Christian Group Is Freaking Out Because Young People Are Questioning Their Faith June 20, 2012

Christian Group Is Freaking Out Because Young People Are Questioning Their Faith

You know that Pew Research Center chart showing that Millennials are doubting their faith more now than ever before?

Micah Clark, writing for the Illinois Family Institute, is flipping out:

There is a new poll out that ought to be a call to action for every pastor and patriotic American.

Because, you can’t be patriotic unless you believe in their god. Got that, un-American atheists?

Maybe they’re just freaking out because they heard the word “poll.”

And what are pastors going to do about the numbers, anyway? Tell more lies? Double down against gay marriage? The more they talk, the faster students are walking away.

At least IFI knows where the “danger” is coming from:

One report on the finding notes that an Atheist group called the Secular Student Alliance has gone from 81 affiliates on US college campuses in 2007 to 357 campus groups today.

Hey! My friends! Can’t wait to speak at their conference next month.

That growth, by the way, can at least partially be attributed to the way Religious Right groups like this one have spent the last several years fighting to tear down church/state separation and build up obstacles to marriage equality.

Keep it up, IFI. You’re only making our side stronger.

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  • 0xabad1dea

    Nice of them to capitalize Atheist. Because we worship Athe or something. 

  • 0xabad1dea

    Nice of them to capitalize Atheist. Because we worship Athe or something. 

  • I do find it funny that they consider it a “call to action”. I guess they mean be a more indifferent or preacher harder. The latter of which I’m not quite sure how it would actually work.

  •   Hemant,

    Great article.  I posted about this a few days ago, and my take is that the technology is allowing curious kids (almost all) to get answers that are not dependent on authority.  Parents, pastors, teachers . . . no offense.

    Smartphones, Internet etc allow for easy access to information that for the past 50 years would have been in universities or not available at all.

    Do this experiment:  15 year old in rural kentucky in 1980 begins to question the existence of gods.  He asks his parents, teachers and pastor about this problem, and they point him to religious exegesis.  He goes to the library and there are a few books (if any) about deism or existentialism or buddhism.  Maybe hasn’t left the country ever or seen much of technology. He talks to his friends, who tell him he just needs to have faith.  Doubts linger and last, but there is no escape from faith until much later.

    Today:  15 year old doubter.  Googles athiesm or humanism or doubting god and finds Foundation Beyond Belief, Secular Humanist Society, sees Dawkins or Harris on TV.  Gets a link to a talk by Neil DeGrassse Tyson or Dan Dennett.  Emails someone half a world away or posts on a message board and gets 20 responses.  Understands that technology is ubiquitous and things are changing quickly.  Sees that the brand of deism is not as fundamentalist and that questions are generally more acceptable.  Even if he doubts, he finds others like himself, and knows there’s a disconnect . . . but doesn’t make a decision.  Just doubts.

    Thanks for the comments and I agree that this is a welcome development, long overdue.


  • This ties in with Rick Warren’s “thou shalt not follow atheist tweeters” edict.  Funny how we encourage people to read the Bible, and they just want to cover their ears lest they catch teh atheist (along with teh gay).

    Thomas Lawson really nailed it: 

  • T-Rex

    There’s that word “family” again. Must be a hate group.

  • Ibis3

    I would imagine that they mean homeschool and isolate your kids from reality, do whatever it takes to get school curricula in line with your indoctrination agenda, and keep trying to infiltrate government with prayer, creationism, the 10 commandments, homophobia, and misogyny. In other words, more of the same.

  • DG

    Ah yes, it’s Pew Research that reminds us that 21% of atheists believe in a higher power, and 6% believe in a personal god.  The lesson?  Stats do a poor job at conveying the complexities of human belief.  Most people I know attend some form of religious services.  A few are non-religious/atheists.  Those who attend services?  Only a handful grew up in their faith.

  • theatheistrandy

     We worship “Atheos”… or so I’ve been told by christians…

  • Bubba Tarandfeathered

     Or they might consider criminalizing the “practice” of Atheism by deeming non-belief a hate crime. Much like the protections setup by the United Nations for the Islamic nations.

  • Deven Kale

    One persons circles of family and friends are never very indicative of society as a whole. For example, no-one in my immediate family believes in a personal god, and the one that believes in a god at all is more of a deist/pantheist. Almost none of my friends and extended family go to church at all, and only two two of them do so regularly. Does that mean the majority of people are atheistic or lax in their faith? Nope, it means those are the type of people I tend to gravitate towards. The same is true for you, just in a different way.

    You keep citing this poll that says atheists believe in a higher power, but I haven’t seen you back it up yet (or maybe I just ignored you, I do that a lot). Care to supply a link to support your claim?

  • Faveryb

    If they really have the truth why do they care? It it’s true it should survive any amount of scrutiny.

  • The absolute numbers aren’t so important as how the question trends.  Whatever you want to make of the question, it’s applying to more people.

    I’m also confused as to what you mean by this ‘21% of atheists believe in a higher power’ bit.  Unless you’re somehow referring to some people trying to maximize the atheist count by including anything vaguely non-religious.  And I that a lot of people are ‘spiritual but not religious’, and those people aren’t atheists.  But knowing you, I suspect you’re drumming up something else.

    I’m not sure what you mean by “only a handful grew up in their faith”, but if you mean to counter the notion that people happen to pick the religion of their parents, I’d say that if their parents don’t have one, then if they pick a religion, it’s usually the religion of their society/peers.  In the case of the USA, some form of Christianity.  If the friends you’re talking about grew up in Muslim/Hindu (or maybe even Jewish) homes, and then became Christian, I think that’s noteworthy.  Or if they grew up in non-religious homes and became something other than Christian, that’s noteworthy.

    If on the other hand they grew up in non-religious and became some kind of Christian, or in one kind of Christian and became another kind of Christian, meh.

  • Graphictruth

    If a tree bringith forth bitter fruit, cut it down.  I paraphrase from the parable of the fig tree. It was a big deal in sunday school, and aside from being the words in red, it’s darned useful advice.

    Lotta low hanging bitter fruit hanging from churchly trees these days. The parallesls between them and the biblical Pharisees is … comical.So these Doubting Millenials are doing precisely as Jesus would encourage.You see – there may or may not be a god. Leave that aside.What we are really speaking of are the various sorts of gods people say they believe in and use to justify their actions. And saying, “well, I sure as HELL don’t believe in THAT god” is not at all the same as disbelief in god. Or indeed, any comment on faith at all. 

  • Graphictruth

    Snerk… really? Well, it’s an novel variation of being told you are really worshipping Satan.

    honestly – there are christians worth having a discussion with about the problem of faith over pizza and beer, because such discussions are inherently fun. And then there are the sorts who will tell you that you are going to hell and they will pray for you.

    Understand that that is intended as an insult, and, sadly, that’s the best they have in response. 

    so.. don’t feel insulted. that will piss them off no end. 

  • Donalbain

    Except that the UN doesn’t do that. The UN can’t do that.

  • Donalbain

    I don’t understand how Nixon was elected, nobody I know voted for him.

  • Sindigo

    A nice, feel-good story for a Thursday morning. I can hear the butthurt from here and it sounds so good.



  • Josh

    Yeah I think its more that they decided not to do anything about oppressive religious laws. I’m not sure they were wrong.

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