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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Flocking away from faith

Sad news everyone: Lucifer is winning. Well, that’s just one explanation. The other may be that many Americans are just getting sick of sectarian bickering and dogma, turning away from organized religion and instead toward an optimistic humanism that accurately reflects 21st century hopes. Or, again, Lucifer might be winning. It’s your call.
The American Religious Identification Survey from Trinity College in Hartford, Conn., indicates that over the last 20 years the percentage of people who identify themselves as Christian has dropped from 86 percent to 75 percent. One in four people you meet is not a Christian. Maybe not in College Station, but you get the picture.
Glances at other religions quickly reveal a parallel trend. Christianity isn’t losing out to any other brands, which begs the question: Where is everyone going?
As it turns out, an increasing number of people are shedding their faith and becoming what some call religiously unaffiliated or, in more colloquial terms, heathens. The rise of those who don’t identify themselves with a religion is the only nationwide trend seen in the survey, which begs looking in to.
While it still may warrant social pariah status in certain regions of America, emancipation from religion is increasingly being seen as socially acceptable, in every state. Atheism has a rocky past, often being chastised to extremes. The atheist brand was often thrown around as a political weapon, meant to call into question the character of those that came under the label’s unfortunate stigma.
As time went on and pesky scientists were dealt with, the inevitable transition of atheism from the dark arts to an acceptable religious identity accelerated. What we’re seeing now is the natural extension of the spirit that started the science ball rolling centuries ago. Sure, we still see attempts at demonizing atheism within the political realm but within the branches of society that are seeking to better the human condition, atheism is becoming a refreshing and positive acceptance of the responsibilities and opportunities open to us in our shiny new millennium. Not here though. I still think it’s icky.
Obviously, to many others, this trend is a little less icky than it is alarming. A critical look into why this shift is occurring, however, can reveal the causes. The religious ideology of the last twenty years has moved from a positive attitude toward the world to a negative one. Religion is often associated with vehement opposition to stem cell research, classroom science lessons, individuals exercising their rights and sexual scandals while those that don’t believe are seen as intellectual elitists. The most espoused American religion, Christianity, would understandably take a hit from negative press.
Still, 75 percent is still a solid majority and, in the big picture, those 13 percent who jumped ship were probably going to Hell anyways. The good news is, neatly packaged, commercialized religion is on a meteoric rise. Mega churches have seen a drastic increase in membership, leading to the indoctrination of 8 million Americans; a victory if I’ve ever seen one.
Stay strong College Station, all this means is we can all sleep comfortably knowing we will all have a little more breathing space up in heaven.

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