Religion = Bad Times?

Discussion in 'Agnosticism and Atheism' started by RandomOne, Feb 11, 2009.

  1. RandomOne

    RandomOne Member

  2. Okiefreak

    Okiefreak Senior Member

    The operative word is "generally". The United States, for example, the industrial superpower, is also the most religious of industrial nations. The elaborate circuitous discussion in your post doesn't really deny that, but seems to attach some significance to regional variations in religiosity, and percentage comparisons between those states and countiries with corresponding percentages of religiosity. Are Vermont and New Hampshire (low in religiosity) urban? Have you or the author of the article ever been there? I have, and they seemed rural even compared to Oklahoma. One of the fascinating things about the article that you cite is that it makes comparisons between percentages of Americans in different states to various parts of the world, but never provides any data on urban-rural breakdown for those states. Sounds more like propaganda than meaningful analysis to me. And what is the point? Rural=inferior, urban=superior? Rural=uncivilized, urban=civilized? Urban=higher crime. Is that civilized? New York City civilized? Get outta here! Do you really believe that rural and uncivilized are the same thing?⋅i⋅lized
    –adjective 1.having an advanced or humane culture, society, etc.2.polite; well-bred; refined.3.of or pertaining to civilized people: The civilized world must fight ignorance. 4.easy to manage or control; well organized or ordered: The car is quiet and civilized, even in sharp turns.

    Is it civilized to deal in sterotypes?
  3. RandomOne

    RandomOne Member

    Heh, alright well change the term "civilized" in my original post to "densely populated" then. It'd be cool to deal with the topic at hand instead of lashing out at me for using a term in a round about way and interpreting that as a negative opinion towards rural areas. I love rural areas.

    What I'm getting at is, "are areas that are densely populated destined to become non-religious or is it just coincidental" and what are the reasons for that?
  4. Okiefreak

    Okiefreak Senior Member

    I interpreted it as a negative opinion toward religion. If I was wrong, I apologize, but your point about population density seems obscure and unrelated to the article you cite. Vermont, low in religiosity, has a population density (67 persons per square mile) that's below the national average (86), while Kentucky, Louisiana and Tennessee are relatively high in both religiosity and popultation density. Washington State has a population density of about 97 persons per square mile, while its next door neighbor Oregon has a density of 39 per square mile, considerably lower than my home state of Oklahoma, the "buckle of the Bible Belt" (53). Yet I don't think Oregonians are significantly more religious than Washingtonians, and certainly not more so than Oklahomans. I guess the answer to your question is , areas that are densely populated aren't necessarily destined to become non-religious, and it isn't even coincidental,since there doesn't seem to be a pattern or trend.

    I wonder if what you sense is a general trend toward secularization accompanying the phenomenon we often call "modernization" or "development", which often means westernization. Sociologists tell us this is real, but it certainly doesn't seem to be linear. As people react to the disruption of their spiritual roots and the growing impersonality of their societies under these pressures, they often turn to religion for solace--often fundamentalist religion that claims to have answers. We see it in the Third World and in the United States. And I find it all kind of disturbing. Again, I apologize for the adversarial tone. No lashing intended!
  5. RandomOne

    RandomOne Member

    I see what you mean as far as the united states are concerned, although the united states is somewhat of an anomaly on the global scale, with the religious diversity we have. I was mainly looking at the world map in that article and it seemed that places like europe, canada, australia, japan, the u.s., the more densely populated and/or "westernized" nations, were less religious than places like south america and africa. And south africa which is considered to be one of the more "westernized" parts of africa, and has the most urban areas (at least from what i have seen, example: in a picture from space there are far more lights in south africa than the rest of africa) is the least religious of the continent.

    And I do have somewhat of a negative view on religion but it is not my intent to try and change anyone else's mind or argue about it so i'm sorry if it came across that way in my original post, no offense meant. Hell i'd rather be religious and living in a tribe in the rainforest then atheist and living in a city like i am now, go figure.

    That's an interesting point from sociologists, i haven't heard that before. As you said it's not linear, but do you think it slowly gravitates in the direction of non-religion? I understand that religion will always have a presence, but is it more like a gradual curve that keeps approaching zero (but never reaches it) the more densely populated and modernized an area becomes?
  6. Hoatzin

    Hoatzin Senior Member

    I think people who live in close proximity have to learn to put up with one another, a lot more so than those who live in isolated communities. There's just less of an option to ostracise people.

    I'd say population density and religious belief are probably influenced by another factor - since it's hard to imagine a causal link between them. There are, remember, statistical anomalies, like Australia - comparatively "civilised", but with low population density because there's a big massive gap between its major population centres. I don't think that necessarily conflicts with the idea though. Even within a country as small as the UK, areas with lower population density tend to be less cosmopolitan, and that's in a country that pretty much doesn't bother with religion.
  7. Okiefreak

    Okiefreak Senior Member

    Maybe we should move this over to the sociology section. The United States is admittedly weird in many respects besides religiosity. We are also attached to free enterprise ideology to a degree unparalleled in any other country. Many Americans are beside themselves with anxiety over Obama's stimulus package--fearing we'll end up like (gasp) Europe, or maybe even (double gasp) France! Why is that? And what's with our attitudes toward sex--negative but ambivalent, served with a large amount of hypocrisy on the side? I'm asking these questions, and I've lived here all my life. Makes me want to take a few soiciology courses.
  8. Hoatzin

    Hoatzin Senior Member

    Bill Bryson said the thing that makes London great is indifference. He said it was wrong to think that hundreds of different cultures coexist in such a small space in relative peace because of tolerance; and that in fact, it's just that no-one gives enough of a shit about each other to hate them.

    I think this is a factor in why religion doesn't thrive in cities like it can in the country. In a tiny village, people know each other's business, it's harder to ignore deviant behaviour, etc. Traditions survive strongly as a result of being practiced by almost everyone, rather than being just one of a hundred different traditions being enacted in a square mile of space. Religion doesn't thrive on belief or faith; it thrives on the tribal instinct, the instinct to do what those around you are doing. If there's no clear message from those around you, you're free to make your own choice; if you're in an isolated community of 20 and 19 of those people have a feast day on March 16th, if there's nothing else to do there you'll probably show up, whether you believe in their motives or not, and chances are you wouldn't be the only one just playing along.
  9. famewalk

    famewalk Banned

    Hoatzin, is the computer made out of Neon for the Cathode chamber, like God's look of the streets?


    Hold on to the same questions for new answers.

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