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The end of Religion is inevitable?

Aiken_Drumn

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When I was an impetuous youth, I was convinced the end of mass religious belief was only a generation away, and glad of it. Proud that science will prevail! Certainly this was the case in my cultural bubble in North East England...until "mass immigration" of Catholics and Muslims from elsewhere... My belief was again more apparent when I moved south to the heretical city of Sodomy and Pleasure - Brighton. Barely anyone claimed to be religious, even less believed. Maybe 1:100 if not greater!

As I have aged, I have become aware of the wider world and its religious peaks and troughs. CFC:OT was where I came across my first American Religious Fanatics... many of those delightful characters who enjoyed robust debate!

China, biggest nation of the world, also one of the least religious...but then India, seemingly is getting increasingly religious? I've also seen nation states flip flop between "Democracy" and "Despotic Nightmares" etc.

Thoughts also on the rise and rise of Isis, Taliban, and other nauseating religious waves of terror and warfare.

Globally, however, if we compared to 100 years, or 500 years.. "Religion" is dying.. will it ever dwindle to nothing at all. Small Gods. Teetering on the edge of belief. GNU STP.
 
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As of March, a Gallup poll found that 31% of Americans "never" attend church services. It's unclear if 'church services' includes things like weddings and funerals. I believe it's been on a slow but definite downward trend for a while now.


I'd be content to reach a point where religion is widely regarded as a personal thing, and is kept out of politics and public policy, but I think we're still very far away from even that. At least, I'm not expecting that to happen in my lifetime.

I suppose if it does happen, it could happen somewhat suddenly, in a relatively short period of time, maybe a 10- or 20-year period of time, faster than would be accounted for by mere population turnover. That would be if there are a lot of people who are paying lip-service to religion, who don't really believe, but feel it's better to 'go along to get along' than to admit to being atheist or agnostic. I think my grandparents were like that, going to church and raising their kids in the church, up through the 1950s, just because that's what you did back then. But then, in a single generation, it was like a switch had been thrown, and not one of my parents or their siblings was a church-goer as an adult or raised their children in the church. And it wasn't a struggle between the generations, either. My grandparents never took me to church when I stayed with them, never even mentioned it, or asked if I was curious about it. I don't remember the words 'God' or 'Jesus' ever passing their lips. I think once it was okay to not go to church, they just dropped it. So there could be a kind of threshold where millions of those folks suddenly feel like it's okay to drop the charade all at once. Sometimes that happens with big social changes.

As to whether the end of religion is inevitable, I don't think so. I think there will always be people who need stories that explain the unknown, who are uncomfortable with there being darkness at the edges of the campfire. If nothing else, I think people will always be uncomfortable with the idea that we're just piles of electrochemical processes, including what we call consciousness, and that death is the end of us as individual beings.
 
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If it is, it just will coincide with the rise of fervor in a different area of belief, like politics(less pursuable goals though, it's a worse fit for a calling and a better fit for power/privilege(silver spoons sort of seem to fall into it naturally)). But churches made a habit of preaching moral lessons and often outward facing enlightenment. Politics less so. So considering people aren't going to be a different creature if they stop practicing outward facing enlightenment, with all the failures that come with, and start doing something else, with all the failures that come with, they're probably just going to be somewhat worse to each other. Technology and medicine may mask some deleterious effects. Bigots would enjoy the lack of variety.

Egon: you consider the feeling of unity with and motivation to improve the material conditions of those who follow us to just be "discomfort with the nature of man and the campfire edges being dark?" Centuries upon centuries of people selectively breeding grass to be edible. People who couldn't read, slowly laying down the foundation for every advanced art we have, only grass could do it. Centuries upon centuries of staring into the night and creating animals to be our best friends. Others to be our foods. Nah, man. Life is scary. It does hurt. Which makes me think I see a common error when thinking about faiths(particularly somebody else's): do you think of faith as a shield? Something that blunts pain or protects against harm? Keeps bad things out? Because it definitely doesn't work that way at all. Everything still hits you. What faith might be(to maintain the warrior-tools analogy I don't really like) is a sword. It sharpens your edge. Increases your leverage. Your reach. Makes you capable of accomplishments you were not capable of otherwise. But no, it won't protect you or ablate the stings that come along.
 
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Can religions help Gen Z keep their jobs when AI takes over job market in next 5-10 years? If no, then why should we care?
 
Egon: you consider the feeling of unity with and motivation to improve the material conditions of those who follow us to just be "discomfort with the nature of man and the campfire edges being dark?"
Broadly speaking, I don't think humanity needs religion to experience feelings of unity and a motivation to improve the material conditions of those who follow us. But sure, I suppose some individual people might need religion for that, and provided they're not hurting anyone, I see no reason they shouldn't have it.

Centuries upon centuries of people selectively breeding grass to be edible. People who couldn't read, slowly laying down the foundation for every advanced art we have, only grass could do it. Centuries upon centuries of staring into the night and creating animals to be our best friends. Others to be our foods.
That's all science.

Nah, man. Life is scary. It does hurt. Which makes me think I see a common error when thinking about faiths(particularly somebody else's): do you think of faith as a shield? Something that blunts pain or protects against harm? Keeps bad things out? Because it definitely doesn't work that way at all. Everything still hits you. What faith might be(to maintain the warrior-tools analogy I don't really like) is a sword. It sharpens your edge. Increases your leverage. Your reach. Makes you capable of accomplishments you were not capable of otherwise. But no, it won't protect you or ablate the stings that come along.
Again, I don't think people as a species need religion for any of that, but if some individual people do, then sure, okay. As long as their religion isn't inflicting harm or forcing its beliefs on others, then I don't have a problem with them using religion for that.
 
That's all science.
Science is is. Religion also deals with ought. Science does not. This is a misattribution(about actions millenia before the theory it's being framed into). Lifetimes of effort chasing a goal for somebody is an ought before it's an is.
 
Science is also theory and predictions. Guesswork, trial and error. We can learn lessons from it just as we learn moral lessons from other places. Scientists strive for ought (admittedly, less than they should) as well as pursuing the is.

And no, we don't need religion to teach us moral lessons. That said, I don't find any fault in people who look to faith personally for strength. It's a part of who we are for the moment. Even if the end of organised religion (even in its current form) is inevitable, the culture has a long tail-end.
 
Lol, if it does 'end' it will be because some clever monkey renamed it and put his fat ass on top.

Doesn't mean it will be the same. Religions are different from each other now. The spiritually jaded nondenominational zillenials do seem less socially useful than thier morally active peers. Not necessarily to themselves though. So there is that. Practices of value can be lost.
 
Science is is. Religion also deals with ought. Science does not.
Not every scientist and engineer who ever made a discovery, or achieved a breakthrough, or solved a problem, has been motivated to do so by religion. If we view science as just the process, and the motivation has to come from somewhere else, it can come from places other than religion. Curiosity, benevolence, humanity, generosity, growth, taking up a challenge. I suppose you can nurture all of those things through religion, but it's not a requirement. I've known scientists & engineers who are people of faith, but frankly, they've been the minority (the minority among the scientists & engineers I've known, that is - most of them have been agnostics).

This is a misattribution(about actions millenia before the theory it's being framed into). Lifetimes of effort chasing a goal for somebody is an ought before it's an is.
I wasn't writing about the history of religion, I was writing about the present & future of religion.
 
I wrote about the creation of grass as edible food, occurring in tandem(and likely were integrally linked) with the earliest surviving evidence we have of our practiced, organized, religious endeavors(the original measurable outcome of religious practice). You responded that this organized effort was the practice of a millenia-later organization of testing and knowledge. A different practice.
 
The spiritually jaded nondenominational zillenials do seem less socially useful than thier morally active peers.
And there we have it. "Religious people are morally superior." :rolleyes: (Actually, it's not just morally superior, is it? "Socially useful" seems to be broader than that.)

I wrote about the creation of grass as edible food, occurring in tandem(and likely were integrally linked, the original measurable outcome of religious practice) with the earliest surviving evidence we have of our practiced, organized, religious endeavors. You responded that this organized effort was the practice of a millenia layer organization of testing and knowledge.
Yes, the process of testing and observing, and producing replicable results is science, even if it was 15,000 years ago. The pyramids and the roads that connected Aztec cities and the walls of Jericho were all built using engineering. In some cases, engineering so advanced, we don't even know how they did it without the machines we would use to do the same thing today. Wikipedia says the earliest recorded mathematics dates to 3000 BCE.

Wikipedia said:
From 3000 BC the Mesopotamian states of Sumer, Akkad and Assyria, followed closely by Ancient Egypt and the Levantine state of Ebla began using arithmetic, algebra and geometry for purposes of taxation, commerce, trade and also in the patterns in nature, the field of astronomy and to record time and formulate calendars.
All science.
 
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No, put those rolling eyes back in your head, boy. It's "practice makes perfect."

Outward facing enlightenment is no exception.
 
Lol, if it does 'end' it will be because some clever monkey renamed it and put his fat ass on top.
Amusingly not in complete disagreement here, albeit with the cheeky suggestion that that's probably already happened at least twice.
Doesn't mean it will be the same. Religions are different from each other now. The spiritually jaded nondenominational zillenials do seem less socially useful than thier morally active peers. Not necessarily to themselves though. So there is that. Practices of value can be lost.
Religions differ but faith is relatively constant. I like to separate them out personally, organised religion is different from the concepts underpinning a religion which is different from faith. We can have faith in a lot of different things - pure faith at that. There's a reason science and religion are often linked (various famous examples to boot). They're often complementary. There is argued to be overlap, and it's not just from the perspective of trying to put a rational spin on a religious parable.

As for "spiritually jaded nondenominational zillenials", unsure how to help you unpack that one. "morally active" likewise. Don't want to drag other threads into this one, but I feel there are a lot of "morally active" Gen Z folk at this precise moment in time, for reasons pertaining to the goodness of the world and our place in it.
 
Yes, the process of testing and observing, and producing replicable results is science, even if it was 15,000 years ago. The pyramids and the roads that connected Aztec cities and the walls of Jericho were all built using engineering. In some cases, engineering so advanced, we don't even know how they did it without the machines we would use to do the same thing today. Wikipedia says the earliest recorded mathematics dates to 3000 BCE.
For the record, this is the part where you rename how(much less why) they understood themselves to have done it.
 
For the record, this is the part where you rename how(much less why) they understood themselves to have done it.
Just the how, not the why. But, to clarify, are you claiming that those ancient structures were not built using mathematics and an understanding of physics, and materials, and so forth?

And, to get back to the topic of the future of religion, do you believe that science and engineering, going forward, require religion as a kind of - pardon the pun - engine to drive it? That is, do you think people need religion to want to develop technology, build things, and advance our understanding of the universe? (Or perhaps, given your comment about 'zillenials', to just get up and go to work in the morning.)
 
I haven't made any such claim. Only that if you're going to describe this historical knowledge in the lens of Greek to Roman to Western European thought(or Arabic, or Chinese, I'm not picky), you can track where that thought was at the time for many of these and whether or not such thought was widely shared.

If you are just going to rename any observation and repetition with learning or counting as "science" then sure, godscience organized it somehow.
 
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I haven't made any such claim. Only that if you're going to describe this historical knowledge in the lens of Greek to Roman to Western European thought(or Arabic, or Chinese, I'm not picky), you can track where that thought was at the time for many of these and whether or not such thought was widely shared.
I'm not sure I'm following you. So you're not claiming that ancient peoples were not using science and engineering when they did things like build roads and structures.

If you are just going to rename any observation and repetition with learning or counting as "science" then sure, godscience organized it somehow.
Are you saying now that you don't think agriculture and mathematics and engineering are science? I'm not renaming anything. You've completely lost me, dude. :confused:


p.s. I'm also still not sure how the history of religion relates to its future. Not to say that I think it doesn't. History often provides a useful guide, going forward. I'm just not sure how this particular discussion about the history of science and religion relates.
 
Lol, if it does 'end' it will be because some clever monkey renamed it and put his fat ass on top

This covers almost all major religions already...
 
I'm not sure I'm following you. So you're not claiming that ancient peoples were not using science and engineering when they did things like build roads and structures.


Are you saying now that you don't think agriculture and mathematics and engineering are science? I'm not renaming anything. You've completely lost me, dude. :confused:


p.s. I'm also still not sure how the history of religion relates to its future. Not to say that I think it doesn't. History often provides a useful guide, going forward. I'm just not sure how this particular discussion about the history of science and religion relates.
Yeah, your outputs to our conversations might as well be random noise for all I can tell, too.

Don't worry. Your religion that isn't a religion is very nice and I'm sure you're all good people. For real and stuff. Or, if it isn't a religion because it isn't an organized practice, then I'm sure they didn't need to practice to improve at being good. It comes naturally to a chosen or blessed people who are not held in the thrall of dark dieties.
 
This covers almost all major religions already...
Televangelists are entertaining to watch. Nuns are humbling to watch. Within thier deviations, of course. Archbishop Fulton Sheen wasn't any Gospel of Prosperity Baptist, for example.
 
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