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Old 01-05-2003, 03:43 PM   #1
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The West Killed God

No, this isn't a troll or anything, it's the topic of a seminar I'm doing for History class. Basically I just want to offer this up for discussion.. do you think it's true? I know this could get rowdy so please keep it polite and such.

What this is talking about is the fact that less people now believe in god, especially the christian god, than did before, and also that the church has much less power than it once did. Of course it's hard to define 'the west' but i think of it as modernization: the rise of rationality, industrialization, capitalism, individualism, and deruralization (if that's a word. etc)

So do you agree that religion is less important to society than it was 20, 100, 200, or 500 years ago? Why might this be? etc. etc.

And if you know of any films or anything that would be really good to show, or anything like that, then feel free to suggest some.
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Old 01-05-2003, 04:00 PM   #2
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Actually,

With over 95% of the planet still believing in God today, this idea that there has been some major shift from a hundred years ago is a bit flawed. Church attendance may be way down in the United Kingdom(and other places in Europe), but thats a small part of the world. Today nearly half of Africa is now Christian. Less than 10% was a hundred years ago. In the places where the population is growing on the planet, christianity and religion are alive and well. Church attendance is going up in the USA, not down.

An interesting thing is that in Europe, where religion has declined in several countries, the population is shrinking so much, that in a couple of decades, there will be more retired people than actual working people.

Less people in Europe have childern these days and there for do not have families. They may be a little less philosophical or intellectual about the whole thing because of that fact. Their focus is more self-centered perhaps. Thats a big maybe.
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Old 01-05-2003, 04:20 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally posted by STING2
Actually,

With over 95% of the planet still believing in God today, this idea that there has been some major shift from a hundred years ago is a bit flawed. Church attendance may be way down in the United Kingdom(and other places in Europe), but thats a small part of the world. Today nearly half of Africa is now Christian. Less than 10% was a hundred years ago. In the places where the population is growing on the planet, christianity and religion are alive and well. Church attendance is going up in the USA, not down.

An interesting thing is that in Europe, where religion has declined in several countries, the population is shrinking so much, that in a couple of decades, there will be more retired people than actual working people.

Less people in Europe have childern these days and there for do not have families. They may be a little less philosophical or intellectual about the whole thing because of that fact. Their focus is more self-centered perhaps. Thats a big maybe.
Sting,

You throw out a lot of numbers here.

95% How was this arrived at?
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Old 01-05-2003, 04:46 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by STING2
Actually,

With over 95% of the planet still believing in God today, this idea that there has been some major shift from a hundred years ago is a bit flawed. Church attendance may be way down in the United Kingdom(and other places in Europe), but thats a small part of the world. Today nearly half of Africa is now Christian. Less than 10% was a hundred years ago. In the places where the population is growing on the planet, christianity and religion are alive and well. Church attendance is going up in the USA, not down.

An interesting thing is that in Europe, where religion has declined in several countries, the population is shrinking so much, that in a couple of decades, there will be more retired people than actual working people.

Less people in Europe have childern these days and there for do not have families. They may be a little less philosophical or intellectual about the whole thing because of that fact. Their focus is more self-centered perhaps. Thats a big maybe.
you know, i honestly think you could have made this all up.

95% percent of the world believes in God, eh. right. and which source has said this? and how would they know? did they poll everyone on earth? even half of us? even a quarter? even an /8th? a 16th? you get the idea.

before you make such enormous claims, please cite some sort of reference.
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Old 01-05-2003, 05:04 PM   #5
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I think there are a few reasons less people believe in god today than back then.
1. It is now less of a big deal to NOT believe in god. Just like homosexuals, it is more accepted to have a disbelief in god then say 500 years ago.
2. Science. More people prefer to believe in science because it seems to be the one thing that mostly everyone agrees on. So for some reason people choose to believe in science than religion. Whilst I think science is just like religion. I dont believe scientists anymore than I believe the pope.

And not to forget that religion plays less of a part in schools today than even 50 years ago. And since we are raised in school, we get taught science more than religion. This is if the child isnt being raised in an overly religious family.
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Old 01-05-2003, 05:13 PM   #6
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Sorry to disappoint you but I don't have the exact source. It is in fact not one single source, but multiple sources I have seen over the past 15 years from scientific polling data done at various times. Its widely accepted fact regardless of culture, belief or political view point, from what I have briefly read or seen over the past 15 years.

No scientific poll polls every single person. I don't know if you ever took statistics at University or not, but there is a, number depending on the population being study, that is considered to be a representitive sample of that population. Thats how scientific polling and indeed most polling is done.

Cow,

It looks like for some reason you want to believe I made this up and for some reason hope that this polling data is totally a fraud. But thats really a baseless assumption on my part just as your assumption of me making this up is as well. I try to afford everyone here a certain level of respect(I'm not perfect though and make mistakes) and would hope you would do the same.

When it comes to statistics and scientific polling data, there is no such thing as an "enormous claim". I'm sorry I don't have the actual source its just something I've known because of study after study thats been done and printed in Magazines, News Papers, and TV news programs over the years. I'm sorry I don't have a(ready to go) source for every single piece of knowledge I know, for a lot of things I do, but not everything. Do you know anyone that does? I've never seen anything that would contradict that data unless you took a single poll of just Finland or Eastern Germany and extrapolated that over the entire planet. That would be an example of an UN-scientfic poll.
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Old 01-05-2003, 05:13 PM   #7
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Sting got the number from me you jackases..

thank u
db3
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Old 01-05-2003, 05:14 PM   #8
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Science and religion do not have to be mutually exclusive.

Many scientists do believe in religion.

They just don't base their science on religion.



Science has no problem abandoning incorrect beliefs and will rewrite science books.

Science is not perfect, it is probably the best system for the search for knowledge.
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Old 01-05-2003, 05:16 PM   #9
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thats one thing I like about science, it admits when its wrong.
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Old 01-05-2003, 05:17 PM   #10
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..if anybody wants to do any rewriting they need to check w me first..bitchfaces..

thank u.
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Old 01-05-2003, 05:22 PM   #11
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"thats one thing I like about science, it admits when its wrong."

So has the Church in the past.
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Old 01-05-2003, 05:47 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by STING2
"thats one thing I like about science, it admits when its wrong."

So has the Church in the past.
Quote:
Science has no problem abandoning incorrect beliefs and will rewrite science books.

They have problem abandoning incorrect beliefs

It took them 400? years to pardon Galileo.

I don't remember them rewriting their book.
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Old 01-05-2003, 06:41 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by STING2
No scientific poll polls every single person. I don't know if you ever took statistics at University or not, but there is a, number depending on the population being study, that is considered to be a representitive sample of that population. Thats how scientific polling and indeed most polling is done.
Right, but it's an awful lot harder to get a representative sample of the entire planet. And also, whether a sample is representative or not depends on more than simply the size of the sample - for example you might decide that 1000 people can be a representative sample of the population of a state, but if every one of those people is a man then your sample is not representative of the population at all.

Anyway, this wasn't a discussion of sampling methods so I'll just take my i-hate-statistics-self elsewhere
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Old 01-05-2003, 08:57 PM   #14
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I actually detest the idea that science and religion need be contradictory. Or perhaps more accurately, science and GOD.

Science - leaving aside the politics of it, the vested interests and so forth - is no more than a quest for knowledge using logic. So the evidence suggests that the Bible isn't an 'historical' document per se. Big bloody deal. Maybe it's only cause I come from a Catholic background but I've never really seen the Bible as something to be taken literally, though of course towards the most recent parts in the New Testament it does connect somewhat with actual history.

Anyway, I guess my point is that the onus really is on the rationalists to disprove God, not the other way around. And well spotted, some scientists do indeed believe in God. It's hardly a revolutionary idea.

On the broader question of this thread, maybe religion is declining in parts of the 'west'. In the institutional sense I'd be tempted to say 'about bloody time'. It's a tricky question though, cause 'religion' is one particular thing. It's not the be-all and end-all. I'd even venture to suggest that the connection between active attendance at a church, and 'belief' in a more general sense, is tenuous at best. I haven't set foot in a church in years, bar Christmas and Easter. Does that make me a bad Catholic, well yes most likely it does. But I continue to 'believe'.

Of course there are many paths to God. I also believe that. So if this thread is just talking about Christianity then maybe it's missing the point.
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Old 01-05-2003, 09:14 PM   #15
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This thread is talking about any and all things relating to the subject. And I'm not saying that 'the west killed god' that's just what the seminar is called. This is on a broad scale, too. I think most people would agree that there are more athiests and agnostics now than there were in 1700, but that's also rather hard to prove.

The fact that the power of the organized catholic church has decreased is pretty obvious. That doesn't at all mean God is dead. But it is an important thing to think about nonetheless.

These days people are much freeer to think for themselves than in the past, which means a lot of people come up with their own definitions of God and their own beliefs about the supernatural and organized religion has a much smaller place in life. There are statistics, though, that show people who attend church are generally happier and more devoted to their families.. which is interesting albeit possibly unrelated to anything else i've been talking about
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