Follow by Email

Showing posts with label Decline of atheism. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Decline of atheism. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Will 21st century cultural/ideological convergence grind down atheism at an accelerating pace?

Earlier in the day, I created a post entitled Ideological convergence will grind down atheism in the 21st century which cited the work of various scholars.  If you haven't done so already, please read that article before reading the remainder of this article.

Question: Will the pace of cultural/ideological convergence grind down atheism at an accelerated rate in the 21st century?


1.  In 2011, the American Spectator declared:
The report estimates about 80,000 new Christians every day, 79,000 new Muslims every day, and 300 fewer atheists every day. These atheists are presumably disproportionately represented in the West, while religion is thriving in the Global South, where charismatic Christianity is exploding."
Now I don't know if the number of atheists is decreasing in absolute number due the explosive growth of Christianity in China and the existence of state atheism in China, but as a percentage of the world's population atheism is seeing a decline. See:  Growth of Christianity in China and Desecularization

 2.  The American sociologist and author Peter L. Berger introduced the concept of desecularization in 1999.  According to Berger, "One can say with some confidence that modern Pentecostalism must be the fastest growing religion in human history."

Phillip Jenkins published the book The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity.

Chuck Colson, citing the work of Jenkins, writes:

As Penn State professor Philip Jenkins writes in The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity, predictions like Huntingtons betray an ignorance of the explosive growth of Christianity outside of the West.

For instance, in 1900, there were approximately 10 million Christians in Africa. By 2000, there were 360 million. By 2025, conservative estimates see that number rising to 633 million. Those same estimates put the number of Christians in Latin America in 2025 at 640 million and in Asia at 460 million.

According to Jenkins, the percentage of the worlds population that is, at least by name, Christian will be roughly the same in 2050 as it was in 1900. By the middle of this century, there will be three billion Christians in the world -- one and a half times the number of Muslims. In fact, by 2050 there will be nearly as many Pentecostal Christians in the world as there are Muslims today.

3.  If the religious and/or religious immigrants and their descendants continue to grow in secular places like Europe and China, they will have more power to influence the media (who are dependent on advertisers so they will not want to offend the religious)  and government as far as religious freedom.


So given the much higher daily increase of the religious per day in the world, I would argue and their attendant growing influence on media, government, etc., I would argue that pace of global desecularization and the expected desecularization of the Western World in the 21st century would happen at an increasing rate during the 21st century

For more information, please see:

Growth of global desecularization

Acceleration of 21st century desecularization

Eric Kaufmann: Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth?

Ideological convergence will grind down atheism in the 21st century

Samuel P. Huntington founded Foreign Policy magazine. In the early 1990s Huntington advanced the idea of a coming intensification of  a "clash of civilizations".

Hutington's magazine Foreign Policy  pointed out in 2013 that the world is seeing more of a convergence of civilizations rather than a clash of civilizations.  Of course, clashes are occurring such as Muslim terrorism in Paris, etc.  On the other hand, there is far less Christian fundamentalist violence. In fact, it is rare.

Religious fundamentalists set up barriers to assimilation in terms of irreligious beliefs (religious schools, etc.) which the  religious demographic/political scholar Eric Kaufmann and other scholars point out (see:Religious immigrants to Europe resistant to secularization  and   Eric Kaufmann - Religion, Demography and Politics in the 21st Century).  That is why many European religious immigrants are not assimilating (see: Religious immigrants to Europe resistant to secularization).

Given the assertiveness/aggressiveness of many Muslims and multiculturalism, public schools in Britain are very reluctant to challenge the creationist beliefs of Muslim children which is highly upsetting to Richard Dawkins (see: Richard Dawkins: Muslim parents 'import creationism' into schools). 

In 2009, The Guardian declared:
Mass migration has led to a rise in creationist beliefs across Europe, according to a British scientist.
Michael Reiss, who is a professor of education at the Institute of Education in London and an Anglican priest, said the evolution-creationism debate could no longer be thought of as something that happened elsewhere and that more and more people in the UK did not accept evolution.

Reiss told the Guardian that countries with a higher proportion of Muslims or fundamentalist Christians in their population were more likely to reject evolution. He added: "What the Turks believe today is what the Germans and British believe tomorrow. It is because of the mass movement of people between countries.
"These things can no longer be thought of as occurring in other countries. In London, where I work, there are increasingly quite large numbers of highly intelligent 16, 17 and 18-year-olds doing Advanced Level biology who do not accept evolution. That's either because they come from a fundamentalist Christian background or from Muslim backgrounds.

Johns Hopkins University Press reported in 2014: "Over the past forty years, creationism has spread swiftly among European Catholics, Protestants, Jews, Hindus, and Muslims, even as anti-creationists sought to smother its flames."

On the other hand, in the United States, the children of atheists have the lowest retention rate of all religious/irreligious groupings as atheists are far less likely to set up barriers to prevent assimilation (See: Retention rates - American atheism ). For example, I have never seen a private atheist school for children. There are no atheist radio stations playing years worth of atheist songs.Very few atheist households subscribe to atheist television channels.

American atheist children adopting religious belief does not bode well  for irreligion in secular Europe which is seeing a flood of religious immigrants with higher birth rates. 

Next, English is widely spoken around the world.

Look at the convergence of people significantly less interested in atheism/atheist in these geographic regions:

Google trends: Term atheist:
Google trends: Term atheism:
 On December 23, 2012, Professor Eric Kaufmann who teaches at Birbeck College, University of London wrote:
I argue that 97% of the world's population growth is taking place in the developing world, where 95% of people are religious. On the other hand, the secular West and East Asia has very low fertility and a rapidly aging population... In the coming decades, the developed world's demand for workers to pay its pensions and work in its service sector will soar alongside the booming supply of young people in the third world. Ergo, we can expect significant immigration to the secular West which will import religious revival on the back of ethnic change. In addition, those with religious beliefs tend to have higher birth rates than the secular population, with fundamentalists having far larger families. The epicentre of these trends will be in immigration gateway cities like New York (a third white), Amsterdam (half Dutch), Los Angeles (28% white), and London, 45% white British.

At a conference Kaufmann said of religious demographic projections concerning the 21st century:
 Part of the reason I think demography is very important, at least if we are going to speak about the future, is that it is the most predictable of the social sciences.

...if you look at a population and its age structure now. You can tell a lot about the future. ...So by looking at the relative age structure of different populations you can already say a lot about the future...
...Religious fundamentalism is going to be on the increase in the future and not just out there in the developing world..., but in the developed world as well.
The religious, particularly religious fundamentalist have higher birth rates than the irreligious and atheists/agnostics have sub-replacement fertility (see: Atheism and fertility rates ). Atheism/agnosticism are expected to decline in the 21st century in terms of their global market share and fertility is playing a leading role although not the sole role (see:  Causes of desecularization ).

According to Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary's Center for the Study of Global Christianity, which has made projections up to the year of 2050, the percentage of the global population that are evangelical Christians/pentecostals is expected to increase (see: Growth of evangelical Christianity).

Kaufmann told a secular audience in Australia: "The trends that are happening worldwide inevitably in an age of globalization are going to affect us."
The fertility rates of various worldviews, globalization and ideological convergence  will grind down atheism in the 21 century.  On the other hand, biblical Christianity will prosper globally and will see a rise in irreligious areas of the world China/Europe (see: Desecularization  and Asian atheism  and European atheism and 21st century decline).

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks declared: "...the 17th century was the beginning of an age of secularization which has lasted four centuries until now; the 21st century is exactly the opposite, it's the beginning of an age of desecularization. Religion is seizing power; they're not yielding power."

If you are a militant atheist, consider this:

Ideological convergence has already ground away the vast bulk of Western World atheists. Now most self-professed atheists in the West are atheist poseurs who claim  atheism is merely a lack of belief in God/gods despite that fact that encyclopedias of philosophy define atheism as the denial of the existence of God (see: Definition of atheism)  In short, most self-professed Western atheists are agnostics.

Agnostics outnumber atheists in the world. So given ideological convergence it is more likely that atheists would become agnostics than vice versa (In addition,  you have the tug of theistic believers on atheists). And that is exactly what has happened. How much easier will it be to assimilate bunch of agnostic fence-sitters into believers in God? Surrounded by a growing theistic society, more and more agnostics will become theists. As alluded to above, religious demographers are expecting agnostics to decline as a percentage of the world's population in the 21st century.  

To see the followup article, please see:  Will 21st century cultural/ideological convergence grind down atheism at an accelerating pace?

Eric Kaufmann: Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth?