Forbidden Intellectual Porn: The Under 30 Crowd Appears to Be Dropping the Religious Beliefs of Their Parents in Record Numbers? Why?

Ted Cox, a former Mormon who lost his own faith in a library, has a theory: knowledge is power—it’s long been the forbidden fruit—and the Internet makes that fruit more widely and readily accessible than ever before (to religion’s detriment):

Preachers and pastors lament the loss of faith of 30-something and younger Americans. They debate how to best reach out to an entire generation that, for the first time in our country’s history, is becoming nonreligious. What they don’t understand is that we’re not just leaving because church services aren’t hip enough or because their sermons against homosexuality are just a little too harsh; we’re leaving because we’ve discovered that when it comes to biology, geography and history, our conservative pastors and holy texts are dead wrong. It’s important to recognize the role that the Internet plays in our abandoning doctrine for disbelief.

Ted Cox offers his own experience as an example. He himself was shaken out of Mormonism by what he learned on the Internet (and in a book that he was led to via the Internet). And he says that, when he sought the help of a church leader with his doubts, he was discouraged from reading non-church approved materials:

I sought counsel from my bishop. He discouraged me from seeking unapproved church material. “Ted, don’t read that stuff.” But I couldn’t stop. I couldn’t forget what I was learning. I felt like Dorothy peaking behind the curtain. So on a sunny afternoon I pedaled down the Pacific Coast Highway towards the library.

And at that library he read even more forbidden stuff. I think the lesson here is clear: if you want to promote a particular religion to intelligent young people in the Internet Age, stop teaching ridiculous and easily deconstructed things about it. That’s simple, isn’t it? 

Of course, if your religion is ridiculous and easily deconstructed, resort to Plan B: make a virtue of fideism.

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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3 Responses to Forbidden Intellectual Porn: The Under 30 Crowd Appears to Be Dropping the Religious Beliefs of Their Parents in Record Numbers? Why?

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