Even as the Republican Party races to turn itself into a completely religious based party, the trend in the larger American public is away from religion. True, there are many reasons for the trend, but I continue to believe that no small part of the movement away from religion traces back to the Christianists who are making Christianity into something truly foul and ugly where hatred of others is the principal hallmark. Indeed, I increasingly find myself not wanting to even acknowledge myself as a "Christian" because of the negative connotation that the word has come to have associated with it. From comments of readers who identify as Christian (not to mention author Anne Rice's widely covered pronouncement some months back), I know that I am not alone in this feeling.
Atheism Continues Upswing in America
I can only hope that the trend either causes a "reformation" on the part of decent Christians not defined by hatred who will retake the Christian brand or ultimately the death of Christianism. Here are excerpts from a Washington Post story that looks at the growing flight from religion (emphasis mine):
As the survey results come in, as the irreligious best-sellers sell, and as the scientific analysis gets published, it is increasingly clear that Western atheism has evolved into a forward-looking movement that has the wind at its back, is behind the success of the best run societies yet seen in human history, and is challenging religion as the better basis of morality. Even in the U.S., a religious anomaly in the Western world, atheists are making major gains while Christianity withers, already having lost the mainstream culture to secularism. The least religious regions of the nation are enjoying superior societal conditions.
Religious conservatives commonly contend that only a transcendent supernatural intelligent designer can provide the absolute and perfect morality and the wisdom necessary to run successful societies - it's become the de facto position of the GOP.
The science-based evidence leaves no doubt that, although very human in its flaws, democratic atheism is proving superior to faith-based mythical doctrines in practical societal and moral terms.
The still-common claim that nine out of ten Americans still believe in God is an outright falsehood. When asked if they believe in God or not, about 90 percent say yes, but when asked about whether or not they believe in God or a higher power or universal spirit, the actual God-believing theists drop to eight in ten. Two Harris polls also show that a fifth of Americans are atheistic to a greater or lesser degree.
Bible literalism is in strong decline, and the religious right, always a minority, is showing signs of distress as an internal report by the Southern Baptists bemoans that "evangelistically, the denomination is on a path of slow but discernible deterioration." That's because the churches are losing the digitally connected, traditional organization-averse youth; today's twentysomethings are twice as irreligious as was the same cohort in the 90s.
The future of American faith is grim as the nation undergoes the secularization process that has already pretty much wrecked the churches in the rest of the West.
I agree with the conclusion that the loss of religion in public policy - at least the Christianist version that applauds executions, cheers at allowing the uninsured to die, and boos gay military service members - can only be a positive good. Yes, there are those who will disagree with me - including other Projectors - but my response to them is that rather than debating with me, they need to stop yielding the media field to the Christianists.