Here at the Secular Coalition for America one of our primary goals is to increase the visibility of and respect for nontheists. Getting Rep. Pete Stark to become the first openly nontheistic member of congress was a big step for our visibility. But while that was part of a top-down approach, the bottom-up strategy is vital too. As there are more and more of us in the country, our voice and our presence will be stronger and more noticeable.
And later in life I’m totally going to take credit. I’ll tell my children that my hard work paid off. Thank you all for making me look good to my future kids.
Researchers once observed a familiar pattern of religious disaffiliation among young adults, who then would reaffiliate later on, said Darren E. Sherkat, a sociologist at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale.
But that pattern is breaking down, said Sherkat, who analyzes data from the General Social Surveys.“We’re seeing greater stability of non-affiliation, and we’re also seeing greater numbers of parents raising their children without affiliation, which was really quite rare in earlier generations,” he said.
There’s often the pessimistic assumption in the movement that most of the secular young adults become religious when they get older – usually when they have kids themselves. But if recent studies are any guide, the trends are changing in our direction, and our growth is more stable than before.