ISF Logo   IS Forum
Forum Index Register Members List Events Mark Forums Read Help

Go Back   International Skeptics Forum » General Topics » Religion and Philosophy
 


Welcome to the International Skeptics Forum, where we discuss skepticism, critical thinking, the paranormal and science in a friendly but lively way. You are currently viewing the forum as a guest, which means you are missing out on discussing matters that are of interest to you. Please consider registering so you can gain full use of the forum features and interact with other Members. Registration is simple, fast and free! Click here to register today.
Tags agnosticism , religion

Reply
Old 20th March 2009, 01:50 PM   #1
dann
Philosopher
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 9,232
The Death of Religion – not with a bang but a whimper

In another thread it was claimed that

Quote:
I think your analysis is right, except for the Catholic - charismatic church thing. Dreher is saying that the poor, uneducated folks are more attracted to those, what I would call more primitive forms of Christianity.
But it reduces down to this: uneducated people are poor because they're uneducated. And they're drawn to fundamentalist religion for the same reason, that they're uneducated.
which to me is obvious nonsense: I have seen the very rapid growth of religion in Cuba with the Special Period in the 1990s, which very abruptly impoverished the Cubans. It made them poor. It did not suddenly make them uneducated. When school children were taken hostage in Beslan, some of them found consolation in the cross, others fantasized about being rescued by Harry Potter. Psychological experiments show that lack of control increases people's tendencies towards magical thinking.

A new article in the NY Times, Scandinavian Nonbelievers, Which Is Not to Say Atheists, also shows that if people have reason to feel secure and safe because the conditions of life are, if not top notch then at least more than tolerable as far as ”life expectancy, child welfare, literacy, schooling, economic equality, standard of living” are concerned, they seem to lose the need to believe.

No heroic rebellion against religion seems to be necessary. Religion just dies away because the opium of the people isn’t necessary any more. Instead of militant atheist rejection of religion, you find “benign indifference” and even “utter obliviousness.”
And what is even more surprising: When the threats to your everyday life disappears, the fear of death also seems to dwindle:
“It is possible for a society to exist in which most people don’t really fear death all that much,” he concluded, “and simultaneously don’t give a great deal of thought to the meaning of life.”
I.e. when life seems to make (some kind of) sense, people don’t need to seek the meaning of life beyond reality.

Religion has not disappeared in Scandinavia – poverty has not disappeared either, but it is not usually the kind of abject, hopeless poverty that does not make you see a way out of your problems in this world.
The USA is the wealthier and more powerful nation, but it lacks the social safety net of Scandinavia, making your existence more insecure.
__________________
/dann
"Stupidity renders itself invisible by assuming very large proportions. Completely unreasonable claims are irrefutable. Ni-en-leh pointed out that a philosopher might get into trouble by claiming that two times two makes five, but he does not risk much by claiming that two times two makes shoe polish." B. Brecht
"The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions." K. Marx

Last edited by dann; 20th March 2009 at 01:54 PM.
dann is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 20th March 2009, 01:55 PM   #2
Monketi Ghost
Confusion Reactor
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 25,141
No. You're wrong.
Monketi Ghost is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 20th March 2009, 02:02 PM   #3
dann
Philosopher
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 9,232
Brilliant argument!
__________________
/dann
"Stupidity renders itself invisible by assuming very large proportions. Completely unreasonable claims are irrefutable. Ni-en-leh pointed out that a philosopher might get into trouble by claiming that two times two makes five, but he does not risk much by claiming that two times two makes shoe polish." B. Brecht
"The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions." K. Marx
dann is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 20th March 2009, 04:32 PM   #4
Gord_in_Toronto
Penultimate Amazing
 
Gord_in_Toronto's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 18,863
Originally Posted by dann View Post
Brilliant argument!
Don't pay any attention to Magnifico2.0, everyone knows that is a flawed release. Wait for Magnifico5.4.

OTW I found the NYT article interesting and persuasive.
__________________
"Reality is what's left when you cease to believe." Philip K. Dick
Gord_in_Toronto is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 20th March 2009, 06:00 PM   #5
Minarvia
fading orb
 
Minarvia's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 2,224
Aw, man, ya gave me false hope with that thread title. Now I'm bummed...
Minarvia is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 21st March 2009, 02:53 AM   #6
dann
Philosopher
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 9,232
Why be bummed? The NY Times article shows you that it is not only possible but that the death of religion is actually taking place before your very eyes - at least if you live around here.
When people are doing well, are safe and secure and don't have to worry about the future because they feel confident that nothing threatens themselves or their loved ones, they also don't need religion.
The Scandinavian societies have at least managed to do away with the worst kinds of existential threats. You may still experience unemployment and poverty, so religion also hasn't died yet, but it isn't doing very well ...

And isn't turning religion into a "nonissue" preferable to the aggressive attacks on the security blankets of some poor people? Would it not be better to fight with these people against inhuman living conditions instead of ridiculing their 'opium'?

Phil Zuckerman's book Society without God: What the Least Religious Nations Can Tell Us About Contentment seems to have been well received by the readers, too.

Phil Zuckerman as TAM speaker? The next TAM to take place in Copenhagen or Stockholm?
__________________
/dann
"Stupidity renders itself invisible by assuming very large proportions. Completely unreasonable claims are irrefutable. Ni-en-leh pointed out that a philosopher might get into trouble by claiming that two times two makes five, but he does not risk much by claiming that two times two makes shoe polish." B. Brecht
"The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions." K. Marx
dann is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 21st March 2009, 07:49 AM   #7
Minarvia
fading orb
 
Minarvia's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 2,224
Originally Posted by dann View Post
Why be bummed? The NY Times article shows you that it is not only possible but that the death of religion is actually taking place before your very eyes - at least if you live around here.
When people are doing well, are safe and secure and don't have to worry about the future because they feel confident that nothing threatens themselves or their loved ones, they also don't need religion.
The Scandinavian societies have at least managed to do away with the worst kinds of existential threats. You may still experience unemployment and poverty, so religion also hasn't died yet, but it isn't doing very well ...

And isn't turning religion into a "nonissue" preferable to the aggressive attacks on the security blankets of some poor people? Would it not be better to fight with these people against inhuman living conditions instead of ridiculing their 'opium'?

Phil Zuckerman's book Society without God: What the Least Religious Nations Can Tell Us About Contentment seems to have been well received by the readers, too.

Phil Zuckerman as TAM speaker? The next TAM to take place in Copenhagen or Stockholm?
True. I guess I should be more optimistic. It's too easy to feel that I'll be long dead before any real progress is made. I guess the fundies just drive me up that proverbial wall and I'm planning to move to a state where they are trying to drive science out of the classroom.

It's a good article. Thanks for posting it!
Minarvia is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 21st March 2009, 11:57 AM   #8
dann
Philosopher
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 9,232
Well, fundies are nasty - and we have them here too, but they are few and far between and usually considered to be cults - and often inspired by and collaborating with US fundies.

Originally Posted by Minarvia View Post
... and I'm planning to move to a state where they are trying to drive science out of the classroom.
Not for that reason, I suppose!
__________________
/dann
"Stupidity renders itself invisible by assuming very large proportions. Completely unreasonable claims are irrefutable. Ni-en-leh pointed out that a philosopher might get into trouble by claiming that two times two makes five, but he does not risk much by claiming that two times two makes shoe polish." B. Brecht
"The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions." K. Marx
dann is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 21st March 2009, 01:19 PM   #9
Beerina
Sarcastic Conqueror of Notions
 
Beerina's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 29,822
The "believing in the supernatural" part of religion is really just a small part of the real issue. People no longer feel the need to band together under the lump of ideas called "Christianity" of one form or another because thequasi-religions of politics have taken over, skillfully insinuating themselves into every aspect of life.
  • They've co-opted the legal authority of religion.
  • They've co-opted one of religion's most attractive points in proselytizing: caring for the sick and poor.
  • They've co-opted religion's ability to be a rallying cause, or a point about which people can gather and feel part of a powerful group.
  • They've co-opted religion's ability to coerce people to join by using argument from moral intimidation and moral approval.

So it's religion in all but name and all but a token named god for window dressing.
__________________
"Great innovations should not be forced [by way of] slender majorities." - Thomas Jefferson

The government should nationalize it! Socialized, single-payer video game development and sales now! More, cheaper, better games, right? Right?
Beerina is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 21st March 2009, 06:31 PM   #10
Skeptic Ginger
Nasty Woman
 
Skeptic Ginger's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 78,245
I think in the long run, religion is fading as the scientific knowledge base of the human collective consciousness grows. But it's two steps forward (away from magical thinking) and one step back (currently represented by the Evangelical "Global Mission"). And the progress is not uniform as the variation between Europe, and the rest of the world demonstrates.

We've got a long way to go.
__________________
TRUMP CHEATS What color hat should I order with that logo? Red on black maybe? Or black on pink?

Space Force.
Because feeding poor people is socialism.

Last edited by Skeptic Ginger; 21st March 2009 at 06:32 PM.
Skeptic Ginger is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 21st March 2009, 06:41 PM   #11
politas
Pirate King
 
politas's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 1,080
Well, I'm not seeing any "evangelical atheists" taking to the streets and exhorting homeless people to not believe. The "anti-religion" effort seems to be far more aimed at educated believers. Lecture tours, books and documentary style TV programs are not "aggressive attacks on the security blankets of some poor people", are they?
__________________
Myk
- Australian skeptic and tango dancer
politas is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 21st March 2009, 11:56 PM   #12
Skwinty
Philosopher
 
Skwinty's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 5,593
I think it was Karl Marx who said that religion was the opiate of the masses.
I don't see drug abuse disappearing soon, so why should religion?
__________________


What is reality? Nothing but a collective hunch.
--Lily Tomlin
Skwinty is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 22nd March 2009, 01:07 AM   #13
dann
Philosopher
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 9,232
Originally Posted by Beerina View Post
The "believing in the supernatural" part of religion is really just a small part of the real issue. People no longer feel the need to band together under the lump of ideas called "Christianity" of one form or another because thequasi-religions of politics have taken over, skillfully insinuating themselves into every aspect of life.
  • They've co-opted the legal authority of religion.
  • They've co-opted one of religion's most attractive points in proselytizing: caring for the sick and poor.
  • They've co-opted religion's ability to be a rallying cause, or a point about which people can gather and feel part of a powerful group.
  • They've co-opted religion's ability to coerce people to join by using argument from moral intimidation and moral approval.

So it's religion in all but name and all but a token named god for window dressing.
Hilarious! So to Beerina ""believing in the supernatural" part of religion", i.e. what constitutes religion is no longer religion. Instead, religion is, for instance, actual "caring for the sick and poor", and we all know that Beerina is dead set against that.
She sounds more and more like a parody of Charles Dickens' Scrooge or Oscar Wilde's Lady Bracknell - who were already grotesque parodies of Malthusian utilitarianism.
__________________
/dann
"Stupidity renders itself invisible by assuming very large proportions. Completely unreasonable claims are irrefutable. Ni-en-leh pointed out that a philosopher might get into trouble by claiming that two times two makes five, but he does not risk much by claiming that two times two makes shoe polish." B. Brecht
"The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions." K. Marx
dann is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 22nd March 2009, 01:22 AM   #14
dann
Philosopher
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 9,232
Originally Posted by skeptigirl View Post
I think in the long run, religion is fading as the scientific knowledge base of the human collective consciousness grows. But it's two steps forward (away from magical thinking) and one step back (currently represented by the Evangelical "Global Mission"). And the progress is not uniform as the variation between Europe, and the rest of the world demonstrates.

We've got a long way to go.
If you don't have it in your hand to protect yourself, your loved ones and your future, i.e. if you are the pawn in the hands of others, yes, then you may resort to religion or other kinds of superstition to at least make you feel secure. So to that extent the current financial crisis is definitely working for fundamentalism.
Maybe you haven't even noticed, but human consciousness is never collective. We all have our own consciousness, and if we don't receive any education, we stay ignorant and scientific progress has no impact on us at all - knowledgewise.
The growth of "human collective consciousness" is a new-age concept, isn't it?!
__________________
/dann
"Stupidity renders itself invisible by assuming very large proportions. Completely unreasonable claims are irrefutable. Ni-en-leh pointed out that a philosopher might get into trouble by claiming that two times two makes five, but he does not risk much by claiming that two times two makes shoe polish." B. Brecht
"The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions." K. Marx
dann is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 22nd March 2009, 01:39 AM   #15
dann
Philosopher
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 9,232
Originally Posted by politas View Post
Well, I'm not seeing any "evangelical atheists" taking to the streets and exhorting homeless people to not believe. The "anti-religion" effort seems to be far more aimed at educated believers. Lecture tours, books and documentary style TV programs are not "aggressive attacks on the security blankets of some poor people", are they?
No, there aren't many preachers of atheism to the homeless, and there probably aren't many homeless atheists either because homeless persons (like soldiers in foxholes) tend to be addicted to the kind of consolation that they find in the opium of the masses.
So you are right that the poor usually don't get to see the "aggressive attacks of the security blankets of some poor people". Instead you see those attacks in this forum, for instance, where they serve one purpose only: To convince the educated non-believers of their own intellectual superiority. What they should be told instead (and what I'm trying to tell them) is that free-thinking is a luxury that poor people will only have access to when they stop being poor. Lamenting religion as merely a kind of self-inflicted stupidity of the poor masses is a complacent cynicism better left to people like Beerina.
__________________
/dann
"Stupidity renders itself invisible by assuming very large proportions. Completely unreasonable claims are irrefutable. Ni-en-leh pointed out that a philosopher might get into trouble by claiming that two times two makes five, but he does not risk much by claiming that two times two makes shoe polish." B. Brecht
"The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions." K. Marx
dann is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 22nd March 2009, 02:00 AM   #16
dann
Philosopher
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 9,232
Originally Posted by Skwinty View Post
I think it was Karl Marx who said that religion was the opiate of the masses.
I don't see drug abuse disappearing soon, so why should religion?

If the misery and wretchedness don't disappear, opium and religion/superstition won't disappear either. That was the whole point of the phrase "opium of the people". (And of Phil Zuckerman's book too, I suppose. I haven't read it yet.)

Quote:
The foundation of irreligious criticism is: Man makes religion, religion does not make man. Religion is, indeed, the self-consciousness and self-esteem of man who has either not yet won through to himself, or has already lost himself again. But man is no abstract being squatting outside the world. Man is the world of man – state, society. This state and this society produce religion, which is an inverted consciousness of the world, because they are an inverted world. Religion is the general theory of this world, its encyclopaedic compendium, its logic in popular form, its spiritual point d’honneur, its enthusiasm, its moral sanction, its solemn complement, and its universal basis of consolation and justification. It is the fantastic realization of the human essence since the human essence has not acquired any true reality. The struggle against religion is, therefore, indirectly the struggle against that world whose spiritual aroma is religion.
Religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people[1].
The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness. To call on them to give up their illusions about their condition is to call on them to give up a condition that requires illusions. The criticism of religion is, therefore, in embryo, the criticism of that vale of tears of which religion is the halo.
http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx...-hpr/intro.htm
__________________
/dann
"Stupidity renders itself invisible by assuming very large proportions. Completely unreasonable claims are irrefutable. Ni-en-leh pointed out that a philosopher might get into trouble by claiming that two times two makes five, but he does not risk much by claiming that two times two makes shoe polish." B. Brecht
"The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions." K. Marx
dann is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 22nd March 2009, 08:03 PM   #17
politas
Pirate King
 
politas's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 1,080
Originally Posted by dann View Post
No, there aren't many preachers of atheism to the homeless, and there probably aren't many homeless atheists either because homeless persons (like soldiers in foxholes) tend to be addicted to the kind of consolation that they find in the opium of the masses.
I don't see how that follows from what I said at all.

Originally Posted by dann View Post
So you are right that the poor usually don't get to see the "aggressive attacks of the security blankets of some poor people".
I always love it when somebody agrees with something I didn't say.

Originally Posted by dann View Post
Instead you see those attacks in this forum,
Er, no. There are no "aggressive attacks". There are lecture tours, books, documentary programs, and debating points on web forums. I don't class any of these activities as "aggressive".

Originally Posted by dann View Post
where they serve one purpose only: To convince the educated non-believers of their own intellectual superiority.
I don't think any class of people are immune to hearing things which convince them of their intellectual superiority. Atheist arguments usually seem to be grounded in actual evidence and logical reasoning, rather than fantasy, though. To me, that does seem intellectually superior, since it is making better use of one's intellect.

Originally Posted by dann View Post
What they should be told instead (and what I'm trying to tell them) is that free-thinking is a luxury that poor people will only have access to when they stop being poor.
That seems like a way to increase divisiveness, so I'll have to disagree with you on that one. Economic status imposes no limits on a person's philosophical explorations

Originally Posted by dann View Post
Lamenting religion as merely a kind of self-inflicted stupidity of the poor masses is a complacent cynicism better left to people like Beerina.
Well, it's a self-inflicted stupidity of a lot of rich people, too. I lament it simply on the basis that it is a self-inflicted stupidity. But that's because I think intelligence is valuable, and religion is a way of wasting this valuable resource.

If it provides some value greater than its detrimental effects, then fine. Perhaps it may do so for people trapped in unfortunate economic circumstances, perhaps it doesn't. Either way, that certainly isn't the demographic being targeted.

But I agree that poverty and lack of education are better things to work on in general. Which is why I give money to a charity that works to reduce poverty and increase education, and only spend a bit of time arguing against religion.
__________________
Myk
- Australian skeptic and tango dancer
politas is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 23rd March 2009, 11:32 AM   #18
Beerina
Sarcastic Conqueror of Notions
 
Beerina's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 29,822
Originally Posted by dann View Post
Hilarious! So to Beerina ""believing in the supernatural" part of religion", i.e. what constitutes religion is no longer religion. Instead, religion is, for instance, actual "caring for the sick and poor", and we all know that Beerina is dead set against that.
She sounds more and more like a parody of Charles Dickens' Scrooge or Oscar Wilde's Lady Bracknell - who were already grotesque parodies of Malthusian utilitarianism.
Do you have any evidence that my description is inaccurate in any way? A god merely serves as a focal point; change the words from "god" to "the people", and presto! Politics.
__________________
"Great innovations should not be forced [by way of] slender majorities." - Thomas Jefferson

The government should nationalize it! Socialized, single-payer video game development and sales now! More, cheaper, better games, right? Right?
Beerina is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 28th March 2009, 03:58 AM   #19
dann
Philosopher
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 9,232
It isn't a description. It is a very childish way of trying to make your aversion to caring about people fit your aversion to religion.
You seem to think that renaming what religion is about changes the actual thing:
"A god merely serves as a focal point; change the words from "god" to "the people", and presto! Politics."
In the same manner you might claim that the NRA is all about religion: 'Guns merely serve as a focal point; change the words from "guns" to "God" and presto! Religion.'
__________________
/dann
"Stupidity renders itself invisible by assuming very large proportions. Completely unreasonable claims are irrefutable. Ni-en-leh pointed out that a philosopher might get into trouble by claiming that two times two makes five, but he does not risk much by claiming that two times two makes shoe polish." B. Brecht
"The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions." K. Marx
dann is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 18th April 2009, 01:56 PM   #20
Baby Nemesis
Master Poster
 
Baby Nemesis's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: UK
Posts: 2,381
Originally Posted by dann View Post
In another thread it was claimed that


which to me is obvious nonsense: I have seen the very rapid growth of religion in Cuba with the Special Period in the 1990s, which very abruptly impoverished the Cubans. It made them poor. It did not suddenly make them uneducated. When school children were taken hostage in Beslan, some of them found consolation in the cross, others fantasized about being rescued by Harry Potter. Psychological experiments show that lack of control increases people's tendencies towards magical thinking.

A new article in the NY Times, Scandinavian Nonbelievers, Which Is Not to Say Atheists, also shows that if people have reason to feel secure and safe because the conditions of life are, if not top notch then at least more than tolerable as far as ”life expectancy, child welfare, literacy, schooling, economic equality, standard of living” are concerned, they seem to lose the need to believe.

No heroic rebellion against religion seems to be necessary. Religion just dies away because the opium of the people isn’t necessary any more. Instead of militant atheist rejection of religion, you find “benign indifference” and even “utter obliviousness.”
And what is even more surprising: When the threats to your everyday life disappears, the fear of death also seems to dwindle:
“It is possible for a society to exist in which most people don’t really fear death all that much,” he concluded, “and simultaneously don’t give a great deal of thought to the meaning of life.”
I.e. when life seems to make (some kind of) sense, people don’t need to seek the meaning of life beyond reality.

Religion has not disappeared in Scandinavia – poverty has not disappeared either, but it is not usually the kind of abject, hopeless poverty that does not make you see a way out of your problems in this world.
The USA is the wealthier and more powerful nation, but it lacks the social safety net of Scandinavia, making your existence more insecure.
Interesting post. Thanks for linking to this thread.
Baby Nemesis is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 19th April 2009, 11:46 PM   #21
Lucian
Illuminator
 
Lucian's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 3,208
Originally Posted by dann View Post
A new article in the NY Times, Scandinavian Nonbelievers, Which Is Not to Say Atheists, also shows that if people have reason to feel secure and safe because the conditions of life are, if not top notch then at least more than tolerable as far as ”life expectancy, child welfare, literacy, schooling, economic equality, standard of living” are concerned, they seem to lose the need to believe.

No heroic rebellion against religion seems to be necessary. Religion just dies away because the opium of the people isn’t necessary any more. Instead of militant atheist rejection of religion, you find “benign indifference” and even “utter obliviousness.”
And what is even more surprising: When the threats to your everyday life disappears, the fear of death also seems to dwindle:
“It is possible for a society to exist in which most people don’t really fear death all that much,” he concluded, “and simultaneously don’t give a great deal of thought to the meaning of life.”
I.e. when life seems to make (some kind of) sense, people don’t need to seek the meaning of life beyond reality.

Religion has not disappeared in Scandinavia – poverty has not disappeared either, but it is not usually the kind of abject, hopeless poverty that does not make you see a way out of your problems in this world.
The USA is the wealthier and more powerful nation, but it lacks the social safety net of Scandinavia, making your existence more insecure.
Does this mean that the Icelanders are going to turn into Bible-thumpers now that their economy has tanked?
Lucian is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 20th April 2009, 09:42 AM   #22
dann
Philosopher
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 9,232
It’s hard to tell, but it is not impossible. They appear to have been fairly secularised Lutherans, but they might also consider reviving Norse paganism.
In the upcoming elections the right-wing Independence Party seems to be the major loser, so at least the Icelanders appear to have lost their faith in the local version of ‘Reaganomics’. (And I’m pretty sure that the local Libertarian Society has a hard time convincing people that ”promoting the values of a free-market economy” is the way to go right now.)

There have been protests against the financial policies of the Icelandic government, which were blamed for the present financial crisis in Iceland. Now that fish and Björk seem to be the only solid Icelandic export articles, they might also consider applying for the position as Danish colony that they gave up in 1944 … Unfortunately I don’t think that the recent lesson on the character, performance and power of finance capital has made the Icelanders consider giving up the market economy and realize the necessity of communism.
__________________
/dann
"Stupidity renders itself invisible by assuming very large proportions. Completely unreasonable claims are irrefutable. Ni-en-leh pointed out that a philosopher might get into trouble by claiming that two times two makes five, but he does not risk much by claiming that two times two makes shoe polish." B. Brecht
"The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions." K. Marx
dann is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 25th November 2019, 12:23 PM   #23
dann
Philosopher
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 9,232
God isn't quite dead yet, but he isn't doing well

Indre Mission (Wikipedia) was the last, fairly big group of Lutheran fundamentalists within the Danish National Church (Wikipedia). "Its traditional dogmas condemned drinking, dancing, card playing, swearing and working on a Sunday." The founders of LEGO (Wikipedia) belonged to Indre Mission.

Quote:
In the last ten years, more than one third of Inner Mission’s mission houses in Denmark have disappeared, and the magazine Inner Mission Gazette has lost 1,700 subscribers in the recent seven years.
At the same time more local branches report that they they don't have any back up, among other places at Jegindø.
This development makes Ernst Møller sad.
- I feel bad about this. A lot of mission houses have been closed because nobody shows up. People nowadays no longer need God, he says.
(…)
LOOK FOR THE LORD WHILE HE IS STILL HERE,” a sign in the mission house at Jegindø says.
Inner Mission is bleeding: 'The only thing we can do is to pray' (DR.dk, Nov. 17, 2019)
__________________
/dann
"Stupidity renders itself invisible by assuming very large proportions. Completely unreasonable claims are irrefutable. Ni-en-leh pointed out that a philosopher might get into trouble by claiming that two times two makes five, but he does not risk much by claiming that two times two makes shoe polish." B. Brecht
"The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions." K. Marx
dann is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 25th November 2019, 01:02 PM   #24
8enotto
Graduate Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2018
Location: Mexico
Posts: 1,417
Personal god versions are alive and well.

I scrap stuff for good metals, hate messing with all the tin by product. This morning I packed out about 80 lbs of it to get it gone. About 1/3 of the way I bumped into an older guy that scraps everything as his retirement income.

I unloaded all into his cart and he thanked God for this after he thanked me. I thanked him for saving me from lugging it across town.

He didn't forget his God in sending him this unexpected windfall he needed. Even though my belief is far different, I had no idea who I might see on the way but any scrapper would have gotten lucky.
8enotto is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 25th November 2019, 01:36 PM   #25
dann
Philosopher
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 9,232
Originally Posted by 8enotto View Post
Personal god versions are alive and well.
(...)
About 1/3 of the way I bumped into an older guy that scraps everything as his retirement income.

You make it very obvious why the older guy you met needs religion, why he can't do without the opium of the people.

Originally Posted by dann View Post
A new article in the NY Times, Scandinavian Nonbelievers, Which Is Not to Say Atheists, also shows that if people have reason to feel secure and safe because the conditions of life are, if not top notch then at least more than tolerable as far as ”life expectancy, child welfare, literacy, schooling, economic equality, standard of living” are concerned, they seem to lose the need to believe.

No heroic rebellion against religion seems to be necessary. Religion just dies away because the opium of the people isn’t necessary any more. Instead of militant atheist rejection of religion, you find “benign indifference” and even “utter obliviousness.”
And what is even more surprising: When the threats to your everyday life disappears, the fear of death also seems to dwindle:
“It is possible for a society to exist in which most people don’t really fear death all that much,” he concluded, “and simultaneously don’t give a great deal of thought to the meaning of life.”
I.e. when life seems to make (some kind of) sense, people don’t need to seek the meaning of life beyond reality.

Religion has not disappeared in Scandinavia – poverty has not disappeared either, but it is not usually the kind of abject, hopeless poverty that does not make you see a way out of your problems in this world.
The USA is the wealthier and more powerful nation, but it lacks the social safety net of Scandinavia, making your existence more insecure.
__________________
/dann
"Stupidity renders itself invisible by assuming very large proportions. Completely unreasonable claims are irrefutable. Ni-en-leh pointed out that a philosopher might get into trouble by claiming that two times two makes five, but he does not risk much by claiming that two times two makes shoe polish." B. Brecht
"The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions." K. Marx
dann is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Reply

International Skeptics Forum » General Topics » Religion and Philosophy

Bookmarks

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 01:04 AM.
Powered by vBulletin. Copyright ©2000 - 2020, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

This forum began as part of the James Randi Education Foundation (JREF). However, the forum now exists as
an independent entity with no affiliation with or endorsement by the JREF, including the section in reference to "JREF" topics.

Disclaimer: Messages posted in the Forum are solely the opinion of their authors.