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Re: [Death To Religion] The Human Beast

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  • Gillespie William
    thank you, I am going to steal this and spread it around ________________________________ From: Clint To: Sent: Thursday, 21 June 2012,
    Message 1 of 2 , Jun 27, 2012
      thank you, I am going to steal this and spread it around

      From: Clint <cy2600@...>
      Sent: Thursday, 21 June 2012, 16:10
      Subject: [Death To Religion] The Human Beast

      The Human Beast

      Why we do what we do.

      by Nigel Barber, Ph.D.

      Atheism to Defeat Religion by 2038

      Will atheists always be nonconformists?

      Published on April 25, 2012 by Nigel Barber, Ph.D. in The Human Beast
      My blog posts on religion have attracted a lot of controversy. Religious
      people are annoyed by my claim that belief in God will go the way of
      horse transportation, and for much the same reason, specifically an
      improved standard of living.

      The view that religious belief will give way to atheism is known as the
      secularization thesis. The specific version that I have described is
      known as the existential security hypothesis. The basic idea is that as
      people become more affluent, they are less worried about lacking for
      basic necessities, or dying early from violence or disease. In other
      words, they are secure in their own existence. They do not feel the need
      to appeal to supernatural entities to calm their fears and insecurities.

      The notion that good living conditions are associated with a decline in
      religious belief, importance of religion, church attendance, and so
      forth, is supported by a mountain of evidence assembled by Pippa Norris
      and Ronald Inglehart in their book, Sacred and Secular (1), as well as
      numerous more recent works (2).

      We can be as sure of the relationship between material security and
      declining religious belief as we are of any other such connection in the
      social sciences. That does not prevent some serious scholars, like
      political scientist Eric Kaufmann (3), from making the opposite case
      that religious fundamentalists will outbreed the rest of us. Yet, noisy
      as they can be, such groups are tiny minorities of the global population
      and they will become even more marginalized as global prosperity
      increases and standards of living improve.

      Moreover, as religious fundamentalists become economically integrated,
      young women go to work and produce smaller families, as is currently
      happening for Utah's Mormons.

      The most obvious approach to estimating when the world will switch over
      to being majority atheist is based on economic growth. This is logical
      because economic development is the key factor responsible for
      secularization. In deriving this estimate, I used the 9 most godless
      countries as my touchstone (excluding Estonia as a formerly communist
      country). The countries were Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark,
      France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.
      These 9 countries averaged out at the atheist transition with exactly
      half of the populations disbelieving in God according to Zuckerman's
      compilation of data on disbelief in God in around 2004. Their gross
      domestic product (GDP) averaged $29,822 compared to $10,855 for the
      average country in the world. How long will it take before the world
      economy has expanded sufficiently that the GDP of the average country
      has caught up to the average for the godless countries in 2004?

      Using the average global growth rate of GDP for the past 30 years, of
      3.33 percent (based on International Monetary Fund data from their
      website), the atheist transition would occur in 2035.

      Belief in God is not the only relevant measure of religion, of course. A
      person might believe in God in a fairly superficial way without religion
      affecting their daily lives. One way of assessing the depth of religious
      commitment is to ask survey participants whether they think that
      religion is important in their daily lives as the Gallup Organization
      has done in worldwide nationally-representative surveys.

      If fewer than 50 percent of the population agreed that religion was
      important to them, then the country has effectively crossed over to a
      secular majority. The godless countries by religiosity were Spain, South
      Korea, Canada, Switzerland, Uruguay, Germany, and France. At a growth
      rate of 3.33 percent per year it would be 2041 before the average
      country in the world would be at an equivalent level of affluence as
      these godless nations.

      If national wealth drives secularization, the global population will
      cross an atheist threshold where the majority see religion as
      unimportant in their daily lives by 2041.

      Averaging across the two measures of atheism, the entire world
      population would cross the atheist threshold by about 2038 (average of
      2035 and 2041). Although 2038 may seem improbably fast, this requires
      only a shift of approximately 1 percent per year whether in religiosity
      (0.9 percent) or belief in God (1.2 percent).

      Is the loss of religious belief something to fear? Contrary to the
      claims of religious leaders, godless countries are highly moral nations
      with an unusual level of social trust, economic equality, low crime, and
      a high level of civic engagement (4). We could do with some of that.

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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