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    The UK is among the least religious countries in the world, according to a new survey. In a global ranking of 65 countries, the UK came six places from last, with 30% of the population calling themselves religious. While 53% of people said they were not religious, only 13% said they were a convinced atheist and the remainder did not know how to define themselves.

    At the top was Thailand with 94% who said they were religious (i think i can vouch for that from personal anecdotal evidence). Then came 93% of people in Armenia, Bangladesh, Georgia and Morocco. 

    At the bottom, China only 6% of people said they were religious while 61% said they were convinced atheists. It was followed by Japan, where just 13% of people were religious, Sweden with 19%, Czech Republic with 23%, and the Netherlands and Hong Kong with 26%.

    Now, these stats got me thinking.

    Was it the Mao effect in China?.. …(and can we envisage a similar result in Castro's Cuba?)

    Japan…was it the disillusionment of the war in that country?…Consumerism became a replacement faith?

    Was it capitalist system  in UK, Netherlands, Sweden, Czech Rep….or the education system …who enlightened the majority ?

    And the most religious…a mix of Buddhist, Muslim and Christian…so its not down to creed, is it?…What is the common factor in these countries?…

    Hmmm?????….who knows …or does someone on the forum got any answers? 



    Alan,Do you have a link for this survey?Just a few thoughts off the top of my head:1.) The definition of religion used in this survey might be a bit conventional. Fascism, National Socialism, Stalinism, "communism" in China, "juche" in North Korea, the list goes on, all of these were/are religions. All of them had a mythic figure to worship from afar, promised a better future through sacrifice, had a core set of beliefs and, in my opinion, these political religions relied in large part on faith.2.) Maybe the Japanese are less religious because they used to believe that their emperor was a descendant of a goddess and had believed this for over a thousand years. The end of the Second World War and Emperor Hirohito's public admission that he was not divine must have had a significant impact on religiosity in Japan.3.) Many people in Muslim countries won't admit that they're atheists out of fear. Remember what happened to Avijit Roy.


    I took it from the Guardian Secular Society also reported it–uk-is-one-of-the-least-religious-countries-in-the-worldI think we concur that 1945 was a pivotal date for the Japanese. You are right about Muslim nations…atheism is a crime.I wondered about the effect of making orthodox religions illegal or at least actively discouraging them. I'd like to see the pre and post dates for many of the ex-Communist countries …



    Thanks for the links!Human beings seem to have a need for religion, maybe it's a kind of security blanket in a troubled world. I don't think banning organised religion would do any good and would probably be counter-productive. Why create martyrs?As far as the former Soviet republics in Asia are concerned, I wouldn't be at all surprised if the Saudis have been funding madrassas and general propaganda to turn the people back to religion, the Saudi version of Islam in particular.The Russian state is using religion even more than nationalism in an attempt to rally the people. Religon is being used to make the case that Russia is unique and not "just another" European nation. A true Russian of today is an Orthodox Christian believer; "communism" goes out one door while Christ comes in another! An exchange of myths. I have people in Russia I correspond with on a regular basis who have confirmed this for me.


    This article brings up an interesting analysis are witnessing the death throes of religion not its growth. You are right about the state manipulation of religion to bolster war-aims…In the ex-"communist" states one of the most vivid examples is how effectively dead religions were revived in Yugoslavia/Balkans in the civil wars there. 


    Member In Cuba Santeria is more popular than Roman  Catholicism , and it continues increasing within the population including the descendant of Europeans.Inside the US Catholicism is increasing due to the large emigration of workers from Latin America, and probably, within few years it is going to become the second religion, or it is already the second religionIn Haiti Voodoo is more popular than Catholicism, and Aristides was going to convert it  into the official religion of the country, that is the reason why the Catholic church was part of the coup.Livorioism was going to become a very popular African cult in the Dominican Republic and the catholic church and the joint forces of police and millitary  participated in the massacre of Palma Solas, where many peasants and priests were killed. Livorioism was/is  a workers movement similar to the primitive Christians of Rome.The head of that massacre known as Alberto Caamano was them considered as a national heroe of the so called revolution ( i have never called that even a revolution ) of the 1965, and he was killed when he became a guerrilla fighter is dying, but it is not dead yet



    Religion may not be dead yet but I'm more than willing to pull the plug. Religion is a millstone around the neck of Humanity. Let it wither on the vine, I suppose…I just wish it would hurry up!That survey that Alan started this thread with mentions that young people are often the most religious. I find that confusing. Maybe it's the result of economic uncertainty, maybe young people look at consumerism and see nothing, as they should!


    This comes from a pdf document from Win/Gallup about the survey.Methodology: The question "Irrespective of whether you attend a place of worship or not would you say you are: a. a religious Person, b. not a religious person, c. a convinced atheist, d. do not know/no response." Was asked as part of the WIN/Gallup International End of Year Survey. was wondering about the content of the survey, especially the bit about younger people being more religious, and it turns out that just a small amount  of questions were asked. Notice the caveat of "Irrespective of whether you attend a place of worship or not…".The problem I see here, is that to be a religious person you would need to practice a religion. You could be a believer in things spiritual, but it wouldn't make you religious.My guess is if the religious aspect were framed correctly such as "Are you an active member of a religion", then there would probably be a lot less religious people in the world. However, if the question "Do you consider yourself to be spiritual" or "Do you believe in a god or gods", then the results may again be different.My point is in regards to younger people being more religious. I suspect a lot of younger people would identify themselves more with spirituality than religiousness..   



    I do agree with a lot of what you say,SP.I am wondering why we should be too bothered about the decline of religion, though.  I would only think it mattered if, when religion declines, socialist consciousness increases, or at least some kind of conscious understanding of how society is constructed.Is there any evidence that this happens when beliefs in religions decline?  Have they developed a higher socialist consciousness – as it would be defined on these pages – in China or Japan?If not, why should we worry about ordinary, "common or garden" religion?  I do not mean the murderous fundamentalist or "intelligent design" kind, we can do without them.

    #110613 without investigation is the highest level of ignorance >.>


    Meel wrote:
    I am wondering why we should be too bothered about the decline of religion, though.  I would only think it mattered if, when religion declines, socialist consciousness increases, or at least some kind of conscious understanding of how society is constructed.Is there any evidence that this happens when beliefs in religions decline?  Have they developed a higher socialist consciousness – as it would be defined on these pages – in China or Japan? 

    I would have thought the opposite has been the case, on the face of it.  Secularisation as a long term trend has coincided with a long term decline – relatively speaking – in socialist consciousness. What, for example, is the extent of socialist consciousness in formally secular or atheistic states? Some of the most ardent pro-capitalists I know of are convinced atheists Of course, correlation does not signify causation but we should be wary of any claim that the growth of secularism is something to be welcomed because it facilitates the spread of socialist consciousness.  There is the counter argument that it far more likely facilitates the spread of "materialistic values" in the vulgar sense of the word i.e.. consumerism .  To put it differently, an invisible god might very well simply be replaced by money as the focus of this new religion. 

    Meel wrote:
    If not, why should we worry about ordinary, "common or garden" religion?  I do not mean the murderous fundamentalist or "intelligent design" kind, we can do without them.

     Absolutely.  Couldnt agree more.  It is simply not possible to generalise about religion or spirituality. Not every example, necessarily prevents one from wanting and coming to understand, the socialist objective or what is required to achieve it and we all know of personal examples where this is the case.



    Yes, robbo, I agree.  As we are becoming more secular, it's does not seem to follow we are becoming more critical of the system.  Unfortunately.  I therefore think it's a waste of time and effort to rail against religion.



    Religion (organised religion) is a method of social control; always has been, always will be. To ignore religion is to hand a victory to the bourgeoisie and their Puritan values of endless work in honour of "God". Yes, we're still living in the Puritans' world! The Puritan world is one in which idleness is a sin (idle hands are the devil's tools!) and we must not waste a second of time since time really belongs to "God" and he/she/it has given us some time that must never be wasted. The Puritan world is one of toil, accumulation of money and property (as a sign of "success"), and slavery to clocks (since clocks now embody time itself). If you feel like you're a hamster running on a wheel then you feel the cold hand of the Puritans reaching across the centuries.Are we becoming more secular just because fewer people go to church? I'd like to think so but I don't think that's the case. We've simply internalized those wonderful Puritan values and no longer need to attend religious services; we obey like our ancestors did and we do it because our ancestors were the victims of Puritan propaganda. Religion is a method of social control. We are the product of that religious social control. Now get back to work!


    Yep. The "Protestant (or Puritan) work ethic", has become known simply as the "work ethic".  



    Well, whether those of us who would like to see an end to this destructive system we live under; speak out against religion or not is not going to make much difference to those who want to believe, I suspect.If the article by AC Grayling that alanjjohnsone provided a link to, is correct, religion is in decline anyway.Religion is more than Protestantism/Puritanism – with its work ethic.  This is just a particular type of religion which grew up with and was shaped by capitalism.What about the Hindus and the Buddhists – I am not aware that the work ethic forms a strong part of their religions.  From Hindus I have met living in this country I get the impression their religion is as much about providing a link to their culture as about the deities – it's what binds them to the stories from their childhood and their families.I am not sure that religion is always a means of control, for example the old Celtic and Norse beliefs, were they used to socially control?If someone wants to be a Druid and go to Stonehenge to celebrate the Solstice, I am not all that bothered.  It really is a case by case basis, as robbo said.

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