Author and noted biopsychologist Nigel Barber has completed a new study that shows Atheism is most prevalent in developed countries, and, according to his projections, religion will completely disappear by 2041. His findings are discussed in his new book “Why Atheism Will Replace Religion.” A new study that clarifies his earlier research will be published in August. His findings focus on trends within countries around the world and the fact that “Atheists are heavily concentrated in economically developed countries”-
In my new study of 137 countries (1), I also found that atheism increases for countries with a well-developed welfare state (as indexed by high taxation rates). Moreover, countries with a more equal distribution of income had more atheists. My study improved on earlier research by taking account of whether a country is mostly Moslem (where atheism is criminalized) or formerly Communist (where religion was suppressed) and accounted for three-quarters of country differences in atheism.
His main thesis stems from the phenomenon of religion declining as personal wealth increases. He cites the reason as people having less of a need for supernatural beliefs when the tangible, natural world is providing for their needs. He says the majority of the world will come to view religion as completely irrelevant by 2041.
Political Scientist Eric Kaufmann holds the opposite view, citing the fact that Atheists have fewer than religious people. He thinks this could indicate the religious mindset will proliferate due to religious folks simply breeding more than Atheists. But what is the significance of the prolific breeding of religious people?
Biotechnologist Thomas Rees poses this question in his essay “Will the Religious Inherit the Earth?” In this piece, he discusses Kaufmann’s and comes to the conclusion that the breeding aspect could tip the odds in favor of the religious purely due to fertility and childbearing rates among them.
Barber, however, dismisses the breeding-related evidence, saying “…Yet, noisy as they can be, such groups are tiny minorities of the global population and they will become even more marginalized as global prosperity increases and standards of living improve.”
He also says that as women become more integrated into the , they will have fewer children, even if they are members of a religious fundamentalist group: “Moreover, as religious fundamentalists become economically integrated, young women go to work and produce smaller families, as is currently happening for Utah’s Mormons,” he says.
If a recent PEW is any indication of a solid answer to the question, Kaufman may be correct. The study, performed by PEW in 2012, indicates a huge upswing in Atheism, with 20% of Americans now identifying as Agnostic, Atheist or “Unaffiliated” with a religion. This number represents the largest percentage of people in PEW’s history of polling who identify as non-religious.
It is clear that the growth of Atheism or “unaffiliated” people is growing at an incredibly rapid rate in the United States, but it seems that being non-religious is also exploding globally. The UK’s Daily Mail reported an extensive 2010 study that showed unaffiliated individuals as the “third largest global group” behind Christians and Muslims, placing the unaffiliated ahead of Hindus, Buddists, Jews and all other religious affliations.
I could conceive of such a projection being correct. It will be cold comfort for those stuck in nominally pluralistic areas where irreligion is still a fairly small minority... or anyone in a place where it still holds all the political cards (e.g., some sort of theocracy where a "faith" held by only 10 percent or even less of the population is the ruling club, like Islam generally was after a conquest, or Rome immediately after Constantine took over.)
However, a 51% irreligious global majority would mean such situations would necessarily be rarer than they are today.
Nope - I dont believe it. If anything It'll tone down but maybe not before it gets worse first.
I feel that 'new atheism' is the ship thats sinking.
I bet that if you did a google search of future predictions, 99.99%, if not all, were wrong.
I predict that most predictions will be wrong.
And that I won't be regarded as a prophet 20 years down the road no matter how correct I am here.
I'll be freaking 50 by then. Well at least I'll still be living by then.