The prevalence of Religion today, and its future in society.
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27-05-2011, 06:35 PM
 
Wink The prevalence of Religion today, and its future in society.
I'm an atheist and I don't come from any sort of religious background. I'm a student in the UK and have pretty much been spared any sort of religious indoctrination so far. When I was younger we sang Christian hymns in primary school/infant school and would occasionally visit the church, but only ever for charity events. Aside from hymns and the odd church visit, my education has been relatively clear of religion, aside from Religious Studies where obviously we learnt about the religions albeit in a clear and unbiased way. If anything I've been very apathetic about religion all my life, I've never really given it much thought (until lately!).

When I started to listen to the TTA podcasts I started to become aware of how other countries, in particular America were significantly more religious than we are and how religion was a big topic during childhood and development. I had always figured that'd be the case, but never to the level of magnitude of the USA. It made me start to wonder what the future holds for religion in different countries - pretty much everyone I know is atheist. There are a few Christians but they are heavily outnumbered by people who don't have any religious affiliation. It also made me wonder what values future generations are going to be learning - as I said, I'm a student and pretty much every other student I know doesn't believe in God. 99% of students who do seem to have come from families who were already religious. Perhaps the science focused curriculum of today is actually helping people question things and think rationally at a younger age, which is an excellent possibility. There are a lot of churches and religious groups here but popularity seems to be dwindling as future/newer generations believe less and less.

So pretty much I'm interested as to what the situations of other people in the world are. Are people still highly religious in your country? Are religious values instilled at a young age? Personally I feel that where I live, religion is pretty much dead amongst my age group. Not completely, but quite substantially compared to the amount of people religious in older generations, and that's a point which interests and encourages me. Anybody got any thoughts on this topic?
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27-05-2011, 07:28 PM
RE: The prevalence of Religion today, and its future in society.
Joe:
I think the numbers here in the midwest are on the drop ( church wise ) but there are very few atheists "coming out". Though church attendance in my home town is down to less than half of what it was in the 70's, "Atheist" is still a 'dirty' word. The startling drop in attendance, verses the population staying about the same indicates there is far less believers in this generation of parents. I'm talking about one town of roughly 2200 people. This cannot be looked upon as a barometer for the country, but it definitely shows a trend here.
Noone in this town will admit it because atheism is still very scorned here, and people like me, who admit what we are, get glared upon with blood in their eyes. This is a town where everyone wants to live in peace and mind their own, then talk about the person who just left the coffee table. The last one to leave, wins. Noone got to talk about them today! Some of the "ole bitties" are shaking like a crackhead staring at a $20.00 bill by the time they leave. ( 20 cups of coffee will do that! ) Nobody wants to be the talked about, so everyone tries to be the last one leaving. Atheists here are always the scorned ones, the gossiped about, and outrightly lied about. I would say that they except gays more than atheists here. ( They used to run gays out of this town! )
I don't live in my hometown anymore. When I moved back to the area a couple of years ago, I deliberately stayed about 20 miles away. I believe some years ago, I was the one that introduced them to something they hated more than gays; Atheists!
My name wears a big stigma in that town to this day, and even other atheists are afraid of being seen talking to me. They know that I will again leave, for good, when my parents are gone.
I used to tell jesus jokes between songs when my band was on stage. That went over like a pregnant pole vaulter in my home town! ( Probably why I only played there 3 times in 30 years! ) When I take off my hat and my hair comes down, everybody remembers me! I can tell by the snarls I get.
Overall, I think religion is loosing it's grip here, but not as fast as one would hope. some of those left following seem to think it's a fight to the death now. Religions seem to be trying harder to FORCE themselves on everyone. That, I assume must be because noone new is coming to them voluntarily. I see the kids are straying farther from it every day.
Science IS starting to win the younger generation over, but it's a slow process here. Many kids will still follow in their parents footsteps, because that is the small town way. But most of those who leave for college, never move back. Those who come back for visits, somehow seem to "forget" to go to church, but they will never tell the real reason why to this town.
Only us other atheists know why. They too, have learned...

Oxymoron: "Religious teaching"
"Simple common sense goes out the window when religion comes in through the door." Me (Blasphemy Fan )
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27-05-2011, 09:41 PM
 
RE: The prevalence of Religion today, and its future in society.
i am a very open atheist. i live in the midwestern united states, but a very tolerant part. although we do have tolerence, one of the reasons someone gave to make religion a think in schools(for a school project) was that atheists are the only ones making problems. i wonder why /sarcasm

it still alarms me how much some people are against a lot of scientific theories being taught in out schools! numbers of christians here are dropping and where i live being agnostic is rising(i think they say agnostic because they're afraid of being seen as the anti-christ). many do still believe and try to get creationism taught in school though =\


i just thought i'd add a little bit of my thoughts to this xD


but i think we should ultimately take religion completely out of politics(i know it won't happen).
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27-05-2011, 09:56 PM
RE: The prevalence of Religion today, and its future in society.
I'll give you an example of how much of an influence religion still has on Americans. A couple of years ago, some billboards went up that said something to the effect of the following: 'Don't believe in God? You're not alone.' And it listed a website people could go to. It was essentially stating that there were in fact places that atheists, closet or not, could go to and meet other people who were secular in nature.

Many, many Christians saw this as an attack on their beliefs and many more demanded that the billboards be taken down. They thought that the atheist group who put up the billboards were making a desperate attempt to discredit Christianity.

This is what happens in our country. You say just about anything you want, as long as you carry the mark of follower of the faith. But if you even suggest at the possibility that there is no god, you're immediately attacked by Fox News, the church, and 99.99% of the country because you're open to other possibilities. It's absurd.

Religion easily has the greatest bullshit story ever told.
-George Carlin
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27-05-2011, 11:46 PM
RE: The prevalence of Religion today, and its future in society.
(27-05-2011 09:56 PM)Kale Garrison Wrote:  This is what happens in our country. You say just about anything you want, as long as you carry the mark of follower of the faith. But if you even suggest at the possibility that there is no god, you're immediately attacked by Fox News, the church, and 99.99% of the country because you're open to other possibilities. It's absurd.

This is more or less what sasu_girl and I have said. Due to the attack antics of the "christian soldiers", most agnostics/atheists are afraid to come out. I see them everywhere I go, but never hear a peep out of them. In some locations of the deep south, it can still to this day be life threatening to be labeled an atheist. Some of those screwballs are just as bad as the taliban! They might rather kill than have their beliefs questioned. Of coarse they won't perform the attack themselves, they'll get someone else to do it, and take the blame.

We, as atheists, have to accept a certain risk in speaking out against organized religion, because all religions have a long standing history of violence and murder of those who dare to stand against them. It seems that violence, hate, murder, even genocide are all common factors in all forms of mythology. "Stand against us, we will kill you." This practice was prevelant long before the catholics adopted it.

Today, at least there is a little more crowd control, and laws to protect us from the life endangering retribution of the churches. Their power has been put into check to a point, but now they are trying to buy the government that stands against their control, in favor of gaining more control. And the worst part of that is that there are too many politicians that are for sale to the highest bidder! And with all these nutcase right winged fundimentalists running for public office, the constitution that stands for separation of church and state could be ammended if enough of these nutcases get into high offices at one time. They are not a bit bashful about stating their intentions in this direction.

If this were to happen, it would be catastrophic to the entire country when the churches start teaching their lies and beliefs in public schools. They would immediately start to rewrite history to correct all their previous mistakes, and all forms of science and medical reseach would be demonized. I cannot even fathom the horrendous back-stepping changes that would occur if these people got the power they so direly wish (and pray) for.

I believe that it is for this very reason that atheists need to be more vocal, but not over bearing. We need to have people listen to us, especially those teetering on the agnostic fulcrum. They are the ones most likely to listen. As the drive progresses, more atheists will speak out, and perhaps soon, the real number of us will be seen. It is much bigger than anyone might believe, but most won't speak out yet.

30 years ago, most gays were still in the closet, but today, that isn't much of a case anymore. Most of us have come to accept the gay population as a part of our civilization. Perhaps in another 30, Atheists will be "out" too. Once we're "normal" part of everyday life, the combination of scientific discovery and atheist awareness may override the 'teachings' to children, such as that horrible "jesus camp" I saw posted earlier today.

I was raised ( or razed) as a christian at home and in church. I was tuaght science in school, much to the dismay of my family.
Science won !

I look forward to the day when their will be no religious stupidity taught to our young, but I know I will not live to see that day. I'll be 50 in a few months, and even if it could take place in the next 30 years, I'd be 80 when it happened. But with my dying breath, I'll be proud I was here today, in this forum, Speaking out for the right to be logical!

Oxymoron: "Religious teaching"
"Simple common sense goes out the window when religion comes in through the door." Me (Blasphemy Fan )
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