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Rise of the Secularists: 1 in 4 Millennials Don't Identify With Any Religion
by Estee in

I subscribe to blog called "Good," but I didn't find anything good about the following post. It makes me sad to read that not only are people of my generation (I'm a Millennial, barely) less religious than ANY generation in history, but that the author of this post sees religious people in such black and white terms. It seems that she equates religiosity with bigotry -- the more religious you are, then the more bigoted you are. Her logic follows that if you are less religious, then you are less bigoted. But she leaves no room for a third way - the reality that you can be a religious person and not a jerk or a hypocrite or a bigot or any of the unpleasant labels that can be imagined. We must find ways to reveal this third way to a world that only sees in black and white. The practice of our faith results not in closed-mindedness or violence, but in peace and justice and love. What has gone so wrong that this isn't apparent, and what do we do about it?

Rise of the Secularists: 1 in 4 Millennials Don't Identify With Any Religion:

For all the attention paid to religious zealots from America to the Middle East, there's another religious trend that should perk our ears up: More young people than ever don't identify with religion at all.
A major new Pew Research study, meant to track voting trends among generations, found that 26 percent of people ages 18-30 said they were unaffiliated with a religious tradition. That still leaves a lot of pious Millennials, but the percentage is the biggest number in history—and the biggest of any generation. An increasing number of young people are no longer banking on church to help our country through the recession, either. Forty-six percent of Millennials see religion as the "key to the nation's success," as opposed to 64 percent of Generation X, 69 percent of Boomers, and 78 percent of the Silent generation (ages 66-83).
This is a big deal, one that could fundamentally change who we elect and how we govern. There are periodic news stories about how many Americans think President Obama is a Muslim, and countless surveys about whether Mitt Romney's Mormon faith will get in the way of his chances to become president. But only about 40 percent of Americans can identify Romney's religion. Among the younger generation, the question may be whether we care about a candidate's faith at all.
I'm part of the 26 percent who isn't religious, and for me, how religious candidates are matters more than to what religion they subscribe. Do they use their faith to prop up bigoted views about gay marriage or reproductive rights? Will they use government funds to favor one religion over the other? The less religious they are, the more likely I am to vote for them. When the Christian right was squawking about Obama's less-than-showy commitment to Christianity, I was ticking it off as a plus, and I wasn't alone. As younger generations become progressively less devout, we may tilt back to a timeworn but often-ignored core American value: the separation between church and state.

The original headline was changed from "atheists" to "secularists" to include agnostics and people of faith who reject organized religion.
Photo via (cc) Flickr user Atheist Bus Canada


Catherine Chaumont said...

What a sad statement that being religious is being equated with being close-minded, bigoted and intolerant. I feel as though I have found a church home full of wonderful albeit not perfect religious people who are trying to be more tolerant, more loving, more supportive and more inclusive. I sincerely wish that our generation could find comfort in a church home that breeds these emotions and that the secular non-religious could see the beauty and true peace that religion gives us.

Estee said...

Thanks for your comment Catherine. I'm sad with you! I hope you'll join me sharing about your experience of church as a place of support, inclusivity and grace. I think that's the only way that we'll be able to reverse these assumptions. Peace to you!

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