- Dr Nigel Barber’s book debunks the popular belief that religious groups will dominate atheistic ones because they collectively have more children
- He said the market for formal religion is being squeezed by modern substitutes such as sport and entertainment in more developed countries
- Added that atheists are heavily concentrated in richer countries and religion will decrease as individuals’ personal wealth increases
PUBLISHED: 10:32 EST, 7 August 2013 | UPDATED: 12:53 EST, 7 August 2013
Religion, such as Buddhism, will have died out in many developed countries by 2041, according to one biopychologist
Religious people in many developed countries will be a minority by 2041, according to one Irish biopsychologist.
A study into the beliefs of people living in 137 countries, which forms the basis for a new book, found atheism increases in more developed places as people become increasingly materially rich.
The book also debunks the popular belief that religious groups will dominate atheistic ones because they collectively have more children.
Biopsychologist Dr Nigel Barber has based his book, ‘Why atheism will replace religion,’ on the findings to draw his controversial conclusions.
Biopsychologists examine the application of the principles of biology to the study of physiological, genetic and developmental mechanisms of behaviour in humans.
In an article in Psychology Today, Dr Barber explains that in his book he questions how long it would take for the average country in the world to reach a similar level of wealth and development as countries that already have secular minorities.
This transition was defined as a minority of the population believing in a god, or a minority considering that a god is important to their lives.
This was measured in terms of a country’s GDP, local prices and Human Development Index (HDI) and allowed Mr Barber to come to the conclusion the average country will transform into a secular society in 2041.
He said atheists are heavily concentrated in economically developed countries and religion will decrease as individuals’ personal wealth increases.
The book proposes that people do not have to rely on supernatural influences when material possessions are catering to their needs, according to Science World Report.
Religion declines not only because people are becoming richer, but also due to the increasing quality of life, decline of serious diseases, better education and welfare states, the author said.
He believes there is less demand for religion in societies such as Japan and Sweden where normal people are relatively comfortable and consequently the majority of the populations are already secular.
Dr Barber concentrates on the emotional benefits of religion that favored its evolution amongst our ancestors, who faced many different challenges to their daily lives.
The book links the cause of religion’s emergence with reasons for its potential decline and the Amazon description for the book likens organised religion to a Dodo.
Will cathedrals be empty in 2041? A study into the beliefs of people living in 137 countries, which forms the basis for a new book, found atheism increases in more developed places as people become more materially rich
DISTRIBUTION OF ATHEISTS
- There is almost no Atheism in Sub-Saharan Africa
- But there are more atheists in Europe:
- 64% of people are non-believers in Sweden
- 48% of individuals are atheist in Denmark
- 44% of French citizens do not subscribe to a religion
- 42% of Germans do not believe in a god.
- The figures come from a 2007 report by Zuckerman via Psychology Today
The description says: ‘Religion evolved to help our ancestors cope with anxiety and insecurity.
‘Supernatural belief is in decline everywhere that ordinary people enjoy a decent standard of living and are secure in their health and finances.
‘The market for formal religion is also being squeezed by modern substitutes such as sports and entertainment.
‘Even Facebook is killing religion because it provides answers for peculiarly modern narcissistic anxieties for which religion has no answer.’
Dr Barber also said it is unlikely religious communities will continue to dominate atheistic groups as they have children more frequently, as has been previously suggested.
Dr Barber said: ‘Noisy as they can be, such groups are tiny minorities of the global population and they will become even more marginalized as global prosperity increases and standards of living improve.’
He believes as women become more integrated into the workplace they will have less children, whether they are religious or atheist.
Jewish men pray at the wailing wall in Jerusalem. Dr Barber’s book says religion evolved to help our ancestors cope with anxiety and insecurity, but now people enjoy a decent standard of living, formal religion is being squeezed by modern substitutes such as sports and entertainment
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