Here are some topics I haven’t taken the time to flesh out.
- Is this 2002 Gallup poll evidence against the idea that more education means you are less likely to be religious? Well, I ought to check if the gap still exists since atheism has been on the rise in the past few years. It would not surprise me if the business and social connections help post-graduates. Is church just a social thing for them? Are they going just because their wives are going, or because they think religion is a useful lie to perpetuate for society or for your kids?
Superstition in names: Mongols who have seen their kids die like to give their newborns unflattering names to prevent their infants from dying. It is not uncommon for a boy to be named “nobody,” “vicious dog” or given a female name to confuse the evil spirits and keep them from snatching him. I’m not a Mongol, but kids should be allowed to choose their own names, and it sucks that society allows parents to choose semi-permanent names which their kids must use for their entire life, and I would love to change my name to a cooler one if it wasn’t so expensive.
A nice name for a bar in Mongolia.
- Would you rather live in a designed universe? It would be fun to be in a universe where the natural laws gave a few heroes incredible luck. There could be immortals fighting one another for petty feuds for millenia, power ranger mechanics, or we could fight existential threads like the giant monsters rampaging through our cities instead of interal forces. There could be sudden plot twists and inexplicable phenomenon like teleportation, invisible people, and miraculous healings whenever “the gods” got bored. There would then be no doubt that the whole world could be a play put on to entertain a higher being, and if we knew how the story is goes then we could enjoy our roles knowing we were minor actors.
- Wiki had an article I’m calling “former atheistic states,” which was rather misleading when I looked into the details. Many times when a president was elected for a term and tried to weaken the church or drive it out, it was put on the map, and I still don’t have any clue why Yemen is on the map. I suspect the map is mostly Christian propaganda, and attacks on Christians in that country are being used to justify putting them on the map. To be fair attempts at state atheism have not gone well, the two main examples being the USSR and the first phase of the French Revolution when they wanted to replace Christianity with an abstract Deism. Of course neither attempt lasted long – religion fights back, and the leaders decided to compromise and use organized religion as a tool for supporting their legitimacy. In the case of the USSR, Marxism optimistically asserts that religion will go away when people stop suffering under capitalism – when this didn’t happen, at least not quickly enough, Stalin decided to try to spread atheist propaganda, to curb the power of the church, and limit the power of church leaders to defend themselves in debates. World War 2 stopped the anticlericalism, because a desperate Stalin needed the support of the church to fuel patriotism, and thereafter religion was mostly tolerated.
- I find it interesting that Albania is one of the least religious predominately Muslim countries, allegedly due to the USSR’s occupation there and opposition to religion. Even though they’re 80% Muslim, they’re more like “cultural Muslims,” in the way that being Muslim is part of your heritage. They’re more tolerant of other religions there, and the Muslims there hardly ever visit a mosque.
Sometimes the Soviets tried cool ideas and they did weaken the influence of religion even though they couldn’t eradicate it. If they had stayed and kept the course they might have wiped Islam out of Albania. Imagine if the US had let the Marxists takeover the Middle East and neuter religion?
Article 37 of the Albanian Constitution of 1976 stipulated, “The State recognises no religion, and supports atheistic propaganda in order to implant a scientific materialistic world outlook in the people”, and the penal code of 1977 imposed prison sentences of three to ten years for “religious propaganda and the production, distribution, or storage of religious literature.”
Another example where they apparently weakened religion is Kyrgyzstan. I really should make a point of researching how they did it, and for how long, given that Communist governments everywhere usually relaxed their opposition to religion over time. It’s unfortunate that the Red Scare has made people associate atheism with Communism though, which can turn people against it just by association. The Red Scare certainly made Americans insert the word God on their currency, in the Pledge of Allegiance, and so on and so forth, and I remember there being a similar uptick in religiosity and patriotism right after 9/11. (Some liberals have claimed that the reactionary feeling was not truly a newfond love of one’s country, which is another interesting point to debate.)
- Here is a list the actual religiosity of today’s europe:
It is misleading when an article says Finland or Iceland are especially atheist, when half of them believe in spirits and life forces. I strongly dislike technical atheists who aren’t skeptics to all metaphysical things. (Supposedly the Finns aren’t as newagey as the Islandic people though, maybe ‘cas they’re close to Russia, lol.)
>The finns I know aren’t new agey at all but I’ve heard bad things about Islandic people.
Maybe ‘cas they share a border with Russia, lol. I’ve been reading about how the USSR working within the axioms of Marxism believed religion would quickly die out once they overthrew capitalism, and when it didn’t, they decided to try and stamp out religion within their borders with atheistic propaganda and restrictions on clergy, etc, but when Germany invaded Stalin got desperate and mostly gave up and brought the churches back. Cuba tried to restrict religion too, but quickly gave up, and the story seems to be shared across the Communist countries. I now suspect there wasn’t enough political will to commit to an atheistic propaganda campaign, and so most of them never truly lost their religion, which is why it sprang back as soon as it became legal to admit that your family was secretly Christian the whole time.
The Czech Republic seems to be an exception where religion might have already taken a fatal blow, but that was more because there was already a strong history of anti-clericalism and irreligiousity, due to local history and conflicts with the church, before the USSR invaded. They now might have the highest proportions of atheists (and nones), and it’s really too bad that the drawbacks of air pollution, xenophobia, rude unfriendliness, and poor service would deter me from taking an interest in ever moving there. They’re also still very superstitious. (I hope their relative rationality lets them realize they need to clean up those other issues.)
Kyrgyzstan too is supposed to be unusually tolerant of non-Muslims for a Muslim country, with the secular government going so far as to try and stamp religion out of the public schools.
Yeah, but it’s interesting he stopped being a Socialist, although he doesn’t say much about it, and if something made him decide that doesn’t work. He pussy-footed about it, saying it’s not politically viable to join a Socialist movement now, rather than saying he changed his mind and doesn’t work.
Support for Free Speech is Falling
Of course I’ve heard leftists counter that the concept of free speech is just a buzz word and were never truly felt, and that 60 years ago most Americans would have wanted the state to shut up the Communists, and most of the older generation still want to shut up the atheists just as they have since Thomas Paine wrote “the Age of Reason.” The survey targets willingness to have the government restrict so called hate speech towards racial and sexual identities, but is still illuminating, particularly with regards to the international comparison. Props to Spain.
(Freedom indexes have also done poorly in the last few years, following a net increase of freedom for a few years.)
Hey religious people, which mountain is the truly holy one?