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Hermant Mahta on millenials leaving the Church

#1DarkContractorPosted 8/4/2013 11:22:51 AM
http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/07/30/why-are-millennials-leaving-church-try-atheism/comment-page-37/

Pretty interesting bit imo. While I think there is a lil bias to that article, he does make some interesting points. I like especially his point about lumping Bible myth in with YECism; I've always felt that the 'pro' science Christians never have been vocal enough and it sets up the new atheists for making people having massive skepticism for YECism and then extrapolating that unto other supernatural aspects of the Bible.

Contrarily, I do think the reason a lot of millenials are in the Church has a lot more to do with self-centeredness and narcissism (the May 20th 2013 issue of time magazine ran a good article on the general attitude of millenials). Just like the millenials tend to have everything else about them, the constant facebook updates, always taking photos of themselves and sharing them with everyone, I think a lot of the non-denominational protestantism is like that too. Believing that theres a God that loves you and will take care of every single problem you could ever have is all a part of that imo.

Anyways, thoughts?
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#2JonWood007Posted 8/4/2013 12:19:33 PM
Idk if I told you about this, DC, but I actually wrote a mock research proposal in grad school on this subject when I was still a believer. However, I didn't account for atheism at the time, having a rather limited insider's perspective that did not allow myself to fully think outside of the box.

While I definitely think atheism is part of it, and was definitely true as far as myself, I'd recommend caution in saying ANY answer is THE answer. I think that the answer is multifaceted. First of all, something I've found in my own research is that part of the reason is simply due to life cycle effects. As people get older, they become less religious, but then become religious again when they settle down and have kids of their own. While this behavior has been observed among several generations, what is different with millenials is that we're leaving the church at a much faster rate than previous generations, especially looking at the data I've seen since I wrote that paper in 2010.

A hypothesis I had that would've been what my hypothetical experiment would've tested for is a focus on family values, the mixing of religion and politics. While I do think that the church stopping this stuff could slow the bleeding out of members, as christians who push this stuff are making a bad name for christianity, it's likely not going to bring people back who leave, if they are indeed becoming atheists.

One group of people we also need to watch out for in approaching these issues are the "spiritual but not religious" crowd. A lot of people may be alienated from church, but that does not mean they don't believe in God or have beliefs. I also think that while church attendance and religiosity is dropping among millennials, I'm not sure we're really getting an equally large increase in atheism and agnosticism. A lot of people simply call themselves unaffilifated or something like that, and it's very difficult to know what exactly this group of people think.

On a side note, I know there was a recent study done drawing on surveys passed around on the atheist subreddits on reddit, and while the results came out overwhelmingly that people were leaving because they did not see it as true, that's not necessarily representative of the general population, since those are very expected answers to see from...well....people who hang out on atheist subreddits.
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#3CS_Goodman_Posted 8/11/2013 2:48:21 AM
In general, the problem with millenials (such as Jon) is their illusion of leaving a box while remaining totally stuck inside it. As if they are content to change the wallpaper inside their box but can't conceive of actually leaving it for the "great outdoors."
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"Hey! Don't piss off the god of love!" - Dende
#4CS_Goodman_Posted 8/11/2013 5:31:35 AM
the May 20th 2013 issue of time magazine ran a good article on the general attitude of millenials)

I also read that article. For what it's worth, what the author describes is in fact something considerably broader than what he paints, i.e. the cultural phenomenon of individualism (a western mindset). Which is the actual root of all his "millenial" jargon. As he says, they're but the natural evolution of their precursors in American society.

The author's mistake was in taking a decidedly individualist bent midway through; and in the rose colored goggles he glued on his eyes towards the end.
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"Hey! Don't piss off the god of love!" - Dende
#5gamesrgreatPosted 8/11/2013 9:23:37 AM
Good article but I felt like he wrote it a bit narrowly just so he could use that last line. It is a good line though.
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#6JonWood007Posted 8/11/2013 6:20:11 PM
CS_Goodman_ posted...
In general, the problem with millenials (such as Jon) is their illusion of leaving a box while remaining totally stuck inside it. As if they are content to change the wallpaper inside their box but can't conceive of actually leaving it for the "great outdoors."


Quite frankly, I'm getting kind of tired of this misconception of atheism. When we deconvert, we're not just abandoning one view for another of equal validity. We're abandoning a view for which there is no evidence for one that is founded on the evidence. I deconverted because in researching christianity, I realized there was no evidence. Zip, zero, none. The Bible's support was considerably weaker than I once thought, most religious experiences can be chalked up to psychology, most notably placebo effects and confirmation bias. I deconverted because I realized that christianity was not really founded in evidence, heck, it turns believing in that which has no evidence into a virtue. All of my arguments for christianity were destroyed. Sure, there are grossly biased sources that support christianity, but they often presuppose it's all true to begin with and just confirm what they already know.
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#7darkmaian23Posted 8/11/2013 6:47:42 PM
JonWood007 posted...
CS_Goodman_ posted...
In general, the problem with millenials (such as Jon) is their illusion of leaving a box while remaining totally stuck inside it. As if they are content to change the wallpaper inside their box but can't conceive of actually leaving it for the "great outdoors."


Quite frankly, I'm getting kind of tired of this misconception of atheism. When we deconvert, we're not just abandoning one view for another of equal validity. We're abandoning a view for which there is no evidence for one that is founded on the evidence. I deconverted because in researching christianity, I realized there was no evidence. Zip, zero, none. The Bible's support was considerably weaker than I once thought, most religious experiences can be chalked up to psychology, most notably placebo effects and confirmation bias. I deconverted because I realized that christianity was not really founded in evidence, heck, it turns believing in that which has no evidence into a virtue. All of my arguments for christianity were destroyed. Sure, there are grossly biased sources that support christianity, but they often presuppose it's all true to begin with and just confirm what they already know.


This is more or less the response I was going to give. A lot of Christians seem to think this way about atheism.
#8OrangeWizardPosted 8/11/2013 6:55:59 PM
A lot of people seem to think that there is something inherently wrong with something that they don't believe in.
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#9JonWood007Posted 8/11/2013 8:01:42 PM(edited)
Well, considering how Christianity comes off as a system of exploitation and control....seeing how it influences peoples decisions, their outlooks on life, their actions, and dramtically affects the world around us, even for nonbelievers, then yeah, I'm gonna take issue with it. Just look at your "logic" on the morality of God. You accept premises without question, and refuse to listen to any logical argument that disproves them, all the while claiming to be logical yourself. If a system requires obedience, and makes believing in things without solid proof a virtue, that seems to me to be more of a way to control people than a legitimate worldview. I was thinking of making a topic about the psychology surrounding this phenomenon, but I haven't gotten around to it.
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#10CS_Goodman_Posted 8/11/2013 10:46:46 PM
Did Jon say something? The box always muffles his speech! At least he's comfy, though.

This is more or less the response I was going to give. A lot of Christians seem to think this way about atheism.

If this were the Matrix, I might unplug you. However, you're in a box, so I can't do that.
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"Hey! Don't piss off the god of love!" - Dende