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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 (31-40):
moneysaver6
by Gold Member on Jan. 4, 2013 at 1:19 AM

It absolutely is!  But we can agree to disagree.

Quoting babie113:

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.


LauraKW
by "Dude!" on Jan. 4, 2013 at 1:23 AM

 Very interesting read.

cueballsmom
by Silver Member on Jan. 4, 2013 at 1:58 AM
Quoting lga1965:

SHe has a huge chip on her shoulder and feelings of inferiority. Too bad.

The author or I? I didn't write it, just thought it interesting. I like psychology and it seemed as appropriate for this group as any other religious article.

Was going to post about Quatar developing a way to grow food in salt water. But decided there wasn't enough of an article.
cueballsmom
by Silver Member on Jan. 4, 2013 at 2:05 AM
1 mom 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.


first, prove it's a religion.
A-means not, such as atypical, asexual, asymmetrical. Theist-means belief in a god or gods. Such as Christian, Greek gods, Wicca, or Hindu.

So, A-theism means "not a believer in god or gods"
It is the anti-religion.

Second if it is logical fallacies (which you committed by believe that any large group who think the same way is a religion) please point them out. This is a discussion after all.
stormcris
by Christy on Jan. 4, 2013 at 2:43 AM

Atheism can be a religion depending on the ardor you hold to the beliefs that give you(general) the defining heading of atheist. Many hold to the strongest of positions that things must be proven. Having a religion does not require a god figure. Yet since religion is a self directed analysis of principles and labeling one may very well say that Atheism is not their religion just as one can say about any religion as it matters not what you practice when it comes down to it but more what you wish to claim.

However, because humans prefer labels and like ritual and cohesion, I doubt atheism will stamp out religion unless it claims to be one. Previous religions were tramped out by the search for peace and euphoria not actually the search for truth. People cling to having something to believe in to feel safe and facts do not provide safety.

romalove
by Roma on Jan. 4, 2013 at 6:06 AM
3 moms liked this


Quoting stormcris:

Atheism can be a religion depending on the ardor you hold to the beliefs that give you(general) the defining heading of atheist. Many hold to the strongest of positions that things must be proven. Having a religion does not require a god figure. Yet since religion is a self directed analysis of principles and labeling one may very well say that Atheism is not their religion just as one can say about any religion as it matters not what you practice when it comes down to it but more what you wish to claim.

However, because humans prefer labels and like ritual and cohesion, I doubt atheism will stamp out religion unless it claims to be one. Previous religions were tramped out by the search for peace and euphoria not actually the search for truth. People cling to having something to believe in to feel safe and facts do not provide safety.

I think the title of "atheism will replace religion" is fallacious.  I don't think it will "replace" religion but I do think that more and more people over time will continue to give up religion.  

Atheism is not a religion.  People like to stretch what the idea of religion is so that atheism is just another religious choice.  Religious people like to say that so they can think everyone has religion.

Not believing is just that, not believing.  No rituals, no dues, nothing to join, no set of beliefs to add on, just nothing.

Saying it's a religion does not make it so.

romalove
by Roma on Jan. 4, 2013 at 6:07 AM


Quoting moneysaver6:

It absolutely is!  But we can agree to disagree.

Quoting babie113:

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.


Why is it important to you to quantify atheism as a religion?

romalove
by Roma on Jan. 4, 2013 at 6:07 AM


Quoting TranquilMind:

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

Now here's something rude.

But expected.

romalove
by Roma on Jan. 4, 2013 at 6:09 AM


Quoting FromAtoZ:

Nothing will replace my religion, my faith.

Not now, not years from now.

I don't think the article is trying to get anyone to stop believing whatever it is they do.

I think the idea of atheism "replacing" religion puts the article on an odd footing.

Atheism doesn't replace religion.  I think there is a fall-off over time and as we go forward in people who believe.

I don't think that means atheism replaces anything.

romalove
by Roma on Jan. 4, 2013 at 6:10 AM
2 moms liked this


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.   

Atheism doesn't wish to offer anything.

People don't believe what they don't believe.

Language determines that we give that a name.

At best what atheism offers is the opportunity to continue to search for answers that religion has given people and prevents them from continuing to search for.

I find that hopeful.

p.s.  That "multi-faith" community included people of no faith at all, donating, comforting, caring, and loving their fellow man.

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