In 1930s 5% of the American population defines themselves as “nonreligious”. This percentage moved slightly upwards to 8% in the 1990s, by has now swelled to 19.6%, according to the national census, (Census.gov) where these people identified themselves as of “no religion in particular”. (Andy Morgan, Naija.com). This is close to the global average of non-religious people, where the worldwide average is 25% (Craig A. James, religionvirus.blogspot.com). And the percentage of the American population that identifies as consistently “spiritual and religious” has dropped to below half of the American population. Across the pond in Britain, the birthplace of one of the most followed Christian sects saw a 33% drop in church attendance and people who believed in any type of god from 1964 to 2004 (Anthony King, Telegraph.co.uk) . And although Bishop Lichfield of the Church of England claims that Britain is still Christian, the percentage of Christians is quickly dying (Jonathan Petre, Telegraph.co.uk).
Where can we attribute this trend? Religions do not die by disease, they die by disbelief. Across all different races, ethnic groups, party affiliations, genders and ages, we can see that the ‘Religion of No Religion’ is becoming increasingly prevalent in the United States (Andy Morgan, Ynaija.com). It seems that scandal, violence, public protest, racial discrimination and sexual discrimination within religious sects are perfect catalysts for the death of religion as we know it.
Many people look at religion as a reason for people to condone violence (CA2, pg. 183). This is displayed most pointedly in the attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 (Diana Bass Field Report, ynaija.com), and in an edict by Osama Bin Laden: “WE – with God’s Help – call on every Muslim who believes in God and wishes to be rewarded to comply with God’s order to kill Americans and plunder their money wherever and whenever they find it. We also call on Muslim ulema (Muslim students who learn Islamic texts), leaders, youths, and soldiers to launch the raid on Satan’s U.S. troops and the devil’s supporters allying them, and to displace those who are behind them so that they may learn a lesson.” (The God Virus, pg. 15) .And to this, the world responded with hate upon the Muslims and Muslim –look alikes around the world.
Also, people around the world lost much faith in the church as the Catholic priest sex scandal broke loose in 2002 (Diana Bass, Ynaija.com). Within the span of 2 years after this broke out in the media, about 10% of Catholics lost their faith and turned against their God. In a 2010 poll, only 53% of Americans agreed that ministers had high ethical standards (Yougov.com poll), which is about the same amount of trust the Americans gave post-recession Wall Street Bankers.
Another reason for religions’ jump off the cliff of belief can be attributed to the economic recession of 2007, where many churches and religious organizations could no longer afford aid and to keep programs to boost belief and faith. (Andy Morgan, Ynaija.com). But American religious sects are not the only ones with economic troubles. In India, many Hindu sects (for there is not just one, but hundreds of different Hinduism sects in the Indus River Valley) are having trouble maintaining their most basic traditions. In the village of Panjal, the Hindu leaders would arrange a 12-day fire festival throughout the city, the oldest and largest of all fire rituals in the world. But due to economic backlash from the Great Depression days, the citizens of Panjal have been unable to put on such a show without the economic help of many large-scale conglomerates. This ritual has not been put on display since 1973, which had only been with the aid of University of California Berkley students and the efforts of professor Frits Staal. But once again, with the help of several Indian technology companies, the show was seen in the city of Panjal once more in April 2011.
One of the greatest and most important reasons as to why religions are dying is due to the increased modernization of the Americas, Asia, Africa and Europe. In the last century, the young people of the world have begun to abandon the religions taught to them by their parents (Craig A. James, religionvirus.blogspot.com). Young people are leaving behind the past to create a world that is uniquely their own, and in doing so, allow so many religions and belief systems to slip into a void of disbelief. ©