Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Trump’s defense demands for NATO would end Denmark’s welfare state. Smaller welfare state means lower prevalence of atheism. European atheism and economics/socialism

The article  Trump’s Defense Demands for NATO Would End Denmark’s Welfare State
 Only a handful of nations meet the requirement, including the U.K. and Poland. Meanwhile, Denmark and Germany, nations known for their generous welfare states, only spend 1.18 percent and 1.2 percent of their GDP on defense, respectively.
The atheist Niles Bieber writes:
In social democracies, there is less fear and uncertainty about the future because social welfare programs provide a safety net and better health care means that fewer people can expect to die young. People who are less vulnerable to the hostile forces of nature feel more in control of their lives and less in need of religion. Hence my finding of belief in God being higher in countries with a heavy load of infectious diseases.

In my new study of 137 countries, I also found that atheism increases for countries with a well-developed welfare state (as indexed by high taxation rates). Moreover, countries with a more equal distribution of income had more atheists.
Atheist professor Derek Bickerton states:
Nigel Barbers' post Why Atheism Will Replace Religion (henceforth WAWRR) is based on two assumptions: that improvement in economic conditions is the major driving force behind the spread of atheism. and that atheism will triumph globally when similar conditions spread to Asia, Africa and South America. Both assumptions are dubious indeed. With regard to the second, it's even dubious whether Europe and North America can maintain their current level of economic development. Plenty of civilizations have suffered economic collapse--why should ours be the one exception? But even if we do come out of the current depression, what difference will that make to the rest of the world?
So what will happen to European atheism if socialism is cut back in many countries due to higher defense spending or if social spending on the non-elderly population is cut back to support higher spending to support an aging population?  What will happen if Europe suffers significant economic troubles? 

Excerpt from the academic paper entitled The Changing Face of Global Christianity by Dr. Todd Johnson & Sandra S. Kim:
As Latourette’s Great Century was coming to a close, churches outside of Europe and the Americas that took root in the 19th century grew rapidly in the 20th century.10 Africa, in particular, led this transformation growing from only 10 million Christians in 1900 to 360 million by AD 2000. Given current trends, there could be over 600 million Christians in Africa by 2025. Shortly after 1980, Christians in the South outnumbered those in the North for the first time in 1,000 years. In 1900 over 80% of all Christians lived in Europe and Northern America, however, by 2005 this proportion had fallen to under 40% and will likely fall below 30% before 2050. Projections for the future show that the Christian churches of the Global South (Africa, Asia, Latin America and Oceania) will likely continue to acquire an increasing percentage of global Christianity...

Another daily reality for Southern Christians is poverty. Much of the global South deals with serious issues of poverty and a lack of access to proper health care. Countries that have been hardest hit by AIDS, such as Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Swaziland, are also countries where Christianity is flourishing. Without access to the necessary medical care, accounts of healing and exorcism found in the Bible are taken more seriously. The work of the Holy Spirit exhibited in the ministry of signs and miracles of healing and deliverance from demonic powers has exploded in the ministry of Pentecostal/Charismatic churches in the global South. David Smith describes these churches as “overwhelmingly charismatic and conservative in character, reading the New Testament in ways that seem puzzlingly literal to their friends in the North,” and as “largely made up of poor people who in many cases live on the very edge of existence.”  Thus the growth of Christianity in poorer regions implies not only an alternative reading of the Bible, but a different experience of the Bible.

The article  Social unrest in Europe altering its religious landscape declares:
On November 9, 2009, the pro-evolution magazine Christianity Today published an article by a Berlin journalist entitled Germany's 'Cold Religion'. Among other things, the article claimed that if Martin Luther were alive today he would drive most of the present day German ministers from their pulpits.

Below is a relevant excerpt from the article in relation to the creation vs. evolution issue:
The Protestant state church is fairly dead. The percent of committed Christians in Germany is maybe at 3 or 4 percent. Eighty percent belong to a church nominally, Protestant or Catholic. A mere 0.5 percent belong to a free evangelical church. The percent of people believing in life after death is fewer than 50 percent. It's what a German philosopher, Ruediger Safranski, calls "cold religion," very left-brained, very cognitive, focused on rituals and membership but not on personal commitment. Sometimes the mainline bishops say we need to be more mission minded. But they don't put any money into it.

Is there something about German culture that keeps churches from growing?

Part of the problem is that German institutions are more important than they are in America. Unlike America, we don't have a history of being nonconformist, of doing "our own thing," of risking failure. We try to abide by the rules of the dominant system. And systems are slow to adapt. I like to put it this way: Europe is a legacy, whereas America is a project. Europe is about looking at what you have, not what you could have; it's about position, not potential, which makes change so much more difficult...

Every hundred years or so, you have major social unrest in Europe. You have people longing, looking for new solutions. And at that situation God anoints or calls people who are good with communicating and meetings those needs. People are so lonely these days, and relationships are so fragile. We are living in pretty revolutionary times.
So is there about a 100 year cycle of social unrest in Europe?

I also recommend reading the articles below:

Does atheism thrive on economic prosperity? Does religion prosper when people are desperate and ignorant?

Picture credits:


English: Donald Trump speaking to supporters at an immigration policy speech at the Phoenix Convention Center in Phoenix, Arizona. Please attribute to Gage Skidmore if used elsewhere.
Source https://flickr.com/photos/22007612@N05/29273256122
Author Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America
This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Generic license.

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