Friday, January 30, 2009

here's the sort of things many atheists do.

I found this on a website a came acorss:here

this is suppossed to be what I say. he just uses some of phrases and takes them out of context and actually changes my words to fit the stupid thing he thinks because my real view are way over his head.

This is on "fundies say the darnedest things." Of course anyone who knows me knows how stuid it is to call me a fundie. I went to a liberal seminary, I have all sorts positions all over my website. This is by someone who doesn't know shit from shinola about theology and doesn't care. a little brain dead shmuck that represents about 90% of what I see on atheist boards.

God exists becasue I say he does

(1) the senese of the relaity of God is unqiue and intautve. if you don't have it you just dont' have it. But the verfication of it is the working out of sueprnatural effects in the life of the believer.

(2) God is the Transendental signfiider, there will always have to be a thing at the top of the metaphysical hierarchy and that thing is God.

the atheist is stuck, there cannot not be a God, and that is borne out by the reilgius a prori in the live of the believer.

Metacrock, [Comments (49)] [2007-Mar-29]

here's the kicker. The homepage to the site this:

An archive of the most hilarious, bizarre, ignorant, bigoted, and terrifying quotes from fundies all over the internet! The FSTDT archive is the largest collection of fundie quotes on the planet, with More than 28020 archived quotes this very second!

They are saying I'm ignorant! Me? they think I'm a fundie because they don't' even know what that is, they think it's anyone who believes in God, because they stupid as shit and they think I'm ignorant.

Nothing more than little tiny children on the internet showing how utterly stupid and unread they are.

Here are some of the comments from these super intelligent inligthenied breakons of reason:



2007-Mar-30 12:41 PM

You don't understand, Metacrock tries to pass himself off as some sort of philosophy expert, but he can't write or spell worth a damn, and he has had his ass handed to him by many different people on multiple occasions.\n\nHe's not quite as annoying as Troy Brooks, but he is an arrogant bastard.

Note the keen isnight into the problem of dyslexia. He demsontrates right away that he has a keen adult understanding of social and psychologcial progelms. He shows us that he's a serious thinker who grasps issues, like Dyslexia and that he's reall well read and capable of discussing content in an intelligent way.

here the wrods of his insightful learned well read colleges.



2007-Mar-30 01:44 PM

Yes, he desperately stumbles through his dyslexic thesaurus, trying to pin down his intrinsic ineffable aetheric ephemeral ethic.\n\nI empathise with your frustration, Metacrock.



2007-Mar-30 02:00 PM

Someone's vocabulary exceeds their education.

did you see what that idiot said? "someone's vocabulary exceeds thir education." how would that work now? it is very logic that someone who has not taken the courses and done the work with ap professor uses the terms correctly? terms these guys don't even know?



2007-Mar-30 03:16 PM

This is what you get when you order your spellchecker in Elbonia.



2007-Mar-30 03:18 PM

You can't spell this badly without a great deal of effort.
1 2

why I dont' know who would not want to number among the ranks of these mavens of scholarship and reason. They have such keen minds, such analytical grasp of a situation. And they think so fairly, they are able to keenly judge a situation. They know I'm lying about ever having gone to school. I'm just some little illiterate know nothing idiot who just happened to read a bunch of books about Derrida and learned to all the terms correctly but doesn't really know anything.

they on the other hand, so deeply well read don't even understand what a fundie is or what a liberal is or what makes you one. That's the true the mark of a real think, so shoot his stupid cake hole off about thing he doesn't even understand and is too lazy to read about. what geniuses.

Anyone who think these guys know anything or that their assessment of me really matters is an idiot and I don't regard you are being worthy of consideration.

I try to pass myself off... like this bag of shit even understands half of what I say.NO he does not. He couldn't read anything and the use terms that I use and get them right. Moreover, I left the phone number for the departmental secretary where I was a doctoral student, so the atheist shit holes on cram could call and prove that I was what I say I was. But not one ever called. Why do you think that is? do you have a theory? Could it be because they know and they didn't want to embarrass themselves? what's more I did that a whole bunch of times. I left the number time after time and none of them ever called.

I even went to so far as to call William Lane Craig to prove that a certain former student of his was really a student of his so it would shut up fundies who said to him the same thing these shit bags are saying to me. But would he return the favor, no of course not. like a creep he calls the office so they want my ss number which of course I wont give him. So that's the same just not doing it.

my one chance to prove to the little lying hypocrisies that I'm on the level he this guy wont put himself out to do for me what I did for him.

that's an atheist. A christian will die for you, he will give you his money his car go to jail for you. die on the cross for you. The atheist wont return a favor you did for him because it's too much trouble and he's too big a deal. he so important he's on such a head trip he doesn't have to return a favor.

Counter Example: a "Good Atheist" (Rushdie)

this is an old one from my other blog. But I think it's important to compare what I'm criticizing in atheism with what I applaud in atheism.

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I saw Salman Rushdie on PBS, having a discussion with Bill Moyers.(link is no longer good) Rushdie is an atheist, he refurred to himself as "total atheist." But, he is one of hte most enlightened people I've ever heard speak about religion. Yet .Rushdie is nothing like the atheists I encounter on the Internet. He actual reads real theologians. He's not negative toward religion, he says nothing to imply religious people are stupid or religion is bad.In fact he seems to think religion is basically a good thing. He says, paraphrasing, if you want to believe that there is some organizing princple to unites and hold together the physics of the university with morality, and call that God, why should I object? Not only does he seem so insightful because is positive twoard religion but because his criticisms of are fair minded and not insulting.

One such criticism he made in the interview with Moyers (8/23/06) is that religious people tend to think that one cannot be moral without an overarching absolute source of authority to make morality right. But morality is the seeking to question "is this right? Is this wrong" Rushdie points out that one need to be religious to question that many non religious people find answers and live consistently with their answers.

This is a fair criticism. I have always contended that there are many atheists--I know many-- who have a strong sense of morality and loads of character, even though most Christian might disagree with many of their choices. My criticism, which I think Rushdie's argument does not answer is that even though atheists can be moral, because society is coasting on Christian memories, they do not have a logical grounding for their axioms. Rudhdie's view was refreshing that he questioned relativism saying that it is dangerous to do without a fixed standard. Yet without logical grounding for axioms it is my belief that those Christian memories will fade and society will degenerate into relativism simply because they wont have an adequate basis for adopting a particular standard.

Another of Rushdie's, criticisms, although it applies more to fundamentalism than to all of religious belief, the idea of enshrining some way of life or point in time long past. This is a criticism I can get behind. Even though it speaks to the fundamentalists more than to the main stream, it really speaks to religions that emphasize an ancient sacred text.It seems to marking out a sacred text enshrines a particular moment in time, a culture, a belief system, a way of life, a way of understanding the world, as paradigmatic. The ancient world of the Hebrew, pre temple and first temple really becomes the major paradigm for Christianity because it was the model for Jesus in his adherence to the law.

The difference between the fundamentalist who wants to force the back to some Golden age of orthodoxy, vs the liberal is who is able tom meet a Salman Rushdie half way is not so much in terms of authoritarianism, although that is a manifestation of the real issue. The real issue is one of metaphor. The fundy wants to literalize the metaphor and say "this really is the way it is; God really is a middle eastern Suzerian from the 3d from the late Bronze age." The liberal is able to say "no, this image of the Suzerian points to certain aspects that give us a hint as to what God is like, but there is also a "not like" dimension. Does this metaphor extend to the deity of Christ? the Historical Jesus? The atonement? The Resurrection!?? I'm going to bracket this question and deal with it on another day, but I will deal with it soon. Certainly the difference in literalizing or understanding the metaphorical nature of an image, is the difference between imposing one's will upon others, vs allowing others to choose the their own metaphors. This open attitude that comes from the realization of the metaphorical mandates a secular space for government and market place of ideas.

SALMAN RUSHDIE: Well, I think, you know, certainly in India, in the foundation of India the great founding fathers of India, like Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru were absolutely convinced that to secularize India was the only way actually of keeping the various communities safe. But in order to avoid a repetition of the bloodshed of partitioning you had to not allow any religious community to dominate any other. And therefore you had —India was given a secular constitution. Now what's happening I do think in a certain way is that many people perceive failures in secularism. You know, I mean I think if you look at the rise of Islamic radicalism you can say that Iranian — the rule of the Ayatollahs — was created by the failures of the secularist Shah of Iran.

Ah but the secular Shah of Iran did not foster a true democracy. He was put in power by a CIA coup in 1954, he rueld with an iron hand, and the roots of the revolution in Iran in the 1970's were as much a secular and Marxist political student revolution, as much or more so than the Islamic aspects. I had a friend whose father was an eitor of a major Tehran daily at that time. So was fairly well informed about the roots of that revolution. In any case, it is true that the religious wars of Europe (1500-1660) could only be stopped when a secular space was created in which everyone's religious view was safe in their private realm, and everyone was free to participate on equal footin in the secular public realm. Reformed fundamentalists want to turn back the clock to the Reformation, but they have no idea who much misery and destruction the reformation actually brought about.

Creating a secular space requires the creation of a demoncratic process. This requires exchange of ideas freely and without criteria of truth imposed from without. The secular sapce must make room for the arist as social critic:

SALMAN RUSHDIE: But this is the time honored role of the artist to speak truth to power, you know, and if you look at what is happening in the Muslim world some of the writers signing that manifesto are particularly concerned with the oppression of women, which is a very big subject and in the Muslim world. Others are concerned with the oppression of freedoms of speech and assembly. And others are concerned with simple — the creation of kind of overarching world view, which makes it impossible for people to consider the concept of freedom. You know, that's to say it simply not available, for discussion, you know. And one of the awful things about long term mass censorship is that in the end people can lose a sense of what it's like to live in a free world. You know, because it's not--there's nothing automatic about it. It's a thing you have to fight for and preserve.

Ironically, religion can only flourish in this secular space.This is so becasue the artsitic urge to "speak truth to power" is really an extention of the prophetic urge. This is what the prophet does. To heed the call of the prophet is to heed the word of the Lord. The artist is not a mockery or a coutnerfit of the prophet, but a geniuine instinct born of the infertace between the religious instinct and human urge to create which is the living out of the Imago dei in which we were created. God is creator, humans made in God's image are creative too. When this urge to create is combined with the desire to truely seek God we have the prophet. In both cases it is the metaphorical aspect that makes criticism and truth possible. When one is trying to impose one's own view upon the world as the truth of God one is merely imposing one metaphoircal interpretation as literal truth. When one understands the metaphorical, as only artsis can, one is free to explore deeper meanings becasue one is not stuck with an incomplete eternal truth that can't be questioned.

BILL MOYERS: And we always think in this country that persecution will lose, but it doesn't always lose.


BILL MOYERS: It sometimes so changes the frame of reference that people who grew up in it, that they no longer have any sense that there's something beyond it.

SALMAN RUSHDIE: Exactly. That is the final victory, you know. That's the final victory of oppression. And I think we need to make sure that that doesn't happen, you know. And I think it's important to speak up. And I think it's very interesting that more and more and more now almost every week you see some new powerful voice being raised, you know. Whether it's Ayaan Hirsi Ali, whether it's Wafa Sultan, whoever it may be. Many of these voices are women. And I've often thought that in the Muslim world the big change may come because Muslim women reject the oppression that they've been subjected to.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Atheist defense of Zuckerman is not only lame but lying

The defense mounting by ridicule artists and character assigns (ie atheist apologists) in the comment section amount to nothing more than a bag of hot air and lot of self deception. The first "major" issue was that I said Zuckerman is claiming "atheist nations" but he actually says "secular." In the original version of the study (not the book, the first study--which I can't find on the net anymore) I believe it did say atheist nation. Even if it didn't how utterly stupid to contend that my argumetns all invalidated because of a label that' is not even sufficiently different from the actual article to mean anything.

Atheist play this kind of knit picking bs word game all the time. There is no significant difference. Nor is there a significant difference in saying that society without God is more content (which is just what the Z man does say in the subtitle of his book) or saying that people can be moral without God.Both are imbecilic claims and are far from bring proved; but they not all that different if you understand Christian assumptions.

The truth of it is my arguments against Sucker, man are devastating. If not why are thes little atheist yappers spending so much time trying to yap at my heals? there are several other issues they did not touch:

(1) you don't answer the adherent' pate that says his data can't be used to assertain the percentages of atheists.
(2) you don't say anyting to refute the argument that the religious traditon laid down the values. you have left that compeltely untouched.

(3) you have done absoltuely noting to tranlate the stats of socail wefare into any kind of solid basis for "conentent" or "happiness" or even moreality.

(4) your assertions that lack of certain kinds of crime equal morality is the just the kind laughable little sixth grade analysis I would expect from an atheist moron.

(5) you don't undersatnd the place of religoius riturals in a socity,

you assert your opinon rather than offering evdience and completely ignore the evidence I site pretending it's not there.

(6) It' a well known fact that the Japanese are very intent upon staying connected to their tradistons and they see the festibals as a crucial way to do that.
(7) you also totally ignore the evidence on the new religions of Japan

(8) totally ignore the evidence the growing sense of a need for religious feelings in Sweden,and the evidence specifically sites Pentecostalism as growing.

(9) totally ignored the evdience from the anthology on social reform in Europe which says that there is a new ground breaking understanding of European history that include religious background to the values laid down.

I don't believe the atehist detractors even understand the argument about the background values handed down from religous society that built the social welfare state. Be that as it may the bottom line is you can do a lot with a good welfare state. If I had my way, I'm a social democrat Sweden is my model, I would have a Swedish style welfare state with nationalized medicine and the lot. That is still not going to touch people's deepest needs. that is only material it doesn't effect the spirit.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

O, Atheism is not a Hate group! O yeAAAAa....

Evangelical Lutheran Church in Denmark. December 2005

The Danish Broadcasting Corporation, DR, may have to face legal proceedings in connection with a TV-documentary on a heavy-metal rock band with the musicians playing on the background of satanic symbols and the red inscription ’Kill the Christians!’ The setting also shows the band proposing a toast on occasion of the pope’s death. In spite of protests from the Catholic bishop and from the organisation ’Church and Media’ the director general of DR, Kenneth Plummer, insisted on broadcasting the programme.

The case is seen as an example among the growing number of confrontations between believers and the active non-believers. Religion in general and Christianity has become more and more visible in the present society, and the reaction from non-believers is intensified, understandably when religious intolerance dominates the debate.

WSLS news Roanoke, va

Text size: small | medium | large

By Lindsey Ward

Published: June 2, 2008

A video image released by the computer game’s creator showing an injured man may not appear to be graphic, but you may change your mind once you know who it is. It’s the Islamic prophet Muhammad.

The new game, not yet released, is giving a voice to the atheist community, that’s according to the game’s creator, a University of Virginia graduate student. He wouldn’t release his name, for fear of his safety.

“Atheists have never really had anything to speak for them like this. It’s the general atheist premise that the world might be a better place without some of those religions,” explained the creator of the game.

The object of the game is to stop the spread of Christianity and Islam by murdering Abraham and the authors of the Bible, before beheading Muhammad.

“This really just mirrors, you know, a lot of violence that we see,” explained the creator.

Barkley Thompson is a Reverend at Saint John’s Episcopal Church in downtown Roanoke. After hearing about the game and seeing its images he says it’s a sign of the times.

“I think that the images speak of a culture that as become obsessed with violence, I think that it is true in all demographics, but it seems to me particularly true of younger age groups,” said Thompson.

However, the game’s creator argues the game is not just violent and it has a message to young players, helping them imagine a time when the world’s two largest religions were new and less organized.

“It’s the idea of being able to go back in time and sort of nipping the problem in the bud,” said the game’s creator.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Criticism of Zuckerman: History of Social Progress in Sweden

part 4 of Zuckerman

Theologian Harvy Cox and his 1964 work
The Secular City

It's pretty obvious that Zuckerman argues that the society absent of religion is a better society (more progressive, better educated, more socially conscious concerning its needy) than are societies in which people are religious. We can knit pick over weather he used the phrase "atheist nation" or not, but the fact of the matter is the subtitle of his books is "what the least religious states tell us about contentment." (see his new book Society Without God: What the least religous states can tell us about contentment. That makes it pretty what he is arguing. But my argument, my major argument is basically that this is clearly wrong since none of the states he talks about God the way they are by being without God. Most of them had and still have strong religious populations, the European states emerge out of a context of Christianized society. Many people feel that Sweden is the least religious state. This is actually false, the part of the German republic that was the East German side has the most hard core atheists. That is according to the study on Religious Demand that I link to in part 2. Nevertheless,Sweden is a good test case. Let us examine the situation with Sweden.

We find that the Swedes were Vikings prior to the middle ages. They were pagan, they swooped down upon the brits and killed and took what they had. They were bloodthirsty barbarians. Well actually, that's the myth of the Viking. the truth of it is I've seen historians who now say there weren't that many raids, most Swedes were farmers, not vikings. The Viks didn't do that much, other than play football. Be that as it may, they were Christianized in the middle ages and by the reformation they settled into a state church centered around the Lutheran faith. What rading and so forth that did go on as abandoned when the Christianization came along. But out of the Lutheran inspired culture they raised up a modern society and through Christianity taught the core values that became the modern Swedish welfare state. It is true that the formal Church did not have much to do with building the welfare state, which mostly came about after world war II. But the core values planed in the culture by Christianity culminated in the cultural background that made the state possible.

A Political and Social History of Modern Eruope by Carlton

Three Scandinavian countries, Sweden, Denmark, Norway were officially tied to the Lutheran Church. "Popular education was fostered under ecclesiastical supervision; all three people's developed native literature and a lively sense of nationalism. In all three social and Political democracy made steady progress. McMillian 1916

Religion has always played a role in Swedish culture. What Zuckerman pretends is not there, and what he hides in the data, the role played by religion in planting the core values that build the welfare state. He hides this by refusing to draw the distinction between Church attendance and real actual belief. Though attendence is low the role of religion in Swedish society is old, historical, complex and important:

Welfare and Values in Europe:Transitions Related to Religion, Minorities and Gender;

Overview of the national situation

Ninna Edgardh Beckman

Page 1
Welfare and Values in Europe:
Transitions related to Religion, Minorities and Gender
Overview of the national situation
by Ninna Edgardh Beckman
Page 2
Based on its very low figures of religious attendance and traditional religious faith,
Sweden has a reputation of being one of the most secularised countries in the world. True as
this might be, what the image conceals is the strong and complicated role that religion still
plays in Sweden, not least through history and culture. The modern history of Sweden has its
foundation in national homogeneity, grounded in the principle of one people and one faith.
This principle is closely connected to the Lutheran majority church, to which nearly 80% of
the Swedish population still belongs, even though formally state and church were separated in
2000. The recent presence of other world religions and official policies tending towards
multiculturalism adds new religious aspects to Swedish culture. Religion thus continues to
play an interesting role in Sweden, behind the seemingly straightforward image of a country
on its way towards complete secularisation

The Swedish welfare state was built after the Second World War, based on the idea of
‘the home of the people’ (folkhemsidén). The basic principle of the model is that the state and
local authorities guarantee the basic needs of all citizens. This principle is based on strong
values of solidarity and shared responsibility. Decades of success for the system have since
the 1990s been replaced by growing problems with keeping up the high level of benefits and
services, a development, which is increasingly questioning also the values underpinning the
whole welfare structure. Immigration is one factor, among many, challenging the system and
immigrants have also been among those most affected by emerging new forms of poverty

Through Europe the role of religion in the rise of modern secular liberal states is coming to be re-evaluated. Many historians are finding now that religion always played a more vital role than previously thought. Here'sa quote from a new ground breaking book:

Religion, Class Coalitions, and Welfare States

Series: Cambridge Studies in Social Theory, Religion and Politics
Edited by Kees van Kersbergen
Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam
Philip Manow
Universität Konstanz, Germany

This book radically revises established knowledge in comparative welfare state studies and introduces a new perspective on how religion shaped modern social protection systems. The interplay of societal cleavage structures and electoral rules produced the different political class coalitions sustaining the three welfare regimes of the Western world. In countries with proportional electoral systems the absence or presence of state–church conflicts decided whether class remained the dominant source of coalition building or whether a political logic not exclusively based on socio-economic interests (e.g. religion) was introduced into politics, particularly social policy. The political class-coalitions in countries with majoritarian systems, on the other hand, allowed only for the residual-liberal welfare state to emerge, as in the US or the UK. This book also reconsiders the role of Protestantism. Reformed Protestantism substantially delayed and restricted modern social policy. The Lutheran state churches positively contributed to the introduction of social protection programs.

• Radical revision of established knowledge in comparative welfare state studies based on a combination of country case studies and comparative accounts • Introduces a new perspective on why and how religion shaped modern social protection systems and gives a new comparative account of the formation of different welfare state regimes • Systematic inquiry into the role of the state–church conflict for social policy in advanced industrial societies

1. Religion and the Western welfare state: the theoretical context Philip Manow and Kees van Kersbergen; 2. Western European party systems and the religious cleavage Thomas Ertman; 3. The religious foundations of work-family policies in Western Europe Kimberly J. Morgan; 4. Italy: a Christian democratic or clientist welfare state? Julia Lynch; 5. Religion and the welfare state in the Netherlands Kees van Kersbergen; 6. A conservative welfare state regime without Christian Democracy? The French Etat-providence, 1880–1960 Philip Manow and Bruno Palier; 7. Religion and the consolidation of the Swiss welfare state, 1848–1945 Herbert Obinger; 8. The church as nation? The role of religion in the development of the Swedish welfare state Karen M. Anderson; 9. The religious factor in US welfare state politics Jill Quadagno and Deanna Rohlinger; 10. Religious social doctrines and poor relief: a different causal pathway Sigrun Kahl.

(contributors include:Philip Manow, Kees van Kersbergen, Thomas Ertman, Kimberly J. Morgan, Julia Lynch, Bruno Palier, Herbert Obinger, Karen M. Anderson, Jill Quadagno, Deanna Rohlinger, Sigrun Kahl).

Modern Swedish life no longer includes church attendance as a strong element. This is the only measurement Zuckerman uses to determine the extent to which Sweden, or any country, is "secularized." But there are other measure that are more important. There is a new role emerging for religion in Northern Europe. The fact of secularization in terms of church attendance does not mean that people are not seeking spiritual reality.

The traditional relationship between swedes and the church has changed. Swedes are no longer as connected to conventional church fucntions. But this does not mean that they don't beileve. There is a new string for alternatives to convention, but the embers of belief are still smoldering.

Sweden.SE the official gateway to Sweden.

Sep 1, 2006
Are Swedes losing their religion?
by: Charlotte Celsing, freelance writer

Annika Gustafsson is a theology student whose studies have included work experience in congregations and at confirmation camps. She says that almost all of the young people she meets are open to questions relating to religious and spiritual matters, even though they may have objections to ecclesiastical matters.

The role of religion has changed

Religion has not become less important in Swedish society but it has changed color, according to a report from Åbo Academy (Finland). In the secularized Nordic area the Protestant Lutheran church has to be liberal and open to a modern interpretation of the Christian message. Otherwise the church feels too authoritarian – an attitude that most Swedes do not accept....Yet many Swedes express a longing for a spiritual dimension and a deeper meaning. Modern society has left a void that neither science nor a high material standard can fill....Those who the Church of Sweden fails to attract look for alternatives. Non-conformist churches – of which the Pentecostal Movement is the largest with around 87,000 members – is one example. Others are varieties of eastern religions, such as Buddhism or Hinduism.

Due to immigration to Sweden, Islam is now the country’s second largest religion after Christianity. A number of mosques have already been built in different parts of Sweden and more are planned.

Within Christianity the Catholic Church in Sweden is also large. Today it has a total of 80,500 registered members.

* Almost 8 out of 10 Swedes are members of the Church of Sweden - 7 million.
* Only 1 in 10 Swedes thinks religion is important in daily life.
* Around 7 out of 10 children are christened in the Church of Sweden.
* Just over 5 out of 10 weddings take place in church.
* Almost 9 out of 10 Swedes have Christian burials.
* Islam has around 130,000 adherents in Sweden (more according to Muslim sources).(Ibid)

Modern Church in Europe plays role in social services and culture

2. The second thing is that the church is seen as an emergency exit. The welfare state of Western Europe is the best attempt so far in world history to guarantee safety and security. But life is complicated. In national catastrophes, the churches get filled with people. Catastrophes happen also on a personal basis, and the church has an open backdoor: You are not left alone; you have a backup.

3. The third point is the fact that the churches are seen as embassies of solidarity and mercy. All over Europe, illegal immigrants are hidden by parishes. Anti-racism demonstrations are normally organized by parishes. The protests against reductions in childcare or hospitals and for Jubilee 2000 are signs of solidarity.

From the beginning of Christianity in Northern Europe, the church can be described as a part of the state. Church and state were the same. Probably in the year 1008, King Olof Sk^tkonung of Sweden was baptized by St. Sigfrid, Bishop of Vïxj^. Out of Christianity grew the state. Through baptism you became a Swede. The faith of the king united the nation, confirmed the royal house, and incorporated this northern part of the world into the international community under the pope of Rome.

Five hundred years later the Reformation supported the idea of a nation state. The king of Sweden - as well as the king of Denmark and the king of England - took the place of the pope. They became heads of their national churches. The Swedish king had no liturgical or confessional interests, so the clergy could marry officially but still use the medieval chasubles and hymns and keep the apostolic succession. The king needed the land owned by the monasteries, and in the church he got an obedient instrument for creating conformity in his country: one people, one faith, one king, one church. (Ibid)

In his ground breaking work The Secular City Theologian Harvy Cox Argued that secularization was a good thing. Secularization had created a neutral playing field necessary to stop the religious wars of the seventeenth century. For that very reason secularization has actually been very good religion. It was ironically secularization that allowed the proliferation of religions in America. That's because when there was no state imposed Church Tax, as in much of Europe, and not one organization or Church favored by the state, as in much of Europe and in England, everyone was free to worship as he saw fit and to start new churches, and so they did stat new ones in profusion. Secularization in itself is no threat to religion. But Zuckerman is obviously saying that Society is better off without religion. Now does that mean without church or without any kind of belief? I'm sure he would say the latter, but the only data he presents only backs the former. Yet the conclusions he draws are screwed precisely becasue without taking into account belief in all aspects he's just creating a false data base by equating low church attendance with a less religious society.

Zuckerman reduces the complexity of the development of history int he modern world from the early modern to contemporary, with its sweeping changes in economics, sociology, psychology, technology, the means of production, political theory and so forth, burying all under the rug and reducing it all to a simplistic formula about church attendance. From this kind fo superficial bs atheist mold and shape their morose of lies and propaganda to destroy civilization.

Here's a quotation I found on a blog comment section by a Dane about Zuckerman's book:

From the Square (blog)

Comment from karen Schousboe
Time November 25, 2008 at 4:24 am

To readers who were duped by zuckerman’s book it might accordingly be of interest to know, that Denmark is in no way a society without God. 82% of the Danish population are members of the Danish national Church and have a fond relationship with their local church. It is true that the church is considered a different entity and plays a different role in the local community than what is common in US. This has to do with the fact that the churches are not so much old institutions, than old buildings framing the idea of Danishness - Danes don’t talk about God directly; they talk about their family, their history, their traditions. The preferred location chosen for this “conversation” is however their local church, which means that people do not seek the church sunday mornings to celebrate God; but they take part in year-long and life-long celebrations whenever there is a special occasion in the life of our families or communities. Does this mean that “God is absent”? Not at all: it just means that we encounter God under other circumstances than the traditional American way on sunday mornings. We encounter God instead at family occasions on an average of 4 to 5 times a year. Yes, our “God” does not “live” in an American temple or church. It does not mean, however, that “God” in general is absent from the livess of Danes. It just means that the American God is absent. It also follows that the Danish church is an extremely important factor in the construction of what Zuckerman thought was a society “without God”.

It might be important to know that most academic reviews in the National papers in Denmark noted that Zuckermans book represented a classical example of an anthropologist or sociologist falling short, while being duped by the natives.

Karen Schousboe
MA, Anthropologist,

(follow up comment by someone claiming to be Zuckerman--I will put it in the comment section).

Atheist defense of Zuckerman is Lame

The basic defense of Zuckerman mounted in the comment section is among the msot lame of all arguments I've seen:

(1) Zuckerman doesn't say "atheist nation" but secular nation.

(2) I'm bad

(3) that my attack on Zuckerman is lame. why? because I'm not an atheist and I"m me.

Of course some of them don't really get what I'm saying, that one of the specific argument, of course they put it in terms negative to me I don't make sense I'm not being clear.

Lets review now, my arguments against Zuckerman amount to this:

My arguments

I. We can't draw conclusions from his data about the level of unbelief in the word, but he does not bother to distinguish between hard core actual unbelief vs non religious affiliation. That becomes important latter because it throws off all his findings. How can he establish that anything is actually "secular" or "atheist" when he doesn't bother to distinguish between true unbelief and mere lack of affiliation?

II. The data I present specifically shows that the most "secular" areas such as Japan, and northern Europe are actually not really so secular in terms of the belief level. No distinction is made between a confession state, meaning one in which the citizens must declare their belief and membership in a tradition to get anywhere, vs. just the fact of belief in some form of higher power. Atheism is northern Europe is soft for the most part,affiliated believers make up almost 50% in most countries. Actual non belief in most of these countries, people who say "I do not believe there is any sort of higher power" only make up about 20% at most.

III. Most important: The heritage of most of these N.E countries is very Christian. The social progress they enjoy is the result of that heritage. They had a good educational system as a result of being Christian.

No atheist comments come close to answering any of this. All they can do is tell me how silly I am but they can't answer the arguments.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

More IDQ from the DC crowd

Yes friends Lee Randoloph is up to his old tricks of debunking Christianity by applying the wrong model (computer based data flow business models) to a four thousand year old text written for spiritual reasons. Unconvinced by my porsts that the Bible has to be valid and fit for the niche in which was designed, or it wouldn't have lasted four thousand years, and undaunted by facts or scholarship, Randolph is back for another session of "see how close you can come to answering the argument without really doing it!"

Christians Must be Agnostic on the Debuncking Christianity BlogBy Lee Randolph at 1/19/2009

The Use Or Intent Of Information Does Not Determine Its Quality
Over at Sophies Ladder, Jeff says

"Reliability, on the other hand, I take to mean “can be dependably used” and so, obviously, reliability relates to the purposes intended."

Reliability is not an IDQ dimension, however it clearly is important. But the use of the information does not determine its quality. Poor quality data can be used to make a living with. Its called Fraud. Information can be presented in such a way as to be persuasive whether it accurately represents real world states or not.

He's arguing with someone named Jeff at "Sophies Ladder" who answered the article that I do (see the link above). Some of his responses seem that they may be also aimed at my arguments, but he does not say so.

I assume that he's making this argument because he's trying to answer my argument that his model (Information Data Quality, aka IDQ) Is wrongly applied. He thinks it's a simplistic issue of just getting some facts wrong. It's just as simple as the ancient Hebrews were idiots and got everything wrong, so the Bible is not true and that's all we need to know. IF that were the case we don't his big gimmicky IDQ thing. All we need do is show a few facts out of place. Atheists are never content to just state the obvious, or their views (whichever come first) and let it go at that. They have to treat the Bible into little pieces. That's not good enough so they have grind it into dust. That's not good enough so they have to burn the dust. Still not good enough so they have to throw the ashes into the wind. Not good enough so they have to curse the wind which carries the ashes.

The point is not that the way people mean to use the information is key to it's truth content. The point is that it's about what kind of information we should expect from it. If no one ever arrived at a transformational state by reading the bible then we could say truly the Bible is false. But that's the only case in which we can say that, because it is just not made to supply another kind of information. I fear the atheists don't understand this, and can't understand it, and that they can only think in terms factual correctness in scientific matters. Ironically the people who choose cultural relativism as their guide cannot understand cultural differences.

Blaming The Victim

Is the Bible reliable – not as a history or science book – but as a conveyor of information regarding the transcendental, spiritual realm? How can one ever know? There is nothing to compare it to, nothing to triangulate (aka cross-check) it with. That is really the point of all my IDQ articles.

This is clearly a counter to my articleon the cadre blog taking him to task for his gimmicky approach. How can one ever know? The answer to this is clear: we aren't meant to know in the way he wants to know. He will only value factual scientific knowledge as knowledge. He will only value as knowledge that which is verifiable. This is not about verification and it's not about facts. Its' about the things atheists fear the most: the "subjective!" the dreaded subjective.

We can only have something to compare it to by experiencing the presence of God because that's that's what we compare to.

Using the information in the Bible, the Christian remains agnostic about God whether they realize it or not. For example Jeff brings up Jesus' encounter with Nicodemus.

Yes, if the only form of knowledge you recognize is science and verifiable things then that's true. But to use (those of us who actually know God in a personal relationship) that is not the only valid from of knowledge. Therefore we can know. We know the way the Bible tells us we know: "he who loves knows God." (1 John 1). We know in the heart, we know in the spirit. I don't expect these DC guys to do anything but that laugh at that. I understand why they must, better than do. I was an atheist and Played that little of run form God.

“How can an old man go back into his mother’s womb and be born again?” he asks. Jesus chastises him for not knowing any better than to be so literal. “You’re a master of Israel and you don’t know these things?”

This is completely ambiguous and, additionally, lacks nurturing. Can anyone be blamed if they don't understand something that is presented ambiguously?

Yes of course they can. that's the whole point of presenting it. why would Jesus say "you are teacher of Israel you should know this?" Because it's something he should know. It had a place in their culture. Of course the atheist is assume we can't understand it today because he can't accept that there could be validity to the born again movement. So he just choosing wink out on the info and pretend t has to be wrong a priori. We know exactly what this means, there is nothing ambiguous about it.

Generally, teachers are held accountable if the students don't comprehend the information. In a small percentage of cases, the student has some individual difficulty that prevents them from grasping the information whether its ambiguous or not. When that is the case, the student is not chastised. In all cases, principle dictates that more attention is given to the student, until the student can comprehend the information.

Since I can't beleive Randolph is really stupid, I have to assume he's being deliberately obtuse. How puerile to try and make it seem as though Jesus is to blame for Nicodemus' refusal to recognize the obvious. For Nic what Jesus was saying was obvious, that is clearly the reason for Jesus' statements. He's just basically saying "you don't accept this because it steps on your party line but you know I'm right." Nicodemus knew exactly what was going on.

From the text it doesn't seem likely that Nicodemus was being deliberately difficult,

To the contrary my friend, it could not be more clear. Why would anyone say "you are suppossed to be X (the big expert) and you don't know this? The time when you say that is when you either have a very clever idea and you want to underscore how superior you are, or when the other guys sees what you are saying but avoids the obvious because he can't handle it. It is sufficiently obvious that he's speaking spiritually and not in terms of re entering the mother's womb (which is clearly a stupid thing to say--obviously being factious)such that the other alternative is the obvious one to pick--what he was saying was clear and Nic was just avoiding the inevitable.

it seems that the material was exceptionally difficult for Nicodemus, and, as we can see, it is of poor quality because it demonstrates the IDQ flaws of Incomplete Representation and Ambiguous Representation. Simply stated, Jesus did not explain himself clearly.

they weren't talking brain surgery. He said "you must be born again" the other guy says "do I have to really go back and be in my mother's womb again." Is that really so very complex? No, I don't think so. Not when the Jews had concepts that pertained to being born again. That was the idea of baptism. One was symbolically buried in the grave (of water) and rose up from it to a new life, born again! Its' really not brain surgery.

Simply stated Nicodemus is being blamed for not understanding.

He's being blamed for avoiding the obvious.

Is the material impossible to convey in words? Considering how common the phrase "Born Again" is, when clearly explained, it can be "understood" by some. But Jeff says

In the case of the Bible, it is likely that it’s not possible to speak plainly, given the subject matter.

Not 2000 years latter, in another culture, with another language. That doesn't in any way mean they could no understand plainly back then. That was their turf. they were fit for their own culture.

If God Engineered Us, And If We Don't Get It, It's Not Our Fault

Typical atheist bulllshit. you spend your whole lives running from God and telling yourselves how justified you are for your hatred of God and refusal to open your eyes to the truth, throw elaborate justifications about how it's not your fault, it's God's fault you sin. All you have to do si approach god and say "Ok hey I want truth." No big deal but you just spend your whole lives working to convince yourselves that you are not to blame.

Yonder stands a man in this lonely crowd,
A man who swears he's not to blame.
All day long I hear him shouting so loud,
He's crying out that he was framed.

Any day now, any way now,
I shall be released

(Any Day now, Bob Dylan)

Alright, I'll stipulate that "it is not possible to speak plainly given the subject matter" for the sake of argument and I'll point out that if the material necessary to be comprehended to obtain salvation is too complicated for our minds, then, since God supposedly engineered us, he is solely responsible. But he has another option. Being all powerful and the creator of all things gives him the option of implanting the knowledge directly in the brain. There's no excuse for the material to be unobtainable, incomprehensible unless it was of poor quality.

That wasn't what I argued (assuming he's answering my criticism). I argued not that salvation is too complex to understand what he's saying, but that the text is deeply embedded in a foreign culture to understand its ambiguities and shot comings.That does not mean that this passage is one of them and clearly it is not. Now maybe if we didn't have the Dead Sea scrolls it might be, but given what we know now about their culture its' pretty easy to understand what "born again" means.

Getting Burned is All You Need To Know About Fire
At this point Jeff tries to build the case that

OK so he's arguing against Jeff. But my arguments were along the same lines.

There is something very small about a concept if it can be contained in words alone.

additionally he goes off down a slippery slope. He asks

Why do we shout for joy or turn to music to express ourselves, if words alone can suffice?

but he seems to ignore the fact that plenty of understanding goes on without shouting for joy or turning to music. The theory of General Relativity and String Theory can be explained in words alone, it takes a long time, and a lot of words, but it can be done. I know because I understand them and can explain them. I can also explain how schizophrenia is produced by a genetic mutation, and how human behavior is affected by that. I can also explain the History of the concept of the Soul starting with Orpheus. In my opinion someone who says that a thing is indescribable doesn't understand it well enough to talk about it.

AT this point Randolph is simply resorted to nonsquitters. This is the sort of thing atheists do in argument that leads me to say they can't follow an argument. This is merely irrelevant info that's put it in to mislead. The fact is we are dealing with one type of information not all information. He's trying to reduce all forms of knowledge to it's scientific complements instead of dealing with the kind of knowledge implied.

The respondent to whom the argument is addressed apparently feels that aspects of Biblical truth transcend scientific and factual knowledge. But Lee irrelevantly inserts the information that not all knowledge is beyond the factual level, as though saying this somehow means the text is not dealing with that after all.

Remember I said is not what is done with the information, but what kind of kniwkedge of information is expected?

Data Abstraction
Jeff goes on to reference John 21:25 where Jesus says that the world cannot contain the books necessary to express the Logos. That's fine, but using data abstraction, I don't need to know how fire works or how my computer works, or how the elements in my steak marinade combine for me to benefit from them. Likewise I didn't need to know how the Logos worked for more than thirty five years as a Christian to appreciate it. When I realized that the Jihadists were right when they said that it looked like their prayers were answered and Allah guided those planes into the towers and that, to me, it looked like God was ignoring the prayers of those people jumping out of the towers I decided to stop using a double standard for my religion. I started to "cross-check" Christianity.

Typical atheist red herring. You can't answer an arguement so bring in some other argument you feel confident of answering and inset it as though ti's some all important show stopper: well why God allow pain>"

so the discusion looks like this.

Atheist: the Bible is crap because A b c

believer: no its' not because x, y, z.

atheist: o yea, well God allows pain and pain is so God is bad.

show stopper, ta Da!

The all purpose hand dandy red herring that has nothing to do with the issue but allows the atheist to vent and reminds his audience ("O yea, I remember now, I really hate these Christian guys").

Circular Reasoning And Shooting Yourself In The Foot
Jeff's reasoning is circular. There is nothing to Triangulate his data except with such things as the Bible, his personal experience, the personal experience of other Christians, the personal experience of non-christians and Science. Unfortunately the more data we accumulate to triangulate with, the weaker Jeffs case gets. While Jeff continues to minimize the importance of the text of the Bible and emphasize the importance of the inner dwelling of the Spirit, he keeps using Biblical texts to support his case. The problem is that he is weakening his own case by minimizing the information in the Bible.

I showed Lee that his argument is circular, see the link above.

Christians Must Be Agnostic About The Things They Do Not Agree On
Unless Christianity can value each others information equally, they must remain agnostic on the topics they do not agree on. The topics they do not agree on get to the fundamental tenets of Christianity. Since that is the case, Christians must necessarily be agnostic about a large percentage of the things they think they know. They must be Agnostic.

Of course this only seems that way to someone who refuses to accept Christian categories. You only value atheist thought categories so you just reflect upon the failure of Christians to think like atheists and to settles it, they are very stupid.

But its' only because you don't recognize the things that matter to them.

Christianity is a disorganized mess and it has all the symptoms of an organization that needs their data cleaned up using the principles of IDQ.

translation: they don't think like I do. boo them. boo boo boo.

Christians are real failures as atheists.

But I think that would be its undoing, and I think that Christians know that intuitively, and that the biological algorithms for comfort and self-preservation kick in to preclude them from committing to the inference from the Data.

With help from John, Prup, and an Ed Babinski article, here are a list of some disputed topics within Christianity.
And following that, I listed the staggering number of Christian Denominations.

this is as childish and irrelivant as any argument i've seen.

Look dear reader at what just transpired. He failed to answer the arguments put forth about his gimmicks, so he inserted a bait and switch, brought in red herrings and proclaims victory because no answers his read herrings (because he just brought them up).

His overall point is that the Bible fails by the stands of this modern computer business data thing, and rather than think about it according to the categories of thought under which it was written, be pretends like its' some modern business plan and it failed by that standard so he proclaims that it failed over all, and to put the icing on the cake he throws in this mess of an argument that tires to turn a fine strength like diversity into an weakness and fault. He doesn't even bother to do the request historical analysis on the development of the various sects we can understand why the proliferating, or to put them into their historical context so we can judge if they are really evidence of some weakness in the faith.

I would really love to see him try to come to come to terms with something relevant like the historical reasons for proliferation of Christian groups rather than this gimmicky red herring nonsense.

Zuckerman, part 3

Bon festival dance
Religious festival: Japan

Let's turn to an analysis of religion in Japan and we will see the dishonesty of Zuerkerman at work fist hand. He claims Japan as a "atheist" country. This is largely because like so many atheists he confuses Buddhism with atheism because some Buddhists sects don't have a clear God figure. This is partly just ignorance, although I'm sure Zuckerman should know better himsef, but when most atheists make this claim they are just being ignorant because people from the West can make easy mistakes. For example, the East has never a big deal out of labels for religion. So one can find most families in Japan are both Buddhist and Shinto. But the unwary Westerner might think this means they are neither becasue we assume their traditions would fight over members. In reality the Buddhists and Shintists have an arrange in which Buddhism handles weddings and the Shinto priests do funerals. They do not fight over membership and most Japanese are both.

While stats on Christian population have been underrated! New study finds more Christians in Japan than previous thought.

More People Claim Christian Faith in Japan


Audrey Barrick

Sun, Mar. 19 2006 10:24 AM ET

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Shinto Priest

Shinto priest:Japan

The latest Gallup poll revealed a much higher percentage of Christians in Japan compared to previous surveys, including a surprising high number of teens who claimed the Christian faith.

More People Claim Christian Faith in Japan

Japanese people walk along Omotesando, a fashionable street in Tokyo, March 8, 2006. The latest Gallup poll revealed a much higher percentage of Christians in Japan compared to previous surveys, including a surprising high number of teens who claimed the

In a country where only one percent is Christian among those who claim a faith, findings from one of the most extensive surveys of the country ever taken showed a Christian population of six percent. Meanwhile, the most popular and traditional religions – Buddhism and Shintoism – suffered declines.

Of the 30 percent of adults who claimed to have a religion, 75 percent considered themselves Buddhists, 19 percent Shintoists and 12 percent Christians, according to the Gallup Organization. Japanese youth revealed even more alarming statistics. Of the 20 percent who professed to have a religion, 60 percent called themselves Buddhists, 36 percent Christians and Shintoists.

"These projections mean that seven percent of the total teenage population say they are Christians," said George Gallup Jr. who called the numbers "stunning."

The study - the single largest study ever attempted, according to the social scientists in Japan - examined preteens, teens, young adults, adults and seniors.

"When they saw the design of the questionnaire, Japanese experts argued that the Japanese would never answer the socially delicate and/or the highly personal questions," said Bill McKay, project research director. "However, it was our professional hunch that the Japanese were ready to talk and when they did they told us more than we had asked for. The data is the most revealing look behind the face of Japan and shatters many WWII myths of the Japanese culture."

McKay is also one of the producers of a documentary that is slated for release later this year. The poll was conducted in association with American Trademark Research and MJM Group in 2001 for use in the documentary.

"In my 50 years of polling, there has been no study that I would consider as important as this one, because it provides insight into a fascinating culture," said Gallup.

Delving into more specific attitudes, the poll also found a note of hopelessness in the responses to questions related to morality, spirituality and general views about life.

"And there is little evidence of eternal hope, although a considerable number do believe in some form of life afterlife," noted Gallup. And "there is little belief in 'absolutes,' and this is true across the all-generational groups."

In comparison to teens in the United States, Japanese teens showed a pessimistic outlook on life. Previous studies found that 85 percent of teens in Japan wondered why they existed while 22 percent of U.S. teens had the same thought. Additionally, 13 percent of Japanese teens always see a reason for their being on Earth compared to 76 percent of teens in the U.S, and 11 percent of Japanese teens wished they had never been born while 3 percent of U.S. teens wished the same.

Within an estimated population of 127.4 million in Japan, academics estimate that 20 to 30 percent of adults actively practice a particular faith, but the Agency for Cultural Affairs reported in 2003 that 213,826,700 citizens claimed a religion, according to the U.S. Department of State's latest International Religious Freedom Report.

Traditions Japanese religions still strong.

from Buddhism Today

March, 5, 2000

"Buddhims in Modern Japan"


Bhikkhu Prayudh Payutto

"Statistically, with a Buddhist population of approximately 75 million, or about 85 percent of the whole population, and with about 80,000 Buddhist temples attended by 200,000 priests, Japan is rightly called a Buddhist country."

New Religions spring up in Japan

"There has grown a deepened religious concern through works of Buddhist scholars devoted to the reinterpretation of Buddhist ideas. There have been increased Buddhist social and political roles through lay people taking a more active part in Buddhist organizations. With the coming of the new-born sects, there has been a reawakening to the Buddhist social ideal to make up for the faded social ethics of the old traditional sects, and a starting on a new course of the development of political power. So far, the energies of the Japanese Buddhists have been directed "not so much to the revival of the Buddhist culture as to the attempt to preserve and consolidate it amidst the essentially alien and hostile environment of modern" life.(Ibid. sitingP.V. Bapat (ed). 2500 years of Buddhism. (Publications Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Govt. of India, 1971), p. 401.)

Japan is not an atheist nation, it's a religious nation. 80% of their population are part of the faith known as "Buddhism."

Japanese still keep traditional religious festivals

Folk Beliefs In Modern Japan

a book: Originally published in 1994 by the Institute for Japanese Culture and Classics, Kokugakuin University.

"Annual Events and The Transformation of Japanese Life"

Professor Ishii, Kenji (Kokugakuin University)

On the other hand, a number of more traditional Japanese festivals continue to be observed faithfully, including the first pilgrimage at New Year's[Glossary: oshogatsu][Glossary: hatsumode], the summer "All Saint's" festival of O-bon[Glossary: bon_matsuri], and the semi-annual visits to family tombs during the equinoctial weeks. But while public-opinion surveys dealing with Japanese attitudes toward religion confirm a continuing high level of participation in these annual events, it is also true that the Japanese style of life has undergone great changes in the postwar period, particularly since the period of high economic growth which began in the 1960s. And that fact hints that even when we see the same festivals of New Year's and O-bon being observed today, the way they are now observed has also changed substantially, relative to the way those same festivals were observed by our parents and grandparents. As a result, in this article, I want to undertake an analysis of the holiday calendar as observed in modern urban Japan, and use that data--limited though it may be--as a vehicle for an objective consideration of the changes and current status of Japanese religious life.

The test of this book is online

"Beginning with the first study, "Survey of Urban Life," fifty percent or more of respondents indicated their participation in the following seven events (listed in descending order of observance): Year-end housecleaning; eating buckwheat noodles on New Year's eve; celebrating setsubun (scattering good-luck beans on the last day of the lunar year); equinoctial visits to family tombs; New Year's pilgrimages; displaying pine and bamboo New Year's gate decorations; and the seasonal airing and storing of clothes."

"In the second study, "Survey of Ward Residents' Attitudes toward Culture," events drawing the participation of fifty percent or more of respondents included New Year's pilgrimages, birthday celebrations, Christmas, and setsubun. In the third survey, "Survey on Home Life," the corresponding events included family gatherings at holidays like New Year's and O-bon, visits to family tombs on equinox or on anniversary of death, celebrations of children's birthdays, and family celebrations of holidays like Christmas and Children's Day.17 "(Ibid)

This poll has reference to a long list of holidays and festivals equalling about 40 events on the calender, of which 50% of the overall population take part in most of them. This is a lot more religious participation than one finds in America.

Religious festivals still held and strongly attended:

I. Survey of Urban Life (Tokyo Metropolitan Government, Bureau of Citizens' Affairs, December 1979)14

(Unit: %)

1. New Year's pilgrimage to shrine or temple: 65.3
2. Display New Year's bamboo and pine gate decorations, or display New Year's offerings: 51.8
3. Scatter good-luck beans[Glossary: mamemaki] on the last day of the lunar year (setsubun[Glossary: setsubun], February 2-3): 67.4
4. Make equinoctial visits to family tombs, offer ohagi or botamochi (traditional rice cake sweets): 66.3
5. Display dolls on Doll's Festival[Glossary: hina_matsuri] (March 3), or display carp streamers on Children's Day (May 5): 46.7
6. Spring flower-viewing excursions: 35.2
7. Take iris-leaf bath (May 5): 33.0
8. Air out and store seasonal clothes in summer: 50.2
9. Display Tanabata (Star Festival) decorations (July 7 or August 7): 24.6
10. Eat seasonal foods (early mackeral, summer eels, fall mushrooms, etc.): 45.2
11. Make temple/shrine visits on the first day of the horse[Glossary: hatsuuma], the day of the cock[Glossary: tori_no_ichi], or feast days to the deity Fudô Myôô, etc.: 20.3
12. Eat rice with red beans on celebratory occasions: 43.2
13. Display the Japanese flag on holidays: 10.1
14. Display pampas grass decorations and eat sweet rice dumplings on August 15 (harvest moon): 20.1
15. Observe major housecleaning at year-end: 84.7
16. Eat buckwheat noodles on New Year's eve: 83.8
17. Observe none of the above: 0.9
18. Don't know: 0.3

II. Kita-Ward Survey of Residents' Attitudes toward Culture (Tokyo-to, Kita-ku, October, 1988)15

(Unit: %)

1. New Year's pilgrimages: 70.2
2. Eat rice gruel with seven herbs (nanakusa gayu: January 7): 21.9
3. Observe setsubun by scattering good-luck beans: 57.6
4. Doll's Festival (March 3): 38.9
5. Spring flower viewing: 37.2
6. First day of the horse: 26.6
7. Tanabata: 17.3
8. Fifteenth night [harvest moon]: 14.0
9. Christmas: 59.8
10. Family birthday celebrations: 68.3
11. Other: 5.0
12. None of the above: 7.1
13. Total (M): 423.9

III. Survey on Home Life (Tokyo Metropolitan Government, Office of Information, February, 1989)16

(Unit: %)

1. Celebrate children's birthdays: 59.9
2. Celebrate parents' or grandparents' birthdays: 37.2
3. Celebrate wedding anniversaries: 28.8
4. Family celebration of holidays like Christmas and Children's Day: 56.0
5. Home party on celebratory occasions (school entrance, graduation, first employment, etc.): 44.9
6. Home party with friends: 16.8
7. Visits to family tombs on equinox, or on anniversaries of death: 61.9
8. Family gatherings at holidays like New Year's and O-bon: 62.4
9. Other: 3.2
10. No response: 2.9
11. Total (M): 374.0

Beginning with the first study, "Survey of Urban Life," fifty percent or more of respondents indicated their participation in the following seven events (listed in descending order of observance): Year-end housecleaning; eating buckwheat noodles on New Year's eve; celebrating setsubun (scattering good-luck beans on the last day of the lunar year); equinoctial visits to family tombs; New Year's pilgrimages; displaying pine and bamboo New Year's gate decorations; and the seasonal airing and storing of clothes.

In the second study, "Survey of Ward Residents' Attitudes toward Culture," events drawing the participation of fifty percent or more of respondents included New Year's pilgrimages, birthday celebrations, Christmas, and setsubun. In the third survey, "Survey on Home Life," the corresponding events included family gatherings at holidays like New Year's and O-bon, visits to family tombs on equinox or on anniversary of death, celebrations of children's birthdays, and family celebrations of holidays like Christmas and Children's Day.17

The times, subjects, purposes, methods, and questions of the three surveys all differ, making it difficult to attempt any simple comparison of their results, but it nonetheless remains possible to point out several common characteristics. First, all three surveys display high rates of participation in events surrounding the New Year's holidays, including the traditional year-end housecleaning, eating year-end buckwheat noodles, displaying gate decorations of pine and bamboo, and making New Year's pilgrimages to shrines and temples. When Christmas is considered as falling within the category of year-end observances, the results indicate that the interest in observances around the period of year-end and New Year remains extremely high.

Second, outside the annual events associated with the year-end and New Year's holidays, a high level of participation is also evidenced for the celebrations of O-Bon and the equinoctial festivals associated with ancestral memorials. Third, a high rate of participation is also seen in the celebration of setsubun and birthdays. Since the observance of birthdays obviously differs depending on the date of birth, it falls outside the ethnological category of "annual events," but it is nonetheless observed at a very high rate.

Next, let me present some differing survey results as a comparison to the data from the aforementioned surveys. In December of 1990, I conducted a survey designed to reveal what annual events are currently observed by young people, and with whom they observe them (Table 1). I conducted the survey at two universities, one a church-affiliated women's college in Tokyo, and the other at the private university at which I am personally employed. The survey resulted in 225 replies.18

Of the annual events listed in the table, those observed by fifty percent or more of respondents include the following eight, in descending order of observance: New Year's (93.8%), Christmas (82.2%), O-Bon (73.7%), Mother's Day (70.2%), Setsubun (57.3%), Valentine's Day (56.9%), ÔharaeVI (53.8%), and the Spring equinox (53.3%).

The results of my survey confirm the high level of observance of the year-end and New Year's holidays, and of memorial rites to ancestors. Other observances showing a high level of observance in this survey include Mother's Day and Valentine's Day, both of which can be considered events observed primarily by young people.19

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Don't be a sucker, man part 2

Zuckerman and Paul both trade on the idea of "athiest coutnries." they use countries in which chruch affilation is weak and define those as "atheist." There is no such ting as an "atheist country." The only atheist countries that ever existed were the USSR adn its satellites and Commuist China. China is moving toward religious freedom. USSR no longer exits, and the new Russian and it's neighbors are now countries in which freedom of reilgion is practiced.

Europe and Japan are not nearly as weak on belief in God as they are on affiliation with Christian churches. They are not atheist countries.

A study or literary search by Greely and Jagodzinski demonstrate this ponit:

The Demand for Religion:

Hard Core Atheism and "Supply Side" Theory

Wolfgang Jagodzinski

University of Cologne

Andrew Greeley

University of Chicago

University of Arizona

The title "dmeand for religion" does not refur to the idea that religion is in big demand in those coutnires but it's an analysis of the "supply side" theory of religious origins that has become poular among anthropologists.

Nevertheless in the process of critqiue the authors prove that there is much moer demand in most countries than Zuckerman would have us believe.

In this essay we mainly address ourselves to those variants of Secularization theories which predict a general decline in the demand for religion or at least in the demand for large transcendental systems. If this demand does not decline in the more advanced societies and if it correlates neither with age nor education nor time the core assumptions of Secularization theories are disconfirmed. Since Communism may have accelerated this process of secularization we will pay particular attention to the development in former socialist countries. If the demand for religion should be high in all these societies this clearly would support the new economic approach.

Opponents (Blau, Land, and Redding 1992, Breault 1989; Bruce 1992; Demerath 1996; Land and Blau 1991) of the economic model of religion have been quick to respond. They have taken issue with some of the individual studies the "supply siders" have reported and also (Demerath 1996) have ridiculed the notion that religion can be the subject of "rational choice." The basic thrust of the criticism, however, implicit it might be, is doubt that there is no relatively consistent demand for religious "compensation..."

In this essay we address ourselves first to the question of that group in which a demand for religious services must be presumed to be non-existent – "hard core" atheists, those who are convinced both that God does not exist and that there is no possibility of life after death. If the proportion of populations in different countries which fall into this category are relatively small and if they correlate neither with age nor education nor time, then the "Supply Side" theory cannot be rejected: the proportion of the population which might have a latent demand for religion may still be substantial, even in supposedly secularized countries.

Then we turn to Norway, one of the allegedly "secularized" countries to determine whether it might be a religious market place that has been neglected by a "lazy monopoly." Next we consider data from Ireland to determine whether the open religious marketplace of Northern Ireland has produced a more "zealous" manifestation of Catholicism than that which can be found in the South where Catholicism has a de facto if not de jure monopoly; finally we ask whether Socialism in East Germany has been able to reduce the demand for religion, something which the supply side theory would implicitly think unlikely.

The authors used a questioniare asking respondents about thier beleifs to assertain weather they were "hard core, soft core" atheists, believers, involved in reilgion.

Their measure of "hard" and "soft" core atheisms includes:

Hard = convenced there is no God

soft type 1 = probably not a God but may be aferlife and spiruitality

soft type 2 = Agnostics; may or may not be a God, don't know.

Northern Europe not hard core atheist.

1. The proportion of Hard Core atheists is relatively small in all the countries except East Germany (42.7%)

2. The proportion is above 10% only in former socialist countries (12.4% in Russia, 13.9% in Slovenia, and 11.3% in Hungary) and in the Netherlands (11.4%) and in Israel (12.1%).

3. In the other eleven countries, the highest rates of Hard Core atheism are in Norway (6.7%) and Britain (6.3%). Thus if latent demand for religion is excluded only from the Hard Core atheists, there is still the possibility of a large clientele for those firms which might venture into the religious market place in such supposedly "secularized" countries as Norway and Britain.

4. There are not all that many Hard Core atheists in the countries studied, nor indeed all that many soft core atheists either.

5. The "Softest Core" Atheists are less than a third of the population in every country except East Germany. They are more than a fifth of the population only in four former Socialist countries – East German Russia, Hungary and Slovenia. With the exception than of East Germany more than two thirds of the population of the countries studied are willing to admit the existence in some fashion of God and the likelihood of life after death. Devout many of them may not be but on the two central issues they are more religious than not. They then may be considered as part of the religious market place if not always enthusiastic consumers.

Furthermore in the sample as a whole, Hard Core atheism correlates only with gender (women less likely to be atheists) and not with education or age (those favorite measures of the more naïve of the "secularization theorists.") 83% of the Hard Core Atheists say they never believed in God, 61% say they never attended church services when they were eleven or twelve years old and 9% more say they only rarely attended. The choice of Hard Core atheism as a philosophy of life was apparently made at a very young age in life and is sustained through the life course.

Age correlates significantly with Hard Core atheism only in Britain (r=-.08), East Germany (r=-.18), the Netherlands (r=-.05) and Israel (r=+.08), Hungary (-.14). Education correlates significantly with Hard Core Atheism only in Hungary (r=.11), Slovenia (r=.18), and Norway (r=.10) West Germany (r=.08), Israel (r=.10). In these countries as in the whole sample, there is an inverted U curve in the relationship between age and atheism, the very young and the very old being somewhat less likely to be atheists. In the middle years of life, however, the line representing atheism is flat. Only in Slovenia and Hungary is education still a significant correlate of Hard Core Atheism in a regression equation which includes age and gender.

Note that in their findings hard core atheism is not related to education or parental influence but to socialization

Zuckrman claims that the superior educational system in northern European, made possible by atheism, also breeds more atheism as people grow up being trained to be "rational" and "scientific." But this study shows that the real reason is not realted to education at all but to socialization. While atheists might try to argue "that's what we are saying" its' really not. They are actually arguing that education is waht produces it, but socialization means they just haven't been exposed to religious thinking enough. The upshot of this is that if they were so exposed they would probably see the value in religion so it is not 'enlightened thinking' but merely custum and lack of exposure, which is exactly what the atheist say causes people to be religious. So this is significant that the very same reasons they attribute religion to are actually behind atheism.

Furthermore in the sample as a whole, Hard Core atheism correlates only with gender (women less likely to be atheists) and not with education or age (those favorite measures of the more naïve of the "secularization theorists.") 83% of the Hard Core Atheists say they never believed in God, 61% say they never attended church services when they were eleven or twelve years old and 9% more say they only rarely attended. The choice of Hard Core atheism as a philosophy of life was apparently made at a very young age in life and is sustained through the life course.

No trend toward growth of atheism

The data in Table 3 provide little evidence of short run change in atheism rates. There is no significant relationship between time and Hard Core Atheism in the EVA study. With the possible exception of East Germany and Slovenia, the findings of the second EVS and the first ISSP studies are similar enough that it can be said that they replicate one another despite the different wording of the questions,. One can conclude that there is little support for the notion that atheism increased between 1981 and 1991. There are not many Hard Core atheists in the countries studied and their numbers did not increase during the nineteen eighties.

Data from the Norwegian version of 1991 International Social Survey program study of religion (which asked more questions than the standard ISSP module) provide an opportunity to replicate the Stark and Iannaccone findings (1995)that the so called "secularized" countries of Europe were not in fact secularized. Is Norway a country in which religion is moribund or is it perhaps a potential market place for religious competition? Might there be a potential demand for religion to which industrious "firms" might respond?

45% believe in God--ony 10% firmly do not

Forty five percent of Norwegians believe in God and only 10% firmly believe that God does not exist. 60% say that life after death is certain or probable and 58% say that in some fashion Jesus is their savior (a question asked only in the Norwegian version of the ISSP). It is difficult to dismiss a country with those rates as totally "secularized," especially since there is evidence (Greeley 1995 p87 ) that Norwegian belief in life after death has not changed in the last five decades. Hence it seems appropriate to ask what the condition of the religious market place in Norway might be and whether an increase in the supply of religious firms might lead eventually to a resurgence of observable religious practice

typology of religous market shows possiblity of belief high

We devised a typology of possible Norwegian religious market places. At the low end were the Atheists and the Agnostics who either rejected God firmly or said that they did not know about God’s existence. 22% of the respondents fell into these categories, 9% in the former and 13% in the later. The next level consisted of the "Marginally" religious, those who did not attend church services but expressed some kind of belief in God. 33% of the respondents fell into this category. The fourth level – which we call "Private" was occupied by those who believed in God but did not attend church services often, a quarter of the Norwegians. Finally there was a group we call Devout which both believed in God and attended Church services regularly. This group included 20% of the respondents. Thus (Table 4) almost half of Norwegians are religious in some fashion and only a fifth are either firm atheists or agnostics.

Religious beliefs among Norwegians increases as one moves in Table 4 from the Atheists to the Devout. However a surprising proportion of those who are Atheists and Agnostics acknowledge that God is loving, believe (at least probably) an afterlife, and that in some fashion Jesus is their savior. While these two groups could hardly be considered as prime religious markets in Norway, they are not without some religious inclinations.

Those who are Marginally religious constitute a market place that might be more ready to listen to new religious entrepreneurs. Almost half of them believe in life after death, two fifths acknowledge Jesus as savior, and seven out of ten believe that God is loving. Large majorities in the "Private" market place endorse these convictions and believe in the existence of heaven.

Similar patterns exist for religious practices in Table 5. Some Atheists attend services occasionally and some engage in the ceremony of lighting a candle on the grave. More than 2/5 contribute money to church organizations which in Norway is more of a civic than a religious practice. The Agnostics have certainly not cut themselves off completely from religion. 43% attend church services at least some times and 37% light a candle for the dead. The majority of the Marginals (58%) attend church services and light a candle for the dead (62%) and 21% of them have said prayers with a child at bed time. Thirty percent of the Private group pray at least once a week, 77% attend church services regularly and 30% have prayed with a child at night. In the Private and Devout groups the custom of lighting a candle for the dead is reported less frequently than in the Marginal group, perhaps because it is considered a folk custom.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Bogus Attempts at Atheist Social Sciences: The Zuckerman So called "Study."

Or Don't be a Sucker, man...

Phip Zuckerman

This will be a multiple part theme, and the Zuckerman connection I'll devide into at least two posts. Over the last few years many amateur sociologists from the atheist camp have tried to produce would be social science studies to demonstrate their ideological contention that atheism is the product of rational thought and religion is the product of superstition and stupidity.

One of the major contributors is a sociologist named Zuckerman. The "study" he contributes is badly done and makes a lost of bad assumptions,it is not well thought of in the academy, but atheists on the net cling to it as though it proves all.

I've seen over half a dozen attempts to do sociological studies that supposedly prove that religion is bad for society. The two major one's are Zuckerman and Paul. These two studies are linked as Zuckerman acknowledges Paul's "study" as foundational for his own.

The edge foundation describes Zuckerman's study this way:

A sociologist at Pitzer, Phil Zuckerman is the author of Invitation to the Sociology of Religion, Du Bois on Religion, Sex and Religion, and Society Without God. His Atheism: Contemporary Rates and Patterns in The Cambridge Companion to Atheism (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2006) verifies the inability of popular religiosity to thrive in modern, egalitarian democracies.
But this is nothing more than a like and Zuckerman's superficial data confrims nothing of the sort.

Zukerman is a Skeptical Enquirer article that someone has tired to use against me and my religious experience studies, but it didn't apply. This trend is making me very angry because it has spawned many of the lies and half truths that are fueling the new Atheism. I see these links to these articles popping up all the time. They make me especially angry because

(1) I was a sociology major, that was my BA. So I do know something about social science research methods.

(2) I was publisher of an academic journal geared to social criticism and a political activist in the CISPES for many years. (committee in Solidarity with People of El Salvador) and a Marxist. So social criticism has been a major part of my life. Seeing that used to lie about Christ and give false information and stupid half truths that hood wink people into disbelief makes my blood boil.

These so called "studies" all make the same basic mistakes. They all feed off each other and footnote each other so they are just making the same one's over and over and creating a self referential kabal of atheist assumptions.

(1) they trade on ignorance and cultural illiteracy

(2) argument from sign

(3) shallow analysis designed to mine the data and bury any deep analysis that would divert blame from religious blame and create a false association.

(4) the false association is that high religious belief is correlated with poverty, illiteracy, low education level, violence.

(5) counter studies vastly outweigh

*2000 studies

this is all totally at odds with the findings of real social sciences. Dr. Larsen did a literature search of social science abstracts in the 90's and found that there were 2000 articles, these are in social science journals, real academics who find religion as a positive force in people's lives and in society.

* Cities on a Hill foundation found 300 studies that show religion good for society, contradicting the very things these atheist studies are talking about.

* wurthnow's study of Religious experince found that RE people are better educated, more socially conscious, more sensative to the needs of others, less violent, less depressed, more outgoing, more able to help others.

(6) these are not real studies, Zuckerman and Paul that is.. They are nothing more than people totally up the countries they think are less religious, based upon mainly sterio types but also church attendance, then showing that their education level is higher or their poverty level or violence level lower than deeply religious American south.

What is so monstrously stupid about this is they don't screen out factors like the long history of poverty in a region, or the higher level of education Europe as a hold over form the Christian era in Europe vs the frontier time in America.

they don't consider factors such as America's frontier heritage, only one hundred years or so hence (Arizona, New Mexico, West Texas). Europe was a frontier a thousand years ago. Even then it was mostly civilized, it was really a Frontier in places like France and Germany closer to 2000 years ago. For most of that time education was the work of Christians and Europe was well educated relatively speaking.

Europe was well Christianized and devout less than one hundred years ago, and in that time it was well understood that education was a must. It is so deceptive for these people to try and give credit for the social welfare state and all it has accomplished to atheism when it was basically Christian thinkers who built the welfare state. The first peasant revolts in Italy and Germany were Christian inspired.

All major gains of education in America an Europe were the result of labor battle and unionists who fought for public education, and the Catholic church (mostly in Europe). these unionists were led to a large degree by Christians and Christian women such as Pheobie Palmer and the abolition/sufferage movement who also influenced the drive for public education.

Focus on Zuckerman's data:

Demonstrates that Zuckerman's data cannot be used to make the sort of inferences atheists make in claiming huge percentages (20%) for atheist world population, or even the counties Zuckerman claims. Just to take lists of memberships and affiliations for countries doesn't distinguish enough between differences such as actual belief in God vs organizational membership.

Pitzer College sociologist Phil Zuckerman compiled country-by-country survey, polling and census numbers relating to atheism, agnosticism, disbelief in God and people who state they are non-religious or have no religious preference. These data were published in the chapter titled "Atheism: Contemporary Rates and Patterns" in The Cambridge Companion to Atheism, ed. by Michael Martin, Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, UK (2005). Different type of data collection methodologies using different types of questions showed a consistent pattern: In most countries only a tiny number of people (zero to a fraction of 1 percent) will answer "atheism" or "atheist" when asked an open-ended question about what their religious preference. A slightly larger number of people will answer "yes" if asked pointedly if they are an atheist. A slightly larger number than that will answer "no" when asked if they believe in any type of God, deities, or Higher Power. A slightly larger number answer "no" when asked simply if they "believe in God" (omitting wording indicating more nebulous, less anthropomorphic conceptions of divinity). Finally, a larger number of people answer "none" or "non-religious" when asked asked an open-ended question about what their religious preference is. Although figures vary for each country, average numbers indicate that roughly half of the people who self-identify as "nonreligious" also answer "yes" when asked if they believe in God or a Higher Power.

One portion of this broad grouping includes those who are best described as "nonreligious," i.e., those who are essentially passive with regards to organized religion, generally affirming neither belief nor disbelief. They may be neither contemplative about philosophy and spirituality nor involved in a religious/faith/philosophical community. Although a certain percentage of people in many countries classify themselves as nonreligious in surveys, there are few data indicating how many of these fit the passive "nonreligious" criteria described above, versus those who actually do contemplate such matters, but simply have their own personal philosophy and no stated affiliation with an organized religion.

For the purposes of this list, this grouping also includes more proactive or well-defined philosophies such as secular humanism, atheism, agnosticism, deism, pantheism, freethought, etc., most of which can be classified as religions in the sociological sense, albeit secular religions. A minority among atheists are quite fervent in their beliefs and actively endeavor to proselytize atheism.

The "Secular/Nonreligious/etc." category is probably the most speculative estimate in this list, as this segment of society is difficult to count. The vast majority in this grouping are not aligned with any kind of membership organization. Most figures come from census and survey data, which most countries conduct only infrequently.

The highest figure we have for "Nonreligious" is 20% of the world population, or about 1.2 billion: "Over 20 percent of the world's population does not claim any allegiance to a religion. Most are agnostics. Others are atheists, who deny the existence of God." (O'Brien, Joanne & Martin Palmer. The State of Religion Atlas. Simon & Schuster: New York (1993). Pg 41.) But such a high figure is difficult to support with current country-by-country statistics, and perhaps reflects Communist-era official government statistics. Most current estimates of the world number of secular/nonreligious/agnostic/atheist/etc. are between 800 and 1 billion.

Estimates for atheism alone (as a primary religious preference) range from 200 to 240 million. But these come primarily from China and former Soviet Union nations (especially Russia). Prior to Communist takeovers of these regions and government attempts to eradicate religion, both places had very high levels of affiliation with organized religions (especially Islam, Christianity, Buddhism and Taoism), as well as high levels of participation in and belief in traditional local traditions such as shamanism, ancestor ceremonies, spiritism, etc. Since the fall of Communism in former Soviet nations and the relaxation of anti-religious policies in China, observed religious affiliation and activity has increased dramatically, especially in Christianity, Buddhism, and Islam.

China probably does have the largest number of actual atheists of any country in the world and many Russians clearly remain atheists. But at this point, it is difficult to accurately determine how many of those classified as atheists or nonreligious during Communist-era USSR and by the current Chinese government are actually atheists according to their personal beliefs, and how many are unregistered religious adherents or participants in less-organized traditional systems that are oriented around ancestors, animism, shamanism, etc. Many people are unaware, for instance, that China has one of the largest, most active Christian communities in the world, and that in many former Soviet nations religions such as shamanism, Islam and Russian Orthodoxy remained even while official government reports announced the elimination of religion in these regions.

In the Western world, Europe is by far the place with the most self-avowed nonreligious, atheists and agnostics, with the nonreligious proportion of the population particularly high in Scandinavia. The Encyclopedia Britannica reports approximately 41 million atheists in Europe. The self-described nonreligious segment of society in Australia and New Zealand is also high, at around 15%. In Australia less than a tenth of one percent described themselves as atheists in the latest national census (1996). In the U.S. about 13.2% of the population describe themselves as nonreligious, 0.5% describe themselves as agnostic, and a smaller number describe themselves as atheist (Kosmin, ARIS/American Religious Identification Survey, City University of New York, 2001).

Zuckerman (2005) compiled numbers of people who don't believe in God, based primarily on polling and survey data, for every country in the world. He totaled the survey-based and poll-based estimates of non-believers from the top 50 countries with the highest proportion of people who do not believe in God, and added to this number the non-believers from highly populous countries (Mexico, Poland, Moldova Romania, Georgia, Uzbekistan, India, Ireland, and Chile). The remaining countries had proportionately miniscule populations of atheists/agnostics/non-believers. Zuckerman concluded, "the grand total worldwide number of atheists, agnostics, and non-believers in God is somewhere between 504,962,830 and 749,247,571. These minimum/maximum numbers are conservative estimates; were one to factor in a mere .25% of such highly populated countries as Egypt, Brazil, Indonesia, Nigeria, Burma, Tanzania, and Iran, as non-believers in God, estimates would be significantly larger. Also, these numbers are only for non-believers of God, specifically. Were one to include all 'non-religious' people in general, the numbers would nearly double... nonbelievers in God as a group come in fourth place after Christianity (2 billion), Islam (1.2 billion), and Hinduism (900 million) in terms of global ranking of commonly-held belief systems."

Zuckerman states that adding the "non-religious" segment of the world population would to his calculated maximum of 749,247,571 (about 750 million) atheists, agnostic and non-believers in God would yield a number nearly twice as large -- just under 1.5 billion. This number is not, however, the number of people who should be classified in the "Secular/Nonreligious/Agnostic/Atheist" category, because half of this larger number is based solely on belief in a single theological proposition (belief/non-belief in God), rather than on a person's religious affiliation/religious preference. A large proportion of people in the surveys Zuckerman combined to arrive at this total expressly are adherents of named religions (such as Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Chinese traditional religion, Unitarianism and Christianity). Many of these people who do not believe in God, deities, or a Higher Power are nevertheless devout adherents of their various faiths, or even clergy. They are enumerated in the list above as adherents of those faiths, and not counted among nonreligious, atheists or agnostics because their primary religious identity is not atheism or agnosticism. It should be remembered that not all strains of all religions entail belief in God, a Higher Power or deities.

It can not be said based on Zuckerman's analysis that "1.5 billion people do not believe in God."

A large proportion of the people classified as "non-religious" expressly do believe in God or a Higher Power. The 750 million figure is already an attempt to estimate the total population of people who do not believe in God.