Christmas break is coming! Wait… that’s not proper form anymore, right?
Many rejoice in the designated birthday of Christ. Others, the eight days of Hanukkah. Some, Kwanzaa. The list goes on and on.
Regardless of affiliation, those celebrating a religious holiday over break, and I mean explicitly celebrating the religious element, have something new in common. They are becoming minorities.
Despite the U.S. being the melting pot of the world and having religious freedom, we have long been a country defined as holding “Christian ideals.” However, many indicators suggests this era is ending, if it hasn’t already.
Before people object to the idea that we are becoming a nation of heathens, let me be clear: that is not the implication.
How can we say with precision exactly how many people believe in what? Well, we can’t, but we can observe large puzzle pieces.
In the last two years, for the first time, those with a church membership comprise less than half of the US population, about 48.8 percent, the Huffington Post reports.
Another telling trend: ABC reports that in 1972 only 7 percent of the population polled as nonreligious. That number is now 20 percent — 33 percent in regards to the under 30 demographic.
Who is this “none” group? Anarchists? Non-believers? Atheists? Nihilists? Not quite. Most are simply those who don’t subscribe to any secular belief. In fact, the majority of this demographic believes in some kind of Supreme Being in one form or another, only 27 percent give a definitive “no, there is no god”.
What this means: Americans are becoming comfortable with the ever-wise admittance of “I don’t know.” Our nation is experiencing a steady inclination toward rejecting a singular and set ethos.
Spirituality in the US is far from the decline; instead, Americans are picking and choosing from the buffet of religion and philosophy at our disposal creating hybrids to further spiritual growth.
Nothing is more liberating than embracing our lack of knowledge, allowing us to be immersed in appeals to logic and moral integrity by everything from Islam to quantum physics.
Every CSU student at one point or another has witnessed some religious fanatic and staunch atheist in heated debate in the plaza. Personally, I find those who condemn non-believers and skeptics who label anyone of faith as stupid as equally annoying bigots.
One of the toughest aspects to the religion conundrum is the thought that cutting areas of modern relevance from archaic text will diminish ethical merit. Conversely, skeptics who hold moral codes derived from religion lose credibility amongst peers.
The trend we are now witnessing is, for me, one of the most seemingly logical moves society could make. It makes no more sense explaining the creation of the universe from a book written thousands of years ago than it would teaching children right and wrong by preaching natural selection and survival of the fittest.
Using a calculator won’t help me get over a breakup, and listening to Jeff Buckley doesn’t solve my calculus homework. Likewise, scripture cannot solve an energy crisis and the Hadron Collider will not reveal why we are here, although it might hint at how.
Americans at large are utilizing different tools — pious and intellectual — to develop dynamic beliefs instead of burrowing into one.
Disagree? Ask the Republican Party.
The Presidential election devastated Republicans. In regards to the number one issue of the campaign, the economy, Romney routinely polled better than his competitor, yet it wasn’t enough.
The party has seen their moderate voting bloc marginalized and, whether valid or not, are viewed as led by fundamental Christian-conservative ideals.
This perception caused the majority of independent and women voters to lean toward President Obama and his liberal stance on issues like gay marriage and abortion.
Republicans now face a crossroads. They either must choose to reform their social influence to encompass a majority that desires not only their freedom of religion, but also their policies’ freedom from religion, or they will perish.
Despite the increasingly large portion of the US who are not necessarily devout, a bulk of the nation still celebrates Christmas. For this reason I argue that Festivus is the real official winter holiday of our country. We just don’t know it.
The celebration of Festivus, made famous by universally loved ‘Seinfeld’, includes the essentials of our traditional holidays: time with friends and family and a feast. So why not make it official? Who could be better to lead us into a new era of freethinking than the cast of the world’s greatest show? Happy Holidays.