Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Start Praying? Religion May Become ‘Extinct’ in 9 Countries

“That’s me in the corner, that’s me in the spotlight, losing my religion,” the band R.E.M once sang. For select countries across the globe, that could be true. And while the prediction doesn’t currently include the U.S., there are ominous signs that could change.

According to a new study by the American Physical Society (APS) using census data, religion in nine countries is slowly dying — and, as the BBC puts it, may even become “extinct.”

Those countries include Australia, Austria, Canada, the Czech Republic, Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and Switzerland.

The study was published earlier this year and recently unveiled at an APS meeting in Dallas. It uses a mathematical model to “account for the interplay between the number of religious respondents and the social motives behind being one,” the BBC reports. The result is scary: “religion will all but die out altogether in those countries.”

One of the study’s authors, Richard Wiener of the Research Corporation for Science Advancement and the University of Arizona, explained to the BBC that “The idea is pretty simple.”

“It posits that social groups that have more members are going to be more attractive to join, and it posits that social groups have a social status or utility,” he said.

Translation: it seems it’s becoming popular not to be religious — and the more popular that becomes, the more people will join.

“In a large number of modern secular democracies,” he explained, “there’s been a trend that folk are identifying themselves as non-affiliated with religion; in the Netherlands the number was 40%, and the highest we saw was in the Czech Republic, where the number was 60%.”

Read more at theBlaze

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