What has given Christianity its staying power?
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26-01-2016, 11:14 AM
RE: What has given Christianity its staying power?
(26-01-2016 10:08 AM)Chas Wrote:  Just about everything in that post is incorrect. For example, more education is positively correlated with atheism.

Not when you factor in the nones.

We could look at factors like church attendance. The poor and less educated are less likely to attend church. The percentage of college educated church attenders have remained relatively stable over the last four decades. Dropping from 50% to 46%. While the steepest decline of participation has been among those with less educated, and the lower income individuals:

"While religious service attendance has decreased for all white Americans since the early 1970s, the rate of decline has been more than twice as high for less educated, lower and lower-middle class whites compared to more educated and presumably more affluent whites, according to a study presented Saturday at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association in Las Vegas.

“My assumption going into this research was that middle America was more religious and conservative in general than more educated America,” study author Brad Wilcox told msnbc.com. “But what is surprising about this is that when it comes to religion as well as marriage, we find that the college educated are more conventional in their lifestyle than middle Americans.”

In the last four decades, monthly (or more) participation in religious services dropped from 50 percent of moderately educated (high school and perhaps some college) whites to 37 percent, according to the study, “No Money, No Honey, No Church: The Deinstitutionalization of Religious Life Among the White Working Class.” Attendance by the least educated (high school dropouts) dropped from 38 percent to 23 percent, by sociologists Wilcox, of the University of Virginia and Andrew Cherlin of Johns Hopkins University found.

Church attendance by higher-income whites with at least a bachelor’s degree barely dipped, from 50 percent to 46 percent."

http://www.nbcnews.com/id/44192469/ns/he...udy-finds/

"Tell me, muse, of the storyteller who has been thrust to the edge of the world, both an infant and an ancient, and through him reveal everyman." ---Homer the aged poet.

"In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it."
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26-01-2016, 11:28 AM (This post was last modified: 26-01-2016 11:32 AM by Tomasia.)
RE: What has given Christianity its staying power?
(26-01-2016 09:31 AM)true scotsman Wrote:  This is a very good point. Religion fills a very real need. Everyone needs a comprehensive view of the world and religion provides that. It's a false view of the world and ultimately a destructive view but like you said there really is not much of an alternative to it. Today and for the last 250 years the dominant philosophy has been skepticism or some variant. Of course atheism is not an alternative philosophy because it isn't a philosophy in the first place. It's a position on a single issue. It entails no other beliefs and it certainly doesn't offer a comprehensive view of the world.

There is a viable alternative but it is not well known, Objectivism. It is the real alternative to theism and it is actually true. It is the philosophy of reason. It fills the need of an objective, coherent view of the world that man needs. The only alternative to it is some form of subjectivism. Getting rid of religion will do no good if we don't replace it with rational philosophy. We don't need to push atheism. We should be advocates of reason and religion will die on the vine.

One of the problems is that atheists have made an identify out of lacking belief. You'll more often hear atheists declare their lack of beliefs in regards to a worldview, as opposed to holding a particular worldview that they would defend, or argue for as an alternative to a religious worldview.

If you can't particularly sell atheists on a coherent non-religious worldview, that serves as an alternative to a theistic or religious worldview, good luck trying to sell that to the religious. And I personally thinks there's only one viable and somewhat coherent alternative to a religious view of the world, and that's Eliminativism. Alex Rosenberg does a decent job of presenting such a position in the Atheists Guide to Reality, the only problem being that it's a tough sell, for both theists and atheists alike.

From the time of Darwin, materialism seemed to be what was advocated, but it appears to be dying a slow death as of late. When self-identify atheists would rather cling to lacking belief, than pledge allegiance to such views, their lack of confidence can't be read as a good thing.

In all my years and interactions with atheists, the almost universal situation is for atheists requesting that I defend and prove by worldview, but the sort of atheists who hold a worldview of their own, and are willing to defend it, or try and argue for it, as an alternative to theism, seem to be unicorns.

"Tell me, muse, of the storyteller who has been thrust to the edge of the world, both an infant and an ancient, and through him reveal everyman." ---Homer the aged poet.

"In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it."
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26-01-2016, 11:49 AM
RE: What has given Christianity its staying power?
(26-01-2016 09:37 AM)morondog Wrote:  
(26-01-2016 09:03 AM)WeAreTheCosmos Wrote:  Lots of things were profitable and useful to those in power... Like slaves.

Well now that it can't be forced on people, where does Christianity's staying power come from? People don't say "well I'm Christian because it helps those rich fuckers in power". It's usually some crap about Jesus and love and forgiveness or something feels related.

And slavery has only been illegal for what? Less than a couple of hundred years? And that's just in the US. Only was outlawed in Mali very recently IIRC, and still there are many de facto slaves all over the world.

Also those who profited from slavery were quite happy to even go so far as to mount a civil war to try and protect their interests. It's hardly like they just let it slip out of their fingers.

You didn't get what I meant.

People were forced into Christianity. People were forced into slavery. Both were profitable for those in power.

Slavery was abolished. Nobody is interested in being a slave.

There is now freedom of and from religion. Tons of people still interested in being Christian.
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26-01-2016, 12:13 PM (This post was last modified: 26-01-2016 12:36 PM by Chas.)
RE: What has given Christianity its staying power?
(26-01-2016 11:14 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  
(26-01-2016 10:08 AM)Chas Wrote:  Just about everything in that post is incorrect. For example, more education is positively correlated with atheism.

Not when you factor in the nones.

We could look at factors like church attendance. The poor and less educated are less likely to attend church. The percentage of college educated church attenders have remained relatively stable over the last four decades. Dropping from 50% to 46%. While the steepest decline of participation has been among those with less educated, and the lower income individuals:

"While religious service attendance has decreased for all white Americans since the early 1970s, the rate of decline has been more than twice as high for less educated, lower and lower-middle class whites compared to more educated and presumably more affluent whites, according to a study presented Saturday at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association in Las Vegas.

“My assumption going into this research was that middle America was more religious and conservative in general than more educated America,” study author Brad Wilcox told msnbc.com. “But what is surprising about this is that when it comes to religion as well as marriage, we find that the college educated are more conventional in their lifestyle than middle Americans.”

In the last four decades, monthly (or more) participation in religious services dropped from 50 percent of moderately educated (high school and perhaps some college) whites to 37 percent, according to the study, “No Money, No Honey, No Church: The Deinstitutionalization of Religious Life Among the White Working Class.” Attendance by the least educated (high school dropouts) dropped from 38 percent to 23 percent, by sociologists Wilcox, of the University of Virginia and Andrew Cherlin of Johns Hopkins University found.

Church attendance by higher-income whites with at least a bachelor’s degree barely dipped, from 50 percent to 46 percent."

http://www.nbcnews.com/id/44192469/ns/he...udy-finds/

A columnist's interpretation of data is not very convincing, besides the GSS is only the USA, not the world. Drinking Beverage

Why not include the European Social Survey? Why not link to the actual questionnaire? Why not do a little research and not post pretty much useless links? Consider

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Science is not a subject, but a method.
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26-01-2016, 12:32 PM
RE: What has given Christianity its staying power?
(26-01-2016 08:14 AM)TheInquisition Wrote:  It was spread by the force of the Roman Empire, this show of force established it as the prominent religion when the Roman Empire fell. I believe the church and it's organizational structure served to fill the power vacuum left in the wake of the Roman Empire's demise, so it further solidified it's power over the populace that remained unchallenged until the Renaissance.

In modern times, the Christian religion has learned to simply adapt to things that challenge it. When the church's views were challenged by science, it resisted, but later accepted many things that scientific knowledge revealed, this uneasy tension between religion and science has caused a slow bleeding out of religion.

I think religion for the typical rank and file, is just a continuation of tradition and culture. For the average church goer, it's a place to get a weekly pep talk and gives the illusion that your mortality is safe, as long as you subscribe to some form of it.

The various forms of Christianity has become so diversified that it's impossible to make a single unifying declaration about what Christianity is, other than a belief in a higher power.

This generic description fulfills many people's need for spirituality, but what this spirituality means to each individual can be strikingly different and at odds with most mainstream doctrines of Christianity.

That is the ultimate strength of Christianity, a generalized spirituality where each individual can construct their own personal god concept, but is ultimately vapid.

I blame the roman bigwig who had delusional dreams from drinking the night before a battle for causing the spread of christianity

seriously though he thinks he won the battle because his soldiers had painted a cross on their shields and stuff...... his army won because of his men NOT some grump bastard in the sky
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26-01-2016, 12:47 PM
RE: What has given Christianity its staying power?
(26-01-2016 12:13 PM)Chas Wrote:  
(26-01-2016 11:14 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  Not when you factor in the nones.

We could look at factors like church attendance. The poor and less educated are less likely to attend church. The percentage of college educated church attenders have remained relatively stable over the last four decades. Dropping from 50% to 46%. While the steepest decline of participation has been among those with less educated, and the lower income individuals:

"While religious service attendance has decreased for all white Americans since the early 1970s, the rate of decline has been more than twice as high for less educated, lower and lower-middle class whites compared to more educated and presumably more affluent whites, according to a study presented Saturday at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association in Las Vegas.

“My assumption going into this research was that middle America was more religious and conservative in general than more educated America,” study author Brad Wilcox told msnbc.com. “But what is surprising about this is that when it comes to religion as well as marriage, we find that the college educated are more conventional in their lifestyle than middle Americans.”

In the last four decades, monthly (or more) participation in religious services dropped from 50 percent of moderately educated (high school and perhaps some college) whites to 37 percent, according to the study, “No Money, No Honey, No Church: The Deinstitutionalization of Religious Life Among the White Working Class.” Attendance by the least educated (high school dropouts) dropped from 38 percent to 23 percent, by sociologists Wilcox, of the University of Virginia and Andrew Cherlin of Johns Hopkins University found.

Church attendance by higher-income whites with at least a bachelor’s degree barely dipped, from 50 percent to 46 percent."

http://www.nbcnews.com/id/44192469/ns/he...udy-finds/

A columnist's interpretation of data is not very convincing, besides the GSS is only the USA, not the world. Drinking Beverage

Why not include the European Social Survey? Why not link to the actual questionnaire? Why not do a little research and not post pretty much useless links? Consider

Probably because I'm not familiar with it.

But I did come across a survey of over 60 countries, the does debunk the education myth:

"Stijn Ruiter, senior researcher at the Netherlands Institute for the Study of Crime and Law Enforcement, and Frank van Tubergen, a professor of sociology in Utrecht, compared 'religious participation' in 60 countries. They found no effect of education, but instead came to the conclusion that social insecurity and the environment people grow up in have a significant impact. Results of their research will be published in the American Journal of Sociology next month."

And tend to also support the trend among the educated in the US as also true for other countries as well:

"Other research has shown that highly educated people are indeed less religious. But at the same time they tend to be more actively involved in political parties, associations and thus also in churches. Less educated people are more religious, but less active about it. There is a higher rate of churchgoers amongst educated believers than low-skilled believers."

http://vorige.nrc.nl//international/Feat...attendance

"Tell me, muse, of the storyteller who has been thrust to the edge of the world, both an infant and an ancient, and through him reveal everyman." ---Homer the aged poet.

"In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it."
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26-01-2016, 01:00 PM
RE: What has given Christianity its staying power?
(26-01-2016 12:13 PM)Chas Wrote:  
(26-01-2016 11:14 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  Not when you factor in the nones.

We could look at factors like church attendance. The poor and less educated are less likely to attend church. The percentage of college educated church attenders have remained relatively stable over the last four decades. Dropping from 50% to 46%. While the steepest decline of participation has been among those with less educated, and the lower income individuals:

"While religious service attendance has decreased for all white Americans since the early 1970s, the rate of decline has been more than twice as high for less educated, lower and lower-middle class whites compared to more educated and presumably more affluent whites, according to a study presented Saturday at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association in Las Vegas.

“My assumption going into this research was that middle America was more religious and conservative in general than more educated America,” study author Brad Wilcox told msnbc.com. “But what is surprising about this is that when it comes to religion as well as marriage, we find that the college educated are more conventional in their lifestyle than middle Americans.”

In the last four decades, monthly (or more) participation in religious services dropped from 50 percent of moderately educated (high school and perhaps some college) whites to 37 percent, according to the study, “No Money, No Honey, No Church: The Deinstitutionalization of Religious Life Among the White Working Class.” Attendance by the least educated (high school dropouts) dropped from 38 percent to 23 percent, by sociologists Wilcox, of the University of Virginia and Andrew Cherlin of Johns Hopkins University found.

Church attendance by higher-income whites with at least a bachelor’s degree barely dipped, from 50 percent to 46 percent."

http://www.nbcnews.com/id/44192469/ns/he...udy-finds/

A columnist's interpretation of data is not very convincing, besides the GSS is only the USA, not the world. Drinking Beverage

Why not include the European Social Survey? Why not link to the actual questionnaire? Why not do a little research and not post pretty much useless links? Consider


Yes, the least educated may not attend church, but, you have to figure in the millions of them who get their religious beliefs through greedy, manipulative, money-sucking televangelists.

Wish I knew how to imbed a video, but here is a must see:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-QtO4Z2zH2Y


I've talked to many people who don't attend church. And, their first response when they find out I'm an atheist is: "You better not talk that way. You're going to go to hell!" Laugh out load

"Why hast thou forsaken me, o deity whose existence I doubt..." - Dr. Sheldon Cooper
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26-01-2016, 01:02 PM
RE: What has given Christianity its staying power?
(26-01-2016 12:47 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  
(26-01-2016 12:13 PM)Chas Wrote:  A columnist's interpretation of data is not very convincing, besides the GSS is only the USA, not the world. Drinking Beverage

Why not include the European Social Survey? Why not link to the actual questionnaire? Why not do a little research and not post pretty much useless links? Consider

Probably because I'm not familiar with it.

But I did come across a survey of over 60 countries, the does debunk the education myth:

"Stijn Ruiter, senior researcher at the Netherlands Institute for the Study of Crime and Law Enforcement, and Frank van Tubergen, a professor of sociology in Utrecht, compared 'religious participation' in 60 countries. They found no effect of education, but instead came to the conclusion that social insecurity and the environment people grow up in have a significant impact. Results of their research will be published in the American Journal of Sociology next month."

And tend to also support the trend among the educated in the US as also true for other countries as well:

"Other research has shown that highly educated people are indeed less religious. But at the same time they tend to be more actively involved in political parties, associations and thus also in churches. Less educated people are more religious, but less active about it. There is a higher rate of churchgoers amongst educated believers than low-skilled believers."

http://vorige.nrc.nl//international/Feat...attendance

Bolded sentences support my contention. Thank you.

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26-01-2016, 01:29 PM
RE: What has given Christianity its staying power?
(26-01-2016 11:49 AM)WeAreTheCosmos Wrote:  
(26-01-2016 09:37 AM)morondog Wrote:  And slavery has only been illegal for what? Less than a couple of hundred years? And that's just in the US. Only was outlawed in Mali very recently IIRC, and still there are many de facto slaves all over the world.

Also those who profited from slavery were quite happy to even go so far as to mount a civil war to try and protect their interests. It's hardly like they just let it slip out of their fingers.

You didn't get what I meant.

People were forced into Christianity. People were forced into slavery. Both were profitable for those in power.

Slavery was abolished. Nobody is interested in being a slave.

There is now freedom of and from religion. Tons of people still interested in being Christian.

Ah, now I get what you're saying. Well, IMO they're interested partly because society has been run along those lines since basically forever - i.e. it's part of culture, and partly because again, it's useful to those in power and they actively promote it. Why do loads of people use OMO washing powder? Why do people drive gas guzzler cars? It's not like they want a huge fuel bill and it's not like OMO washes intrinsically better than other types of powder. It's packaged and sold to them. Religion is not *only* a tool of social control but also an industry, when you've got an entrenched cash cow, you sure as fuck keep that beastie in fighting trim.

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(06-02-2014 03:47 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  And I'm giving myself a conclusion again from all the facepalming.
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27-01-2016, 09:28 AM
RE: What has given Christianity its staying power?
(26-01-2016 08:10 AM)morondog Wrote:  Became widespread with the adoption as official religion in Roman Empire. Became tool of conquest and control in Europe through to early Middle Ages. Became unquestioned fact until 18th century, and even then only rarely, as it was protected by powerful interests.

This is definitely what got it so wide-spread.

As far as actual staying power, it mostly comes from indoctrination, combined with the promises/threats it makes. Once someone has thoroughly drank the Kool-Aid, they're risking swapping their eternal reward for eternal punishment. The whole thing is set up to discourage actual criticism and scrutiny. Sure, they'll have "Bible studies" and people can ask their pastors "hard questions", but these are always set up to steer people back onto their nonfalsifiable path.

Combine that with strong cultural relevance, strong social pressure, and a "science is hard, religion gives easy answers" mindset, and you have a majority population that simply isn't psychologically ready to even consider that they might be wrong. Also, it is notable that Christianity is growing in areas with poor education and services. This is exactly the type of environment where this type of thinking flourishes. There are entire political parties who's goal is to keep people thinking this way.


Christianity isn't something I see as "going away" at any point in the near future. It's possible after another generation that fundamentalists might be regarded as a lunatic fringe in the US. It will probably be several generations more (if ever) for Christianity in it's entirety to be seen this way, here.
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