TO THE EDITOR:
In her Sept. 29 piece, “Being a Christian in an increasingly atheist society,” Grace Moody wrote, “Now, I know I just opened a big can of worms. Jesus Christ.” While Moody certainly opened a can of worms, it has less to do with Jesus, and more to do with the fact that The Miami Student would publish a piece that entirely lacks journalistic integrity. I understand that the piece was published as an op-ed, but the blatant lack of citation, the lack of natural flow and the overall misinformed nature of the piece has me questioning The Miami Student’s intentions in its publication.
After the piece opens, Moody goes on to say that we can, “see the rising number of people who consider themselves atheist,” and follows this with the claim, “23 percent of Americans call themselves a nonbeliever, agnostic or atheist.” Aside from the complete lack of citation for the statistic, a journalistic convention of which I would expect someone with the title of “News Editor” to understand, the statistic itself is misleading.
Lumping self-reported nonbelievers, agnostics and atheists into one category and using it as a way to point to an increasingly atheistic society is simply fallacious. It ignores the fundamental difference between the three groups; an agnostic lacks a religion, an atheist actively rejects the idea of a god and a nonbeliever is a sort of catchall term that means very little without access to more information about how the study that this statistic comes from defines that term.
The next unsubstantiated claim is in reference to the decrease in the number of individuals who consider themselves to be Christians. Moody claims, “57 percent of people born after 1980 consider themselves a Christian.” Again, I must wonder where this number comes from? Statements that make claims about portions of a population should most certainly define what that population is, what the sample size is.
Thus far, Moody has illustrated that less than a quarter of Americans identify as non-religious, and that a majority of Americans still identify as Christians. Her “evidence,” does not support her argument that Christians are being made to walk on eggshells in an atheistic society.
Two sentences on marriage equality, two sentences on the legalization of marijuana, and two contradicting statistics about divorce rate without citations later, and Moody has failed to connect any of her main points back to atheism. It is a gross over-generalization to assume that LGBTQ people, people who support the legalization of marijuana and divorcees all self-identify as atheists. Furthermore, Moody fails to highlight how these societal changes stigmatize Christians in any way whatsoever.
Overall, the piece has little to do with religion at all. Perhaps if this piece were called, “Being a conservative in a world where liberal ideas are slowly being allowed to breathe,” or even, “Being a Christian and having to deal with the rest of the world,” it would have been less offensive, less infuriating to read in America’s oldest college newspaper.