Monday, October 08, 2007

Oddly, When You Spend A Generation Acting Like A Bunch Of Asses, Young People Grow Up Disliking You

Recently, both Atrios and Jason Pitzl-Waters have blogged about a study showing that today's young people (16 to 29 year-olds) have a less favorable view of xianity than did previous generations. The study attributes this change to: a growing sense of disengagement and disillusionment among young people. I assume that means a "disengagement" from xianity and a "disillusionmnet" with xianity among young people. But that's not really an explanation, it's merely a restatement of the results of the study.

I'm willing to take a wild guess and suggest that the change in attitudes is due to a change in xianity, at least in the version of xianity that's been shoved relentlessly down America's throat for the last few decades. That version of xianity is a far cry from the "care for the sick/judge not lest ye be not judged/blessed are the meek" version of xianity that, for example, I grew up with during the sixties and seventies. I didn't like xianity's view of women, but I generally believed xians to be good people who cared for others, tried not to do evil, attempted to convert by example. And, to be clear, there are still many, many xians who believe in and follow that version of xianity. But they're as invisible today as St. Paul wanted women to be.

The only kind of xianity that many of today's young people, especially those in their teens, have ever seen is the "hate on gays/hate on abortion/hate on women/hate on Islam" xianity that's gotten oddly tangled up in some bizarre form of American exceptionalism and mad desire to bring on a bloody Armageddon. They've seen that Catholic priests are pedophiles protected, at all costs, by the church. They've seen xians insist that evolution is a lie, that science is bad, and that the myths of Bronze Age sheep herders are the final word in -- well, in everything. They've seen one creepy minister after another turn out to engage in exactly the behaviors against which he's gotten rich inveighing. They've heard over and over again that it's wrong to have sex, use birth control, have an abortion and they know that none of that works in today's real world. The face of modern xianity is mean, hateful, intolerant, relentlessly anti-woman, anti-sex, protective of the privileged, and spiteful to the downtrodden. It's not surprising to me that just 16% of non-Christians in their late teens and twenties said they have a "good impression" of Christianity. Hell, I'm surprised that the xians got 16%.

I'd like to think, as Jason Pitzel-Waters' commenter, Steve Caldwell, suggests, that: [a] shift in Christian cultural and political dominance is possible based on current demographic trends that [Jason Pitzel-Waters post] highlighted and similiar trends posted on the Ontario Consultants for Religious Tolerance web site:

"By about the year 2042, non-Christians will outnumber the Christians in the U.S."

"14.1% do not follow any organized religion. This is an unusually rapid increase -- almost a doubling -- from only 8% in 1990. There are more Americans who say they are not affiliated with any organized religion than there are Episcopalians, Methodists, and Lutherans taken together."

Religious identification in the U.S.

So Christianity may find itself as a minority faith in the U.S. and no faith group will be in the majority.
That would, IMHO, be a good thing. It might put an end to the obvious lie, repeated over and over by people who profess to believe that it is evil to lie, that "America is a Christian Nation." When you probe a bit and ask people what they mean when they say that "America is a Christian Nation," there's just not, in the immortal words of Gertrude Stein, much "there, there." Everyone I've asked has responded that it means that "America was founded on Judeo-xian ideals." Forget how odd it is that they never say that "America is a Judeo-xian Nation," what's weird is what they say when you ask what that means. The inevitable response is that it means "respect for life" (sometimes phrased as "respect for human dignity"). And we all know what that means.

Look, I love the idea of America a whole lot. But America was founded by people who owned slaves, kept women as second-class citizens for generations, massacred the Native Americans, and, practiced early forms of abortion to deal with unwanted children. It was also founded by people who said: As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries."

Hopefully, today's young people will be more true to the vision of our Founders than are the likes of Fred Phelps, James Dobson, and America's Bishops.


Itchy Brother said...

Amen sister! The nuns in my (60's) Catholic elementary school taught love and compassion. Now I live in a country where Christians are devoted to preventing homosexual marriage.

I blame the Regan revolution.

Anonymous said...

If we're fortunate, the estrangement from xtianity will lead to young people finding out they're basically decent and charitable by nature, not by dictates.

from Ruth

Anne Johnson said...

Good news for the bored gods. Maybe some of these disenchanted youths will throw them a bone.