Skip to content

Hastening their own demise

The Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, now a museum. Wikipedia photo.

The Economist has an article today with the headline “Arabs are losing faith in religious parties and leaders.” The article reports not only a sharply declining trust of religion in politics in the Arab world, but also that Arab young people are losing their religious zeal. This mirrors what is happening in the United States, as young people increasingly reject religion.

There is a reason why Islam and Christianity — two peas in a pod that hate each other because they’re so much alike — are the most dangerous religions in the world and why they’re the two religions that produce almost all of the radicals. It’s that Islam and Christianity are proselytizing religions, with doctrine that claims a divine mandate to spread and rule the world.

Two days ago, the Washington Post carried yet another article on yet another lord of the Catholic church taken down because of the sexual abuse of children. Most of the comments on this article were vicious. For example:

Tax all of these hideous rape cults out of existence.

It seems to me that the catholic church has become nothing more than a criminal enterprise.

Put these men of god in jail.

And then there are the American “evangelicals.” As much as I dislike Facebook memes, I came across a good one a couple of days ago:

Republican logic: God, who didn’t get personally involved during the Holocaust, two World Wars, Chernobyl, Sandy Hook, the Bhopal disaster, Hurricane Maria, the Armenian genocide, and the destruction of Pompeii, intervened in a U.S. election so Donald Trump would become president.

The more these religions lash out at the rest of us to try to save themselves, the more they expose why decent people don’t want to be in them. Their best hope for a future, really, would be to stop proselytizing, to try to quietly live the nicer parts of their doctrine, to leave the rest of us alone, and to settle for a fair share of the world rather than demanding all of it. American evangelicals, craving earthly dominion, think that Trump will save them. The opposite is much more likely: that Trump will figure heavily in the obituary of the Protestant church in America.

If religionists didn’t have blind spots, they wouldn’t be religionists. They blame the rest of us for their diminishing numbers, unable to see themselves as others see them. At the grassroots level, religionists in these parts have a new micro-aggression, micro-method of proselytizing, and micro-method of virtue-signaling that has been spreading for a few years now: “Have a blessed day.” I have never responded impolitely. There is no good comeback, and they know it. But they are not capable of perceiving the amount of quiet disgust that their virtue-signaling is generating in those who are not in their cult. Whether with the shovels of a Catholic criminality or the deification of Trump, or by the spoonful with little words, they are digging a hole that someday will be big enough for their church.

Update: FiveThirtyEight: Millennials are Leaving Religion and Not Coming Back


  1. Chenda wrote:

    I share your views of fundementalism and certainly think some religions are, to put it bluntly, better than others. But do you think there is a risk of an excessive counter-reaction against religion per se, due to its politicisation by the radical right ? There is of course a long established progressive tradition emerging from religion such as Christian Socialism or the anti-caste and gender equality of Sikhism. It seems humans are hard wired to believe in something, and abandoning religion to the fanatics seems dangerous.

    Sunday, December 8, 2019 at 5:02 pm | Permalink
  2. daltoni wrote:

    Hi Chenda… I think those are very reasonable concerns. In a trip to Bangkok and New Delhi in the early 1990s, I gained a tremendous respect for Buddhism and Sikhism and how they operate within their cultures. I loved Bangkok; I detested New Delhi and Hinduism. When predators descended on me in the streets of Delhi, it was always a Sikh who would come to my rescue.

    We’re all wired differently. My own choice would be a kind of pagan pantheism, or re-enchantment of the natural world. There are even some physicists and theorists of consciousness in that terrain.

    You’re a globalist with wide awareness. Please don’t ever take offense when I come down so hard on American religion.

    Sunday, December 8, 2019 at 5:24 pm | Permalink
  3. Chenda wrote:

    Definitely no offence taken 🙂 And it’s very interesting to hear about your experiences of South Asia. Sikhism does have such a great tradition of selfless service.

    Monday, December 9, 2019 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *