Essay: Dancing on the grave of the atheist movement

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Numerous atheists have declared that the "atheist movement is dead" or that it is dying.[1] See: Decline of the atheist movement

"...since ya'll have effectively killed what was left of the atheist movement". - Aron Ra, Texas State Director of American Atheists, 2017[1]

As much as I hate to say it, on behalf of all Christendom, I declare victory over the atheist movement in the 21st century! See: Decline of the atheist movement
On July 24, 2020, the atheist PZ Myers wrote about atheism: "Deep rifts, ongoing fragmentation, and crumbling reputations seems to be the order of the day in atheism."[2]

In 2019, a writer at Freethought Blogs wrote: "Last month I looked at some postmortems of the atheist movement...".[3] See also: Morale of the atheist movement
In 2011, atheist Jacques Berlinerblau declared: "The Golden Age of Secularism has passed."[4]

Dancing on the grave of the atheist movement

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Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

See also: Growth of evangelical Christianity and Growth of religious fundamentalism

Birkbeck College, University of London

Professor Eric Kaufmann, who teaches at Birkbeck College, University of London, specializes in the academic area of how demographic changes affect religion/irreligion and politics. Kaufmann is an agnostic.

On December 23, 2012, Kaufmann 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.[5] [6]

A study conducted by the Washington-based Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life says that Africans are among the most religious people on Earth.[7] Africa has a high fertility rate and it is seeing a big population boom. According to the Institute For Security Studies: "Africa's population is the fastest growing in the world. It is expected to increase by roughly 50% over the next 18 years, growing from 1.2 billion people today to over 1.8 billion in 2035. In fact, Africa will account for nearly half of global population growth over the next two decades."[8] See: Religion and Africa

At a conference Kaufmann said of religious demographic projections concerning the 21st century:

Part of the reason I think demography is very important, at least if we are going to speak about the future, is that it is the most predictable of the social sciences.

...if you look at a population and its age structure now. You can tell a lot about the future. ...So by looking at the relative age structure of different populations you can already say a lot about the future...

...Religious fundamentalism is going to be on the increase in the future and not just out there in the developing world..., but in the developed world as well.[9]

Concerning the future of secularism in Europe, in a paper entitled Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth?: Demography and Politics in the Twenty-First Century, Kaufmann wrote:

We have performed these unprecedented analyses on several cases. Austria offers us a window into what the future holds. Its census question on religious affiliation permits us to perform cohort component projections, which show the secular population plateauing by 2050, or as early as 2021 if secularism fails to attract lapsed Christians and new Muslim immigrants at the same rate as it has in the past. (Goujon, Skirbekk et al. 2006).

This task will arguably become far more difficult as the supply of nominal Christians dries up while more secularisation-resistant Muslims and committed rump Christians comprise an increasing share of the population.[10]

Current religious demography scholarship suggest that the relatively low fertility of secular Americans and the religiosity of the immigrant inflow provide a countervailing force that will cause the secularization process within the total population to plateau before 2043. This represents an important theoretical point in that demography permits society to become more religious even as individuals tend to become less religious over time.[11]

In their 2010 journal article entitled, Secularism, Fundamentalism or Catholicism? The Religious Composition of the United States to 2043 published in the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, Eric Kaufmann, Vegard Skirbekk and Anne Goujon wrote:

We find considerable stability of religious groups over time, but there are some important shifts. Hispanic Catholics experience the strongest growth rates to 2043. Immigration, high fertility, and a young age structure will enable this group to expand from 10 to 18 percent of the American population between 2003 and 2043, despite a net loss of communicants to secularism and Protestantism. This will power the growth of Catholics as a whole, who will surpass Protestants by mid century within the nation’s youngest age groups. This represents a historic moment for a country settled by anti-Catholic Puritans, whose Revolution was motivated in part by a desire to spread dissenting Protestantism and whose populationon the eve of revolution was 98 percent Protestant (Huntington 2004; Kaufmann 2004). Another important development concerns the growth of the Muslim population and decline of the Jews. High Muslim fertility and a young Muslim age structure contrasts with low Jewish childbearing levels and a mature Jewish age structure. Barring an unforeseen shift in the religious composition and size of the immigrant flow, Muslims will surpass Jews in the population by 2023 and in the electorate by 2028. This could have profound effects on the course of American foreign policy. Within the non-Hispanic white population, we expect to see continued Liberal Protestant decline due to low fertility and a net loss in exchanges with other groups. White Catholics will also lose due to a net outflow of converts. Fundamentalist and Moderate Protestant denominations will hold their own within the white population, but will decline overall as the white share of the population falls.

The finding that Protestant fundamentalism may decline in relative terms over the medium term contrasts with a prevailing view that envisions the continued growth of “strong religion” (Stark and Iannaccone 1994a). This is the result of an older age structure, which increases loss through mortality, and immigration, which reduces the size of all predominantly white denominations — all of which are poorly represented in the immigration flow. Fundamentalists’ relatively high fertility and net surplus from the religious marketplace is not sufficient to counteract the effects of immigration. Obviously, this could change if significant immigration begins to arrive from more Pentecostalist source countries such as Guatemala or parts of sub-Saharan Africa.

Our work also sheds light on the religious restructuring paradigm, though we do not find a clear victor between secularism and fundamentalism. The secular population will grow substantially in the decades ahead because it has a young age structure and more people leave religion than enter it. The sharpest gains for secularism will be within the white population, where seculars will surpass fundamentalists by 2030. On the other hand, there are important demographic limits to secularism, demonstrating the power of religious demography. The relatively low fertility of secular Americans and the religiosity of the immigrant inflow provide a countervailing force that will cause the secularization process within the total population to plateau before 2043. This represents an important theoretical point in that demography permits society to become more religious even as individuals tend to become less religious over time.[12]

Dr. Steve Turley wrote:

According to University of London scholar Eric Kaufmann’s detailed study on global demographic trends, we are in the early stages of nothing less than a demographic revolution. In Kaufmann’s words, "religious fundamentalists are on course to take over the world." There is a significant demographic deficit between secularists and conservative religionists. For example, in the U.S., while self-identified non-religionist women averaged only 1.5 children per couple in 2002, conservative evangelical women averaged 2.5 children, representing a 28 percent fertility edge. Kaufmann notes that this demographic deficit has dramatic effects over time. In a population evenly divided, these numbers indicate that conservative evangelicals would increase from 50 to 62.5 percent of the population in a single generation. In two generations, their number would increase to 73.5 percent, and over the course of 200 years, they would represent 99.4 percent. The Amish and Mormons provide contemporary illustrations of the compound effect of endogamous growth. The Amish double in population every twenty years, and projections have the Amish numbering over a million in the U.S. and Canada in just a few decades. Since 1830, Mormon growth has averaged 40 percent per decade, which means that by 2080, there may be as many as 267 million Mormons in the world, making them by 2100 anywhere from one to six percent of the world’s population.

In Europe, immigration is making the continent more religiously conservative, not less; in fact, London and Paris are some of the most religiously dense areas within their respective populations. In Britain, for example, Ultra-Orthodox or Haredi Jews constitute only 17 percent of the Jewish population but account for 75 percent of Jewish births. And in Israel, Haredi schoolchildren have gone from comprising a few percent to nearly a third of all Jewish pupils in a matter of five decades, and are poised to represent the majority of the Jewish population by 2050. Since 1970, charismatic Christians in Europe have expanded steadily at a rate of 4 percent per year, in step with Muslim growth. Currently, Laestadian Lutherans in Finland and Holland’s Orthodox Calvinists have a fertility advantage over their wider secular populations of 4:1 and 2:1 respectively.

In contrast, Kaufmann’s data projects that secularists, who consistently exemplify a low fertility rate of around 1.5 (significantly below the replacement level of 2.1), will begin a steady decline after 2030 to a mere 14 to 15 percent of the American population. Similar projections apply to Europe as well. Kaufmann thus appears to have identified what he calls "the soft underbelly of secularism," namely, demography. This is because secular liberalism entails its own “demographic contradiction,” the affirmation of the sovereign individual devoid of the restraints of classical moral structures necessitates the freedom not to reproduce. The link between sex and procreation having been broken, modernist reproduction translates into mere personal preference. It thus turns out that the radical individualism so celebrated and revered by contemporary secular propagandists is in fact the agent by which their ideology implodes.[13]

For more information, please see: Growth of evangelicalism in the world and in the United States and American culture war, demographics and expected tipping point after 2020

"It will be a century or more before the world completes its demographic transition. There is still too much smoke in the air for us to pick out the peaks and valleys of the emerging social order. This much seems certain: without a new [secular liberal] ideology to inspire social cohesion, fundamentalism cannot be stopped. The religious shall inherit the earth." - Professor Eric Kaufmann[14] See also: Growth of religious fundamentalism

Religious fundamentalism is a runaway train that cannot be stopped! Full steam ahead Bible believers and creationists! See: Acceleration of 21st century desecularization

A quick reminder to militant atheists

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See also

Humor:

Notes

  1. I don’t even know what’s going on in atheism anymore by PZ Myers
  2. The ghost of atheist past, Freethought Blogs
  3. Berlinerblau, Jacques (February 4, 2011). "Obama at the National Prayer Breakfast". The Chronicle of Higher Education/Brainstorm blog. Retrieved on May 29, 2015.
  4. London: A Rising Island of Religion in a Secular Sea by Eric Kaufmann, Huffington Post, 2012
  5. 97% of the world's population growth is taking place in the developing world, where 95% of people are religious, Tuesday, April 30, 2013
  6. Why so many Africans are religious: Leo Igwe
  7. Africa’s population boom: burden or opportunity?, Institute For Security Studies
  8. Eric Kaufmann - Religion, Demography and Politics in the 21st Century
  9. Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth?: Demography and Politics in the Twenty-First Century by Eric Kaufmann
  10. Secularism, Fundamentalism or Catholicism? The Religious Composition of the United States to 2043, Journal for the Sientific Study of Religion, vol. 49, no. 2 (June) 2010, Vegard Skirbekk and Anne Goujon,
  11. Secularism, Fundamentalism or Catholicism? The Religious Composition of the United States to 2043, Journal for the Sientific Study of Religion, vol. 49, no. 2 (June) 2010, Eric Kaufmann, Vegard Skirbekk and Anne Goujon,
  12. (source: Text below the YouTube video Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth and the text was written by Dr. Steven Turley).
  13. The Stork Theory By Allan C. Carlson, February 28, 2018