Friday, December 4, 2009

Is Christianity Dying?

The other day I wrote about the shortage of young priests in Ireland, which started me thinking (again) about the more general question: Why is Christianity slowly dying? It's clearly on the wane, especially in Europe but even in America things look grim. Just google for "decline of Christianity" and you'll even find major Christian writers lamenting this trend.

There are many hypotheses, most of which include news reports of pedophile priests, "militant" atheists, or a vague "decline in morals" of some sort. And I'm sure these are all contributing to some degree.

But I have my own theory, which I can sum up in one word: Education.

Education is the enemy of religion, plain and simple. Hundreds of years ago, it was easy to keep people "in the fold," because many couldn't read, and priests could pretty much tell them anything plausible and they'd believe it. The Bible's many inconsistencies and immoralities were easy to cover up.

Then came literacy, and with it a lot of questions. My fellow blogger Sarah Trachtenberg writes wonderful stories of people's journey from religion to atheism, and a large number of them tell of how, when they really read the Bible, it raised more questions than it answered, and when they tried to ask for help, were rebuffed, told to pray for guidance, or that "God works in mysterious ways." Julia Sweeney's Letting Go of God is a wonderful example of this.

So literacy itself proved a problem, but that was just the beginning. I believe the real decline of Christianity (and all organized religion) started in the 1950's when science became a priority in our schools. World War II had shown the world's leaders that scientists were critical to the war, on every front. Submarines, nuclear bombs, jet engines, cryptography, radio, and so many more scientific contributions were crucial to defeating the Nazi and Japanese war machines. That was followed by Sputnik and the "space race." American children started learning about science in record numbers.

And the simple fact is that, in spite of what the Pope and Francis Collins claim, Christianity is incompatible with science. You can believe one, or you can believe the other, but very few people (Collins being a notable exception) who truly understand science can believe that Jesus Christ was the son of God, performed miracles, and was resurrected. It just makes no sense.

Furthermore, the most fundamental rules of science teach us that amazing claims require amazing proofs, and the Christian religion is full of amazing claims that have no proof whatsoever. When someone is given a solid education in science, they almost inevitably begin to question what they learned in church.

To me, the decline of Christianity is no mystery at all. As long as we, as a society, continue our quest for knowledge, and continue to educate our children, to fill their heads with the latest wonders of science and mathematics, religion will continue to fade. I doubt it will ever disappear, but I predict that within my lifetime, America will become at least 50% non-Christian.

67 comments:

  1. Isn't the level of education declining in the States? Maybe religion is about to rally.

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    1. The States is on the verge of collapse. Let it fry.

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  2. "I have my own theory"

    HYPOTHESIS NOT THEORY! UGH! It's misuse of the term like this that keeps giving religious idiots ammo in battles, "Well it's just a THEORY!"

    /facepalm

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  3. @dust4ngel:

    Dangit, I was going to use that joke.

    @Scott:

    It wouldn't be much better if they were saying "some things are just a theory, but this is just a hypothesis, which is totally worthless, they're just throwing stuff out there now just to say it." And besides, we're talking about people who bash facts all the time, so there's no stopping the stupid-train just by using precise language. Not mocking your frustration, but it's hardly worth the allcaps, eh?

    @Original Author: I love your Youtube videos promoting the book.

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  4. Scott:

    The use of the word theory is correct in this instance as it is used in the vernacular. Your insistence that this word always conform to the scientific use of the word is incorrect.

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  5. Dear author - quit conflating 'religion' and 'christianity' - the muslim world prides itself on the seeking of knowledge...go to turkey, iran, or palestine - there is a tendency one observes wherein the ones in the more religiously-inclined camps tend to be the more well-to-do and intellectual. as modernity has moved forward in the muslim world, general religious practice has been on the rise

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  6. what do u call "real science", teaching our children that this entire universe came about by a cosmic accident, talk about something that has no empirical evidence behind it, the molecules to man theory, another theory of evolutionist/atheist that has been scientifically proven to be "impossible" genetically, bottom line is when two humans mate you will always produce a human, when you hold what we observe and what we can prove to the biblical account of creation it lines up, refer to genesis "each will give birth after its own kind" just because many are deceived with evolution doesnt make it real science

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  7. I'll agree. Education was a huge factor in why I gave up my religion. It wasn't just science, but history and anthropology as well. I got to college and saw more and more how much everything I'd been taught as a child conflicted with external, observable, provable evidence in the world. It got to be too much to reconcile or dismiss, so I threw out religion, which was the piece that most obviously didn't fit with the rest.

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  8. Anon - I deleted your post. You had some strong opinions about Islam, but ended with a torrent of insults and obscenity. If you'd left that off, your post would have been welcome here.

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  9. @Scott -- Anon is right, the word 'theory' can be used in a colloquial conversation with a much weaker meaning, as when a teenager might say "My theory is that boys are afraid of girls."

    @Nathan -- I like those YouTube videos too, but they're not mine. No connection.

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  10. Dear Craig, With due respect, may I suggest something else may be at work? Actually there is a God, and he only chooses to reveal himself, and intimately care for, certain people. This is the doctrine of election. It is apparent, that you at this point do not seem to be one of those people. So, those of us that are elect don't actually have to "convince" you of anything. We just need to sit back and see rather the Creator and Sustainer of the whole universe will ever incline your mind and soul to seek after something greater than yourself. If he does we will be happy for you. If He does not, we will be sad for you but that will change nothing about how good this God is. Many of the worlds true intellectuals have supported this line of thinking (see Pacal, Bach, Newton,Pasteur etc.) Let me know when and if that time comes and I'd be grateful to dialog further.

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  11. Before coming up with a theory to explain some data, you should first produce some data.

    As you alluded to, for hundreds of years, major writers have been lamenting a decline in morals. They were wrong: consider the massive reduction in slavery, and the massive improvements in gender and race equality, that have taken place over that time. Any other moral changes pale into insignificance.

    Therefore, you cannot reasonably claim that Christianity is “slowly dying” based solely on “major Christian writers lamenting this trend”. Christianity may be dying, but to assume this based merely on opinion pieces — by Christians themselves! — is lazy in the extreme.

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  12. mpt -- The data about the decline of Christianity are all over the internet. For example, USA Today did an extensive article not long ago. Just google for "decline of Christianity," as I mentioned in the blog.

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  13. Chris H – How do you know YOU aren't worshipping Satan? There's no evidence one way or the other that the Bible was written by God. Go back and read my blog, Was the Bible written by Satan?.

    There isn't one shred of evidence that you, or anyone else, can produce that could distinguish a Bible written by God from one written by Satan.

    But what really happened is that there is no God or Satan. Ordinary men and women wrote some folklore down, and over the centuries, for reasons that I go into in great detail in my book, The Religion Virus, these stories came to be believed as truth rather than as myths and folklore.

    The whole point of the original blog, the one you responded to, is that these myths are now being exposed for what they are – myths – because more and more young people are learning the art of rational thought and independent thinking.

    Every Christian I've ever met who finally shed his superstitions and became an Atheist is much happier today. If you ever want to really learn about Atheism, and about your own religion, I hope you'll find a local atheist group and start attending meetings. I guarantee you'll be glad you did.

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  14. Dear Craig,

    It seems by your response that you think that "evidence" has the final say? In christian apologetics, we would call that an evidentialist approach right? That is why the a body of apologetics called presuppositionalism was identified. Among other things, it says that because an unbeliever has not yet been made aware, by God himself, of this special knowledge of God (i.e. salvific knowledge), an evidential debate will be fruitless because the unbeliever cannot know this special dimension of existence much like a watch cannot know the true identity of the watchmaker. SO, as I said, a debate with you will be fruitless for both parties because you have not yet been made aware, by God's choice, of this special knowledge of God.

    PS: By your last comment I would presume that you think that "true" rational thought will lead to happiness? Although this will not make any sense to you unless you are being brought into the knowledge of the One who made you, rational thought is just one dimension of "true happiness" . Peace, Chris

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  15. Yeh, right Christianity is dying. Islam is on the rise, better hide your asses. ha ha ha.

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  16. I want to leave in your hypothesis, but believe me you atheist will live happier with Christianity than with Islamist. And please don not accuse someone of islamophobia because before islamophonia there is non-islamophobia where muslim rape, kill, mutilate and enslave non muslims.

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    1. christians did it to,read your bible

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    2. If your referring to the old testament,
      That was the Hebrews not Christians, the Christians were martyred in the bible
      Thanks for being an ignorant dumb ass anonymous
      Christians didn't come around till Jesus hence Christian meaning a follower of Christ
      The follower of God in the old testament also called the tanakh are Jews who are adherence to Judaism,

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  17. Chris – interesting that you didn't even address my question about Satan writing the Bible. It's not a joke. I can just as easily make up my own "apologetics" about Satanism, and there is no way to distinguish my apologetics from yours.

    The idea that there's some mysterious force out there that has to be accepted as true (without any evidence at all) before you can see the rest of the evidence for God is the worst sort of circular reasoning. It was rejected by Plato over 2,000 years ago, and scientific, rational thinkers reject it today.

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  18. Craig, Here is the good news for you (and me):

    "Those that truly seek the truth, even if while they are doing that they run the opposite direction from Christ, are actually running into the arms of Jesus." Simone Weil

    I believe you are truly seeking the truth. I will pray that you find it soon.

    Peace, Chris

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  19. Chris - You seem to be intelligent and well educated. Have you ever actually read about your own religion, not just the bible, but about how these various ideas that you're echoing came into existence? I spent years researching this exact question, and at the risk of sounding self-serving, I'll challenge you to read my book when it's available in March, and when you're done, tell me if you can honestly say you haven't gained some insight into your own religion.

    It's not an anti-Christian book, far from it. But it is full of facts, and every one of them would be acknowledged as true by any Christian scholar. Every single person who has read it through has said it affected them in a positive way.

    Everything you've written to me so far is a topic that I cover in the book, explaining how that idea came into existence, and why Christians use it.

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  20. Craig,

    Maybe I read this wrong, but doesnt this following section..."Furthermore, the most fundamental rules of science teach us that amazing claims require amazing proofs, and the Christian religion is full of amazing claims that have no proof whatsoever."...sound like its trying to compare apples, by using oranges as the base or maybe saying that I cant believe that there is a letter C because in the rules and theories of mathmatics I cant find proof of it? Wont we just go in circles forever saying that one side is wrong using that side as the truth? Please let me know if I read that right or even explained what is rolling around in my head clearly.

    Further, I dont think that there is any question that there is a dying of Christianity if we choose to use polls from the internet or newspapers etc...Are we really going to sit here and say that these polls are the end all, be all?!? Are we really going to say that these polls not given in person, nor given in person by somebody who is a honest and true Christian as its meant to be are asking deep and meaningful questions to determine the true nature of the responses? Billy Graham some years ago said that most(up to 50%) who claim to be saved or noted as christians are really not.

    I dont think that we can make a broad assumption like this without some REAL, TRUE and DEEPLY HONEST journalism and reporting. If this was done I would fully believe that the numbers that are shown now would drop significantly, but would hold steady if not rise over another ten year test period.

    whatcha think???

    Rich

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  21. I think you should discuss the very real danger of having Islam fill the vacuum that Christianity has left.

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  22. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  23. Unfortunately, a religions "birth rate" is much like that of a bacterium. You can wipe out 99% of the population with reason, good sense, truth, and education, but it is always poised for a resurgence.

    The problem is of course that human civilization is remarkably tenuous. A single natural event could result in the collapse of civilization and a mass return to this infection of opportunity.

    Though a collapse of civilization is hardly required, e.g. the religious resurgence associated with the sinking of the Titanic. A religion and its "health" is simply a by product of its environment.

    That is, religions thrive in environments of ignorance, fear, and a communal egocentricity. As that environment waxes and wains so does the infection of religion.

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  24. I'm sry but this is what people don't understand. Science is not the enemy of God. Science has been able to support that there is a God who created us. Being able to look at the earth, the universe and the big bang theory and not think that something created it is(I apologize) is just ignorance. Read a book called, "the case for a creator". It brings up many scientific facts that proves that there is a God and that science can proove it.

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  25. Christianity is too powerful an ideal to die out. It will reform in it's own way and appeal in times of global decline and recession.

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  26. This is all so Euro-centric. To be sure, it seems that Christianity is on the decline in Europe, and less so in the US, but it is definitely on the rise in the global south.

    To wit, almost 50 years ago, the Christian population in Africa was about 25% of the continental total. Today it is 46%. In 1920 Korea, there were some 300,000 Christians; today there are between 10-12 million, about 25% of the total population.

    The growth of Christianity in China (after the "Cultural Revolution," in which Christianity was declared to be eradicated) has been stunning, with as many as 54 million Christians in China today.

    At the current growth rate, by 2050, there will be three billion Christians in the world -- one and a half times the number of Muslims. In fact, by 2050 there will be nearly as many Pentecostal Christians in the world as there are Muslims today.

    But at that point, only one-fifth of the worlds Christians will be non-Hispanic whites. The typical Christian will be a woman living in a Nigerian village or in a Brazilian shantytown.

    So don't take what you're seeing in your home town as gospel (pun). When you expand your views past the white borders, the picture really changes.

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  27. It's somewhat Western-centric to proclaim that Christianity is dying and in decline. http://www.lausanneworldpulse.com/trendsandstatistics/675/04-2007?pg=2

    And also, you write :

    "the most fundamental rules of science teach us that amazing claims require amazing proofs"

    I think you'll find that this is actually a philosophy of David Hume rather than a scientific rule. (perhaps it could be called a rule of Scientism though)

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  28. I also wonder how this thesis works when one considers that the reformation went hand-in-hand with the dissemination of the bible so people could read it and hear it in their own language?

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  29. One more thing..
    "And the simple fact is that, in spite of what the Pope and Francis Collins claim, Christianity is incompatible with science. You can believe one, or you can believe the other, but very few people (Collins being a notable exception) who truly understand science can believe that Jesus Christ was the son of God, performed miracles, and was resurrected. It just makes no sense."

    It's all very well to claim that it is 'a simple fact' but all you've done is confuse 'science' with 'philosophical naturalism'. Collins is not the only notable 'exception', Oxford professor of the Philosophy of Science John Lennox very clearly explains why no such conflict occurs, and others you have to write off as 'exceptions' would include the notable physicist John Polkinghorne. All you've done is create a no-true-scotsman fallacy.

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  30. Christianity, like any other belief system, contains bias and propaganda. The questions are: If Christianity is dying, what is replacing it? Also, What are the biases and propaganda of the belief system(s) that are replacing Christianity? To know the answers to these questions, one should look first at how to detect bias and propaganda through the application of critical thinking.

    http://www.criticalthinking.org/store-page.cfm?P=products&ItemID=167&catalogID=224&cateID=132
    http://www.criticalthinking.org/files/SAM-MediaBias1.pdf

    An excerpt from the pdf sample above:
    "The Thinker's Guide For Conscientious Citizens on How to Detect Media Bias & Propaganda
    In National and World News

    Dear Reader,
    The logic behind bias and propaganda in the news media is simple and it is the same the world over. Each society and culture has a unique world view. This colors what they see and how they see it. News media in the cultures of the world reflect the world view of the culture they write for. But the truth of what is happening in the world is much more complicated than what appears to be true in any culture.
    To be a critical reader of the news media in any society, one must come to terms with this truth and read accordingly. Critical thinking is a complex set of skills that reverses what is natural and instinctive in human thought.
    The uncritical mind is unconsciously driven to identify truth in accordance with the following tacit maxims:
    • “It’s true if I believe it.”
    • “It’s true if we believe it.”
    • “It’s true if we want to believe it.”
    • “It’s true if it serves our vested interest to believe it.”
    The critical mind consciously seeks the truth in accordance with the following instinct-correcting maxims:
    • “I believe it, but it may not be true.”
    • “We believe it, but we may be wrong.”
    • “We want to believe it, but we may be prejudiced by our desire.”
    • “It serves our vested interest to believe it, but our vested interest has nothing to do with the truth.”
    Mainstream news coverage in a society operates with the following maxims:
    • “This is how it appears to us from our point of view; therefore, this is the way it is.”
    • “These are the facts that support our way of looking at this; therefore, these are the most important facts.”
    • “These countries are friendly to us; therefore, these countries deserve praise.”
    • “These countries are unfriendly to us; therefore, these countries deserve criticism.”
    • “These are the stories most interesting or sensational to our readers; therefore, these are the most important stories in the news.”
    Critical readers of the news reverse each of these maxims. This Mini-Guide explains how to do this and thus reduce the influence of bias and propaganda on the mind.
    Richard Paul Linda Elder
    Center for Critical Thinking Foundation for Critical Thinking"

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  31. Thanks for the article, when i read, people are going from God to Atheism for what ever reason it may be, it is indeed a heart breaking thing. Whether a person accepts it or not, there exists love of Almighty God which is impossible to comprehend, in other words equals to love of 70 mothers for every human being, thats basic, the number will be higher when the person is more virtuous. And for every thing else, there is something called 'karma'.


    I also believe people or any one who wants to quests for the truth and especially in the west with the kind of freedom they have, exploring the universal concept of Almighty God in the light of other major religions. Or may be its why should i leave a conservative life when i can do what ever i want, say what ever i want! stops people from finding out the truth.

    From what blogger wrote, i conclude that, the ones who are not going to atheism a majority of them converting to Islam, and other religions in east. This also explains why is Islam is the fastest growing religion.

    May be he should do research on why is Islam fastest growing religion in the world and especially in the west, despite all the -ve PR by almost every one, now that's a Hot Topic!

    And by the way! for all the science geeks, and people who wane question things until they are satisfied, try Islam, read Holy Quran and Hadees, and biography of its prophet by foreign authors like Karen Armstrong whose a former nun.

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  32. "why is Islam fastest growing religion in the world and especially in the west"

    Presumably it's the fastest growing religion in the west because everyone else is having less children!

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  33. The ONLY reason Islam is the fastest-growing religion in the world is because it is being forced on millions of people against their will. If it weren't for the dictators, kings, and imams who have political power in the Islamic world, Islam would be the fastest-shrinking religion in the world.

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  34. Well! You are entitled to have your opinion, however, does that explain why so many people (whites/blacks) in US & Europe converting to Islam, who is forcing them? Just check the census for last 15 years.

    And here is a link again from Internet, proves your theory of forced conversions wrong

    http://listverse.com/2009/07/10/top-10-misconceptions-about-islam/

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  35. Islam is growing among the poor and oppressed. It's not about black/white or America/European. It's about wealth and education. Islam doesn't do well among well educated, happy, healthy people. The same goes for Christianity and Judaism.

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  36. "The same goes for Christianity"

    Actually, most converts to Christianity are tertiary educated, while the majority of de-converts to atheism are not.

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  37. "Islam is growing among the poor and oppressed."

    True that, but it is also growing among well educated, well-off in the West. The most prominent Muslim apologetics on youtube are well educated former Christians or atheists.

    Also, Peter talks about 3 billion Christians by 2050. Not likely given that in Europe and North America the share of Christians among the population is down.

    In the US between 1990 and 2008 Christians grew from 151 to 173 million, an increase of 22 million, or 14.7%. Yet the total population grew from 175 to 228, an increase of 53 million or 30.1%.

    By 2050, the Population Reference Bureau just predicted a total population increase of 200 million for all Americas (the entire Western hemisphere) and 1000 million for Africa, which is, let's round up, 50% Christian.

    So, a 500 million increase in Africa and a dubious 200 million increase in the Americas (because atheism is on the steep rise). This will grind against a fewer number of adherents in Europe. Looking at adherents' trends in Europe, IMO, this figure could be down anywhere between 100 and 300+ million by 2050. So Chrisitanity growth will be based exclusively in Africa and Asia.

    If atheistic trends emerge in Central and South America, the number of Chrisitans up to 2050 could actually remain stable at the current 2 billion.

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  38. The sooner the better.
    These Abrahamic desert cults have screwed enough with the minds of the population for far too long.
    Study comparative religion, science, history and wake up!!!

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  39. Anon, do you have to be so vulgar? You have no class.

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  40. Actually, Jesus himself said there will be a massive "falling away from faith" during the last days. So, yes, Christianity is on the decline, and as a Bible-believing Christian, I'm not surprised at all.

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  41. There is so much misunderstanding between religion as institution and religion as culture that it makes me sick. For the secular "realists" for example, who decry the "mystical forces" of religion, that they claim can't be proven, well that's a perfect description of gravity just as well as it is of "god force".

    But wait, they say, you can prove gravity exists! Well, sort of. We don't know what it is, we only can demonstrate it's manifestations and attempt to describe it mathematically and with complex models, but it's just as mysterious as any force of religious divinity.

    Religion however says that the proof of the power of divinity is existence itself: how can reality exist at all if not for an mysterious and powerful forces to create it? Well, on this point their mysterious evidence lines up perfectly with scientific method - do any secularists doubt that reality itself is proof of a great and enduring mystery, and that the reality of existence persists and becomes more mysterious the deeper we probe into it. This is true of any direction we look: reality is infinitely mysterious in every direction.

    The answer to reconciling religion and science, as institutional realities, is that religious mythology and scientific mythology are simply two forms of probing into our external reality. Religious institution is built around probing into the nature of authority. All the stories and myths that the secular deride, are in fact powerful in uniting otherwise divided peoples - that's their science: to build unified cultural reality.

    Science on the other hand has proven itself to be ineffective at exactly the tasks that religion is expert at. How successful has science been at organizing and creating coalitions of political and social order to, for example, halt global climate disaster? Answer: it has failed. Rational scientific thinking can't hold a candle to magical thinking when it comes to uniting groups of people for a purpose, and it is this subtle evidence that the secular mind completely misses. The scientific take religious "truth" for veritable truth, not truth to an end. Secularists are willing to suspend belief to enjoy a movie, but they seem utterly incapable of appreciating that you can also suspend belief to conquer an empire - it's the same utility.

    In fact the scientific mythology is itself a form of suspension of belief, just as suspect, and quite possibly much more damaging and dangerous than any belief in god. Science's conceit is to suggest that it is capable of perceiving "true" reality, and that the product of its reality producing mechanism is in fact "reality". Certainly religious institution does this same thing with stories, presenting fantastical tales as truth. But this practice can be considered sublime in comparison to the almost puerile practice of science, of presenting the most obvious and simple facts of reality as if they are ultimate truth.

    A brick, says science, is made of x/y/z in certain quantities. It is straw, sand and lime. This is the only truth of a brick - that its composition is known. It exists because it does, and it will exist even after all humans eyes and hands are gone.

    Religion says, this brick is the product of hands, and these hands answer to an authority which is old as time. The material is nothing, next to the pressure of time, and the force of effort, passion, and authority. Religion tells a human story that convinces you that a brick exist because you do.

    If you have read this, hopefully you see that Science and Religion are both Science and are both Religion. The perceived opposition is largely political - it's warfare. Religion is still the best Science, just as Science is the best Religion.

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  42. All you god haters better be right. You can't disprove god. God hides his face from the wicked. To be so sure there is no god is to accept nothing created everything now that is dumb. Atheism is a virus it has killed more people than any other belief and this website fuels the hatred of religious people. Predicted in the bible this would happen

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  43. I would disagree slightly that Christianity is on the decline in America, at least in a manner of speaking. Statistically, less people are inclined to believe in a god. However, the religious right is wielding ever more influence in our country. Look at the Tea Party. Look at the renewed attacks on abortion and women's reproduction rights. Look at Rick Perry's Prayer-a-palooza. Religion is still a very powerful force in this country, and it looks like it could get worse. In times of turmoil people tend to turn more towards religion and God, and with the recent economic crisis, I fear religion, and Christianity specifically, will gain an even stronger foot hold.

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  44. to Craig A. James

    You said that the bible is full of acts without "proof". Well I would like to say that the Bible has never been proven wrong! Science is constatly being changed. The Theory of the "Big Bang" has no proof. If you are an evolutionist you believe in survivial of the fittest. Why do people go into burning buildings to save people? Also If you are an evolutionist or athiest then you dont believe in love. How do you go home and tell your kids I love you at night?

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  45. Alston – you have a very simple understanding of the world. The myths of Thor, the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus have never been proved wrong. That is utterly irrelevant. The Bible makes many outrageous claims of miracles and scientific impossibilities. It's up to YOU to prove it's true, not to me to prove it's false. The "Big Bang" theory has enormous quantities of proof, and you're exposing your lack of knowledge if you claim otherwise. The reason people go into burning building is because evolution has programmed us to save our children and family. And what makes you think that an atheist doesn't believe in love? That's a remarkable and false claim, especially coming from someone who apparently knows nothing about atheism or love.

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  46. Those who claim that the drop in religious numbers is from an increase in aetheism are fools. What is acutally causing it, what we are acually seeing, is a rise in agnostisism. In my personal experience, roughly 7 of 10 people who refer to themselves as aetheists are acutally agnostics who are simply not sure how to refer to themselves. They can't seem to be able to solidify their faith in any particular religion, and it makes them uneasy with refering to themselves as "religious". Someday, hopefully humanity will discover physical proof for a single explanation of the entire universe. In the meantime however, you shouldn't act as though your explanation is any more accurate than theirs, considering that you have about as much evidence for/against you as them.

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  47. Peter -- You're assuming that atheism and agnosticism are mutually exclusive. They are not. Most atheists are also agnostics. Many religious people are also agnostic. Agnostic means you're not willing to assert positively that your primary belief couldn't turn out to be wrong. I'm a atheist, but if someone could show a scientific proof of something of a spirit or god-like nature, I would accept it. I think the chances of that are vanishingly small, but I would never assert that it couldn't happen. Just that it almost certainly won't.

    But to say "you have about as much evidence for/against you as them" is just plain wrong. There is no credible evidence whatsoever for any religious beliefs. There have been MANY attempts through the centuries to find such proofs. On the other hand, we have centuries of physics, astronomy, chemistry, biology and geology that have filled in vast swaths of knowledge, eliminating the need for magical reasoning. Anything that still remains unknown to science is merely a new challenge, and there's no reason to think we can't find scientific answers to the few remaining questions about the universe.

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  48. I honestly think that the entire western world is on the decline. The reason is because this new rise of atheism: It is destroying moral law.

    We live quite literary in a party world, where getting married and raising a family is almost shunned. I can't remember where i heard this quote but is states that:
    The more developed a nation gets the weaker it becomes internally at the family. And this is its downfall.

    When people become rich and developed after a certain point; family is no longer important. If you dont have family, your nation falls apart: A simple rule of demographics.

    Moral law is something that keeps individuals in check, people were much more peaceful than now. Gun control was never a issue. It's sad that the children in the middles east are learning calculus in 6th grade... while american children are learning sex education

    Atheists deep down inside only care about them self.

    As a result of these atheists our country's moral foundation is crumbling, and our entire country is falling along with it.

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  49. Anon – it's too bad so many people like you have such a negative view of the world and of atheism. The simple fact is that every single country in the world that has a large number of atheists is more stable, has less crime, less poverty, less unemployment and better medical care than the rest of the world. So your thesis that atheism is the problem is simply and glaringly wrong.

    In fact, just the opposite is true. Atheists are generally more moral, more law abiding and better educated. Religion is the biggest single problem facing the world today because it relies on faith, superstition, and useless prayers. Its "morality" is actually immoral -- just read the Bible. The truth is that religious people are only moral because they (quite sensibly) REJECT most -- yes most -- of the laws that are clearly spelled out in the Bible. The laws that religious people do follow are the ones that anyone, religious or not, can deduce for themselves. See my blog Silly Christian Morals for a more thorough discussion of this topic.

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  50. Craig -- Whenever I use a word (particularly a generally unused word of which the definition seems to vary constantly such as agnostic) I generally try to standardize the definition first Agnostic: a person who holds that the existence of the ultimate cause, as God, and the essential nature of things is and always will be unknown
    (dictionary.com)
    This is what I mean by agnostic and by this definition agnosticism and atheism ARE, in fact, mutually exclusive, my point is however is that the current decline of religion is not due to a rise in atheism due to increased education, it is merely that people can no longer call themselves religious because their previous beliefs about biblical miracles don't hold up to their knowledge of the world.
    That is actually a pretty good first step on the road of truth, but that's all it is, a first step. The problem is that no one seems to realize that no amount of telling or showing will convince someone that something they feel even below their conscious mind is false. What we should be doing, nay what we NEED to be doing, what is our responsibility to the world to do if we are to indeed call ourselves scientists. Is pushing forwards, learning more, not for the sake of proving this or that theory accurate, for the sake of IMproving, of if we find a fundamental flaw, DISproving. THAT is the core of science, letting go of the anchor of religious absolutism and stop trying to use science to prove God was only the beginning but now all we've done is re-anchor in the region of Darwinism and cling to the belief of evolution just as tightly, which MAY be closer to the shore of truth but we still know so very little, and now the sheep raised by the public (and private) school systems do the same thing as they did before, as once the "scientists" who were merely curious priests took all new knowledge as further proof of God, and that which they couldn't twist they buried or ignored. So do the priests of Darwinism (I know a lot of people aren't comfortable with that analogy but you must see where it comes from being someone who studies human nature, particularly concerning religion, so intently) take knowledge that does not support them and claim it irrelevant (the impossibility of the virus, the completely unexplainable species of archea that can recover from even the highest levels of radiation man can produce with no apparent link to any other species at all, the complete lack of living or dead intermittent species between the insanely overcomplicated platypus and its so-called closest relative the echinda) Those are just 3 examples of problems with evolution and each one contains a multitude of problems within itself. But that is a topic for another day, my point is that if we are ever going to make real progress as scientists we must be willing to pick apart and scrutinize Darwin's theories as he was to the theories of those before him. If we don't, and aren't, we will never get any further, we will halt on the road of truth, and if we do, if that dark day ever comes, it will be the day science dies, and becomes static becomes unchanging, becomes no different than the religions it fought so hard against. That is what the "mainstream scientific community" does.

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  51. after i read all this... i feel really sick that we still tend to argue if god exists are not rather what the relligion itself caused great miseries. I just would like to request you all ... please let the diversity sustain ...dont donate to convert other beliefs to christianity only... like 50 mil in china... 20 mil in india... are we trying to show how mightier the dollar is? Are we not a nation that belives in freedom... live and let live.. please dont convert the other non voilent and oldest traditions in the disguise of pretend helping hand!!! Please stop converting hindus, budhists.... they are not terrorists

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  52. a physics experiment called the quantum eraser turned me more towards theism. Also, "according to science", the answer if god exists or not is both yes and no, because no one has seen. I converted to Islam and to what others might think, it brought me to peace and tolerance. I let others believe whatever they want.

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  53. " Science has been able to support that there is a God who created us."

    Oh boy, those comments are awesome :-) you, good sir, have infinite ammount of lulz here, jeebus science at it's best.

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  54. I think it's a combination of both education and scientific discoveries. Religion has been used to explain the unexplainable. For example, the origin of humanity. Now that we have established theories to explain such mysteries, we no longer need to believe in miracles.

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  55. how can i become an atheist and at the same time deal with suffering?can anyone help me.please reply.

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  56. Anon - Google for "grief beyond belief" and you will find some wonderful resources.

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  57. to each his own.let the atheist keep on disbelieving and let the believers keep on believing.god bless.

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  58. god might be imaginary but what can us weak-minded believers do.we must believe or we lose hope.

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  59. I am agnostic and has been so for the last four years. English is my second language so if it doesn't sound right I do apologize. I do not live in the states so perhaps I may have a diff opinion than you and my comment is not really on what is at hand here. I have spend a lot of time reading up on religious history and where it all comes from and I can honestly say that it is based on mythology and how the people in those days saw the world. The problem is that the picture that the christian bible makes of God is not really what God is there is a lot of dangerous man made dogma in the bible, I mean come on seriously?

    We have been indoctrinated for centuries now to believe and it is in our genes to believe in something, we are kind of hard wired to believe in something. The problem as I can see it from this point of the battle is that some people claimed stuff in the bronze age and had written about it and this contradicts with the things we now about the world today. Did those people have the science we have today? No. It makes sense to say that something was responsible for us being here today, but not in the way that the ancient people imagined.

    What if there is evidence of previous life or may be current life found on other planets? Surely if the bible is really the word of god it will mention that in the book of Genesis.

    Many religious people claimed they have seen miracles happen and I am not to judge them and say it is not so, but usually those 'miracles' can be explained. People are gullible, they were then and always will be. Science will bring us closer to a creator or god than any other religion will ever will

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  60. I am a highly educated 62 year old man who has attended protestant, catholic, jewish, sikh, hindu, islamic, and other religious services. I understand higher level mathematics and sciences.

    The world is desperate for a profound connection to a higher than cerebral non-illusory experience. This is seldom found in churches or other religious experiences. However, it does happen, and when it does it is what we all desire. It is like seeing a sunrise on a mountaintop. arguments may abound that the sunrise is not as we experience it but the experience belies the arguments. Very few Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Atheists, etc. find a blindingly fulfilling experience. It all becomes a life of ideas, institutional rituals, and material acceptance. Don't kid yourself. You don't have to settle for their depressing lives. Work hard, be productive and be beneficial, value people more than ideas and institutions, always seek Truth in it's important forms, and don't enable or forgive bad people. Learn to discern deception. Learn to discern Truth.

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  61. I have to admit (sadly) that you may be right. Christianity may die out. I have been reading some books lately about this very subject. One book titled, "Why Christianity Must Change or Die" by Bishop John Spong was insightful and disclosed a change to some degree within Christianity. I have been struggling with this for years, because I really enjoy some of the wisdom of Jesus and I do feel some empathy toward an enlightening journey.

    Chris

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  62. No time for reading useless: This may, or may not have occurred to any/and all correspondence (on this subject). Therefore; To whom it may concern either way...Your thoughts, my thoughts, his/her thoughts, and moreover, are laden with intelligence. This, granted by an unknown source. Dare I elaborate, ignorance, based on another human characteristic of arrogance, of which we are so proud to exclaim, based on what we've learned from our own discoveries (through the creation of evolution). Physical evidence and science have only lent their expertise through the "evolution" of human history that seems applicable to the pop-culture of it's respectable era. Today it's atheism, yesterday it was creationism. Tomorrow, the debate that launched this ageless dichotomy via many wars, will remain more true than science, human consciousness, or the freedom to choose your life's path. Life, on all levels, were granted to those of us from the past and future. Where and how was this possible without an intelligent creator?

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Dear readers -- I am no longer blogging and after leaving these blogs open for two years have finally stopped accepting comments due to spammers. Thanks for your interest. If you'd like to write to me, click on the "Contact" link at the top. Thanks! -- CJ.

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