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Opinion | America’s Shift Away From Religion

To the Editor:

Re “Individuals Are Shedding Their Spiritual Religion,” by Nicholas Kristof (column, Aug. 24):

Mr. Kristof writes that Individuals’ lack of religion outcomes from spiritual scandals and the dangerous habits of “charlatans” similar to Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson. The development is an issue, he argues, as a result of faith is central to our nation’s social capital. Whereas I usually share his analysis, I might add two factors.

First, Individuals are additionally changing into much less spiritual as a result of there may be zero proof to assist any of the central claims spiritual establishments make about God and the supernatural.

And second, what worries me is just not that persons are much less spiritual, however that they switch their blind religion in faith and non secular leaders to charismatic politicians like Donald Trump.

Mark Ok. Cassell
The author is a professor of political science at Kent State College.

To the Editor:

Nicholas Kristof rightly describes how Christian church buildings are shedding members. However Individuals aren’t shedding their underlying religious and non secular beliefs; they’re defining and looking for connections to “greater powers” in different methods.

Individuals are actually discovering new sources of which means, objective, hope and connections past themselves. In line with the Pew Analysis Middle, 68 % of religiously “unaffiliated” Individuals nonetheless imagine in God and 38 % pray at the least month-to-month. Many be part of and kind on-line communities of like-minded people.

Whereas Mr. Kristof decries the lack of advantages that faith has supplied, similar to “offering companionship, meals pantries” and “elevated happiness,” a few of these advantages are actually being accrued via different means.

Traditionally, Christianity and different religions have advanced over time, they usually proceed to take action. We should always acknowledge, moderately than ignore, these new shifts and the advantages they’re offering.

Robert Klitzman
New York
The author is a professor of psychiatry at Columbia College and the writer of the forthcoming e book “Physician, Will You Pray for Me: Medication, Chaplains and Therapeutic the Entire Particular person.”

To the Editor:

Nicholas Kristof’s wonderful column touches on a harmful development in American politics: the politicization of Christianity.

When america was based, references to Judeo-Christian values and quotations from the Bible littered the speeches of practically each United States politician. Thomas Jefferson edited his personal model of the Bible. However some outstanding Christians’ responses to crises such because the AIDS epidemic and Sept. 11, as Mr. Kristof identified, have left individuals disenchanted with the church.

This affiliation between the acute spiritual proper and all of Christianity is what presents the actual menace to America’s spirituality. For faith to really return to the place it previously held within the hearts of the American individuals, it should develop into bipartisan once more.

The hypocrisy of some politicians who feign religion to attain political factors could also be etched into the minds of many younger Individuals. Taking off the partisan blinders and making faith about faith once more will help erase that picture.

George Willmott

To the Editor:

Nicholas Kristof’s column “Individuals Are Shedding Their Spiritual Religion” may extra exactly be titled “Christians Are Shedding Their Spiritual Religion,” because it offers virtually solely with American Christians.

Whereas it might be true that the variety of Individuals who say that faith is “crucial” to them has declined, that statistic fails to keep in mind the various methods synagogues and mosques, and lots of church buildings as nicely, nonetheless foster a way of which means and group.

As only one instance, my synagogue, Har Shalom in Fort Collins, Colo., sponsors a robust Jewish training program for kids and adults, a extremely praised preschool and a volunteer program to assist homebound congregants, together with outreach applications to immigrants and minority teams in our metropolis.

There are spiritual communities like mine all around the nation who welcome Jews, Christians, Muslims and even agnostics who could not see themselves as deeply spiritual, however who pursue the values of affection and care which have historically been on the coronary heart of progressive American faith.

Rita Kissen
Fort Collins, Colo.

To the Editor:

Re “Bumpy Trip for San Francisco’s Driverless Taxis” (California At the moment publication,, Aug. 22):

As a mother or father and a Google Maps engineer, I’m hopeful that self-driving electrical taxis will imply safer, cleaner cities for future generations. However as a wheelchair person, I’m dismayed that the usual Waymo and Cruise automobiles on San Francisco’s streets don’t have the fundamental fold-down ramps that allow me trip alongside my youngsters.

The gee-whiz pleasure is comprehensible, however regulators like California’s Public Utilities Fee could make this second about greater than tech wizardry by requiring each for-hire automobile to have disability-inclusive options which are already normal in cities like London, like ramps, listening to loops and audio cues. They wouldn’t enable taxis with out headlights or seatbelts.

With the intention to guarantee clever automobiles are really a step ahead, we should demand that they work for everybody.

Sasha Blair-Goldensohn
New York

To the Editor:

The reviews in regards to the Fulton County Jail in Atlanta, the place former President Donald Trump and his 18 alleged co-conspirators had been booked, describe it as horribly decrepit, overcrowded and harmful, with 4 fatalities in simply the previous month.

Why aren’t Fulton County officers like District Legal professional Fani Willis and Sheriff Patrick Labat, amongst others, devoting vital time, expense and sources attempting to alleviate these terrible circumstances, as a substitute of preening for the cameras, attending political fund-raisers and different digressions?

They need to be ashamed that they’re incarcerating human beings in an surroundings that makes Rikers seem to be a summer time camp.

Marshall H. Tanick

To the Editor:

As somebody who can be a psychologist/psychoanalyst, I learn Jamieson Webster’s “The Case Towards Being a Good Particular person” (Opinion visitor essay, Aug. 27) with some dismay. Whereas sympathetic to the writer’s argument in regards to the vitality of delight, I’m troubled by the suggestion that what makes us good is just not a central difficulty for remedy.

Most individuals I see care deeply about dwelling with integrity, with the potential to look after others in ways in which matter. This seems with growing urgency with our additional descent right into a world marked by huge inequality.

Individuals in my observe additionally deliver a necessity for significant group in a time of atomization, and a longing to form causes for hope within the face of an unprocessable diploma of destructiveness towards each other and the planet.

The wrestle with what it means to be “a very good particular person” needn’t crowd out the capability to expertise pleasure; however for most individuals, pleasure is just not the only real measure of a significant life.

Rachel Kabasakalian-McKay
Bala Cynwyd, Pa.
The author is a scientific psychologist and psychoanalyst on the Institute for Relational Psychoanalysis of Philadelphia.

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