Future generations are at the lawmaking mercy of believers who largely deny science

BRATTLEBORO — When I moved to Vermont in 2008, I didn't know that New England is the least religious part of the country. More recently, the 2016 Pew Research Center's Religious Landscape Study found that just 21 percent of Vermonters attend worship services regularly and only 41 percent say they believe in God with any certainty.

It so happens that I was raised without any beliefs and religion. When, as a teenager, I asked my mother why, she said her family and community were “holy rollers” and she detested the overbearing religion in everyday life. She felt it was wrong to impose religion on children. I always appreciated the blank slate quality of mind she encouraged and the freedom to learn and think for myself.

In 1938, Sigmund Freud wrote to Charles Singer, a British historian of science and medicine, “Neither in my private life, nor my writings have I ever made a secret of being an out-and-out unbeliever.” Despite the claim by many believers that nonbelievers are merely expressing their own beliefs, the opinions of nonbelievers are not based on belief dependency. It would be illogical to do so.

There is also a misconception by believers that nonbelievers who criticize religion and people's beliefs do so with anger or hatred. It would also be illogical for many unbelievers to exercise such high-level emotions to express the fiction of religions and beliefs in the context of history and human behavioral traits. However, sadly, anger and hatred does fall well within the several thousand years of patriarchal Abrahamic infighting, to this day.

It's why when I'm asked to consider the opinion of a believer, I understand that belief-dependent people really believe they are thinking for themselves, when in reality they are far more likely to think what they are raised to believe, not what they learn or know.

To consider an opinion, I prefer to know the facts and supporting data, not the dogma of someone's “true spirit” of what their faith means to them.

It seems to me that the quest that some people have undertaken to understand the ultimate questions about life, purpose, and meaning would have better served humanity in the hands of nonsectarian secular scientists and teachers with rational unbiased knowledge and education.

Faith-based politics reign in the three branches of government. At a time when we desperately need the “facts,” our laws, judiciary, and the Supreme Court bench are in the hands of a majority of conservative Christian Republicans.

No matter who wins the elections in 2020, our future generations are at the lawmaking mercy of believers who largely deny science and therefore deny medical science and climate change.

If the rest of the nation shared Vermont's distinction of being indifferent to religion, we wouldn't be in the unsettling dangerous times we're in now.

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