Here's an article from Psychology Today with the headline 'Why atheism will replace religion'.Religion and the concept of God were evolutionary necessities to feed human curiosity and to cope with this mysterious world.Now that we understand our Universe through science and technology,they are no more required thus avoiding many damages done in the name of religion.But how long will it be that atheism will completely overtake Religion?I'm suspicious about it and that certainly is not going to be any time soon.Religion appeals to people's emotions,they serve political purposes as well.Even if people believe that god does not exist,still they will follow their religious practices and the norms.No doubt that Atheism is on rise with the progress in science and technology,the idea of its complete domination is still questionable.But I'm an Optimist.

Here's the article -
Why Atheism Will Replace Religion

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Your post gives us a lot to ponder. The reason atheism is not going to overtake religion anytime soon is that religion offers fellowship. This gives you a feeling of belonging. This is a much needed part of the human makeup, and theists know it too. We atheists could imitate the workings of religion complete with services and a building, but to do so we would be called "just another religion." I personally would not be happy with that tag stuck on me. What do we worship? What part of no belief in god(s) is not understood here?

But some theists have it figured out already. We "worship the creature and not the creator." (Romans 1:25) It does not compute for this type of theist that we are secular humanists simply because there is no proof that god exists. Rather than deal with evidence, once again they rely on their Bible as the "evidence." The book proves nothing.

Brains evolved that give usually acceptable results with as little effort as possible.  Once we feel that we intuitively have a good enough answer for a particular problem we generally stop trying to reason, which is hard work,  and just accept it unless we deem it especially important to get right and/or if our intuition has failed us before in similar, memorable circumstances.  The vast majority of brain activity, even for the most rational beings, is intuitive.  Reason is just too slow for most of what our brains do.  If we step on a tack we don't ponder the best course of action -- we jerk our foot up before realizing we've done so.

This probably sounds entirely off-topic for this discussion, but I do have a point -- at least I think so.  As long as a large proportion of people are satisfied that a small amount of rational effort is good enough to work out life, we will have things like religion that offer shortcuts and ready-made solutions.  Out brains evolved to work this way, and to dismiss easy answers that might be good enough in favor of expenditure on reason begs justification beyond simple survival.  Evolution, after all, is not "survival of the fittest"; its thriving of the fit enough.

Religion has been a fit enough mode of behavioral aligning for the societies that we've managed to build so far, and so has thrived.  I like to hope that we can mature beyond it and become more reliant on the harder work of reason, and we have moved substantially in that direction for at least several hundred years, with the predictable isolated backsliding among camps.

Religion will be gone when there exists a sufficient body of accepted reason to make it an easier or more effective solution than intuition or dogma, and we see much of that already acting, though not at all uniformly.  We will never eliminate intuition, nor should we try.  Most of our lives will continue to revolve around what we do without really thinking it through because that's the more efficient way to live.  What we may accomplish is a mutual rejection of superstitions that have held too much sway for far too long and have caused immense unnecessary suffering.

In other words, I don't expect the little church down the street to close its doors any time soon.  And they give food & clothing to poor people, which is cool.  Some who contribute to those efforts might not without the supernatural aspects of their religion.  We can make character judgments about that, but what matters most is the societal outcome.  I'm certainly not claiming that religion is good for us -- quite the opposite actually.  What I'm saying is that any replacement for religion bears the burdens of these institutionalized things, including the easy answers for those who can accept no less.  Until and unless we evolve to live rationally, that can never completely happen until we are something entirely other than naked apes.


NOT off-topic, Ted.

Instead, your response here is as relevant, as well thought-out, and as well expressed as any I will likely ever see.

I accept intuition more than you appear to, but this results from my having the word defined as experience whose acquisition a person has forgotten.

Do I conclude correctly that your words

a sufficient body of accepted reason to make it an easier or more effective solution

imply that no one, for lack of mental ability or education, refuses to accept that the body of reason is easier or more effective than dogma?


What I intended is that it will be necessary for us to learn confidence in our capacity for reason to a degree that we trust and rely on it as an often necessary check on our intuitive responses.  We all do that now for some things -- some of us to a greater degree than others.  I accept intuition as necessary and very valuable.  As I said, sort of, intuition is our primary mode of thought, as it must be.  I make my living at architecture, which is fundamentally a creative pursuit.  The valuable part of what I do, I do because it just feels good.  I (usually) have time to go back and check those intuitions and figure out just how they could work.  If I allowed only reason -- that is, thought through each detail before committing to anything -- all I'd ever design would be cubes.

I should say that splitting intuition from reason is a false dichotomy and just a rhetorical tool.  It's all brain work, and is better understood as a spectrum rather than either-or.  Any thought blooms as an intuitive response, and is later refined or rationalized.  It's the place at which we choose to stop rationalizing and go ahead and act that defines how "rational" we are.

I don't think that we need to, should or can, "overthrow" intuition; I think that we (or at least a significant part of our culture) have achieved enough intellectual success and physical security that we can afford to take some more time to think before acting in very many of our pursuits.  For example, the current widespread dismissal of science in the US is counterproductive to our ability to continue to thrive, and hurts those societies that have accepted that science might be onto something.  This was what I meant by a body of accepted reason.  It will always be more difficult than dogma not rationally derived, and itself is susceptible to becoming dogma.  But at least science contains structural checks -- not guarantees, just checks.


"I accept intuition more than you appear to, but this results from my having the word defined as experience whose acquisition a person has forgotten."


That's an interesting definition with some merit.  I think of intuition as cognitive processes of which we have not forgotten, but of which we were never consciously aware.  Maybe that's the same thing.  As I stated above, it's not this or that, but the point at which one decides to act on the continuing development of a thought that makes it a "conscious" or "reasoned" action.  The thought process itself is a continuum, and it probably has to reach some level of concreteness before it's accessible as a conscious memory.


Where is the "Like" button?

I also liked you're post Ted.  So much I saved it to present to my religious family when the time is right.

Ted, your thoughtful, articulate response says it far better than I ever could.

In sheer numbers, I wonder if the numbers of religious might be higher than any time in history. As a %, in certain communities or countries, there is growth in atheistic populations.

Recently I Read that China, with officially atheist policies for generations, now has a record number of christians. Russia, post USSR, seems to have more christian influence now, and the islamic republics that were once part of the ussr, if ever officially atheist, now seem more overtly islamified. It does not feel like secularism is a one-way ticket. Maybe in a few places, but I bet on religion having evolved for socio - psychological reasons that have not gone away.

Intuition as I understand is not completely without logic,it is an intrinsic quality accumulated by our genes through millions of years or the use of it through our experience in this life.A balance between reason and intuition should work good because both have their pros and cons.Now the tough part is to find out the right balance.

Vasanth, a good question, and I hope that the replacement will occur SOON.

I would however be surprised if Psychology Today had crowded it all into a single paragraph as you did.

The crowding interfered with my understanding it.

Leave some white space in your future posts.

Other than the psychology of the matter will be the willingness to relinquish power by the vatican etc.

I was listening to the Truth Driven Thinking podcast about the Family and their influence in US politics. A very scary bunch who see religion more as a mechanism as the chosen ones to maintain influence.

The Machiavellian nature of the catholic church and their deal to get the vatican recognised as a country is evidence of their willingness to do whatever is necessary to hold onto and extend their power.

Ditto for islam - I don't think any of the crazies are going to relinquish their hold over the weak and particularly women any time soon.

I think it was Mark Twain who said that religion was created when the first con man met the first fool.  So long as the world continues to have those two kinds of people, cons and scams will continue to be perpetrated and likely religion among them.




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