If you didn’t get a chance to read last week’s Los Angeles Times op-ed piece titled “How Secular Families Stack Up” by Phil Zuckerman, please do. Zuckerman, author of Living the Secular Life: New Answers to Old Questions, is a sociologist who has spent much of his career studying secularism and its influence on various societies. I interviewed Zuckerman a couple of years ago for my book and can report that the man is a quote machine. He speaks clearly and intelligently, and he knows how to get to the damn point — which is part of what makes his op-ed piece so effective. Based, in part, on a study by the Longitudinal Study of Generations out of the University of Southern California, Zuckerman reveals that secular families exhibit high levels of “family solidarity and emotional closeness,” not to mention “strong ethical standards and moral values.” In other words, says Zuckerman:
“Far from being dysfunctional, nihilistic and rudderless without the security and rectitude of religion, secular households provide a sound and solid foundation for children.”
Even greater (in my own secular opinion) is that kids raised in nonreligious households have proven to be more independent, progressive and open-minded.
“Studies have found that secular teenagers are far less likely to care what the ‘cool kids’ think, or express a need to fit in with them, than their religious peers. When these teens mature into ‘godless’ adults, they exhibit less racism than their religious counterparts, according to a 2010 Duke University study. Many psychological studies show that secular grownups tend to be less vengeful, less nationalistic, less militaristic, less authoritarian and more tolerant, on average, than religious adults.”