Saturday, June 3, 2017

Atheism died in the West in the 20th century. Agnostics have waning influence in the world

Death of atheism in the Western world in the 20th century

A discussion string was posted at a popular atheist/agnostic website entitled Being true, earnest and logically coherent with our atheism.  The post began thusly: "I am going to charge atheists - virtually all of us here - with a serious accusation. There's a bug infecting their system known as the agnostic view."
Atheism, as defined by the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, the Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, and other philosophy reference works, is the denial of the existence of God.
Paul Edwards, who was a prominent atheist and editor of the Encyclopedia of Philosophy, defined an atheist as "a person who maintains that there is no God.

Agnosticism is, in weaker forms, an affirmation of ignorance regarding the existence of a God or gods, and in stronger forms, the assertion that the existence of a deity or deities is unknowable.
Beginning in the latter portion of the 20th century and continuing beyond, many agnostics/atheists have argued that the definition of atheism should be defined as a mere lack of belief in God or gods. This diluted definition of atheism began to gather steam due a 1976 book by Anthony Flew who was influential atheist among atheists at the time. Flew later became a theist. 
For all intents and purposes, atheism died in the West in the 20th century. Atheism in the Western World was replaced by agnosticism. 

Agnosticism has waning influence in the world 

Pew Research indicated in their report The Future of World Religions: Population Growth Projections, 2010-2050 that agnostics and atheists “will make up a declining share of the world’s total population.” In other words, the percentage of people who are agnostics in the world is going down. 

Data compiled by the Center for the Study of Global Christianity (CSGC) at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (GCTS) indicates the actual number of atheists began decreasing in the world around 2017 (see: Global atheism statistics ).  

According to CSGC, when will the actual number of agnostics in the world experience decreasing numbers? According to CSGC, in 2025 there will be 707,857,000 agnostics in the world. By 2050, there will be 698,244,000 agnostics in the world (see: Projection of religion/irreligion in the world). 

Europe: Irreligion vs. religion in the 21st century

Eric Kaufmann is a professor of politics at Birkbeck College, University of London and author. His academic research specialty is how demographic changes affect religion/irreligion and politics. He was a Fellow in the Religion in International Affairs Program, Belfer Center, Kennedy School, Harvard University, 2008-9. In 2008, he won the Richard Rose Prize of the Political Studies Association for a scholar under 40 years old.

Concerning the future of religion/secularism in Europe, professor Eric Kaufmann wrote:
We have performed these unprecedented analyses on several cases. Austria offers us a window into what the future holds. Its census question on religious affiliation permits us to perform cohort component projections, which show the secular population plateauing by 2050, or as early as 2021 if secularism fails to attract lapsed Christians and new Muslim immigrants at the same rate as it has in the past. (Goujon, Skirbekk et al. 2006). 
This task will arguably become far more difficult as the supply of nominal Christians dries up while more secularisation-resistant Muslims and committed rump Christians comprise an increasing share of the population.

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