Seems Like Young People are Less Likely to Believe in an Afterlife?

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OccamsToothbrush

Golden Member
Aug 21, 2005
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Real education leads people to understand how much they do not know.
Yes, and not knowing something is a 100% surefire reason to not believe in it. It takes a high degree of brain damage to say "gee, I don't know anything about this religion and everything I do know disproves it, but I'll go ahead and believe it anyway". Anything worth believing passes the smell test, religion doesn't. If god wants someone to believe in him all he's got to do is tell them himself, not hire some nutjob who supposedly hears voices in his head to speak for him.
 

sandorski

No Lifer
Oct 10, 1999
69,369
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There is more to be said about the nexus of education and religion. Discovering that god has gone missing, I suggest, may itself miss an important point, that nothing has replaced god in our lives and that the obvious current moral vacuum in today's society is an example of our cultural diminution as a result.

Ever since the dawn of man, from the very first words ( "where's my coffee" ? ) man has sought knowledge and comfort from religion and its beliefs. In addition to such succor however arose conflict between religions and within . Now that god is dead we are left without a moral leader and the support structures of religion, like counseling services, immigrant welcome centres and sunday school for children, just to mention a few, will be hard pressed to continue their good works.

That god does not exist in a Cartesian sense, as a rational matter, is a fairly established fact but I'm not sure our lives and families are culturally better off. Quite the contrary. When science takes away our gods it's very important to keep the social benefits that religions provide. Is that possible ?

And a society without gods, what is the political prospect there ? Most such groups are fascist states at their core, like Russia, China, National Socialist governments, etc.
So be careful what you wish for, mon ami.
Nothing needs to replace "god". What needs to be replaced are the communal aspects of Religion. The moral ambiguity you speak of seems most prominent amongst the religious themselves.

Any talk of "godless" societies is incomplete without the mention of Finland, Sweden, Denmark, and Norway. Be careful what you wish for indeed.
 

MagnusTheBrewer

IN MEMORIAM
Jun 19, 2004
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Yes, and not knowing something is a 100% surefire reason to not believe in it. It takes a high degree of brain damage to say "gee, I don't know anything about this religion and everything I do know disproves it, but I'll go ahead and believe it anyway". Anything worth believing passes the smell test, religion doesn't. If god wants someone to believe in him all he's got to do is tell them himself, not hire some nutjob who supposedly hears voices in his head to speak for him.
Most things worthwhile can't be pointed to, love, honor and, faith to name a few. God has spoken to many people yet, you would deride and scoff at their experience.
 
Nov 8, 2012
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Real education leads people to understand how much they do not know.
Exactly.

So instead of declaring the answer like previous uneducated population - below would be a typical conversation from the past

"How does rain form?"

Instead of "God did it". We simply answer "I don't know". It's that simple.
 

whm1974

Diamond Member
Jul 24, 2016
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In their words and actions. There is no "proof" as you define it. It is as it has always been, a leap of faith.
And this is why Atheists don't take you Theists seriously. What use is faith? Faith is believing something to true because you want to believe it, even through you know it isn't.
 

MagnusTheBrewer

IN MEMORIAM
Jun 19, 2004
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And this is why Atheists don't take you Theists seriously. What use is faith? Faith is believing something to true because you want to believe it, even through you know it isn't.
You seem to harbor a great deal of negativity and disdain for something you don't believe exists. Logically, that doesn't make much sense. At best it's a waste of energy. Faith gives strength and the ability to face tragedy and calamity beyond your control.
 

whm1974

Diamond Member
Jul 24, 2016
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You seem to harbor a great deal of negativity and disdain for something you don't believe exists. Logically, that doesn't make much sense. At best it's a waste of energy. Faith gives strength and the ability to face tragedy and calamity beyond your control.
No I have disdain for those folks who insist on believing complete fantasies despite knowing that they are not even remotely true.
 

PowerEngineer

Diamond Member
Oct 22, 2001
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As tempting as it is to weigh in (once again) on the folly of belief based on blind faith, I will restrain myself. I will just observe that young people may be less likely to believe in an afterlife because they are young. The end of life seems unfathomably far away. They live life as if they will live forever. It is only later in life that one comes to a real appreciation that the time that remains for each of us is limited. Death becomes much more of a real and unsettling thing. I suggest that death's approach gives older people an understandable desire to believe in some sort of afterlife.
 
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Mai72

Lifer
Sep 12, 2012
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As tempting as it is to weigh in (once again) on the folly of belief based on blind faith, I will restrain myself. I will just observe that young people may be less likely to believe in an afterlife because they are young. The end of life seems unfathomably far away. They live life as if they will live forever. It is only later in life that one comes to a real appreciation that the time that remains for each of us is limited. Death becomes much more of a real and unsettling thing. I suggest that death's approach gives older people an understandable desire to believe in some sort of afterlife.
I wasn't present when my mom passed away, but my brother was with her. She had developed septis and was going fast. She was scared. The docs wanted to put her to sleep, so they could help with her breathing. She declined and was crying. She passed very quickly after that. I decided then that Im not going to be ignorant about my own spirtual beliefs. I started to read about Buddhisim. I lived in Thailand for a while. Visited the temples. I grew comfortable with dying, because I faced the truth. Talking about death. Reading about it. Listening to people like Alan Watts talk about death and how natural it's all supossed to be has put my fears to the side. I know people have things like death dinners, where they talk about how and when they will die. Sounds morbid, but probably helps alot with the mindset on dying. It's not as scary as we make it to be.
 

friedburrito

Junior Member
Aug 3, 2019
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As tempting as it is to weigh in (once again) on the folly of belief based on blind faith, I will restrain myself. I will just observe that young people may be less likely to believe in an afterlife because they are young. The end of life seems unfathomably far away. They live life as if they will live forever. It is only later in life that one comes to a real appreciation that the time that remains for each of us is limited. Death becomes much more of a real and unsettling thing. I suggest that death's approach gives older people an understandable desire to believe in some sort of afterlife.
Actually well said. Overall though, belief in religion is going down as time goes by
 

whm1974

Diamond Member
Jul 24, 2016
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Trying to prove a theory with the negative? Foolish but, you're not the first.
And just how am I trying a theory with the negative? Since there isn't any actual evidence of any gods existence or an Afterlife, there is no valid reason for believing that there are.
 

deustroop

Golden Member
Dec 12, 2010
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The existence of god is not really the topic. I read the question as what can we do to forestall the present religious erosion which science's learned facts have produced ?

No one here asserts there is a god and that we should get back to church right away in case Trump is the end of days.
"God is dead", we know that. But that statement is spoken in sadness, for it also reflects the end of the moral leadership and civil norms of behaviour that religion used to provide. Nothing has replaced "gods" in our culture and it suffers as a result.
Sure, one can act tough, asserting enough strength to survive on their own ( ignoring the foxhole conversions we all acknowledge happens regularly in war) but what about vast majority of the less strong ? Who will lead them, where will they get their personal worth ? Or is 29 people murdered on a long weekend in August not enough evidence of the continuing need for such moral and political roots ?
My point is that there is a vacuum at the top of our value tree without which american culture will meander and ultimately die , weakened from within by the lack of faith in anything not made in Hollywood, and overcome by a multitude of foreign beliefs much stronger and even state sponsored (Beijing, Iran ) to which this society will have no response.
Anticipating a certain reply, I do not figure that the Declaration of Independence will provide an adequate defence.Its only position can be to assert sterile and rational democratic principles; but these value-free principles will not survive the onslaught of normative and passionate beliefs which well may flow in to fill the hole. I am of the mind of a poetic refrain here: "Whose hearts are mountains, roots are trees, 'tis they shall cry hello to the spring."
 
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PowerEngineer

Diamond Member
Oct 22, 2001
3,464
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My restraint is failing. :oops:

I like this quote by Stephen Roberts:
I contend we are both atheists, I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.
Yes, it is impossible to absolutely disprove any religious belief. There will always be a non-zero possibility that any one of the hundreds of religious beliefs espoused by organized churches (and the millions or billions of unique beliefs held by individuals) could actually be true. The challenge to believers is to objectively explain how and why the one they have chosen is so much more likely to be true that it has earned their belief. Without that explanation, choosing a religious belief (or atheism for that matter) is like picking your "lucky" lottery numbers. There is a vanishingly small chance that you will win the jackpot, and a near certainty that you will not. Under these circumstances, it would seem foolish to start spending money on the presumption that you will soon be a millionaire. Similarly, it seems foolish (to us agnostics) to make life choices based on the presumption that an unsubstantiated religious belief is true.

And while I am at it, I will acknowledge that belief in something can sometimes prove to be useful regardless of whether or not it is true. On the other hand, belief in something that is not true (e.g. vaccines cause autism) can be harmful. IMHO it is best to believe only those things that are much more likely (than other possibilities) to be true because of objective evidence.

Back to restraining myself...
 
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MtnMan

Diamond Member
Jul 27, 2004
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The greatest threat to the ignorance of the hard sell tactics of religion (an afterlife) is knowledge. But there are still a lot of really ignorant people out there, so it's going to take a while.
 
Mar 11, 2004
22,052
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The existence of god is not really the topic. I read the question as what can we do to forestall the present religious erosion which science's learned facts have produced ?

No one here asserts there is a god and that we should get back to church right away in case Trump is the end of days.
"God is dead", we know that. But that statement is spoken in sadness, for it also reflects the end of the moral leadership and civil norms of behaviour that religion used to provide. Nothing has replaced "gods" in our culture and it suffers as a result.
Sure, one can act tough, asserting enough strength to survive on their own ( ignoring the foxhole conversions we all acknowledge happens regularly in war) but what about vast majority of the less strong ? Who will lead them, where will they get their personal worth ? Or is 29 people murdered on a long weekend in August not enough evidence of the continuing need for such moral and political roots ?
My point is that there is a vacuum at the top of our value tree without which american culture will meander and ultimately die , weakened from within by the lack of faith in anything not made in Hollywood, and overcome by a multitude of foreign beliefs much stronger and even state sponsored (Beijing, Iran ) to which this society will have no response.
Anticipating a certain reply, I do not figure that the Declaration of Independence will provide an adequate defence.Its only position can be to assert sterile and rational democratic principles; but these value-free principles will not survive the onslaught of normative and passionate beliefs which well may flow in to fill the hole. I am of the mind of a poetic refrain here: "Whose hearts are mountains, roots are trees, 'tis they shall cry hello to the spring."
You give the OP far too much credit.

Speak for yourself. I killed God and it made me a better person because I learned to stop judging people based on stupid shit that religion pushed (them being gay, etc).

Yeah bullshit. We see religion actively intentionally seeding horrible values, corruption, and the worst shit that humans do.

If you need God to provide you values, then you kinda suck as a human.
 
Mar 11, 2004
22,052
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You can disagree all you want, but the concept of greater education diminishing the impact of religion is not a matter of opinion. It's a well established fact that as education goes up in a society so does the percentage of atheists. Of course there are outliers, there always will be. Some really intelligent people will believe because that's how they were brainwashed when young and once down that path inertia takes a toll. It's easier to keep going than to turn back and admit you were hoodwinked. The reality doesn't change that education is what leads people out of religion and helps prevent people from getting caught up in it.
Read what I posted again and then try to have a conversation. Because you're trying to dismiss my point and its just showing how full of shit yours is. You do realize that most religious people are educated as well if not better than the norm right (in the US for instance, there's some variance but its not that big; other places in the world the issue is less that its religion and other socio-economic factors at play; religion does absolutely in some instances lead to worse education like how females are discriminated in some places - but then that was true in China as well and that had nothing to do with religion but rather their society at large)? How do you explain that as "outliers"? Its not just "some people" there's LOTS of highly educated people that get indoctrinated into all kinds of idiocy. Because education is not the wondrous magical thing you claim it is. Hell, I'd say a lot of education is outright just indoctrination (why the fuck do you think schools were having kids stand and do the Pledge of Allegiance, or why they teach versions of history that are predominantly of the view of the country its taught in).

Unless that education is the religion. That's what you're dismissing and its straight up stupid (and bullshit). Education is not what got me out of religion (in fact, it was what nearly pushed me into it even more, because both in the US use similar methods for "learning", and that's why a lot of religious people end up being dumber is because they see how bullshit religious teaching is and associate all learning with that because of the similarities in how they're pushed, so they take the same attitude about learning in general that they got from learning religion). It was learning to think on my own. That, sadly is not what education is doing. Education can help facilitate that yes, but you're definitely waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay the fuck off if you think religious people are uneducated and that its that simple. Plus, like I said in my original statement that you claimed to be objectively wrong, we see people get indoctrinated into other groups that technically aren't religions but otherwise behave exactly like religions do (see the aforementioned China, where they basically indoctrinate people to worship the state; hell there are people that end up that way with regards to science, they're the type of idiots that don't know science for shit but go around spouting stupid pop culture "I fucking love science" "I'm gonna science the shit out of it" and I forget what dumbass ones I saw people making fun of the new Star Trek doing). Its not as simple as you act like it is. By that same token, I know people that would be labeled as religious people that are not (they just go to church because its a normalized social function in the area, or they don't want to have to deal with their family being dicks about it so they just keep pretending to be religious because that's easier than getting ostracized).
 
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whm1974

Diamond Member
Jul 24, 2016
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Actually I think Secular Humanism can and does provide a Moral Compass for people, with no gods or religions needed.
 

MagnusTheBrewer

IN MEMORIAM
Jun 19, 2004
24,135
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If you need God to provide you values, then you kinda suck as a human.
It comes down to what those values are Cultures and societies around the world have evolved to fit a specific group with protections for those who follow the norms. Those norms are almost guaranteed to be alien to the next society. Look at our most recent attempt to create a global society. The internet. Of course it's still evolving but, what can we glean about it's values? It pays to be a mean girl. Humans have no inherent values or morals.
 

whm1974

Diamond Member
Jul 24, 2016
9,460
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It comes down to what those values are Cultures and societies around the world have evolved to fit a specific group with protections for those who follow the norms. Those norms are almost guaranteed to be alien to the next society. Look at our most recent attempt to create a global society. The internet. Of course it's still evolving but, what can we glean about it's values? It pays to be a mean girl. Humans have no inherent values or morals.
That is false, We do have inherent values and moral. If Humans didn't have them then we wouldn't able to form societies and live in them.
 

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