January 1, 2010

Outgrowing Faith

Evangelical fundamentalist Christians are no longer the fastest growing religious group in the United States. That honor now goes to nonbelievers, a diverse group of people who are anything but religious. For Christians who have been questioning their faith, this is an excellent time to examine the possibility of life without superstition. And for those who are not yet questioning their faith, consider this an invitation to start.

A great place to begin could involve examining some of the myths about nonbelief, especially atheism, many religious believers have been taught by their families, friends, and churches. Even a little research will quickly reveal that much of what one has been taught about atheists is false and bigoted. Fortunately, it is easier than ever to counter these falsehoods. With impressive sales of books about atheism, the explosive growth of atheist-oriented material online, and increasing numbers of atheists coming together offline to socialize and support one another, we are eroding the stigma of atheism, slowly but surely replacing misconceptions with reality.

My sincere hope for my Christian neighbors is that they will someday outgrow their faith. As an ex-Christian myself, I know this is possible. Countless others have done it, and many have found themselves happier and more fulfilled as a result. And even though atheism offers no promise of either, many of us find merit in living in accordance with reality. I wish this for Christians because it pains me to see what their faith does to them and those on whom they impose it.