I suppose theists are surprised that atheism is expanding. After all economic uncertainty, governmental turmoil, and feelings of apocalyptic doom for the planet-humans all reinforce the belief that people are more religious in the face of adversity. Perhaps that would be true if the news weren’t full of the religious sources for strife. Syria, Myanmar, Egypt, Tunisia, Mali, Turkey, Israel, Somalia, and many other countries mired in religious wars where when the West leaves the Taliban encroaches and when they elect conservative Muslim Brotherhood, the people are disappointed by the failing of the so called moral brotherhood, thinking that being antiWest, more fundamentally Islamic is the solution.
Cheered and disappointed by Obama, the greater world nevertheless sees how a strident and myopic GOP is floundering and finally the US is at least, acknowledging global warming. Though whether it will act on it seems unlikely, at least not until Battery Park in NY is flooded again and everyone while not admitting human cause will admit to try human resolution.
The HP article has a slide show of religiosity.
The WIN-Gallop poll:
- 59% of the world said that they think of themselves as religious person, 23% think of themselves as not religious whereas 13% think of themselves as convinced atheists.
- RELIGIOSITY IS HIGHER AMONG THE POOR: People in bottom income groups are 17% more religious than those in top income groups.
- TRENDS SINCE 2005: Ireland has the second greatest drop globally, in those claiming to be religious since 2005…
- Globally, those claiming to be religious, drops by 9%, while atheism rises by 3%. This compares to a drop of 22% among the Irish population claiming to be religious.
10% is a big change. When elections are won and lost on less than that there is hope for greater clear-headed thinking in the future.
It will be interesting whether evangelicals will be able to bolster these numbers as they aggressively seek conversion in African, South American, and Indonesian countries. The best hope for atheism and secular governments will be the ability of the scientific community to resolve material needs in the face of ongoing failures of the religious communities.
The irony of failures in technology and science is the necessity of maintaining the process and not changing to theology-based knowledge. While many people might yearn for the simple life, anti materialistic, anti big government, and anti regulation, there is little hope that less structure will help us now. An expansion of diversity is necessary but should not be catastrophe or revolution based. While we can deny that Egypt suffered a coup because we wink that it was a good coup we have to be careful that despots don’t ascend, religious or not. That democracy means more than a vote per person.
The greatest issue will be to close the gap between the wealthiest and the poorest. Only a compassionate elite will give up wealth for social justice and it is a downward spiral; as the moral elite spend their money they lose their power so it needs to be spent wisely on transformational structures rather than pure advocacy.
Sadly, the biggest obstacle is the Catholic church’s intransigence on birth control, abortion, and family planning. Perhaps every American should visit India or some other overpopulated country to visually get what human density does to quality of life.
Nevertheless, this is cheery news.
Jim Newman, bright and well