Is Religion Dying A Slow Death?

I fear one day I’ll meet God, he’ll sneeze and I won’t know what to say. ~ Ronnie Shakes

Surely one of the most important pieces of advice ever given to mankind was the admonition to never discuss religion and politics. Well, one out of two isn’t bad, and there is no intention here of choosing one faith over any other. Religion is and should always be a private affair, but is it an affair that will continue to last?

Is religion losing it’s foothold in North America? A study using census data from nine countries indicates that it is indeed. The results, reported to the American Physical Society meeting in Dallas, are based on a steady rise in those claiming no religious affiliation.

The research studied data dating back a century from countries in which religion affiliation was questioned. These included: Australia, Austria, Canada, the Czech Republic, Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Switzerland.

According to the study, the nine countries that have been slated as being on their way to a religion-free future are among the healthiest, happiest, and most prosperous in the world. The analysis of data invokes a concept known as non-linear dynamics, which is a mathematical approach utilized to explain a wide range of physical phenomena in which a number of factors play a part.

The data suggests rather than equivocates as no two people in any society are equally influenced by others in that same society.

In the words of Richard Wiener of the Research Corporation for Science Advancement, and the University of Arizona:

“In a large number of modern secular democracies, there’s been a trend that folk are identifying themselves as non-affiliated with religion; in the Netherlands the number was 40%, and the highest we saw was in the Czech Republic, where the number was 60%.”

It is said that there are no atheists in foxholes and perhaps this is so. The data from this study reflects the state of flux in today’s complex world where perhaps traditional ideologies and beliefs can no longer provide answers or sustenance as they once did.

And then again, who can really say?

It is important when evaluating the role of religion to separate that from a belief in God. While the two are certainly inter-related topics, they are not necessarily mutually exclusive.

We all need different tools to get through our lives and if religious beliefs are one of them, so be it. The point is only that if they aren’t, so be it as well.

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