Perhaps the most striking trend in American religion in recent years has been the growing percentage of adults who do not identify with a religious group. And the vast majority of these religious “nones” (78%) say they were raised as a member of a particular religion before dropping their religious identity in adulthood.
As part of a survey connected in the PEW Research Center’s Religious Landscape Study, PEW surveyors asked these people to explain, in their own words, why they no longer identify with a religious group. This resulted in hundreds of different responses but many of them shared one of a few common themes.
Why Some People are Unaffiliated with a Religion
Don’t Believe – Why?
- “Learning about evolution when I went away to college.”
- “Too many Christians doing un-Christian things.”
- “Religion is the opiate of the people.”
- “Rational thought makes religion go out the window.”
- “Lack of any of sort of scientific or specific evidence of a creator.”
- “I just realized somewhere along the line that I didn’t really believe it.”
- “I’m doing a lot more learning studying and kind of making decisions myself rather than listening to someone else.”
Dislike Organized Religion – Why?
- “I see organized religious groups as more divisive than uniting.”
- “I think that more harm has been done in the name of religion than any other area.”
- “I no longer believe in organized religion. I don’t attend services anymore. Ijust believe that religion is very personal conversation with me and my creator.”
- “Because I think religion is nota religion anymore. It’s a business it’s all about money.”
- “The clergy sex abuse scandal.”
- “The church’s teachings on homosexuality.”
Religiously Unsure/Undecided – Why?
- “I don’t have a particular religion because I am open-minded and I don’t think there is one particular religion that is right or wrong.”
- “I feel that there is something out there, but I can’t nail down a religion.”
- “Right now I’m kind of leaning towards spirituality, but I’m not too sure. I know l can pray to my God anywhere. I do believe in a higher power, but I don’t need a church to do that.”
- “I just basically stopped going to church when I went to college and never picked it back up. I was never super religious.”
- “I don’t practice any religion and I don’t go to church or participate in any of the rituals of the church.”
- “I don’t have the time to go to church.”
On With It! Show Me The Atheist Memes
The following are a collection of atheist related memes. They aren’t intended to insult readers who happen to follow the particular religion that is ridiculed. They are intended, at the very least, to provoke thought. Many of the memes point out a specific flaw with a religion, but taken as a whole, they actually support the reasons for religious unaffiliation listed above.
Remember, ideas and thoughts don’t have feelings. Individuals have the right to believe what they wish, but their ideas do not have rights – and so we have the right (and one could argue, the obligation) to criticize and challenge them… especially if they are dangerous.
If you like these, there’s many more here and here. You know who didn’t like them? The folks over at the Clear Lens Podcast. In Episode 37, they discuss a few of our previous atheist meme posts, but seem to misunderstand the point behind the memes they’re attempting do dismantle. We recommending listening to the episode so that you can participate in the debate. Also, we’d be happy to discuss these memes and more on a future podcast episide.
And finally, the memes…