I'm really asking the question here. What do you think? I spend a lot of time on Atheist Nexus, mainly to be around like-minded people and ideas, but then I have to return to the outside world. I don't like what I see.
Although I live in southern California I see influences from the bible belt. As a freind's son is recovering from an accident I hear comments about how "someone upstairs was watching out" for him. I have been to events where our evening meeting group was asked if anyone had some reason to pray. I could go on and on here.
The internet is full of statistics going both directions. All of the surveys and such seem bias by whomever conducted them.
I see the Atheist community growing, but are we being out done by religious groups? I understand the mormons have quite a high birth rate, (I also consider them one of the more dangerous groups).
It would seem Europe is experiencing a decline in religion, but U.S. bible belt seems as strong as ever.
It always makes me feel good when I read statistics in favor of the godless, but what is the reality?
Well I wouldn't say now since 2008 is over 3 years ago, but you get my drift.
My sense is that both Loren's long term view and The Flying Atheist's more immediate assessment hold water, and taken together give some hope. After recently moving back to the southeast U.S. where I "grew up" in the Sixties, I see little substantive change here. Well, many of the more egregious practices may have faded, or at least I've heard little of them lately. It's been over 40 years since I was sentenced to attend a North Carolina church for a speeding ticket, and also that long since the KKK burned a cross on our lawn for Dad's business practices (credit to our black neighbors) and refusal to join the church.
But religion is still bedrock here, informing every aspect of social life if not so many personal world views. I have several agnostic or atheist friends, a number whom are gay, and every last one of them is active in a church -- perhaps 25% Unitarian and the rest mainstream Christian -- and this among non-believers & gays! Their language and rites are couched in Christian terms, lest they be stranded in the backwaters of those of us who don't matter. All weddings & funerals, most charitable actions and the bulk of community interaction are strictly Christian affairs. On the far edge of 2011 in South Carolina, to publicly profess non-belief is to be socially illiterate and irrelevant. This doesn't much affect me, an old hermit in the woods, but I feel for my friends who must adopt a Christian mantle just to be a legitimate part of local society.
When I lived in the Colorado High Country (not the Front Range megalopolis where some of the loudest theists puddle), religion was nominally present, but perhaps the greatest impact it had on our lives was the placement of pithy right-wing comments on the church’s roadside sign boards. I knew no one out there who actually attended church, and also no one who professed to be atheist. It just wasn’t an issue on the level of say, firewood supply or bears in the compost or snow plowing or dog psychology or *^%$&% tourists (gawd bless ‘em). The environment there is cold and beautifully harsh, and we responded to it lovingly in ways that had nothing whatever to do with the mores and philosophies of desert pastoralists.
When I was out there I stayed in touch with my Carolina friends & relatives via farcebook. It was a wonder that each and every post from each and every one of them always included some reference to God or Jesus. Often it was just tacked on with no real significance to the post, as a Muslim might reflexively add “peace be upon him”. I began to wonder if it wasn’t something in the water back there (now here). Now that I once again live among it, I see the pervasive influence of fundamentalist Christian dogma as a sort of bar one has to cross here in order to say anything likely to be heard. In Saddam’s Iraq, to be relevant you had to first be a member of the Baath Party. Same deal with the KKK in the U.S. South until at least the ‘70s. In Faith, NC or Pumpkintown, SC or Hiawassee, GA or any number of other like places, words not sufficiently worshipful cannot rise to spill into the world at large. To speak from disbelief is to be mute.
My hope for our species is that we eventually outgrow the childishness of religion. To do so we have to replace it with something, and recognize that staying more or less stable may well override, for now, addressing reality full-on. We have to communicate in the language extant, as do my fluent atheist friends in this god-besotted realm, or accept the consequence of non-communication.
Europe is secular and on way to atheism. America, despite its apparent show of strong faith, will have no alternative but to follow europe. The next generation will see a substantial change.
'Europe is secular and on way to atheism.'
Yes I think that is becoming clear.
There are still a sizeable dollop of religiosity...but I get the unmistakable impression that public display is half-hearted and used as a sop to the truly demented by governmental institutions, that have no interest in fighting a protracted legal cases on tax payers money.
And it is abundantly plain that religion is resorting more and more to the legal avenue.
With mixed blessings at best and overwhelming defeat at worst..but they have deep theological church pockets and sugar daddies with guilty consciences with even deeper pockets.
Defeat usually gets referred on at appeal and it ties up institutions and logistics...so the pragmatic approach is let them have their loony tune way in the first place.
But the general public do not really give a flying toss in a hurricane about religion or the religious.
I think that a generation and a half from now and religion will be just a myth employed by the hard of thinking, basically what it is now but not taken so seriously.
It is a question of breaking down and scrapping the traditional ties with religion to governmental functions and individuals.
That will take time...even after religion is relegated to the loony fringe there will still be a religious element in most constitutions.
Blighty is quite hamstrung by that problem..from Magna Carta, the Habeas Corpus Act, the Petition of Right, the Bill of Rights, and the Act of Settlement. all based on law that is so entwined with religion it really is going to take a long time to disentangle for sure...even if the will is there, which at the moment it is not... not because of the several high ranking religiotards fighting a rearguard action, but because it is a logistical and and legal minefield.
Similar difficulties infest all the major and most of the minor countries that comprise Europe.
But religion as a potent and formidable beast is crippled and haemorrhaging potential and traditional victims...it will not recover...it is dying... just a matter of time.
Thing is a mortally wounded monster tends to desperate and vicious retaliations before it draws its final breath.
"The people pass, Thrones crumble, the church remains" -- interesting Napoleon -- religion never seems to go away.
Religions have died before and they will continue to die because they carry a big load of imaginary ideas. We feel frustrated because of the time they are taking to die. The atheists are to be partly blamed for this situation.
Religion has been dying since its many births just as the humans who create them do.
What is a reality and uplifts me is the shrinking of religion as science and technology alleviate fears and uncertainties.
the so-called prophets past and present are
and the mechanisms of bs mantra and influence are
maybe then yeah; considering the passing of prophet Steve Jobs...
yeah 'traditional' creationist myth-based religion is dying yet the religion of knowledge through science will always grow and correct itself (unless bunk influence gets in like scripps rsearch; jeb bush fame)
aaaaand.. ask greydon square
Better debate idea; "religions are killing each other"
guess who prophets...ooopssss profits...