Despite the fact of substantial criticism from Non-Theists, why is societal adherence to religion still on the rise?

Despite the fact of substantial criticism from Non-Theists, the spread of doctrinaire evangelism has continued to be on the rise, as can be seen in the alarming rate at which countless self-styled prophets and professional preachers saturate every corner of our society with proliferate churches, most especially within the African society. Does this actually indicate that the series of our strong reproach of religion are totally futile and unproductive in the society; otherwise, is the heat of our critical opposition to religion gradually intensifying amongst the populace?

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Western style evangelical Christians are predatory and they seek out poor countries to plant their ideology. Eventually the people catch on to the game. This happened to some extent in South America where evangelicals had a huge boom. But eventually the poor realized they Christians were more on the take. So now I suppose they are trying to exploit Africa. Powerful people in big business back the evangelicals efforts, because as was pointed out, it distracts the people from organizing for their true betterment in this world.
A friend of mine used to repeat to me a joke, popular among college students in El Salvador. "First come the color TV missionaries, then come the US Marines." The right wing evangelicals side with right wing political repression.
-- Gary
Dear Keely,
Thanks so much for your valued contribution to this topic discussion. The trouble with Africa is enormous. It is truly an endless circle of lunacy, as you've correctly tagged it. We would highly appreciate any humanitarian assistance from you; and you are most welcome to Africa at anytime. Thanks also for your interest in my literary work. I'd be glad to have your impression of the book after you've read it. Great appreciation -:)
The reality that societal adherence to religious practices has continued to be on the rise at very explosive rates in Africa, especially in the face of substantial criticism from Non-Theists is a conclusion that is not far-fetched. The general assistance of our institutions of learning, which specialize from elementary level of education to tertiary education in raising gullible belief engines for different facets of religious sanctuaries, as well as training professional preachers in the proficiency of telling lies and preaching fallacious theologies to humankind has helped the advancement of religion at a very alarming rate.
I see the persistence of religion as a result of 'social inertia'. God is a summary word for all manner of believed ideas about causes which cannot be discovered, traditions derived from groping superstitions handed down, extended and manipulated for countless generations. It is bolstered by millenia of ignorance (and fear) about the real causes of events and has generated this social inertia (i.e. an accumulated energy which is most difficult to counteract without an equally strong opposing force). The opposing force is knowledge, primarily supplied by science. This has in a few centuries already transformed much of society beyond recognition, but the world is so large and the spread of higher education has not yet reached levels sufficient to decisively counteract the inertia of religion. Social change is also required, so that the fears and unfulfilled needs of people are met increasingly, making less and less necessary the desperation of recourse to the mere hope that prayer and other religious practices will alleviate the situation.

Once entrapped in religious thinking, one tends to attribute everything to God even when it is really our own doing, but especially when it is something (negative) beyond ones control. Science has taught us the real causes of the majority of known events, starting really seriously only a few centuries ago.
I have written 3 articles relevant to this discussion: The Origins and Persistence of Religious Belief and Faith in God On the Roots of Religious and Other Fanaticism and Spirituality Redefined without Religion or Mysticism
The deck is stacked against us... Here is a list of things

(Special disclaimer: Some of the items in the list are conjuncture - while others are supported by research.)

1) Critical thinking skills are low to dismissed

a. Not being developed / taught (Only a few people seem to have this more or less naturally)
b. Actively being discouraged (Phrases like you think to much)
c. Acceptance of authority over reason (Allows for survival at times but makes sheep)
d. Relativism to the point of non-distinction (Can't reason when there is nothing to compare)
e. Functionalist thinking has become the normal of our educational system.

2) Belief in belief people

I was one of these people easily using vague scripture references to construct whatever point I needed should religion seem to be relevant. I even used religion to thwart what I perceived as a potential precursor activity to a mugging or something worse by working to create guilt using biblical references to sin.

a. Religion does good things for the community [Narrow thinking].
b. Religion will allow me to use these people [I suspect most preachers with large incomes...]
c. I can think of many reasons to leave people stupid (most selfish and some seemingly kind)...

3) Sea of believers pushing belief (after all it doesn't take thought or work - just your submission)

4) The group affect on belief (thinking in general!)

a. Anecdotes are very powerful on people (why would they lie? LOL)
b. Accepted notions (Common sense) - which no one reviews (since it is of course true)

5) Reasoning biases

a. Accept what you are told (most people with only a few conditions that change it...)
b. Reject what you are told until verified (Rare group to start - seems to only occur after discovery of being mislead in some way painful enough way to change)
c. Doesn't matter - go with the group

6) Indoctrination begins early and often - generally guaranteeing a captive mind

7) Values (This might seem strange for some of us here...)

I have been asking people why do they believe in god and why (or there reverse if an atheist). I stumbled upon the idea that true is not that important - and for me this was a MAJOR shock. Most atheists that I know value truth to whatever level is attainable, however, that may not be that high a ranking in society as a whole. Oddly enough this notion is pretty clear in society in general, I just missed it. Let's face we regularly distort the true/perspective for emotional comfort! So, if you consider your life to be low, the idea of a second wonderful life is extremely appealing...

a. What is more important; how people feel or the truth?
b. Which would you rather have next door; a good believer or a bad atheist? (Reverse for religious people and substitute their particular faith - This may be a good check for fundamentalism...)

Yes, I agree that situations dictate what is "correct", however, let's not forget that people have been sold the notion that there is an answer as opposed to the much more nuanced notion of answers and degrees of appropriateness.

8. Social Links

a. If you love your religious parents - You wouldn't hurt them by not believing would you?
b. Would you break your community bonds by suggesting they are wrong?
c. If you don't belief you must be evil...

Granted some of the categories can bleed into other categories, but I hope some points were gleamed from my quick listing...



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