AP: What’s your religion? In US, a common reply now is “None”; COGwriter: Atheism is a denial of science

REM song cover


The Associated Press posted the following:

What’s your religion? In US, a common reply now is “None”

December 14, 2021

Nathalie Charles, even in her mid-teens, felt unwelcome in her Baptist congregation …

After leaving her New Jersey church three years ago, she identified as atheist, then agnostic, before embracing a spiritual but not religious life. In her dorm, she blends rituals at an altar, chanting Buddhist, Taoist and Hindu mantras and paying homage to her ancestors as she meditates and prays.

The path taken by Charles places her among the religiously unaffiliated — the fastest-growing group in surveys asking Americans about their religious identity. They describe themselves as atheists, agnostics or “nothing in particular.”

According to a survey released Tuesday by the Pew Research Center, this group — commonly known as the “nones” — now constitutes 29% of American adults. That’s up from 23% in 2016 and 19% in 2011.

“If the unaffiliated were a religion, they’d be the largest religious group in the United States,” said Elizabeth Drescher, an adjunct professor at Santa Clara University who wrote a book about the spiritual lives of the nones. https://apnews.com/article/lifestyle-religion-0722d2f1484d38163d75b32b6f095ddf

REM had a hit with a song in 1991 titled Losing My Religion. It reached number 4 on the Billboard charts. Throughout the years, I have thought about that when various ones fell away from the truth (see The Falling Away: The Bible and WCG Teachings).

Here is some comments published in The Atlantic about one view why the USA has become less religious:

Three Decades Ago, America Lost Its Religion. Why?

Deep into the 20th century, more than nine in 10 Americans said they believed in God and belonged to an organized religion, with the great majority of them calling themselves Christian. That number held steady—through the sexual-revolution ’60s, through the rootless and anxious ’70s, and through the “greed is good” ’80s.

But in the early 1990s, the historical tether between American identity and faith snapped. Religious non-affiliation in the U.S. started to rise—and rise, and rise. By the early 2000s, the share of Americans who said they didn’t associate with any established religion (also known as “nones”) had doubled. By the 2010s, this grab bag of atheists, agnostics, and spiritual dabblers had tripled in size. …

What … happened around 1990?

According to Christian Smith, a sociology and religion professor at the University of Notre Dame, America’s nonreligious lurch has mostly been the result of three historical events: the association of the Republican Party with the Christian right, the end of the Cold War, and 9/11.

This story begins with the rise of the religious right in the 1970s. Alarmed by the spread of secular culture—including but not limited to the sexual revolution, the Roe v. Wade decision, the nationalization of no-fault divorce laws, and Bob Jones University losing its tax-exempt status over its ban on interracial dating—Christians became more politically active. The GOP welcomed them with open arms. … But it disgusted liberal Democrats, especially those with weak connections to the Church. It also shocked the conscience of moderates, who preferred a wide berth between their faith and their politics. …

Second, it may have felt unpatriotic to confess one’s ambivalence toward God while the U.S. was locked in a geopolitical showdown with a godless Evil Empire. In 1991, however, the Cold War ended. As the U.S.S.R. dissolved, so did atheism’s association with America’s nemesis. After that, “nones” could be forthright about their religious indifference, without worrying that it made them sound like Soviet apologists.

Third, America’s next geopolitical foe wasn’t a godless state. It was a God-fearing, stateless movement: radical Islamic terrorism. A series of bombings and attempted bombings in the 1990s by fundamentalist organizations such as al-Qaeda culminated in the 9/11 attacks. It would be a terrible oversimplification to suggest that the fall of the Twin Towers encouraged millions to leave their church, Smith said. But over time, al-Qaeda became a useful referent for atheists who wanted to argue that all religions were inherently destructive. 09/26/19 https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/09/atheism-fastest-growing-religion-us/598843/

Since shortly after World War II, the USA was in a cold war with the officially atheist Soviet Union.

Many feared nuclear war and destruction.

But when the Berlin wall came down and the Soviet Union collapsed, that antagonist became basically irrelevant.

However, this did not just affect the USA in general. In my view, it also affected people who were, at least partially, in the old Worldwide Church of God for reasons related too much towards escapism.

Right after the Berlin wall fell in November 1989, I was asked to give the closing prayer at WCG church services in Fresno, California. In that prayer, I mentioned that we were witnessing prophecy being fulfilled right before our eyes. One of the reasons that I stated that was because many in that congregation seemed to be losing their zeal and belief about Bible prophecy. They did not seem to see the prophetic significance of what was happening. Many who once were believers, no longer loved the law of God. Some even became scorners (Psalm 1). A major falling away was occurring (see also The Falling Away: The Bible and WCG Teachings).

People, in and out of the Church of God, had less respect for the entire Bible.

This includes one-time WCG members who did not repudiate many of their original beliefs, but instead who basically did not consider prophecy that important and/or who are now holding to prophetic beliefs that are clearly in error (for details, see Do You Hold to these Laodicean Prophetic Errors?). The bulk of Christians were or became Laodicean (see also The Laodicean Church Era). Those who understand church eras, also understand that the Laodiceans were prophesied to be the bulk of the Christians in the end times. And that has happened. They think because they did not actually lose their religion, they are fine. Jesus, however, said otherwise in Revelation 3:14-22 (see also The Laodicean Church Era).

As far as for those who consider themselves COG and unaffiliated, most of them are either Laodicean or confused. My prayer is that they will diligently seek the truth and support the Continuing Church of God as we lead the Philadelphian remnant. As far as being unaffiliated goes, Herbert W. Armstrong wrote about being “independent”–he opposed that. Here is a link to something about that: Independent/Unaffiliated: Independent Members of the COG: Herbert W. Armstrong Comments, Plus Questions and Answers .

Getting back to the article in The Atlantic, it also had the following:

The deeper question is whether the sudden loss of religion has social consequences for Americans who opt out. Secular Americans, who are familiar with the ways that traditional faiths have betrayed modern liberalism, may not have examined how organized religion has historically offered solutions to their modern existential anxieties. …

Reconciling the overwhelming sense of life’s importance with the universe’s ostensible indifference to human suffering is hard.

Although belief in God is no panacea for these problems, religion is more than a theism. It is a bundle: a theory of the world, a community, a social identity, a means of finding peace and purpose, and a weekly routine. Those, like me, who have largely rejected this package deal, often find themselves shopping à la carte for meaning, community, and routine to fill a faith-shaped void. Their politics is a religion. Their work is a religion. Their spin class is a church. And not looking at their phone for several consecutive hours is a Sabbath.

Well, as far as “existential anxieties” go, the world does not even know the why of existence. Going further away from the Bible makes it even harder. Yet, even most Christians do not really understand why God made anything. Those who want biblically-based explanations to ‘why,’ can check out the free draft of the online book: The MYSTERY of GOD’s PLAN Why Did God Create Anything? Why did God make you?

As far as some of the “social consequences” of Americans more and more abandoning biblical teachings, this has led to a rise in the acceptance of even more sexual immorality, like aspects of the LGBTQ agenda.

The Bible not only strongly condemns that LGBTQ agenda, it states that those who remain part of it will not be in God’s kingdom (1 Corinthians 6:9-10). The Bible also says it is wrong to approve people being part of such sexually immoral lifestyles (Romans 1:18-32). And says such acceptance will end in destruction (Romans 1:18-32′ 2 Peter 2:6; Jude 7).

As far as the Protestant world goes, the gap between the ‘liberals’ and ‘conservatives’ is increasing as The Atlantic suggested.

Some liberals accept the interfaith agenda and some conservatives accept the ecumenical agenda. Music, which The Atlantic article did not mention, also has played a role in this. At this COGwriter Church of God News page related to music, I have warned about Hillsong and its ecumenical-interfaith agenda (before Marty Sampson left it). Essentially according to Hillsong all religions are about the same. Related to that, the Continuing Church of God put out the following sermon on its ContinuingCOG channel:


Musical instruments were mentioned in the Book of Genesis. Music is present all over in the 21st century. How does music affect the mind and body? Is it okay to listen to music? Should lyrics matter? Are there biblical principles to consider related to music? Can Christians listen to secular music? Is harp music always good? Is “Contemporary Christian Music” biblically appropriate? Has money overly influenced the “Christian music industry”? What is the Pentecostal ‘latter rain’? What about songs about heaven? Do groups like Hillsong promote the gospel of the kingdom or a false gospel message? Has there been an ongoing attempt to promote an ecumenical message in what has been called “gospel” or “Christian” music? How can you tell a real Christian from a false one? What type of songs did early Christians sing? Did the old Worldwide Church of God fall because of its 1974 hymnal? Are psalms and songs in “The Bible Hymnal” of the Continuing Church of God consistent with the practices of original Christians? Dr. Thiel addresses these and more!

Here is a link to the sermon: Music, Hillsong, and the False Gospel.

Partially because of the ecumenical agenda, it is no great surprise that in the mind of people like Marty Sampson, his perception is that his type of Christianity was just another of the world’s religions. Related to that, the Continuing Church of God (CCOG) put together the following video on our Bible News Prophecy YouTube channel:


In the Summer of 2019, two well known Protestants announced that they had lost their religion. One, Joshua Harris, who was known for his books on dating and marriage, also announced he was getting a divorce and then he endorsed homosexual marriage and other aspects of the LGBTQ agenda. The other, Martin Sampson, who was known for his writings and connections to the Hillsong church, laid out his criticisms of his Protestant faith–he said he wanted genuine truth? Is science or the word of God the source of truth? Were either of these Protestant men “true Christians”? Have they overlooked various proofs? Were there scriptures that they overlooked? If you wish to be a true and faithful Christian, are there instructions in God’s word that if you follow you will never stumble or lose the true religion? Dr. Thiel addresses these issues and more.

Here is a link to the sermonette: Losing Religion (and HOW NOT TO!).

As far as atheism goes, it is not scientific. Related to it and Christianity, here is information and a link to our latest sermon:


Should Atheists Accept Jesus?

Is there enough historical, scientific, and prophetic proof that even atheists should accept Jesus as Savior and Messiah? What about the use of mathematics? Did Jesus fulfill over 200 Hebrew prophecies written in the Old Testament? Did Jesus make predictions that were fulfilled outside of the New Testament? Do Jewish and other non-Christian historical sources affirm events in the New Testament about Jesus? What about atheist Richard Dawkins’ book “The God Delusion.” Do the writings of Dr. Raphael Lataster contradict his book titled “There was no Jesus, there was no God”? Can you have certainty that Jesus was the prophesied Messiah? Why is that important to know? Can God save atheists who repent? Dr. Thiel addresses these issues and more in this sermon.

Here is a link to the sermon: Should Atheists Accept Jesus?

Atheism is a denial of science. It is also illogical. For more on that, see our free online booklet: Is God’s Existence Logical?

Anyway, the USA is more and more losing ties to biblical morality. This is having major social consequences now. And, without national repentance, the USA will relatively soon be destroyed (cf. Daniel 11:39; watch also Is the USA prophesied to be destroyed by 2028?). The same is true for its British-descended allies (cf. Hosea 11:3a, 5b-7; Daniel 8:24-25; Isaiah 17:3).

But even if your nation will not repent you can.

Instead of losing your religion or being lukewarm (Laodicean), you can become an ambassador for the Kingdom of God (see also the free online books Christians: Ambassadors for the Kingdom of God, Biblical instructions on living as a Christian and Is God Calling You?).

Those who believe that the USA will survive its turn more towards atheism and away from the Bible are in error.

Some items of related interest may include the following:

Is God’s Existence Logical? Is it really logical to believe in God? Yes! Would you like Christian answers to give atheists? This is a free online booklet that deal with improper theories and musings called science related to the origin of the origin of the universe, the origin of life, and evolution. Here is a link to a related sermon: Evolution is NOT the Origin of Life. Two animated videos of related interest are also available: Big Bang: Nothing or Creator? and A Lifegiver or Spontaneous Evolution?
Independent/Unaffiliated: Independent Members of the COG: Herbert W. Armstrong Comments, Plus Questions and Answers What did Herbert W. Armstrong teach about being independent of the organized Church? Should independents who claim to accept Herbert W. Armstrong’s teachings support the end time Philadelphian work? Here is a link to a related sermon: Church of God Unity. Watch also Zephaniah’s ‘Gather Together’ Prophecy.
The Falling Away: The Bible and WCG Teachings Who is 2 Thessalonians 2:3 referring to? Are there multiple falling aways? Here is a related link in Spanish/español: La Apostasía: Enseñanzas de la Biblia y de la WCG. There are also two YouTube videos on the subject that you can watch The Falling Away Part 1: From the Bible and Church History and The Falling Away Part 2: Positions Presented by Others.
Who is the Man of Sin of 2 Thessalonians 2? Is this the King of the North, the ten-horned beast of Revelation 13:1-11, or the two-horned Beast of Revelation 13:12-16? Some rely on traditions, but what does the Bible teach? Here is a related link in Spanish/español: ¿Quién es el Hombre de Pecado de 2 Tesalonicenses 2? Here is a version in Mandarin: N;ÿ Œf/’Y’jNº’ÿ Here is a link to a related English sermon video titled: The Man of Sin will deceive most ‘Christians’.
Christians: Ambassadors for the Kingdom of God, Biblical instructions on living as a Christian This is a scripture-filled booklet for those wishing to live as a real Christian. A related sermon is also available: Christians are Ambassadors for the Kingdom of God.
5. The Sardis Church Era was predominant circa 1600 A.D. to circa 1933 A.D. Discusses early history of the Seventh Day Baptists, Seventh-day Adventists, and COG-7th Day.
6. The Philadelphia Church Era was predominant circa 1933 A.D. to 1986 A.D. The old Radio Church of God and old Worldwide Church of God, now the remnant of that era is basically the most faithful in the Church of God, like who hold to the beliefs and practices of the Continuing Church of God.
7. The Laodicean Church Era has been predominant circa 1986 A.D. to present. The Laodiceans are non-Philadelphians who mainly descended from the old WCG or its offshoots. They do not properly understand the work or biblical prophecies and will face the Great Tribulation if they do not repent. One video of related interest is 17 Laodicean Errors in Prophecy. See also Do You Hold to these Laodicean Prophetic Errors?
Do You Hold to these Laodicean Prophetic Errors? Most real Christians in the last days are Laodicean and hold to prophetic errors which, unless they repent, will prevent them from being protected from the coming Great Tribulation.
Music and the False Gospel of Ecumenical Music Has popular ‘Christian’ music been promoting a false ecumenical gospel? Shouldn’t Christian unity be promoted? Here is a link to a related sermon: Music, Hillsong, and the False Gospel.
Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God Differs from Protestantism The CCOG is NOT Protestant. This free online book explains how the real Church of God differs from mainstream/traditional Protestants. Several sermons related to the free book are also available: Protestant, Baptist, and CCOG History; The First Protestant, God’s Command, Grace, & Character; The New Testament, Martin Luther, and the Canon; Eucharist, Passover, and Easter; Views of Jews, Lost Tribes, Warfare, & Baptism; Scripture vs. Tradition, Sabbath vs. Sunday; Church Services, Sunday, Heaven, and God’s Plan; Seventh Day Baptists/Adventists/Messianics: Protestant or COG?; Millennial Kingdom of God and God’s Plan of Salvation; Crosses, Trees, Tithes, and Unclean Meats; The Godhead and the Trinity; Fleeing or Rapture?; and Ecumenism, Rome, and CCOG Differences.
Universal OFFER of Salvation, Apokatastasis: Can God save the lost in an age to come? Hundreds of scriptures reveal God’s plan of salvation Will all get a fair chance at salvation? This free book is packed with scriptures showing that God does intend to offer salvation to all who ever lived–the elect in this age, and the rest in the age to come. Here is a link to a related sermon series: Universal Offer of Salvation 1: Apocatastasis, Universal Offer of Salvation 2: Jesus Desires All to be Saved, Mysteries of the Great White Throne Judgment (Universal Offer of Salvation part 3), Is God Fair, Will God Pardon the Ignorant?, Can God Save Your Relatives?, Babies, Limbo, Purgatory and God’s Plan, and ‘By the Mouth of All His Holy Prophets’.
Cross-dressing and other assaults against your children. What should you do? Is there an agenda to turn your children and/or grandchildren away from biblical morality and towards practices promoted by homosexuals? What does the Bible teach about cross-dressing? What should parents do? If there is an agenda, what has been going on? There are also three YouTube videos related to this, titled Transgender ‘Woe to those who call evil good’ and Cross dressing and Other Assaults Against Your Children and USA pushing gender confusion.
The Bible Condemns Homosexuality “Same-sex marriage” for “gays” and lesbians is becoming more acceptable to many. What does the Bible teach about homosexuality and the LGBTQ agenda? Can homosexuals change? A related video sermon is titled: What Does the Bible Really Teach about Homosexuality?
Pornography: A scourge on society Is pornography harmless fun? Does the Bible teach anything about it? What are the views of some involved with it? A related sermons is titled: Pornography, False Comfort, and False Religion. Here a shorter YouTube video Pornography: Harmless Fun or a Scourge on Society?
Might the U.S.A. Be Gone by 2028? Could the USA be gone by the end of 2028 or earlier? There is a tradition attributed to the Hebrew prophet Elijah that humanity had 6,000 years to live before being replaced by God’s Kingdom. There are scriptures, writings in the Talmud, early Christian teachings that support this. Also, even certain Hindu writings support it. Here is a link to a related video: Is the USA prophesied to be destroyed by 2028? In Spanish: Seran los Estados Unidos Destruidos en el 2028?
Is God Calling You? This booklet discusses topics including calling, election, and selection. If God is calling you, how will you respond? Here is are links to related sermons: Christian Election: Is God Calling YOU? and Predestination and Your Selection. A short animation is also available: Is God Calling You?
Christian Repentance Do you know what repentance is? Is it really necessary for salvation? Two related sermons about this are also available: Real Repentance and Real Christian Repentance.
The MYSTERY of GOD’s PLAN Why Did God Create Anything? Why did God make you? This free online book helps answers some of the biggest questions that human have.

Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?

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