The decline of religion in western societies

I commented on this article: “Heh. Did I put you in mind of this topic when I said I was a “scientifically-minded Wiccan theist?” ;P

I think that religion must adapt to include and accept science, or it will die. However, I think that in many places it’s in the process of doing that, or new religions are developing (like Wicca, which is a modern-day syncretic faith, contrary to popular belief) for whom science is part of the faith and not a challenge.

For me, there is a divine *something*, that I do not understand but I (and others) communicate with in metaphors (and therefore, their metaphors are every bit as valid as mine, because it only represents a partial understanding anyway) for whom science is the mechanism of Creation. And perhaps I’m in a little silo in my interactions, but regardless of faith, most of the people I know share variations of those views.

I realize that atheists disagree with me. Many (not all, some you can debate with) would like to dismiss religion as “superstitious nonsense” and “quantum woo.” I say it depends on your religion. The humanist religions, or humanistic religious sects, are still doing quite well, and even growing.

I think there’s still a lot of things out there that we cannot explain. And I think that science is well on its way to explaining them. I think that quantum physics is particularly exciting in this regard, though the science is still so new that it’s basically like Persian astronomy. We’re going to get some things horribly wrong and we barely have the beginnings of understanding yet. But we’ll get there.

My two cents.”

What do you think?


Huffington Post UK has published the results of a survey showing that half of Britain thinks religion does more harm than good, and that you don’t need it to be a good person.  This seems to be a trend in Europe that was started in the Scandinavian countries.  It’s in contrast to the United States, where religion still has substantial influence, although even here that influence is in decline.  (The percentage of people claiming no religion in the US has gone from 8% to 20% in the last couple of decades.)

The decline of religion in the west seems unprecedented in world history.  Religion dates back to at least the Upper Paleolithic and, prior to the 20th century, was pretty much a cultural universal.  But increasingly, people in developed societies are turning away from it.  Or are they?

I’ve noted before that religion historically had three main functions:

  1. Explaining the world.

View original post 513 more words

~ by Sable Aradia on November 11, 2014.

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