The Pew Research Center conducted a survey into religiosity and found that more adult Americans were turning away from organized religion than ever before. A simple internet search will offer the opinion backed by reports in the newspapers and opinion pieces that it is the case; people are turning away from structured religions.
The research center decided to probe a little deeper. They found 78% of the people who said they had left organized religion behind, had been raised within a religious group and then most often had drifted away.
There is a theory (it is called the Secularism Theory) which posits the better educated we become the less likely we are to believe in the formal religious organization. People cited a ‘lack of evidence’ in their rejection of religion. Others were more brutal; science means they reject a belief based in faith or miracles.
The numbers of professed agnostics or atheists are growing. At this point in our data collecting world, there are enough agnostics/atheists to be counted within the top ten religions.
A growing theory
Often people find it difficult to completely reject the basic ideas of a religious faith even as they do reject the trappings of that faith. It is the idea of believing in God but in a personal way and not a formalized way.
Why does God…
In times of distress or extreme horror we often knowingly or unknowingly throw out the question of how can this happen? Why would a merciful God let this take place? It is tautologous, there will never be an answer.
But not getting an answer is yet another reason why we turn to rationality based on evidence or something else to replace religion. Some people turn away from it, some turn towards an even more regulated creed.
Is there an alternative?
The ancient Greeks held the belief that mankind would live a moral life by choice. Though the Greeks had a pantheon of Gods from whom to choose, theirs was not a structured religious life but one through which they had to think and where they could prove very little. There simply was not the science available to back up any of the ideas they propounded.
But their very thought processes and the conclusions they came to, which we have now proven to be correct, show us there is a way to peace and a moral life and it doesn’t have to be structured to be workable.
It is an idea of something else
Meditation practices like being in the now or a reverence for the natural world are all modern equivalents which acknowledge there is more to it all than just the superficial. The basis of our moral code might come from a religious perspective, but most agree that it is a good formula for life even if you don’t believe in what formal religion has put on top of it.