Will atheists be out-bred by believers?
I’m getting rather annoyed with the argument that because secularists typically have fewer offspring, in the long run religions will eventually out-breed us. Although I have the rare distinction of having been born to a somewhat non-religious family, I can assure you this is usually not the case with many atheists I have encountered since I started this blog. Some were born in extremely religious families, but left their faith after a painful audit of their own beliefs. Others came from a moderately religious group that had failed to instill the belief in God in a convincing way. The point is, we all come to our atheism in a variety of ways, and you certainly don’t need to be born to unbelievers to not believe in God.
Ed West thinks otherwise; he sees the growth of fundamentalism and their high birth rate as a sign of things to come, describing birth control as the secularist’s cyanide tablet (are we the only ones using birth control?). It’s true fundamentalist sects rarely lose their followers, but it’s also true these religious minorities are becoming increasingly marginalized in society. They represent only a minor portion of society, while the moderates, who often do lose their own religions, are still very much the majority. Even if these religious wackos were having 10 kids each, it wouldn’t change the fact they are, by and large, not a significant portion of the population.
The truth is as people become more educated, and more influenced by other cultures and ideas, their own “faith” is often threatened. Intellectual integrity is antithetical to religious belief, and so long as there are people with doubts and questions, there’s no shortage of skeptical minds to reject the antiquated Gods of our ancestors. No one is suggesting this process will occur overnight, but I seriously doubt the best thing for secularists is to start trying to out-breed religious folks; you’re not going to win that game, trust me.