To clarify, I’m a Christian, but I’ve noticed that secularism has become common across the globe, especially in once-religious countries like France and Sweden, even breaking into the United States. Is it because of evolution and “science”, or is it because people don’t care enough to attend religious services? I would appreciate some clarification and explanation.
I think that the main reason is that we now understand things, which once could only be explained as acts of God.
For most of history many phenomenon could only be explained by God. At one time, thunder and lightning, an earthquake or a plague could only be explained by an angry God. A good harvest was the result of enough prayer. Recovery from serious illness was a miracle. Genetic problems were not understood.
Human brains have developed so that we demand explainations for everything. It has helped us survive and prosper over the millenia.
Now it is a struggle to find anything which requires a belief in God.
We are basically left with (1) where did the Universe come from and (2) what happens after we die.
The answers so far are (1) we don’t have a full understanding on time. We know that time passes at different rates depending on the force of gravity or the speed we travel. That has been proven by experiment. When we fully understand time, we may be on the way to knowing if in some fashion the Universe was always here. Maybe time slowed to a standstill in the distant past. Maybe it is circular. We don’t quite understand it yet. Whatever the reason there is no need for a God to explain it and (2) maybe after we die, we go back to the state before we were born. Again no need for a God.
I would say that people believe in the supernatural because they fear death and losing touch with loved ones who have died. If we did not fear death, there would be no reason to still believe in God.
So, secularism has been increasing as the world becomes more understandable. The gaps in our knowledge are just that - gaps that we will fill. Not reasons to believe in God. So religions have declined.
It might make more sense if you try to imagine someone who doesn’t believe in God and then think of a reason why they would start (apart from wishful thinking for an afterlife).
Religion is mythology in which the give answers to the unknown, because it is believe religion can answer everything, yet it doesn’t update itself with new information, like science does. For example, the Bible calls a bat a bird, when it is indeed a mammal and many Xians have come to know that a bat is indeed a mammal and not a bird. There are other examples, but yet many Xians still believe everything else in the Bible, despite all the discrepancies in historical and scientific facts.
I have not noticed that secularism has become common across the globe. The planet is populated by approximately 7.3 billion people. Western societies, that have a Christian culture, have a total of 1.15 billion people. What is this? 15%?
Seculiarism is a political ideology aimed at separating church (i.e. Christianity) from state in western countries. 85% of the rest of world are quite content with the traditional influence of religion on their ways of life since time immemorial. And most of them, like Thailand or Japan, are not theocracies and run their countries like any modern western state.
Only a very small number of people in western societies are conscientious seculiarists objectors. The bones they have to pick are tiresome and oftentimes inconsequential because people in western societies are generally not rabidly religious these days.
I agree with philip456’s post.
I agree with Tim.
Thought out and well written Philip!
Excellent answer Philip, which I think is mostly about the “explain the world” aspect of religion. There’s also the morality aspect. As the former fades, the latter seems to be more important, in the US at least. The rise of the hard right and their social conservatism is evidence. And in that regard, with more people tuned in, we see stories everyday of their immorality - Drumpf of course (and the evangelicals hypocritical support of him), but also the Jerry Falwells of the world. And hopefully too, more christians are realizing you can be a good and moral person, and still believe in Jesus’ teachings, without the overhead of church.
Btw, if you haven’t seen it yet, check out The Messiah on Netflix.
I think it’s related to the breakdown of community in the developed world. Religion is primarily a social thing, and with people becoming more atomized, there is less ability to participate in social rituals. The need for belief is still there but it comes out in the things we see now like highly personalized vague spiritual beliefs or weird socio-political movements etc. As for scientific knowledge replacing religion – I doubt it, because scientific literacy is generally low and most people don’t really care much about science no matter how secular they are.
Seems like it’s been happening for 3 or 4 generations now.
To explain the rise of atheism/secularism it only makes sense to look at the words of those who were once theists and are now atheists.
There are a ton of books and internet articles/videos that explain in great detail why people have stopped believing in the supernatural. A simple internet search will net you more information than you can ingest in a lifetime. (For example, search “Evid3nc3” on youtube and enjoy a small video library detailing one person’s journey from staunch theist to happy atheist.)
My story is like most other ‘theist-to-atheist’ stories: I believed in a god but read enough of the Bible to know it was bunk and learned enough science to understand reality.
Some people are able to cling to religion in spite of an education, but that’s more and more rare nowadays. Once people see it’s easier to be good without god, their attraction to believing in a god dwindles pretty fast.
85% of the rest of world are quite content with the traditional influence of religion on their ways of life since time immemorial. -- SreeAs usual, you don't bother to even look up basic numbers. But I think you picked a number that many people would guess if you polled the "man on the street". But, take a look here. At 53% you're already into Hinduism. Hinduism predates Abraham, so your word "traditional" is already breaking down. And these are very high level numbers, skipping over the high percentages that check a box that says "Christian", but almost never go to church. Then you hit Buddhism, which doesn't accept that gods save us or require our worship, at least not most forms of it. There is a full 6.2% for African and Chinese "traditional" which I would say are more of indicative of human history.
The world is much more diverse than you imagine Sree.
Great thread by the way. Nice summary by Phillip. And Evid3nc3 is a college level course in religious history. I love his story of going in to a library on his campus, one of the ones hardly anyone went in to. What was the book? Was it 381 AD? Anyway, the point was made, most people just ignore the actual history of how the Bible was written and how we were handed down the religion we take for granted.
One of Ehrmann’s books explains the words “received text”. When Jewish and Christian scholars went looking for the “true” sources of the Bible, starting centuries ago, they pretty quickly figured out they don’t exist, that, just like human history, there are a variety of sources that copy from each other, alter the stories, apply to their politics, change them to match their philosophy, then canonize them, and claim their new version is the old version. The scholars and religious leaders knew they couldn’t completely hide the evidence they found, but they weren’t about to teach that there was no direct connection to the Latin texts they were using and the oldest scripture they could find, so they made up this idea that God guided the process and the text we have were “received” from this invisible hand.
The world is much more diverse than you imagine Sree.
Sree probable sees Jesus, if he ever lived, as a white person, neglecting, like many Xians, to look at the area he was allegedly born, raised, and died.
Lausten: "And Evid3nc3 is a college level course in religious history. I love his story of going in to a library on his campus, one of the ones hardly anyone went in to. "The other good thing about the Evid3nc3 videos is that they're accidental ASMR, so if you have insomnia they'll slowly lull you to sleep as you listen.
I stumbled across them many years ago and just loved the message, the delivery and the care and attention that went into their production. I’ve tried to get some of my more curious religious friends to watch them as a way of explaining my own story (only better than I could do it) but, curiously, they somehow never had the time. I will admit that there’s quite a bit of material there, but it is totally worth the time investment.
As an alternative to Book Clubs there should be Video Clubs where people watch a video and discuss it. The Evid3nc3 videos could result in some awesome evenings, depending on the group.
As usual, you don’t bother to even look up basic numbers.No, I don't; especially, when the numbers are non-verifiable and biased. But numbers are all we have and I use whatever I find for an effect to frame an argument, not to establish absolute truths to shut people up and distract them from the real issues.
I am questioning the perception that “secularism has become common across the globe”. It’s a false truth implanted in western societies by activists to delegitimize Christian values in their own homes. If religious tradition is having hair on your head; then, seculiarism is shaving it all off to make a statement. Whatever for?
"When Jewish and Christian scholars went looking for the “true” sources of the Bible, starting centuries ago, they pretty quickly figured out they don’t exist..."It's crazy that we know this but millions choose to ignore it.
Lack of education is sad. Refusing to be educated is bad.
I am questioning the perception that “secularism has become common across the globe”. -- SreeI started by looking at Pew Research, but decided those wouldn't be convincing. Really nothing is convincing to you, you should watch that QAnon video I posted, the one with "Flat Earth" in the title. There are plenty of polls to back up the secularization narrative. The outlier is the US, it did not trend toward secular like European countries did. Africa has had some flourishing of religion but it is tied to evil dictators for the most part. It's pretty much common sense, so, you're right, who needs numbers?
I am questioning the perception that “secularism has become common across the globe".It isn't common across the the world, only in the developed world.
Europe, North America and East Asia are the only secular regions. The is a slight rise in secularism in the developed parts of Latin America but nowhere else.
Most of the world is still quite religious and on top of that they are the only people reproducing.
The world belongs to the faithful – always has, always will.
Europe, North America and East Asia are the only secular regions. The is a slight rise in secularism in the developed parts of Latin America but nowhere else.Secularism, as we understand the term, doesn't mean separation of church from state. It just implies that religious liberty is now the norm even in a modern state like the UK that has a monarch who is Head of the Church of England. Here in the US, Christian cultural practices are evident. We are prudes compared to the Europeans.
Religion is a very important characteristic of a civilization. The practice of seculiarism, in accordance with the strict definition of that word, would set us back and return us to the ways of beasts.
It (secularism) isn’t common across the the world, only in the developed world.You mean in countries and in populations within countries that are composed mostly of poorly educated persons. Yes religion works well for those who aren't so good at functional learning and for persons prone to believe LIES that make them comfortable.
Most of the world is still quite religious and on top of that they are the only people reproducing.Is that why you disdain the Scandinavians, that they are not reproducing at a rate to your tastes and that they have become more secular?
The world belongs to the faithful — always has, always will.IDK if that is true, but if it is, the faithful would own a pretty crappy world if they had none of us educated infidels.
The practice of seculiarism, in accordance with the strict definition of that word, would set us back and return us to the ways of beasts.Please, sree, if you do believe in God, ask it to take away your demon of erroneous thinking.