The official blog of University of Missouri Skeptics, Atheists, Secular Humanists, & Agnostics
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Hello all, Dave Muscato here again!
According to a Washington Post article published yesterday, the Vatican is holding a closed-door conference February 6-9 to discuss “emerging youth culture.” They are concerned that they risk losing future generations to nontheism if they don’t learn how to get with the times.
The internet is absolutely butchering religion. Religious belief necessarily depends on ignorance of science, logic, reason, history, philosophy, ethics, and competing mythologies. It becomes very difficult for a pastor to get away with lying for Jesus, when anyone—especially young people—can whip out a smartphone and find real answers on Wikipedia faster than you can say the Lord’s Prayer.
There was a time not so long ago when young people wholly depended on their parents, teachers, and pastors for information about the world. If a suitable bubble is maintained, it becomes nearly impossible to break free once the indoctrination is set into motion. This is why many Christians and other religious groups isolate their young from mainstream culture. They publish and use their own textbooks. They homeschool and attend their own schools and colleges. They have their own museums. They have their entire own Wikipedia. They have their own YouTube. They have their own television networks, radio shows, musical genres, you name it.
These parents do this, even if they can’t articulate why, because they understand that a few hours on Reddit or YouTube is potentially all it takes to spoil a child’s faith in their parents’ religion. For some children who haven’t been fully indoctrinated, just learning about the very concept of atheism for the first time is enough to break the spell. It is vital, therefore, that religious parents quarantine their children. When this is not enough, they vilify atheists, supply misinformation (that we are Satanists, that we are immoral/amoral, they we hate God, etc), or in some cases even deny that atheism exist (e.g. they claim that we know God exists but deny it).
We are winning. Unless parents are willing (able?) to keep their children away from Google, it is only a matter of time before the truth about religions—that they are manmade, that they are a substandard source of ethics, that they are factually incorrect—becomes mainstream. One in three—one in three!—Americans aged 18-29 report no religious affiliation. This is not to say they are all atheists, of course, but these people are informed about religion, science, history, and so on. This is a progress. This is a step in the right direction. And the Church knows it. And they are afraid.
Until next time,
P.S. I know that not all religious parents quarantine their children in this way. Some even go out of their way to expose their children to other points of view and other cultures. Those that do end up with children who have much more liberal beliefs, and this is no surprise. I maintain that if everyone waited until adulthood to pick up a Bible for the first time, people would consider it laughable that anyone actually believes it’s true. As the saying goes, like circumcision, if religion were only offered to adults, no one would be interested! Thanks for reading.
Dave Muscato is the Kansas/Missouri-Area Volunteer Network Coordinator for the Secular Student Alliance. He is also a board member of MU SASHA. He is a vegetarian, LGBTQ ally, and human- & animal-welfare activist. A non-traditional junior at Mizzou studying economics & anthropology and minoring in philosophy & Latin, Dave posts updates to the SASHA blog every Monday, Thursday, and Saturday and twice monthly for the Humanist Community at Harvard. His website is http://www.DaveMuscato.com
and don’t forget… other SASHA members! We are here for you, too!