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Old 03-20-2011, 03:04 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Regarding the future of religion

For a large portion of the last two centuries, people have been predicting the demise of religion and the death of the supernatural. As science and technology slowly chip away at the unknown and explain the unexplained, one might conclude that religion is on its way out; that the future will have no room for dogma and superstition.

What do you believe the future has in store for religion? Personally, I'm tempted to believe that all the doomsayers are simplifying the issue when they say that "science is killing religion". While science can increasingly expound truths that traditionally lay within the realm of religion, I do believe that humans, to an extent, are "hardwired" for the supernatural. I'm no anthropologist, but it seems that all major cultures across the globe, at every time in history, believe(d) in some form of the supernatural, be it theism, spirituality, metaphysics, or anything else not directly observable, testable, and replicable.

That being said, I'm tempted to believe there is some kind of benefit, as a society or a culture, evolutionarily speaking, to holding supernatural beliefs. What this benefit is, I have not yet thought hard enough or conducted enough research to articulate and explain, but I am convinced it exists.

In the end, I do not think religion will vanish, or even become a minority trend, at any time in the near future. I think it will continue to exist throughout my lifespan and well after my death.
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Old 03-20-2011, 03:09 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I think religions involving faith and belief without reason will dwindle in numbers in the centuries to come. "Religions" such as Taoism, Buddhism, and Vedanta Hinduism may last a bit longer than those like Christianity and Islam. The reason for this being that they require more logic (although, to a lesser extent for Vedanta Hinduism). I'll admit, though, I have limited knowledge on the subject of Vedanta Hinduism.
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Old 03-20-2011, 03:10 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I can't see religion ever really fading. Sure, a greater percetage of the population will probably become atheist, but I still think it will lay a vital role in many peoples lives. Science doesn't nullify religion.

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Old 03-20-2011, 03:29 PM   #4 (permalink)
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An interesting question. Some people seem to treat science today as though it were a religion in and of itself (almost as if to spite those who adhere to Christianty and the like), so perhaps therein lies the hint of what we'll see a few centuries or millennia down the line.

People, like it or not, are hardwired to believe in something, even if they can't define exactly what that something is with the help of a thesaurus or the words of long-dead thinkers. Atheism is a struggle to bury that kind of thing because it doesn't serve any logical purpose for most people.

However, not even taking into account how little we actually know about the universe and what lies in its depths, things happen here on Earth all the time that can't be explained right away through observation, conventional or accepted scientific methodologies. Take, for example. the inexplicable disappearance of all of Lake Anjikuni's 1200+ Eskimo population back in the 1930. Very strange stuff!

Lake Anjikuni Eskimo Village - Para Is Normal

Personally, unless one of H.P. Lovecraft's various entities shamble out from their outer-dimensional walls and annihilate us (thus rendering our scientific progress as a species negligible), I think people will continue to believe in things beyond the provable and observable as long as there remains some degree of "unknown" beyond there. Whether or not part of that "unknown" for you includes the worship of the divine is up to us (and our descendants) as individuals.
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Old 03-20-2011, 03:29 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I can't see religion ever really fading. Sure, a greater percetage of the population will probably become athiest, but I still think it will lay a vital role in many peoples lives. Science doesn't nullify religion.
I think that last point is certainly debatable. If by religion you mean the creed that dogmas espouse, I think people will find it increasingly difficult to believe in in a dogma when part of its creed is exposed as a blatant falsehood. For example, carbon dating has shown us that the Earth is older than the Bible claims it to be. Certainly this revelation has made it more difficult for at least some people to believe in parts of, or all of, the Bible. In other words, science has made it more difficult to believe in Christianity. And in that sense, I think it can be argued that science has negated religion. But that is only a comically small example.

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I think religions involving faith and belief without reason will dwindle in numbers in the centuries to come. "Religions" such as Taoism, Buddhism, and Vedanta Hinduism may last a bit longer than those like Christianity and Islam. The reason for this being that they require more logic (although, to a lesser extent for Vedanta Hinduism). I'll admit, though, I have limited knowledge on the subject of Vedanta Hinduism.
I think I agree with what you're getting at. Religions with stronger community ties that rely more on codes of living rather than supernatural creeds will probably outlast their more loosely bound counterparts. And I think this circles back around to my original point about there being an evolutionary benefit to religion; societies that are closely bound by a common supernatural creed and the practices that accommodate this creed are probably more likely to survive as a society and pass on their creed.
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Old 03-20-2011, 03:36 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I think that last point is certainly debatable. If by religion you mean the creed that dogmas espouse, I think people will find it increasingly difficult to believe in in a dogma when part of its creed is exposed as a blatant falsehood. For example, carbon dating has shown us that the Earth is older than the Bible claims it to be. Certainly this revelation has made it more difficult for at least some people to believe in parts of, or all of, the Bible. In other words, science has made it more difficult to believe in Christianity. And in that sense, I think it can be argued that science has negated religion. But that is only a comically small example.
I was talking about the concept of a "higher power". No matter what science proves, there will always be an argument that "A higher power caused that to happen."

And of course you'll still have people who practice religion out of fear as well. Not everyone is ok with accepting that there is no afterlife.
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Old 03-20-2011, 03:40 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I was talking about the concept of a "higher power". No matter what science proves, there will always be an argument that "A higher power caused that to happen."

And of course you'll still have people who practice religion out of fear as well. Not everyone is ok with accepting that there is no afterlife.
That's true, I don't think we will ever be able to explain away things beyond the human realm such as a "higher power" or "the afterlife", and that's another good argument for why religion will probably always exist.
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Old 03-20-2011, 03:51 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I believe that in the future, there will a convergence of science and religion. It was only until the last hundred years that the two were even viewed seperately. With science making such astounding leaps and bounds in the fields of quantum mechanics, and getting closer to proving theories such as time travel, the Ganesh particle, and utilizing matter and anti-matter to create space crafts that can take us further into space than our mind's could possibly imagine, we will undeoubtedly prove things and come into contact with things that may outright defy many aspects of some religions.

I'm sure most of us believe in atleast the idea of intelligent life in other parts of the universe. More advanced extraterrestrial civilizations may be seen as Gods by some, thus making those who believe in specific Gods and religions question everything that they have been taught.
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Old 03-21-2011, 12:10 PM   #9 (permalink)
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And of course you'll still have people who practice religion out of fear as well. Not everyone is ok with accepting that there is no afterlife.
It's entirely possible that one day technology might advance to the point that humans will only die out of accidents. We might all be cyborgs at some point. How do you think that would affect views on the afterlife?
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Old 03-21-2011, 02:37 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Sadly, Religion is around for the long run. It'll just become uncool.
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