ROSCOE MYRICK is licensed under CC BY 2.0

ROSCOE MYRICK is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Why are the Non-Religious Better Organized?

A power vacuum is a political science term to describe the “condition that exists when someone has lost control of something and no one has replaced them,” which generally occurs when a government has no clear authority. Power vacuums lead to terrorist organizations such as Al-Qaeda in the middle east, but what happens when the power vacuum is religious, not political?

Christianity, Islam, and Judaism have controlled the religious market for hundreds of years, and will likely continue, but the “religiously unaffiliated” is the second largest population in both North America and some of Europe. Humanists, atheists, and agnostics tend to fall to the left politically and involve themselves in social justice movements.

In the past, religious affiliation created social networks and communities around your neighborhood and helped organize and mobilize around political issues. Not only were many of the prominent leaders of the Civil Rights Movement religious leaders, church connections were often used to mobilize protests, sit-ins, and bus boycotts. Common religion also created a sense of trust between activists who gathered together to fight for equality.

Non-theists don’t organize in large groups like theists. There are groups who seek to support non-theists and to talk about what it’s like living as a non-theist, getting through tough times without a God and share their journey to non-theism, but these communities tend to be loosely bound and center around humanism.

Atheism is divided though. It’s upheld by the alt-right and the radical left. There are battles within atheist organizations about if they have a requirement to involve themselves in social justice activism, or even if there is an objective morality.

There is large support in atheists who involve themselves in social justice for Muslim women, but Jews and Christians feel unwelcome in progressive movements and protests.

These problems are not unique to non-theist organizations, but without a collection of organizing principles that create a guiding sense of morality among those groups, God has lost control of young people’s religion, and no one has replaced religion’s position as a higher authority. The battle is on for who will guide the growing generation of non-theists.


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