Religion could disappear by 2041 because people will have replaced God with possessions, claims leading psychologist

  • Dr Nigel Barber’s book debunks the popular  belief that religious groups will dominate atheistic ones because they  collectively have more children
  • He said the market for formal religion is  being squeezed by modern substitutes such as sport and entertainment in more  developed countries
  • Added that atheists are heavily concentrated  in richer countries and religion will decrease as  individuals’ personal wealth  increases

 

PUBLISHED: 10:32 EST, 7  August 2013 |  UPDATED: 12:53 EST, 7 August 2013

Religion, such as Buddhism, will have died out in many developed countries by 2041 

Religion, such as Buddhism, will have died out in many  developed countries by 2041, according to one biopychologist

Religious people in many developed countries  will be a minority by 2041, according to one Irish biopsychologist.

A study into the beliefs of people living in  137 countries, which forms the basis for a new book, found atheism increases in  more developed places as people become increasingly materially rich.

The book also debunks the popular belief that  religious groups will dominate atheistic ones because they collectively have  more children.

Biopsychologist Dr  Nigel Barber has based his book, ‘Why  atheism will replace religion,’ on the findings to draw his controversial  conclusions.

Biopsychologists examine the application of  the principles of biology to the study of physiological, genetic and  developmental mechanisms of behaviour in humans.

In an article in Psychology  Today, Dr Barber explains that in his  book he questions how long it would take for the average country in the world to  reach a similar level of wealth and development as  countries that already have  secular minorities.

This transition was defined as a minority of  the population believing in a god, or a minority considering that a god is  important to their lives.

This was measured in terms of a country’s  GDP, local prices and Human Development Index (HDI) and allowed Mr Barber to  come to the conclusion the average country will transform into a secular society  in 2041.

He said atheists are heavily concentrated in  economically developed countries and religion will decrease as individuals’  personal wealth increases.

The book proposes that people do not have to  rely on supernatural influences when material possessions are catering to their  needs, according to Science World  Report.

Religion declines not only because people are  becoming richer, but also due to the increasing quality of life, decline of  serious diseases, better education and welfare states, the author  said.

He believes there is less demand for religion  in societies such as Japan and Sweden where normal people are relatively  comfortable and consequently the majority of the populations are already  secular.

Dr Barber concentrates on the emotional  benefits of religion that favored its evolution amongst our ancestors, who  faced many different challenges to their daily lives.

The book links the cause of religion’s  emergence with reasons for its potential decline and the Amazon description for  the book likens organised religion to a Dodo.

Will cathedrals be empty in 2041 

Will cathedrals be empty in 2041? A study into the  beliefs of people living in 137 countries, which forms the basis for a new book,  found atheism increases in more developed places as people become more  materially rich

DISTRIBUTION OF  ATHEISTS

  • There is almost no Atheism in Sub-Saharan  Africa
  • But there are more atheists in  Europe:
  • 64% of people are non-believers in  Sweden
  • 48% of individuals are atheist in  Denmark
  • 44% of French citizens do not subscribe to a  religion
  • 42% of Germans do not believe in a  god.
  • The figures come from a 2007 report by  Zuckerman via Psychology Today

The description says: ‘Religion  evolved to help our ancestors  cope with anxiety and insecurity.

‘Supernatural belief is in decline  everywhere that ordinary people enjoy a decent standard of living and  are  secure in their health and finances.

‘The market for formal religion is also being  squeezed by modern substitutes such as sports and entertainment.

‘Even Facebook is killing religion because it  provides answers for peculiarly modern narcissistic anxieties for  which  religion has no answer.’

Dr  Barber also said it is unlikely religious  communities will continue to dominate  atheistic groups as they have  children more frequently, as has been previously  suggested.

Dr Barber said: ‘Noisy  as they can be, such groups are  tiny minorities of the global population and  they will become even more  marginalized as global prosperity increases and  standards of living  improve.’

He believes as women become more integrated  into the workplace they will have less children, whether they are religious or  atheist.

Jewish men pray at the wailing wall in Jerusalem 

Jewish men pray at the wailing wall in Jerusalem. Dr  Barber’s book says religion evolved to help our ancestors cope with anxiety and  insecurity, but now people enjoy a decent standard of living, formal religion is  being squeezed by modern substitutes such as sports and entertainment

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