Why aren't there more atheists in America

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Why aren't there more atheists in America

Postby ccgr » Thu Aug 07, 2014 4:18 pm

http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/ ... 09732.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Re: Why aren't there more atheists in America

Postby ArchAngel » Thu Aug 07, 2014 5:06 pm

Putting aside the author's insistence that we are the "most scientific" and "self-consciously modern" of today's nation, an entirely separate and unqualified discussion, his theories about tying religious intolerance and the church's denial of scientific progress and the rise of atheism is interesting.
I wonder how it hold's in comparison to Islamic fundamentalism in the Middle East.

That being said, in risk validating my preconceptions, it does seem like a reasonable observation that the church's insistence on creationism has been a thorn in it's own side.
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Re: Why aren't there more atheists in America

Postby Sstavix » Thu Aug 07, 2014 7:55 pm

Putting aside the author's insistence that we are the "most scientific" and "self-consciously modern" of today's nation, an entirely separate and unqualified discussion, his theories about tying religious intolerance and the church's denial of scientific progress and the rise of atheism is interesting.
I wonder how it hold's in comparison to Islamic fundamentalism in the Middle East.
It's interesting to note that during Europe's "Dark Age," when the Holy Roman Empire held sway over most of the political systems of that continent, the Middle East was having a sort of Renaissance era in regards to mathematics and science. However, they tended to be more tolerant of other faiths then, too. Nowadays, compare how most fundamentalist Islamic nations compare to others which are much more tolerant and lenient of other religions. It's almost a complete reversal of the way it used to be. I've developed a theory of sorts that the more tolerant and respectful a nation's people are towards other faiths, the more ideas that nation generates and the more it can progress scientifically and technologically.

I do think that the article is operating off one faulty pretense - that science and religion are at odds in terms of progress. Indeed, I think that the two approaches - combined with philosophy - are the best way to understand the universe and God's creation. This was briefly touched on with the author's paragraph about Isaac Newton and John Locke (he was Scottish!), but he sadly seemed to gloss over that kind of approach for the stereotypical mindset that science and religion were, for some reason, at war with each other.

Indeed, it seems to me that the biggest hindrance to scientific, technological and religious progress does tend to be political (or, perhaps, the love of power). It's one of the reasons why I tend to be opposed to this nation essentially becoming a theocracy, whether it's Christian or secular humanism. We need to have the free exercise of religion in order to be great. Stifling religious expression is a bad thing, even for those that don't practice any religion.
That being said, in risk validating my preconceptions, it does seem like a reasonable observation that the church's insistence on creationism has been a thorn in it's own side.
It depends on the church, of course. Some churches are more willing to adopt a mindset that a "day" could have been thousands of years, and not a literal 24-hour day. (And this isn't limited to Christian churches, either - we can find examples of other religions and their creation stories that could be compatible with scientific theories about evolution and the "birth" of the universe - and they are willing to admit it, too).

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Re: Why aren't there more atheists in America

Postby Wildebear » Fri Aug 08, 2014 8:59 pm

It's interesting to note that during Europe's "Dark Age," when the Holy Roman Empire held sway over most of the political systems of that continent, the Middle East was having a sort of Renaissance era in regards to mathematics and science. However, they tended to be more tolerant of other faiths then, too. Nowadays, compare how most fundamentalist Islamic nations compare to others which are much more tolerant and lenient of other religions. It's almost a complete reversal of the way it used to be. I've developed a theory of sorts that the more tolerant and respectful a nation's people are towards other faiths, the more ideas that nation generates and the more it can progress scientifically and technologically.

Indeed, it seems to me that the biggest hindrance to scientific, technological and religious progress does tend to be political (or, perhaps, the love of power). It's one of the reasons why I tend to be opposed to this nation essentially becoming a theocracy, whether it's Christian or secular humanism. We need to have the free exercise of religion in order to be great. Stifling religious expression is a bad thing, even for those that don't practice any religion.
The House of Wisdom was certainly an indicator that the Arabs had a bigger appreciation for secular philosophy than the Europeans. They weren't tolerant in modern day context, but they were slightly more tolerant in the sense that they handled non-Muslims in a different way. In most Arab states non-Muslims had to pay Jizya, a tax of some sorts. Some non-Muslim cultural groups were also seen as sects. Being a part of a sect was practically a death sentence under Islamic law. It was also a crime declaring war on another Sunni/Shiite kingdom so there were times war became a scarcity among the Islamic states.

Your theory might hold up in some aspects, but if you look at independent technologies a lot were developed in times of war. Man's need to kill his fellow man with new and improved weapons is unyielding. Another interesting thing to one may consider is the infamous accidental invention. We've had a lot of those! You may be interested to know that there actually is a study field that involves the analysis of scientific and technological progress with social and political factors in mind. They call it STS or Science and technology studies. The STS researchers I've read of don't usually pit science and atheism against religion.
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Re: Why aren't there more atheists in America

Postby ScotchRobbins » Mon Sep 15, 2014 11:16 pm

I wonder how it hold's in comparison to Islamic fundamentalism in the Middle East.
There aren't likely going to be any major leaps and bounds made until the penalty for disbelief drops.
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Re: Why aren't there more atheists in America

Postby selderane » Mon Oct 20, 2014 7:15 pm

That being said, in risk validating my preconceptions, it does seem like a reasonable observation that the church's insistence on creationism has been a thorn in it's own side.
It depends on the church, of course. Some churches are more willing to adopt a mindset that a "day" could have been thousands of years, and not a literal 24-hour day. (And this isn't limited to Christian churches, either - we can find examples of other religions and their creation stories that could be compatible with scientific theories about evolution and the "birth" of the universe - and they are willing to admit it, too).
Right. There really ought to be a separation made between Young Earth Creationism and Intelligent Design. The latter, I think, is very robust and thoroughly defensible. The former... well... I wish it would go away.

I'm not sure how many churches support one over the other. I've never been inclined to look. Has there been a survey?
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Re: Why aren't there more atheists in America

Postby ArchAngel » Tue Oct 21, 2014 12:51 am

I'm sure the distinction matters to ID'ers and YEC'ers, but they are both pretty baseless.

I'm open to hearing how it's "defensible," but I have yet to see anything from ID that isn't complete pseudoscience and for the most case, just religion in disguise.
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Re: Why aren't there more atheists in America

Postby selderane » Tue Oct 21, 2014 1:03 am

Well, you know, at least you're open. You got that going for you.
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Re: Why aren't there more atheists in America

Postby ChickenSoup » Tue Oct 21, 2014 2:05 am

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