It is difficult to deny that there is a strong negative trend between professional expertise in the field of science and traditional monotheistic beliefs. 93% of the members of the National Academy of Sciences do not believe in the existence of god, while an almost reversed proportion of 92% of the general American public do believe in a god. While different polls have slightly different numbers, and while the specific views people hold about a god can vary within many shades of grey, it is still hard to deny that there is an inverse relationship between one’s expert background in science and their belief in monotheism.
I do not mean to argue or imply by any of this that such a trend discredits monotheism. That would be an appeal to authority that I have no intention of making. What I do wish to address here is a reverse appeal to authority that I have heard repeated by many apologists:
“Sure, if you just read those scientists like Dawkins and Harris, you are going to think that science disproves God, but you need to study what philosophers have to say about God!”
So which is the correct interpretation of the data? Are the majority of professional scientists and philosophers atheist simply because they are moral failures trying to cover up for their spiritual shortcomings? Or are apologists like Craig merely grasping at straws and committing ad hominem attacks to rationalize how Christian scientists and philosophers are such a fringe and extreme minority in the fields they claim support their beliefs in an ancient religion? I leave it to the readers to decide.
returningtheticket asked: Please, not this again. The numbers are accurate. Your first article dealt only with Britain and your second with general religiosity whereas we're talking about the WORLDWIDE (ie. not just the West) growth of CATHOLICISM (ie. not general religiosity). Not sure what your rant about mega churches in Korea was about. Sorry, but numbers are numbers (google it) and if you're going to accuse someone of lying because you don't like the statistics then that just shows a denial of reality on your part.
I’m not denying the statistics because I don’t like the results. I’m denying the statistics because other sources disagree with your sources. The Catholic church isn’t growing worldwide. My mention of South Korea was in addressing the notion that Catholicism is growing in Asia. There are more Protestants in Japan, South Korea, China, Taiwan and Hong Kong; Catholicism is more prominent in the Philippines given that the Philippines boasts the 3rd largest Catholic population in the world. The Church (as in Catholic) isn’t growing; it would be more accurate to argue that Christianity is growing, but statistics show a decline (worldwide) every year. The mega church bit was to show that most South Koreans are Protestants; in other words, Protestantism and not Catholicism is growing in Asia. In Africa, Protestants are as or more prominent; statistics (even from Pew) aren’t conclusive on that. In any case, a March 2013 article titled Catholics in Africa: Boomtown Church, states that there are 186 million Catholics in a continent that boasts a population of over 1 billion people. There are almost that many Protestants in Nigeria, the Congo, South Africa and Kenya alone (see here); apart from those four countries, there are 59 other countries in Africa. Again, it is safe to conclude that Protestantism is more prominent in Africa. Since the molestation scandals the Church is in decline; that’s the reality. In 2008 alone, the Church lost 400,000 members (see here). From the article:
“In 2008 alone, Catholic membership declined by 400,000. More than 1,000 parishes have closed since 1995, and the number of priests has fallen from about 49,000 to 40,000 during that same period.”
Those are general stats. The number of global Catholics has tripled over the century; so if you want to call that growth, then feel free. However, over the past five years or so, Catholicism has been declining. In any case, it seems your attention is on the wrong group (atheists); those “heretic” Protestants have grown much faster since Azusa Street, and they have more to do with Catholic decline than some may think.
One thing I find curious: why do you always respond to these petty matters? When I call out your faith or challenge your belief in god, you’re completely silent; also, when I correct misconceptions that you like spreading about atheism, it’s as if someone tied your hands and prohibited you from typing. It seems that you reply to me only when you imagine that you have a point; you will only have a point when you change your approach. For example, let’s focus on the matter at hand: do you want us to trust your stats? Include secular sites; the Vatican has given the public plenty of reason to distrust it (i.e. apart from the scandals, Catholics hurl plenty of vitriol at Protestants, gays and atheists). Also, take that same advice in general: change your approach. You want other atheists to stop mocking you and cursing at you? Respond to them; stand corrected when they correct you and apologize for spreading misconceptions. You want me to stop badgering most of your posts? Stand by your posts, clarify when necessary and take every rebuttal into account. There are very few opponents who can say that I’ve ignored them. You know why? Because I usually don’t ignore people. When someone feels offended, I apologize, tell them that I didn’t mean to be offensive and clarify whatever comment they found offensive. When they object, I clarify, strengthen my points when necessary or ask them to give me good reason to reject my original position. Unfortunately, the latter rarely happens. Honest discourse is a two-say street, but it seems to me that you only discuss non-matters; in other words, these statistics are a non-matter when considering the big picture. The big picture is your worldview versus the worldview you constantly misrepresent; it’s a discussion that you don’t want to have.
How does one know that something is propaganda and not fact?
1) Consider the sources
In this case, both sources are obviously pro-Catholic. Propaganda is subjective and easily refuted by other sources. Facts are objective; thus, there are usually corroborative sources when it comes to facts. All polls (except propagandist Christian polls) show that Christianity is declining worldwide:
Christianity declining 50pc faster than thought – as one in 10 under-25s is a Muslim
Christianity could be facing a catastrophic collapse in Britain according to official figures suggesting it is declining 50 per cent faster than previously thought.
A new analysis of the 2011 census shows that a decade of mass immigration helped mask the scale of decline in Christian affiliation among the British-born population – while driving a dramatic increase in Islam, particularly among the young.
Paul Vitz is a psychologist from NYU who has made an interesting analysis in regards to why atheists disbelieve in the existence of God. He explains as to why atheism might have a psychological rooting with atheists and the relationships with their fathers. I would check out his book and this introduction to get a better understanding of the case.
Also, see Eric Metaxas’ Socrates in the City for Paul Vitz’s short essay on the matter.
Freud also said:
The idea of God was not a lie but a device of the unconscious which needed to be decoded by psychology. A personal god was nothing more than an exalted father-figure: desire for such a deity sprang from infantile yearnings for a powerful, protective father, for justice and fairness and for life to go on forever. God is simply a projection of these desires, feared and worshipped by human beings out of an abiding sense of helplessness. Religion belonged to the infancy of the human race; it had been a necessary stage in the transition from childhood to maturity. It had promoted ethical values which were essential to society. Now that humanity had come of age, however, it should be left behind.
Not because Freud is an atheist, but I am more inclined to agree with his conclusion. Vitz seems to extrapolate from an inadequate sample size. He did mention a number of atheists with “defective fathers” as he puts it. He placed a lot of emphasis on Ludwig Feuerbach, however. In any event, even his book won’t contain an adequate sample size.
So, what can be said about Freud’s sample size? For one, it covers a wider population. In other words, the population of individuals with defective fathers is smaller than the population of people with defective fathers, non-defective fathers and no fathers. The notion of a patriarchal god can appeal to each group! According to Vitz, atheism appeals (mostly) to one group: namely the one with defective fathers. So the hypothesis has two flaws: inadequate sample size and an inaccurate description of the population. I maintain that atheists have a diverse upbringing. Personally, my father wasn’t defective in terms of being able to raise me, love me, provide for me, etc.; moreover, I haven’t lost respect for him. None of Vitz’s sample descriptors apply to me and perhaps some of my followers can chime in and share their upbringings.
However, let us look at the larger sample size Freud would have worked with.
Christians who had defective fathers
I personally know a few Christians who had defective fathers (i.e. predominantly absent during childhood, detached, even abusive). The idea of a celestial, all-loving, ever-available father figure is no doubt appealing to such a group. This idea is certainly more appealing than the notion that this father figure is nonexistent—in other words, Vitz’s analysis. This same logic can be applied to Christians who had no fathers.
Christians with good fathers
I was a Christian with a good father. The idea of a perfect father was no doubt appealing. The notion that I could have an eternal father that is in every way as good but in other ways better than my father was attractive. However, we can both agree that comfort is not a requirement for truth. Many Christians had loving fathers and the idea of immortalizing this figure is appealing. Good fathers pass away—in most cases before their children pass away. “Daddy is dead, but I still have God.” The sentence exudes appeal.
To review: Freud’s sample size covers is drawn from a larger population of Christians (defective fathers, non-defective fathers, no fathers); furthermore, his samples can describe the population more accurately. Vitz, on the other hand, can’t extrapolate as far as he has attempted to. His sample size (defective fathers) is simply to small and naming x amount of famous cases doesn’t help; moreover, his sample size can’t claim to accurately describe the population (namely atheists). In simple terms, he can’t get from x amount of famous atheists had defective fathers; therefore, most atheists had defective fathers and thus, have a psychological basis for disbelief in god.
The positive: Vitz’s analysis is thoughtful and to be preferred over the more common, “atheists are rebellious against god” or “atheists are mad at god” or the more extreme “atheists are the spawn of Satan.”
What percentage of philosophers are theists? How many of them believe in free will? More importantly: how many of them think zombies are actually possible? Finally, a study has provided an answer to all these questions, and more.
A new report on global religious identity shows that while Christians and Muslims make up the two largest groups, those with no religious affiliation — including atheists and agnostics — are now the third-largest “religious” group in the world.
The study, released Tuesday (Dec. 18) by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, found that more than eight in 10 (84 percent) of the world’s 7 billion people adheres to some form of religion. Christians make up the largest group, with 2.2 billion adherents, or 32 percent worldwide, followed by Muslims, with 1.6 billion adherents, or 23 percent worldwide.
Ex-Muslim atheists are becoming more outspoken, but tolerance is still rare.
A MOB attacked Alexander Aan even before an Indonesian court in June jailed him for two and a half years for “inciting religious hatred”. His crime was to write “God does not exist” on a Facebook group he had founded for atheists in Minang, a province of the world’s most populous Muslim nation. Like most non-believers in Islamic regions, he was brought up as a Muslim. And like many who profess godlessness openly, he has been punished.
In a handful of majority-Muslim countries atheists can live safely, if quietly; Turkey is one example, Lebanon another. None makes atheism a specific crime. But none gives atheists legal protection or recognition. Indonesia, for example, demands that people declare themselves as one of six religions; atheism and agnosticism do not count. Egypt’s draft constitution makes room for only three faiths: Christianity, Judaism and Islam.
Percentage of Protestant Americans Is in Steep Decline, Study Finds
For the first time since researchers began tracking the religious identity of Americans, fewer than half said they were Protestants, a steep decline from 40 years ago when Protestant churches claimed the loyalty of more than two-thirds of the population.