Phil Zuckerman discusses a new study of college freshmen and their views on same-sex relationships as an explanation for their increasing secularism.
Simply put: Younger Americans are the least homophobic generation in our nation’s history, with a clear majority of millennials being accepting and affirming of homosexuality. And what do they see? That most major religions condemn homosexuality as sinful and wrong. Given this situation, these anti-gay and anti-lesbian religions are losing members in record numbers. Younger Americans are simply walking away from beliefs and institutions that they see as intolerant, unloving, and immoral.
There's some truth to this. In 2014, PRRI released "A Shifting Landscape: A Decade of Change in American Attitudes about Same-Sex Marriage and LGBT Issues" and the poll found that…
Among Americans who left their childhood religion and are now religiously unaffiliated, about one-quarter say negative teachings about or treatment of gay and lesbian people was a somewhat important (14%) or very important (10%) factor in their decision to disaffiliate. More than 7-in-10 Americans who have disaffiliated from their childhood religion report that was not too important (17%) or not at all important as a factor (54%).
However, I think that religion-based homophobia is just a gateway to secularism. It is the way in which many young people start questioning the tenets of their religion when they encounter LGBTQ individuals and realize they are (GASP!) human. From there, I think there's a snowballing process of questioning other teachings and, ultimately, abandoning identification. This is why membership among liberal religious groups is not blossoming despite increasing acceptance of homosexuality. Young people realize that they don't need religion, no matter how hip and abstract you want to make it.
That’s the title of my new piece in Free Inquiry [subscription requited] as part of a volume dedicated to discussing “How do we Sustain the Growth of Unbelief?”
From the abstract: “Seculars of color are more numerous than ever, but movement groups may need to offer broader programming to attract them.”
My main argument, that on paper secular Americans look like a socially and racially progressive group that seems open to address the concerns of secular Americans of color. But while…
. . . [i]t is possible for the movement to address the needs of the growing secular population of color. The question is whether the movement is willing to make the necessary adjustments to become a major force in American society.
Most days I am positive that we have the ability of organizing a racially inclusive movement. However, it depends on acting on stated thoughts and opinions on matters of racial and social justice in polls and prioritizing these preferences in a way that they reflect not just the opinions of many members of the community at-large, but also as guiding values and principles for the movement.
Other articles were penned by Tom Flynn, Ryan Cragun, Barry Kosmin, Christel J. Manning, Jesse Max Smith, and Phil Zuckerman. That’s pretty good company.
Note: Every Thursday I bring “back to life” a post from the old LatiNone blog. Today’s post was originally published on May 14, 2011-JNR
a new Gallup analysis finds countries with the highest wellbeing tend to be the most peaceful countries in the world and those with the lowest wellbeing are the least likely to be peaceful. Gallup’s life evaluation measure, which gauges wellbeing, correlates strongly with the Failed States Index and the World Bank’s Political Stability and Absence of Violence dimension, suggesting a clear linear relationship between peace and high wellbeing.
Not coincidentally, these countries are also highly secular. And the link between secularism, peace and wellbeing is one that is found in social science. In fact, Pitzer College professor and founder of the new Secularism Studies major, Phil Zuckerman, did a video lecture on this for ISSSC a while ago.
While there are certainly other factors involve in wellbeing and peace, secularism (and secularity) should be atop of social science explanations.