Moving On Up

Posted by Brandon |

Like I mentioned before, I just finished reading Letter to a Christian Nation by Sam Harris. It's an incredible book about how dangerous and misguided the religious in this country are becoming. Honestly, after seeing Sicko and reading this book, my faith in and my hope for the United States is seriously waning. It's becoming increasingly hard for me to figure out what it is that we are actually fighting for. What is the American way of life now anyway? As far as I can tell it's just corporations and Christianity. That's not my American dream.

One of the points that he makes against being a Christian nation is that throughout the world, countries that are the least religious are also the healthiest...

Norway, Iceland, Australia, Canada, Sweden, Switzerland, Belgium, Japan, the Netherlands, Denmark and the United Kingdom are among the least religious societies on earth...they are also the healthiest, as indicated by life expectancy, adult literacy, per capita income, educational attainment, gender equality, homicide rate, and infant mortality.

And you can see this happening on a smaller scale here in the United States. I just saw Richard Florida on The Colbert Report and became interested in his research. It's a little more complex than this, but 247Gay.com sums it up pretty well by describing it as "where the gays go eventually so do higher property values, less crime, better schools, ethnic diversity and growth."

If atheists and, in this example gays, are so immoral, shouldn't the areas of the country that they inhabit be the absolute worst places in the entire country? Shouldn't these neighborhoods be horrible, scary places that nobody wants to live in or go to? Shouldn't the property values plummet when they start showing up?

Instead of being horrible places, these areas are turning into some of the most desirable places to live. The older gay enclaves became so desirable that the gays, artists and bohemians have been pushed out of them due to the rising housing prices and property values and new "gay ghettos" are springing up all over the place.

One of the most compelling places that is on this list of new gay friendly areas is Hilltop in Tacoma, Washington. Growing up, Hilltop was one of the absolute worst ghettos anywhere. It was a horrible, gang infested, crime-ridden, hell hole. But eventually the gangs left and the low cost of living there started to draw a much different crowd. Now Hilltop is booming and is becoming a very desirable place to live in T-Town.

If we don't decided to give up on America completely and move to Canada, I want to move into a neighborhood that has a large gay population. These values that seem to follow less religious people around internationally and in smaller sections of our own otherwise Christian nation, are the values that I want to surround myself and my family with. That's my American dream and those are my family values.


Whit said...

What I don't understand is that most of the people I know, in all facets of my life, are not very religious, yet somehow our society is.

I think the Christians are the squeaky wheel and they're getting the grease.

Peeved Michelle said...

If I were going to give up on America completely, I don't think I would go to Canada. I would definitely head somewhere cheaper and more tropical.

Jesse said...

I'm curious how Japan made the list of least religious societies on earth. The vast majority of Japanese people believe in a type of syncretism combining Buddhism and Shintoism and while Japanese belief structure may not really fit with what we call religion that doesn't mean that they aren't religious. They often visit Shinto shrines to worship, celebrate religious holidays, hold funerals in Buddhist temples, etc. Just saying...

Brandon said...

Whit - Me too, I'm sure it's just because of who I have chosen to hang out with and the fact that we live in California

Michelle - while that would be nice it doesn't solve a few of my more pressing concerns like health care. Plus, I want to live in Vancouver, it's so nice there.

Jesse - Interesting point, but according to this survey that I found taken last year by Gallup...

"Asia Pacific is a continent of diversity when it comes to religion. Religious beliefs are strong in several countries such as Philippines (90% as mentioned above) and India (87%), while in Thailand and Japan, the highest figures for the self-declared non-religious can be found (65% and 59% respectively). Hong Kong is the only country in the world with a percentage of convinced atheists above 50% (54%)."

Peeved Michelle said...

That's a good point about the health care. The husband and I do plan to eventually head off to foreign lands, but the step right before that one is becoming independently wealthy, so health care in our nation of choice won't be too much of an issue for us.

(Yes, I know... missing the whole point.)

Jesse said...


Not to deluge your comments but this is what I found and it melds with what I thought. Basically in Japan it's not as easy as just saying "I'm such and such religion." Most surveys don't take into consideration the complexity of the situation and are culturally biased. For example, asking if a person believes in "God" in a country where only .8% of the population adheres to Christianity is inane. Also, "Buddha" is not a god in the Western sense and is not believed in or worshipped the same way. I read a book about cultural biases in surveys, IQ tests, etc in my freshman year of college, so I'm not at all surprised by this disparity.

Jesse said...

Link got cut off.