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Thread: What do Europeans believe in ?

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    Thumbs up What do Europeans believe in ?



    I have found an interesting way of estimating people's beliefs, not only by country, but also by region, city, and even city district. Even better, these stats can be obtained by gender, ethnicity, age, linguistic group, as well as numerous other factors. You may have guessed what I am referring to : dating websites. Choose one of the popular ones in Europe, like match.com or meetic.com, then search a specific region by religious affliliation.

    Here is an example for women in the Brussels City on match.com (3401 results) :

    1288 non-practising Catholics (37.9%)
    745 Atheists (22%)
    349 Others (10.3%)
    248 practising Muslims (7.3%)
    237 Agnostics (7%)
    162 practising Catholics (4.7%, only 1/3 of whom are ethnically European)
    146 non-practising Muslims
    74 non-practising Protestants
    52 non-practising Buddhists
    44 practising Protestants
    36 non-practising Jews
    14 practising Buddhists
    6 practising Jews

    There are more practising Muslims than practising Christians (Catholics and Protestants combined) ! But there are also twice more Atheists and Agnostics than practising Muslims and Christians combined.

    For the contrast, let's take a few more upper-middle class suburbs (with less economic immigrants). Here are the results for Uccle, Woluwe, Auderghem and Etterbeek (935 results) :

    424 non-practising Catholics (45.3%)
    211 Atheists (22.6%)
    90 Agnostics (9.6%)
    67 Others (7.2%)
    59 practising Catholics (6.3%, only 1/3 of whom are ethnic Europeans)
    21 non-practising Protestants
    16 practising Muslims
    13 non-practising Buddhists
    11 practising Protestants
    10 non-practising Jews
    9 non-practising Muslims
    3 practising Buddhists
    1 practising Jews

    The proportion od Muslims passes from 11.6% in Brussels City to 2.7% in the richer suburbs. There are also 5 times more Atheists than practising Christians.
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    Interesting analysis, Maciamo. I blog about autism and recently a paper examining the belief systems of individuals with HFA (high functioning autism) was compared to NT (neurotypicals), which used equally unorthodox information gathering. The participants were 192 HFA from wrongplanet.net, a forum for individuals with autism and 195 Neurotypicals from golivewire.com/. Mainly, they were Americans and the possible choices were limited to Christian, Jewish, Atheist, Agnostic, and "own system." Religious belief was examined but not actual participation and one of the confounding factors (and legitimate criticisms) is that Americans tend to be more reluctant to admit non belief/non participation due to social factors.

    Anyway, the finding's were not surprising to me (given my experience in the ASD community) but quite similar to the women of Brussels. HFA individuals were far more likely to be atheist, more likely to have their own system, same propensity for being agnostic, and far less likely to be report following Christian or Jewish faiths. Here are some visuals from the paper:


    Both groups, HFA and NT's were tested for their autism quotient, and in both groups AQ was highest in atheists and "own system" and lowest in Christians and Jewish. The paper concludes that HFA resemble another group high in systemizing and also reject supernatural belief systems in rather high numbers: scientists.
    http://bu.academia.edu/CatherineCald...tioning_Autism

    A few days later, researchers at Harvard proclaimed that Intuitive thinker's are more likely to believe in God than Reflective thinker's. Intuitive thinking is described as " Intuitive thinking means going with one's first instinct and reaching decisions quickly based on automatic cognitive processes." Reflective thinking is described as "questioning of first instinct and consideration of other possibilities, thus allowing for counterintuitive decisions."
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases...0920121615.htm

    I suspect that Americans would have similar numbers as the Brussels women, but may not be as likely to admit to not believing or practicing for fear of backlash. So, as societies become more industrialized, educated, and metropolitan are we becoming more reflective, systemizers...and HFA? Or is something else in play?

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    Sorry for spoiling the hard work, but how serious are those sites? I can pretend I am something I am not because my profile would rebuke potential partners. As for religious people, I believe they are less likely to use that kind of websites and look for a suitable partner within their religious environment, or extended family. Your analysis would then only reflect certain trends among a sample of the population that would not be representative. Interesting method though, even if the results would end up heavily biased.

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    these numbers are reasonable. They are in line with what studies show over the years.
    The real question behind this is the following:
    Can the European civilisation survive without having a religion in its heart? Can it function as a pure atheist and materialistic society?
    (I put the "non-practicing" in the atheist/agnostic group)

    My feeling is that it cannot. Sooner or later, anarchy will take over because the lack of faith and respect for something sacred will make the people constantly pushing the borders of what they perceive are the limits to their desires and aspirations; eventually that push will be too strong for the governments to maintain the order. Here are a few signs of this process being already under way:
    - Lack of respect for the politicians/government of one's own country
    - Refusal of the citizens to serve in the army of their country to defend it
    - Lack of respect for symbols representing order
    - Lack of interest/respect for the veterans of previous wars
    - Every one fighting for their own personal gain/ disappearance of common interest
    - decadent morals leading to the decomposition of families
    - Lack of interest of immigrants to assimilate in the society
    - Elites of the countries expatriating elsewhere
    - Pockets of gethos and poverty increasing across the country

    all these appeared in the roman empire around the 3rd century; as the decadence of its core society increase, the barbarian push became more and more irresistible.
    In the end, since romans no longer wanted to fight for Rome, the empire had to hire foreigners to do the job.

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    Any data about non-practicing atheists?

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    [QUOTE=Nasturtium;382382]
    A few days later, researchers at Harvard proclaimed that Intuitive thinker's are more likely to believe in God than Reflective thinker's. Intuitive thinking is described as " Intuitive thinking means going with one's first instinct and reaching decisions quickly based on automatic cognitive processes." Reflective thinking is described as "questioning of first instinct and consideration of other possibilities, thus allowing for counterintuitive decisions."
    QUOTE]

    A very interesting observation, and your post in general. I think it makes a good sense.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mzungu mchagga View Post
    Any data about non-practicing atheists?
    Lol, it's really funny.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bertrand View Post
    these numbers are reasonable. They are in line with what studies show over the years.
    The real question behind this is the following:
    Can the European civilisation survive without having a religion in its heart? Can it function as a pure atheist and materialistic society?
    (I put the "non-practicing" in the atheist/agnostic group)

    My feeling is that it cannot. Sooner or later, anarchy will take over because the lack of faith and respect for something sacred will make the people constantly pushing the borders of what they perceive are the limits to their desires and aspirations; eventually that push will be too strong for the governments to maintain the order. Here are a few signs of this process being already under way:

    - Lack of respect for the politicians/government of one's own country
    - Refusal of the citizens to serve in the army of their country to defend it
    - Lack of respect for symbols representing order
    - Lack of interest/respect for the veterans of previous wars
    - Every one fighting for their own personal gain/ disappearance of common interest
    - decadent morals leading to the decomposition of families
    - Lack of interest of immigrants to assimilate in the society
    - Elites of the countries expatriating elsewhere
    - Pockets of gethos and poverty increasing across the country
    This has nothing to do with people becoming less religious.

    - Lack of respect for the politicians/government of one's own country
    => This is happening even in very religious countries. The main reason is that citizens start to realise that democracy is just an illusion, and that power is pretty much always held by the same small group of career politicians who can't hold their electoral promises.

    - Refusal of the citizens to serve in the army of their country to defend it
    => That's simply because we are living in much more peaceful times than before. We simply can't imagine anything like WWI or WWII happening again, even in developing countries. WWI was the fruit of extreme nationalism and government brainwashing through the first generation of people who experienced universal compulsory education. Actually WWII in Asia was also due to this (as far as Japan is concerned).

    - Lack of respect for symbols representing order
    => For example ?

    - Lack of interest/respect for the veterans of previous wars
    => Are you talking about WWI and WWII or wars like in Iraq and Afghanistan ? Anyway, why should we have any interest in veterans ?

    - Every one fighting for their own personal gain/ disappearance of common interest
    => It has always been like this, except that now people feel much more part of a global village, and expect government to pay for their healthcare, pensions, etc. It wasn't like that 200 or 500 or 2000 or 10000 years ago. However you look at it, we live in the most peaceful and social-minded society there ever was on Earth (not just in rich countries, but anywhere by their own standards).

    - decadent morals leading to the decomposition of families
    => What are decadent morals ? I know many divorced couples, but very few of them are because of poor moral behaviour. People divorce because it's not in every human nature to live with the same person all their lives. Most divorced people I know in Europe are happier with their second partner (although many do not remarry). The USA is different because people divorce and re-marry many times. Very different cultures, but hey, the USA is still a strongly Christian society, so you should expect them to divorce and marry often !

    - Lack of interest of immigrants to assimilate in the society
    => Too general. They are many kinds of immigrants. You can't compare a Brit moving to Australia with a Moroccan or a Congolese moving to Europe. The difference of culture and education and the will/effort to integrate in the host country are the biggest determining factor in the successful adaptation of someone moving to a new country. I have no sympathy at all for Third World immigrants who come to Europe because they imagine that life will be easy, that they government will give them money, and that they will be able to keep their traditions and lifestyle as if they hadn't left home. I am strongly in favour of the expulsion of such people.

    - Elites of the countries expatriating elsewhere
    => Examples ? If you mean having a second or third home elsewhere, I don't see the problem.

    - Pockets of gethos and poverty increasing across the country
    => Yeah, that's the problem of immigration from the Third World. Look at Japan. No such immigration, not such problems. The economy is not going well, but everyone agrees to cut a bit their salaries in a spirit of solidarity. There aren't pockets of poverty nor ghettoes. Japan is and has always somewhat been a country that we could call Atheistic (Buddhism has no god, Shintoism has spirits of nature, not gods) and in any case not religious.


    all these appeared in the roman empire around the 3rd century; as the decadence of its core society increase, the barbarian push became more and more irresistible.
    The Roman Empire became decadent and fell when Christianity became widespread among its citizens. It's an undeniable historical fact.

    In the end, since romans no longer wanted to fight for Rome, the empire had to hire foreigners to do the job.
    The Romans used foreign mercenaries already before the empire and at any period of the empire. For example, Britain was conquered by legions recruited in Hispania, Illyria and even Gaul.

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    Can the European civilisation survive without having a religion in its heart? Can it function as a pure atheist and materialistic society?
    (I put the "non-practicing" in the atheist/agnostic group)
    My feeling is that it cannot. Sooner or later, anarchy will take over because the lack of faith and respect for something sacred will make the people constantly pushing the borders of what they perceive are the limits to their desires and aspirations; eventually that push will be too strong for the governments to maintain the order. Here are a few signs of this process being already under way:
    - Lack of respect for the politicians/government of one's own country
    - Refusal of the citizens to serve in the army of their country to defend it
    - Lack of respect for symbols representing order
    - Lack of interest/respect for the veterans of previous wars
    - Every one fighting for their own personal gain/ disappearance of common interest
    - decadent morals leading to the decomposition of families
    - Lack of interest of immigrants to assimilate in the society
    - Elites of the countries expatriating elsewhere
    - Pockets of gethos and poverty increasing across the country
    all these appeared in the roman empire around the 3rd century; as the decadence of its core society increase, the barbarian push became more and more irresistible.
    In the end, since romans no longer wanted to fight for Rome, the empire had to hire foreigners to do the job
    You forget to say that Religions are intolerantes and are at the origin of multiple wars and oppressed people all over the world...

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    An interesting anecdote: many European people think that since I come from Rome, I'm automatically Catholic. Someone should explain them that we're not Vatican citizens. Lol.

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    Thanks for sharing. The information is very interesting as for me. Very fun.

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    Maciamo,
    I think you are missing my point. What I am saying is that people have different ways to react to hardship. You can accept it peacefully, you can blame someone else, you can try to resist... and so on.
    But in the end, resistance, will mean some level of sacrifice. When you live in a pure atheistic world, which for decades has been filled with materialistic gains (house, car, TVs, Computer, vacation, restaurants and... peace) it is much more difficult to give up all these things when you are an atheist than when you are religious and have some place else to turn.

    In spite of the crisis, Europe has more wealth than it ever had before. And yet everyone is unhappy; why is that? Our ancestors could feed a family of 12 with a cow, a horse and a square of dirt. Please consider the following: My ancestor who lived in the 1750s was a shepherd. His daily salary was 3 to 4 shillings. The cost to buy bread for six people was then about 1 schilling per day. Which means that his daily salary was 3x the daily need of bread. He had six children of which three died before the age of 15.
    This was normal life for centuries. And yet there were very few civil wars in comparison to modern times.
    why is that?

    How much bread could any European buy today with his salary?
    You say the power is only in the hand of a few? Well, these few are much more numerous than under the royalty when there was only one king that would rule for his lifetime. And yet poeple accepted it for centuries.
    Nowadays, you say to someone, "no dessert after dinner today" and you have 5 millions in the street.
    You say: "We need to send 500 soldiers in Afghanistan" --> you face opposition in every corner even though this number is peanuts compared to the wars of the past.
    Two persons die from a virus somewhere, and the whole continent is boiling in alarm. Who remembers that in 1918 the spanish flu killed 3 million people?


    The truth is that the resilience of Europeans in face of hardship has become very low. You blow a whiff and the whole thing will collapse. Religion is not the only reason but I believe it is one of the paramaters.
    If Putin invaded Europe tomorrow (God forbid), what would happen? Of course we would cry for help in New York. But alone, how much time could Europeans resist? I bet most would not even try to resist, like in 1940.

    In the third century, the vast majority of the Roman empire had become atheist and corrupt. They no longer believed in their old gods, and the small pockets of christians in cities changed little to that fact. (Christianity spread in countrysides and became mainstream only in the 7th century) As resistance became weaker, More and more barbarians crossed the borders. At first they submitted to Rome but later they didn't even bother and carved for themselves huge territories. More and more foreigners filled the Roman legions (not just mercenaries under a roman general but entire foreign armies). So, when in 451, Attila invaded France, Aetius had no other choice but to beg for help among Franks, Visigoths and burgundians which by then fought independantly.

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    Hi bertrand, what you are presenting here is pretty much part of Christian dogma. It is common for many religions to scare people into believing that human life without their guiding religion is empty, sinful and destined to die or disintegrate. It is also a trapping of human nature that assumes that, if one believes in something, this something must be right. Likewise, others believing in something different or not believing at all, are wrong. In today's societies of western world, with lots of freedoms and choices, people can choose and believe whatever they want. For earlier mentioned reasons many religious leaders consider this sinful and immoral.

    You can accept it peacefully, you can blame someone else, you can try to resist... and so on.
    But in the end, resistance, will mean some level of sacrifice. When you live in a pure atheistic world, which for decades has been filled with materialistic gains (house, car, TVs, Computer, vacation, restaurants and... peace) it is much more difficult to give up all these things when you are an atheist than when you are religious and have some place else to turn.
    Wrong, I'm atheist and I'm a minimalist. I don't need much to be happy. I know other atheists who are pretty much the same. Materialistic world has nothing to do with beliefs. Look at the Vatican and how richly decorated are cloths of popes and bishops, especially from the past. Jesus would be very upset. I have also Christian friends and many of them love their big houses and SUVs.
    Even though I'm atheist I was always a fighter. I'm ready to stand and defend my family, country, freedoms and my way of life.
    All of this has nothing to do with spirituality or lack of it.

    In spite of the crisis, Europe has more wealth than it ever had before. And yet everyone is unhappy; why is that? Our ancestors could feed a family of 12 with a cow, a horse and a square of dirt. Please consider the following: My ancestor who lived in the 1750s was a shepherd. His daily salary was 3 to 4 shillings. The cost to buy bread for six people was then about 1 schilling per day. Which means that his daily salary was 3x the daily need of bread. He had six children of which three died before the age of 15.
    Lol, where are you living where everybody is unhappy?! Maybe you should come to Canada, many happy people here. Besides no one is happy all the time, but it's important that people are happier than before or at least they don't suffer as much as our ancestors. Happiness are also genetic, some people are happy no matter what from the moment of conception. One of the unhappiest people I've ever known was a priest organist (singing all day for god). Grumpy old fart had a big pleasure in catching loud, happy, running around kids and pulling their ears to make them quiet, lol.
    Religion has nothing to do with happiness either.

    People in general tend to glorify and romanticize past and demonize the present and the future, just because the present is not the way they like it. If they don't like it, obviously it must be wrong.
    I wish you could talk to your Grandfather and compare his everyday life with yours. Not many people in our western world experienced death of a child, not motioning 3. I can't even imagine his pain! But it was pretty normal life way back, right?
    Should we mention a pain from being hungry, many diseases that are extinct now, but killed at age of 35 on average? How about living with flees, lies, bad bugs, poor hygiene, outhouse in winter and kids that had to work hard as soon as they could walk.
    I realize all of this and I'm happy that I live today and not 100 years ago. When I go to the bathroom, I turn the knob, and warm water is coming down on me from a shower head. I'm happy, and I thank the guy who invented it, almost daily, lol. How about this for atheist?

    This was normal life for centuries. And yet there were very few civil wars in comparison to modern times.
    why is that?
    In last 65 years we had one serious civil war in Europe. It was in Yugoslavia between Catholics, Orthodox and Muslims. Peaceful religion anyone?
    You say the power is only in the hand of a few? Well, these few are much more numerous than under the royalty when there was only one king that would rule for his lifetime. And yet poeple accepted it for centuries.
    Nowadays, you say to someone, "no dessert after dinner today" and you have 5 millions in the street.
    You say: "We need to send 500 soldiers in Afghanistan" --> you face opposition in every corner even though this number is peanuts compared to the wars of the past.
    Two persons die from a virus somewhere, and the whole continent is boiling in alarm. Who remembers that in 1918 the spanish flu killed 3 million people?
    Not sure what point you are making for the benefit of religion, but I agree with your observation. J


    In the third century, the vast majority of the Roman empire had become atheist and corrupt. They no longer believed in their old gods, and the small pockets of christians in cities changed little to that fact. (Christianity spread in countrysides and became mainstream only in the 7th century) As resistance became weaker, More and more barbarians crossed the borders. At first they submitted to Rome but later they didn't even bother and carved for themselves huge territories. More and more foreigners filled the Roman legions (not just mercenaries under a roman general but entire foreign armies). So, when in 451, Attila invaded France, Aetius had no other choice but to beg for help among Franks, Visigoths and burgundians which by then fought independantly.
    As Maciamo noted, Roman Empire collapsed when it embraced Christianity. Right after this we had “beautiful” dark ages when Christianity roamed freely through all Europe.
    Didn’t you noticed that when life in Europe started to improve slowly with renaissance, Christianity also slowly lost it’s importance? That is the final proof that Christianity has nothing, I stress it, nothing to do with quality of life in today’s society.
    You seam to be pulling old skeletons from the past and praising their magnificence. Life in the past was not a walk in the park. Maybe that’s why folks in old times were more religious than people today? If life is hard one needs all the god’s help to survive. One needs to be assured that all the suffering (and there was plenty) doesn’t go to waste but will be rewarded in long pleasurable life in heaven.

    Christianity or other religions don’t have inclusive rights for morality. Atheists are same moral as believers. How come we don’t have statistics showing that majority of criminals in prison are atheists? How come priests in churches don’t wave scientific papers (in front of crowds) showing people that atheists are immoral? Because atheists are same moral and good citizens as believers.

    Believe it or not, but big part of morality and social ethics is already in our DNA. Few millions years of evolution, of our ancestors living in social groups, did the trick.
    When you take a ripe apple and you sink your teeth in it, your sense of taste will tell you immediately that this apple is good. Same with big part of morality. When you do something to your brother and your brother starts crying, your feelings tell you right away that you did something bad. No need for a priest to explain it.


    I’m not saying that western world is a pinnacle of human kind. It suits me fine though, I’m happy here, and I wouldn’t want to live in any period of the past instead, even if I was a Cesar. Other than that our western civilization is one big experiment in long human history, and only future will tell us if we were right.

    For the time being we are doing something fairly right, at least better than others. I was watching news from Libya, and interview with one black guy, supposedly supporter of Gaddafi, being kicked out off Libya. He said something like this: “I’m refusing go back to my country. I have many talents, and if I go to Chad, my talents will be lost. I want to go to Europe where I can use my talents.”

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    My friend Lebrok,
    my comments were directed at Europe, where currently the atheists, non-believers, non-practicing, whatever you want to call them completely dominate and rule the society.
    I dont know much about Canada but since most english speaking canadians I met were similar to Americans, I assume that the situation in Canada is similar to the one in US.

    In america the situation is vastly different. The society is controlled by believers, and therefore as an atheist in america you cannot have a good view of what a society is like when controlled by non-believers.

    I agree with you, in america (North-America), people are generally content with their lot, their jobs, their family situation. Most americans I know who retire, quickly get bored and move to another job. Americans dont count on the government to solve their problems. Like our ancestors, they count on themselves, on their skills and on their family. My feeling by having lived long years both in America and Europe is that it is really night and day (excluding Germany, Holland and perhaps the UK which are closer to the American ethics).

    I am not saying that America is a paradise (I surely have my beefs with the US and here in NY I am often seen as a lost socialist) but I believe that for a society as a whole, religion (can be islam, christianity, budhism) gives a sense of purpose that protects it better against civil strife. The budhists of Tibet for instance are poor, oppressed but it is amazing to see that they all are happy.

    Once again, i dont want to say that religion is the ONLY factor for this state of affairs but it certainly contribute to it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LeBrok View Post
    As Maciamo noted, Roman Empire collapsed when it embraced Christianity. Right after this we had “beautiful” dark ages when Christianity roamed freely through all Europe.
    Just to be pedantic, the Dark Ages are not named so because they were any worse than other ages. They are called so because of the lack of written records from that era, thus making the period between the "light" of the classical world and the Renaissance obscure or shady to historians. Although, archaeology has since shed new light on the time and the term Dark Ages is rarely used by historians now.

    I agree that Christianity played a large part in the fall of the Roman Empire and the following era, but it wasn't the only reason. There were many other contributing factors also.

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    Atheism is the dead end of imagination. It's pretty disturbing that people find atheism compelling to explain our existence when the prime mover issue, ie. what was the first cause, Aristotles observation still exists. Atheism isn't an intellectual belief. Intelligence, reason, logic, or understanding of science does cannot prove atheism. It may be compelling to a teenager who questioned the prime mover of gods existence, ie. What caused god. But the same problem must be question in, what caused existence.

    Under the guise of intellectualism atheism has flourished into a religion with it's prime target Christianity. Sure, people who literally interpret the bible are dishonest, but the social implications of religion are such that it existed to keep order in Europe. Every belief, including atheism under the guise of communism has justified wrongdoing(Stalin).

    The question is what makes society and the individual function better. Is it atheism, which professes human reason above all or theism, which professes existence beyond our control. I, for one, fear humanity that self reassures itself of the infallibility of belief or science. Regardless of whether or not god exists, it should be reasoned that the evolutionary belief in god benefited man otherwise god wouldn't have been created. God is what separated man from animals. Since, with god, humans have a perfection to aspire.

    Atheism is a belief that most children believe is epiphany. In reality, the problems posed by atheism seem to outweigh the benefits. It's an intellectual dead end and reeks of the stupidity of its followers.

    As Hume says, "That the sun will not rise tomorrow is no less intelligible a proposition, and implies no more contradiction, than the affirmation, that it will rise. "

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    Quote Originally Posted by bertrand View Post
    Maciamo,But in the end, resistance, will mean some level of sacrifice. When you live in a pure atheistic world, which for decades has been filled with materialistic gains (house, car, TVs, Computer, vacation, restaurants and... peace) it is much more difficult to give up all these things when you are an atheist than when you are religious and have some place else to turn.
    All right, here is a good example for you. Buddhism is an Atheistic faith, yet its genuine followers reject material possessions, aim at asceticism... The country where people crave the most materialistic gains, as you put it, is the USA, the most Christian of all Western countries (and by far). I liked LeBrok's example of the Vatican as one of the most outrageously materialistic places on Earth.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Antigone View Post
    Just to be pedantic, the Dark Ages are not named so because they were any worse than other ages. They are called so because of the lack of written records from that era, thus making the period between the "light" of the classical world and the Renaissance obscure or shady to historians.
    That's one interpretation of the term 'Dark Ages', not the one and only interpretation... It isn't just about the lack of written records, but the lower level of knowledge, technology, science, culture and everything compared to the Classical Antiquity or Europe since the Renaissance.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    That's one interpretation of the term 'Dark Ages', not the one and only interpretation... It isn't just about the lack of written records, but the lower level of knowledge, technology, science, culture and everything compared to the Classical Antiquity or Europe since the Renaissance.
    Well, there is more than one definition of the term, but it's generally the (Western) European context. If you consider issues like decline of science, knowledge and culture, you might say that the onset of the Dark Ages are a process that already began with the Crisis of the 3rd century and ended with the Renaissance.

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    Pyrub's response may be diverting us further off-topic here, but mods here can always move posts around, so I'll respond for fun.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pyrub View Post
    Atheism is the dead end of imagination. It's pretty disturbing that people find atheism compelling to explain our existence when the prime mover issue, ie. what was the first cause, Aristotles observation still exists. Atheism isn't an intellectual belief.
    (1) Why does the prime mover issue still exist? A circularity could, as well. It isn't logically necessary. (2) If it is required, why does it have to be explained by theism? I can't imagine the most likely explanation being the type of god that a human mind creates.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pyrub View Post
    Intelligence, reason, logic, or understanding of science does cannot prove atheism.
    Atheism is a belief, not a logical deduction, so proof is not required, only justification.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pyrub View Post
    It may be compelling to a teenager who questioned the prime mover of gods existence, ie. What caused god. But the same problem must be question in, what caused existence.
    If you admit that theism and atheism run into the same problem here, how does that justify one or the other?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pyrub View Post
    Under the guise of intellectualism atheism has flourished into a religion with it's prime target Christianity.
    What does the behavior of certain atheists have to do with the legitimacy of atheism itself?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pyrub View Post
    Sure, people who literally interpret the bible are dishonest, but the social implications of religion are such that it existed to keep order in Europe. Every belief, including atheism under the guise of communism has justified wrongdoing(Stalin).
    Regardless of the behaviors of the holders of certain beliefs, atheism is nonetheless the most justifiable. If your view is that unjustifiable beliefs should be held due to the fact that they encourage order somehow, your argument has an uphill battle. The "best" societies empirically have been those that have encouraged the most freedom of belief, not those that have been ordered around a certain one, as you are getting at.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pyrub View Post
    The question is what makes society and the individual function better. Is it atheism, which professes human reason above all or theism, which professes existence beyond our control. I, for one, fear humanity that self reassures itself of the infallibility of belief or science. Regardless of whether or not god exists, it should be reasoned that the evolutionary belief in god benefited man otherwise god wouldn't have been created. God is what separated man from animals. Since, with god, humans have a perfection to aspire.
    Belief in "god" isn't how humans evolved, it has to be taught. "Belief" and "storytelling" and "finding explanations" are the natural human tendency that evolved, and "god" is a meme that fills that tendency. There's no reason to keep it just because of history. And if you're worried about relying on science too much, realize that atheism doesn't necessitate this over-reliance. It is possible, and quite common, to be an atheist who realizes the limits of current knowledge.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pyrub View Post
    Atheism is a belief that most children believe is epiphany. In reality, the problems posed by atheism seem to outweigh the benefits. It's an intellectual dead end and reeks of the stupidity of its followers.
    I don't see this correlation. As a counterexample to the implication that atheism is bad for you and the product of stupidity, atheists in the United States have lower incarceration rates and higher IQs on average. The only legitimate criticism I've seen along these lines is that atheism is less "fulfilling," hence higher suicide rates, etc. The solution, again, isn't to criticize atheism as a whole, but rather to encourage "fulfillment" elsewhere from within atheism.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pyrub View Post
    As Hume says, "That the sun will not rise tomorrow is no less intelligible a proposition, and implies no more contradiction, than the affirmation, that it will rise. "
    The implications of raw philosophical definitions of intelligibility and contradiction don't seem to me to be entirely relevant to this discussion.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    All right, here is a good example for you. Buddhism is an Atheistic faith, yet its genuine followers reject material possessions, aim at asceticism... The country where people crave the most materialistic gains, as you put it, is the USA, the most Christian of all Western countries (and by far). I liked LeBrok's example of the Vatican as one of the most outrageously materialistic places on Earth.

    Maciamo,
    I you read my last post, you would see that I actually put budhism in the religious group. Because it is a religion even if some of the parameters of that religion are different from others.
    People inferred from my comments that I was defending Christianity against the rest. It is not the case.

    I was defending those who obeyed the "unrational" rules of a given religion, vs those who obeyed only their whims and the material needs of their bodies.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sparkey View Post
    Atheism is a belief, not a logical deduction, so proof is not required, only justification.
    Sparkey,
    You might have noticed in my first comment that I put atheists, non-believers and non-practicing in the same basket; why? because they all behave the same way. They obey no "superior" rule but their own.

    Most atheists that I know are more "don't care" than "dont believe". So I dont think that you can classify atheists as a belief system. The philosophers that have spent a lot of time thinking about the implication of God as a driver of the universe and concluded that he does not exist are actually only a fraction of the 90% of non-religious europeans.

    On the other hand, in modern society, a believer is confronted every day with the question: "Am i really a believer? Does it really make any sense to go to church/temple when everybody else is watching TV or going shopping?"

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    Quote Originally Posted by bertrand View Post
    Sparkey,
    You might have noticed in my first comment that I put atheists, non-believers and non-practicing in the same basket; why? because they all behave the same way. They obey no "superior" rule but their own.

    Most atheists that I know are more "don't care" than "dont believe". So I dont think that you can classify atheists as a belief system. The philosophers that have spent a lot of time thinking about the implication of God as a driver of the universe and concluded that he does not exist are actually only a fraction of the 90% of non-religious europeans.
    "Atheism" is one of those tricky words that can have different meanings depending on the context in which it is used. I think that Europeans atheists are more likely to be in the "don't care" basket, while American atheists are more likely to be in the "don't believe" basket, at least in my experience. That's probably just a byproduct of there being fewer American atheists as a percentage of the population, so the American atheists are more likely to feel the need to justify it.

    But you're right, there's nothing that keeps us from calling someone an atheist who hasn't really put any thought into the issue and just happens to lack a belief in god. That kind of person doesn't even necessarily require justification, although I think that they should have it if they intend to defend their atheism.

    Quote Originally Posted by bertrand View Post
    On the other hand, in modern society, a believer is confronted every day with the question: "Am i really a believer? Does it really make any sense to go to church/temple when everybody else is watching TV or going shopping?"
    Yup... a theist requires justification regardless.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    That's one interpretation of the term 'Dark Ages', not the one and only interpretation... It isn't just about the lack of written records, but the lower level of knowledge, technology, science, culture and everything compared to the Classical Antiquity or Europe since the Renaissance.
    Yes, that was the 19thC view of the period. 20thC archaeology and study have led to a greater understanding of the developments of the time and the term dark ages is not used in that context by historians and academics today.

    In modern usage the term dark ages is meant to infer that the time is dark only to us, for the scarcity of written and artistic output. Although, some scholars even argue against the use of this neutral term, they contend that a) ordinary readers will not understand the changed meaning and b) that with the explosion of recent knowledge and insight into the period that the dark ages are no longer dark in the sense of being unkown to us. Thus to avoid any judgement or misunderstanding on the use of the term most historians avoid it completely and opt for terms such as the Early Middle Ages or Late Antiquity.

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