Future of Atheism

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Dev
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Future of Atheism

Post by Dev » Sun Jul 12, 2009 1:13 am

Hello,

I was watching a youtube video of Hitchens when towards the end he commented that he believed there would always be religion(s) because it stemmed from fundamental human thoughts/feelings i.e. fear, belonging etc.

At the time I had always held the belief that critical thought and rationality would become the status quo. To me this was inevitable and as long as we were making 'progress' in the conventional sense.

Will atheism and theism exists forever like it is today or . . .

Thoughts?
ctr
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Re: Future of Atheism

Post by ctr » Sun Jul 12, 2009 1:20 am

I believe both of you are correct.

Religion will always be with us but it will eventually be reduced to a minority position in society.
Each of us is here on earth for a reason, and each of us has a special mission to carry out - Maria Shriver
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Re: Future of Atheism

Post by Irish Shaman » Mon Jul 13, 2009 1:56 am

Agreed.

I can pretty much say I can foresee it being around forever in some shape or form, even just a personal god thing that is equally difficult to understand...
But like it was said, the numbers will just decline a bit. It's gathering a little bit of steam though now to be open about it.
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Beebub
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Re: Future of Atheism

Post by Beebub » Mon Jul 13, 2009 2:03 pm

1st post, so go easy!
Religion will always be with us but it will eventually be reduced to a minority position in society.
I think this is a very interesting topic and I'm not sure I can agree with you on that. I suppose it depends on how you define 'religion'. It would seem that as atheists (I don't even like the term!) we are in the tiny minority. Of course over time it will increase, but throughout history humankind has almost certainly always had religion. I read in Dawkins' book that anthropologists have found completely isolated people in jungles who have had no contact whatever from outside influence who have gods and religion.

Certainly the need for idolatry seems to be strong in humans. If we look at the celebrity culture accross the water (it's nearly as bad here just not quite yet) and the magazine racks stacked with nobodys who are worshipped by a youth now almost completely disenfranchised with organised religion. This has replaced it. Celebrity Get Me Out of Here is Moses' 'Golden Calf'. I'm sure you've heard of surveys done in the UK where a sizebable percentage of youngsters, when asked what they want to be reply, 'famous'. Sure, when I was a kid the answer wasn't too dis-similar but even then it was defined 'Singer, footballer etc.' Not just 'famous'.

I suppose I'm saying that there must be some sort of need within most humans that I don't have in relation to religion. I'm happy in the knowledge that'll i'll feed the worms when I die and nothing more and I couldn't be less interested in Celebrity X Factor's Got Talent if I tried. When people finally realise the vacuousness of idolising Big Brother constestants they're going to need something else and may well end up back with religion.

But then again, maybe we're not in the tiny minority. Maybe there is a significantly higher percentage of the population who are atheists but for various reasons are not willing to admit it.
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Re: Future of Atheism

Post by Feardorcha » Mon Jul 13, 2009 3:13 pm

Man created god to explain the gaps in his knowledge and ever since, god has been retreating before science and knowledge. Atheism is a product of advanced societies based on science.
I cannot envisage people abandoning science for superstition. Someone said incorrectly that there were no atheists in the trenches (of the First World War) well there are no doubters-of-science in the A+E departments. Even the most devout go to the dentist rather than the priest to be cured of toothache.
It is not just our knowledge of the universe that has increased but also we have discovered in science a method of knowing and explaining that universe.
It is possible that there will be reverses along the way but overall mankind has clearly chosen to go in the direction of science and has turned his back on ignorance, superstition and religion... (theme music, cut to shot of sun rising over blue planet).
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Re: Future of Atheism

Post by Beebub » Mon Jul 13, 2009 3:35 pm

Ok. That's very good and you're probably right about the future. But is there not something to the point about the recent significant drop in religion on the UK and the rise of celebrity Idolatry?

I first noticed it in the reaction to the death of Lady Di. It was so over the top. I don't just mean the press; it was the tears, the lines of people for the funeral the lines of those wanting to sign books of condolences. It was extraordinary to witness and largely due to her media coverage. At least, however there was something people could pin their hat to, some reasons othert than the media frenzy surrounding her that could explain part of her popularity. Royalty, humanitariamism etc.

It seems things have only gotten worse since then though. Look at the coverage of and reaction to Jade Goody's death. Sad and all as it was she was a Big Brother contestant who was famous for being famous. I'm not dissing her, not for a second. She couldn't have built up the Goody empire without being pretty savvy.

But is all this not some sort of repalcement for lost religion?

I honestly don't know, I'm just throwing it out there.
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Re: Future of Atheism

Post by dePeatrick » Mon Jul 13, 2009 7:07 pm

Beebub wrote:If we look at the celebrity culture accross the water (it's nearly as bad here just not quite yet) and the magazine racks stacked with nobodys who are worshipped by a youth now almost completely disenfranchised with organised religion. This has replaced it. Celebrity Get Me Out of Here is Moses' 'Golden Calf'.
I think this is the best explanation for this phenomena of celeb worship I have seen.
Dev
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Re: Future of Atheism

Post by Dev » Tue Jul 14, 2009 7:28 am

Just to add some fuel to the discussion that I should have included in my first post. Arguably before the Irish Famine (1850) the Catholic church had less of a grip on the country than it did in 1920's - 1970's Ireland which when you talk about Church and State in certain respects saying they were one entity wouldn't far from the truth. Its not just little old Ireland either.

“In Jefferson’s day and age, fewer people went to church less often” - Ray Suarez in Bill Maher's film 'Religulous'

This was a country founded with secular values in mind.

This is all well within the timeframe of modern science. I'm starting to think that perhaps there are some other factors that are more influential on the religious rates of a country and that science and logic have a lesser role than these other factors.

Regarding celebrity/football worship theories I believe it to be much more justifiable than the invisible man in the sky. Which is my main beef with religion that its unprovable yet claims so much.
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Re: Future of Atheism

Post by Feardorcha » Tue Jul 14, 2009 1:18 pm

Dev (the poster, not the other one):
'This was a country founded with secular values in mind'.

I don't think so, Dev. The 1916 Proclamation, the programme for the first Dail and the 1937 Constitution are all very definitely theist documents. And before Independence Protestantism was the dominant religion and was as authoritarian as anything the Catholic Church subsequently put in place. In fact, it could be argued that the post-independence Catholic Church merely replaced Protestantism in controlling all aspects of social life.
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Re: Future of Atheism

Post by Beebub » Tue Jul 14, 2009 2:39 pm

Ok is there some confusion here? I thought this statement:
This was a country founded with secular values in mind
was referring to America and not Ireland. I can't see how anyone could think the Irish Free State was set up with secular values in mind. Didn't McQuaid pretty much oversee the content and actually write chunks of our constitution?
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