In the second part of its series ‘Losing Our Religion’ (I linked to the first part yesterday), NPR convened a group of young people from varying religious family backgrounds to talk about why they were no longer religious. The young people came from families that were Jewish, Muslim, Protestant Christian, Catholic, Seventh Day Adventist, and mixed.
Although the reasons they give will be familiar to readers of this blog, it was actually quite moving to listen to them and the interviewer David Greene is to be commended for letting them speak and not try to dominate the conversation as interviewers are wont to do.
The Muslim Yusuf Ahmad explained that he left his faith because the religious stories just did not make any sense to him:
“Like the story of Abraham — his God tells him to sacrifice his son. Then he takes his son to sacrifice him, and he turns into a goat. I remember growing up, in like fifth [or] sixth grade I’d hear these stories and be like, ‘That’s crazy! Why would this guy do this? Just because he heard a voice in his head, he went to sacrifice his son and it turned into a goat?’ There’s no way that this happened. I wasn’t buying it.
“Today if some guy told you that ‘I need to sacrifice my son because God told me to do it,’ he’d be locked up in a crazy institution.”
Listening to him I felt embarrassed. Why did it take me so long to realize what was so obvious to him at a young age and should have been obvious to me too? The Christian version of the Abrahamic story that I grew up with is a little different but equally revolting. Maybe if That Mitchell and Webb Look had been around when I was young I might have got a clue earlier.