Two authors wrote a lengthy column in the Wall Street Journal today trying their damnedest to dispute recent survey figures showing that 24% of Americans are now atheists, agnostics, non-religious or deistic (with 12% of those being outright atheists). Here's my letter to the editor at the WSJ on the column:
Contrary to the protestations and fact-denials by John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge, America is losing its religion. This country began as a refuge for those wishing to practice faith without persecution, and virtually every person in early America was religious.
For the authors to drop red herrings such as “83% of taxpayers by 1683 confessed to no religious identification” is absurd in its suggestion (many people kept their “identification” to themselves back then) and to use the verb “confessed” implies strong feelings about not having a religious affiliation – when, in fact, the feelings were quite the opposite.
Yes, modern churches have become bastions of social fun-making and the Dr. Phil-ification of the pulpit for practical life endeavors, but these acclimations by a once-stodgy church have simply been an emergency means to stanch the inevitable bleeding that occurs as we make a slogging exit from the Age of Faith that has darkened the last 4,000 years of man’s civilized existence.
Many millions of people in this country are beginning to see that morality and religion don’t mix. Religion requires obedience and a mind-numbing (bending?) acceptance of the unprovable and absurd. There can be no real comfort during good times or bad with a make-believe escape from the facts of reality. So, many of these millions are turning to reason, merited self-esteem, honesty, integrity and an enjoyable day’s work as the true means for happiness – and they are not pretending that somehow, some way, the ephemeral becomes the eternal.
Life is short. It takes guts to acknowledge and enjoy that fact.