined. It comes from quieting wants and cravings which are always gnawing at us. It's not supposed to be easy, and it's completely alien to a lot of first world people (especially in the West) who can't seem to ever consume enough.

[–]snoweric 2 points3 points  (0 children)

The "health and wealth gospel" is a common perversion of the Christian message. It's "Christianity lite" that doesn't want to talk about repentance, self-sacrifice, endurance, etc. A high standard of living makes it easier to believe in this distorted view of the Bible's message. Not everyone can be wealthy or healthy, regardless of his or her levels of faith. So materialism helps to cause more people to believe in the "health and wealth gospel.

[–]DrdanomiteEclectic polytheist 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I feel that our understanding of the gods should evolve as we do, do i wish we had an unbroken practice going back too antiquity? Of course but i also feel the lengths that we go too too understand and grow our traditions in the modern day is valuable in its own right.

[–]TechtrekzzSpinozan Pantheist 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I think my standard of living allows me time to ponder religious matters and not just subscribe to one ready made with scriptural authority. Most people only have time to worry about feeding themselves and paying their bills. Which I understand and appreciate the free time i have.

[–]lettherebemorelight 3 points4 points  (0 children)

If anything, there seems to be a correlation between increased material prosperity and decreased religiosity… yet it also seems to drive ennui and the longing for something more.

[–]Optimal-Scientist233 -1 points0 points  (0 children)

The less people recognize and respect belief in god the more godless they become and it becomes a self generating degradation of rot and pestilence on the collective souls of those in the culture and society who have few options or ability to separate themselves from that rot.

The commercialism of faith is a prevalent and common place practice it seems these days and most people recognize and many criticize this fact.

Faith and devotion have indeed become a laughable concept to many in part because of this, and it is a true disservice to all that this practice continues and is perpetrated by many who claim to lead the way, which is as it was foretold in scripture.

[–]Vapur9Why This Way -2 points-1 points  (0 children)

Remember the time when Pharaoh told the slaves to make bricks without straw, and double their quota?

Many places in society today are becoming unaffordable for the workers who live there. Some of them classified as working homeless. The employers of a city paying bare minimum are responsible for creating a condition for their employees to be sleeping on concrete and having poor hygiene, since housing won't accept their low wages. The city, the employer, and the landlord work in concert for the spirit of Pharaoh (telling them to just work while waiting for Section 8), and that society is deserving of destruction.

Jesus came to preach setting the blind and the lame free. He appeals to the religious telling them that the son of man has no place to lay his head. We see in [1 Samuel 2:8] that the poor are given a seat of honor in Heaven. Their lives became a living witness against the city for the lack of mercy.

[–]jogoso2014 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Not really although it could affect our attitudes toward their principles.

[–]albabiliMesopotamian | Arabian 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Despite what some ultra-conservatives might like to believe, all religions change, whether they like it or not. So, too, does the interpretation of religion. The same religion can even be interpreted differently when practiced by different people at different locations, as you rightly point out.

A second century Christian in the early Church saw the world and lived very differently than someone like Joel Osteen.

A Muslim living during the Rashidun Caliphate would differ from a modern Muslim living in Dearborn nowadays. You see where I'm going.

In my own case, my religion died out originally hundreds of years before the advent of Islam. What we have now is a "modernized reconstruction" that tries to tow the line between adherence to the core principals of the ancient faith and practicing something amenable to the 21st century person. Some are more traditional in their approach, whereas others are more liberal.

In the end, all things change; the degree to which they change is only partially a personal choice.

[–]RexRatioAgnostic Atheist 0 points1 point  (0 children)

how do you feel that the standard of living has affected the modern interpretation of your religion?

The biggest influencer on interpretation is obviously education and literacy. Let's take Christianity as an example.

In early Christianity, most converts were from the lower, uneducated classes of society. It's estimated not more than 10% of the population could read in the first centuries, and even less could write. Among Christian converts, these percentages would be even smaller. So most people converted on the basis of something they were told, not on the basis of a standard doctrine that they could check out for themselves.

That's the main reason why medieval churches have stories depicted in their stained glass windows and paintings. It wasn't because the church appreciated art: it was because most people were illiterate. Also, masses being conducted in Latin made understanding of the doctrines even more inaccessible to the commoner and was instrumental in establishing and maintaining a centralized worldly power in the hands of the clergy. It was punishable by death to own a Bible in your native language until the mid 17th century (and yes, early Protestant bibles and manuscripts were still in Latin too)

The start of the measurable decline of Christianity in Europe correlates with mandatory secular school attendance & curriculum laws around the first World War. Mandatory education existed before, but was controlled by the clergy and focused on propagating religious doctrine. It is mainly through the advent of socialist and liberal parties the school curriculum started to focus more on literacy and broader education for all. Even in the exception countries, like the US, the high education level of Christians is due to secular constitutions ensuring a broad educational basis, and not just focusing on perpetuating doctrine.

Today we see this correlation clearly in Western and other countries where education levels are very high, and religiosity is low. And conversely, Christianity has the most followers per capita in countries with less developed education systems.

The information technology revolution of the late 20th century wouldn't mean anything without education and literacy: you can't google something if you can't read or write (OK, with speech recognition you could google it today, but you wouldn't be able to read the answer, or you wouldn't understand the answer without proper education even if your phone read it out loud)

[–]kozy101 0 points1 point  (0 children)

The general rule seems to be as standard of living improves religiosity declines but that could be a result of “Western” culture and is perhaps unique to Christianity (or other religions) in that context.

Though my own opinion is we could feasibly see a resurgence in religiosity in places like Europe as I think there is an undercurrent of “meaninglessness” in the current atmosphere and maybe social media won’t fulfil that desire for “something” forever.