Decline of the secular left

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Joseph Stalin, the Premier of the Soviet Union from 6 May 1941 to 5 March 1953, patronised the League of Militant Atheists, whose chief aim, under the leadership of Yemelyan Yaroslavsky, was to propagate militant atheism and eradicate religion.[1][2]

According to the University of Cambridge, historically, the "most notable spread of atheism was achieved through the success of the 1917 Russian Revolution, which brought the Marxist-Leninists to power."[3] Vitalij Lazarʹevič Ginzburg, a Soviet physicist, wrote that the "Bolshevik communists were not merely atheists but, according to Lenin's terminology, militant atheists."[4] See also: Atheism and politics

In 2019, John Feffer wrote at the left leaning The Nation:

In the Americas, the Trump tsunami has swept across both continents and the 'pink tide' of progressivism has all but disappeared from the southern half of the hemisphere...

In this planet-wide rising tide of right-wing populism, the liberal left commands only a few disconnected islands — Iceland, Mexico, New Zealand, South Korea, Spain, Uruguay... Worse, crafty operators with even more ambitious agendas stand ready to destroy the liberal status quo once and for all."[5]

Professor Eric Kaufmann says about a graph showing the correlation between the projected growth of the Muslim propulation and the rise of right-wing nationalism in a country:

Figure 1 shows an important relationship between projected Muslim population share in 2030 and support for the populist right across 16 countries in Western Europe. Having worked with IIASA World Population Program researchers who generated cohort-component projections of Europe’s Muslim population for Pew in 2011, I am confident their projections are the most accurate and rigorous available. I put this together with election and polling data for the main West European populist right parties using the highest vote share or polling result I could find. Note the striking 78 percent correlation (R2 of .61) between projected Muslim share in 2030, a measure of both the level and rate of change of the Muslim population, and the best national result each country’s populist right has attained."[6]

Samuel P. Huntington's thesis on the The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order keeps getting vindicated.

In September 2018, Pew Research indicated: "Due to the decline of the center-left across much of Western Europe and the comparative steadiness of the center-right, most Western European countries are led by center-right parties, as measured by the party of the prime minister or other head of government."[7] In June 2014, Forbes reported that it is undeniable that politically right wing parties are ascendant in Europe.[8]

As noted above, historically the largest advances of the secular left has been through utilizing the power of the state (see: State atheism and Atheism and communism). For example, secular leftists use the power of the state to promote evolutionary ideology and to censor creationist/intelligent design models of origins (See: Suppression of alternatives to evolution and Atheist indoctrination).

The historian Martin Van Crevel points out that sovereign states are losing power/influence due to technology democratizing access to information, welfare states increasingly failing, fourth-generation warfare being waged against countries and sovereign states increasingly losing their ability to maintain internal order.[9][10]

In 2017, the atheist PZ Myers, quoting fellow leftist Alex Nichols, wrote:

...the growing popularity of jibes associating outspoken atheists with fedoras, neckbeards, and virginity, led to an exodus of liberals and leftists from the “atheist” tent. Those who remained for the most part lacked in social skills and self-awareness, and the results were disastrous.[11]

Decline of state atheism in the world

See also: State atheism

The dissolution of the Soviet Union on December 26, 1991 was a watershed event in terms of the decline of leftism and the decline of the secular left (see also: Collapse of atheism in the former Soviet Union and Central and Eastern Europe and desecularization).

In the latter part of the 20th century and presently, state atheism is increasingly losing power (see: Growth of Christianity in China and Collapse of atheism in the former Soviet Union).

On November 1, 2014, an article in The Economist entitled Cracks in the atheist edifice declared:

Officials are untroubled by the clash between the city’s famously freewheeling capitalism and the Communist Party’s ideology, yet still see religion and its symbols as affronts to the party’s atheism...

Yang Fenggang of Purdue University, in Indiana, says the Christian church in China has grown by an average of 10% a year since 1980. He reckons that on current trends there will be 250m Christians by around 2030, making China’s Christian population the largest in the world. Mr. Yang says this speed of growth is similar to that seen in fourth-century Rome just before the conversion of Constantine, which paved the way for Christianity to become the religion of his empire.[12]

Decline of the secular left's influence due to demography and religious immigration

See also: Religious conservatism and politics and Desecularization and politics and Desecularization

Eric Kaufmann, a professor at Birkbeck College, University of London, using 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.[13]

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. The demographic disparity between the religious, growing global South and the aging, secular global North will peak around 2050. 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. [14]

Due to their higher fertility of religious conservatives and religious immigration to the Western World, the religious are expected to see a net gain in political power in the 21st century (see: Desecularization and politics).

Kaufmann told a secular audience in Australia: "The trends that are happening worldwide inevitably in an age of globalization are going to affect us."[15]

In 2010, in his book Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth, Eric Kaufmann wrote concerning the culture war in the United States:

High evangelical fertility rates more than compensated for losses to liberal Protestant sects during the twentieth century. In recent decades, white secularism has surged, but Latino and Asian religious immigration has taken up the slack, keeping secularism at bay. Across denominations, the fertility advantage of religious fundamentalists of all colours is significant and growing. After 2020, their demographic weight will begin to tip the balance in the culture wars towards the conservative side, ramping up pressure on hot-button issues such as abortion. By the end of the century, three quarters of America may be pro-life. Their activism will leap over the borders of the 'Redeemer Nation' to evangelize the world. Already, the rise of the World Congress of Families has launched a global religious right, its arms stretching across the bloody lines of the War on Terror to embrace the entire Abrahamic family.[16]

Right wing politics ascendant in secular Europe and the United States

See also: Decline of leftism and Secular Europe

The website New Statesman America declared in 2019:

Social democratic parties, meanwhile, are facing a mixture of electoral decline and challenge from both the greens and the left. Only Portugal, where the Socialist Party holds 37 per cent of seats and leads a coalition government with the far left, has bucked the trend. Sweden’s social democrats, down to 28 per cent of the vote in last year’s election, cling precariously to power in a caretaker government. Elsewhere, the typical fate of the classic social democrat parties, for example in Austria and Denmark, is to hover around 25 per cent. In both Germany and Italy, where strong social democracy was a lynchpin of the postwar anti-fascist settlement, support for social democrats has slumped below 20 per cent.[17]

Secular leftism does not lead to long term economic stability and productivity (see: Atheism and loss of economic productivity).

In November 2016, the politically left Barack Obama administration and Democratic Party received a huge loss in the midterm elections by losing control of the United States Senate and losing a historic amount of state legislature elections.[18]

The Obama administration became the first administration to met with an atheist group. It met with the Secular Coalition for America which is a coalition which represents the American Atheists, the American Humanist Association, and the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers.

According to the USA Today, the group met with the White House officials to "discuss problems that they believe are fueled by religion."[19] Among the issues the group discussed were the issues of "military proselytizing" by evangelical Christian members of the military and faith-based initiatives[19]

The Religion News Service reported:

For the last decade, atheists, humanists and others secularists have worked hard to organize a “secular vote” that would counter the political clout of the religious right.

President-elect Donald J. Trump’s victory dealt that movement a body blow when he garnered 81 percent of the white evangelical vote and 60 percent of the white Catholic vote. Mormons, too, voted overwhelmingly for Trump.

Despite Trump’s not being a particularly religious person, his platform was seen as anti-secular in many atheist and humanist circles. He said he would appoint religiously conservative Supreme Court justices, ban Muslim immigrants, favor Christianity and repeal the Johnson Amendment, which prohibits certain tax-exempt organizations from endorsing political candidates — issues antithetical to organized atheism and humanism.[20]

The U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who was appointed by Trump, is a judge who has ruled in favor of religious liberty in his past decisions.[21] U.S. Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, who was also nominated to the court by Trump, gave a favorable ruling in the Hobby Lobby case in respect to religious liberty.[22] See also: Morale of the atheist movement

Political weakness of the secular left in the United States

See: Political weakness of the secular left in the United States

China and secular leftism. China is a declining power. Growth of Christianity in China.

See also: China and atheism

China has the largest atheist population in the world.[23]

China has the world's largest atheist population and practices state atheism.[24][25] China has one of the highest rates of atheism in the world.[24][25] According to a 2012 Worldwide Independent Network/Gallup International Association (WIN/GIA) poll, 47% of Chinese people were convinced atheists, and a further 30% were not religious. In comparison, only 14% considered themselves to be religious.[26]

East Asia contains about 25 percent of the world's population. China's population represents 20 percent of the people on earth.[27]

Razib Khan points out in Discover Magazine, "most secular nations in the world are those of East Asia, in particular what are often termed “Confucian societies.” It is likely therefore that the majority of the world’s atheists are actually East Asian."[28] See: Asian atheism and Global atheism

On November 1, 2014, an article in The Economist entitled Cracks in the atheist edifice declared about the growth of Christianity in China:

Officials are untroubled by the clash between the city’s famously freewheeling capitalism and the Communist Party’s ideology, yet still see religion and its symbols as affronts to the party’s atheism...

Yang Fenggang of Purdue University, in Indiana, says the Christian church in China has grown by an average of 10% a year since 1980. He reckons that on current trends there will be 250m Christians by around 2030, making China’s Christian population the largest in the world. Mr. Yang says this speed of growth is similar to that seen in fourth-century Rome just before the conversion of Constantine, which paved the way for Christianity to become the religion of his empire.[29]

Decline of China's influence. China is a declining power

Skepticism about China remaining a global power

See also: Atheism and leadership

China faces a number of serious intractable problems. A number of leading geopolitical analysts are pessimistic about China's remaining a global power. Neocon globalist author Peter Zeihan said in 2022, "I do not worry about China at all... I don't think that there is going to be a China for much longer."[30]

China has state atheism and the fall of the Chinese Communist Party due to economic and other societal problems would cause a large drop in the global atheist population (See: Future of atheism in China and China and atheism and Collapse of atheism in the former Soviet Union).

Secular left vs. secular right

See: Western atheism, schisms and political polarization

Decline of the secular left in Latin American politics

The Guardian reported in March 2015, "Leftwing leaders in Brazil, Argentina and Venezuela are being knocked by dissent and stagnating economies. Poor governance and opposition from media and financial elites have sapped their popularity."[31]

In May 2018, the Washington Post published an article entitled In Brazil’s political crisis, a powerful new force: Evangelical Christians.[32]

Secular left's inability to stop the rise of anti-homosexuality laws around the world

Watoto Children's Choir from Kampala, Uganda.

In 2005, there were four times as many non-Western World Christians as there were Western World Christians.[33]

In recent years, Christianity has seen a rapid growth in Africa.[34] See: Global atheism and Atheist population

See also: Atheism and homosexuality and Views on homosexuality and Homosexual agenda

The conservative journalist Peter LaBarbera of Americans for Truth wrote: "Anyone who has researched the subject of homosexuality knows that many of the most staunch advocates of homosexuality are those who hold a decidedly secular outlook." (See also: Atheism and homosexuality).[35]

In February 2014, Newsweek reported a rise of anti-homosexuality laws around the world.[36] According to Newsweek, the rise of anti-homosexuality laws in the world is due to weak governments and politicians desiring to appeal to popular anti-homosexuality opinion.[36] See also: Religious conservatism and politics

The secular leftist Simon Ssenkaayi argues that identity politics and other strategies that worked in the Western World to promote acceptance of homosexuality will not work in Africa and that developing relationships with communities would be a more effective method.[37] Historically, atheists have not engaged in evangelism in Africa and atheists have a reputation for possessing poor social skills (see: Atheism and social intelligence and Atheism and arrogance and Atheist factions).

Secular left unable to shut down the Quiverfull movement

The Quiverfull movement is an evangelical Christian movement which eschews all forms of birth control - including natural family planning. The secular left has been unable to shut down the Quiverfull movement.

Presently, several thousand Christians worldwide belong to this movement.[38]

American atheists unsuccessful attempts to engage in identity politics

See also: Views on atheists and Persecution of atheists and Atheism vs. Christianity

The ex-president of the American Atheists organization, David Silverman, was given the label of an atheist whiner by the American woman Natalie Rothschild.[39] See also: Atheism and public relations and Atheist whining

In the United States, a significant amount of atheists are white males and the American atheist population has been criticized for its lack of racial diversity and lower amount of females in its population (Western atheism and race and Atheism and women). The Pew Research Forum reported in 2013 concerning American atheists: "About four-in-ten atheists (43%) have a college degree, compared with 29% of the general public."[40] In 2012, the Pew Research Forum reported regarding American atheists: "And about 38% of atheists and agnostics have an annual family income of at least $75,000, compared with 29% of the general public."[41] Also, atheists within the United States have developed a reputation of uncharitableness as they gave far less to charities, even if church donations are not counted (see: Atheism and uncharitableness). As a result of these factors, claims of being an oppressed minority by atheists are often dismissed even by fellow atheists (See: Atheist whining).[42]

In addition, given the favorable treatment atheist activists often receive in the media and the atheistic indoctrination that occurs in public schools/universities, the notion of atheists as an oppressed minority is often rejected by Americans.

At the same time, in America as in many theistic societies, atheists are the least trusted group and many Americans have a low opinion of atheism/atheists (see: Views on atheists and Atheism and social outcasts). Many Americans disagree with the relativistic morality and immoral behavior that many atheists display (see: Atheism and morality and Atheist population and immorality).

Historically, many Christians have shown a significant amount of patience/tolerance towards atheists - even in face of persecution by atheists (see: Christian patience, forgiveness and long-suffering towards atheists).

American atheists and public relations efforts

See also: Atheism and public relations and Atheism and the media and Atheism and mockery

The biggest challenge facing atheist public relations efforts in the United States is that most theists do not think about atheism and would prefer not to as they see it is an unreasonable, arrogant and unattractive worldview. As a result, many atheist campaigns, particularly one's by militant atheists, are designed to be provocative which has the effect of further lowering the public's view of atheism/atheists (see: Atheism and public relations and Views on atheists).

Atheism, leftism, social justice/progressive values and hypocrisy

See also: Atheism and social justice and Atheist hypocrisy

Progressive values according to leading progressive websites

According to leading progressive/leftists websites, progressive values include: freedom; opportunity; responsibility; cooperation/community; caring and responsibility, carried out with strength; protection/fairness; honesty and open communication.[43][44]

Atheism and lack of cooperation/community

The atheist population lacks cooperation/community, is known for engaging in bitter quarrels and is deeply divided (see: Atheist factions and Atheist movement). It also has significant racial/gender issues (see: Western atheism and race and Atheism and women).

Atheism and lack of empathy

As far as the progressive values of caring/protection, the American atheist population gives less to charity per capita than Christians even when church giving is not counted (see: Atheism and uncharitableness).

In addition, the historical record shows that atheists have often been uncaring and atheists have engaged in barbarous/uncivilized behavior (see: Atheism and mass murder and Mass rape of German women by the Soviet army and Atheism and cannibalism and Atheism and bestiality).

Also, atheists rarely focuses on the issue of social Darwinism in their communities past and often takes offense when biblical creationists bring this matter up.[45][46]

Atheists falling short of the progressive value of freedom

As far as the values of freedom, militant atheists continue to deny basic freedoms to people (See: Militant atheism and Atheism and forced labor).

Atheists and the issue of honesty

As far as honesty, atheists have a poor record in this area as well (see: Atheism and deception).

Recommended books

  • The Decline of the Secular University by C. John Sommerville, June 29, 2006
  • Dimitry Pospielovsky, (December, 1987), A History of Marxist-Leninist Atheism and Soviet Antireligious Policies, Palgrave Macmillan, ISBN 0312381328
  • Dimitry Pospielovsky, (November, 1987), Soviet Antireligious Campaigns and Persecutions (History of Soviet Atheism in Theory and Practice and the Believers, Vol 2), Palgrave Macmillan, ISBN 0312009054
  • Dimitry Pospielovsky, (August, 1988), Soviet Studies on the Church and the Believer's Response to Atheism: A History of Soviet Atheism in Theory and Practice and the Believers, Vol 3, Palgrave Macmillan, hardcover: ISBN 0312012918, paperback edition: ISBN 0312012926

See also

External links


  1. Michael Hesemann, Whitley Strieber (2000). The Fatima Secret. Random House Digital, Inc.. Retrieved on 9 October 2011. “Lenin's death in 1924 was followed by the rise of Joseph Stalin, "the man of steel," who founded the "Union of Militant Atheists," whose chief aim was to spread atheism and eradicate religion. In the following years it devastated hundreds of churches, destroyed old icons and relics, and persecuted the clergy with unimaginable brutality.” 
  2. Paul D. Steeves (1989). Keeping the faiths: religion and ideology in the Soviet Union. Holmes & Meier. Retrieved on 4 July 2013. “The League of Militant Atheists was formed in 1926 and by 1930 had recruited three million members. Five years later there were 50,000 local groups affiliated to the League and the nominal membership had risen to five million. Children from 8-14 years of age were enrolled in Groups of Godless Youth, and the League of Communist Youth (Komsomol) took a vigorous anti- religious line. Several antireligious museums were opened in former churches and a number of Chairs of Atheism were established in Soviet universities. Prizes were offered for the best 'Godless hymns' and for alternative versions of the Bible from which ... the leader of the League of Militant Atheists, Yemelian Yaroslavsky, said: "When a priest is deprived of his congregation, that does not mean that he stops being a priest. He changes into an itinerant priest. He travels around with his primitive tools in the villages, performs religious rites, reads prayers, baptizes children. Such wandering priests are at times more dangerous than those who carry on their work at a designated place of residence." The intensified persecution, which was a part of the general terror inflicted upon Soviet society by Stalin's policy, ...” 
  3. Marxism. University of Cambridge (2008). Retrieved on 2011–03–15. “The most notable spread of atheism was achieved through the success of the 1917 Russian Revolution, which brought the Marxist-Leninists to power. For the first time in history, atheism thus became the official ideology of a state.”
  4. Vitalij Lazarʹevič Ginzburg (2009). On Superconductivity and Superfluidity: A Scientific Autobiography. Springer Science+Business Media. Retrieved on 2011–03–15. “The Bolshevik communists were not merely atheists but, according to Lenin's terminology, militant atheists.”
  5. Combating the New Right by John Feffer, The Nation, May 13, 2019
  6. Why the fear of Islamization is driving populist right support – and what to do about it, Eric Kaufmann
  7. Swedish election highlights decline of center-left parties across Western Europe by Kyle Taylor
  8. Europe's Deep Right-Wing Logic By Robert D. Kaplan
  9. The Fate of the State by MARTIN VAN CREVELD
  10. Martin van Creveld interview
  11. Poisoning of a movement by PZ Myers
  12. Cracks in the atheist edifice, The Economist, November 1, 2014
  13. Eric Kaufmann: Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth?, Australian Broadcasting Corporation
  14. 97% of the world's population growth is taking place in the developing world, where 95% of people are religious, Tuesday, April 30, 2013
  15. Shall the religious inherit the earth - Festival of Dangerous Ideas - Eric Kaufmann
  16. Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth by Eric Kaufmann
  17. Will the far right triumph in Europe in 2019?, New Statesman America, January 2019
  18. [Republicans now have historic majorities in state legislatures. That's a really big deal. Republicans now have historic majorities in state legislatures. That's a really big deal], November 6, 2014
  19. 19.0 19.1 Atheists meet with White House officials, USA Today
  20. Dealt a body blow, atheists and humanists regroup by Kimberly Winston, Religion News Service, November 9, 2016
  21. These 6 Cases Show How Brett Kavanaugh Might Rule on Religious Freedom, Daily Signal, 2018
  22. Neil Gorsuch Has a Record of Protecting Religious Minorities, Time magazine, 2017
  23. 24.0 24.1 Top 50 Countries With Highest Proportion of Atheists / Agnostics (Zuckerman, 2005)
  24. 25.0 25.1 A surprising map of where the world’s atheists live, Washington Post By Max Fisher and Caitlin Dewey May 23, 2013
  25. "Global Index of Religiosity and Atheism", Gallup. Retrieved on 2012-11-28. 
  26. The Growth of Christianity in East Asia
  27. Most atheists are not white & other non-fairy tales, Discover magazine
  28. Cracks in the atheist edifice, The Economist, November 1, 2014
  29. Energy at the End of the World | Part 4 | Demographics | Peter Zeihan
  30. Scandals, protests, weak growth: is Latin America’s left in retreat?
  31. In Brazil’s political crisis, a powerful new force: Evangelical Christians, Washington Post
  32. Is Christianity taking over the planet?
  33. The African apostles: How Christianity exploded in 20th-century Africa
  34. Atheism and homosexuality
  35. 36.0 36.1 From Uganda to Russia, Homophobia Spreading Worldwide By Max Strasser 2/27/14 at 6:13 AM
  36. In Africa, human rights activists cannot work with religion, Simon Ssenkaayi 8 December 2014
  37. Kathryn Joyce (9 November 2006). "Arrows for the War". The Nation
  38. God save us from atheist whining by Natalie Rothschild
  39. 5 facts about atheists By Michael Lipka, Pew Research Forum, October 23, 2013
  40. “Nones” on the Rise - Demographics, Pew Research Forum, October 9, 2012
  41. What It Means To Be A Progressive: A Manifesto,
  42. What are Progressive Values,
  43. Herbert Spencer and social Darwinism
  44. Darwinism and World War I