Why do people continue to hold on to their religious beliefs ? I think about this on a regular basis and even though I never come up with something that I could say is the reason, I have some thoughts on why we still have a religious tradition. I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s really more about tradition than actual belief. Your parents, their parents, etc., were believers and as you and I were raised, we too just became a part of that chain.
I;ve known kids that were actually forced to go to church. I never was, but it was expected, at least for a while, that on certain Christian holidays, I would attend church. Today there are many young people that describes themselves as “nones” – those that don’t accept any specific religious belief. – and I’m certain its because when they were younger, they were forced into a system that, as they matured, made no sense
Many that I knew as a kid, when they achieved adulthood, rejected their parents religion, so what we’;re seeing today is actually nothing new. It’s just that it’s been polled in the last decade or so and doesn’t really reflect what has been going on for decades.
More people are leaving behind the belief they were raised with today than in any time in recent history. Every poll in the last 20 years shows this to be true. So why is it we still see so many believers today that it gives us the impression that belief is on the rise? Simple. The Internet. Everyone is aboard on those various social platforms and it’s almost impossible to not come across a believer.
When I became an atheist, decades ago now, as I’ve written before, it was a conclusion that I came to over time. I can’;t say for sure whether it was months or even years, but I did finally decide I could no longer believe what had been a tradition forever wit my family. When I speak with young atheists today, and full disclosure, I don’t know that many, I can’t find a single one that is able to tell me how or why they came to atheism.
It makes be think that in a few years, many of the same will no longer be non-believers. There was nothing there to begin with that turned them from belief to atheism. for some, it’s a fad, for others, they were angry at their parents for something ill-defined. There was no actual consideration involved. I hope that some will at least stop and think and over some time do what I did: realize that there are no gods that influence or direct their lives. There is no supernatural being that cares for them, But you know the saying, “Hope in one hand and defecate in the other and see which one fills up first.”.
We have a long way to go and there’s no direct evidence that belief in any god is declining. Yes, there are polls that show the rise in “nones” but that doesn’t speak to those that although they may have rejected their specific denomination, do not believe in god.
One thought on “Is Religious Belief on a Downslide?”
I think you are right about tradition vs. belief. That sort of thing takes time to change, but once the people who never went to church as children have their own kids, I bet the decline will accelerate.