From Not My God
In my search for interviewees for Not My God (the book itself, not just this blog), I went for a diverse crowd, including a diverse group of ages. Kids/teenagers are particularly valuable. Yes, they are the future, all right, but growing up in the information age provides them with an enormous cohort effect. I’ve mentioned that they are more fortunate than I was in that I was all alone as a young atheist, whereas the internet gave the younger generation all that they needed to connect with other atheists, young and older alike. Thank Darwin times have changed. Obviously, coming of age during New Atheism is important.
“Younger adults are the least religious out there,” says Christian Smith, professor of sociology and director of the Center for the Study of Religion and Society at the University of Notre Dame, in the On Point podcast Religion, Morality and Youth. Dr. Smith
interviewed young people in a longitudinal study and published the results in Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers. This is very relevant to Not My God.
Greg Epstein of Harvard was also a guest on the podcast, having just released his book Good Without God: What a Billion Nonreligious People Do Believe, which I haven’t yet read, but is certainly on my list.
Many of the comments on the podcast seemed to be in favor of religion in providing guidance and hope. Some weren’t, though. Bearing in mind the podcast was about Humanism and not specifically atheism, here is one listener’s experience that I found unique:
“I grew up in a non-practicing Christian household. My grandmother, who was a Sunday school teacher, taught me Freud’s teachings, to understand the reasons behind people’s actions and to read religious texts before choosing what to practice and to apply those teachings to everyday life.
By the age of 10 I had read the Bible, Koran, and the Torah as well as Rumi, Marcus Aurielis Meditations and several other religious texts.
At the age of 11 I chose to become a practicing Voodoian, at age 16 a practicing Goddess Worshiper under the Hindu religions and then I became a Zen Buddhist at the age of 18. Needless to say I am an extremely spiritual person but a warrior against Organized Religion and Religious Dogma.
I am a Humanist. I speak only the truth, I try to do good without God and find those like Richard Dawkins’s arguments interesting. One does not have to be an atheist to believe in reason and one does not have to be religious to be spiritual.”