Gee, I dunno. Maybe because the standard religious beliefs and practices globally are irrational, illogical, ineffective, intolerant, guilt-inducing, fear-promoting, bigoted, sexist, divisive, hateful, cruel and violent?
I have little doubt that this healthy and welcome move away from religious fanaticism is due significantly to the American Constitution and secular ideals of our freethinking Founding Fathers. These “American” ideals have allowed for freethought and free speech, giving rise to stark and frank criticism of religion, as we have seen abundantly in our media and on internet social networking now worldwide.
Note that I personally have been a “none” for some 40 years. But I don’t hate all religion; on the contrary, I find it fascinating and study it constantly – that’s what I do. I prune the rotten, dead and pathological roots and branches of the world’s great religious tree, to expose a healthier tradition dating back many thousands of years. Included in this pruning is the removal of the fanatical belief in unfounded and unscientific religious ideas, as well as of the misapprehension of mythical figures as “real people.”
One-fifth of Americans are religiously unaffiliated — higher than at any time in recent U.S. history — and those younger than 30 especially seem to be drifting from organized religion. A third of young Americans say they don’t belong to any religion.
NPR Morning Edition co-host David Greene wanted to understand why, so he gathered a roundtable of young people at a synagogue in Washington, D.C. The Historic 6th & I Synagogue seemed like the right venue: It’s both a holy and secular place that has everything from religious services to rock concerts. Greene speaks with six people — three young women and three young men — all struggling with the role of faith and religion in their lives.
Miriam Nissly, 29, was raised Jewish and considers herself Jewish with an “agnostic bent.” She loves going to synagogue.
“I realize maybe there’s a disconnect there — why are you doing it if you don’t necessarily have a belief in God? But I think there’s a cultural aspect, there’s a spiritual aspect, I suppose. I find the practice of sitting and being quiet and being alone with your thoughts to be helpful, but I don’t think I need to answer that question [about God] in order to participate in the traditions I was brought up with.”
Yusuf Ahmad, 33, raised Muslim, is now an atheist. His doubts set in as a child with sacred stories he just didn’t believe.
“Like the story of Abraham — his God tells him to sacrifice his son. Then he takes his son to sacrifice him, and he turns into a goat. I remember growing up, in like fifth [or] sixth grade I’d hear these stories and be like, ‘That’s crazy! Why would this guy do this? Just because he heard a voice in his head, he went to sacrifice his son and it turned into a goat?’ There’s no way that this happened. I wasn’t buying it.
“Today if some guy told you that ‘I need to sacrifice my son because God told me to do it,’ he’d be locked up in a crazy institution.”
Kyle Simpson, 27, raised Christian. He has a tattoo on the inside of his wrist that says “Salvation from the cross” in Latin.
“It’s a little troublesome now when people ask me. I tell them and they go, ‘Oh, you’re a Christian,’ and I try to skirt the issue now. They go, ‘What does that mean?’ and it’s like, “It’s Latin for ‘I made a mistake when I was 18.’…
Lizz Reeves, 23, raised by a Jewish mother and a Christian father. She lost a brother to cancer.
“I wanted so badly to believe in God and in heaven, and that’s where he was going. I wanted to have some sort of purpose and meaning associated with his passing. And ultimately the more time I spent thinking about it, I realized the purpose and meaning of his life had nothing to do with heaven, but it had to do with how I could make choices in my life that give his life meaning. And that had a lot more weight with me than any kind of faith in anything else.”
Separation of Religion and State (FTN forum thread)
One Out of 5 Americans Nonreligious!
U.S. politicians increasingly unaffiliated with organized religion
Not all nonbelievers hate religion
What is Mythicism?
Christ Myth Articles
Victims of Christianity
270 million dead in the name of Islam
Did George Washington and Thomas Jefferson Believe Jesus was a Myth?
Astrotheology of the Ancients
— Religion and History (@AcharyaS) February 18, 2014