An article popped into my Facebook feed today because one of my more religious minded FB Friends commented on it on FB. About how Millennials are leaving religion and not returning (https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/millennials-are-leaving-religion-and-not-coming-back/). I won’t ID them unless they ID themselves.
The article primarily is focused on the what, and barely touches on possible whys. Based on the writing, the article’s author also assumes Religion=Christian. I’m not a Christian, and I am also not religious. I identify as a “cultural Jew”. I am also not a Millennial. I am old enough to be the parent of a Millennial (if I had any kids).
My take on it is layered, from fundamental to political, with swerves through morality and ethics.
Fundamentally, religion is organized superstition. Millennia ago, this is something that we as a species needed to help make sense of the world and things that go bump in the night from the time we discovered fire. But slowly, over time, we have learned what things really are and how they work. We have, imo outgrown religion. And did so a couple centuries ago.
I think that the trend of Millennials, and others, to leave religion behind is multifaceted. The above certainly plays a part of it. Other parts is that contrary to what religious leaders may say, morality is not tied to religion. How can it be when different religions preach different moralities? If you need the promise of a Heaven or threat of a Hell to think and act in a moral fashion, then you by definition are not a moral person. Morality is how you behave when no one is watching. It’s who you are, not who you pretend to be. Yes, morality does need to be taught, but that teaching does not have to be tied to superstition.
Another reason, I think, is political, conscious or not. As I noted up top, the author of that article appears to assume that Religious=Christian. How MORAL can organized religion be when the loudest and one of the largest collection of sects are arguing for political policies and actions that patently are contradictory to the teachings of their professed God and Savior? How MORAL can they be when they have denigrated a man who upheld their claimed values, an honorable family man married to the same woman for over 20 years with two children by that same wife, who has shown consideration and compassion, and had fought to make life better for those around him. How MORAL can they be when they praise a serial philanderer with multiple affairs, three marriages, children by multiple wives, a man who is a proven cheat, liar and has broken most of the Ten Commandments?
I’d be quitting religion too if I were a member of one of those sects and not already non-religious.