Kids as young as 10 choosing atheism over Catholicism

Kids as young as 10 choosing atheism over Catholicism September 7, 2016

Washington-based researcher Mark Gray, above, has some bad news for the Catholic Church: youngsters are demanding proof that what they are being taught about God and religion is true.
In the absence of such evidence, they are leaving the Church in large numbers to become atheists or agnostics because there’s trend in popular culture to see atheism as “smart” and faith as “a fairy tale”.
According to this report, Gray, of the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University, says in a new report that the “whole concept of faith” is losing credibility with the young, who do not see God or religion measuring up to science.
Said Gray:

This is a generation that is struggling with faith in ways that we haven’t seen in previous generations.

Gray recently published the results of two national studies by CARA, which conducts social science research about the Church. One of the surveys was of those who were raised Catholic but no longer identified as Catholic, ages 15 to 25. The second survey was of self-identified Catholics aged 18 and over.
In exploring why young Catholics were choosing to leave the faith, he noted “an emerging profile” of youth who say they find the faith:

Incompatible with what they are learning in high school or at the university level.

In a perceived battle between the Catholic Church and science, the Church is losing. And it is losing Catholics at a young age.

The interviews with youth and young adults who had left the Catholic Faith revealed that the typical age for a decision to leave was made at 13. Nearly two-thirds of those surveyed, 63 percent said they stopped being Catholic between the ages of 10 and 17. Another 23 percent say they left the faith before the age of 10.
Of those who had left the faith:

Only 13 percent said they were ever likely to return to the Catholic Church.

The most common reason given for leaving the Catholic faith, by one in five respondents, was they stopped believing in God or religion. This was evidence of a “desire among some of them for proof, for evidence of what they’re learning about their religion and about God,” Gray said.
He added that one reason for this state of affairs might be the compartmentalisation of faith and education. Youngsters may go to Mass once a week but spend the rest of their week learning how faith is “dumb”.
His solution to the problem is to have pupils taught about things like evolution and the Big Bang theory by people with religious convictions. That would show them that there’s no conflict between science and religion.
Gray insists that the Christian faith that was the birthplace of science and that:

The Church has been steadily balancing matters of faith and reason since St Augustine’s work in the fifth century.

Gray concludes that more parents need to be aware of their children’s’ beliefs, as many don’t even know that their children may no longer profess to be Catholic.

The Church has a chance to keep more of the young Catholics being baptised now if it can do more to correct the historical myths about the Church in regards to science, and continue to highlight its support for the sciences, which were, for the most part, an initial product of the work done in Catholic universities hundreds of years ago.

(Shhhh! Just don’t mention Giordano Bruno, the philosopher and scientist who was burnt at the stake by the Catholic Church in 1600, or Galileo Galilei, the astronomer, physicist, engineer, philosopher, and mathematician who played a major role in the scientific revolution of the 17th century. His work also annoyed the Church, and he spent the last years of his life under house arrest).

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  • gedediah

    Go ahead, try teaching kids that there’s no conflict between science and religion. They’ll see right through it just like the rest of the nonsense you’ve been feeding them. They’ve wised up – get used to it.

  • tonye

    In addition to Bruno and Galileo, lets not forget the hundreds of books that were on the Index Librorum Prohibitorum (List of Prohibited Books).
    In addition to scientific books they also had works on philosophy, law, current writings, engineering and mathematics on their list.
    To steal from one of their more disliked philosophers, Nietzsche – God is dead.

  • AgentCormac

    Having pupils taught about evolution and the Big Bang theory by people with religious convictions would be a bit like having them taught about the benefits and virtues of trade unionism by Margaret Thatcher.

  • Dianne Leonard

    I’m 63 and asked questions about Catholicism beginning when I was 9. At 19,in church, I polled all of my brothers & sisters–all of them, ranging from 9 to 17, were atheists. All 6 of us, except for my youngest brother, age 9, who said, “I’m not sure.” This was the result of heavy pressure from my parents. All of us are now some stripe or other of atheist.Those who had kids brought them up as atheists. So, of the 5 grandchildren, it’s unanimous–atheism is where the family is at, despite the fact that a couple who had Catholic educations. I’ve met lots of young people who are atheists or agnostics. Yeah!

  • Broga

    Atheism is becoming fashionable. The very word suggests freedom to think where Catholicism suggests a fetid, mess of superstition.

  • H3r3tic

    The proposition that children should be taught how to think rather than what to think is slowly gaining traction in the education sector. As it does so the number of people who take the “holy” books as the literal truth will diminish, until we are left with those who acknowledge that the message of “religion” is simply, “try not to be too much of a twat”. At this point they’ll realise that the person who delivered this message best was Jack Nicholson in Mars Attacks when he said, “why can’t we all just get along? I will then assume my rightful place as the High Priest of Burtonology and institute world peace.

  • Cali Ron

    AC: Nice comparison.
    “That would show them that there’s no conflict between science and religion.” Other than the very existence of god, the accuracy and authorship of the bible and the origins of man and the our world. Has Gray never heard of the dark ages? Every one of his statements quoted were dripping with irony.
    Barry: Thanks for the laugh. This summer has been a real bitch for me and the levity is greatly appreciated.

  • John

    One aspect not addressed is the record of child abuse by clerics. Kids become aware of these stories and how other children like them have been abused by members of religious organisations. Is it therefore a surprise that young people come to realise how hypocritical these cults are?

  • Paul

    This is actually a good thing.
    Let’s hope that the children who are indoctrinated into Islam also start to think like this and we rid ourselves and them from the vile hatred some sections of it spreads & perpetrates in its name.

  • Robster

    This can’t really be a surprise can it? The religious stuff I was served in primary school, even to a six year old was so gobsmackingly nonsensical it was hard not laugh when the dodgy old cleric trotted in after a sherry or two to sell the kids the religious tripe they are so enamoured with. Kids aren’t silly even when exposed at an early age and of course these days, the nonsense is easily checked on the great religious unwinder, the internet.

  • 1859

    God cannot be dead because there never was a god in the first place. What is dead and dying is the god in peoples’ minds – especially the gods peddled by the organised religions around the world. I’m sure this is one of the major reasons for the rise of religious extremism in all faiths – because they are shit scared of losing their privilege and power as people become more and more educated and ask more and more awkward questions. So, for once, I will rejoice at this story.

  • Newspaniard

    All that needs to happen now is for Jewish and muslim kids to get the same message. The trouble being that islamofascists don’t allow their children any freedom of thought and so they learn to hate almost before they can walk.

  • Ate Berga

    Is Science the antonym of Religion? Science stands for evidence, peer review and, always accepting that you might be wrong. Hardly religious concepts, and yet relidiots always pick a fight with Reason.

  • 1859

    I actually think it would be a good idea to have people with religious convictions teaching evolution and the Big Bang. They would be exposing themselves to the most terrifying ridicule imaginable, because young people – who may not know a lot of facts – are fucking ruthless with adults with woolly minds. I would love to hear what tortuous formulation of words a religiously convinced (prejudiced) adult would use to answer such questions as ‘If god caused the Big Bang what caused god?’; or ‘What was before god?’; or ‘Why did god do the Big Bang in the first place? Was he bored?’; or ‘If god loves what he has created, why does he allow things like the Zika virus to shrink babies brains?’…etc., etc.

  • DOM

    Either science or religion is true, both cannot be. If you accept a world of billions of years old, then the Adam and Eve story fails, which also means original sin fails ….