I read an essay online from some dude who thought it was sooner than we think. His view was interesting, obviously fanatical over science and how it will replace blind faith but I couldn't help thinking he was being a little over enthusiastic with his term 'it will happen sooner than later'. In a perfect world, we'll all agree on the same things when it comes to faith. But I dont think that day is coming any time soon. What do ya reckon?
I don't think that pattern seeking, agency, and theory of mind make religion inevitable, even if it's a small minority view.
I said it made religion natural, not inevitable. It's naturalness means it's unlikely to die out completely. And this isn't my personal opinion. It's the opinion of cognitive scientists. One of the founding father's of the Cognitive Psychology of Religion even wrote a book where he explicitly says so.
Being religious is a weakness, and a lot of people will be too weak to resist the idea that if they just believe, they can have eternal life.
So, it'll never happen. Sorry to be the one to tell you.
I don't think it will ever happen to be honest. I think even if the majorities end up not believing in any god there will always be a few holdouts that will become more extreme in their faith and form groups. That and we shouldn't assume that the rise of new types of faiths isn't possible. I could see a group of people embracing the universe as being alive and being god etc. This is also assuming we don't have some event or collapse in our society where people lose technology and much of the scientific knowledge we have where faith could thrive once again. The one thing I think is very possible is that faith will do what it does best... survive... by looking through history we can see how many different groups managed to continue under ground or they just picked up their shit and went else where far away from everyone else. In a future where say for example space travel becomes viable over long distances we could see the galactic version of pilgrims set out into the galaxy. An example of something like this can be found in a gory but yet darkly humorous scene in the movie Starship Troopers where Mormon extremist leave Earth and establish a colony on another world that happens to be in area of space controlled by a hive of space bugs pretty much... in any case they all get slaughtered after ignoring advice not to settle where they don't belong believing their faith would protect them. Now the interesting thing to think of would be the possibility that we ourselves may encounter nomads, crusaders, missionaries or pilgrims of some type of E.T faith. That of course would assume there is a way to solve the problems of long distance space travel. So I just don't think that religion will ever just go away and I believe that even in the case of other races that may be out there the same would apply. Hopefully this can help when it comes to some more interesting things that could happen to use as examples.
Some good points there mate. I did like Starship Troopers too, but how bad were the sequels!!! ooof
Yeah I was soo upset with how they could go from doing a movie that was great because of its dark humor and cheesy qualities to the just bad sequels. Of course it does cause me to wonder about what would of happened if they would have taken a more serious approach from the start when it came to following the book. Instead of the other way arround where they had a movie idea and ended up seeing how similar it was to the Starship Troopers book and getting the license to use the ideas in it.
as long as they keep it to themselves, don't psychologically torture their children with threats of eternal hell fire, keep their crazy ideas out of policy, then I don't care what they believe or how long this belief continues.
I think that if Atheists became more active, religion would die very quickly.
Imagine if every atheist spent their lives trying to accomplish one goal. To convert only one 'believer' to the dark side. Just one. We would double in size every generation - in 100 years it could be done. But people will always have crazy ideas, just as long as they are embarrassed to speak about it, I'm fine with that.
I will answer this in form of a quote:
"Science adjusts it’s views based on what’s observed
Faith is the denial of observation so that belief can be preserved."
(by the incredible Tim Minchin, look for him on youtube if you don't know him, you will not regret it)
Even if Atheism becomes mainstream and widespread enough so it's ideas reach anyone, it will take at the very least several generations until religion dies out naturally.
(Ironically, if I am right, it will do so through a kind of natural selection. Only the strongest idea will survive - I hope)
As long as there are individuals who capitalize off other people's problems, fears, self sense of grandiosity and a strong desire of immortality religion will exist. Monotheism is a recent human invention, it will extinguish as it's predecessors did.
"We evolved to be pattern seekers. We find them when they're not actually there. We evolved to see agency. Sometimes we see agency when it's not there. We evolved to have a theory of mind. So it's natural for us to see a pattern where none exists, attribute to it agency, and then grant it a mind like ours."
There are groups/tribes of people extant on this planet who have no concept of god: Amazon jungle/Borneo. Perhaps they are intellectually lagging behind the rest of humanity but I find it interesting that they had not developed patterns, agencies, and ultimately a god.
I need to read the book by McCauley. Until then I am of the opinion that religion perpetuates itself at present more by the indoctrination of our young and the continued dismissal of scientific understanding.
Where did I say that religion necessarily had to do with a god?
As the anthropologist Pascal Boyer writes in his Religion Explained: The Evolutionary Origins of Religious Thought (Boyer, Pascal. Religion Explained: The Evolutionary Origin of Religious Thought. New York: Basic Books, 2001):
You can have religion without having "a" religion. ... You can also have religion without having "religion." ... You can have religion without "faith." The conclusion from [the anthropological evidence] is straightforward. If people tell you "Religion is faith in a doctrine that teaches us how to save our souls by obeying a wise and eternal Creator of the universe," these people probably have not traveled or read widely enough. In many cultures people think that the dead come back to haunt the living, but this is not universal. In some places people think that some special individuals can communicate with gods or dead people, but that idea is not found everywhere. In some places people assume that people have a soul that survives after death, but that assumption also is not universal. When we put forward general explanations of religion, we had better make sure that they apply outside our parish.
Neither did I say that religion isn't perpetuated by indoctrination. (Dismissal of scientific understanding is as a consequence of religious indoctrination [and the non-naturalness of scientific thinking] in the first place). But the cognitive naturalness explains features of religion that pure explanation by indoctrination never could. For instance, why do all religions, even those that don't believe in a Supreme Being or even a god of any kind, have similar features? Because these features appeal to our evolved cognitive inference systems.
What I said was that religion is natural. Cognitive scientists have shown this. It's not controversial. I'd suggest you read Boyer's book as not only does it lay out the case in more detail than McCauley does in his new book, but Boyer also begins by smashing to pieces the traditional explanations for religion, showing where and why they don't work. Having said that, McCauley's book is great and I highly recommend it (You just need some deeper background first). We're going to be interviewing him about the book next week for a show to air soon so if you're interested, stay tuned to the show for scheduling updates.
There is no wonder why religion is still being practised around the world with governments heavily relying on it to control the mass and keep individuals content with the lives they endure. Religion will continue to be an important variable within society until it is excluded from school curriculums, education is more prevalent/encouraged and it stops being wrongfully promoted as the means for a moral way of life.