Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Report On 'Nones': In U.S., Ranks Of Those Who Don't Identify With A Religion Are Growing -- Courant.com

The Hartford Courant reports on a study by Trinity College on the people that don't consider themselves part of an established religion. The conclusion of the study is that this segment of the population will continue to grow. I agree, but not as much as the study believes.

The study finds the most "Nones," defined as "the irreligious, the unreligious, the anti-religious and the anti-clerical," in the 18-29 year old range and conclude this will lead to equally big increases in the future because this age bracket will indoctrinate their children with their lack of belief. I know from experience this conclusion is flawed.

When I was between the ages of 18-29, I was a Deist. I did not attend any church and was skeptical of any faith. I did read books that explained different world religions but never from a believers standpoint. Yet in my thirties, I became a Christian.

I think many of today's Nones will eventually find a faith, though not necessarily any of the great world religions. I believe we are hard-wired for faith and so eventually become part of one. I would include atheism as faith - a faith that God does not exist.

The media today portrays faiths, especially Christianity and Islam, only at the extremes. The Muslim is too often seen as a hate crazed jihadist, while the Christian is too often seen as the anti-intellectual, narrow-minded, bigoted zealot. These portraits of the faithful is bound to turn off the unbeliever from even investigating a religion.

We have a need to belong that sports now fills for many in America. Perhaps the biggest worship services take place in the fall in football stations nationwide. Many sports fans are true worshipers, falling in adoration at the feet of their favorite sports star.

Those that believe in God need to rebel against the media and sports. We need to insist that a balanced view of the faithful be on the news and pundit shows. We must provide a place to belong, not in competition with sports, but in addition to. Belonging must provide benefits and obligations, rewards and challenges. America has been dumbing down religion for too long. Now, we must use mind and body to bring the gift of faith to Americans. Moderates of all faiths have been silent too long. Speak up!

Photo by Joe Shlabotnik

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