[quote="seeker57, post:1, topic:301729"]
There have been several news stories recently, including in the New York Times, regarding the number of people who claim no religious affiliation. They are called the "nones."
Coincidentally, I recently watched a very interesting interview with Salman Rushdie, where he stated the Islam he grew up with doesn't resemble the Islam of today. He said today, Islam has been corrupted by fanatical minority sects.
Rushdie went on to say that this phenonemon is not islated within Islam. He said there has been a resurgence of Hindu fanatacism in India. He also cited the Christian fanatics in the U.S.
What he said made me consider the growth of the "nones" in the U.S. and Europe. If religions have come to be viewed as the realm of fanatics, wouldn't that explain why so many people are simply eschewing the whole idea and pursuing their spirituality in other ways?
Keep in mind the nones now make up about 20 percent of the population in the U.S., and that number is growing.
If this premise is sound, how could religious organizations address this perception and will they?
I agree with you. If you were raised in a cave and had never heard of Christianity, and your perception of it was based on how it is portrayed in mainstream society, what would you think? Greedy televangelists...the shameful Westboro folk dishonoring our young men and women who have died for our country...scandals left and right. If this is "Christianity," then I wouldn't want to be a Christian either!! :eek:
I do think popular media are somewhat to blame. It's the nutcases and extremists (of every religion) who get all the press. Of course, I wouldn't think there are many people in the US who are completely ignorant of Christianity as in my example above, but perhaps they perceive it changing from what they grew up with, much like Mr. Rushdie's Islam. It is all too easy to stereotype ("all Muslims are ___" or "all Christians believe ____"); why actually come to your own conclusions about anything when the media tells you what to think? :rolleyes:
So what can religious organizations do? Perhaps nothing. Perhaps its the followers who have to come forward and say "look, the majority of us are NOT like what you see on TV." We have to say it, and more importantly, we have to act it.