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Cardinal Warns of Growth of Atheism Among Youth

By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS Staff Journalist During a recent interview, Cardinal Francis George of Chicago warns about the growth of a fashionable new atheism among the nation’s youth. Cardinal George addressed the subject during an interview with the National Catholic Reporter which was conducted in Rome where the Cardinal was presenting his new book on evangelization, The Difference God Makes, at the Lateran University. In the book, the Cardinal discusses the secularization of western society, saying the European version is more overt than in the U.S., where it tends to be more subtle and more like a taming of religion rather than a rejection of it. However, he sees a growing trend toward outright rejection in the new atheism that is being trumpeted by popular atheists such as Richard Dawkins and Samuel Harris. “The new atheism has its followers,” the Cardinal said. “In Chicago, we now have atheist clubs in high schools. We didn’t have those five years ago. Kids I would have confirmed in the eighth grade, by the time they’re sophomores in high school say they’re atheists. They don’t just stop going to church, they make a statement. I think that’s new. That’s perhaps a bit more like Europe.” This new atheism is something of a fad, he says, but it’s aggressive and very evangelical and manages to capture people’s attention. “It’s the mirror image of a kind of fundamentalism, because it’s very restrictive in its use of reason. It’s also very triumphalistic and self-righteous.” The Cardinal’s concerns can be validated by a visit to YouTube which is infested with videos featuring hip American teens and college students proudly proclaiming their lack of faith in God. Among the 18-25 age group, the new atheism is one of the fastest growing movements in the country today. © All Rights Reserved, Living His Life Abundantly®/Women of Grace®