Nam June Paik
“Changing global demographics and populations will see the global religious landscape change significantly by 2050.
By this time the global Muslim population will have nearly caught up with Christians, according to Pew research. Conversely, the number of people who are unaffiliated with any religion will increase much more slowly. This will result in them representing a much lower percentage of the global population.”
“The religiously unaffiliated, called “nones,” are growing significantly. They’re the second largest religious group in North America and most of Europe. In the United States, nones make up almost a quarter of the population. In the past decade, U.S. nones have overtaken Catholics, mainline protestants, and all followers of non-Christian faiths.
A lack of religious affiliation has profound effects on how people think about death, how they teach their kids, and even how they vote. (Watch The Story of God With Morgan Freeman for more about how different religions understand God and creation.)
There have long been predictions that religion would fade from relevancy as the world modernizes, but all the recent surveys are finding that it’s happening startlingly fast. France will have a majority secular population soon. So will the Netherlands and New Zealand. The United Kingdom and Australia will soon lose Christian majorities. Religion is rapidly becoming less important than it’s ever been, even to people who live in countries where faith has affected everything from rulers to borders to architecture.”
“The number of people who say they have no religion is rapidly escalating and significantly outweighs the Christian population in England and Wales, according to new analysis.
The proportion of the population who identify as having no religion – referred to as “nones” – reached 48.5% in 2014, almost double the figure of 25% in the 2011 census. Those who define themselves as Christian – Anglicans, Catholics and other denominations – made up 43.8% of the population.
“The striking thing is the clear sense of the growth of ‘no religion’ as a proportion of the population,” said Stephen Bullivant, senior lecturer in theology and ethics at St Mary’s Catholic University in Twickenham, who analysed data collected through British Social Attitudes surveys over three decades.”
“Spinoza’s views on God, religion and society have lost none of their relevance. At a time when Americans seem willing to bargain away their freedoms for security, when politicians talk of banning people of a certain faith from our shores, and when religious zealotry exercises greater influence on matters of law and public policy, Spinoza’s philosophy – especially his defence of democracy, liberty, secularity and toleration – has never been more timely. In his distress over the deteriorating political situation in the Dutch Republic, and despite the personal danger he faced, Spinoza did not hesitate to boldly defend the radical Enlightenment values that he, along with many of his compatriots, held dear. In Spinoza we can find inspiration for resistance to oppressive authority and a role model for intellectual opposition to those who, through the encouragement of irrational beliefs and the maintenance of ignorance, try to get citizens to act contrary to their own best interests.”‘
“Richmond may sit just inside the Bible Belt, but it’s not immune to the national trend of an increase in those who are unaffiliated with religion — including Christianity.
According to the Pew Research Center’s 2014 Religious Landscape Study, Christians in Virginia make up about 73 percent of the population; non-Christians, including Jews and Muslims, make up about 6 percent; the unaffiliated, including atheists and agnostics, make up 20 percent.”
‘“¿Sabes? A veces me siento como un unicornio”, dice Hassan Ahmed mientras sorbe un café con leche a eso de las dos del mediodía. Es domingo, y no hace mucho que se ha despertado con una considerable resaca. Anoche estuvo de fiesta en la sala Apolo. “Nací en Pakistán, soy gay y exmusulmán”, dice Hassan con una sonrisa descarada. Se nota que se siente a gusto en su piel. Y eso sí que es excepcional, casi casi como un unicornio. Cada vez hay más jóvenes que se describen (o se descubren) como exmusulmanes: personas criadas en el Islam que, con el tiempo, han dejado de creer en la fe de sus padres para convertirse en ateos, deístas, cristianos… Podría decirse que están ‘saliendo del armario’ y, en muchas ocasiones, su experiencia no ha sido nada fácil. La apostasía, por muy anacrónico que suene el término, es uno de los tabúes más arraigados del Islam.”
“[…] There is a basic assumption about religion at work in the claims cultural Catholics make about their identity. Even though about 13 percent of them occasionally attend Mass, they do not consider that practice sufficient for them to claim Catholicism as their religion. Instead they say they are Catholic “because of their Catholic background,” which mostly means that they were raised in Catholicism as children. They feel they have inherited a Catholic identity, but have made a conscious choice not to embrace Catholicism as their religion.”
“More than half of Americans (53%) now say religion is very important in their lives, according to a recent Pew Research Center report. While this figure has declined somewhat in recent years – down from 56% in 2007 – Americans remain in the middle of the pack in terms of importance of religion when compared with people around the world.”
“Millennials are less religious than older Americans and less likely to identify with a religious group, and those traits are reflected in the way they celebrate Christmas. Nine-in-ten Millennials say they take part in Christmas, but only four-in-ten say they do so mainly as a religious holiday, according to a survey we conducted in 2013.”
“In the West, atheism is growing. Nearly a billion people around the world are essentially godless. Yet, that burgeoning population faces an important challenge in the near future—the choice whether to support far longer lifespans than humans have ever experienced before. Transhumanism technology could potentially double our lifetimes in the next 20-40 years through radical science like gene editing, bionic organs, and stem cell therapy. Eventually, life extension technology like this will probably even wipe out death and aging altogether, damaging one of the most important philosophical tenets formal religion uses to convert people: the promise of being resurrected after you die.
About 85 percent of the world’s population believes in life after death, and much of that population is perfectly okay with dying because it gives them an afterlife with their perceived deity or deities—something often referred to as “deathist” culture. In fact, four billion people on Earth—mostly Muslims and Christians—see the overcoming of death through science as potentially blasphemous, a sin involving humans striving to be godlike. Some holy texts say blasphemy is unforgivable and will end in eternal punishment.”
“Sales of the Quran skyrocketed in the United States following 9/11. Perhaps it was a search for answers, or a desire to parse out certain stereotypes, that made some people turn to the Muslim holy text.But the increased circulation of the Quran due to the recent Paris attacks and rise of the Islamic State has not always helped people to better understand and respect the faith. If anything, fear and prejudice toward Islam has risen. This is one example of the “widespread illiteracy about religion that spans the globe,” said Diane Moore, director of Harvard Divinity School’s Religious Literacy Project to The Huffington Post.To combat this illiteracy, Moore and five other religion professors from Harvard University, Harvard Divinity School and Wellesley College are kicking off a free, online series on world religions open to the masses. The courses are being offered via an online learning platform called edX, which Harvard University launched with Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2012.”
“According to Miss Manners, polite people do not bring up religion in social conversations. Of course, if Americans stayed away from all the topics the etiquette columnist deems taboo in polite company – including politics, money, sex, illness and what people are wearing – a lot of dinners would pass by in silence.But, judging by the results of our recently released survey on religion in everyday life, religion does indeed seem to be a subject many people avoid. About half of U.S. adults tell us they seldom (33%) or never (16%) talk about religion with people outside their family. And roughly four-in-ten say they seldom (26%) or never (13%) discuss religion even with members of their immediate family.”
“Wherever we look today in academia, scholars are rushing to defend the Enlightenment ideas of political and individual liberty, human rights, faith in scientific reason, secularism, and the freedom of public debate. Why the worry? These ideas are, after all, enshrined in the U.S. Constitution. And yet, to hear the defenders of the Enlightenment, they are under assault. There is no shortage of enemies—from mullahs and Christian conservatives to science deniers and left-wing post-modernists.Defending the Enlightenment has become an academic cottage industry with various camps hunkering down behind their own interpretations, and, in good academic form, attacking others. But recently, a few leading scholars have decided that it was necessary to present their defenses to a wider audience. Lynn Hunt’s Inventing Human Rights: A History (2007) was one of the first of such works; her argument made the case for Enlightenment values and the “soft power of humanity” in light of the use of torture by the U.S. government, but also, implicitly, because of the rise of new superpowers, like China, which openly reject human rights while embracing scientific progress. In The Enlightenment: And Why It Still Matters (2013), Anthony Pagden traced a history of Enlightenment philosophy, defending it from “theocracies” and the “fringe of the Christian right” that deny ideas of scientific progress, political liberty, and “global justice.”’
“New research involving a psychologist from the University of York has revealed for the first time that both belief in God and prejudice towards immigrants can be reduced by directing magnetic energy into the brain.Dr Keise Izuma collaborated with a team from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), to carry out an innovative experiment using transcranial magnetic stimulation, a safe way of temporarily shutting down specific regions of the brain.The researchers targeted the posterior medial frontal cortex, a part of the brain located near the surface and roughly a few inches up from the forehead that is associated with detecting problems and triggering responses that address them.”
“MORE religious countries tend to be less innovative, according to a paper published last month by America’s National Bureau of Economic Research. In “Forbidden Fruits: The Political Economy of Science, Religion, and Growth”, Roland Benabou of Princeton and Davide Ticche and Andrea Vindigni of the IMT Institute for Advanced Studies Lucca find a strong negative correlation between innovation, as measured by patents, and religiosity, measured by the share of a population that self-identifies as religious. “I am interested in how people form beliefs that are relevant to economics,” says Mr Benabou. “That thought takes you to belief with a capital B, and that’s religion.”’
Skepticism about the existence of God is on the rise, and this might, quite literally, pose an existential threat for religious believers.It’s no secret that believers generally harbor extraordinarily negative attitudes toward atheists. Indeed, recent polling data show that most Americans view atheists as “threatening,” unfit to hold public office and unsuitable to marry into their families.But what are the psychological roots of antipathy toward atheists?Historically, evolutionary psychologists argue that atheists have been denigrated because God serves as the ultimate source of social power and influence: God rewards appropriate behaviors and punishes inappropriate ones.”
“If Daniel Dennett is anything, he is a champion of the facts. The prominent philosopher of science is an advocate for hard-nosed empiricism, and as a leading New Atheist he calls for naturalistic explanations of religion. Dennett is also the co-author (along with Linda LaScola) of the recently expanded and updated Caught in the Pulpit: Leaving Faith Behind, which documents the stories of preachers and rabbis who themselves came to see…the facts.
Caught in the Pulpit is a close cousin to The Clergy Project, an outreach effort to “current and former religious professionals who no longer hold supernatural beliefs”—many of whom must closet their newfound skepticism to preserve their careers and communities.”
“Catholic, born-again, Reformed, Jew, Muslim, Shiite, Sunni, Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist…religions give people labels. The downside can be tribalism, an assumption that insiders are better than outsiders, that they merit more compassion, integrity and generosity or even that violence toward “infidels” is acceptable. But the upside is that religious or spiritual labels offer a way of defining who we are. They remind adherents that our moral sense and quest for meaning are core parts of what it means to be human. They make it easier to convey a subset of our deepest values to other people, and even to ourselves.
For those who have lost their religion or never had one, finding a label can feel important. It can be part of a healing process or, alternately, a way of declaring resistance to a dominant and oppressive paradigm. Finding the right combination of words can be a challenge though. For a label to fit it needs to resonate personally and also communicate what you want to say to the world. Words have definitions, connotations and history, and how people respond to your label will be affected by all three. What does it mean? What emotions does it evoke? Who are you identifying as your intellectual and spiritual forebears and your community? The differences may be subtle but they are important.”
“The Christian share of the U.S. population is declining, while the number of U.S. adults who do not identify with any organized religion is growing, according to an extensive new survey by the Pew Research Center. Moreover, these changes are taking place across the religious landscape, affecting all regions of the country and many demographic groups. While the drop in Christian affiliation is particularly pronounced among young adults, it is occurring among Americans of all ages. The same trends are seen among whites, blacks and Latinos; among both college graduates and adults with only a high school education; and among women as well as men.”
“AND, now that time has come, to liberate the world from all rigid and redundant religions, and promote a universal non-creedal wisdom, based on time-tested spiritual values, laws of nature and ethics, which separate ‘Spiritual Reality’ from ‘Religious Beliefs’ to transform human life completely, for the greater good of people, society, nations and the world.
And, now that time has come, to know, human mind cannot perceive the indescribable ‘Absolute’, which is intuitively grasped, even though ‘Relativity’ implies the possibility that the ‘Absolute’ exists as ‘Cosmic Consciousness’ or God. Yet, relative reality is quite different from absolute reality. After all, there is no mystery here nor any reasoning there.
AND, now that time has come, to reveal the power of innate ‘spiritual nature’, present yet hidden, in each human being, as ‘Consciousness’, the eternal essence of our cosmic connection, with ultimate universal reality, a vivid sense, of a all-pervading ‘Presence’, set in the trio, and tryst of, truth, awareness and bliss, a state of total harmony and happiness.”
“No livro “Messianismo e milenarismo no Brasil“, organizado por João Baptista Borges Pereira e Renato da Silva Queiroz, os surtos mais famosos são tratados em ensaios de diferentes autores, de diversas áreas, muitos publicados anteriormente em veículos hoje de difícil acesso.
Do antigo sebastianismo português, passando por Canudos, até casos mais recentes, como os do Contestado e de Catulé, entre outros, o livro traça um rico panorama dos movimentos que marcaram um Brasil de religiosidade tradicional, buscando as origens conceituais do tema no judaísmo antigo e avançando na direção de movimentos brasileiros de raízes católicas, evangélicas e indígenas.
Todos esses casos têm em comum um estilo de religião hoje esvaziada em nossa sociedade, mas os milenarismos e messianismos continuam a se reproduzir, em geral, independentemente da religião. A ideia do apocalipse sobrevive ao fim das profecias religiosas. Veja-se o midiático caso do fim do mundo anunciado para 2012.
A força da religiosidade brasileira de hoje, pintada com cores generosas por analistas que se rejubilam com um improvável retorno do antigo poder da religião, não chega aos pés da intensidade dos movimentos messiânicos e milenaristas brasileiros nessa coletânea. Até por isso, uma das contribuições do livro é ajudar a pôr em perspectiva o cenário religioso atual.”
“O ateísmo é tão antigo quanto as religiões, que durante muito tempo o moldaram e perseguiram. No entanto, se existem estudos profundos e abundantes acerca da história das religiões, impera um vazio historiográfico sobre a descrença. Esta obra, de Georges Minois, é uma contribuição seminal para o preenchimento dessa lacuna, para ele fruto, principalmente, da conotação negativa que se atribuiu ao ateísmo ao longo dos séculos. Tal conotação estampa-se já nos termos usados para designá-lo, constituídos de prefixos privativos ou negativos – a-teísmo, des-crença, a-gnosticismo, in-diferença. E ainda na intolerância da cultura ocidental em relação ao descrente – ‘A palavra ateu ainda carrega um vago odor de fogueira’, escreve Minois. Monumental, a pesquisa abrange desde os povos primitivos até a cultura ocidental do século 21, mostrando que a história do ateísmo não é linear – não parte de um cenário exclusivamente religioso para chegar a um trunfo absoluto da descrença. Ao contrário, demonstra Minois, ateísmo e fé convivem lado a lado na trajetória humana, contrapondo-se, como duas faces da mesma moeda. Suas feições, porém alternam-se através do percurso.”
“I have never liked Sam Harris, neuroscientist, philosopher, prominent New Atheist. I don’t personally know him, so it would be more accurate to say I dislike his writings and persona. I find most of his “philosophy” exactly the sort that should be bracketed by cautionary punctuation, his geopolitics are some of the most hideously unreflective I’ve encountered, and he belongs to a group of naïve iconoclasts who laughably fancy themselves scientific dissidents in the tradition of Galileo and Copernicus. But after reading Harris’s new book, Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion, I’ve decided the true reason I never liked Harris is that he makes me uncomfortable, profoundly.”