Trump will usher in a new era of Nones
Information is the enemy of religion. There’s a direct correlation between access to dissenting, logical information about a religion and ones beliefs and devotion to it. This becomes exasperated when you introduce cultural phenomenon, like the mixture of politics and religion that are incongruent with each other and society as a whole. This is especially true for younger believers whose minds are more capable of plasticity.
My philosophical status as a None[s] came from a direct result of religion mixed with politics. I was an Evangelical Christian for the first three decades of my life, but something significant happened in the early 2000s. I watched in dumbfounded despair as Christians across America were mindlessly controlled by fear-based rhetoric from our President and his Administration. It resulted in Christian books being published about when war was okay with God and the politicization of the pulpit. At the time, it was obvious to me that not only was the Administration lying, but the idea of rushing into a war was incongruent with my beliefs and scripture as I knew it. It was the first time I had ever witnessed firsthand the power of fear and groupthink.
That moment in time – a lying President, fear-based rhetoric and blind devotion – was the catalyst for my six-year-long deconversion away from Christianity. The internet played a significant role in my ability to find and access information. However, there was also an agnostic and atheist book publishing Renaissance during that time. Some of the books I read were considered heretical, like Bart Ehrman’s Misquoting Jesus, which shed light on the origins of the Bible and questioned the validity of Jesus. While others were thoughtful, provocative and atheistic in nature, like Christopher Hitchens’ god is not Great and Sam Harris’ The End of Faith. Without the internet and access to those books, it’s possible that I could still be clinging to my faith and suffering from even worse cognitive dissonance.
It’s now 2017 and one month into Trump’s presidency. Trump brings an entirely new degree of incongruence between his ideology and Christianity. Taking into account 1) the continued trend away from religion; 2) access to more philosophical and dissenting views via the internet and books; and 3) the coupling of the Trump presidency with conservative Christians (a true deal with the devil), I expect a new wave of Nones as a result. If you want to know how to kill your own religious relevance within society and among an entire generation, all you need to do is sit back and watch how conservative Christians are self-destructing through their myopic world view and desire for theocracy.