Atheism and inspiration

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Atheist Francois Tremblay wrote: "One last problem that undermines any propagation of atheism is inspiration. Let's be honest here, "there is no god!" is not a very motivating call for most people."[1]

The ex-atheist Alister McGrath has repeatedly pointed out the uninspiring nature of atheism.[2][3] According to McGrath, atheism is "stale", "dull" and difficult to believe.[4]

John Updike wrote:

Among the repulsions of atheism for me has been its drastic un-interestingness as an intellectual position. Where was the ingenuity, the ambiguity, the humanity...of saying that the universe just happened to happen and that when we're dead we're dead?".[5]

The British columnist Giles Coren wrote in The Times:

But it’s not the nihilism, the soullessness, the lack of poetry, the moral and physical ugliness, the shallow iconoclasm or the vainglory of atheists that bother me most. It’s the boringness.

Is there anything more boring in the world than an atheist?[6]

Andrew Brown wrote in The Guardian in an article entitled You can't dance to atheism:

...a religion is a philosophy that makes you dance. It pleased me because the book itself can be read as a history of how philosophy grew from dance...

There aren't any overwhelming and inspiring collective atheist rituals...

If I'm right, then liberal, individualistic atheism is impossible as an organising principle of society because any doctrine that actually works to hold society together is indistinguishable from a religion. It needs its rituals.[7]

China has the world's largest atheist population.[8][9] National Public Radio's article Chinese Turn To Religion To Fill A Spiritual Vacuum declares:

One young evangelical Christian missionary travels from rural village to village in the Protestant heartland in eastern China to proselytize. She attributed her own conversion to the overwhelming pressures of China's education system.

"In high school, I felt very depressed," said the bright-eyed young woman, who gave her name as Nicole. "I felt people had no direction, and I felt life was dry and boring. I felt the pressure of school was very high. God helped me and liberated me." [10]

Atheist Jerry Coyne said about the atheist meetings which he attended:

Atheist Jerry Coyne said about atheist meetings: "But to me the speakers and talks have often seemed repetitive: the same crew of jet-set skeptics giving the same talks."[11] Coyne also said about the atheist meetings which he attended that quite a few of the talks were lame.[12]
But to me the speakers and talks have often seemed repetitive: the same crew of jet-set skeptics giving the same talks.

...a few things bothered me, most notably the air of self-congratulation (which I excused on the grounds of enthusiastic people finding like-minded folks for the first time), the “fanboyness” directed at some of the famous atheists (they hardly let poor Richard alone, and I’m not sure he liked that!), and the lameness of quite a few of the talks. Again, how much new can you say about atheism?[13]

In recent times, the number of people attending atheist conferences has grown smaller.[14][15][16] Atheist David Smalley wrote: "And we wonder why we’re losing elections, losing funding, and our conferences are getting smaller."[17]

The American Christian Todd Strandberg said of atheism: "The ranks of atheists have always been small... The key problem with atheism is that it lacks a strong 'selling point'".[18] See also: Unattractiveness of atheism and Atheist population

As can be seen below, there are a number of factors which causes atheism to be an unrealistic and uninteresting viewpoint. In the 21st century, atheism is expected to continue to be a minority viewpoint and it is projected to see a further decline in terms of its influence and percentage of adherents in the world (see: Global atheism).

In addition, atheistic cultures and subcultures often tend to be less vibrant and fulfilling which will also be addressed below.

As a result of the unexciting nature of atheism, most atheists are apathetic when it comes to engaging in atheist activism and participating in atheist meetings/conferences (see: Atheism and apathy and Atheism and sloth). On the other hand, in the United States, a significant amount of atheists attend church services (see: American atheists and church attendance).

Furthermore, in the latter portion of the 20th century and continuing into the 21st century, due to various historical events/trends, the atheist movement has had lower confidence/morale (see: Atheists and the endurance of religion).

Contents

Atheism is an emaciated and unnecessarily limiting view of the world

See also: Rebuttals to atheist arguments and Evidence for Christianity

Alister McGrath argues that atheism is an emaciated and unnecessary limiting view of the world and it does not answer the deeper existential questions.[19] For example, McGrath argues that atheism cannot give a person objective meaning and the ultimate purpose of their life (see also: Atheism and meaninglessness and Hopelessness of atheism and Atheism and purpose).[20][21][22]

While recognizing the benefits of reason/science, McGrath also points out the limitations of reason/science in terms of the type of questions that they can answer.[23] See also: Limitations of science

The ex-atheist C.S. Lewis wrote: "I believe in Christianity as I believe that the Sun has risen not only because I see it but because by it I see everything else.”[24] Lewis also wrote: "If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be without meaning."

Furthermore, there is no proof and evidence that atheism is true, atheist arguments are easily rebutted and there is compelling evidence for Christianity and the existence of God (Rebuttals to atheist arguments and Evidence for Christianity and Arguments for the existence of God).

Atheist worldview offers a bleak ultimate future for individuals and mankind

See also: Atheism and meaninglessness and Hopelessness of atheism and Atheism and purpose

Atheism offers no exciting ultimate future for individuals or mankind.

On March 8, 2013, Damon Linker wrote in The Week:

If atheism is true, it is far from being good news. Learning that we're alone in the universe, that no one hears or answers our prayers, that humanity is entirely the product of random events, that we have no more intrinsic dignity than non-human and even non-animate clumps of matter, that we face certain annihilation in death, that our sufferings are ultimately pointless, that our lives and loves do not at all matter in a larger sense, that those who commit horrific evils and elude human punishment get away with their crimes scot free — all of this (and much more) is utterly tragic.[25]

Although Bertrand Russell was an agnostic, he had favorable views of atheism.[26] Bertrand Russell wrote in 1903 about entropy and the universe:

That man is the product of causes that had no prevision of the end they were achieving; that his origin, his growth, his hopes and fears, his loves and his beliefs, are but the outcome of accidental collocations of atoms; that no fire, no heroism, no intensity of thought and feeling, can preserve individual life beyond the grave; that all the labors of the ages, all the devotion, all the inspiration, all the noonday brightness of human genius, are destined to extinction in the vast death of the solar system, and that the whole temple of Man's achievement must inevitably be buried beneath the debris of a universe in ruins- all these things, if not quite beyond dispute, are yet so nearly certain that no philosophy which rejects them can hope to stand.

"Only within the scaffolding of these truths, only on the firm foundation of unyielding dispair, can the soul's habitation henceforth be safely built." [27]

In a letter to Lowes Dickinson, Bertrand Russell wrote:

We stand on the shores of an ocean, crying to the night and the emptiness; sometimes a voice answers out of the darkness. But it is a voice of one drowning; and in a moment the silence returns” (Bertrand Russell, Autobiography, p. 287 as quoted by Leroy Koopman, “Famous Atheists Give Their Testimonies,” Moody Monthly, Nov. 1975, p. 124.) [28]

William Lane Craig declares:

What we're asking here is not how atheists find meaning in life, which would be consistent with saying that life is objectively meaningless but somehow you've got to get through so how are you going to find some sort of meaning to your existence? Well, you'll invent projects that will bring you satisfaction and make you feel good and so forth, but that has nothing to do with whether or not life has an objective meaning or value of purpose.[29]

Craig further adds:

If God does not exist, then both man and the universe are inevitably doomed to death. Man, like all biological organisms, must die. With no hope of immortality, man's life leads only to the grave. His life is but a spark in the infinite blackness, a spark that appears, flickers, and dies forever. Therefore, everyone must come face to face with what theologian Paul Tillich has called "the threat of non-being." For though I know now that I exist, that I am alive, I also know that someday I will no longer exist, that I will no longer be, that I will die. This thought is staggering and threatening: to think that the person I call "myself" will cease to exist, that I will be no more!...

And the universe, too, faces death. Scientists tell us that the universe is expanding, and everything in it is growing farther and farther apart. As it does so, it grows colder and colder, and its energy is used up. Eventually all the stars will burn out and all matter will collapse into dead stars and black holes. There will be no light at all; there will be no heat; there will be no life; only the corpses of dead stars and galaxies, ever expanding into the endless darkness and the cold recesses of space—a universe in ruins. So not only is the life of each individual person doomed; the entire human race is doomed. There is no escape. There is no hope.[30]

See:

Atheism and loneliness/despair

Atheists have higher suicide rates than theists. See: Atheism and suicide

Atheism and loneliness

See also: Atheism and loneliness

Dr. J. Gordon Melton said about the atheist movement (organized atheism) that atheism is not a movement which tends to create community, but in the last few years there has been some growth of organized atheism.[31] See also: Atheist factions

Compared to religious cultures where an extended family and a sense of community prevails, secular countries are often lonelier societies. In addition, numerous studies and other data indicate that atheists often have lower emotional intelligence and lower social skills (see: Atheism and emotional intelligence and Atheism and social skills).

In 1993, Reuters reported:

Indian anthropologist Prakash Reddy has turned the tables on Western colleagues who put Third World cultures under the microscope.

Reddy, of Sri Venkateswara University at Tirupati in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh, spent four months in the village of Hvilsager--population 104--on Denmark's Jutland peninsula.

Denmark has the highest proportion of single-dwellers in Europe, at 24%.[32] See: Secular Europe and loneliness

His study, published in book form in English under the title "Danes are like that!" expresses dismay at the loneliness he found and the hope that India would not have to pay the same price for prosperity.

"The most fundamental question that should bother every social scientist in the East is: Is there no way of achieving development without sacrificing the human values and the way of life cherished by homo sapiens?" he asked....

Reddy said he found a neat and tidy, cozy little society, stiff, rigid and seemingly full of practical, down-to-earth but lonely people, isolated from each other and lacking much sense of religion.

Compared to the teeming villages of India, the Danish hamlet seemed deserted and closed. To an Indian, accustomed to constant close contact in an extended family and community, Danish life was cold if not nonexistent, Reddy said.

"Coming from an Indian village, I was used to seeing people in the streets . . . but here in Denmark not a single soul was sighted and, except for the sound of a passing automobile, absolute silence prevailed," Reddy wrote.[33]

Atheist population and gender imbalances

See also: Atheism and women

Within the atheist population, there is a significant gender imbalance and a majority of atheists are male (see: Atheism and women).

Surveys by country

In November of 2010, Discover Magazine published survey results published by the World Values Survey which showed significant differences between the percentage of men and women who are atheists for various countries with men outnumbering women in terms of adopting an atheist worldview. [34]

United States surveys

In 2015, BloombergView reported concerning the United States: "According to a much-discussed 2012 report from the Pew Research Center on Religion and Public Life, ...women are 52 percent of the U.S. population but only 36 percent of atheists and agnostics.[35]

A 2009 article in LiveScience.com entitled Women More Religious Than Men reported: "A new analysis of survey data finds women pray more often then men, are more likely to believe in God, and are more religious than men in a variety of other ways...The latest findings, released Friday, are no surprise, only confirming what other studies have found for decades. [36] In 2007, the Pew Research Center found that American women were more religious than American men.[36]

Atheist Alliance International analysis

Oxford University Press reports:

...atheism remains a male-dominated affair. Data collected by the Atheist Alliance International (2011) show that in Britain, women account for 21.6% of atheists (as opposed to 77.9% men). In the United States men make up 70% of Americans who identify as atheist. In Poland, 32% of atheists are female, and similarly in Australia it is 31.5%[37]

Atheist nerds and geeky isolation/dysfunction

The atheist PZ Myers giving a talk at George Mason University. In June of 2010, PZ Myers said that atheist meetings tend to be significantly more attended by males.[38]

Most atheists do not attend atheist meetings.

See also: Atheist nerds and Atheism and social skills

In 2013, the atheist PZ Myers declared:

If we're going to expand our base and we're going to draw in more people to recognize the virtues of living in a secular world, we need to appeal to more than just that geek and nerd subset of the population. We need to have a wider base. ...I seriously believe that we're on the cusp of a crisis. We're not there yet but it's looming in front of us. Will we adapt and thrive and change the world? Or will we remain an avocation for a prosperous and largely irrelevant subset of the population? Will we become something more than a scattered society of internet nerds? That's what we have to do.[39]

In response, David Klinghoffer at Evolution News and Views wrote:

A crisis looms, in Myers's view, because he looks around himself and sees a not very promising basis for a mass movement. He's right. There is indeed a quality of geeky isolation from reality, common sense, and the fullness of life that I see as a motif in atheist and Darwin activism alike.[40]

PZ Myers wrote about himself:

I’m a nerd. A colossal, boring, asocial nerd, and a homely one at that, and I always have been. You might also be surprised to learn that I totally lack all confidence in myself and my appearance, and it only takes a little bit to impress me.[41]

YouTube atheist Dusty Smith says atheist nerds are driving away women from considering the possibility of becoming atheists and this is a very upsetting situation to him.[42] Dusty Smith also stated that the atheist community needs to be more "cool".[43]

A majority of atheists are men - especially in religious countries (see: Atheism and women).

Atheism and depression and suicide

See also: Atheism and suicide and Atheism and depression

The Rev. Dr. Robert Stuart MacArthur was an early proponent of atheism being a causal factor for suicide.[44][45][46]

The website Adherents.com reported the following in respect to atheism and suicide:

Pitzer College sociologist Phil Zuckerman compiled country-by-country survey, polling and census numbers relating to atheism, agnosticism, disbelief in God and people who state they are non-religious or have no religious preference. These data were published in the chapter titled "Atheism: Contemporary Rates and Patterns" in The Cambridge Companion to Atheism, ed. by Michael Martin, Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, UK (2005). In examining various indicators of societal health, Zuckerman concludes about suicide:

"Concerning suicide rates, this is the one indicator of societal health in which religious nations fare much better than secular nations. According to the 2003 World Health Organization's report on international male suicides rates (which compared 100 countries), of the top ten nations with the highest male suicide rates, all but one (Sri Lanka) are strongly irreligious nations with high levels of atheism. It is interesting to note, however, that of the top remaining nine nations leading the world in male suicide rates, all are former Soviet/Communist nations, such as Belarus, Ukraine, and Latvia. Of the bottom ten nations with the lowest male suicide rates, all are highly religious nations with statistically insignificant levels of organic atheism."[47]

For more information, please see:

Irreligion and poor relationships

One's relationships with friends and family is a very important component to adding contentment and joy to life.

Atheism often has a negative effect on relationships, as can be seen in the below articles:

Atheism vs. Christianity: Art, music and poetry

See also: Atheism and culture and Atheism vs. Christianity

Inspiring worldviews/ideologies often spawn inspiring works of art, music and poetry.

Relative to Christianity, which has a large collection of art, music and poetry associated it, atheism has a very small collection of art, music and poetry associated with it (see: Atheist art and Atheist music and Atheist poetry).

Atheists and suboptimal/dysfunctional sexual lives

On July 24, 2013, CNS News reported, "Atheism is in decline worldwide, with the number of atheists falling from 4.5% of the world’s population in 1970 to 2.0% in 2010 and projected to drop to 1.8% by 2020...". See: Global atheism

See also: Atheism and sexuality

Research indicates that religious women (especially evangelical/low church Protestant women) are more sexually satisfied than irreligious women.[48][49][50] See also: Atheism and women

A social science study also reports that Hispanic men are more sexually satisfied than other ethnic groups in the United States.[51] Hispanics are known for their religiosity. For example, in 2015, BloombergView reported concerning the United States: "According to a much-discussed 2012 report from the Pew Research Center on Religion and Public Life, only 3 percent of U.S. atheists and agnostics are black, 6 percent are Hispanic, and 4 percent are Asian. Some 82 percent are white. (The relevant figures for the population at large at the time of the survey were 66 percent white, 11 percent black, 15 percent Hispanic, 5 percent Asian.)"[52] See also: Western atheism and race

In 2011, The Daily Beast conceded in an article entitled Why Are Christians Having Better Sex Than the Rest of Us?, "The devout are actually having better sex than the rest of us."[53]

In the United States, the Republican Party has a large segment of religious conservatives and they are influential within the party.[54] ABC News reported that "More Republicans Satisfied With Sex Lives Than Democrats".[55]

Sub-replacement fertility of atheist populations. High fertility rate of religious conservatives

Eric Kaufmann, a professor at Birkbeck College, University of London, using a a wealth of demographic studies, argues that there will be a significant decline of global atheism in the 21st century which will impact the Western World.[56]

See also: Global atheism and Atheism and marriage and Atheist marriages

As a group, atheists have sub-replacement levels of fertility.[57]

On December 23, 2012, Professor Eric Kaufmann who teaches at Birbeck College, University of London wrote:

I argue that 97% of the world's population growth is taking place in the developing world, where 95% of people are religious.

On the other hand, the secular West and East Asia has very low fertility and a rapidly aging population... In the coming decades, the developed world's demand for workers to pay its pensions and work in its service sector will soar alongside the booming supply of young people in the third world. Ergo, we can expect significant immigration to the secular West which will import religious revival on the back of ethnic change. In addition, those with religious beliefs tend to have higher birth rates than the secular population, with fundamentalists having far larger families. The epicentre of these trends will be in immigration gateway cities like New York (a third white), Amsterdam (half Dutch), Los Angeles (28% white), and London, 45% white British. [58]

Michael Blume, a researcher at the University of Jena in Germany, wrote "Most societies or communities that have espoused atheistic beliefs have not survived more than a century."[59] Blume also indicated concerning concerning his research on this matter: "What I found was the complete lack of a single case of a secular population, community or movement that would just manage to retain replacement level."[60]

In March of 2010, The Telegraph published an article entitled Atheism is doomed: the contraceptive Pill is secularism's cyanide tablet which indicated:

Across the western world the fertility rate of religious conservatives far outstrips that of non-believers, so much so that modern liberal secularism is endangered. That, anyway, is the thesis of Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth?, a fascinating new book by Eric Kaufmann of Birkbeck University, which is published later this month. It may well be one of the most significant books of our era.[61]

In addition, women are less likely to become atheists (see: Atheism and women).

Articles related to atheism and sexual dysfunction/immorality

The perverse and cruel atheist Marquis de Sade in prison, 18th century line engraving.

Atheists have a reputation for being hedonistic (see: Atheism and hedonism).

Unfortunately for the atheist hedonist, focusing on pleasure-seeking does not deliver the optimal pleasure and happiness in the long run or even in the short run and instead just delivers emptiness.[62]

Below are a number of articles related to atheism and sexual dysfunction/immorality:

Sports performance: Religious faith vs. atheism

See also: Sports performance: Religious faith vs. atheism

Numerous studies report that athletes to be more religious than non-athletes.[63]

Many people are sports fans and find sporting events to be exciting. Sports events often fill large stadiums.

The Sports Journal is a monthly refereed journal published by the United States Sports Academy. A journal article appeared in the Sports Journal entitled Strength of Religious Faith of Athletes and Nonathletes at Two NCAA Division III Institutions. The article was submitted by Nathan T. Bell, Scott R. Johnson, and Jeffrey C. Petersen from Ball State University.[64]

An excerpt from the abstract of the journal article Strength of Religious Faith of Athletes and Nonathletes at Two NCAA Division III Institutions declares:

Numerous studies report athletes to be more religious than nonathletes (Fischer, 1997; Storch, Kolsky, Silvestri, & Storch, 2001; Storch et al., 2004). According to Storch, Kolsky, Silvestri, and Storch (2001), four reasons may explain why religion interacts with athletic performance. First, athletes may identify with religious beliefs for direction and humility. Second, athletes may turn to religion to gain a sense of optimism and security, benefiting from such beliefs following a disappointing athletic performance. Third, religion can be used for emotional and psychological support in stressful circumstances like the uncertainty of athletic competition, which can cause athletes an overwhelming amount of anxiety. Religious beliefs can offer the internal strength to persevere through the stress. Fourth, religion “provides a cognitive framework conducive to the relief of anxiety associated with competition” (Storch et al., 2001, p. 347). This framework allows relief from fear and anxiety on the basis of the athlete’s understanding (i.e., belief) that a supreme being is in complete control of the situation. For example, athletes may rely on religious faith to place a poor athletic performance in perspective...

Religion can be an important aspect in athletes’ lives and may serve a protective function against psychological distress and maladaptive behaviors such as substance use or aggression (Storch, Roberti, Bravata, & Storch, 2004). Viewers of sporting events can frequently observe athletes pointing to the sky, engaging in team prayer on the court or field, and glorifying God following athletic competitions.[65]

Atheism and sports performance

Besides lacking the aforementioned benefits that religion bestows on athletes, atheists have higher rates of depression and suicide than the religious (see: Atheism and health and Atheism and depression and Atheism and suicide). This suggests that atheism is detrimental to sports performance.

Moral inferiority of atheism

See also: Atheism and morality and Atheist population and immorality

In response to the question, "Why is incest wrong?", the atheist Lawrence Krauss said, "It's not clear to me that it is wrong."[66] See: Atheism and incest

Not possessing a religious basis for morality, which can provide a legitimate basis for objective morality, atheists are fundamentally incapable of having a coherent system of morality.[67]

For example, atheists have been the biggest mass murderers in history (see: Atheism and mass murder). Dr. R. J. Rummel's mid estimate regarding the loss of life due to atheistic communism is that communism caused the death of approximately 110,286,000 people between 1917 and 1987.[68]

The Barna Group found that atheists and agnostics in America were more likely, than theists in America, to look upon the following behaviors as morally acceptable: illegal drug use; excessive drinking; sexual relationships outside of marriage; abortion; cohabitating with someone of opposite sex outside of marriage; obscene language; gambling; pornography and obscene sexual behavior; and engaging in homosexuality/bisexuality.[69] Given the many diseases associated with homosexuality, the biblical prohibition against homosexuality is quite arguably one of the many examples where the Bible exhibited knowledge that was ahead of its time.

See also:

Limited amount of atheist art and atheist music

See also: Atheist art and Atheist music

Despite atheism existing for thousands of years and predating Christianity, there is a small proportion of atheist art/music compared to religious art/music. For example, Wikipedia, which was founded by an atheist and agnostic, has articles on Christian art and Christian music, but Wikipedia does has no articles on atheist art and atheist music.

Atheism, competition in the world of ideas and academic freedom

Many people are avid readers and find the world of ideas to be exciting. In addition, competition in the world of ideas often has a refining effect.

Historically and presently, most atheists lean politically left (See: Atheism and politics).

Richard Dawkins
The Oxford University Professor Daniel Came wrote to the New Atheist Richard Dawkins:: "The absence of a debate with the foremost apologist for Christian theism is a glaring omission on your CV and is of course apt to be interpreted as cowardice on your part."[70]

Theodore Beale wrote about secular leftists and leftists in general:

Regardless of whether it is...Richard Dawkins, PZ Myers, or the vast and corpulent mass of feminists, the Left has an observable tendency to shun debate. They assert many different reasons for doing so, but the truth is always revealed by their seemingly contradictory willingness to debate the incompetent and the overmatched....

One of the things that has been interesting to observe over time is the way that the heated attacks on me, both in public and via email, have all but disappeared even though my overall readership has never been larger. Why is this? My theory is this is because most of my critics, be they atheists, feminists, evolutionists, or free traders, have learned they simply cannot win in a direct confrontation. They can't openly criticize my ideas because they have learned, much to their surprise, that they cannot adequately defend their own.

As Aristotle pointed out more than two thousand years ago, even at the rhetorical level, the side more closely approximates the truth will tend to win out, because it is easier to argue when your arguments are based on truth rather than falsehood. Events will always ultimately prove the arguments of the global warmers, the godless, the female supremacists, the socialists, the Keynesians, and the monetarists to be false because their ideas are false. This is why a good memory is one of the most lethal weapons against them and why it is so easy to win debates against them, as given enough time, they are going to contradict themselves.

Why? Because they have no choice. Being false, their positions have to be dynamic, which means they can never hope for any significant degree of consistency. This is why ex post facto revision and double-talk are the hallmarks of the Left, and is why the first thing Leftists do when they are in a position of power is to erase history and attempt to silence any voices capable of calling attention to their fictions and contradictions.[71]

See also:

Secular education in the West

See also: Atheist indoctrination

Jewish columnist Dennis Prager has stated that a causal factor of atheism is the "secular indoctrination of a generation."[72] Prager stated that "From elementary school through graduate school, only one way of looking at the world – the secular – is presented. The typical individual in the Western world receives as secular an indoctrination as the typical European received a religious one in the Middle Ages."[73]

Study on discrimination in hiring religious conservatives in academia

In 2013, an study found that academia was less likely to hire evangelical Christians due to discriminatory attitudes.[74] See also: Atheism and intolerance

Secular education and low development of critical thinking skills

Many countries/areas in the Western World have high youth unemployment.

In addition, college is clearly not delivering the goods in terms of intellectual development for a large percentage of its students. An American study found that forty-five percent of students achieved no significant improvement in their critical thinking, reasoning or writing skills during their first two years of college. After four years, 36 percent displayed no significant increases in these so-called "higher order" thinking skills.[75] Students, particularly those who made poor curriculum choices, are increasingly angry that college does not adequately prepare them for the marketplace and leaves them with a pile of debt.[76]

Atheism/Christianity, scientific discovery and the historical record

See also: Christianity and science and Atheism and science

In his essay Of Atheism Sir Francis Bacon wrote: "I had rather believe all the fables in the Legend, and the Talmud, and the Alcoran (Koran), than that this universal frame is without a mind."[77]

A notable fact in relation to Christianity and science is that the birth of modern science occurred in the geographic area of Christianized Europe.[78] Christians awed by the grandeur of God's creative work have long striven to understand His creativity through scientific study.

Sociologist Rodney Stark investigated the individuals who made the most significant scientific contributions between 1543 and 1680 A.D., the time of the Scientific Revolution. In Stark's list of 52 top scientific contributors,[79] only one (Edmund Halley) was a skeptic and another (Paracelsus) was a pantheist. The other 50 were Christians, 30 of whom could be characterized as being devout Christians.[79] Stark believes that the Enlightenment was a ploy by "militant atheists" to claim credit for the rise of science[80].

In False conflict: Christianity is not only compatible with Science - it created it. Stark writes:

Recent historical research has debunked the idea of a "Dark Ages" after the "fall" of Rome. In fact, this was an era of profound and rapid technological progress, by the end of which Europe had surpassed the rest of the world. Moreover, the so-called "Scientific Revolution" of the sixteenth century was a result of developments begun by religious scholars starting in the eleventh century. In my own academic research I have asked why these religious scholastics were interested in science at all. Why did science develop in Europe at this time? Why did it not develop anywhere else? I find answers to those questions in unique features of Christian theology.

Even in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the leading scientific figures were overwhelmingly devout Christians who believed it their duty to comprehend God's handiwork. My studies show that the "Enlightenment" was conceived initially as a propaganda ploy by militant atheists attempting to claim credit for the rise of science. The falsehood that science required the defeat of religion was proclaimed by self-appointed cheerleaders like Voltaire, Diderot, and Gibbon, who themselves played no part in the scientific enterprise......[81]

Atheism and the suppression of science

There are a number of examples where atheism has resulted in the suppression of science, pseudoscience and superstition as can be seen the articles below:

Many find evolutionary indoctrination to be boring and want alternatives

Johns Hopkins University Press reported in 2014: "Over the past forty years, creationism has spread swiftly among European Catholics, Protestants, Jews, Hindus, and Muslims, even as anti-creationists sought to smother its flames."

Picture above was taken at Johns Hopkins University

Evolution is a pseudoscience. The atheist philosopher of science Michael Ruse said "Evolution is a religion. This was true of evolution in the beginning, and it is true of evolution still today."[82]

Many members of the public find evolutionary indoctrination material to be boring/uninformative and want to see alternatives offered in educational systems (see: How stale and boring is evolutionary indoctrination?).

On the other hand, global creationism is experiencing significant growth. Johns Hopkins University Press reported in 2014: "Over the past forty years, creationism has spread swiftly among European Catholics, Protestants, Jews, Hindus, and Muslims, even as anti-creationists sought to smother its flames."[83]

In 2014, it was reported that one hundred people walked out of an atheistic, evolutionary psychology/sociology lecture at Oxford University.[84] Richard Dawkins' website reported about the lecture, "By the time I arrived at a slide calling religions (Richard’s fault!) ‘Viruses of the mind’, the lecture hall was looking rather empty."[85]

Advanced countries of the United States/Switzerland and belief in biblical creation

The United States, a country known for its religiosity and many proponents of biblical creation, is a world leader in science and patent origination. Switzerland, a country which has one of the highest rates of creationism in Europe in terms of its population, is one of the most prosperous and productive/competitive economies in Europe.[86]

Atheism, arrogance and self-centeredness

Friedrich Nietzsche wrote: "But now God is dead. You superior men, this God was your greatest danger. Only since he is in the grave, have you risen again. Only now comes the great noontide; only now the superior man will be – Lord!"

The picture of Nietzsche above was taken in 1899. Nietzsche died in 1900.

Showing concern for others often makes people more interesting to others, while self-centeredness is off-putting.

Atheists have earned a reputation for arrogance, selfishness and narcissism as can be seen in the articles below:

Intelligence trends: Secular countries and religious countries

See also: Atheism and intelligence and Atheism and the brain

In many secular countries intelligence is falling, while in many religious countries intelligence is increasing (See: Intelligence trends in religious countries and secular countries).

Brain researchers and social scientists have conducted a number of studies focusing on the differences between atheists and the religious (see: Atheism and the brain).

Atheism has a lower degree of cultural diversity than Christianity

See also: Western atheism and race and Atheist population

African Christians clapping at an open air meeting.

In 2005, there were four times as many non-Western World Christians as there were Western World Christians.[87]

Many people find cultural diversity/novelty interesting. Travel is often said to broaden the mind.

The current atheist population mostly resides in East Asia (particularly China) and in secular Europe/Australia primarily among whites.[88] See: Western atheism and race

In China, which has the world's largest atheist population, Christianity is seeing rapid growth (see: Growth of Christianity in China).

In 2015, BloombergView reported concerning the United States:

According to a much-discussed 2012 report from the Pew Research Center on Religion and Public Life, only 3 percent of U.S. atheists and agnostics are black, 6 percent are Hispanic, and 4 percent are Asian. Some 82 percent are white. (The relevant figures for the population at large at the time of the survey were 66 percent white, 11 percent black, 15 percent Hispanic, 5 percent Asian.)

...Craig Keener, in his huge review of claims of miracles in a wide variety of cultures, concludes that routine rejection of the possibility of the supernatural represents an impulse that is deeply Eurocentric.[89]

The atheist Dr. Sikivu Hutchinson declared “If mainstream freethought and humanism continue to reflect the narrow cultural interests of white elites who have disposable income to go to conferences then the secular movement is destined to remain marginal and insular.”[90]

The atheist community has not had significant outreach to racial minorities within the Western World whereas Christians have done this (particularly among the poor).[91] See also: Atheism and uncharitableness

Lack of significant global outreach by Western World atheists

The Christian relief organization Feed My Starving Children has a distribution partner in Malawi, Africa. In recent years, Christianity has seen a rapid growth in Africa.[92]

In 2005, there were four times as many non-Western World Christians as there were Western World Christians.[93]

Western World atheists have not engaged in a significant amount of global outreach.

See also: Global atheism and Global Christianity and Christian evangelism and Atheism and apathy

The former Soviet Union had a worldwide expansionist policy as far as spreading atheistic communism.[94] The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 led to a spike in religious affiliation, both in Russia and in Eastern Europe.[95]

The atheist population in the Western World has not had significant outreaches to spread atheism outside their region. Historically, Christians have made great evangelism efforts to reach every people group across the earth. In 2005, there were four times as many non-Western World Christians as there were Western World Christians.[96] Doing overseas evangelism/outreaches, often requires significant hardships/persecution and Western atheists have been unwilling to endure such hardships in order to spread atheistic ideology (see: Atheism and hedonism).

The current atheist population mostly resides in East Asia (particularly China) and in secular Europe/Australia among whites.[97] See: Global atheism

In the United States, atheists are in the minority (See: Atheist Population). And in the United States and Canada, the general population looks very unfavorably on atheists (see: Views on atheists). In the United States/Canada, atheists are generally white.

Christianity has a high degree of cultural diversity

Christianity, in terms of its geographic distribution, is the most globally diverse religion.[98] (see: Global Christianity). In 2005, there were four times as many non-Western World Christians as there were Western World Christians.[99]

The Bible has been translated into 518 languages and 2,798 languages have at least some portion of the Bible.[100] In addition, the Christian community is far more evangelistic than the atheist community and Christian missionaries are throughout the world.

Since World War II a majority of the most prominent and vocal defenders of the evolutionary position which employs methodological naturalism have been atheists and agnostics (see also: Causes of evolutionary belief).[101] Charles Darwin's evolutionary book The Origin of the Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life has been translated into 35 languages. [102]

Atheism has a poor track record in terms of creating art/music

See also: Atheism and art/music and Argument from beauty

Stain glass depiction of the Apostle John

Ritualistic atheists find beauty in certain religious traditions, symbols or rituals.[103] See also: American atheists and church attendance

Despite atheism being around since at least ancient Greece, there has not been a strong tradition of creating musical and artistic works related to atheism. Musical/artistic talent can be enhanced through practice and the atheist creed of "there is no God" is not an inspiring creed that produces a significant amount of music/art. For example, despite Wikipedia being founded by an atheist and an agnostic, there are no articles specifically devoted to the topics of atheist music or atheist art at Wikipedia, but Wikipedia does have articles devoted specifically to Christian art and Christian music.

The Christian Post reported:

In a new study of the various types of nonbelievers, researchers from The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga say "one of the most interesting and unexpected" types they examined is the "ritual" atheist or agnostic, who finds some value in religious teachings and practices.

Those who fall into this category, according to the researchers, are nonbelievers who may have a philosophical appreciation for certain religious teachings, who like being part of a community, who want to stay in touch with their ethnic identity or who simply find beauty in certain religious traditions, symbols or rituals.

"The implication of this particular typology is that you could be sitting next to somebody in church right now who may, in fact, not buy into the theology that the rest of the congregation buys into," said principal researcher Christopher F. Silver in an interview with The Christian Post.[104]

Atheism and alcoholism/drug addiction

See also: Atheism and alcoholism

According to the World Health Organization's (WHO) regional office in Europe, "The WHO European Region has the highest proportion in the world of total ill health and premature death due to alcohol.[105]

Individuals who have empty and unfulfulling lives often turn to alcohol and illegal drugs to deaden the emotional pain.

Atheists and atheistic cultures often have significant problems with excess alcohol usage (For more information please see: Atheism and alcoholism).

For example, as far as secular Europe, according to the World Health Organization's (WHO) regional office in Europe, "The WHO European Region has the highest proportion in the world of total ill health and premature death due to alcohol.[105]

Atheism and illegal drug use

See also: Atheism and drug addiction


Studies indicate that religious individuals are less likely to engage in illegal drug use than atheists/nonreligious.[106][107][108]

According to Science Daily:

Young Swiss men who say that they believe in God are less likely to smoke cigarettes or pot or take ecstasy pills than Swiss men of the same age group who describe themselves as atheists. Belief is a protective factor against addictive behaviour. This is the conclusion reached by a study funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation.[109]

Additional statistics on religion/irreligion and drug use

Religion has "enormous potential for lowering the risk of substance abuse among teens and adults," according to the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse.[110]

The Christian Post reported:

Religion has "enormous potential for lowering the risk of substance abuse among teens and adults," according to the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse. They report that adults and teens who consider religion to be very important and who attend religious services weekly or more often are "far less likely to smoke, drink or use illicit drugs." In addition, those battling addiction who attend spiritually-based support programs as part of their treatment "are more likely to maintain sobriety."

By contrast, adults who never attend religious services are "almost seven times likelier to drink, three times likelier to smoke, more than five times likelier to have used an illicit drug other than marijuana, almost seven times likelier to binge drink and almost eight times likelier to use marijuana" than adults who attend religious services at least once a week.

Research also indicates that teenagers who are involved in religious activities are half as likely to have substance abuse problems as those who are not. In addition, spirituality has been found to help teens overcome genetic tendencies for alcoholism, social pressure, and a family history of abuse.[111]

Many atheists find the history of atheism uninteresting and unsatisfactory

It is very common for atheists to have little interest in the history of atheism and history as a whole (see: Atheism and historical illiteracy).

Many secular leftists find the history of atheism unsatisfactory in terms of societal progress and social justice and engage in historical revisionism (see: Atheism and historical revisionism and Atheism and social justice).

Also, unlike Christianity which has experienced several major dramatic revivals and accompanying societal improvements, there have been no atheist revivals (see: Religion and crime reduction and Atheism vs. Christian revival and Christian apologetics).

Atheism and problems with retention and global growth

In 2012, a Georgetown University study was published indicating that only about 30 percent of those who grow up in an atheist household remain atheists as adults.[112]

The unrealistic and uninteresting worldview of atheism is currently facing a challenge in terms of retaining adherents and growth. In the 21st century, particularly in the latter half of the century, atheism is not expected to be an up and coming worldview in terms of adherents as can be seen in the articles below.

Additional unfavorable characteristics of atheism

Atheist population and problems with retention/growth

Atheism has no life changing and dramatic miracles. Naturalism is self-refuting

Atheism offers no life changing and dramatic miracles. In addition, naturalism is an unreasonable and self-refuting worldview.

Modern miracles and the evidence and arguments for the miracuious

Gary Habermas has discussed the issue of double-blind prayer experiments where people pray for others with terminal illness. Habermas admitted that most such experiments have not worked, but also pointed out that the three that he knows of that have indeed worked were cases of Bible believing Christians praying for the sick.[113]

Habermas also discussed documentations of miracle claims and referred to thousands of cases around the world of documented miracles, including those where medical doctors witness prayer healing people with severe physical disabilities.[114]

Christian apologists have compiled a number of strong argument for the existence of the miraculous (See: Atheism and miracles and Evidence for Christianity).

Naturalism is an unreasonable and self-refuting worldview

4 part series by Dr. J.P. Moreland on the philosophy of scientific naturalism

New Atheism has no intellectual depth and it is dying

New Atheism has a reputation for shallow arguments. A frequent occurrence is that the works of new atheists often betray an amateurish knowledge of philosophy/religion.[115] For example, atheist philosopher Dr. Michael Ruse declared concerning new atheist Richard Dawkins' book The God Delusion: "The God Delusion makes me embarrassed to be an atheist."[116] Vox Day's book The Irrational atheist found multiple errors in reasoning and factual errors when it came to the works of new atheist authors.[117] See also: Atheism and irrationality

Decline of New Atheism

New Atheism is also abrasive/aggressive which has worn thin over time in terms of public relations (see also: Atheism and public relations).

In 2015, the atheist author Joshua Kelly wrote:

...since the death of Hitchens: angry atheism lost its most charismatic champion. Call it what you like: New Atheism, fire-brand atheism, etc., had a surge with the Four Horsemen in the middle of the last decade and in the last four years has generally peetered out to a kind that is more docile, politically correct, and even apologetic.[118]

See also:

Secular leftism, groupthink, repression and decline

Joseph Stalin's atheistic regime killed tens of millions of people.

Secular leftism enforces conformity/groupthink though indoctrination and repression. And it is currently facing decline.

see:

Decline of the secular left

Atheism has no holidays

The Jewish comedienne Henny Youngman quipped: "I once wanted to become an atheist but I gave up . . . they have no holidays." [119]

Militant atheists and Christmas

Many people, even individuals who are not Christians, find Christmas to be a merry and festive time of year. On the other hand, militant atheists use Christmas as a time to engage in unpopular culture war battles (see: War on Christmas).

In December of 2003, the University of Warwick reported:

Dr. Stephen Joseph, from the University of Warwick, said: "Religious people seem to have a greater purpose in life, which is why they are happier. Looking at the research evidence, it seems that those who celebrate the Christian meaning of Christmas are on the whole likely to be happier.[120]

Foolishness of militant atheists

See also: Atheism and anger and Atheism and intolerance and Atheism and bitterness

An angry atheist speaking to a woman with a Bible in her hand.

The Christian philosopher James S. Spiegel says the path from Christianity to atheism among several of his friends involved moral slippage such as resentment or unforgiveness.[121] See: Atheism and unforgiveness

Research indicates that anger takes resources away from the executive decision making of the prefrontal cortex part of the brain.[122]

Social science research indicates that antitheists score the highest among atheists when it comes to personality traits such as narcissism, dogmatism, and anger.[123][124] Furthermore, they scored lowest when it comes to agreeableness and positive relations with others.[125]

The foolish nature of atheists and their irrational anger and bouts of rage towards God and/or Christians often causes militant atheists to behave irrationally (See: Militant atheism and Atheism and hatred of God).[126] For example, the militant Soviet atheists who aggressively attempted their atheistic communist ideology around the world had their empire collapse due to their corrupt atheist leaders implementing many foolish economic policies.[127] Furthermore, the historical data indicates that large sectors of the Soviet Union's populace failed to adopt atheism in significant numbers despite great efforts to try to make this occur.[128]

Anger over the failure of the secularization thesis

Sigmund Freud in his study

See also: Secularization thesis

Part of the scientific discovery process is finding out what scientific hypotheses, theories and laws are invalid.

A paper published by the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University entitled The Secularization Debate indicates:

The seminal social thinkers of the nineteenth century -- Auguste Comte, Herbert Spencer, Emile Durkheim, Max Weber, Karl Marx, and Sigmund Freud -- all believed that religion would gradually fade in importance and cease to be significant with the advent of industrial society. They were far from alone; ever since the Age of the Enlightenment, leading figures in philosophy, anthropology, and psychology have postulated that theological superstitions, symbolic liturgical rituals, and sacred practices are the product of the past that will be outgrown in the modern era. The death of religion was the conventional wisdom in the social sciences during most of the twentieth century; indeed it has been regarded as the master model of sociological inquiry, where secularization was ranked with bureaucratization, rationalization, and urbanization as the key historical revolutions transforming medieval agrarian societies into modern industrial nations. As C. Wright Mills summarized this process: “Once the world was filled with the sacred – in thought, practice, and institutional form. After the Reformation and the Renaissance, the forces of modernization swept across the globe and secularization, a corollary historical process, loosened the dominance of the sacred. In due course, the sacred shall disappear altogether except, possibly, in the private realm.”

During the last decade, however, this thesis of the slow and steady death of religion has come under growing criticism; indeed secularization theory is currently experiencing the most sustained challenge in its long history. Critics point to multiple indicators of religious health and vitality today, ranging from the continued popularity of churchgoing in the United States to the emergence of New Age spirituality in Western Europe, the growth in fundamentalist movements and religious parties in the Muslim world, the evangelical revival sweeping through Latin America, and the upsurge of ethno-religious conflict in international affairs3. After reviewing these developments, Peter L. Berger, one of the foremost advocates of secularization during the 1960s, recanted his earlier claims: “The world today, with some exceptions…is as furiously religious as it ever was, and in some places more so than ever. This means that a whole body of literature by historians and social scientists loosely labeled ‘secularization theory’ is essentially mistaken.” In a fierce and sustained critique, Rodney Stark and Roger Finke suggest it is time to bury the secularization thesis: “After nearly three centuries of utterly failed prophesies and misrepresentations of both present and past, it seems time to carry the secularization doctrine to the graveyard of failed theories, and there to whisper ‘requiescat in pace.’”[129]

Harvard University's Samuel Huntington observed: "The late 20th century has seen the global resurgence of religions around the world" (The Clash of Civilizations, p. 64).[130]

Alister McGrath points out that many atheists/agnostics were angry that the secularization thesis failed because religion was "supposed to" disappear. [131] Peter Berger said that the religiosity of the United States was a big exception to the secularization theory that should have caused social scientists to question the theory.[132]

After nearly three centuries of failed predictions of the secularization thesis and mankind practicing religion for thousands of years, most reasonable social scientists would simply modify/abandon their thesis and attempt to replace it with a better theory or theories. The stubbornness of many secularists to cling on to their failed thesis suggests rigid and limited thinking. This type of mindset is incompatible with the exciting process of scientific discovery.

.

Atheism and economic stagnation. Protestant work ethic and economic growth

See also: Atheism and sloth

Harvard University historian Niall Ferguson declared: "Through a mixture of hard work and thrift the Protestant societies of the North and West Atlantic achieved the most rapid economic growth in history." (See: Protestant work ethic and capitalism).[133]

China has the world's largest atheist population.[134][135][136] However, in the latter part of the 20th century and throughout the 21st century, China has seen a rapid growth of biblical Christianity within their nation, increased economic development and a leap in intelligence scores.[137][138] See also: Intelligence trends in religious countries and secular countries

Soviet Union

As noted earlier, the Soviet Union has significant economic/political problems which lead to its collapse.[139]

Widespread sloth in the former Soviet Union helped cause much poverty (see: Atheism and communism).[140][141] A study performed in the former Soviet Union found that over 50% of the work force admitted to drinking alcohol while on the job (See also: Atheism and alcoholism).[142]

Economic and societal deterioration in secular Europe

Euro banknotes

See also: Secular Europe

The Eurozone crisis is an ongoing economic crisis which has been negatively affecting Eurozone countries since late 2009. It consists of a sovereign debt crisis, a banking crisis and an economic growth and competitiveness crisis.

Causes of Europe's economic decline:

On October 3, 2014, L’Agence France-Presse reported:

In 2014, Sweden's new Social Democrat prime minister Stefan Loefven said, "Sweden is in a serious situation -- unemployment has become entrenched at high levels, school results have collapsed and the welfare system has major shortcomings".[143]
Sweden's new Social Democrat prime minister Stefan Loefven unveiled what he called a "feminist" government including Green Party ministers for the first time in the Nordic country.

"The Swedish people voted for a change of government and a new political direction. A new government comprised of the Social Democrats and the Green Party is ready to take up the task," Loefven said in his inaugural speech to parliament.

"Sweden's new government is a feminist government," he said.

Half his cabinet is female, including Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson and Foreign Minister Margot Wallstroem, a former EU commissioner.

Green Party leaders Aasa Romson and Gustav Fridolin were appointed ministers for the environment and education, respectively, and the party will also control Sweden's overseas aid agency Sida and the consumer affairs ministry.

He repeated election pledges to create jobs, recruit more teachers and increase the compulsory school age from 16 to 18.

"Sweden is in a serious situation -- unemployment has become entrenched at high levels, school results have collapsed and the welfare system has major shortcomings," he said.[144]

Reports of Britain's societal decline

Reason Rally 2016 speakers

See also: Atheism and public speaking

The news website Vox reported about Reason Rally 2016:

It is clear, too, that almost nobody who takes the stage at Reason Rally was ever trained as a preacher. The whole thing is languid, urgent words in measured tones. The goal is an "end to bigotry," in the pitch of a polite request, to "reject" a supernatural worldview with all the force of tepid applause. Jamie Raskin says the job of politicians is to "listen to scientists" and closes with "Put your thinking caps on America!" Penn Jillette struggles to get a video playing, chokes up over Hitchens, then plays a Bob Dylan knockoff about his love for all people. The Amazing Randi devotes half an hour to a muted jeremiad against the obscure "facilitated communication" hoax. Peter says he does not know what "FC" is, but he'll look into it.[145]

See also

External links

References

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  2. Clear Voices 2014 - Alister McGrath - C. S. Lewis’s Vision of the Christianity
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  119. Irrational Atheists
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  121. Forced Secularization in Soviet Russia: Why an Atheistic Monopoly Failed
  122. The Secularization Debate
  123. The Return of Religion
  124. 'Why God Won't Go Away' by Alister McGrath
  125. Professor Peter Berger on Resurgence of Religion and Decline of Secularization Theory
  126. The Protestant Work Ethic: Alive & Well…In China By Hugh Whelchel on September 24, 2012
  127. Top 50 Countries With Highest Proportion of Atheists / Agnostics (Zuckerman, 2005)
  128. A surprising map of where the world’s atheists live, Washington Post By Max Fisher and Caitlin Dewey May 23, 2013
  129. Cracks in the atheist edifice, The Economist, November 1, 2014
  130. Are human beings becoming smarter, BBC, March 2, 2015
  131. Soviet collapse
  132. [http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2255693/Last-pictures-life-iron-curtain-collapse-USSR.html Poverty, prostitutes and the long, slow death of the Soviet Union: Haunting pictures show desperate struggle to survive in last days of USSR, The Daily Mail
  133. Soviet Openness Brings Poverty Out of the Shadows, New York Times
  134. Communism and computer ethics
  135. New 'feminist' government with a Green tinge in Sweden
  136. New 'feminist' government with a Green tinge in Sweden
  137. American atheists are on the rise. They have radically different visions of the future, Vox