Thursday, August 20, 2015
Atheist Children Often Don't Remain Atheists
It is quite funny how unrealistic the thinking of most online atheists is. They seem to think that the future is a sure thing for atheism, that it will increase the percentage point or two it has in the past decade and a half of it being promoted like a fad and that in a generation, as soon as the "millennials" rule, man, the world will be atheist and run things. As I've noted, it looked that way to the Nazis too during the period when they not only controlled something like blog narrative and mid-brow culture, but also had control of the German government and military and required all German children over the age of 10 be part of its youth group and subjected to its propaganda, anti-Christian, as well.
I look at the "millenials" and expect they'll probably turn out to be about as predictable at 50 or 60 as the Flower Power cohort was not. I expect they'll grow up, a lot of them, or just get older and nastier in about the same percentages as past generations.
The dreams of historical inevitability have been many and just about uniformly delusional. The dreams of an inevitable atheist future are as old as scientism and the absurd and ahistorical belief that science was the property of atheists. The difference today is, mostly, in the past the atheists pushing it had something like a real education, including history and, often, training in logical thought, something that is generally missing in most of those pushing that line today.
In my time I went from being a rather serious Catholic, as a child, to being an agnostic for much of my adulthood to being a sort of Christian leaning freelance monotheist who is totally convinced of, not only the existence of God but also that God is concerned with us and our eternal souls in ways I was not, obviously, convinced as a pious child. I didn't get there from reading less, by turning my mind off but by reading more. One of the things I read - in response to a claim that Francis Bacon was an atheists - was his essay Of Atheism which contains the observation,
It is true, that a little philosophy inclineth man's mind to atheism; but depth in philosophy bringeth men's minds about to religion. For while the mind of man looketh upon second causes scattered, it may sometimes rest in them, and go no further; but when it beholdeth the chain of them, confederate and linked together, it must needs fly to Providence and Deity.
If "a little philosphy inclineth man's mind to atheism" the modern period proves that an absence of it can, as well. That is other than the professional atheist philosophy profs who are as determined as the cosmologists I pointed to to force their discipline to become a weapon of their ideological atheist quest. Listening to some of them in debate, reading some of them, they can seem as obsessed as Capt. Ahab, quite willing to wreck everything, including their field, including logical coherence, in their attempt to kill off their nemesis, in their case God.
What inspired those thoughts is an article from last year that carried the bad news for atheists that children brought up in atheist households mostly don't stay atheist. This graph was especially, well, graphic.
The first thing I notice is that this was the figure for the Catholic Church, from 2008, after three decades when of two of the most incompetent pastoralists of modern times had been pope and the devastating sex abuse scandal had led to people leaving in large numbers and churches being closed to pay compensation for victims who had and were suing. And they still did more than two-times better than atheists in retaining the percentage of the next generation. I will, also, note that it's not uncommon for Catholics to leave to become members of other, Christian denominations or just free lancers like me. If the papacy of Francis will turn that around, if he will open the priesthood to married people, if he will correct the abusive centralization of power that played such a great role in the secrecy and cover up and protection of crimials in the clergy isn't knowable, though he has taken some steps in that direction. If it would slow, stop or reverse the massive loss of people who identify themselves as Catholics has yet to be seen. As ex-Catholics are one of the larger religious groups in the United States, these days, that could have a remarkable effect on future surveys such as this one.
The article seems to me to try to give a best case scenario for atheists retaining people in atheism, which this certainly is not. I've known of more than a few former atheists who became convinced of the existence of God as they get older, which was my experience as an agnostic but I think this kind of data forces a revision of the atheist conversion scenario, the great hope that education and the fashion push of the past twelve years will clinch the future for atheism. That scenario is that someone learns about evolution and science (as if religious people don't know those things) becomes enlightened by it, rejects God and remains an atheist bringing up enlightened atheist children into perpetuity. But that's a view of people derived from cartoons, not real life. A lot of the atheism I see seems to be more likely the product of emotional damage, which could account for a lot of the anger and hatred among them. Most of the rest of it seems to be based in the conceit and arrogance of people whose atheism is part of their acculturation into the common culture of university educated folk, an aspect of membership in what they believe is the elite they have joined. I suspect a lot of the nastiness I've seen in atheists isn't kept out of the home and can't imagine a lot of them being very attractive role models for their children. Atheism is an especially arid landscape, emotionally as well as intellectually, one that, apparently, doesn't impress many of those who have the greatest and most direct experience of it. They bail in rather impressive numbers for something that is supposed to be the great hope for the future.
Posted by The Thought Criminal at 9:54 AM