Religion is for the Childish
I'm not quite sure where this problem originated. I'm in my mid-20's, I see friends my own age all around me avoiding their adulthood; living at home, playing hours of video games, drinking nightly, pot-smoking, avoiding the responsibility of the "real world." I like to avoid the "real world" every now and then myself, but this is not a daily goal for me. Perhaps I have a bit of delusion about what the world was like 50 years ago, but I am under the impression that personal responsibility was more highly respected than it is today.
Adults are now often called upon to hang on to our youth for as long as possible. Surely if you watch enough TV you could convince yourself that, with the right combination of pills, makeup, & surgery, one could stay young forever! All one needs to do is add in some irresponsible actions to complete the illusion.
I was listening to an interview on the radio with a woman who was the mother of a soldier in Iraq. She referred to her son & his fellow soldiers as "kids of 22 & 23 years old." Didn't boys used to go into the army to become men? At what age will children stop being coddled in this way? Does continued referral to her son as a "kid" help her maintain her own illusion of youth?
It may seem that I'm going off on a bit of a tangent from Atheism there, but not too much so. Atheists are often called out for being "arrogant" & intellectual, but isn't
I feel that this trend of childish behavior in America will be our downfall, and Religion is a huge part of it. America is becoming a country of perpetual-childhood, with Religion and Government acting as parent, and the masses lapping it up. Many religious people give up their personal responsibility by giving their lives to "god's will."
I am not saying that I am the most personally responsible person on earth, I have plenty of faults, but I am more than willing to have those faults presented to me and I will blame no one but myself. My problems are not my parent's fault, are not god's will, and will not be solved by a pill or surgery from my doctor.
Taking responsibility for one's own life to me also means saying god isn't involved in it. Prayer and good-intentions aren't going to solve the worlds problems. Gathering together every Sunday to ponder our responsibility to an almighty power and asking for his forgiveness does nothing for the greater good of the world. If as many people who went to church every week instead spent that time & effort devoting themselves to worldly actions like feeding the homeless, teaching their children, or asking a friend they may have wronged for forgiveness instead of talking to god about it, so much could be accomplished.
We must teach our children to be good adults; to take responsibility, to think for themselves, to help one another, & make their own path in this world instead of relying on god for it all.