Why do you think a hobby so rooted in technology is such a hot bed for Christianity? You can't look up HF nets without getting 100 or so hits for these people. That, or the hate groups that seem to love hanging out on 80 meters.
I am not convinced that the technical fields have any higher proportion of believers. Indeed, there is an inverse relationship between education level and belief. The highest proportion of believers in the U.S. (according to Skeptics mag) is found among incarcerated felons (94%) and the least among members of the National Academy of Sciences (14%).
I think we will have to look elsewhere for why there is such a high proportion of believers among hams. One theory that has occurred to me is that it becomes a self-exclusionary phenomenon - non-believers get driven out of the hobby by the omnipresence of references to God. The same thing seems to me to be true of people of a left-of-center political persuasion, such as myself.
When I get that popular signoff blurb on PSK31 from the Christians saying "When you get the call from Jesus, be sure to answer it!", I respond with a macro of my own: "When you get the call from Osiris, be sure to answer it. He is just dying to hear from you!" So far, none of them have commented. If they ask me about my "faith" during the QSO, I tell them that I don't do ancient Semitic sky gods. Or Greek mountain gods, or Mayan rain gods, either. That usually gets the message across.
Oh believe me, I know that! I wouldn't bother with a freethinkers or atheist radio net. It would definitely be jammed and attract idiots. What gets me are some of these white supremacist types that have their little hate fests on the air. No one bothers them. But I guess most people do the same thing I do when they hear them and just change the frequency.
When I was first licensed in the early '70's, there was a group call the Freethinkers Net that occupied 3955 continuously, engaging in what was essentially broadcasting, trying to convince the believers that they were mistaken. It went on for decades, and I heard it as recently as 1990. It was as hate-filled as anything you hear the Christians doing, and frankly, it was an embarrassment to me to listen to, as well as being constantly jammed. Fortunately, they are not around anymore.
But I would not mind being part of an honest discussion group. But I don't think it would last for all the jamming it would be subjected to. As the U.S. has drifted to the right politically, the Christian community has become ever more virulent in its hatred for and persecution of non-believers.
You guys are going to force me, kicking and screaming (about how little time I already have) back into my radios, aren't you?
What Hesiodos said. It has been said that this "illusion of complexity" or designer concept must appeal to the Engineer mindset. Somehow, I don't yet buy that, but it must be attractive to some.
I have Engineer, Photography and other technical field buddies that are Atheist and the strong Religious I know are not much more than adequate PC people. I don't think I get around as much. Oddly however, when I was married (26+ years ago), it was an All-Ham event (Talk-in on .135!) at a friend's house who was both a preacher and ham, presided over by a ham and a third preacher/ham in evidence as well. Kind of sad now when I look back on it.
The funniest bit though was when the guy that married us came over after church one day, dressed still in his Baptist garb - complete with huge pewter crucifix hanging from his neck - and walked my roof with a nice, large Yagi attached to his Yaesu 2m rig looking for the best signal for the repeater. It really looked.... odd.
Yes - he was pretty hardcore, probably more ham than Baptist for certain - but in deep no matter what really.
Oddly enough, I messed around with Packet back when it was just starting - and have been an observer of some of the Sat work - but never actually DONE anything with any of that. Just lazy, I think. HF was never my thing - all my contacts were mostly jokes - I finally got a 7 call once from my home made dipole in my back yard in roughly mid-state NY - town called Beacon. I found out the guy was visiting relatives - literally about 4 miles from me. 2M would have been better!
Since getting involved with Cellular Engineering about 18 years ago, I have let my radio work lapse - sold all my HF gear and my old 2M rigs (old Yaesu FT-290 beasties - with C-cell batteries even!) fall into disrepair. It is all very sad.
I will get back into it someday, I am pretty sure. The new digital stuff is interesting and I always think of doing something about it when the power goes out and I lose my house fibre!
Part of the reason is that radio amateurs are, on average, older than the general population, and there is an increase in religiousity with age.
Outside of the USA, I haven't noticed that radio amateurs are especially religious. If they are, they generally keep it to themselves.
That said, a curious person poking around my amateur radio blog could puzzle out that I'm an atheist (I keep religion off my ham blog, but you can get to my regular blog easily enough). I have had people approach me to give me the thumbs-up about that. I've never had a religious ham complain or try to convert me, although that may well be because if they start that discussion on-air, I'll leave and in person it's a debate they are absolutely going to lose, and in an embarrassing, "gee religious people look stupid" sort of way.
Yes, that is so true. They are such a pain - they're all you hear down here in Costa Rica. The locals refer to them as the "finqueros cerdos" - the pig farmers. They're stereotyped as being hicks living in Arkansas, living on pig farms. And about as educated as you would expect a pig farmer to be.
Of course, it isn't just the pig farmers. It is the reactionary conservatives who seem to be so far to the right they're falling off the end of the political spectrum. Obama can do no right, progressives are the enemies of humanity, and those brown-skinned folks who talk funny are great for talking to on the radio - from their home countries, of course. Some of the conversations I hear down here make me outright embarrassed to be a U.S. callsign owner.
I have never really quite understood why it is that hams are almost universally überChristian hyper-conservatives. What is it about the hobby? Could it be that exposure to radio fields causes some subtle, unrecognized brain damage?
>> I have never really quite understood why it is that hams are almost universally überChristian >> hyper-conservatives. What is it about the hobby? Could it be that exposure to radio fields >> causes some subtle, unrecognized brain damage?
I think part of the answer is that religious people and to some extent, hyper-conservatives, tend to be more aggressive in their belief that they are right and need to convert the world to their views.
I think it also has a lot to do with maturity and the willingness to self-examine and grow as a person. You look at very young adults (an oxymoron if ever there was one) and you can see strong opinions that are mostly due to outside influence. They are not reached by thoughtful examination of all sides of an argument or situation.
It isn't until much later in life (for the most part) that as a person gets more life experience and has more understanding of human nature, evolutionary processes and group psychology that they begin to form more thoughtful opinions on weighty matters.
This is one of the reasons I like CW so much more than sideband. On 75 meters up here we have a lot of hateful bigots who think they own the band. You can't help but get worked up and angry if you listen long enough--so I don't.
It's have to have a good racist rant net in Morse code! :-)
I don't hear very well, so I don't do a lot of sideband. I'm mostly in PSK and digital modes.
It's rare to find a religious blowhard there, and I've never understood why. Perhaps being able to use a computer+radio combo is too difficult for them? I think it ties back to old people and religion though...
Old people tend to be more religious and tend to be less inclined to use technology.
Phone modes also have an advantage if your goal is to proseletyze: everyone who is tuned near you hears what you have to say (even if they don't listen). On CW or PSK or whatever, a person really only pays attention to one conversation at a time when there are many stacked close together. In other words, if you're a bible-thumping attention-whore, you just don't get that attention in morse or digital modes. In morse someone proseletyzing would probably just get reflexively notched. In digital, I'd just click somewhere else.
I will admit, however, my own little slice of douchebaggery. Canada recently issued stamps commemorating our relationship with Israel. I deliberately used those stamps on some direct QSLs to some Middle-east contacts. To be fair, the first few, it didn't really occur to me, but my wife pointed out "you're mailing that to Palestine?" and then it sort of became a deliberate act for the rest of that pack of stamps.
Well, the whole "old people" are more religious argument I think only really applies to those who are already believers but just haven't been too serious about it until faced with their impending death. It's hard to imagine "nothing" and never seeing your friends, loved ones, pets, etc. ever again.
We evolved with a survival instinct that makes us want more time no matter what. The exceptions being when one is in terrible pain or situations, then even many religious folk look forward to death as an escape, but still can hold on to their hopes for more life, even if it's after dying, aka after-life.
I try to keep in mind that I only feel sad about such losses when I'm awake and conscious. When I'm sleeping and don't have dreams then I'm basically dead and nothing really is going to matter to me any more.
Consider funerals and final wishes. When I'm dead it really doesn't matter to me what people do with my body. You want to have a religious ceremony because it makes you feel good? Fine, I'm going to be dead and it isn't going to make any difference to me either way.