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Why Atheism will replace Religion.

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Atheists are heavily concentrated in economically developed countries, particularly the social democracies of Europe (Barber, 2012). In underdeveloped countries, there are virtually no atheists

Atheism is thus a peculiarly modern phenomenon. Why do modern conditions produce atheism?

First, as to the distribution of atheism in the world, a clear pattern can be discerned. In sub-Saharan Africa there is almost no atheism (Zuckerman, 2007). Belief in God declines in more developed countries and is concentrated in Europe in countries such as Sweden (64% nonbelievers), Denmark (48%), France (44%) and Germany (42%). In contrast, the incidence of atheism in most sub-Saharan countries is below 1%.

The question of why economically developed countries turn to atheism has been batted around by anthropologists for about eighty years. Anthropologist James Fraser proposed that scientific prediction and control of nature supplants religion as a means of controlling uncertainty in our lives. This hunch is supported by data showing that the more educated countries have higher levels of non belief and there are strong correlations between atheism and intelligence (see my earlier post on this).

Atheists are more likely to be college-educated people who live in citiesand they are highly concentrated in the social democracies of Europe. Atheism thus blossoms amid affluence where most people feel economically secure. But why?

It seems that people turn to religion as a salve for the difficulties and uncertainties of their lives. In social democracies, there is less fear and uncertainty about the future because social welfare programs provide a safety net and better health care means that fewer people can expect to die young. People who are less vulnerable to the hostile forces of nature feel more in control of their lives and less in need of religion.

In addition to being the opium of the people (as Karl Marx contemptuously phrased it), religion may also promote fertility, particularly by promoting marriage, according to copious data reviewed by Sanderson (2008). Large families are preferred in agricultural countries as a source of free labor. In developed "atheist" countries, women have exceptionally small families and do not need religion helping them to raise large families.

Even the psychological functions of religion face stiff competition today. In modern societies, when people experience psychological difficulties they turn to their doctor, psychologist, or psychiatrist. They want a scientific fix and prefer the real psychotropic medicines dished out by physicians to the metaphorical opiates offered by religion.

Moreover, sport psychologists find that sports spectatorship provides much the same kind of social, and spiritual, benefits as people obtain from church membership. In a previous post, I made the case that sports is replacing religion. Precisely the same argument can be made for other forms of entertainment with which spectators become deeply involved.

Indeed, religion is striking back by trying to compete in popular media, such as televangelism and Christian rock and by hosting live secular entertainment in church.

The reasons that churches lose ground in developed countries can be summarized in market terms. First, with better science, and with government safety nets, and smaller families, there is less fear and uncertainty in people's daily lives and hence less of a market for religion. At the same time many alternative products are being offered, such as psychotropic medicines and electronic entertainment that have fewer strings attached and that do not require slavish conformity to unscientific beliefs.


Barber, N. (2012). Why atheism will replace religion: The triumph of earthly pleasures over pie in the sky. E-book, available at:
by on Jan. 3, 2013 at 5:00 PM
Replies (141-150):
by Ruby Member on Jan. 4, 2013 at 6:06 PM


Quoting cueballsmom:

Quoting 12hellokitty:

The physical impact is the cause of the emotion, not the emotion itself. My point is you acknowledge emotions as being real even though you can not see or prove they exist. I think that's interesting and goes along quite well with you being able to believe in luck and random chance, other things which can not bee seen or proven...

Here's a thought for you, my brother believes that emotions do not exist. He has a certain "issue" that causes him to not feel emotion. He literally had to be taught the proper responses to others emotions. Growing up with three women, he had plenty of practice.

How would you explain a god to him?

Perhaps he could explain Nirvana to me...

by Silver Member on Jan. 4, 2013 at 6:14 PM
1 mom liked this
Quoting darlingdaisy:

As long you are not spewing your anti religion crap to children, why would I care?

Atheism is not conductive to making this country better.

Now see, I have spoken to quite a few very intelligent Christians today, then you come along.

How is it not conductive? Did you know that secular communities are better than religious communities, in fact the safest cities in the us are secular.

I do not "spew anti religion", I teach my children to be kind and thoughtful. I answer question's if I know the answer. I have no need to "convert" your child. But if you are teaching them the same intolerance you are showing now, I feel badly for how difficult their lives will be. That saddens me to no end.

And for the record, I'm not an Atheist. I was one, until I found Buddhism. So I understand the peace that domes with religion, for some. I also understand how ridiculous faith beliefs are.

I doubt Jesus was born of a virgin, but I'll bet you doubt a man was born of a rock, yes?
by Silver Member on Jan. 4, 2013 at 6:20 PM
Quoting darlingdaisy:

Typical Atheist response. I feel sorry for you.

I notice you continue to try and group me. Do I offend you as a person, or as a group?

Why do you feel sorry for me? Please explain so we may continue the discussion. It is quite rude to walk in ones home and be dismissive, I feel it is also rude to respond to the conversation and be dismissive. You have now flipped your hair and tossed your nose in the air, can you actually add to the conversation, or will you leave?
by Ruby Member on Jan. 4, 2013 at 6:21 PM

Quoting cueballsmom:

Quoting 12hellokitty:

Not sure what your comment has to do with my quote you reference. Where did I say anything about a belief being a fact?

you don't see it?

Atheism operates on facts. Things you can prove.

Religion operates on faith, which is belief without facts.

You confused belief with faith many times. So I explained it for you.

So Atheist can prove there is no God? 

by Silver Member on Jan. 4, 2013 at 6:31 PM
Quoting 12hellokitty: Why is desire bad, can it not also be good? And what would you say is the opposite of desire?
the way it has been explained to me was that desires are earthly cravings. A bodies response. By eliminating desire, we begin to seperate our souls from our bodies.

Monks can go days without food, rest, or human interaction. It is believed that when you separate your astral body from the heart one, you begin to understand the cosmos. This is enlightenment.

Buddhism is the search for knowledge, understanding, and wisdom. To do this, you must have complete control over yourself. Oddly enough, martial arts teaches this as well, probably because much of it is used by the Buddhist monks in gaining control of themselves.

Of course it can be good, but I have found, the most simple my life, the happier my family becomes. I would say that the opposite of desire is control. With enough control, you have no desires.
by Silver Member on Jan. 4, 2013 at 6:36 PM
Quoting 12hellokitty:

So Atheist can prove there is no God?

They do it all the time. That's why they are atheist. :-)
by on Jan. 4, 2013 at 6:40 PM


Quoting 12hellokitty:


Quoting cueballsmom:

Quoting 12hellokitty: Like I said in my first reply Atheism has nothing to offer when tragedy and suffering happens, because Atheism teaches that people are in control of things like those you list.
Actually, an Atheist has their parents, their SO, their community to turn to for emotional support. For mental, many just see a therapist. Just because an Atheist feels no need to pray, doesn't mean they have nothing. Also, Atheist, because of the control they are used to, are more apt to send relief supply when tragedy strikes, because trying to help relieves those feelings of shock and sadness. They don't need a church to tell them to do so. They just do it.

Sorry, but I would need to see some evidence of this.  Not saying Atheist don't help out, just that I don't think the facts support they help out at greater levels then those who have a faith.  I'll also add religion teaches to give not because it makes you feel good, as it sounds like you are saying Atheist give because it helps relieve feelings..   


The findings on why we distrust atheists also point towards another potential way of reducing such prejudice: by reminding people of charitable and altruistic acts committed in the name of atheism. In recent years, there has been a growing number of virtual communities dedicated to those interested in atheism. Some of these communities have begun to organize charitable efforts. For example, the Haiti earthquake led members of Richard Dawkins’ foundation to launch a campaign entitled Non-Believers Giving Aid. In December the online atheism community managed to raise over $200,000 worth of donations for Doctors Without Borders. It is possible that greater public awareness of altruistic atheists may help alleviate some of the distrust that many Americans feel towards nonbelievers.


Daisy Grewal received her PhD in social psychology from Yale University. She is a researcher at the Stanford School of Medicine.

The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.”
Dr. Seuss

by Platinum Member on Jan. 4, 2013 at 6:59 PM
1 mom liked this

I think you're trying to say conducive. 

But I don't care as long as you're not spewing your religion crap to children.  Especially when you force your own religion upon them and don't even let them choose.  That wouldn't be very conductive, would it?

Quoting darlingdaisy:

 As long you are not spewing your anti religion crap to children, why would I care?

Atheism is not conductive to making this country better.

Quoting cueballsmom:

Quoting darlingdaisy:

That's hilarious. Do you know what I do for a living?
See, answers like yours where every one that disagrees with you should move, are not conductive to making this a better country.


by Ruby Member on Jan. 4, 2013 at 7:10 PM
Quoting darlingdaisy:
Quoting cueballsmom:
Quoting Aivlys_:

Well, we all know how Europe is doing .......
And we know how Finland is doing. Way better than us.

  So move to Finland.

Easier said than done.   They're pretty picky, especially if you are not related to a current citizen.

On top of the normal things like a 4 year residence requirement, you also have to be fluent in Finnish.

by Bazinga! on Jan. 4, 2013 at 7:11 PM


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