A leading Irish biopsychologist believes that despite the larger birthrate among religious groups atheists will dominate the world by 2041.
Dr Nigel Barber’s new book “Why atheism will replace religion” says the market for formal religions are being etched away by modern substitutes such as sport and entertainment, especially in more developed countries. Barber pointed out that atheists are more concentrated in richer countries and religion will decrease as personal wealth increases.
Of religious groups 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.”
The controversial findings in “Why atheism will replace religion” are the results of a study of people living in 137 countries around the world.
Biopsychologists examine the application of the principles of biology to the study of physiological, genetic and developmental mechanisms of behaviour in humans.
Speaking to Psychology Today Barber explained that his new book questions how long, on average, it will take each country to reach a similar level of wealth and development as countries that have secular minorities.
Barber measured the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), local prices and Human Development Index (HDI). His conclusion was that by 2041 most countries will have transformed into secular societies.
Science World Report states that people do not rely on supernatural influences when material possession cater to their needs. According to the report religion declines due to an increase in quality of life and a decline in serious disease, better education and welfare.
In the description of his book he 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.”
Barber takes Japan and Sweden as an example of societies where there is less demand of religion as people are relatively comfortable therefore the majority of the population is secular.
In Ireland, according to the Central Statistics Office’s April 2011 survey, the number of Catholics in Ireland is at a record-setting high. The data shows that 84.2 percent of those living in Ireland identify themselves as Catholic, with a congregation of 3.86 million people identifying as Catholic.
The actual number of Catholics in Ireland is at its highest ever. This is explained by the number of Catholic immigrants living in Ireland.
However if Barber’s book is to be believed it will all be downhill until 2041 when atheists will become a majority.