Thursday, March 24, 2011

Is Christianity Dying? It is Nearly Dead in Nine Major Countries

If you believe the mathematicians, it looks like religion will be almost completely dead soon in nine major Western countries: Australia, Austria, Canada, the Czech Republic, Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Switzerland. According to Daniel Abrams, et al,
We present a new treatment of the competition for adherents between religious and irreligious segments of modern secular societies ... Data suggest a particular case of our general growth law, leading to clear predictions about possible future trends in society.
Basically they treat human society as a big interconnected system with predictable properties. You can't predict any one person's behavior, but by the time you're dealing with millions of people, the laws of large numbers and statistics make it possible to make accurate forecasts of seemingly non-mathematical traits like religion and love.

And guess what? Religion is going out of business in a bunch of countries. The trends are clear.

This matches what we know from a number of other sources. They're describing the same phenomena predicted by the Second-Generation Effect, the spread of science and atheism memes, the problem of Mushy Christians, and the effects of wealth and good health. But they're doing it in their abstract mathematician's language that ignores the causes and only measures the results.

It's nice to think that we atheist bloggers, authors and our readers are contributing in some modest way to this trend. Religion has some powerful memes to defend itself and to spread itself. It won't stop on its own. These mathematicians are working on today's data, but religion has a way of evolving and defying predictions. We have to be quicker so that atheism, humanism, science and reason are the surviving memes and religious memes go the way of the dinosaurs.


  1. I wrote about this on FB:
    "If true, this is awesome news, but as a skeptic I have to say that this study doesn't sound scientific. Besides, with Islam growing as it is in the developed world and everywhere else), how can religion appear endangered? I just want to stay optimistic."

  2. Sarah – It's like the old joke, Q: "What do you call nine lawyers drowning?" A: "A good start." It also illustrates why religion is thriving in the places you mention: the nine countries mentioned are wealthy, healthy have good educational systems, and treat women with respect. And they have democratically elected governments. Fundamentalist religions thrive anywhere that has poor education, poor health and poverty. And of course, wars are one of the biggest causes of poverty, sickness and illiteracy.

    To me, these studies show that there is hope. But we have a long way to go.

  3. This type of analysis sounds a lot like Asimov's psychohistory.

  4. I loved Asimov's Foundation series!

  5. The sooner that christians and other religious freaks give up their daft ideas and take on reality as it really is, the better. How much is wasted on these people when that money could be used in much better ways? How much time could be used in better way, instead of going off to church and singing and praying a lot of garbage?

  6. cant you just say a simple answer that i could use in my essay?

  7. No... it is not dead it is being worship by lots of people in the world as it helps them find strength and courage in life ;D


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