Author Topic: When Non-Believers Outnumber Beleivers  (Read 2481 times)

Recusant

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When Non-Believers Outnumber Beleivers
« on: February 23, 2016, 10:36:49 AM »
Basic elements of human behavior don't change much in a society mostly composed of non-believers, it seems. The tendency to disparage those who think differently still exists.

"Swedish teachers and students often talk about religion as something outdated and strange" | EurekAlert

Quote
In Swedish classrooms, religion is often associated with an obsolete time when people just didn't know better - as if religion used to serve a purpose but there is no need for it in the modern world. This is the conclusion of a doctoral thesis from the University of Gothenburg that explores how teachers and students talk about religion and worldviews within the framework of non-confessional integrative Religious Education in upper-secondary classrooms.

'I found that religious faith is portrayed as incompatible with being a modern, rational and independently thinking human being. In contrast, a non-religious, atheistic position is articulated as a neutral and unbiased approach to religion. I had not expected this discourse to be so strong in all the studied classrooms,' says Karin Kittelmann Flensner, who wrote the thesis.

[Continues . . .]

While I'm in sympathy with the description of religion as "outdated," I don't think it's all that strange.
"Religion is fundamentally opposed to everything I hold in veneration — courage, clear thinking, honesty, fairness, and above all, love of the truth."
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Nam

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Re: When Non-Believers Outnumber Beleivers
« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2016, 07:36:28 PM »
Nonbelievers already outnumber believers if you look at it from the perspective of a believer.

Except when statistics occur: believers seem to appear everywhere to believers during those sort of things.

Like, ask a Protestant Christian, "Are Catholics Christian?" They usually say no. Then ask, "How many Christians are there in the world?" And then watch how Catholics to a Protestant become Christian again.

;)

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Recusant

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Re: When Non-Believers Outnumber Beleivers
« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2016, 01:16:48 AM »
Atheists tend to highlight the ways in which societies composed mostly of religious people have discriminated against atheists. It can get more extreme than just discrimination, as seen in the very recent series of killings of atheist/secular writers in Bangladesh. While it's a stretch to imagine something like that happening in a secular society composed of a majority of non-believers, I don't think it's so difficult to imagine such a society developing a pattern of discrimination against the religious. This study may be a glimpse into the beginnings of such a pattern. There is an element of self-congratulatory "we're better than that" thinking that one occasionally encounters in the online atheist environment, which I don't think is all that valid.

"Religion is fundamentally opposed to everything I hold in veneration — courage, clear thinking, honesty, fairness, and above all, love of the truth."
— H. L. Mencken


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Re: When Non-Believers Outnumber Beleivers
« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2016, 01:23:49 AM »
We see the prejudice on forums that have a large user base of one ideology. Forums are often a microcosm of human behavioural patterns, scale that up and it only seems normal that whatever is in the minority will become what is looked upon with prejudice and that can be pretty much anything not just beliefs.
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Nam

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Re: When Non-Believers Outnumber Beleivers
« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2016, 01:48:14 AM »
Atheists tend to highlight the ways in which societies composed mostly of religious people have discriminated against atheists. It can get more extreme than just discrimination, as seen in the very recent series of killings of atheist/secular writers in Bangladesh. While it's a stretch to imagine something like that happening in a secular society composed of a majority of non-believers, I don't think it's so difficult to imagine such a society developing a pattern of discrimination against the religious. This study may be a glimpse into the beginnings of such a pattern. There is an element of self-congratulatory "we're better than that" thinking that one occasionally encounters in the online atheist environment, which I don't think is all that valid.

Humans, as a social construct, descriminate against other humans; religion from a positive or negative viewpoint seems to amplify it. Like politics or sports.

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Re: When Non-Believers Outnumber Beleivers
« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2016, 12:29:45 PM »
It seems easier to be emotional rather than rational. It's like succumbing to emotions is the path of least resistance. People will have their prejudices regardless of whether they are religious or not. "Otherness" will always exist I think, especially in a pluralistic society.

I don't know enough to say, but it seems to me like terror management theory could explain why people in certain situations might draw lines and why a crisis might enhance this phenomenon. I'm speculating here, but a pluralistic society could mean symbolic "death" for some cultural values, and could result in that sort of backlash. 
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Re: When Non-Believers Outnumber Beleivers
« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2016, 12:18:21 AM »
Why prisons are usually self-segregated. Even some schools are self-segregated, especially if the school is of high population and one group dominates all the other groups. My high school (at the time) had over 6,000 students, and where and from what particular district it was situated in, wasn't too self-segregated.  Even teachers were quite diverse. Yet there were two social aspects that were constant: sex (in the school, usually in bathrooms) and violence. There were several gangs on campus, two main ones: the towel heads (black gang who had white towels draped over their heads) and the rednecks (Cowboy outfits, including hat) and some minor gangs such as Latino/Hispanic and Asian. However, the only real violence (murder) happened between staff (vice principal murdered principal because he was having an affair with his wife). But it was a huge school, violence didn't take up too much of our time, and neither did self-segregation.

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Claireliontamer

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Re: When Non-Believers Outnumber Beleivers
« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2016, 08:37:29 AM »
I'm reading an interesting book by Richard Sennett at the moment about this (I'll post more when I've finished it!).  The title is 'Together: The Rituals, Pleasures and Politics of Cooperation'.

As I say, I haven't finished it so am unclear of his main arguments yet but the section I have read so far highlights the fact that evolutionary speaking in order to survive we have had to cooperate.  In fact, you see this still in young babies, the only way they'll survive is by cooperation with their parents and those around them.  Another interesting point is that studies have shown that the more diverse area you live in, the stronger the prejudices towards different people are. Historically it was thought the opposite was true, that diverse neighbourhoods would promote cohesion but the most liberal and least prejudice opinions tend to come from people who have grown up in a very uniform area. 

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Re: When Non-Believers Outnumber Beleivers
« Reply #8 on: February 27, 2016, 02:35:02 PM »
I'm reading an interesting book by Richard Sennett at the moment about this (I'll post more when I've finished it!).  The title is 'Together: The Rituals, Pleasures and Politics of Cooperation'.

As I say, I haven't finished it so am unclear of his main arguments yet but the section I have read so far highlights the fact that evolutionary speaking in order to survive we have had to cooperate.  In fact, you see this still in young babies, the only way they'll survive is by cooperation with their parents and those around them.  Another interesting point is that studies have shown that the more diverse area you live in, the stronger the prejudices towards different people are. Historically it was thought the opposite was true, that diverse neighbourhoods would promote cohesion but the most liberal and least prejudice opinions tend to come from people who have grown up in a very uniform area.

We are tribal.  That's how we got this far. Diversity really doesn't work all that well.  We've been trying it in the USA for a long time, and look where we are.  When the tribe is "believers", the "unbelievers" are not welcome.  It will be the same when the tribe is unbelievers.  We form tribes automatically.  It will take long years of evolution to get that out of us.

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Re: When Non-Believers Outnumber Beleivers
« Reply #9 on: February 27, 2016, 03:00:09 PM »
It will take long years of evolution to get that out of us.

Probably never will. Unless it provides a considerable advantage for survival it will be irrelevant. Tribalism and the pack mentality is more beneficial to survival and thus the ability to pass on genes.

We know in terms of genetics diversity is far more beneficial for the health of the new generations, maybe if that was harnessed then societies could be more inclusive. But when you still have people blaming others for their woes because they look different that appears to be a very long way off.
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Re: When Non-Believers Outnumber Beleivers
« Reply #10 on: February 28, 2016, 02:38:02 AM »
Tribalism is very much a part of being human. I recently read an article about a group of people being randomly assigned to a red group or a blue group and then participating in various activities. Despite not knowing any of the other people in their group, it wasn't long before the people in each group started to identify with their color even in joint activities with the other color.

You see it with support of sports teams, hometowns (even if someone hasn't been there for years), departments at work, leisure activities...the list is endless. "We" are better than "them" regardless of how the definitions of those terms change from moment to moment.
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Re: When Non-Believers Outnumber Beleivers
« Reply #11 on: February 29, 2016, 12:43:28 AM »
Another interesting point is that studies have shown that the more diverse area you live in, the stronger the prejudices towards different people are. Historically it was thought the opposite was true, that diverse neighbourhoods would promote cohesion but the most liberal and least prejudice opinions tend to come from people who have grown up in a very uniform area.

That's very interesting.
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Re: When Non-Believers Outnumber Beleivers
« Reply #12 on: March 03, 2016, 09:47:39 PM »
Those people should come to a small town in the South.

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Re: When Non-Believers Outnumber Beleivers
« Reply #13 on: March 04, 2016, 07:25:13 AM »
It will take long years of evolution to get that out of us.

Probably never will. Unless it provides a considerable advantage for survival it will be irrelevant. Tribalism and the pack mentality is more beneficial to survival and thus the ability to pass on genes.

We know in terms of genetics diversity is far more beneficial for the health of the new generations, maybe if that was harnessed then societies could be more inclusive. But when you still have people blaming others for their woes because they look different that appears to be a very long way off.
Selection pressures hardly have to create any advantage at all to influence a population over time. Tribalism causes conflict. The bigger the tribe the bigger the conflict. Look at Syria. There's not a lot of successful survival/reproduction going on there. The tribalists are dying. Those people who are leaving are surviving.

Given enough time and the right selection pressures pretty much anything is possible. If tribalism is only 1% less effective than cooperation over the long run cooperation will win out.
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Re: When Non-Believers Outnumber Beleivers
« Reply #14 on: March 04, 2016, 08:53:42 AM »
Selection pressures hardly have to create any advantage at all to influence a population over time. Tribalism causes conflict. The bigger the tribe the bigger the conflict. Look at Syria. There's not a lot of successful survival/reproduction going on there. The tribalists are dying. Those people who are leaving are surviving.

Given enough time and the right selection pressures pretty much anything is possible. If tribalism is only 1% less effective than cooperation over the long run cooperation will win out.

Yes it does. Advantage of survival or breeding. They are the only factors selection favours. Though you can have a lot of genes playing roles that have no survival or breeding benefits because they neither help nor prevent but may become one or the other for future generations.

The more powerful tribe wins and survives forcing into place their genetics and ideals, even if only short lived. Those that flee only survive if they can find refuge or survive the conditions. They either assimilate with other tribes or become outcast and create a new tribe. The genetics to adapt, survive harsh conditions, low food and water as well as being accepted by others all play a role in the survival of a refugee as does intelligence of neighbouring cultures and ability to use tools to their advantage. If tribe A wins and gain control they can repopulate an area within a short period of time. A refugee has the problem of being an outcast within another society often with inhibited breeding levels, either forced due to poverty, not found to be attractive within new society, conforming to new customs, or new generations being a mix of different genetics due to breeding wit new culture.
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