Have you and I talked about this yet? If so, my apologies for repeating myself!
There has long been a discussion among the behavioral scientists that I work with that the decline of organized religion in the US has lead to more and more selfish and bad behavior. The fear of punishment after death used to be a deterrent. People used to live more in fear of public shaming — now there are people who glory in it and brag about it! We now live in a cult that worships success at any cost and makes heroes of those who flagrantly use and abuse others.
One of the best parts of organized religion used to be giving people reasons to grow beyond their baser, selfish natures. Without that incentive, what reason would they have to bother being generous and kind, especially if it’s not in their nature? I have known far too many people in my life who feel no guilt at the harm they cause others and don’t even give a second thought to those they crush to get what they want on their rise to success.
Since I chose to never marry and I have had to take care of myself since I moved out of my parent’s house, I have had to take a darker and more pessimist view of things to be able to survive. I am more in the camp of “God takes care of those who take care of themselves”. At this age, people now need to work to earn my trust. Granted, I am sure that means that I am missing out on some relationships but to be honest, I would rather be alone than to keep wishing that I were.
After saying all that I suddenly realized why religion has always been such a supporter of families and family life. Families give people a reason to be better because the care of children means that you have to think about the future and be less selfish. Some people don’t even know how to grow up until they are forced to when their own children come along. Now why didn’t that very obvious point ever occur to me before? I must be losing it! ;)