Saturday, February 18, 2017

The world becomes fully atheistic by 2237?

 WIN-Gallup International opinion poll on Global Index of Religion and atheism: 59% of the world said that they think of themselves as religious person, 23% think of themselves as not religious whereas 13% think of themselves as convinced atheists.

Gods, fashioned by the early humans, as they did not understand this world or life, have been living with humans from the very beginning. Religions have the advantage of cultural, historical and evolutionary baggage. Further, religions promote group cohesion and co-operation. Getting rid of them is not all that easy.  Yes, thousands of gods have died and gone but the few, alive today, are popular and strong with great mass appeal.

Nevertheless, atheism is growing steadily and the non-religious are growing faster.  Catholic journalist Damian Thompson speculates that at the present rate of decline, Anglicanism will disappear from Britain by 2033. He points out that the number of Anglicans have already fallen from 40% of the population in 1983 to 29% in 2004 to 17% last year.

According to Global Survey on Religiosity, there are 13% atheists in 2016 against 9% in 2005 (an increase of 4% in 11 years). According to Global Survey on Religiosity, there are 13% atheists in 2016 against 9% in 2005 (an increase of 4% in 11 years). Project  4% increase in 11 years for the next century and see the result:

Year       atheists
2005        9%                                                                                                                                              2016      13%                                                                                                                                              2050      32%                                                                                                                                            2105      52%                                                                                                                                    2237    100%       

The surveys of the Pew Research Center shows there are 23% ‘nons’ (non-religious)  in the US in 2016.  This is an increase of 7% from 16% in 2007- (in a period of 9 years). By projecting the same increase to the coming century get the result as follows. 

Year        Non-religious 

2007        16%
2016        23% 
2051        52%
2115       100%

The Pew Research center has also shown that the US Christians dropped from 78.4% in 2007 to 70.6% in 2014. See the result by taking the rate of decrease forward:

Year      % of US Christians 

2007               78.4%
2014               70.6%
2021               62.8%
2035               47.2%
2077                0 %   

The Gallup International Survey found that religious people fell from 77% to 68% between 2005 and 2011.  (9% in 6 years!) If this trend continues, world will be non-religious in 50 years’ time.  

But Rachel Newer, a freelance journalist, feels religions will not exit all that easily.  The Pew Research Center study, released recently found that major religious groups will grow and outpace the rise in atheists and the unaffiliated populations (now mostly in the developed world). While the number of Christians will increase from today's 2.1 billion to 2.9 billion by 2050, Muslims will jump from 1.6 billion to 2.8 billion. This growth will be because of high fertility rates of these groups in Asia and Sub Saharan Africa.  UN population Fund (as per the median variant) predicts that the world population will be 10 billion by 2050 and then level off.  The number of the religiously-affiliated will come down thereafter as GDP will become higher.As health and finances and living standards increase religion takes a back seat. Religious beliefs decline as women are empowered resulting in fewer children.  

Decline in belief happens in countries with a higher GDP. Religion will decrease as the wealth of individuals increases. Atheists are more in richer nations with higher standards of life.  If the quality of life increases religiosity comes down.  Dr. Nigel Barber says that the market for religion is squeezed by modern substitutes like sports, entertainments and sociability. He also feels atheists will be more than the religious by 2038. But this may not the case with in the closed Islamic societies. 

Japan, China, France, Australia, Iceland, UK, Canada, South Korea, Iceland, Netherlands, Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, Uruguay, New Zealand, Denmark, Belgium and a few others have the lowest belief rates. Religious people are (or becoming) a minority in each one of them. It is estimated by 2041, religious followers will become a minority in 137 nations. 

A big natural calamity may change all these. After a 2011 massive earthquake in Church-gate, New Zealand (a very secular nation) there was sudden spike in religiosity. Suffering and fear seem to draw people to gods. But religion in Japan plummeted during and after World War 11. Hence let us hope that religions are out of this beautiful world in about two


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