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The Decline of Religion

  • 04-09-2018 5:10pm
    #1
    Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 24,242 Mod ✭✭✭✭ robindch


    Is it worth holding open a sticky containing news which suggests that religion might be in decline? Let's see.
    The aircraft hangar-like concrete monstrosity in Finglas is to be demolished.
    First up, it's beeen announced that one of the largest churches in Ireland is finally shutting its door next month, to be replaced by a building 10% of the size of the original.

    https://www.dublinlive.ie/news/dublin-news/catholic-church-finglas-dublin-15102137

    One can only hope that the new building might be worth visiting, architecturally at least, for something more interesting than the quantity of air it encloses.


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Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 494 ✭✭ Irish Kings


    Worldwide religion is growing and atheism declining.

    Atheists, agnostics and other people who don’t affiliate with a religion will make up a smaller fraction of the world’s population in 2050

    http://time.com/3769287/religion-atheists-study/


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,247 ✭✭✭ pauldla


    Worldwide religion is growing and atheism declining.

    Atheists, agnostics and other people who don’t affiliate with a religion will make up a smaller fraction of the world’s population in 2050

    http://time.com/3769287/religion-atheists-study/

    Interesting article, thanks for sharing. So it would seem that globally the number of some religions is set to increase, but in the West the opposite trend is anticipated?


  • Registered Users Posts: 23,325 ✭✭✭✭ Peregrinus


    pauldla wrote: »
    Interesting article, thanks for sharing. So it would seem that globally the number of some religions is set to increase, but in the West the opposite trend is anticipated?
    Yes. But I think the takeaway point is that this trend isn't the outcome of conversions versus defections, or enlightenment over superstition, or however you want to frame that particular issue. It's just demographics. Population growth is stronger in more religious societies than in less religious societies, and this trend is projected to eclipse any effect attributable to changes in religiosity in those societies.

    On edit: Just to add that I don't suggest that less religious societies are growing more slowly because they are irreligious, or vice versa. A huge proportion of the world's atheists are accounted for by just two countries, China and Russia. The low rate of population growth in these countries is not an artefact of their low religiosity, but of economic insecurity (in Russia) and the long-term consequences of the one-child policy (in China).

    So the growth of the proportion of the religious in the world's population is real, but it probably doesn't tell us anything meaningful about religion or irreligion. It's just a thing we observe.


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 15,332 Mod ✭✭✭✭ smacl


    Peregrinus wrote: »
    Yes. But I think the takeaway point is that this trend isn't the outcome of conversions versus defections, or enlightenment over superstition, or however you want to frame that particular issue. It's just demographics. Population growth is stronger in more religious societies than in less religious societies, and this trend is projected to eclipse any effect attributable to changes in religiosity in those societies.

    Very true. Highest population growth also corresponds strongly with poverty and inversely with education and life expectancy. In a related Pew article they note one reason for decline in Christianity in Europe is increased death rates due to an aging population;
    In recent years, Christians have had a disproportionately large share of the world’s deaths (37%) – in large part because of the relatively advanced age of Christian populations in some places

    The point I take from all this is that if the worlds population is allowed to continue to grow unchecked with it will come greatly increased levels of poverty, quite possibly followed by population collapse. I personally find the Christian notion of 'Go forth and multiply' morally reprehensible in this context, and I don't doubt that Islam suffers from similar problems.

    An interesting figure that I haven't seen is how many adult conversions the various religions and atheism enjoy. i.e. the religiosity or lack thereof that is by choice rather than birth.


  • Registered Users Posts: 23,325 ✭✭✭✭ Peregrinus


    smacl wrote: »
    An interesting figure that I haven't seen is how many adult conversions the various religions and atheism enjoy. i.e. the religiosity or lack thereof that is by choice rather than birth.
    That kind of information would be very difficult to gather, certainly on a global level. Religiosity/irreligiosity is a matter of practice (i.e. what you do, how you live); theism/atheism is a matter of belief. Neither is a matter of membership/registration. So people can be more religious or less religious (I used to go to mass weekly; now less frequently) or they can be religious in different ways (I used to go to the Evangelical Fundamentalist Baptist church; now I go to the Unitarian Universalists) or they can be more religious in one respect but less in others (I don't go to synagogue as often as I used to, but I am more observant of dietary restrictions). And you have the problem that religiosity refers to different practices depending on which religiosity you are measuring - church attendance might be a relevant datum for assessing how Christian a society is, but other religious traditions may have no analogous practice, or might not attach any importance to it.

    And that's even before we get into the fact that religious/irreligious isn't a simply binary; more of a spectrum. How do you measure all that in any meaningful way without quite detailed qualitative research? And that's not going to happen globally.

    You also have the problem that religion and atheism are not mutually exclusive. China has a high proportion of atheists, and one of the factors behind this (not the only one) is that some of the dominant religious traditions in China are atheist, or are compatible with an atheist position. Conversely you have a bunch of people in the West who identify as "spiritual but not religious"; do you count them as atheist? So you may need to decide whether you're interested in measuring religiosity or belief, and stick to just one of those things. But that requires you to ditch about half of the already limited data available, on the grounds that it's not measuring what you want to study.

    On a less-than-global scale there probably is better data available. For example, by looking at the Irish census results over a number of years it's possible to measure changes in religious identification which aren't accounted for by demographic factors (births, deaths, migration) and therefore must represent individuals who have changed their identification. (But you lose that if you change the question about religious identification from census to census, as is periodically suggested on this board.)


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  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 15,332 Mod ✭✭✭✭ smacl


    While I've no problem with any of the above, the point remains that membership of a religion and subsequent religious adherence can be by birth or by choice. In countries where population growth is steepest, that choice is typically neither offered nor considered. So, as you already pointed out, growth of religion versus atheism is largely a byproduct of relative population growth in different parts of the world. The only effect that religion has on this is that it encourages unchecked population growth in order to grow its own numbers, which to my mind leads to massive suffering where resources aren't available to support these populations. This, in my humble opinion, is deeply immoral and damaging to humanity as a whole.


  • Registered Users Posts: 23,325 ✭✭✭✭ Peregrinus


    smacl wrote: »
    While I've no problem with any of the above, the point remains that membership of a religion and subsequent religious adherence can be by birth or by choice. In countries where population growth is steepest, that choice is typically neither offered nor considered. So, as you already pointed out, growth of religion versus atheism is largely a byproduct of relative population growth in different parts of the world. The only effect that religion has on this is that it encourages unchecked population growth in order to grow its own numbers, which to my mind leads to massive suffering where resources aren't available to support these populations. This, in my humble opinion, is deeply immoral and damaging to humanity as a whole.
    It's true for both believers and unbelievers that most of them hold the position they do as a familial inheritance. There is some evidence that unbelievers are, in fact, less likely to reject their family inheritance in this regard than believers are.

    I'm sceptical of your assumption that religion encourages population growth in a way that irreligion does not. Human instinct does the groundwork here, with further influence from social and economic circumstances. The number of people who beget children that they are not otherwise inclined to beget because they feel a religious obligation to do so is, I suspect, not high. Besides, if you (the generic you; not you, Smacl) view history or view progress as a contest between belief and unbelief, it's not clear why you would expect the forces of belief to seek victory in the struggle though reproduction, but not expect the forces of unbelief to pursue the same strategy.


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 15,332 Mod ✭✭✭✭ smacl


    Peregrinus wrote: »
    It's true for both believers and unbelievers that most of them hold the position they do as a familial inheritance. There is some evidence that unbelievers are, in fact, less likely to reject their family inheritance in this regard than believers are.

    I'd be interested in your references there. e.g. it seems apparent in this country that more people born into religion reject it than the converse. While there have been a few interesting conversions to Catholicism over the years, such as Waugh, it seems relatively rare when compared to the numbers that drop religion.
    I'm sceptical of your assumption that religion encourages population growth in a way that irreligion does not. Human instinct does the groundwork here, with further influence from social and economic circumstances. The number of people who beget children that they are not otherwise inclined to beget because they feel a religious obligation to do so is, I suspect, not high. Besides, if you (the generic you; not you, Smacl) view history or view progress as a contest between belief and unbelief, it's not clear why you would expect the forces of belief to seek victory in the struggle though reproduction, but not expect the forces of unbelief to pursue the same strategy.

    I disagree. For example, human instinct is to have sex and also but distinctly to have children. i.e. the desire to have sex goes beyond the desire to have children and in this day and age, in the civilised world, people choose when to have children. If you have a religion that seeks to ban contraception and interfere with women's reproductive rights, it is clearly an attempt to stymie this. So while people may not feel religiously compelled to have children they remain biologically driven to have sex regardless of whether they wish to procreate and are prone to have unwanted children if they adhere to the tenets of their religion.

    With respect to 'forces of unbelief', I don't believe there is such a thing that is comparable to forces of religious pressure, in that atheism is not coherent in the way that organised religions are. Being an atheist does not dictate behaviour nor carry dogma.


  • Registered Users Posts: 23,325 ✭✭✭✭ Peregrinus


    smacl wrote: »
    I'd be interested in your references there. e.g. it seems apparent in this country that more people born into religion reject it than the converse. While there have been a few interesting conversions to Catholicism over the years, such as Waugh, it seems relatively rare when compared to the numbers that drop religion.
    But that’s just a consequence of the fact that there are a lot more religious people to begin with. If you have a society in which 90% are raised with belief A, and 10% with belief B, and each belief has a similar defection rate to the other, then you’ll observe nine times as many people defecting from A to B than making the reverse defection. The fact that you observe more defections from A to B than from B to A doesn’t tell you that people raised with belief A are more given to defecting than people raised with belief B.

    (In fact, a subjective observation may be even more skewed. If you mainly hang around with people of belief B, then you are more likely to meet or hear of a person who has defected to belief B than you are to meet a person who has defected the other way, so your perception will be even more skewed. This is the fallacy that leads Jehovah’s Witnesses to think that doorstep evangelism is an effective technique - they all know lots of people who were converted by doorstepping, or who are descended from people converted by doorstepping.)

    What we need is the proportion of people raised with a given religious identity who later in life adopt a different religious identity (treating atheist/agnostic/unbeliever as a “religious identity” for this purpose). We can’t measure this from absolute numbers alone.

    As for my reference, it was a study that I came across a while ago. It was a US study, and couldn’t necessarily be generalised to the whole world, which is why I modestly only claimed “some evidence”. It looked at people’s current affiliations, and the affiliations they had been raised with, and then calculated “defection rates” for each affiliation, and concluded that those raised as unbelievers were less likely to have defected than those raised with (almost?) any other affiliation.

    Now you’re going to ask me (perfectly reasonably) for a citation, and I have to put my hand up and say I haven’t got one. I didn’t bookmark the study or note a citation at the time and now, despite much googling, I am unable to trace it. So if you want to dismiss this as not much better than an anecdote, I can’t object.
    smacl wrote: »
    I disagree. For example, human instinct is to have sex and also but distinctly to have children. i.e. the desire to have sex goes beyond the desire to have children and in this day and age, in the civilised world, people choose when to have children. If you have a religion that seeks to ban contraception and interfere with women's reproductive rights, it is clearly an attempt to stymie this. So while people may not feel religiously compelled to have children they remain biologically driven to have sex regardless of whether they wish to procreate and are prone to have unwanted children if they adhere to the tenets of their religion.
    Well, in the first place, not every religion seeks to ban contraception and interfere with reproductive rights. If you’re making a claim about religion in general you have to look at the generality of religion, and not just the particular manifestations which align with the claim you want to make. In the second place, it’s not hard to find nonreligious ideologies or values which have banned contraception/restricted reproductive rights, so if some examples of religion doing this means the religion characteristically does this, then we must concede that irreligion characteristically does this also.

    Which brings us to the real question, which is how effectively does religion (or irreligion) do this? And the answer seems to be, not very effectively at all. Fertility rates are influence by all kinds of social and economic factors, and religion only seems to make a marginal difference. For an example, Exhibit A: Ireland in the nineteenth century. As the church emerged from oppression, was emancipated, organised, constructed countless new churches, convents, school and monasteries, took over the national education system and became more and more influential in policy, administration and government, fertility rates fell and fell, which is the opposite of the outcome your thesis would lead us to expect. But we don’t have to look to history; Italy, a country with one of Europe’s highest Catholic identification rates and a country steeped in publicly Catholic culture, has one of its lowest fertility rates. Other countries with low fertility rates - Portugal, Spain, Poland. Countries with high fertility rates? Sweden, the UK, France, Denmark - and Ireland, whose steep climb up the fertility rate table has matched its sharp slide down the religiosity table.

    So, basically, I’m sceptical of the claim that religion has that much to do with population growth. I think it may sometimes try to, but actual population growth is driven by other factors.
    smacl wrote: »
    With respect to 'forces of unbelief', I don't believe there is such a thing that is comparable to forces of religious pressure, in that atheism is not coherent in the way that organised religions are. Being an atheist does not dictate behaviour nor carry dogma.
    Sure. But nonreligious societies aren’t free of culture, ideology, dogma, etc. Your thesis that they will foster less population growth depends on their being exposed to/influenced by culture, values, dogma, ideology, etc which will (effectively) promote lower population growth. I see no a priori reason to assume this.


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 15,332 Mod ✭✭✭✭ smacl


    Firstly, apologies for the brief reply, very busy couple of days for me here at work. With regards to religious decline, if you have a country such as Ireland where the number of people identifying as religious is falling at a lower rate than the numbers practising that religion, it would suggest to me that people are leaving their religion and only acknowledging this some time later. (No need for citation of your source, I don't remotely doubt your honesty P.)

    I didn't make a claim about religion in general, I said 'if a religion...'. Catholicism would clearly be one such very large religion that disallows contraception entirely. Other major religions such as Islam tend to allow it, but not to the extent of child free marriages and not outside of marriage. It is worth noting that premarital childbearing is common in many parts of sub-Saharan Africa for example, so the issue of contraception outside of marriage is clearly a pertinent one and a problem for the major religions is that part of the world.

    Atheism and non-religious societies are not interchangeable terms. Plenty of atheists in Ireland for example, which is a majority religious society.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 23,325 ✭✭✭✭ Peregrinus


    Well, if a religion seeks to promote fertility, I agree that does tend to increase population - but only to the extent that the religion is successful in promoting fertility, and I'm suggesting that, on the whole, they don't enjoy that much success. Fertility is mainly driven by other factors.

    Even then, given a religion which promotes fertility and does so successfully, a society which moves away from that religion won't necessarily experience reduced fertility. If the factors which led that religion to promote fertility, or which account for its success in that endeavour, still prevail then we'd expect no great change in fertility, wouldn't we?

    And I want to pick up on your suggestion that religions promote fertility do so "in order to increase their numbers". While this may be the effect, it's not necessarily the intention. Christianity inherited "Go forth and multiply" from the Jews, remember, and the Jews are, notoriously, not interested in increasing their numbers. From the Jewish point of view, it's important that there be Jews in the world, but it's not important how many. Religions wishing to increase their numbers mainly seek to do so through evangelism/conversion.

    On the point that atheism and non-religious societies are not the same thing, yes, of course, I agree. I think most of the fertility figures that we'll get, though, are going to be for nations and societies and, accepting that nations and societies can be expected to exemplify the dominant religious groups in them, we may have to treat the one as a crude proxy for the other.

    I appreciate your trust in my honesty. But, because I'm so honest, I feel compelled to point out that the lack of a citation prevents you (or, indeed, me) from checking whether my recollection of the study is reliable, or whether I interpreted it correctly. So we have to treat my claims here as Not As Well Evidenced As They Might Be.

    (Still, it won't stop me referencing the study, when people say that Christian parents brainwash their children, to point out that Atheist parents seem to brainwash their children rather more effectively than Christian parents do. :))


  • Registered Users Posts: 26,536 ✭✭✭✭ Hotblack Desiato


    I know you put a smiley on the end so are probably being facetious about the last bit...

    If I don't push belief in gods on my kids, that doesn't necessarily mean I'm telling them the stories they may hear about gods aren't true. But kids can hear all about the stories but they're not likely to believe them to be true unless their parents are actively telling them they are.

    Non-belief is the default position, it doesn't need a positive action to reach it, just the lack of an opposing positive action (i.e. inculcating belief.) so it's not at all surprising to me that children brought up in non-religious homes are very likely to be non-religious themselves. Brainwashing not required :)


  • Registered Users Posts: 23,325 ✭✭✭✭ Peregrinus


    I am being facetious, of course.

    But the underlying point is that all parents inculcate beliefs, values and attitudes in their children, both intentionally and unintentionally. The beliefs, values and attitudes may be theistic or atheistic in themselves, or they may be neither but may still tend to support, be favourable or be conducive to either theism or atheism. But the process is the same in every case. And the notion that I transmit to and foster in my children important values, you educate your children, and he brainwashes his is not one that I find very appealing. If nothing else, it demonstrates a worrying lack of self-awareness.

    If someone will insist on using the term "brainwashing" to describe how other people's children are raised, then I'm going to point out that the defining characteristic of brainwashing is that it leaves the subject unable to evaluate and modify or reject that which has been inculcated in them, and the only objective handle we have on this is the extent to which the subjects do in fact modify or reject that which was inculcated. And, on that measure, those raised as theists demonstrate a better ability to modify or reject what was inculcated than those raised as atheists do.

    The point is not that the atheist kids have been brainwashed, of course. It's that the theist kids have not been. Both groups have had their beliefs/values/identities formed by same processes/experiences, and if they display different defection rates this is not because one of them has been brainwashed and the other not (but if it is because one of them has been brainwashed then the evidence would suggest it's the atheist kids who have been brainwashed. Which is why, enough with the brainwashing talk.)


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 15,332 Mod ✭✭✭✭ smacl


    Peregrinus wrote: »
    Even then, given a religion which promotes fertility and does so successfully, a society which moves away from that religion won't necessarily experience reduced fertility. If the factors which led that religion to promote fertility, or which account for its success in that endeavour, still prevail then we'd expect no great change in fertility, wouldn't we?

    I think that misses out on the context from which the major religions arose. So for example, when the suggestion to 'go forth and multiply' was originally mooted, whether by the Jews or Christians, it was pragmatically sound advise on a number of levels. In a world with a low population, high infant mortality rates and low life expectancy, having lots of children make sense. It also makes sense if that environment is tribal, you want to grow your tribe and people are lost through attrition of tribal conflict. As we agree, rising numbers of religious people is a function of high birth rates, primarily in poorer countries. Your assertion that this isn't entirely the fault of religion is reasonable but I'd argue that it has played a significant part in continuing to promote what was once good advice into what has since become terrible advice.

    As a race, at some point we have to face up to the reality that we can't allow our population to grow indefinitely, particularly if we hope to maintain and extend longevity and enjoy any reasonable quality of life. We live on a planet with finite renewable resources and regardless of how you divvy those resources up, they can only support a proportionally finite number of people. The other alternatives to population control are either eugenics or man-made or natural culling events such as major war, disease or natural disaster. This is the context in which I believe families should be planned by and large and that religious doctrine that seeks to interfere with this is highly damaging. After however many thousands of years, it is abundently clear than sexual abstinence has never been, nor ever will be, a solution here. As discussed by the UN, I'm very much of the opinion that access to contraception should be considered a basic human right. I'd consider religions that seek to limit this inhumane at best.


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 15,332 Mod ✭✭✭✭ smacl


    Peregrinus wrote: »
    The point is not that the atheist kids have been brainwashed, of course. It's that the theist kids have not been. Both groups have had their beliefs/values/identities formed by same processes/experiences, and if they display different defection rates this is not because one of them has been brainwashed and the other not (but if it is because one of them has been brainwashed then the evidence would suggest it's the atheist kids who have been brainwashed. Which is why, enough with the brainwashing talk.)

    A couple of things here. Firstly, atheists don't form a homogeneous group and nor for that matter do theists, albeit to a slightly lesser extent in that they theoretically share certain core beliefs. Everyone parents differently and every child is different. In my opinion we often spend too much time considering what is normal without paying enough heed to the standard deviation.

    Whatever about brainwashing, there are a number of different ways of teaching your children. You can hand down given truths and get the child to repeat those truths, thus learning by rote. You can also take observations, try to make sense of them, and learn from first principle. In the latter case we learn as much from getting things wrong as getting things right, whereas in the former we're not afforded that opportunity. Similarly, if we are not allowed to question stated facts that are given to us, such that we can test their veracity to our own satisfaction, we're unlikely to properly understand them. Religious instruction involves learning absolute truths by rote with very little scope for investigation through first principle or application of critical thinking. This was certainly the case in my early school days when mythological stories such as Adam and Eve and Noah's ark were presented as absolute truth that could not be questioned. While this doesn't occur so much in Ireland these days, it seems to be alive and well in parts of the USA. Whether or not this is tantamount to brainwashing I'll leave to yourself.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 13,993 ✭✭✭✭ recedite


    Peregrinus wrote: »
    A huge proportion of the world's atheists are accounted for by just two countries, China and Russia. The low rate of population growth in these countries is not an artefact of their low religiosity, but of economic insecurity (in Russia) and the long-term consequences of the one-child policy (in China).
    I would take issue with these conclusions. Economic security has historically been much better in Russia than in the regions where overpopulation is rife (Eg African countries, Syria, Bangladesh)
    Regarding China, the "one child policy" became the "two child policy" in 2016 and now its effectively gone altogether, with talk of a child bearing incentive being needed in future.https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/china-one-child-policy-rule-two-children-limits-birth-rate-fertility-a8361781.html
    This is due to a "long term effect" of the original policy only in the sense that the policy succeeded in its aims and has therefore made itself redundant.
    China has transformed from an overpopulated nation of ignorant peasants to an educated population who are too busy earning money to have kids. So, they have moved from "third world" to "first world".

    Going back to the OP, there is a broad correlation between on the one hand [religiosity, poverty, ignorance, overpopulation, war, famine] societies, and on the other hand [secular, wealthy, educated, shrinking population, stable] societies.
    So the point is, a policy that may be appropriate to one type of society is completely inappropriate to the other.
    Then we have the likes of smacl who refuses to differentiate between these two types of societies, and insists on one global policy being correct for the whole world. He thinks that if all the overpopulated third worlders migrate to the first world countries where the populations are in decline, everything will be fine and dandy. He thinks they will transform into educated, secularist, low-fertility westerners soon after arrival.
    But what happens if they don't transform? You get a divided society, civil unrest, instability. In extreme cases as we have seen in Myanmar, it ended in mass expulsion of migrants (including second and third generation immigrants) with associated atrocities against them.


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 24,242 Mod ✭✭✭✭ robindch


    Peregrinus wrote: »
    The low rate of population growth in these countries is not an artefact of their low religiosity, but of economic insecurity (in Russia) and the long-term consequences of the one-child policy (in China).
    It's not just the non-trivial level of economic insecurity in Russia. One should also add - in no particular order - the high rates of abortion, divorce and incarceration, the low state support for child-friendly policies, the demographic results of low birth rates in the 90's, emigration of many women of child-bearing age, the state removing anti-domestic violence legislation, mandatory military one-year conscription for the majority of males between 18 + 27 into an army which is currently fighting illegal and dirty wars in Ukraine and Syria, the low price of oil, the low and occasionally declining life-expectancy for the population as a whole, the levels of alcoholism, dysfunction, crime, corruption and cynicism generally within society.

    These factors and, no doubt, more led to the decline of the population of Russia between the early 90's and around 2010, when the population began to grow again slightly. Since 2014 and the collapse of the ruble following the double-invasion of Ukraine and the violation of its territorial integrity, birth rates have started to decline again and - if current trends continue - the country will return once again within a few years to a declining population.

    Last time I was in Moscow, the state was advertizing, via plentiful billboards in the Moscow underground, for women to have more children. It'll take more than that to resolve the issue, and that won't happen until the current administration relinquishes control of the state one way or another.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 13,993 ✭✭✭✭ recedite


    robindch wrote: »
    Last time I was in Moscow, the state was advertizing, via plentiful billboards in the Moscow underground, for women to have more children. It'll take more than that to resolve the issue, and that won't happen until the current administration relinquishes control of the state one way or another.
    Aside from your normal Putin-bashing, and supposing we accept that He is responsible for economic mismanagement and the alcoholism among Russians, you haven't really acknowledged the point that as the socio-economic situation of a population improves, their reproductive rate tends to drop even lower.


  • Registered Users Posts: 23,325 ✭✭✭✭ Peregrinus


    robindch wrote: »
    . . . These factors and, no doubt, more led to the decline of the population of Russia between the early 90's and around 2010, when the population began to grow again slightly. Since 2014 and the collapse of the ruble following the double-invasion of Ukraine and the violation of its territorial integrity, birth rates have started to decline again and - if current trends continue - the country will return once again within a few years to a declining population.
    These things have a multi-generational effect since, 20 to 30 years after a slump in childbirths, you have a slump in the cohort of the population who are at peak childbearing age, which leads to another reduction in births . . .

    But, yeah, all kinds of things affect the fertility rate of a society, either positively or negatively. Including, as rec points out, improved standards of living. The point is, religion - and in particular religious beliefs about childbearing, contraception, etc - seems to be a pretty marginal factor, most of the time.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,247 ✭✭✭ pauldla


    On the ongoing decline....

    British Survey Says Only 2% of Young People Belong to the Church of England
    According to the latest British Social Attitudes survey, membership in the Church of England isn’t just dropping, it’s practically non-existent for the younger generation.

    Only 2% (!) of people under the age of 24 belong to the Church, while approximately 70% of that same group claims no religious affiliation whatsoever.


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 13,993 ✭✭✭✭ recedite


    It seems a name change is in order... the FCoE.
    The Former Church of England.
    Mind you, FCoI is long overdue too.


  • Registered Users Posts: 26,536 ✭✭✭✭ Hotblack Desiato


    recedite wrote: »
    Then we have the likes of smacl who refuses to differentiate between these two types of societies, and insists on one global policy being correct for the whole world. He thinks that if all the overpopulated third worlders migrate to the first world countries where the populations are in decline, everything will be fine and dandy. He thinks they will transform into educated, secularist, low-fertility westerners soon after arrival.

    Putting words in another poster's mouth is a pretty shabby debating tactic.


  • Registered Users Posts: 7,128 ✭✭✭ Odhinn


    recedite wrote: »
    ...............
    But what happens if they don't transform? You get a divided society, civil unrest, instability. In extreme cases as we have seen in Myanmar, it ended in mass expulsion of migrants (including second and third generation immigrants) with associated atrocities against them.


    You do realise that myanamar and the regime there have notoriously persecuted minorities in that state for decades, regardless of whether or not they were "migrants"?


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 15,332 Mod ✭✭✭✭ smacl


    recedite wrote: »
    Then we have the likes of smacl who refuses to differentiate between these two types of societies, and insists on one global policy being correct for the whole world. He thinks that if all the overpopulated third worlders migrate to the first world countries where the populations are in decline, everything will be fine and dandy. He thinks they will transform into educated, secularist, low-fertility westerners soon after arrival.

    Assuming you're not claiming to be telepathic, you might be kind enough to point out exactly where I've stated these opinions, specifically any suggestion that migration is a solution world population growth. And of course if you can't, or simply couldn't be bothered backing up your stated opinion, an apology for misrepresenting me would be appreciated.


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 24,242 Mod ✭✭✭✭ robindch


    recedite wrote: »
    Aside from your normal Putin-bashing,
    Interesting to see that an accurate description of Russia today is interpreted as "Putin-bashing", as per the narrative pushed by organizations like, well, Russia Today.

    L'etat - ce n'est pas Putin.

    Though he behaves as though he were the state.
    recedite wrote: »
    you haven't really acknowledged the point that as the socio-economic situation of a population improves, their reproductive rate tends to drop even lower.
    The first few words of my post agreed with Peregrinus' post pointing out exactly what you said I didn't acknowledge :)


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 15,332 Mod ✭✭✭✭ smacl


    Peregrinus wrote: »
    But, yeah, all kinds of things affect the fertility rate of a society, either positively or negatively. Including, as rec points out, improved standards of living. The point is, religion - and in particular religious beliefs about childbearing, contraception, etc - seems to be a pretty marginal factor, most of the time.

    Even if the effect is marginal, promoting ongoing population growth in an area of high poverty, that that is struggling to maintain its existing population to the extent of regular famine, is surely deeply irresponsible and inhumane. If pushing religious beliefs leads to a seriously bad outcome in this regard, marginal and most of the time don't really come into play. Religious missionaries actively target areas of excessive poverty and famine which is often accompanied by and exacerbated by high rates of population growth. I'd suggest that they bear significant responsibility here.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 13,993 ✭✭✭✭ recedite


    smacl wrote: »
    Assuming you're not claiming to be telepathic, you might be kind enough to point out exactly where I've stated these opinions, specifically any suggestion that migration is a solution world population growth. And of course if you can't, or simply couldn't be bothered backing up your stated opinion, an apology for misrepresenting me would be appreciated.
    Not quite what I said. I believe that you don't tend to differentiate between different parts of the world. So if population growth is rampant in one country and the population is in decline in another, the logical conclusion is that migration should be allowed from the former to the latter.


    My opinion is that contrasting social engineering measures such as the encouragement of contraception/abortion one one hand, or a baby bonus on the other, are the more appropriate responses.


    You never said I was wrong. Before demanding an apology, you should state your position.


  • Registered Users Posts: 26,536 ✭✭✭✭ Hotblack Desiato


    The likes of Italy would do better to fix their economy and root out corruption and crime, making it a better society to live in and raise children in, than offering baby bonuses.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 13,993 ✭✭✭✭ recedite


    As I said before, the point is that as the socio-economic situation of a population improves, their reproductive rate tends to drop even lower.


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  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 15,332 Mod ✭✭✭✭ smacl


    recedite wrote: »
    Not quite what I said. I believe that you don't tend to differentiate between different parts of the world. So if population growth is rampant in one country and the population is in decline in another, the logical conclusion is that migration should be allowed from the former to the latter.

    And once again, you might want to provide some illustration to back up your assertion that I don't differentiate between different parts of the world, because I have done precisely that throughout this thread, e.g.

    Post 5 "Highest population growth also corresponds strongly with poverty and inversely with education and life expectancy. In a related Pew article they note one reason for decline in Christianity in Europe is increased death rates due to an aging population;"

    Post 7 "In countries where population growth is steepest, that choice is typically neither offered nor considered. So, as you already pointed out, growth of religion versus atheism is largely a byproduct of relative population growth in different parts of the world."

    Post 11 "It is worth noting that premarital childbearing is common in many parts of sub-Saharan Africa for example, so the issue of contraception outside of marriage is clearly a pertinent one and a problem for the major religions is that part of the world."

    Also 'the logical conclusion' above has now become your logical conclusion where you previously posited it as my conclusion even though I never suggested anything of the kind.
    You never said I was wrong. Before demanding an apology, you should state your position.

    You are clearly wrong in that you were misrepresenting me, as you seem to have done once again. Perhaps instead of speciously commenting on your beliefs about how I think you might restrict yourself to commenting what I've actually written.


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