Sunday, November 22, 2009

Atheist Student Groups Flower on College Campuses

In what ought to be a deafening alarm bell to Christianists and the bitter old men in dresses at the Vatican, the rise of atheist groups on college campuses is a measure of the increasingly unmarketable nature of religious dogma that is based principally on fear and a hatred of others. As I have noted in previous posts, Christianity has an increasingly bad image among the younger generations because of the failure of so many of its professed adherents - particularly among the professional Christian crowd and the Catholic Church hierarchy - to act even remotely in a Christian manner. Added to that is the on going efforts of these same folks to subvert the U.S. Constitution's guarantee of freedom of religion to all - not just Christian extremists. The reality is that actions speak louder than words and the constant anti-gay and anti-immigrant jihad (and subtle racism) that permeates the Christian Right is not lost on young Americans who seem increasingly to be color blind and indifferent to one's sexual orientation. Hence the trend of young people either simply leaving organized religion or losing any belief in a God. The Washington Post has a story on this trend:
AMES, Iowa -- The sign sits propped on a wooden chair, inviting all comers: "Ask an Atheist." Whenever a student gets within a few feet, Anastasia Bodnar waves and smiles, trying to make a good first impression before eyes drift down to a word many Americans rank down there with "socialist." As the stigma of atheism has diminished, campus atheists and agnostics are coming out of the closet, fueling a sharp rise in the number of clubs like the 10-year-old group at Iowa State.
Campus affiliates of the Secular Student Alliance, a sort of Godless Campus Crusade for Christ, have multiplied from 80 in 2007 to 100 in 2008 and 174 this fall, providing the atheist movement new training grounds for future leaders. In another sign of growing acceptance, at least three universities, including Harvard, now have humanist chaplains meeting the needs of the not-so-spiritual.
With the growth has come soul-searching - or the atheist equivalent - about what secular campus groups should look like. It's part of a broader self-examination in the atheist movement triggered by the rise of the so-called "new atheists," best-selling authors who denigrate religion and blame it for the world's ills.
More than three-quarters of young adults taking part in the National Study of Youth and Religion profess a belief in God. But almost 7 percent fewer believe in God as young adults (ages 18 to 23) than did as teenagers, according to the study, which is tracking the same group of young people as they mature. What young adults are less likely to believe in is religion. The number of those who describe themselves as "not religious" nearly doubled, to 27 percent, in young adulthood.
Growing hostility toward religion was found, too. About 1 in 10 young adults are "irreligious" - or actively against religion - after virtually none of them fit that description as teenagers. . . . Many stress that their lives are guided not by anti-religiousness, but belief in science, logic and reason. The goal," said Andrew Severin, a post-doctoral researcher in bioinformatics, "should be to obtain inner peace for yourself and do random acts of kindness for strangers." Scott Moseley, a Bettendorf, Iowa, senior, stops for a polite conversation. He explains that he was raised Methodist, has a Buddhist friend and dates a Wiccan. "My entire concept of one religion is kind of out the window," Moseley says.
Obviously, many within the LGBT community remain spiritual but associate with no branch of organized religion because of the efforts by so many denominations to exclude, condemn, and deprive gays of civil legal rights. Thus, in my own case I know a number of people that have either left Christianity and become Wiccan or simply ceased all religious affiliation. Why be involved in something that is toxic and seeks to make you less than fully human in the eyes of society.

1 comment:

Julián said...

Muy bueno el artículo. Michael, es que somos muchos los gays que dejamos la religión y dejamos de creer, porque simplemente (tal como la misma biblia lo dice "de la abundancia del corazón habla la boca") no queremos formar parte ninguna religión que solo predican odio, violencia e intolerancia contra nosotros. En un ambiente donde sólo respiras odio producido por las furiosas huestes de fanáticos, es muy pero que muy difícil mantener la fe.

A que no sabías que en la biblia está prohibido odiar a los extranjeros?

"33 " 'When an alien lives with you in your land, do not mistreat him. 34 The alien living with you must be treated as one of your native-born. Love him as yourself, for you were aliens in Egypt. I am the LORD your God."

Lv 19, 33-34

¿Dónde está el amor cristiano que los conservadores americanos deberían tener hacia los inmigrantes?

Por esto, y muchas otras cosas, me niego y me seguiré negando a creer en un "Dios" que sus seguidores utilizan para oprimir a otros seres humanos. O sea, que las partes en donde se condena la homosexualidad si son válidas, y en donde se prohibe ser racista no, que raro...