Young People and Religion: The Schism Grows Wider

NPR has a Special Series called ‘Losing Our Religion.’  Included in that series is an interview with 6 young people who range from Atheist to Jewish with an ‘Agnostic bent.’  The interview is entitled, More Young People Are Moving Away From Religion, But Why?

According to the Pew Forum’s latest study,  ‘Nones’ or non religious people are on the rise.  One in five Americans are not religious.  When it comes to adults under the age of 30,  1/3 of them are not religiously affiliated.   Keep in mind, USA is very much STILL a religious country.  However, young people aren’t so quick to pick up, read and accept their family’s holy book as truth.

Pew Senior researcher Carey Funk says, people aren’t ‘looking for religion.’  With the media highlighting pedophile cases, embezzlement, sex scandals, and other forms of corruption…within the church, it’s no wonder religion isn’t being sought out.

According to the website The Week, there are three top reasons young people are moving away from religion:

1. Fundamentalists are turning off some young people
Blame it on the Religious Right, says Stephanie Mencimer at Mother Jones. “Younger Christians are turned off by attacks on gays and lesbians.” Baby boomers and older Americans have believed in God for so long, says James Joyner at Outside the Beltway, that their religious beliefs don’t falter as our society rapidly evolves toward greater acceptance of divorce, premarital sex, women’s equality, and gay rights. “Younger folks are simply more likely to figure that, if their religion is teaching them things that they believe to be silly — such as that homosexuality is wrong — then their religion must be silly, too.”

2. Atheists and agnostic role models are getting more vocal
Older Americans are holding fast to their beliefs, says Sahil Kapur at Talking Points Memo, with 80 percent to 90 percent saying that they never doubt God’s existence. But younger Americans have been exposed to “a new movement of atheist or agnostic thinking during the last decade — spearheaded by high-profile authors like Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and Sam Harris.” This poll appears to confirm that these influential intellectuals are “steering younger people away from traditional beliefs long held by their parents.” With greater acceptance, says Ronald A. Lindsay at The Huffington Post, young atheists are finding it safe to “come out.”

3. Liberal attacks on religion are to blame
Christianity is “the one religion left that can be hated without running afoul of political correctness,” says Drew Belsky at The American Thinker. In an era when the federal government is forcing religious institutions, contrary to their religious beliefs, to give people insurance coverage for contraception, says Bishop Edward Burns at The Southeast Alaska Catholic Online, it’s pretty undeniable that religion, and religious freedom, are under siege. Most Americans still believe in God, but they have to defend their faith or the attacks will take a toll.

Do you agree with The Week’s reasons?

I remember in the past during times of crisis, I’ve wished I could pray and magically do away with whatever ills in the world were highlighted in the media that week.  But that’s not reality.

Take a listen to NPR’s  David Greene, as he discusses why young people are moving away from religion.  Your thoughts?

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