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.




2 comments:

Arizona Atheist said...

It looks like there is a problem with your statement, in saying that Zuckerman feels these countries are "atheist." I'd like to see a direct quote.... From what I've read of his, he states that these countries are not entirely atheistic, but have high rates of nonbelief, compared to the u.s. and other places.

I think anyone could tell you that the only truly atheistic-type country was Russia, but there are many problems with claiming atheism was a cause of all of the horrendous happenings. It was the totalitarian nature of the state, not atheism. But getting back to Zuckerman, the only thing I've seen him say is that those countries are highly secular and irreligious...not that they are an entirely atheistic country where no one believes in a personal god at all.

Seems to me you're presenting a strawman because you're unable to deal with the facts that refute yours, and many other theists', claim that a god is necessary for a healthy society.

J.L. Hinman said...

It looks like there is a problem with your statement, in saying that Zuckerman feels these countries are "atheist." I'd like to see a direct quote.... From what I've read of his, he states that these countries are not entirely atheistic, but have high rates of nonbelief, compared to the u.s. and other places.

I think anyone could tell you that the only truly atheistic-type country was Russia, but there are many problems with claiming atheism was a cause of all of the horrendous happenings. It was the totalitarian nature of the state, not atheism. But getting back to Zuckerman, the only thing I've seen him say is that those countries are highly secular and irreligious...not that they are an entirely atheistic country where no one believes in a personal god at all.

Seems to me you're presenting a strawman because you're unable to deal with the facts that refute yours, and many other theists', claim that a god is necessary for a healthy society.


that's not the way atheists present it when talk about it. they always present it as "atheist nations."

high levels of unbelief doesn't prove anything. USSR had high levels of religious fervor