The new millennium has brought about many changes in the world. The rise of the Internet, various advanced multimedia components, and changes in world economic/social issues have placed the last thirteen years in a time capsule of distress and sheer decadence. One thing that’s prevalent within this younger, self-indulgent, media driven culture is the downfall of religion and the rise of liberal thinking.
While some have been inebriated with religious views passed down from parents, this new, thought-provoking generation sees through the emaciated veil that covers what religion stands for and the pressures of living up to expectations that derail rational thought and reasoning. Parents continue to use popular religious credos like “Do that and you’re going to Hell” or “It’s all a part of God’s plans” to strike fear into young kids to conform to strict guidelines. It dehumanizes their own moral thought process of not having control of their destiny, which is rightfully theirs to begin with.
Active supporters of free thought and Atheism such as Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Christopher Hitchens, rely on suppressing the spiritual and fantastic aspect of religion and consider the techniques used throughout various religious congregations as conforming and brain-washing.
Sam Harris, a renowned neuroscientist and author of books on religious intolerance, believes that a person’s faith and beliefs construct their outlook on society and non-believers.
As stated on his website, samharris.org, “The fact that belief determines behavior is what makes certain beliefs so dangerous.”
Massive religious events such as the Spanish Inquisition, the Protestant Reformation, and the Salem Witch Trials, shed light on fundamentalism. They’re brutal concepts to eradicate non-believers, while also justifying their actions by claiming divine intervention or retribution.
It is these acts alone that put religion on the forefront of controversy; the recent Catholic Church sexual abuse scandal has given questioners of faith even more fuel to use on the validity of religion.
According to an April 2010 article in The Guardian, Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins stated that they
planned to seek a prosecution of Pope Benedict XVI for his alleged intentional cover-up of the sexual abuse wrought on by priests. This type of action 50 to 100 years ago would have been deemed improper, and both Dawkins and Hitchens would have been blacklisted.
The massive exodus away from religion has been easy for many people because of the rampant behavior of the many high echelon officials representing religion–blatant cases of “misuse of power” and corruption.
Jerry Falwell was anti-Semitic, Dr. Gene Scott fooled people into donating money through outrageous superstitious claims, Ted Haggard was strongly anti-homosexual yet engaged in gay sexual activity with a male prostitute, and Cardinal Roger Mahony (in collaboration with the Pope) explicitly covered up sexual child abuse over many years by numerous priests…where does it end?
As the first decade of the new millennium comes to a close, the verdict is out on religion and its future with the emerging free-thinking era. Only time will tell if the thousands of years pertaining to faith can withhold the emerging tide, which is Atheism, and the younger generation of adults that have come to their own conclusions.