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The Rise of the Non-Affiliated

Why does religious affiliation continue to drop?

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Visitor Comments: 43

(34) Anonymous, May 24, 2014 11:43 AM

Why i no Longer Attend Shul

My osteoarthritis prevented me from attending shul but before them I noticed no one with disabilities was attending on a regular basis. i had no family and was hoping I could meet friends here. The rabbis were wanting a younger,yuppie crowd with big money and had no place for old,childless people like me.
I got the hint so I don't go anymore. I miss it. It was very important to is hard for my wheelchair to enter the shul.
no one calls and nobody checks on me or even send a letter. I am so incredibly lonely.

(33) chas, May 13, 2014 10:41 PM

My daughters have been driven away by the politicization of religious institutions. In classes I have seen (been subject to) harassment for having a different opinion. Sermons that are secular and even promote a political point of view. They still believe but don't feel the need for the organization.

(32) Remi, May 9, 2014 7:04 AM

working mothers

Is it possible that the sense of entitlement comes from working mothers and the social denigration of motherhood. "I am not fulfilled unless I earn."
This leads to children that
a. are taught by example that self-fulfilment is more important than selfless love;
b. are brought up by women who nevertheless feel guilty about their choice and so indulge their children to compensate. The others (the community) will eventually compete with their needs and desires. In a life where gratification is equivalent to being loved the unconscious question will arise: Why should I bother to put up with people who make my life less bearable. The French atheist philosopher famously said, "L'enfer c'est les autres." - Hell is other people.
c. are brought up in very small families, because more siblings compete with the career prospects of their mother and the financial commitments of the whole family. The inherent insularity of small families is not generally conducive to a wider community outlook.
But given the trend, religions can do better than to lament falling congregations. They need to be fruitful and multiply, to show that they have faith in Hashem, or even in life, and that this faith is worth having. Dosteovsky said that the world will be saved by beauty. It is for us to demonstrate that this is true. Ultimately, love of God and Man is much more fun than a computer screen. The battle is not lost, but it has to be fought.
While there are many, many women, who work out of necessity, or who do so and maintain a balanced and joyful relationship with their children, the lack of social status in home building relative to paid career, is I think a strong contributory factor in the problem Rabbi Yaakov describes. Who is responsible for that trend is another question.

(31) Gunnar Thulander, May 9, 2014 1:32 AM

give someone great distress and he or she will soon call out for the God they affirm not to believe in !!!!!! In other words the awareness of GOD is deeply rooted in us all ,this present world promote free will , free choice ,free what ever ,and we are bombarded with choices from all directions and so we filter out what we for the present time do not need ',,,,,,,,,

(30) Kerrie, May 8, 2014 9:57 PM

Non-affiliation is an indicactor of a greater problem

The points you raise are valid the world over. Young people these days grow up in a society that is self-serving and egocentric. It started mid 20th century and we are now reaping the results of this cultural change and attitude. Children initially reflect the attitudes that are instilled in them from adults in their life, which is then reinforced by peers and community. People will always gravitate towards what is easy and comfortable for them, and society is telling them that this is acceptable, and to be otherwise is stupid. The internet and other media, and the mobility that we enjoy (as mentioned above) has just enhanced this trend and made it an international phenomenon. I agree that the root of the problem is an attitude of perceived "entitlement". We are not making ourselves accountable to anyone other than ourselves and the government doesn't allow us to, intervening in acknowledging that there is indeed a G-d.. When we have a sense that we are not gods, and that there is a Creator that has ultimate control and has given us boundaries and guidelines to work within, we develop a better sense of obligation to Him, His creation and other people - based on gratitude, love and appreciation. Notice that these qualities are largely missing in our society today. Non-affiliation is just one marker of this issue. Until people start to take responsibility for their behaviour, thoughts, and care as much for the community as they do for themselves, and are held accountable for decisions that they make, there will be no change without Divine Intervention.

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