Hemant Mehta has an article on CNN talking about why the children of the millennial generation are leaving religion like no generation before. Two of the reasons really stuck out to me:
Christians can no longer hide in a bubble, sheltered from opposing perspectives, and church leaders can’t protect young people from finding information that contradicts traditional beliefs.
If there’s an open comment thread to be found on a Christian’s YouTube video or opinion piece online, there’s inevitably going to be pushback from atheists.
In my youth if a person had a question about Christianity they went to a local pastor. Now most people have access to the internet, which won’t obscure the less convenient parts of Christianity. Everybody knows the barbarities of the old testament. And for every exclamation that Jesus’ death is an example of god’s love, there are countless rebuttals pointing out that god could’ve achieved the same effect without torturing his son.
When people have access to plentiful information, bad ideas like religion are the inevitable victim.
But more than anything else, atheism’s best advertisements may be the words of Christian leaders themselves.
When Pastor Mark Driscoll belittles women, Rick Warren argues against same-sex rights or Rob Bell equivocates on the concept of hell, we amplify those messages for them – and it helps us make our point.(It goes without saying that the pairing of Pat Robertson and YouTube has been great for atheists.)
Pastors are no longer the final authority on the truth, and millennials know it.
In church a pastor can say all manner of silly things and receive only nods and shouts of “Amen!” But outside of church, their claims are no longer sacred. This puts faith leaders at a stark disadvantage when competing with a group of people who treat no idea as sacred even within groups that are homogenous with atheism. And when the silly things religious leaders say is given a boost in an environment outside of church, with all the information of the 21st century to bear down upon those statements, it can only turn out poorly for faith.
Hemant’s last line is just pure poetry:
It appears that atheists and Christians are finally working together on the same task: getting millennials to leave the church.
Zing! Well-played, Hemant.