April 05, 2009

America inching toward secular openness; so?

We certainly have a long ways to go, but the 16 percent of Americans who self-identify as irreligious certainly sounds good, right?

Well, not necessarily. While it may mean a decline in power of fundamentalist Christianity, it doesn’t necessarily mean a decline in ignorance, especially ignorance of scientific matters.

Many of those “irreligious” also self-identify as “spiritual but not religious.” Some would be quasi-Christian unitarians. (I avoid the capital “U” because many of them would not agree with the denomination’s social stances.) Even more are likely New Agers of some sort, not known for scientific-type critical reasoning skills by any means.

So, those of us who do support critical thinking shouldn’t yet read too much into the idea of a “post-Christian America.” That country could be even more populated than ours is today by psychics, ghost talkers, alt-med practitioners and worse.

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