Source: Many say ‘So What?’ to God, religion, atheism – USATODAY.com.
It is no secret that those who claim to be “religious” in the U.S. has been shrinking every decade for more than 50 years now. But in the last ten years the people who check “none of the above” have been increasing almost exponentially. Here are some statistics from the above article:
•44% told the 2011 Baylor University Religion Survey they spend no time seeking “eternal wisdom,” and 19% said “it’s useless to search for meaning.”
•46% told a 2011 survey by Nashville-based evangelical research agency, LifeWay Research, they never wonder whether they will go to heaven.
•28% told LifeWay “it’s not a major priority in my life to find my deeper purpose.” And 18% scoffed at the idea that God has a purpose or plan for everyone.
In my opinion (but who am I??) I believe that the religious establishments of today, be they Christian or others, are mostly responsible for these ever shrinking numbers. The disunity among almost all Christian denominations is not without notice to all those secular people out there. They see each one of perhaps thousands of different religious groups separate themselves as being the only ones who know everything about “eternal wisdom”. How can each one of these groups be right? In that same mind the 19%, as cited in the first quote have come to the conclusion of how can any of them be right? If God is out there and he is indeed almighty then why can’t he get his flock in line? All this disunity has had the consequence of providing serious doubt as to the very existence of God!!
I am a product of the 1960s generation. Part of that was all the protests that occurred while I was in college during that time. One of the very outspoken radicals of the time was Timothy Leary who advocated psychedelic drugs. The most favorite quote from him was Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out. I think maybe that is what is happening today. Many seem to have come to the conclusion “If the religious ‘experts’ can’t figure all this spiritual stuff out why should the rest of us even bother.” So, the logical answer seems to be to just drop out of all this spiritual crappola.
I personally am very founded in my spiritual beliefs. It drives who I am and what I do on this earth. It is my reason for existing. But even I, due to all the different versions of God out there, have doubts about this sometimes. The answer of many religious establishments to the world’s problems seems to be just to hunker down in the tax exempt churches/country clubs and wait for the end time and that fact just adds to the religious skepticism of today.
2 thoughts on “Many say ‘So What?’ to God, religion, atheism”
Wow, what a fascinating issue to examine. I would put myself most in the category of agnostic – and I have spent many long hours examining and pondering both my thoughts on religion as well as others (I would NEVER try to dissuade someone from his/her own beliefs unless I felt that they were truly hurtfully misguided – and even then figure that that would a waste of time and effort on a fanatic).
I now see religion more as a social contract of traditions that help to guide and bind individuals into an effective society. I see many, many wonderful social and individual benefits of almost all different religious beliefs, but am also struck by the amount of hypocrisy and opportunism that arises when a religion become more focused on individual ego and/or maintaining itself as an institution rather than on its original guiding principles.
I taught for 31 years in a Quaker school and felt good about the brand of spirituality that I encountered. It was a good fit, though the dogma never deeply grabbed me. It mostly just felt like a goodly, gracious, and giving philosophy by which to live one’s life. Golden rule, active in society, belief in one’s Fellow Man, etc. No issues of evangelism or control or power-building. Truth is a journey rather than something that is Ultimately Possessed.
Steve, thanks for your words of wisdom on this topic and for sharing a little more about your life. Wow, 31 years in a Quaker school! I would love to have had some of your experiences. The reasons you give are also the reasons I seem to be migrating to the Quaker faith. For the most part Quakers don’t try to prove anyone “wrong”. Instead,they seem spend their time living their life.
Thanks again for sharing….