Why you should support the SSA explained in a single graph


From the Pew Research Center’s recent survey where they asked people if they agreed with the statement “I never doubt the existence of God.”

As a Millennial, let me take this opportunity to say WOOOO! The under-30s are kicking ass.

It’s not particularly surprising that the under-30s are more skeptical of God’s existence. We already knew that age group had the highest proportion of “nones” - people with no religious affiliation. But this poll is exciting for two different reasons:

1. It directly measures skepticism of God’s existence rather than religious affiliation. There are lots of people who believe in God, souls, heaven, or new-age woo without affiliating with an organized religion. What percentage of nones aren’t actually skeptical? While this graph doesn’t break it down by religious affiliation, it does show that 32% of Millenials have questioned God’s existence to some extent. They may not all label themselves atheists, and some may still be religiously affiliated – but these are the young people we can reach.

It’s much easier to discuss the veracity and effects of religion with someone who is open to the possibility of being wrong.

2. Skepticism about God is not merely a side effect of age. This is a question I got a lot when the “none” stats came out – are the under-30s less likely to be religiously affiliated just because they’re younger? Did people just affiliate as they became older, and all young people start out looking skeptical of religion?

By the results of this current survey, it doesn’t seem like young automatically equals skeptical of the existence of God. Millenials as of 2012 are age 31 and under. Gen X’s 31 and under point would be 1996, but Gen X seems stable about their beliefs throughout polling. The Millenial generation is in a unique position of questioning religion and the existence of God itself, something we’ve never seen before.

This is why groups like the Secular Student Alliance are so important. Yes, Millenials are our future. The SSA helps train secular leaders who will one day be secular journalists, teachers, humanitarians, and politicians. But more importantly, Millennials are our present. They’re already skeptical and already speaking out. If we want change now and in the future, we need to support the SSA.

Comments

  1. spdoyle17 says

    What’s really awesome is how every five years, the number shrinks. (Proud 32%er, hoping to say in 2017 “Proud 39 or 40%er.”)

  2. d cwilson says

    Anyone who says they “never doubt the existence of God” is a liar. Everyone has doubts. Hell, I sometimes doubt my own existence.

  3. Johan says

    The most exciting part about the graph… let me put it like this.

    In a decade most people in the graph have been replaced.
    +
    Lets hope the trend continues.

  4. says

    The Thinking Atheist did a podcast recently on the subject of teens and losing your religion. One thing they all had in common was that when they started having doubts they got on the internet and could immediately see skeptic videos, counter apologetics and not the least, see that they were not alone in their questioning.

    Link to the relevant episode: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nl_rXRUhHEc

  5. Brian says

    As someone on the cusp of the Gen X group, I am severely disappointed with my “peers”. There’s barely a dip at the end, and really it looks like it’s little more than a retreat from the previous rise to the Baby-Boomer level. Seriously, WTF.

  6. says

    This kind of reminds me of why I hate surveys, and practically never participate in them. There will not be unanimity amongst those surveyed about what the proposition means. Some people will take “never doubt” literally, others will understand it as reasonable doubt. And among the latter, some will understand it is “I am certain beyond reasonable doubt that God exists”, others as “I am certain beyond reasonable doubt of my opinion on whether God exists”.

  7. christophburschka says

    I also suspect that many of these people simply respond in a way they think they are supposed to. That’s just an even better argument for supporting skeptic organizations, of course, since a supportive environment for non-believers would then count for even more.

  8. Don C says

    I made a donation to the SSA…how about a doodle of Kurt Vonnegut trying to choose which slaughterhouse to enter? (hope he chooses #5!)

  9. Sili says

    But what would those older generations have answered when they were the age of “kids today”?

    It is of course to be hoped that even if this is just an age issue, rather than a generational one, the existence of the SSA will help to keep more on the path of righteousness by providing a support previous generations could not benefit from.

  10. Bill Johnsons says

    Coincidence between the world economy is faltering and large number of epic natural disasters have hit the world and this chart? I think not!

  11. reggie says

    If that’s what our generation is like now, I can’t wait to see what the graph will be like in 20 or 30 years when the next generation is our age!

  12. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    ….you know, this point was specifically addressed in the post….

  13. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    I think not!

    Clearly. Unless this is meant as satire.

  14. says

    I have no reasonable doubt about the existence of God: I’m reasonably sure It does not exist. (Am I open to evidence that I’m mistaken? Sure, as I am to evidence that people really do get abducted by aliens. But that’s the difference between reasonable certainty and absolute certainty.)

  15. ctcss says

    The thing that dismays me about polls like this is that everyone reading about the results is so overtly political (as in groups of people competing with other groups of people) in their responses to it.

    Yeah! Our side is winning!

    Oh no! Our side is losing!

    I hate to say it, but belief in God or non-belief in God is not about the relative popularity of each stance. If I was the only one in the world who believed in God, I would still believe. Likewise, I am quite certain that anyone who disbelieves in God would continue to do so even if they were the only one in the world with that particular take on the subject.

    Popularity doesn’t necessarily mean “correct” and unpopularity doesn’t necessarily mean “incorrect”.

    And if this is just about the idea that “Our side is growing, which means that we will finally be accepted and receive support by (what will be) the popular crowd instead of being rejected by the (current) popular crowd”, I am sorry to say that it doesn’t necessarily work that way.

    I am a Christian, but from a smallish non-mainstream sect. (As a group, we’re far smaller numerically than non-believers.) That means that there are many Christian groups and individuals out there who look upon me and mine as apostates and cult members rather than as simply fellow Christians. And state and national government may not always accommodate our needs, but luckily we have the 1st amendment which not only allows our smallish group to exist, it also allows us to petition the government for redress of grievances should government rules and regulations unfairly or ignorantly intrude on our right to practice.

    The point is, no one should need popularity to to help them survive. Even the smallest of us have guaranteed rights. All that is needed is for each to insist that those guaranteed rights be acknowledged.

  16. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    Popularity doesn’t necessarily mean “correct” and unpopularity doesn’t necessarily mean “incorrect”.

    And if this is just about the idea that “Our side is growing, which means that we will finally be accepted and receive support by (what will be) the popular crowd instead of being rejected by the (current) popular crowd”, I am sorry to say that it doesn’t necessarily work that way.

    What.

    Even the smallest of us have guaranteed rights. All that is needed is for each to insist that those guaranteed rights be acknowledged.

    …which is a lot easier to do effectively if you have people standing beside you insisting the same thing, isn’t it?

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