I recently went to a Meetup group in Long Beach, CA and were surprised to see 18 agnostics and atheists there, when just last year there were consistently only 3 or 4 attending. This is a growing trend across the nation. Instead of new ‘churches’ (if you can even call them that) there are new Meetups and other socially organized groups which are flexing their irreverent muscle, and supplying that much-needed social bond which us most of us humans need and want. The secular community is growing and it’s inevitable that America is seeing a more polarized shift in the believers and non-believers. The Religious Right is pulling up their flag, and across the street the secular banner is on the wall.
Although we, (and by we I mean all those who are the ‘nones’ – those of no religious affiliation) are expanding the idea that religion has a dark and evil side which few religionisis can admit to, there are those which include myself that see the writing on the wall. That telltale message is that we have to protect our rights of conscious – our right to NOT to believe in woo-woo, superstitions and pious traditions, and more importantly not to have those beliefs infiltrate our private domain.
It’s a dash of liberalism, social awareness of the trends of our government leaders and the acknowledgement of the harms which social conservatism cause to a pluralistic society to finally submit to the advocacy of non-belief. Once one reaches that point of no-return, action to the only option to make the changes needed to reel in the runaway, cross-bearing bandits of freedom called the Religious Right.
And what actions do the ‘nones’ take? They search the internet for skeptic and atheist groups. They start questioning the odd and misleading traditions and superstitions of different religions. Youths are asking their friends more questions and starting to use their critical thinking skills. The result? Over 25% non-believers in several states, and the average number of ‘nones’ have grown by over 50% in the past 5 years. If this trend continues, the churches will soon be barren, but what will take its place? Groups like the one I visited in Long Beach. Groups like the Backyard Skeptics. Groups like the next Meetup in your local town. Maybe if there are secular Meetups in your area, you could startone.