Religions’ number one enemy: Knowledge
Since my wife and I became freethinkers – we were formerly evangelical Christians – we’ve had many discussions about the culture our children are growing up in. We are Southerners, and we live in a neighborhood that is predominantly protestant. Almost everyone we come into contact with goes to church, and their kids are active in church related activities. While this concerns my wife, it doesn’t concern me. The main reason is because of the Internet.
Since the mainstream adoption of the Internet, I’ve been predicting that it would forever change religion – especially for teenagers and young adults. The main reason for this is access to knowledge.
My wife and I grew up protected from dissenting views of our faith. We were lied to (or not told enough information) about the origin of the Bible and the true history surrounding our religion, let alone all religions. Our parents and our churches used an age-old method used by all religions, which was to relentlessly educate us from a young age with a myopic world view – one that was severely sanitized.
That approach still happens today, but something now changes when those kids become teenagers. They gain uncensored access to the Internet.
My prediction has been that access to knowledge on the Internet will forever change the religious landscape in the US. Unlike when I was a teenager, there are now numerous resources like the ExChristian.net and Think Atheist communities, books like Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why and The God Delusion, and movies like Religulous.
Based on new research by the Barna Group, my prediction (a prediction that is not unique to me) may be coming true.
Researchers found that almost three out of five young Christians (59 percent) leave church life either permanently or for an extended period of time after age 15.
While it may take another decade to see real change in our traditionally superstitious society, I believe the demise of make believe in American society is now only a matter of time. This not only gives me hope for society, it also gives me hope for my children.