Millenials turning the tide in the culture war

Just in time for SSA Week CNN has posted an article about the recent pew poll confirming that the youngest generation is really starting to say “wtf?” to religion.  The one that gave us this graph:

Guess who’s square in the middle of this?  If you guessed the Secular Student Alliance, you guessed right.

According to Jesse Galef, communications director for the Secular Student Alliance, the growth in “doubting” youths has led to a surge in secular student groups.

“For a lot of millennial atheists, they are expecting to find a group, they are coming to campus, and if they don’t find one, they are starting one,” Galef said. “This is completely different than what other generations grew up with.”

The Secular Student Alliance has affiliates on 357 American campuses, Galef said, up from 81 such affiliates in 2007.

Something that didn’t make it into that article is the fact that since its inception in January of 2011, the high school program has more than tripled in size.

We are winning with the younger generation.  This is where a great deal of our support needs to be.

Donate to the SSA to support this work and the Millenial generation.

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • Adam

    Yay! More people who realize religion is bullshit. Some of my faith in my generation has been restored.

  • daviddurant

    C’mon JT – I agree that it’s a very interesting poll, especially if you download and read the whole thing, but it’s nearly two and a half years old now – hardly ‘recent’.

    Things do seem to be moving, albeit very slowly, in a secular direction – especially when it comes to ‘culture’ issues which is a very positive thing.

    As ever though don’t focus too much on young people’s attitudes as they tend to become more conservative and traditional over time. It was ever thus.

    Some of the stuff on the front page of Pew site is up-to-date though and very interesting. Views on gay marriage shows that as well more non-religious/liberal folks continuing to approve there is also a large upswing in unaffiliated-religious/moderate supporters. However, if affiliated-religious/conservative groups support continues to go *down* – widening the culture war.

    Although people may also want to read Assessing the Representativeness of Public Opinion Surveys and take the whole thing with a pinch of salt…

  • Kelley Harvey

    The salient feature is agreeing or disagreeing with the statement “I never doubt god’s existence.” An aging population should have nothing to do with having doubted or having never doubted; Once you have doubted, you can never agree honestly that you never doubt.

    Becoming “more” conservative with age is also not at issue. In my nearly half century I have become more conservative, but I certainly have not begun to entertain a belief in anything mystical as a result of maturation, or for any other reason.

    Discounting the opinions of youth is to be cautioned against in and of itself. It has been rightly said that, “There is no fool, like an old fool.”

  • Eclectic

    The way that question has been reported is seriously misleading. As a lifelong atheist, I’ve never seriously doubted God’s existence. I’ve speculated on it, but it always quickly foundered on contradictions.

    Fortunately, if you look at the source, the actual question was more carefully phrased.

    “which statement comes closest to expressing what you believe about God: I don’t believe in God; I don’t know whether there is a God and I don’t believe there is any way to find out; I don’t believe in a personal God, but I do believe in a Higher Power of some sort; I find myself believing in God some of the time but not at others; While I have doubts, I feel I do believe in God; I know God really exists and I have no doubts about it.” (Emphasis added.)

    The graph should be titled “Percent saying they know God exists, with no doubts.”