Fifty years ago, after the cracking of the genetic code, Francis Crick was so confident religion would fade that he offered a prize for the best future use for Cambridge’s college chapels. Swimming pools, said the winning entry. Today, when terrorists cry “God is great” in both Paris and Bamako as they murder, the joke seems sour. But here’s a thought: that jihadism may be a last spasm — albeit a painful one — of a snake that is being scotched. The humanists are winning, even against Islam.
Quietly, non-belief is on the march. Those who use an extreme form of religion to poison the minds of disaffected young men are furious about the spread of materialist and secularist ideas, which they feel powerless to prevent. In 50 years’ time, we may look back on this period and wonder how we failed to notice that Islam was about to lose market share, not to other religions, but to humanism.
The fastest growing belief system in the world is non-belief. No religion grew nearly as fast over the past century. Whereas virtually nobody identified as a non-believer in 1900, today roughly 15 per cent do, and that number does not include soft Anglicans in Britain, mild Taoists in China, lukewarm Hindus in India or token Buddhists in Japan. Even so, the non-religious category has overtaken paganism, will soon pass Hinduism, may one day equal Islam and is gaining on Christianity. (Of every ten people in the world, roughly three are Christian, two Muslim, two Hindu, 1.5 non-religious and 1.5 something else.)
This is all the more remarkable when you think that, with a few notable exceptions, atheists or humanists don’t preach, let alone pour money into evangelism. Their growth has come almost entirely from voluntary conversion, whereas Islam’s slower growth in market share has largely come from demography: the high birth rates in Muslim countries compared with Christian ones.
And before the troll inevitably accuses me of proselytizing on this blog, remember that you can here voluntarily to read what I had to say. I did not buy advertising time during your favorite show, come to your door to leave pamphlets, or threaten your children with eternal damnation if they did not accept my lack of belief.
This Ridly guy is exactly right, the non-theists ARE winning.
We have all of the tools needed to educate and enlighten the world, even the children regardless of where they live, or what religion surrounds them. And once that happens there is simply no longer any room for primitive superstitions or ancient mythologies.
And it is the very fact that victory is coming, which is behind much of the turmoil that we see in the world today.
Rarely does a dominating demographic drop the reins of power voluntarily, nor come down from the top of hill peacefully.
So yes we are going to see more violence, and more political manipulations, but in the end the outcome is predetermined. The only question is how long will it take, and how many will die in the interim.