In an age of growing technology and scientific advances, religion is getting pushed into the shadows. More people are becoming educated, so that when questions arise such as; how was the world created? Their answers are simply the Big Bang started it all not having any ties to God. Should society continue to become secular? Religion is the basis of how many people act and if religion truly does get lost then there will be nothing left for the society to fall back on for teaching.
According to Allen Downey’s article The U.S. Is Retreating from Religion, “since 1990, the fraction of Americans with no religious affiliation has nearly tripled, from 8 percent to 22 percent.” If this number continues to grow, religion itself will be a minority. Now that is something to think about. While the number is shrinking many of those who no longer affiliate with a church, grew up in one. Those who no longer affiliate with a church, do owe a lot to them for their teachings. Take the Golden Rule for example, treat others as you would want to be treated. This rule is expressed in many religions today, Christianity, Islamic, Judaism, etc. Other major examples include volunteering, honesty and love.
So why have so many people turned away from religion? The answer is simple, people are less likely to be fooled when science puts up a good argument. According to William Badke article Evidence and the Doubter, “For those who teach information literacy in a digital world in which every voice seems to have equal power, our core values need to rest on following best practices in evaluating information, hearing alternate voices, and making evidence-based conclusions.” As more and more people become educated, Badke’s statement becomes truer. Nobody wants false evidence or heresy stories written thousands of years ago. They want the facts and they want it now.
Now let’s look at some more statistics. According to Natalie Angier, “Nobody wants to tackle the statistics: 82% of Americans are convinced that heaven is real and 63% believe that they are going there; 51% believe in ghosts, but only 28% are swayed by the theory of evolution; 77% of Americans insist that Jesus was born to a virgin.” Comparing these with statistics on www.pewforum.com, 75 percent of Americans are religious affiliated. Something doesn’t add up; more people believe in heaven than there are affiliated with religion. This could anger some people because if it weren’t for a religion there would be no such thing as a heaven or afterlife. Now that seven percent of people are hypocrites are, they not? One shouldn’t believe in something that ties into a belief that they have chosen not to affiliate with.
Those who have been turned away from religion are seeking out other spiritual practices. According to Lynn Garrett’s article Losing Their Religion, “Presses that offer alternatives—particularly those in the mind-body-spirit category—have found a market in the spiritual hunger of the nones [none religious], who are drawn to books on topics ranging from mindfulness to yoga to tarot and more.” This switch in spiritual practices is not new. Religion has become so diverse today because of the alternatives to certain practices within a religion.
While there are facts and evidence that go against parts of religion, there are some things that will never be solved. Religion is sure to always stump those looking for answers. Religion is about a faith that provides its followers with hope and confidence. This is something the world should never give up. Hope and confidence has led to many wonderful things. This may not apply to every religion and faith, or to those unaffiliated, but most people have religion to thank for their confidence and the hope that they have.
Reflecting on the statistics, one can see that 75 percent of Americans having a religious affiliation has and will continue to lessen. Those of us who do still have an affiliation can only teach the next generations the benefits of what a religion can provide to keep the numbers up. Although religions main focus is not about heaven or hell, one can lose so much more (end up in hell) for not believing than if they do.
Lena Stangel is a student at Edison State Community College.