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Belief in God found in decline - Comments

strangebrew's Avatar Comment 1 by strangebrew

Belief in God is declining gradually worldwide

Duuuhhhaa!

Wed, 18 Apr 2012 19:38:29 UTC | #935531

Jay G's Avatar Comment 2 by Jay G

"The report said researchers found belief in God is higher among older people regardless of where they live."

There's a shocker. Some people start to believe in God as they get older and can see the "end".

Wed, 18 Apr 2012 19:49:09 UTC | #935534

jbkaffe's Avatar Comment 3 by jbkaffe

There's a shocker. Some people start to believe in God as they get older and can see the "end".

Pascal's wager in action.

Wed, 18 Apr 2012 19:52:25 UTC | #935536

Kim Probable's Avatar Comment 4 by Kim Probable

Comment 2 by Jay G :

"The report said researchers found belief in God is higher among older people regardless of where they live."

There's a shocker. Some people start to believe in God as they get older and can see the "end".

A book I read once on attachment theory explained it as a side effect of watching all your friends die and losing connections with people.

My grandmother attended church regularly as she got older, though she wasn't a believer. It was mostly so that she could be around other elderly people who were pretty much there for the same reason.

Wed, 18 Apr 2012 20:03:07 UTC | #935537

Graxan's Avatar Comment 5 by Graxan

          [Comment 2](/articles/645644-belief-in-god-found-in-decline/comments?page=1#comment_935534) by  [Jay G](/profiles/53116)          :


                 "The report said researchers found belief in God is higher among older people regardless of where they live."There's a shocker.  Some people start to believe in God as they get older and can see the "end".

This may certainly be true to an extent but also consider that the older members of society had less access to information growing up (e.g. no internet etc.) and the church was more culturally embedded in society.

Wed, 18 Apr 2012 20:16:38 UTC | #935543

Zeuglodon's Avatar Comment 6 by Zeuglodon

Comment 2 by Jay G

"The report said researchers found belief in God is higher among older people regardless of where they live."

There's a shocker. Some people start to believe in God as they get older and can see the "end".

AND/OR it's simply that old people are the last remnants of a time when religion was widespread, but since a series of liberation movements over the last few decades has weakened old traditions, the younger generation grows up in a more irreligious world. A.K.A. the Max Planck effect:

A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.

I think there was an episode on Mythbusters in which they busted the adage "you can't teach old dogs new tricks", though they admitted that it took longer to teach old dogs than young dogs. The neurological mechanism behind it is most likely similar to the one found in humans, since habits of thought become entrenched. The longer they're indulged, the more neural connections are forged and reinforced, and the more effort is required to shake them up.

Wed, 18 Apr 2012 20:22:11 UTC | #935544

CJHefford's Avatar Comment 7 by CJHefford

Comment 5 by Graxan :

Comment 2 by Jay G : "The report said researchers found belief in God is higher among older people regardless of where they live."There's a shocker. Some people start to believe in God as they get older and can see the "end".

This may certainly be true to an extent but also consider that the older members of society had less access to information growing up (e.g. no internet etc.) and the church was more culturally embedded in society.

I think it's likely this. I think the digital age we live in has given more people access to information, knowledge and the perspective of others. It's only natural some will begin to make more informed decisions about the world, the universe and the divine (or lack there of!).

Wed, 18 Apr 2012 20:23:05 UTC | #935545

strangebrew's Avatar Comment 8 by strangebrew

Yep! coming from a society dominated by jeebus drooling they knew nothing else.

Wed, 18 Apr 2012 20:23:55 UTC | #935546

Stafford Gordon's Avatar Comment 9 by Stafford Gordon

My certainty in the non existance of God increases with age; that's it!

Surveys, who needs 'em?

Think for yourself.

Wed, 18 Apr 2012 20:27:18 UTC | #935547

Sample's Avatar Comment 10 by Sample

It was mostly so that she could be around other elderly people who were pretty much there for the same reason. Kim Probable

Thanks a lot. I had to shove corks in my lacrimal ducts after reading that.

Mike

Wed, 18 Apr 2012 20:43:05 UTC | #935552

jbkaffe's Avatar Comment 11 by jbkaffe

AND/OR it's simply that old people are the last remnants of a time when religion was widespread, but since a series of liberation movements over the last few decades has weakened old traditions, the younger generation grows up in a more irreligious world. A.K.A. the Max Planck effect:

I doubt it is as simple as that. As long as the idea of a god is present at an early age, many people will probably fall back on that idea/belief when they truly realize their own mortality. In a slightly more adult fashion of course. I think this "idea" of a god lingers on in your subconsciousness, unless you've given it a good deal of thought and reached a conclusion by yourself for yourself. Many people don't, until reality shows itself and you start to age with your experiences.

In short: As long as we talk about gods and read about gods, there will be faith. After all, we can't proove no one is there. At least not yet. :-)

Wed, 18 Apr 2012 20:44:31 UTC | #935553

BowDownToGizmo's Avatar Comment 12 by BowDownToGizmo

Bye religion, I look forward to seeing you in a museum in a generation's time.

Wed, 18 Apr 2012 20:47:06 UTC | #935556

Explorer's Avatar Comment 13 by Explorer

I am older, and as a result much wiser, so I ditched religion. I was much more scared of dying when I was a child.

Wed, 18 Apr 2012 21:18:57 UTC | #935561

RobertJames's Avatar Comment 14 by RobertJames

I have to confess that I do find the utter silliness of religious people quite entertaining. There's nothing I like better than watching some right wing fundy-mentalist banging on about Noah and dinosaurs or whatever and falling of my chair laughing at the total absurdity of it all.

I know I'm not the only one... laughing at the religious

Wed, 18 Apr 2012 21:50:53 UTC | #935567

plasma-engineer's Avatar Comment 15 by plasma-engineer

But just a minute folks. Which god is being talked about? Is it some generic god or one in particular?

I find it generally encouraging that belief in god(s) is diminishing, but I'm rather disappointed to see (if I read the report correctly) that there was a bigger change between 1991 and 1998 than between 1998 and 2008. I'm a little bit disappointed at the lack of statistical backup data too. What were the sample sizes and what are the estimated errors?

It is all a bit pseudo-scientific and anecdotal. Perhaps I only believe it because I like the message that it seems to send. Certainly it is not up to the standard of the excellent RDFRS/IPSOS Mori survey.

It will be interesting to see whether the proliferation of New Atheism's publications in the last 5 or 6 years has much effect on the next set of data. That's the main area of hope for me.

Wed, 18 Apr 2012 22:21:52 UTC | #935574

Odalrich's Avatar Comment 16 by Odalrich

I think in all periods of human history older people are more religious than the young. Some of my friends in my school days used to laugh at the religious beliefs of the older generations, but now that they are in their sixties and early seventies they are practicing the same religious rites they laughed at when they were young.

Wed, 18 Apr 2012 23:42:30 UTC | #935592

CdnMacAtheist's Avatar Comment 17 by CdnMacAtheist

As we weather the day to day in the many storms of religiousity, at least that long term climate is improving, unlike our Earth's climate looking into the future. Turbulence ahead for all of Earth's passengers. At least here around Toronto we are relatively safe from most of Nature's & Religion's many dangers.

Thu, 19 Apr 2012 02:02:57 UTC | #935615

mildcat's Avatar Comment 18 by mildcat

Isn't the god dulision change just part of sapians mind evolving? Advances in active reason and knoweledge is made with a loss of dulisions.

Thu, 19 Apr 2012 04:18:39 UTC | #935628

Vorlund's Avatar Comment 19 by Vorlund

Comment 10 by Sample :

It was mostly so that she could be around other elderly people who were pretty much there for the same reason. Kim Probable

Thanks a lot. I had to shove corks in my lacrimal ducts after reading that. Mike

Religions have relied on the social construct to a large extent. In earlier times I suspect whole communities turned out to church because it was the done thing and risked being ostracised if they didn't. Had we access to research on those communities I reckon it would be unsurprising to find a wide variation in the extent of their beliefs. In more modern times this probaly doesn't happen but when older people do not have pursuits which provide themselves with a circle of friends a church is one place to find comapnionship (at a price?).

I sometimes think of Darwin taking his long lonely walks because he could no longer compromise himself by going into a church. Though I also imagine during these walks, his critical eye surveying the wonders of nature and being quite content.

Thu, 19 Apr 2012 07:53:53 UTC | #935649

GPWC's Avatar Comment 20 by GPWC

Comment 14 by RobertJames :

I know I'm not the only one... laughing at the religious

Thanks for the link - someone was having a lot of fun that day.

Thu, 19 Apr 2012 08:02:06 UTC | #935651

theGreatFuzzy's Avatar Comment 21 by theGreatFuzzy

"Belief in God is declining gradually worldwide, with faith highest among older people..."

Belief and faith are not the same thing, of course. On a Belief in God (BIG) scale running from 0 to 1, the pope will be at 1. An atheist will be want to be at 0 but, it's argued by many, can at best be at +0 (where +0 is infinitesimally greater than 0). On a Faith in God (FIG) scale running from 0 to 1, an atheist can honestly claim to be at 0. The pope cannot, honestly, claim to be at 1. He demostrates this every time he gets in one of his bullet proof popemobiles.

This is some what off topic, I know, but the idea's been whirling around in my head since reading The God Delusion (thanks Prof. Dawkins), which was some time ago, and I keep putting off writting it up for the purposes of discussion/feedback. I'm sure you good people can tell me where to put it :-), if this is not an appropriate place.

Thu, 19 Apr 2012 08:30:46 UTC | #935656

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 22 by Alan4discussion

Comment 21 by harlow

On a Belief in God (BIG) scale running from 0 to 1, the pope will be at 1. An atheist will be want to be at 0 but, it's argued by many, can at best be at +0 (where +0 is infinitesimally greater than 0).

There is already the "Dawkins Scale" of belief from 1 to 7.

“I count myself in category 6, but leaning towards 7 - I am agnostic only to the extent that I am agnostic about fairies at the bottom of the garden.”
And how did he describe himself to the archbishop on Thursday, in his supposedly stunning retreat from atheism? “I’d put myself at 6.9.” - http://richarddawkins.net/articles/645143-why-richard-dawkins-is-still-an-atheist

This is some what off topic, I know, but the idea's been whirling around in my head since reading The God Delusion (thanks Prof. Dawkins), which was some time ago, and I keep putting off writting it up for the purposes of discussion/feedback. I'm sure you good people can tell me where to put it :-), if this is not an appropriate place.

This is the "Articles" thread.
If, via "Contests and Discussion" on the blue bar at the top of the page, you click on the "Discussions" menu, you will see a "Start New Discussion" link at the top of the contents list of discussions.

Click on this , and then follow the instructions on submitting a piece for discussion.

Thu, 19 Apr 2012 08:54:32 UTC | #935665

Graxan's Avatar Comment 23 by Graxan

Comment 13 by Explorer

I am older, and as a result much wiser, so I ditched religion. I was much more scared of dying when I was a child.

I was showing my five year old daughter a youtube video of the stars and how our own sun will one day run out of fuel and blow up like a balloon to engulf the inner planets and so forth. She loved the pictures of space and seeing the planets, but a few hours later she came to me upset saying she didn't want to be swallowed up the the sun! So yes even young children seem to have a distinct fear of death, and to be honest I didn't think showing her pictures of space would have scared her. She is happy now that I told her this won't happen for billions of years or - a long long long long time and she prefers to understand it.

Thu, 19 Apr 2012 09:16:01 UTC | #935670

thebaldgit's Avatar Comment 24 by thebaldgit

No great surprise hear especially with faith increasing as you get closer to death just in case it will be of any use. As i am getting older though i am getting less and less tolerant of religious bigots.

Thu, 19 Apr 2012 09:21:47 UTC | #935671

mmurray's Avatar Comment 25 by mmurray

Comment 21 by harlow :

The pope cannot, honestly, claim to be at 1. He demostrates this every time he gets in one of his bullet proof popemobiles.

Not necessarily. Religious people take a number of approaches to this question. They will argue that God's way of protecting the Pope is to give humans the reason and intelligence to make bullet proofing. They will also argue that not using the bullet proofing God has provided by giving us reason and intelligence is an insult to God akin to jumping off a cliff shouting "save me God".

Michael

Thu, 19 Apr 2012 09:34:19 UTC | #935673

Sample's Avatar Comment 26 by Sample

They will also argue that not using the bullet proofing God has provided by giving us reason and intelligence is an insult to God akin to jumping off a cliff shouting "save me God". mcmurray

I can't help but think of the blasphemer Monty Python sketch where rock throwers are men dressing up as women dressing up as men.

I think about that construct with your response, mcmurray. Yes, you're totally right. But really, why don't they all jump off cliffs with the faith to be rescued by angels? There really are no living true believers, well, not for very long anyway. Sort of interesting.

Mike

Thu, 19 Apr 2012 09:57:59 UTC | #935677

mmurray's Avatar Comment 27 by mmurray

Comment 26 by Sample :

I think about that with your response, mcmurray. Yes, you're right. But really, why don't they all jump off cliffs with the faith to be rescued by angels? There really are no living true believers, well, not for very long anyway. Sort of interesting.

Mike

I think they would regard the idea of demanding a miracle or a rescue from God as presuming to know God's mind or God's plan which would a sin.

Michael

Thu, 19 Apr 2012 10:13:57 UTC | #935681

Sample's Avatar Comment 28 by Sample

RE:comment 26, mcmurray,

Fair enough. Unless...oh nevermind. :-j

Mike

Thu, 19 Apr 2012 10:39:48 UTC | #935685

irate_atheist's Avatar Comment 29 by irate_atheist

Comment 27 by mmurray -

I think they would regard the idea of demanding a miracle or a rescue from God as presuming to know God's mind or God's plan which would a sin.

And yet they'll pray every week for people to be healed, the church roof fund to increase, the vicar to find his lost and believe they are doing good.

Silly arses.

Thu, 19 Apr 2012 10:45:00 UTC | #935687

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 30 by Alan4discussion

Comment 24 by thebaldgit

No great surprise hear especially with faith increasing as you get closer to death just in case it will be of any use. As i am getting older though i am getting less and less tolerant of religious bigots.

I'm more inclined to think that it is merely a reflection of the indoctrination of earlier generations, when theist cults, theist "educators", theist scout-leaders, and military chaplains with conscripts, were given free reign to discriminate, indoctrinate, censor the arts & media, and dominate social activities.

Thu, 19 Apr 2012 10:46:55 UTC | #935689