Why is the fastest growing religious demographic in America the non-religious? Why is my generation one of the most godless generations in American history? Is it because the outspoken atheists tend to be eloquent speakers? Possibly. Is it because the secular community is far more organized that the religious community? Hardly. I believe one of the main reasons that atheism/secularism/non-religion is on the rise is because of the traditional intolerance of the mainstream religious right.
The American religious right has never really been a big supporter of tolerance and equality (especially in the southern U.S. and Texas). Whether it be African Americans in the Reconstruction South, immigrants in the early 1900s, to homosexuals and Muslims today, the right has always found some group to blame for America’s problems and its “moral decline”. Now I am not saying that ALL Christians are racist homophobes, but unfortunately the most outspoken in their community have been, and the tolerant ones do nothing to counter their hate speech. Let’s take for example Oklahoma Rep. Sally Kern. This woman embodies why many young people are becoming disenchanted with religion. She is a homophobe and a bigot, calling homosexuals more dangerous to America than terrorists and implying also that all Muslims are terrorists (both of which are patently false). The college and recently post college crowds tend to be very tolerant of other religions and lifestyle choices. They fortunately realize that it’s okay if you’re not a Christian or not straight because you’re still an American and can contribute to society. What the right needs to realize if they hope to remain relevant in society is they need to let the general public know that these crazy, hateful views are not the views of the majority just a Muslims need to do the same with their fringe.
Now as an atheist, I am all for churches losing members to the light of reason, but unfortunately the godless have a certain stereotype attached to themselves too. People tend to think of us as terrible, amoral people who just want to “sin” all the time with no consequences, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. We tend to be the most progressive area of society. We elevate reason and logic to a much higher place than most religions do because it is what should govern our lives. We are the most tolerant because we don’t see homosexuality as bad because it does not hurt anyone, so why shouldn’t these people have the same rights as heterosexual couples. Tolerance and acceptance is why younger people are drawn to secular society. This is the 21st century, we need to leave the old ways of hatred right where they belong, in the history books.
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