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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.

References

Barber, N. (2012). Why atheism will replace religion: The triumph of earthly pleasures over pie in the sky. E-book, available at: http://www.amazon.com/Atheism-Will-Replace-Religion-ebook/dp/B00886ZSJ6/

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-human-beast/201005/why-atheism-will-replace-religion
by on Jan. 3, 2013 at 5:00 PM
Replies (21-30):
moneysaver6
by Gold Member on Jan. 4, 2013 at 12:03 AM

First, atheism IS a religion. 

Second, this article is so full of logical fallicies, I'm surprised it was in a respected journal.

TranquilMind
by Platinum Member on Jan. 4, 2013 at 12:06 AM
2 moms liked this

The fool has said in his heart, "There is no God"...  Psalm 53:1

Reepicheep.CSL
by on Jan. 4, 2013 at 12:08 AM
1 mom liked this
Not worried.
parentalrights1
by on Jan. 4, 2013 at 12:14 AM
7 moms liked this
Quoting moneysaver6:

First, atheism IS a religion. 

Second, this article is so full of logical fallicies, I'm surprised it was in a respected journal.


atheism is a religion like abstinence is a sex position.
GaleJ
by on Jan. 4, 2013 at 12:20 AM
2 moms liked this

I would, in general agree, and would add that much of religion and religious myth developed to explain that which primitive people did not have the science to understand and explain and to satisfy the need of the human psyche to be able to order things in their world.

babie113
by Silver Member on Jan. 4, 2013 at 12:27 AM
1 mom liked this
Atheism is not a religion.

Quoting moneysaver6:

First, atheism IS a religion. 

Second, this article is so full of logical fallicies, I'm surprised it was in a respected journal.

Posted on CafeMom Mobile
moneysaver6
by Gold Member on Jan. 4, 2013 at 12:35 AM

We'll have to agree to disagree.

Quoting parentalrights1:

atheism is a religion like abstinence is a sex position.
Quoting moneysaver6:

First, atheism IS a religion. 

Second, this article is so full of logical fallicies, I'm surprised it was in a respected journal.


lga1965
by on Jan. 4, 2013 at 12:51 AM

 

Quoting 12hellokitty:

Atheism will never replace religion, because it has nothing to offer.  With the recent school shooting it was not the Atheist community that responded in mass, but the multi-faith community reaching all across the globe.   

 Got any LINKS to prove that? I know many very kind and loving atheists ...actually a lot more kind and loving than lots of the Christians I know. Going to church doesn't automatically  make a person a good person. Atheists are good because they are good....not because a church frightens them with threats of Hell if they aren't a good person.

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

turtle68
by Mahinaarangi on Jan. 4, 2013 at 12:58 AM

 

Quoting moneysaver6:

First, atheism IS a religion. 

Second, this article is so full of logical fallicies, I'm surprised it was in a respected journal.

 First...How?  and Second...can you point out the logical fallicies please :-)

FromAtoZ
by AllieCat on Jan. 4, 2013 at 1:01 AM
3 moms liked this

Nothing will replace my religion, my faith.

Not now, not years from now.

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