Friday, August 28, 2015

"Some will depart...."

Peter Leithart reviews Phil Zuckerman's Faith No More: Why People Reject Religion in which the author "details the reasons people give for leaving a faith.":
.... For some, religion simply stopped making sense. Unexplained and undeserved misfortune shook others. The influence of parents for and against religion is critical, though not necessarily in straightforward ways. The most intensely religious parents can raise apostate children. Education, friends and lovers, and exposure to the claims of other religions are also factors.

In Zuckerman’s interviews, sex came up again and again, usually in the form of complaints about the “relatively restrictive sexual regulation that delineates who one can have sex with, as well as when, where, and how.” A number of his subjects claimed that the only sexual instruction they received from parents and church was “Don’t do it,” and many were left with the impression that sex was inherently unclean. When they slipped up and broke the rules, the easiest way forward was to give up on the faith. ....

Zuckerman’s findings about sex aren’t a surprise. Every pastor who has counseled someone who is questioning his or her faith knows that sex is one of the main motivators. Sexual opportunities of college are as powerful as intellectual challenges in tempting students away from the religion of their childhood. ....

More broadly, this throws some light on why sexual issues loom so large in today’s cultural clashes. .... [more]