Our preteen granddaughters love to watch reruns of the reality show, Mythbusters. It’s a show that tests the validity of myths and conventional wisdom.
The popularity of Mythbusters is but the tip of a huge cultural fascination with skepticism. Skepticism has international conferences, publishers and entertainment venues involving millions of people worldwide. It’s fans are not always the same group as atheists, but they compliment each other.
Some of the skeptic organizations and popular personalities focus on issues such as faith healers, mystics, psychics, political “birthers”, anti-vaccination advocates and the like. But, a branch of them focus’ on the mythology of religion. As someone wrote recently, in a culture that reveres faith above facts, skeptics are a vanguard of rationalism.
As an example, the James Randi Educational Foundation, founded in 1996, offers a million dollar reward to anyone who, under controlled conditions, can prove the existence of a god figure. No winners so far.
Interest in skepticism is most popular among people under 40. It seems to me this interest in critical thinking is fed by the availability of the computer.
While the Christian faith has done remarkably well when put in competition with other faiths, one has to wonder how it will do in competition with skepticism and critical thinking. It has lost ground in Europe and in the last ten years in the U. S. it has stopped growing.
I’d like to prove there is a god, and win a million dollars, but I can’t.