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03/24/2011 05:22 AM ID: 88434 Permalink   

Religion Going "Extinct" in Some Countries?

 

A study of Australia, Austria, Canada, the Czech Republic, Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Switzerland suggests that religion will all but die out in those countries, finding a rise in people claiming no religious faith.

Presented to the American Physical Society meeting in Dallas, Texas, the study relied on census data which analyzed nonlinear dynamics, which has also been used to study the decline of lesser-spoken languages of the world.

"The idea is pretty simple. It posits that social groups that have more members are going to be more attractive to join, and it posits that social groups have a social status or utility," said Richard Wiener of the University of Arizona.

 
  Source: www.bbc.co.uk  
    WebReporter: Ben_Reilly Show Calling Card      
  Recommendation:  
ASSESS this news: BLOCK this news. Reason:
   
  20 Comments
  
  Tough to summarize  
 
Please see the link for how nonlinear dynamics applies to social groups; I just had to punt on trying to explain that briefly.
 
  by: Ben_Reilly     03/24/2011 05:23 AM     
  Hmm  
 
I don´t really understand the study design and the conclusions...

There is an increase in people claiming to have no religion, but no indication of a timeframe that they think religion will be extinct in?

Also doesn´t diminishing returns mean that the rate of people claiming no religion will one day level off?

I don´t know what nonlinear dynamics is though - can someone explain it?
 
  by: jamesmc   03/24/2011 06:01 AM     
  Canada here  
 
I told my mom this years ago

and she says "I think religion will always exist"

They say history changes by the generation
 
  by: sceptre_of_fertility   03/24/2011 08:21 AM     
  @james  
 
"There is an increase in people claiming to have no religion, but no indication of a timeframe that they think religion will be extinct in?"

I don´t think there´s a formula for predicting the future, so there´s not likely any good of slapping a date on what they have admitted (per the source) is "a suggestive result" of the study.

I wouldn´t bother trying to overcomplicate the study. They are seeing a decline in religious belief in those 8 countries, and the trend will probably continue to grow (most people follow the beliefs they´re taught, after all).

Interesting to note is that countries with a low religious populace rank as "happiest" in some recent studies I´ve read. Finland, Switzerland and the Netherlands were among those countries. Not that I would know how you can make such a claim, but I´m betting that not having to worry about eternal hellfire takes a huge weight off your shoulder =P
 
  by: dayron   03/24/2011 10:16 AM     
  Quebec here  
 
AFAIK, religion is pretty dead here. Compared to 50 years ago, where everybody would go to church on Sunday and crazy stuff like that, now you´ll probably only find the elderly there and that´s a good thing. Religion is rancid meat for human development. It´s creating boundaries that have no place in the 21st century. All I hear about church is negative.

I´m 26, and can say nobody I went to school with is even remotely religious. We don´t need that crap to be alive and well, so this is a very good news for people like me, who never believed in those fairy tales.
 
  by: pas content   03/24/2011 02:06 PM     
  I have...  
 
prayed for this for a long time.
 
  by: Kaleid   03/24/2011 02:30 PM     
  @Pas Content  
 
Quebec here too.
yeah its exactly as you say.
but its kinda funny how many big old churches you see in montreal. I wonder what they will do with them
 
  by: calculon   03/24/2011 02:42 PM     
  @calculon  
 
love the name (as you can judge by my profile pic haha!)

there´s quit a few that have been going for sale to private contractors, and turned in to condos and lofts or commercial space.

I always thought churches were an awful waste of good money that could be better spent in a community..i mean..they are so huge, so crafty, beautiful in a sense but so shallow and useless in another!
 
  by: pas content   03/24/2011 03:03 PM     
  @Dayron  
 
Hey, wasn´t there a study that showed even though Switzerland was the happiest country, they also led the world in suicides?
I can honestly say I don´t believe in any religion, but as far as believing in a higher power, I´m not so sure..
 
  by: Allanthar     03/24/2011 04:59 PM     
  Now we´ll find out  
 
if religion will go to heaven or hell.
 
  by: H. W. Hutchins   03/24/2011 08:35 PM     
  When the Antichrist comes....  
 
and shows his miricles all these atheists will become quick converts.
 
  by: MalcolmB   03/24/2011 10:28 PM     
  @jamesmc  
 
People are getting more educated, Education and Many Religion cant co exist forever. Although the below quote refers to Science it can be transposed for anything we use to understand our world and universe
"A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grow up that is familiar with it."

I have understood evolution since I was a little kid, and it is true you either believe in evolution or you don´t understand it, because once you understand it you cant help but see it in everything. In Countries like Australia (and the other on the list) we teach facts in school not fairy tales, religion is destined to die because quite simply it is not correct on many points that can be proven by science, so while science cant disprove God I can disprove Just about everything else, and if a text is untruthful about all that then why would there be truth in anything it claims.
 
  by: veya_victaous     03/24/2011 10:36 PM     
  @MalcolmB  
 
The Rainbow Serpent will swallow him whole.
His Miracles will not Impress those of us that have Embraced the gifts of Science, we can already cure more diseases than Jesus.
Or those that follow the Earth Mother. As She has just proven In Japan, she can Unleash Force 1000 times greater than our most powerful weapons.
 
  by: veya_victaous     03/24/2011 10:43 PM     
  @Calculon  
 
If it is like Australia we turn them into Nightclubs, Restaurants, Local Museums and Community centres. Really depends on the Area. Parramatta(Western Sydney) Has a lot of Sandstone Churches more than half (pretty close to 2 thirds) have become Night-life venues.

About half of those converted are kept ´as is´ on the outside (just a new sign but keeps the Cross etc). Some take down the religious imagery but most have bought the venue for the beautiful Architecture and keep it in better repair than the Church has been in decades.
Atheists are not as common here as Agnostics and most Agnostics are hybrid religion taking bits of Christianity, Buddhism, Taoism, Paganism, Sikhism, Hinduism and Native Beliefs(The Rainbow Serpent is an example)
 
  by: veya_victaous     03/24/2011 10:57 PM     
  Unfortunately  
 
The US will lag behind because of our puritan origins. We will be among the last to evolve. Heck, half of us don´t even believe in evolution. And that´s the half that holds us back.

We will all be better off when our need to worship gods is in our past.
 
  by: Jim8   03/25/2011 01:04 AM     
  @jamesmc  
 
In this case, nonlinear dynamics has to do with the size of groups with different characteristics (religious and non-religious). As the size of one group increases, it tends to increase non-linearly -- the group keeps growing faster and faster as time goes on -- because of societal factors such as social utility.

As the size of the non-religious group increases, it becomes more and more advantageous for people to belong to that group -- they´re more socially acceptable, they may seem more current, etc.

You can see how it worked in reverse in the Middle East with Islam, which gained incredible (really unprecedented) momentum through both the tremendous social pressures it exerted and the tremendous social advantages it offered.

With a relatively stable total population, as one group increases in size at an accelerating pace over time, the other group decreases in size at the same accelerated pace. Thus the accelerating "death" of religion in the countries studied.
 
  by: Ben_Reilly     03/25/2011 04:47 AM     
  @Dayron  
 
"Interesting to note is that countries with a low religious populace rank as ´happiest´ in some recent studies I´ve read."

Makes sense to me, North Korea has no religious people, and they look absolutely jubilant at the Arirang Festivals and military parades. I keed...
 
  by: caution2     03/25/2011 06:38 AM     
  @caution  
 
Yeah, but in the case of North Korea, you have to factor in the fact that they live in North Korea.

[ edited by dayron ]
 
  by: dayron   03/25/2011 11:11 AM     
  @Allanthar  
 
Well, yeah. I mean, once you become convinced there´s no God, and no ultimate purpose, suicide probably seems like a pretty good idea =P

Anyway, it goes further than being "happy" on the scale of somebody´s study. Is it coincidence that most highly religious nations are constantly at war? Without religious extremism in America, Asia, and the Middle East would there be as much bloodshed? I wouldn´t think so. And because of it, I would say that if you axed religion altogether, you´d have less war, and thus a better chance for nations to be "happy". But I don´t know for sure, I guess.

[ edited by dayron ]
 
  by: dayron   03/25/2011 11:16 AM     
  @Allanthar  
 
Oh, and then the human race would go extinct after worldwide suicide.
 
  by: dayron   03/25/2011 11:20 AM     
 
 
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