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← Belief In God Plummets Among Youth (CHART)

Aztek's Avatar Jump to comment 16 by Aztek

Comment 10 by rjohn19 :

Religion in America is much like the cockroach. Through extreme measures it can be driven from your house but never eradicated.

I think this applies to religion all over the world. But it's not because religion is resilient, but because people are inherently irrational. Even if religious belief would disappear tomorrow, new generations would be born with the ability to to think irrationally. And because of this they in turn would turn to religion or similar stupid things. So each generation needs to be vaccinated against irrational thinking with a dose of rationality. It's an everlasting battle.

However, despite me usually being a pessimist, I have to say I'm optimistic when it comes to religions losing ground. Some people might say that religions are lifting their heads and that they have too much power in society. They worry about non-belief not spreading fast enough. But in my mind non-belief has taken great strides in a very short time considering how few resources our movement, or whatever you want to call it, has at its hands. The only reason why religions have the status they have are the massive resources at their disposal. They then use these resources to brainwash people for years to convince them of religious dogmas without any evidence. And yet, once you become religious, there is nothing that guarantees that your belief remains intact. It might crumble at any time, and that's why religions need to continue spreading their propaganda.

On the other hand, it is fairly easy to turn atheist. It doesn't require years of persuasion. One afternoon looking honestly at evidence is all you need to lose your faith. And once you have become an atheist, it is nearly impossible to go back. How many of us can be convinced of the existence of Santa Clause once we have lost the faith in him at an early age? That makes the road between belief and non-belief a one-way street. It's easy to become an atheist but nearly impossible to return to faith. That's why I feel it's important not to be deterred by the power that religions appear to have. We need to continue spreading the understanding of rational thinking. Because it does work, and despite what it might appear, our work is easier than religions'. We get results with far fewer resources than religions. A few billboards and books lead to discussion and make people think. And thinking is the antidote to belief.

If these younger people's lack of faith in gods is the result of honest thinking and connecting the dots, they won't turn back to religion. They will be vaccinated against stupid arguments put forward by religions. And they will probably not teach religions to their kids either, making it much less likely that future generations become religious. The only thing I worry about is that these young people who identify as non-believers feel that way just because they are apathetic to religions. The reason for them to call themselves non-believers is just because they never think about religion. If their "non-belief" is of this sort, I fear that it is easy to push them back to faith. If they have never thought about the reasons why they identify as non-believers, they won't have any way to counter religious persuasion.

Thu, 14 Jun 2012 11:36:20 UTC | #947380