Society without God book.

Read any good books lately?
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Jeff D
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Re: Society without God book.

Post by Jeff D » Mon Aug 30, 2010 8:04 pm

Zuckerman is a careful researcher, and when he is pressed he'll concede that he is demonstrating correlations, not necessarily causation. Still, it seems to me that there is some causal link between secularism and the lack of widespread, fervent religiosity, on the one hand, and measures of societal health and well-being on the other. But I can't demonstrate exactly what the causal link is, why it's there, and whether it is undirectional or bi-directional. Just as I can't explain why there is a higher-than-average incidence of divorce in evangelical or fundamentalist Christian households, compared to divorce rates among couples who are only moderately religious or irreligious.

I attribute the United States's outlier status (as an "advanced" industrial / technological nation with levels of religiosity much higher than in northern & western Europe) to the way in which our First Amendment (and the lack of an established State Church) has encouraged the proliferation of many, many religious sects, splinter groups, etc. that compete with each other for the attentions and the money of believers.

To borrow a phrase from Ophelia Benson, "Let a thousand Venus Flytraps bloom."
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Re: Society without God book.

Post by Aztexan » Tue Aug 31, 2010 5:44 am

I can imagine a world without religion. It's easy if I try.

Our species would have come up with laws and rules about behavior sooner or later. The Judeo/Christian biblical authors and pushers had a better PR department, is all. I can imagine that if the biblical authors had left out remnants and ripoffs of other fantastic creation myths, and pushed more heavily towards morality and behavior, the kind secularists advocate, the kind reserved for everyone, not just infidels or nonbelievers, at that time in our history or thereabouts, our world would be very different. The bible doesn't denounce slavery. That alone is enough to lose credibility. Its main character is arguably the most evil creation in literary history and many follow and treat him as if he is real. Women are property.War, infanticide, demanding of obedience and so on. I can't say if the world would have been better or worse since we will never know, but I know it would be different. Probably better.
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Re: Society without God book.

Post by Lausten » Tue Aug 31, 2010 5:18 pm

Some of these thoughts are also explored in Religious America Secular Europe? by a number of authors including Peter Berger. I have read this book, and hope to get to Bergers "The Sacred Canopy" soon. Berger and others have been exploring this idea of what exactly "secularization" means and where it is going, and it seems they have a much more detailed view of it than simply, "religion will go away as we learn more".

This book stays away from examining the Bible and looks at what people say they get from it and from religion and examines historical trends and events, such as our first amendment, and theorizes how they affect people. France is singled out because of how its revolution played out. The authors point out that there has been some expectation that the rest of Europe and the rest of the world would follow their lead, but now that we are seeing other countries, with very different histories, go through modernization, that expectation is being drawn into serious question.

It is a rather dense piece of sociology, and I'll admit a bit over my head, but you might find it interesting and might help with some of those correlations.
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Re: Society without God book.

Post by nmblum88 » Tue Aug 31, 2010 7:07 pm

Lausten:
Some of these thoughts are also explored in Religious America Secular Europe? by a number of authors including Peter Berger. I have read this book, and hope to get to Bergers "The Sacred Canopy" soon. Berger and others have been exploring this idea of what exactly "secularization" means and where it is going, and it seems they have a much more detailed view of it than simply, "religion will go away as we learn more".

Who is it exactly, either in your experience or from your lengthy reading list (or YOUTUBE debate/comedy excerpts) who says, simply (I assume that means without further explication) that "religion will go away as we learn more?"
"More" about WHAT might be helpful if you choose to respond.

This book stays away from examining the Bible and looks at what people say they get from it and from religion and examines historical trends and events, such as our first amendment, and theorizes how they affect people. France is singled out because of how its revolution played out. The authors point out that there has been some expectation that the rest of Europe and the rest of the world would follow their lead, but now that we are seeing other countries, with very different histories, go through modernization, that expectation is being drawn into serious question.

Examines WHICH and WHAT historical events? Our First Amendment, before or after what? The Exodus from Eqypt? The Crusades?
"France is singled out " from what? And from whom?
Brevity might be the soul of wit, but it certainly doesn't ever make and clearer what you are driving at.
OR what you imagine the various authors on your "this may have been too deep for me, but what the hell..." booklist are trying to say.


It is a rather dense piece of sociology, and I'll admit a bit over my head, but you might find it interesting and might help with some of those correlations.


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Re: Society without God book.

Post by Gord » Wed Sep 01, 2010 3:17 pm

ruben lopez wrote:I can imagine a world without religion. It's easy if I try.

Our species would have come up with laws and rules about behavior sooner or later.

Uhhh, it did! The religious types didn't form their own species, dude! :mrgreen:

Making gods just seems to me like the natural progression of a prolonged childhood -- first we "do the right thing" because mommy and daddy tell us to; then, when we no longer honour those two, we "do the right thing" because Sky Mommy and Sky Daddy tell us to. Then humans with overblown senses of self-worth decide they know the True Minds of Sky Mommy and Sky Daddy, and they tell us what to do. And finally, the humans with overblown senses of self-worth start to disagree, and we fight wars for Sky Mommy and Sky Daddy.
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Re: Society without God book.

Post by No God Cowboy » Tue Nov 12, 2013 6:20 pm

"Society Without God" is one of the most informative books I've read lately and I found some interesting parallels the last few weeks in the news;

1. On 09/13 zmescience.com released a "Ranking of Happiness" among 25 of the happiest nations and I encourage all to read it. There you will find the same nations about which Mr. Zuckerman wrote and on which he commented in his masterful work. A hint, #1 was Denmark.

2. I also caught a brief report, from what network, I don't know, but it was in the news that the nations where the elderly are happiest and best served socially just happened to be the same nations in his book and the ZME Science report.

Wonder why . . . ?