God is Dying in Canada

One could say that God is dying in Canada, as well as many other places. Because there is no good reason to believe that any God actually exists in reality, one could say that God is alive insofar as the God meme (i.e., the socially propagated idea) is being subscribed to and spread. Research in numerous regions around the globe has shown that older generations are more likely to buy into one God meme or another than are younger generations. Larry Moran recently posted on a study showing that theism is far lower among Canadians below the age of 25 (60%)  than Canadians 50 and older (82%). It appears that one of the main contributors to the death of God is, well, death. Approximately 23% of Canadians are non-believers. Among Canadians 25 and under, disbelief rises to 36%. I and surely millions of other atheists will rejoice in the fact that faith-based intellectual dysfunction will continue to decline during our lifetime. Dogmatists may be able to protect their cherished memes by way of closedmindedness, but no amount of intellectual acrobatics will save these misguided memes from the inevitable natural passing of their propagators.

Comments
25 Responses to “God is Dying in Canada”
  1. God says:

    I am not! I am alive and well. WORSHIP ME!

  2. wordsseldomsaid says:

    i would not get too excited about this ron…it seems in several societies through out history, GOD has lost popularity, only to cause some major shaking or another and have HIS name revived..

    i p[ersonally have talked to athiest for years online…intelligent folks some of them, but have found or heard NO sound arguments against GOD whatsoever…

    and as young people i have known for years…or i should say, young athiest, get older, many of them…”find GOD”…i have had the pleasure of converting one myself…a college educated, die hard athiest, who throw out all the ranker and GOD hating blather with all the scientific and intellectual babblings(and better than any i have heard before or sense)….only to kneel less than a year later to the GOD he denied and pray…it was lovely…and over ten years later..he is still a believer…a highly educated one at that…who did not grow up in a faith based home, nor had any tragic accidents that caused his conversion…

    historically, this things come and go in societies by cycles….GOD is out one minute, and in the next…

  3. I agree with wordsseldomsaid. Young atheists often turn into the most fervent believers. The thing is that people 25 and under generally feel no need for God in their lives. Short of a small percentage, the young lambs, as it were, who follow blindly from the start, God is not for the young. According to this logic, religious faith will continue to decline only if procreation rates stay high.

    To counter the statement “one of the main contributors to the death of God is, well, death”, the realization of mortality and steady approach of death is what makes God so popular and this realization is not often reached until around the 25 year mark.

  4. ozatheist says:

    a teacher friend of mine was telling me that Gen Y people tend to be more questioning than previous generations.
    In Australia (and quite likely Canada) Gen Y are regarded as the most educated ever, they also have the highest access to computers and other communication technology than any previous generation. So perhaps these attributes are adding to the lower rates of belief in supernatural deities?

  5. sol says:

    While I agree with the previous comment about the cyclical nature of religious fervor, it also bears mentioning that while belief in God in on the decline in Canada, and even in Western Europe, on a global scale there is quite the opposite trend. In Asia and Africa, there is a very high rate of conversion and related church growth.

  6. Xander Legere says:

    You heard God Ron, worship!

    “From South Park”

    Confess! You Murdering Murderer!

  7. io says:

    … he is back as xenu.

  8. God is dying?

    No. Nietzsche was correct when he performed God’s eulogy.

    This open-casket funeral has been going on over a hundred years too long. I which the necrophiles would leave God’s corpse alone. The sentiment is touching, but stringing Him like a puppet and making him dance is not only macabre and disrespectful; it’s the poorest of taste.

    It’s time to let God go. I hope the 36% of young Canadians understand that.

  9. * which = wish.

    Bloody typos.

  10. L. Ron Brown says:

    Words:

    Your claiming to have not heard arguments against God is quite perplexing. I’m discouraged from even entering into a discussion with you on it because if you think that you’ve never heard a single argument against God that you think to be a good one, chances are you’re not worth debating anymore than a person who had said the exact same thing about Xenu or the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

    But, if you think you have good reason to believe in God, then see if you can make it through the intellectual gauntlet entitled “Pitfalls of every theistic argument that I have ever heard….” on the top right of the page.

  11. L. Ron Brown says:

    Sol: Yes, I trust your word. There are definitely pockets – some very large – where religulousness is stable or on the rise.

    As to God-believing being low in youth and increasing in adulthood, here’s a theory of mine. In youth many children have a good pretty sense of meaning and purpose. In terms of the socioeconomic system, things are pretty straightforward: School. It’s an upward moving system – grade 1,2,3,4,…. Elementary, middle, junior high, high, post-secondary. Word hard in later high school years to get into post-secondary (college or university). This social structure gives children a framework of purpose and meaning. Also, school is very personal development focused. The student may not like every class he/she takes, but the student knows that the ultimate goal is to promote their intellectual and social development. When students leave school and enter the work force, this focus on personal development becomes secondary to what the individual can produce for the employer. Moreover, the direction that one *should* follow is no longer clearly laid out. The person can take any number of directions. Which one to take? Further, it seems that it is often harder to derive intrinsic satisfaction when the primary aims are no longer personal development, there is no longer a clear framework of stepwise upward movement, and there may well be far less variety (in school, the student is constantly taking different courses with different people).

    All of this can lead to despair. With life having moved from a well-defined to an ill-defined problem, with the focus moving from personal development to production for the employer, with stepwise progression often becoming far less pronounced (particularly in dead-end jobs, where there is essentially no progress to be made), and with variety of stimulation being lowered, it makes perfect sense that people are going to want to fill this meaning-vacuum and are going to look for reasons to justify the slog of day-to-day life.

    It is well-known that people of higher socioeconomic status tend to be less religious. I conjecture that one reason for this may well be that their educational and work lives tend to provide them with greater meaning and direction structures, opportunity for advancement, variety, and opportunities for personal development. They are also more handsomely rewarded in terms of pay and status. Of course, I’m not saying that this is the only reason why religiosity is lower in the higher classes. But I conjecture that it is one reason.

  12. Speaking of socio-economic status, could it be the case that the younger generation probably don’t concern themselves with the fear of death as much as their elders?

    I think I’ve established in the comments somewhere that I don’t think personal death is to be feared, but instead life should be treasured.

    However, it seems to be a recurring theme with religion that one of the reasons people believe it is because it ‘saves’ them from the fear of death.

    I really hope that the fear of death isn’t a factor. I prefer the interpretation that the belief in the supernatural is in decline with the newer generation… But in the interest of intellectual honesty, the question about the influence of the fear of death needs to be asked.

  13. Daniel says:

    Czech Republic has the world’s highest rate of non-believers. This is in large part because of the many wars fought in their country over religious ideas.They also have beautiful women and the best beer. I should probably try moving there again…

  14. webmastermanifester says:

    not yet…check out this Canadian site, themanifester.com and go look at the blog

  15. Poodles says:

    I think the fact that this young generation has grown up with so much access to the world and others in it beyond their own community is helping to hopefully perpetuate the lack of belief.

    The internet has helped them to see other points of view and other ideas. IMO when people learn there is so many religions out there besides their own local community church and religion it begs the questions of who is right and how do you decide. For churches and religions, sometimes less is more.

  16. L. Ron Brown says:

    Fear of death is something I’ve never felt, personally. I just don’t see what’s to be afraid of. I can readily understand fear of the death of loved ones. Of course, I can understand fear of discomfort during the dying process. But fear of death is not something that has ever gripped me.

  17. L. Ron Brown says:

    Poodles:

    Good point.

    Daniel: I keep hearing that Czech Republic has amazing beer!

  18. sol says:

    Ron,

    As for your youth/adult hypothesis, it is basically the opposite of Freud, as well others who suggest that religion is infantile and maturity removes the need for religion. Obviously as someone who thinks religion is revealed, I don’t buy either view.

    I would also take the more traditional view that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle that for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven, because when we have lots of material goods we easily focus on those things which are seen rather than those things which are unseen.

    I don’t think religion is entirely a class thing, even if Jesus did mostly hang out with the lower classes. Most of the theologians I have known or read were not uneducated manual labourers. And the Episcopal Church in the US has a substantial boost to its finances by owning a big chuck of real estate on Wall Street in NYC. Even in Asia, many of the Christians I know are doctors, nurses, and very powerful businesspeople owning or running multi-national companies.

    I have to disagree with Poodles that it is limited knowledge of the world that has perpetuated belief. Christianity was born in an environment when everyone was exposed to lots of religious options. Yet it still managed to multiply rapidly, even in the face of wave of persecution, when it was way easier to choose one of the other options.

  19. wordsseldomsaid says:

    hey ron,
    i did comment in that thread of yours…(wink)…

    there were no sound argument against GOD there….i have heard many arguements ron….it is solid ones that i have never heard…

    usually they equal nothing more than the other side saying…”i don’t understand it, it make sno sense to me, so it is not true”…then they go into rants about whatever…

    i have had these discussions for years…and there are NO arguements against GOD that are more than…”was not, is not”…

    for example…to question GOD in the fact many cultures have a god or gods, and all are different, is NOT at all an argument against GOD, but infact may well prove the other way around…like most arguements against GOD can easily be turned…and vice versa…

    just as you would say there is none to support there is a GOD…to make such a stand and say there is NO GOD is done with NO evidence to support it at all…it is a claim built on ignrance and called the authority of science when science has nothing to show as proof either way concerning the subject…

    this is nothing new to me..like you say, i would not be worth discussing it with, perhaps that is so, …but if you come to the table with a preconceived idea, then are you not in the same type of boat as you say i am….?…or do you assume your case is different based on…what?…

    also, i do enjoy the flying spaghetti monster site…

    i have read many such works, and only opinions, comedy and cool artwork are really all i have found…which is all there is to find in any such discussion on any side of the issue…

  20. L. Ron Brown says:

    I have no need to disprove God. I admit right now that I can’t. But I also can’t disprove Xenu or the FSM. Your task is to show why it is reasonable to believe in this or that God or any God.

    Not all atheists say that they believe there is no God. Many atheists, like me, simply say that they lack a belief in God.

    Simply not being able to disprove something – God, FSM, Xenu – is not any reason to believe in it. At all.

  21. Xander Legere says:

    Ron:

    You make excellent points. I agree.

    That being said:

    “Scientology is worse than Religion… as long as Religion remains free and for the free or in celebration of the free.”

    That being said:

    “It isn’t god’s fault, people don’t care about god Ron.”

    That being said:

    “If its not god’s fault, whose fault is it?”

  22. thisbusymonster says:

    I must say, Ron, you have a talent for rooting out the wackiest of the wacky god nuts.

    wordsseldomsaid:
    First, if you propose the existence of some supernatural entity, it is entirely on you to prove that it can exist. Chances are good that you beliefs are delusional, logically inconsistent and utterly ridiculous. This is overwhelmingly the case with supernatural beliefs. If you are going to propose some god, lay out the details and the proof.

    Second, there are tons of good arguments against god, depending on the particular configuration of god proposed. If you totally stretch logic out, you might be able to get to some coherent idea of a god, but it won’t look like any mainstream religious idea of god. You’d have to make a giant leap for a god that could exist to get to the one you likely believe in. Then of course, there is the problem of demonstrating a shred of evidence. You can’t.

    Xander:
    Of course it’s not god’s fault, in the same way it isn’t Mother Goose’s fault that we don’t believe in her, or Santa Clauses fault that no one believes in him. You can’t ascribe blame to fictional entities, that would be insane. Of course that’s what believing in gods is all about, insanity.

  23. sunsin says:

    Atheists sometimes become believers because they are believers already. The question of whether a god exists is by definition beyond the scope of argument. It is painfully obvious that if an all-powerful being did exist, it could hide itself from our mere human wisdom.

    The real danger to religion is not atheism, though on balance the atheists are probably most likely to be correct. It’s indifference. It’s the Japanese attitude that I saw so many times driving missionaries up the wall when I lived there: “Oh, that’s interesting. I’ll think about that.” Not rejection, but simply not taking the fanatical Godder seriously.

    And while some abstract “goddism” cannot be disproved, the specific claims of Christianity are easily reduced to incoherent gibberish. Christians need to be dealt with on the concrete plane, not the abstract. They need to be asked, bluntly, why we should believe in a god who behaved as foolishly and wickedly as theirs did and does. And when they reply by asking how we can use our petty human intelligence to judge their god, just remind them that this petty human intelligence is all we’ve got, and it’s the only thing they have too — for instance, it’s what they have to rely on to sort out “messages from god” from “demonic temptations” and tell them which are the “holy books” they should believe in and which ones they should reject.

  24. godisdying says:

    Strange, this is kinda like an article I read just before, did you copy this stuff?. Except this other one goes into the “God dying” due to evolution of science and individuality in much better detail.

    This was the link, for all you crazy cats out there:

    http://godisdying.wordpress.com/

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