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Old 08-24-2013, 05:35 AM
 
Location: Northeastern US
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hiker45 View Post
What's more, we keep getting better and better. We have less racial separation than we used to, gay people are more accepted, and women have many more activities open to them. Our country is much better than it used to be.
Well, as Churchill said, "you can count on Americans to do the right thing once all other options are exhausted". It's just that sometimes we seem to actively look for more wrong-headed excuses to make fools of ourselves. The recent repeal of much of the Voting Rights Act and the near-instantaneous response of dozens of states to restrict voting rights in ways that disproportionately impact minorities is a shining example. Sometimes I seriously want to move to live-and-let-live Canada, despite the arctic climate. If I were young, knowing what I know now, I might well put down roots someplace like Denmark or Norway.

Yet if I said anything resembling this in meatspace I would be shamed by the "my country right or wrong" crowd. American exceptionalism permeates everything here.

America is not without its charms and I was grateful to be home after a couple of weeks abroad recently but between the above-mentioned characteristics of this country and its odd ability to nurture every crackpot form of Christian fundamentalism, which cost me the best years of my life, I am no longer starry-eyed about it either.
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Old 08-24-2013, 07:52 AM
 
Location: Sitting beside Walden Pond
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SeekerSA View Post
How about we discuss the folklore differences?
OK, what difference do you want to discuss?
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Old 08-25-2013, 05:08 AM
 
Location: South Africa
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hiker45 View Post
OK, what difference do you want to discuss?
The reasons why America appears to gone off on a different tangent to other European settler type lands. I can only speculate and do appreciate your brutal honesty concerning the US.

The one example I can share is the predominant religion here was very much linked to the original Dutch Reformed Church and derivatives thereof. I grew up in the then Rhodesia and that was predominantly Church of England. Both countries do not exhibit similar folklore to the US. The DRC and CoE both are early reformists from the RCC yet their doctrines and practices not that different. Both practice infant baptism and both adhere to the Nicene creed, the one that excludes the Pope as infallible and the RCC. Neither venerate Mary nor have too much iconography other than a simple symbol of an empty cross. My early exposure to both never hinted that much as the US to pagan concepts.

Amongst the white folk, there was no witch hunts nor vampire folklore that I am aware of, neither are there too many UFOlogists. Even the churches here did not appear to push the rapture doctrines, you pretty much have to die here to meet gawd.

OK that should be enough prompters, we do have about the same make up of various European settlers except here the Dutch/Germanic cultures were the majority but only just. We had the Boer war which was similar to your war against the Brits.
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Old 08-25-2013, 07:00 AM
 
Location: Northeastern US
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Well, some miscellaneous facts to ponder:

1) 60% of Americans say that religion "plays an important role" in their lives, vs 33% in Britain, 27% in Italy and 21% in Germany. Among Wealthy Nations | Pew Global Attitudes Project

2) On the other hand, only 9% of Americans say that religion is "the most important thing" in their lives, compared with 45% for family and 17% money / career (2008). Poll Shows that Only a Few Americans Consider Religious Faith an Important Part of Life | Voices from Russia

3) Depending on what poll you want to believe, belief in god is roughly 80 to 92%, although if asked more specifically about belief in a "personal god" it's more like 70%. I'm not sure how this compares with other countries offhand.

4) About 41% of Americans "regularly attend" religious services, vs 15% of French, 10% of UK and 7.5% of Aussies.

5) Self-identified atheists / agnostics have risen from 8.2% of the US population in 1990 to 15.0% in 2008. http://b27.cc.trincoll.edu/weblogs/A...eport_2008.pdf

I wonder if much of the answer to SA's question isn't related to (4) above. It seems we Americans take what religion we have far more seriously and have far more ego invested in it than most other Western countries.
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Old 08-25-2013, 07:19 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AREQUIPA View Post
The problem is that there is a difference between being free and doing whatever the heck you like, and never mind anyone else. And there is a difference between having a belief, no matter how whacky, and wanting to have everyone else believe it, too, and yet another difference between teaching people something with some credible scientific support and teaching people something with virtually none.
Freedoms come with assumed boundaries.

That is, if everyone knew that stealing was wrong, and you could trust objects left behind to stay there, there would be no laws or penalties for it. This is what freedom is, an assumption we can be responsible, therefore we can be trusted as adults rather than be treated like elementary students.

Knowing that other people don't wanna have Primitive Baptist lesson about "only dunking not sprinkling" forced down their throats, and being able to back off from rampant pushiness is key. Notice that the army tells you "freedom isn't free" as they try to coerce you into conscripting yourself?

Freedom is free. It's a matter of respecting boundaries, and making others aware of them. Example, I have a 3 year old nephew that takes/throws things. If he didn't do that, would his mother have to scream at him for it? If he didn't do it to me (grabbing a book I'm reading for instance), I wouldn't get mad at him for it either. Because all crimes that are legit have an actual victim (if he owned the toys he was throwing outright, he could throw them all day and say to anyone involved "this is my toy, I can do what I want with it", and he'd be right).

Last edited by bulmabriefs144; 08-25-2013 at 07:34 AM..
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Old 08-25-2013, 09:08 AM
 
Location: South Africa
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mordant View Post
4) About 41% of Americans "regularly attend" religious services, vs 15% of French, 10% of UK and 7.5% of Aussies.

5) Self-identified atheists / agnostics have risen from 8.2% of the US population in 1990 to 15.0% in 2008. http://b27.cc.trincoll.edu/weblogs/A...eport_2008.pdf

I wonder if much of the answer to SA's question isn't related to (4) above. It seems we Americans take what religion we have far more seriously and have far more ego invested in it than most other Western countries.
Not really the direction I want to go but I will indulge with some comparisons here.

The census figure are strangely identical to the US round about 78% xian. The number of attendees way sown though. Regular attendance is also a bit ambiguous as that could be anything from once a week to once a month. In my hick town, the capacity is only about 3.6% pew space and the actual regulars in the area of about 2-3%. It was higher in the 80s. There seems to be a correlation to the US that the regulars are the Boomer generation. I would hazard a guess this could well be extrapolated to the cities.

We also do not have a huge atheist movement here as we really never had that much of an issue with church and state even though the previous regime did implement blue laws, many of which still stand to a degree. For example, the Walmart type shops that sold malt and wine had to have that area gated off for Sunday shoppers and no one could buy that on Sundays, that has relaxed now. We have huge retailers in the cities that have a separate bottle store section and I have seen them open on Sundays. When I stayed in Rhodesia, hotels had off sales where you could buy alcohol at a premium price on Sundays, till about 11pm at night weekdays and so on.

The evangelicals and pentecostals here all have ties to the US and they are a fringe minority of the believers. It was these types that were the most vocal when SSM and abortion laws were passed. We do not have planned parenthood but we have clinics in most towns that supply BC methods free, I do not think abortions are free and that seems to be a paid for industry but I think medical insurance covers this, that being private for the most part.

The only city in SA where these figures may parallel the US is Port Elizabeth. There was an issue there where public busses sporting xian slogans (Port Elizabeth for Jesus) were forced to have them removed, these are state sponsored services and is as far as I can remember the only head to head the atheists and christians ever had. The shops there tend to be mostly closed Sundays apart from the likes of Wimpys and other chains. It also appears to be the only place we hear of gay pride parades.

We also do not seem to have the same issues as the states wrt xmas and decorations and the like. Streets are lit up in the cities, parks sport displays from mangers to other Disney type/nursery rhymes displays. Back in my home town, the main park there had the obligatory manger display surrounded by other fairy stories kids would have been familiar with. There were carols by candlelight.

A difference I noticed is that here, the evangelical types tend to shun the xmas festivities, they do not even decorate their own premises and is considered a "worldly affair" not xian. Halloween is not really celebrated here but some folk have haloween party themes, definitely no trick or treating.

It does seem there is a much larger RCC influence in the states than what we have this side of the pond.

We can safely crack religious jokes here and no one gets overly offended.

We occasionally hear of some remote area and someone claims aliens but they really do not get much traction here. IOW, we do not have an area 51 equivalent that spawned so many conspiracy theories. If these folk get airtime on the radio, they are mostly ridiculed by the talk show's host.

Perhaps it is fallout from all those nuclear tests they had in the 40s and 50s
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Old 08-25-2013, 08:35 PM
 
Location: Sitting beside Walden Pond
4,609 posts, read 4,119,851 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SeekerSA View Post
The reasons why America appears to gone off on a different tangent to other European settler type lands.
I thought about this a good deal, and I really have no answer. The main thing is that we are happy being just the way we are.

Other countries can try to understand us and learn to deal with us as best they can.


Quote:
Originally Posted by SeekerSA View Post
The shops there tend to be mostly closed Sundays apart from the likes of Wimpys and other chains.
Do you really have stores named 'Wimpys'? To an American, that is about the worst name I can think of.
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Old 08-26-2013, 07:08 AM
 
4,456 posts, read 3,712,374 times
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America is not without its charms and I was grateful to be home after a couple of weeks abroad recently but between the above-mentioned characteristics of this country and its odd ability to nurture every crackpot form of Christian fundamentalism, which cost me the best years of my life, I am no longer starry-eyed about it either.
Well you know if you are 'starry-eyed' about America then I'd say you are naive but I can see you're certainly much smarter than that. I don't consider myself an 'in-your-face American apologist but I live here and intuitively know my country. The foundations of the country do lie in 'freedom' and that lets that crackpot fellow go on his mission. Personally, that's the way it works around here. Looking at other countries and history, the alternative can soemtimes be worse. America, of course, isn't perfect but our country tries to slog through the concept of 'freedom' and what it takes to uphold.
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Old 08-26-2013, 07:46 AM
 
Location: Dallas
242 posts, read 197,399 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hiker45 View Post
Do you really have stores named 'Wimpys'? To an American, that is about the worst name I can think of.
Hate to tell you this, but we have em in the US too (we used to anyway); Wimpy was Popeye's hamburger-eating buddy. "I'll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today"

*edit* yep ...We still have them here in Dallas. They're a pretty large worldwide chain originating in the UK.

Last edited by greaemonkey; 08-26-2013 at 08:12 AM.. Reason: addition
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Old 08-26-2013, 08:49 AM
 
Location: South Africa
5,563 posts, read 6,326,744 times
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I thought they originated in the US. We have most of your franchises here, Wimpy is one of the better ones esp their breakfasts and they are pretty consistent nationwide. They generally do not go bang either, pretty good investment if you can afford the franchise.

Oh well there is another commonality of the modern era, we seem to have the same junk food chains

Still curious why all the witches and vampires went to the USA. Hell they even made a movie about Lincoln being a vampire hunter, was a pleasant change to the general meme.

They say where there is smoke there is fire? (or a huge group of hippies smoking pot )
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