Do agnostics and other fence-sitters like the fence because they feel they will then be free from responsibility? This is what it's looking like to me at this moment. But they are definitely more responsible than they realize...
A man spoke with a rabbi. "I don't believe in God!" he exclaimed. "Look at all the wretched things that religious people have done. Look at all the misery that 'God' allows. No, I don't believe that God, especially if He is good, exists at all."
The rabbi smiled at him and said, "You must be a very kind man! Since you see that God is not acting , then I realize that each time you see a hungry child that God is not feeding, you must be taking upon yourself the part of God, doing what that imaginary God would do if He did exist. Every time you see an injustice, I know you must stop and work to make sure that it gets resolved with justice. Whenever you see a Jew fail to act with mercy, you yourself intervene on behalf of the downtrodden. Since for you God doesn't exist, I know that you surely must be stepping into His place doing all that He does not do. Yes, you are a very kind and compassionate man..."
Anyway, two recent articles.
A short section from the philly link:
||Posted on Sun, Mar. 30, 2003
|Philadelphia's map of the faithful
A landmark Penn survey has cataloged the life and works of hundreds of the city's congregations.
By Jim Remsen
INQUIRER FAITH LIFE EDITOR
How much do you figure the social programs run by Philadelphia's houses of worship save the city in tax dollars?
Try $250 million a year - fully half of what the city spends for its own comparable programs.
What slice of congregations' budgets is devoted to social programs? On average, 21.6 percent.
What percentage of city residents are members of congregations? That's 48 percent.
How many "denominational affiliations" are represented across Philadelphia? Seven hundred.
University of Pennsylvania professor Ram Cnaan knows all that for a certainty, and much more.
Like a cyber-mountaineer, Cnaan is sitting on a virtual Everest of computer information about the city's "faith communities."
Over the last three years, the social-work professor has led a team of Penn researchers in compiling the Philadelphia Census of Congregations, considered the most extensive survey of its type undertaken in a major U.S. city.
It's an interesting article.
Hamas, I think your mind is completely made up already about this. (I wonder why I'm even responding... )