Study Predicts Religion "Headed for Extinction"

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by Lord Blackadder, Mar 22, 2011.

  1. Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

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    #1
    A statistical analysis modeling the decline of religion has been presented at a physicist's conference in Dallas, TX. Abstract preview:

    From a BBC article reporting on the study:

    It is interesting in that it compares the decline of religion with the decline of another major cultural tradition - language. Obviously the prediction of "extinction" demonstrates the limits of the model more than anything else, but it does suggest that religious affiliation can be affected the same way as other cultural traditions. Nothing earth-shattering, but interesting nonetheless.
     
  2. skunk, Mar 22, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2011

    skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #2
    I think polytheism should make a comeback. "Jewish" monotheism was a front anyway. For most of their history they were polytheists like all the other Canaanites, with the same pantheon. Ultimately, their Jehovah was simply the chief god El, as in Babylon, Assyria, Egypt, Greece and elsewhere, and even he was subservient to Asherah (Astarte) his wife and mother. Judaism really set the cat among the pigeons by ditching the other gods and goddesses (the elohim) and relegating them to messenger status.
     
  3. eawmp1 macrumors 601

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  4. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #4
    I'm still waiting...
     
  5. Lord Blackadder thread starter macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

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    #5
    Hmm, I don't think I've ever come accross a discussion about the possiblity of the birth of a new, postmodern religion that will compete with the current models. Unless you count Scientology.
     
  6. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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  7. Apple OC macrumors 68040

    Apple OC

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    #7
    it's about time ... 25 years ago I predicted Religion would one day be on the decline and raising money for Religion would also be frowned upon.
     
  8. rasmasyean macrumors 6502a

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    #8
    Well...Capitalism is sort of like a religion of modern times. Everything has it's era. I mean, back in the days of Shamanism and Greek Mythology, "religion" was in a different form, but it still existed to guide people on how they should live an "acceptable" life.

    If one day we cure all disease and eliminate poverty and grow unlimited food for zero energy...perhaps we'll believe in a "different" way of life. Like "communism" in a sense. How Star Trek ppl are.
     
  9. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #9
    Shamanism has little do do with ethics, and the "monotheistic" religions are in reality polytheistic but in denial.
     
  10. citizenzen macrumors 65816

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    #10
    While I welcome the trend, I wouldn't get my hopes up of it happening anytime soon. I doubt our grandchildren or even their grandchildren will see the day when religion is just a bygone memory.
     
  11. Sydde macrumors 68020

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    #11
    Numerous aspects of modern society take on a quasi-religious character. Windows v. Mac v. Linux, Ford v. Chevy, O'Reilly v. Olbermann, perhaps these alternate personal passions have diverted emotions away from religious faith, draining its strength.
    Really, I suspect the genesis of organized religion can be found in the natural alpha behavior of social animals. It has been co-opted as a tool for the leader types to legitimize, strengthen and extend their power over weaker members of society. The scriptures, AFAICT, appear to have originated from the ravings of a prophet seized by some sort of delusion, dementia or other disorder, taken up and skillfully crafted to serve the needs of the leaders, with just enough common sense thrown in to make them practically workable.
    Well, probably not, but perhaps it will be adequately defanged and declawed so as to become little more than an amusement, like that wild-eyed dude on the sidewalk shouting the "good news" for all to hear.
     
  12. rasmasyean, Mar 22, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2011

    rasmasyean macrumors 6502a

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    #12
    What the heck is "ethics"?
    Is killing "just enough" animals for food and respecting the Earth Mother "ethical"?
    Is having an orgy of carnal desires to tribute Aphrodite (with both sexes) "ethical"?
    Is hoarding capital wealth at the expense of the poor "ethical"?
    Is living a life of luxury as measured by the eyes of your peers while most of the world scrounges for food and you really don't give a crap..."ethical"?

    Whether you call a religion "theist" or not is really just a perception from what you may have been imprinted with to guide your actions. I can easily say that people worship the "dollar" and it won't be too far of an anaolgy. I don't know about you, but most ppl I know fear loosing their dollars more than they fear losing their god.

    "Religious OS Wars" or whatever is just coloquial term for reporters to write on headlines. It's more equivalent to cheering for a sports team vs. establishing a framework by which you lead your life.
     
  13. Huntn, Mar 23, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2011

    Huntn macrumors G5

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    #13
    A moral code for most practical purposes is determined by the majority. An individual moral code has validity too, but it may be minimized by majority prejudices.
     
  14. OutThere macrumors 603

    OutThere

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    #14
    We are slowly, exceedingly so, edging toward a time when the majority will know enough to realize how little we can really know.
     
  15. arkitect macrumors 601

    arkitect

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    #15
    In the west you mean.
    It is doing quite OK in other parts of the world. :)

    Anne Widdicombe must have been spitting mad after last night's BBC2 episode. Apparently, as a good Catholic, she was expecting some learned theologian to debunk Stavrakopoulou's "heresy" in three seconds flat…
     
  16. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #16
    Good. It's time people stopped lying to themselves about religion. It's no more valid than Santa Claus. I don't mean to be harsh, but it's simply the truth.
     
  17. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

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    #17
    They are close. They both attempt to control.

    Kids are punished for not being good, by having Santa pass them by with prezzies.

    Adults are punished for not being good, by having God send their mortal souls to eternal Hell and damnation.
     
  18. Lord Blackadder thread starter macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

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    #18
    I have to think that religions will respond to a decline in numbers by becoming more strident and extreme.
     
  19. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #19
    They already have.
     
  20. Peterkro macrumors 68020

    Peterkro

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    #20
    As an idea religion has been dead since at least the eighteenth century but the news sure is travelling slowly.
     
  21. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

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    #21
    They will not "go gentle into that good night", any of them, for there is a large hierarchical structure to be supported.

    Haven't you heard? None of them actually works for a living.

    Something like politicians, but with decidedly less wind.
     
  22. Sydde macrumors 68020

    Sydde

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    #22
    Which hopefully will take them in a downward spiral. The first sign of the end-for-religion-times will be when the US elects an atheist president. Then maybe we can get rid of the subsidy.
     
  23. Don't panic macrumors 603

    Don't panic

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    #23
    it probably already elected a few.
    openly atheist, that's another story.

    honestly, religion decline seems but unavoidable, barred cataclismatic events that sends civilization back several eons.
    however it will still take a long time and probably older religions will be temporarily substituted by new, more sophisticated ones.

    i doubt, however, it will ever be eradicated. pockets of hardcore believers will likely always survive.
     
  24. Lord Blackadder thread starter macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

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    #24
    As Don't panic says, there will likely be no permanent "extinction". The article in my OP acknowledges this, and even though the model can account for a non-linear trajectory of decline, it's almost certain that smaller communities of believers will remain long after the religion falls out of the mainstream (cf. Zoroastrianism), or that periods of extinction or near-extinction will be followed by revivals and reinterpretations (neopaganism).

    However, the trend towards secularism is undeniable, at least in the developed world. Attempts to reverse the trend seem to result only in the radicalization of existing belivers - not in new recruits.
     
  25. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #25
    I think Stavrakopoulou has been reading my notes. :)
     

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