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Author Topic:   The Decline of Christianity
Tangle
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From: UK
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(2)
Message 1 of 8 (903008)
11-29-2022 9:01 AM


There's a headline news article today here in the UK announcing that the UK is no longer a majority Christian country.
Less than half of England and Wales population Christian, Census 2021 shows - BBC News
Some part of this is due to a growth in other religions caused by immigration and their differential birth rates but the real cause is Christians no longer believing in Christianity.
This is mirrored across the Western world:
quote:
While most countries in the Western world were historically almost exclusively Christian, the post-World War II era has seen developed countries with modern, secular educational facilities shifting towards post-Christian, secular, globalized, multicultural and multifaith societies. While Christianity is currently the predominant religion in Latin America,[1] Europe,[2] Canada[3][4] and the United States,[5] the religion is declining in many of these areas, including Western Europe,[6][7] some countries of North America (including the United States),[8] and some countries in Oceania. A decline in Christianity among countries in Latin America's Southern Cone (in particular Chile and Uraguay) has also contributed to a rise in irreligion in Latin America.[9]
Decline of Christianity in the Western world - Wikipedia
As an atheist, I think that this is excellent news, the fewer people wasting their time and resources worshipping non-existent gods the better.
(And btw, as criminality is also declining, there is no associated decline in moral values; who knew!)
But do we have anything to lose?

Je suis Charlie. Je suis Ahmed. Je suis Juif. Je suis Parisien. I am Mancunian. I am Brum. I am London. Olen Suomi Soy Barcelona. I am Ukraine.

"Science adjusts it's views based on what's observed.
Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved."
- Tim Minchin, in his beat poem, Storm.


Replies to this message:
 Message 3 by Theodoric, posted 11-29-2022 10:40 PM Tangle has not replied
 Message 4 by Theodoric, posted 11-29-2022 10:45 PM Tangle has not replied
 Message 5 by Stile, posted 11-30-2022 9:19 AM Tangle has not replied
 Message 6 by Taq, posted 11-30-2022 10:57 AM Tangle has not replied

  
Adminnemooseus
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Message 2 of 8 (903010)
11-29-2022 9:58 PM


Thread Copied from Proposed New Topics Forum
Thread copied here from the The Deline of Christianity thread in the Proposed New Topics forum.

  
Theodoric
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Posts: 8140
From: Northwest, WI, USA
Joined: 08-15-2005
Member Rating: 2.6


Message 3 of 8 (903011)
11-29-2022 10:40 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Tangle
11-29-2022 9:01 AM


Fix spelling error in title

What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence. -Christopher Hitchens

Facts don't lie or have an agenda. Facts are just facts

"God did it" is not an argument. It is an excuse for intellectual laziness.

If your viewpoint has merits and facts to back it up why would you have to lie?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Tangle, posted 11-29-2022 9:01 AM Tangle has not replied

  
Theodoric
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Posts: 8140
From: Northwest, WI, USA
Joined: 08-15-2005
Member Rating: 2.6


Message 4 of 8 (903012)
11-29-2022 10:45 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Tangle
11-29-2022 9:01 AM


The cases of pedophilia and sexual abuse should drop precipitously. So criminal defense lawyers might lose some business.

What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence. -Christopher Hitchens

Facts don't lie or have an agenda. Facts are just facts

"God did it" is not an argument. It is an excuse for intellectual laziness.

If your viewpoint has merits and facts to back it up why would you have to lie?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Tangle, posted 11-29-2022 9:01 AM Tangle has not replied

  
Stile
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Posts: 4218
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004
Member Rating: 3.7


(5)
Message 5 of 8 (903017)
11-30-2022 9:19 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Tangle
11-29-2022 9:01 AM


A More Stable Foundation
Tangle writes:
While Christianity is currently the predominant religion in Latin America,[1] Europe,[2] Canada[3][4] and the United States,[5] the religion is declining in many of these areas
Confirming from Canada.
More Canadians than ever have no religious affiliation
quote:
...the latest tranche of data from the 2021 census shows the proportion of non-religious Canadians has more than doubled in the past 20 years — to 34.6 per cent, up from 16.5 per cent in 2001 — the share of the country who identify as Christian has shrunk.
[Christians] made up 53.3 per cent of the population in 2021, down from 67.3 per cent in 2011 and 77.1 per cent in 2001.
Seems to be pretty much an age-thing for Canada:
quote:
Only 19 per cent of Canadians 65 and older said they had no religion, the census data shows, compared to 36.5 per cent of those between the ages of 15 and 64, and 42.5 per cent of those 14 and younger.
And same with some of the non-Christian religions reporting slight increases in population:
quote:
Islam is the second most commonly reported religion in Canada in 2021, with nearly five per cent of the population identifying as Muslim. That's more than doubled since 2001, when the share was only two per cent.
I'm pretty sure all religions will eventually stabilize into fringe-numbers. Less than 10%, but maybe even < 5%.
Just like Flat Earth and other non-evidence-based-ideas... there will always be those who cling to the feeling of "having the knowledge no one else does!" regardless of it's veracity... and they will always convince themselves of their own righteousness.
Also pretty sure the main powerhouse behind this movement is the internet - freedom of information.
The truth is out there, and more seek honesty rather than feeling safety in agreement and group reinforcement of illusions.
Kids will always have questions.
And they'll always ask the adults around them first.
This used to be family/teachers/religious-leaders... who used to be predominantly Christian.
And the answers they get are the same we got - unsatisfying.
Especially when they push and get the final answer of "go read your Bible and pray about this."
When we got those answers, though, it was difficult to search for alternative answers. Information was constrained without the reach of the internet.
But now? Those same kids getting those same unsatisfying answers simply pop the question into Google or Reddit.
And they instantly get satisfying answers... real answers based in real facts about reality that are supported by evidence that they can also look up and see the real data behind it all.
And they love the final, honest answer of "...and that's all we know, for now... but we're still searching, still using these same techniques that come up with such satisfying answers... and we'll make more progress and make that information available as soon as possible."
They see that morality does have a natural explanation, and it's not based on a "well, this is the only way it makes sense to me..." claim from authority. It's based on real facts and data. Facts they can look up themselves and delve into and see just how deep they go.
They see the same satisfaction with answers for love and kindness and hatred and evil and lying and telling the truth and trust and anger.
Kids know when they're being bamboozled. They may not have a word for it. They may not be able to describe it. They may not feel comfortable standing up to it against adults in charge of them, especially if they also sense that those adults may be bamboozled themselves.
They do, however, get a feeling. Just as we did with those same unsatisfying answers. And that feeling sticks in them, and the only thing that releases it is the honest truth. Of course, high levels of brain-washing due to information limitations has a way of "dealing with" unsatisfying answers too... but that's kind of dark.
When they find that honest truth on the internet... from people who are not the adults around them...
This leads them on the path of recognizing honesty and integrity much, much earlier than most of us older folks are used to (because of the limitations we had on accessing information.)
It's going to serve them very, very well. And it's a part of why I have great hopes for the future.
But do we have anything to lose?
Possibly, yes. But there are other things moving into the vacancies that are opening up.
  1. Sense of Community
    Regardless of the veracity of the reasons the community coming together and sharing time together... there are many benefits to the community coming together and sharing time together. If this were to end all together, we would lose "something." But it's not coming to an end, it's just changing.
    -community centres
    -recreational activities
    -even alternative secular "religions" ...which may adopt other terms like philosophy or ethics rather than religion... even though they exist in the exact same practical manner. Ex: Humanism
  2. Social Programs
    The Christian Church has a long history of organizing and being involved in social programs like food banks and providing shelter and such basic necessities to those in need. But there is also a growing aspect of government programs and secular programs for the same things. Some areas (like "AA") are doing much, much better in their secular versions and actually focusing more on helping those in need as opposed to focusing on belief in Christian principles.
  3. Ability to Trust in Something Immediately Without Regard to Veracity
    For many, and a lot of situations, this should be avoided at all costs.
    However, for some, and a few situations, this sort of thing is very helpful.
    Of course, it can happen just as easily without involving Christian philosophy.
    Every time someone's crying and they're consoled with "Don't worry... God will take care of you." It can just as easily be replaced with "Don't worry, it's going to be okay."
    -The person saying it's going to be okay doesn't need to know if it's going to be okay or not
    -Sometimes, people just need to be consoled and hear that someone cares and will be there to help - this is important for humans with feelings that do not follow rational reasoning, even though no one can know the future
    -Staying away from Christian principles has the added benefit that the person will not feel let down when no help from God actually occurs in the future
TL/DR Conclusion
In general, my thoughts are that we will lose "something" but that something is unimportant and easily/better replaced with a non-Christian alternative.
Think of horses being replaced with cars for day-to-day travel:
-"something" is lost (the relationship between rider and horse.)
-this "something" can be easily/better replaced with other relationships for the rider (humans, pet, a horse that isn't ridden for day-to-day travel but only ridden for joy-rides.)
-the main alternative (cars for day-to-day travel) is much easier/better than horses for the purposes of day-to-day travel
That's how I see religion/Christianity getting replaced.
-"something" specific to religion/Christianity will be lost
-this "something" can be easily/better replaced with other things for the person, even if it's that same religious/Christianity thing... just not for the same purpose
-the main non-religious/non-Christian alternative will be much easier/better for the main purpose
And, as we are want to do, humans in general will be better for it and make even greater progress building on this more stable foundation.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Tangle, posted 11-29-2022 9:01 AM Tangle has not replied

  
Taq
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Posts: 9323
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 3.4


(3)
Message 6 of 8 (903022)
11-30-2022 10:57 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Tangle
11-29-2022 9:01 AM


Tangle writes:
As an atheist, I think that this is excellent news, the fewer people wasting their time and resources worshipping non-existent gods the better.
As an atheist, I am of two minds. On the one had I have the same human bias everyone else has, so I feel "good" when there are more people who agree with my views. I also know that this doesn't make me right, but I'm human so I carry around the same illogical emotional fallacies as other humans.
I am also glad that the church still exists for those who find purpose and meaning in religion. I am also glad that western democracies have been steadfast in their support of religious rights. I have relatives who I love very much, and they derive a lot of meaning from their religious beliefs, and I it makes me happy that they have found this purpose in their life, even if I don't share their beliefs.
As to wasting time, the best parts of life are filled with pursuits that waste time. Painting, learning a musical instrument, playing a game of chess with a friend, and drinking a pint with a buddy at the pub are all wasting time, but what would life be without them? We only get one trip through this life, so do what you find enjoyable without ruining the ability for others to do the same.
Some part of this is due to a growth in other religions caused by immigration and their differential birth rates but the real cause is Christians no longer believing in Christianity.
I have long thought that a big part of religiosity in culture is historical momentum and the psychology of the masses. Mobs act very differently than individuals do, and authority also has a strong sway on us. It isn't surprising that as church membership declines that it will do so precipitously. The US may not be far behind. I can't help but think that the internet age has only hastened this process because people have much easier access to ideas that challenge their beliefs, and access to a community of non-believers who just so happen to be regular people.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Tangle, posted 11-29-2022 9:01 AM Tangle has not replied

  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 8898
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 3.5


(2)
Message 7 of 8 (903096)
12-04-2022 4:02 AM


The census results are about people self-identifying as Christian rather than practicing as Christian. I know a lot of people that would call themselves Christians but never attend church. In fact, in the UK church attendance is a very minority activity and is still in decline.
quote:
Church attendance has declined from 6,484,300 to 3,081,500 (equivalent to a decline from 11.8% to 5.0% of the population).
England has the lowest percentage of the population attending church in 2015 (4.7%), just below Wales at 4.8%. In Scotland, the equivalent figure is 8.9%

Je suis Charlie. Je suis Ahmed. Je suis Juif. Je suis Parisien. I am Mancunian. I am Brum. I am London. Olen Suomi Soy Barcelona. I am Ukraine.

"Science adjusts it's views based on what's observed.
Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved."
- Tim Minchin, in his beat poem, Storm.


  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 8898
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 3.5


Message 8 of 8 (903124)
12-04-2022 2:54 PM


While we're on geewiz data it seems that there are now more atheists in the UK the church attenders.
quote:
Irreligion in the United Kingdom is somewhat less prevalent than in most of Europe, with about 8% indicating they are atheistic.[2] A third of Anglicans polled in a 2013 survey doubted the existence of God, while 15% of those with no religion believed in some higher power, and deemed themselves "spiritual" or even "religious."[3]
Irreligion in the United Kingdom - Wikipedia

Je suis Charlie. Je suis Ahmed. Je suis Juif. Je suis Parisien. I am Mancunian. I am Brum. I am London. Olen Suomi Soy Barcelona. I am Ukraine.

"Science adjusts it's views based on what's observed.
Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved."
- Tim Minchin, in his beat poem, Storm.


  
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