Bridging the Chasm?

“Humanism’s Chasm” (February/March 2019), my editorial speculating that generational factors may explain why membership in national humanist and freethought organizations has remained relatively static while the number of young Americans not identifying with traditional religion has skyrocketed, elicited thoughtful and articulate responses. Here are two, drawn from each side of the generational divide. One essay was contributed by Fred Whitehead, a longtime freethought historian and activist. Among many other things, he was our most knowledgeable guide when CFI’s Martina Fern and I toured sites for a possible Freethought Trail in Missouri and Kansas in October 2017 (see my “A Trail for the Heartland,” April/May 2018). The other essay was contributed by Sarah Myers, a twenty-five-year-old woman who generally avoids print magazines and saw my editorial only because her father, a Free Inquiry subscriber, urged her to read it. I invite you, too, to respond.

—Tom Flynn

No Title — Sarah Myers

I am a twenty-five-year-old female, half-white, half-Vietnamese, and a self-identified skeptic and atheist. I worked and volunteered for a Midwestern skeptics conference, Gateway to Reason, as its marketing director in 2017, but since 2015 I have involved myself with the skeptics community, meeting many of the leaders of the movement, some of whom have columns in your own publication. My observations have led me to agree with Tom Flynn’s perspective that the demographic of self-identified Nones is meeting a standstill in growth namely due to lack of content that is appealing and interesting to people in gender, culture, and generation.

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