As time progresses we can see a shift away from religion. People are no longer clinging to it in times of trial and tragedy, no longer looking to it to give thanks. It is slowly becoming an institution that no longer functions in society. A recent study has shown that there has been an increase in how many people identify as being non-religious. It shows that young people are more likely to take this stance, with over 70% of the non-religious being under the age of 50. The unaffiliated group also experienced the largest growth making up a fifth of U.S. adults.
The onset of the information age is a huge contributor to why people are steering away from religion. One of the people spoken to by NPR Yusuf Ahmad (raised Muslim) cites the reason for his leaving the church was due to his disbelief in the stories. People can no longer believe in a book that claims a man would sacrifice his son because a voice in his head told him too (the story of Abraham). For me and many people alike it is hard to fully believe in something that I have been taught cannot be true. People are taking a logical approach to believing in religion, in a similar way to David Hume’s critique of miracles
“No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such a kind, that its falsehood would be more miraculous, than the fact, which I endeavors to establish…We are faced with a choice between two possible miracles A) that a violation of our uniform experience has actually occurred as reported or B) that the testimony of the witness is false”
People tend to choose the latter option because it is easier to not believe than to have to try and put faith in something that claims to have done the impossible. The knowledge we have today does not allow us to put our faith into religion because many of the claims made by religious texts are said to be impossible.
Another reason for this shift is social issues. Many religions have a strict set of moral codes that directly conflict with the beliefs of more liberal thinking people. It is hard for adults to stay a part of an organization that finds something fundamentally wrong that you support such as abortion, stem cell research, gay marriage, pre-marital sex, drugs, and women’s rights. If you are gay how can you be expected to voluntarily participate in services that condemn you, of course you would leave your religion. A single mother who gets pregnant has an abortion then goes to church only to hear how abortion is murder, of course she would leave. Women who see how this institution does not recognize their rights as equal humans will not stay in this culture. A decline in religious affiliation is on the rise.
Before the information age most people only knew their religion that they had been indoctrinated with since they were young. It is all they knew. They were not much aware of other religions, and were not aware of exactly how miraculous the miracles they learned about were. Now with the ability to learn anything at your fingertips with the aide of the internet many people know that there are countless religions in the world and the question of which one is the true religion is much more complicated. So instead of choosing one religion they choose none. There is no longer the need to explain how the world works, we know much of how it works. The need for community is drifting away as other outlets become available. The ex-Seventh Day Adventist Rigoberto Perez finds his community with his fellow veterans and does not have to turn to church.